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Jul 27, 2014

Woke up in New Zealand

Wow, has it really been a year and a half since I posted to my own blog?  And was my last entry really based on an ad campaign for a fast food chicken sandwich?  Talk about leaving a legacy and going out with a big finish! 

So why the long absence?  Where have I been for 18 months?  I hate to cop out with a feeble cliché of an excuse, but I've been busy.  Really busy.  I've made some big life changes that have occupied my time and kept me away from writing here.

The main change in my life has been that - my family and I have moved from the US to New Zealand!  That major event, along with all the other associated changes, has pretty much consumed me for over a year.  Just to get approved to move involved background checks, medical exams, lab work, interviews, transcripts, record searches, and a huge application package.  Then when finally approved, we had to downsize an entire family home into a 20 foot shipping container and either sell or give away the rest of our life's possessions.  Then there was the move itself, and a costly and worrisome process to ship our family dog too.  Once we got here it was the search for a new home, new jobs, new cars, a new school, new church, new friends, and so on.  Anyone who's moved can appreciate the process, but if you've never moved internationally, compound it by about 10!  So please forgive my absence as you may get the sense of what I've been up to.  I hope to have time to contribute here again.  

Speaking of forgiving, it's in my nature to be hard on myself when I don't accomplish what I think I'm supposed to, so it would be easy for me to feel like a failure for dropping my own blog for a year and a half.  But I'm slowly learning to rest in God's perfect timing in our lives and to appreciate that there are seasons for everything.  And thanks to my supportive wife and new pastor, I'm also learning that we even need times to learn, to reflect, and to grow before we have more to share with others.  No time in our lives is wasted unless we choose to waste it by not growing.

So in the last 18 months I've been learning and growing.  I've learned so much about patiently waiting on God for provision, to open doors, to reveal his plans for us, and to guide us to new adventures and challenges.  I've met so many new people here from all over the world and learned from their often different perspectives.  I've met and worshiped with Christians here on the other side of the world and been encouraged by the obvious but often unappreciated reality that God's church is universal and spans all nations and peoples.  Finally, I've been refreshed and renewed in my faith by depending on God more than ever, by marveling at his creation here in this beautiful country, and by feeling a sense of peace and new beginnings at this point in my life.

But everyday life goes on too, so I'm still been learning how to love and encourage my wife more, as she's joined me on this wild adventure and accommodated so many changes and challenge.  I'm still learning how to guide and encourage and support my teenage daughter, especially as I've moved her to the other side of the world and asked her to trust me that it will be ok.  And I'm learning how to balance my priorities in life, between a new career, ministry, hobbies, friends, personal time, and family.

I hope and pray that God is using this time in my life to continue to teach me, sanctify me, grow me in wisdom, and encourage me to be the man he wants me to be.  And I hope that what I learn can once again be something I can share with other men on their own spiritual journeys.  I look forward to what's ahead and I thank God for adventure in life and for his faithful plans and purposes for each of us.