Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Home is where your heart is.
Home is where your stuff is.
Home is where your family is.
Home is where your friends are.
Home is where you dwell.
Home is neither here, nor there, but in heaven.

The “definition” could go on and on. Any of you who have made a major life move can understand the feeling of being torn between the familiar present and the unknown future. You know well that feeling of your heart being divided in two. We have heard from countless missionaries who have made the trek across the ocean back to America. Our personal voyage ahead consumes much of our thoughts: excitement about the opportunities, curious about the unknown.

If things go as we hope, pray and plan, we will leave this country in less than 30 days. We are still awaiting clearance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Our fingerprints were processed here almost 2 months ago, but still no word yet from DHS (part of our application being approved as adoptive parents). We are planning and preparing in faith that we will receive this word very soon!! We are scheduled for a visa “interview” for Lael at the end of next week. We’ll sit down with the Consular at the U.S. Embassy here in Benin and she will review all of our documents to make sure everything is in order. Once all is approved by her, it shouldn’t take long before we’ll have the visa and be ready to go! If we don’t hear from DHS by then, everything begins to get pushed back.

Today I spent from 8a – 6p breaking down this house! We just had one “deep cleaning” last October, but after 8 years of living here, we still have so much stuff to get rid of. We are working with the Leadership Council here to host a “garage sale” to benefit the churches. We are planning it for next week, so this week we are clearing out everything! We’re not taking anything with us to Texas, except what we will put in a few pieces of luggage as we fly out. Toys, clothes, shoes, medicines, bedding, furniture, dishes, towels, picture frames, d├ęcor…everything has already been claimed by other missionaries or is going to the garage sale!

I know this house so well. I know all its quirks and all its nuances that add “character” to this place (like the fact that none of our plywood cabinet have EVER closed properly because the humidity has warped the doors). What will our new home in Texas look like? What quirks will it have? I think about this so often, trying to picture myself actually living in another house. We have spent a lot of time over the past month perusing real estate websites. That’s been fun to think about the differences between our house in Benin and our home in Texas.

The same with our vehicle. Next week I will go and sign the paperwork for the missionary who is buying our truck. That makes it seem very final (we get to hold on to the truck until our last day). We have had 1 family vehicle the past 8 years. But we realize that we’ll probably need 2 in Texas (eventually). What will they be? We’ve also enjoyed looking online at various vehicle/dealership sites. We’ve looked at a variety of 6-8 passenger vehicles, new and used. It’s fun, overwhelming, consuming, nerve-wracking and exciting…all at the same time! Anybody out there wish to chime in with their favorite car pick for us?! We’re open to suggestions!

We are having some very sad conversations with our close friends here…people we love so much and with whom we spend hours and hours each week. While they do not wish to hold us back, I can’t say they are sharing our excitement about this move. Eight years ago, we boarded a plane with excitement in our hearts. But we said many tearful goodbyes to an airport crowded with friends and family (if you were among the multitude there at DFW on 3/16/99, we still remember that day and can’t believe we’re on the other side now). Now it is 2007, and we have to re-do that event all over again. We know well the faces of our family and friends who will be there to greet us in America! But we grieve now with those cherished friends and African family members whom we have grown to love so much. Please remember us and them these final weeks.

Please join the many people around the world praying that our DHS clearance will come through very soon…even this week! Once again, we revert to the old adage of a family friend, “God is seldom early, but never late!” When it comes, we will rejoice in God’s perfect timing!

-Randy

5 comments:

Brooks Inc. said...

Happy Jesus has gone to heaven day Randy!

great thoughts...personally, I think you guys ought to go fo rthe Mazda Miata. The perfect car for a family of 6...and on weekends you guys can all pile in and go to work for the circus.

Whatever car you guys choose I will have great confidence in...I have never known a Vaughn who made a decision that was not throughly researched...you guys are incredible! Can't wait to have you all close!

Love you so-

BJB

Anthony Parker said...

We love our 2003 Impala, but I don't think it would be big enough for your crew. For us, it's roomy enough even for long trips and gets good mileage. (Even more important now that gas prices have hit $3/gal.)

You'll need a 2nd car once you get settled. If you're gonna live in Texas, you gotta have a pickup!

I remember all the hours we spent perusing real estate sites before we left Togo. It gave us an idea of what was out there--and what we ended up with because a matter of what was available that we could afford.

We're having a West Africa/West Texas reunion (us, Baileys, Wilsons, Hollands, McVeys, & Jana Treadway visiting) on Memorial Day (May 28). Hopefully you'll be able to join us for our next one!

Ron and Marilyn said...

Hey Vaughns,

We think the Honda Odyssey is the way to go. Ours is 7 years old and has been pretty much a perfect car, as cars go. Things are proceeding for your REENTRY day and days. Praying for those fingerprints to be cleared! Of course, Ron does have a mazda miata so Ron would recommend that one after all!!

love you all,

marilyn

NIGER1.COM said...

benin news on http://www.niger1.com/benin.html
moub21@Gmail.com

Anthony Parker said...

There was no place to comment on the following 2 posts, so I'm back here again!

Congratulations on one more step taken! We'll be praying about those fingerprints.

We were sweating in Texas earlier this week -- we were painting and I offered to turn the AC on but Maureen declined, having become used to sweat in Africa! Today it's been in the low 70s--maybe. At 9:30 pm it's 63; feels really cold! Come on home!