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Archive for the ‘Bethany’ Category

Quick Update…

 

view from the bus on the ruta de siete lagos

 

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started.” – T.S. Elliot

I read this quote in our pastor’s blog today, and I’m probably going to think about it for a long, long time.  Maybe its because we’re back in Bariloche again for a night, having finally taken the scenic Ruta de Siete Lagos back (pictures HERE, I also added a few more the San Martin album). The irony is not lost on me that our pastor has been all about settling down and growing roots while we’re in the midst of wandering an entire continent, but this piece of poetry gives me peace somehow. I think we both realize that this might be the last time in our lives we can take an extended trip like this (unless, by chance, one of us lands a job abroad, still an option we’d like to keep open, but aren’t necessarily actively pursuing) before the things I would refer to as “chains” or “anchors” start appearing in our lives: family, house, careers.  These things are starting to look more and more appealing to us, and we’re truly looking forward to settling down and getting to know our little community in Portland.  But, before we make those types of commitments, we at least have one last hurrah to take some time to figure some things out and gain some valuable experiences.  The funny thing is, every new place we go, we try to compare it to home: this looks like the San Juans, this town is like Lake Tahoe, this forest looks like it could be in Oregon… and so on.  We look for little pieces of home wherever we go.

Anyway, just a quick, very unfinished thought. Next up, I’ll share the itinerary we spent a good chunk of time today setting up, since at our new hostel we have wifi from our bed 🙂

Feb. 6th: take the bus bright and early down to El Calafate in the south of Patagonia. Should be interesting as I think it’s 28 hours long, and we’re in the second-cheapest class.

Feb. 7th – 9th: El Calafate – mostly known for being close to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually still growing, by up to 6 feet a day!  I can’t wait to see (and hear!) this amazing creation!

Feb. 9th – 13th: El Chalten – only a few hours from El Calafate, this town is famous for the toothy Fitz Roy mountain range, home to climbing, hiking, glacier trekking…should be both amazing and exhausting.

After that we either head all the way down to the “end of the world:” Ushuaia, or make and early break for Chile.  Haven’t decided yet. We hear that since these towns in Southern Patagonia are so isolated (ATM usage isn’t even guaranteed so we have to stock up on cash!), and since there’s going to be so many interesting and exciting things to do, we might not post much for the next few days, but we’ll try our best.  You know I like uploading the photos!

We miss you all, and think about you all the time.

Love,

Us

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I have always liked to travel.  I relish moving. I had a chaotic childhood, shuffling between parents, step-parents, old houses to new, townhouses to apartments to duplexes, summers with relatives, trips with the youth group, and later, with missions organizations. For the greater part of college, I could fit my life’s belongings into either a Nissan 240SX or a Geo Tracker; until my senior year I never lived in one place more than nine months.  Every chance I had to study or travel abroad, I took, even if it was just a chance whim.

I came back from all this, and by the grace of God moved into an amazing house with five other fantastic roommates; I felt it was my time to learn to stay. I remained in Seattle after graduation and see what life I could make for myself here; out in the “real world” and in my “career.”  I managed to stay in that Greenlake basement for over a year; working three jobs, getting superb grades in my senior year, paying off all that credit card debt from my travels.  I was more or less content with my life there.

Then, along came a certain boy, and suddenly, I was married and moving again – this time into our first apartment. We decided to “settle” for at least a year, try out working “big kid” jobs and weaving our lives together.  I found a dream job (though with nightmarish pay); Tyler worked at Starbucks, and then moved onto a more relaxed, but well-paying position at J Crew.  We got an adorable kitten. We accumulated things, so many things.  Kitchen things, bathroom things, alley furniture, clothes. I still managed to take some short trips to places fairly often – we went away on weekends to Whidbey Island, to Victoria, we even made it to Paris, and Ensenada; I even made it all the way to Guatemala with my work. This allowed me to stay – to be content.  I got used to our life in our little apartment on Lower Queen Anne; used to our “things,” used to meeting friends for drinks, used to being awestruck by mountains and green everyday, used to our weekly rhythm; we made friends, we made regular plans, we joined a gym and took up new hobbies.  I got to know every single neighborhood in Seattle; knew every boutique eatery and coffee shop and always had a list of dozens to try.  Before I knew it, we’d been in same place for three great years. Tough years, hard, learning years, but also fantastic. Had I finally balanced the tension between being a sojourner and settling down?

Is this what it means to stay, and love it? Seven wonderful years in Seattle… Growing up with the same inspiring group of youth all these years; going to their graduations, advising their senior projects, proof-reading college applications. Bursting into tears as they move away to college and our little group disintegrates. Sharing our sorrows, struggles, and joy?  Investing in our community by volunteering, planting trees, and weeding blackberry and ivy? We’ve had so many of those special “moments” where time freezes and you’re lost in a song, a view, or an interaction.  I always try to hold onto those moments as they pass, hoping they’ll stay forever.  Of course, they pass and life continues on.  I cherish the last one, and look forward to the next; each unique yet similar. It reminds me of when we studied Ecclesiastes at Bethany Community Church: nothing is forever.  But God wants us to be thankful for each moment, knowing that it won’t last, and joyfully look forward to the next. Have faith that He will keep giving them to us, whether we stay or go.

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God is a funny one, always speaking truth into our lives just when we need it. Two weekends ago my Dad came to visit, and of course, one of the first things he asked was if we were going to go to “that church with all those young people.”  Last year we had taken him to the college saturated 5 o’clock service at Bethany Community Church, and my Dad was overwhelmed to the point of tears by the crowds of passionate, young Christians, meaningful prayer and worship, and a pastor that taught well.  He remarked that the Holy Spirit was working in that place. “Of course” I replied. This time we would go to the 11:15 service, as it better accommodated our plans for that day.  Of all things to speak on, it had to be Jeremiah 29:4-15: Living Faithfully in Babylon.  Pastor Richard remarked at least three different times that even if you’re only in Seattle for “a month,” we should get involved faithfully in our community.  I laughed out loud every time and pointed at Tyler. In exactly one month we would be moving.

 But, it would also be about one month between leaving Seattle, and leaving for Buenos Aires. One month split between family and friends in Salem and Portland, road-tripping in California, camping in Yosemite, and a wedding in Lake Tahoe. One month of taking time to enjoy what we know, to spend meaningful time with those we love, and prepare – mentally, physically, and spiritually, for our trip. Sure, to some people we might just be “selfishly travelling aimlessly” or just doing a semester abroad; we probably won’t get the backing of a missions committee or church, but we look at this trip in very much the same light as a mission trip.  After all, isn’t it on those trips that we go to escape our comfort zone and refine our relationship with the Lord?  Is this really that different? That being said, we have a total of two months to live faithfully before we go – to stay involved until the very end.  We have time to be fully present with our friends, our family, and strangers; a strange amount of transient time to impact the lives of others. Continuing, we have a number of months to hold true to this principle once we leave. We may not know how long we’ll be in once place (sounds like Babylon, doesn’t it?), or even where that place will be (like Abraham and the promised land), beyond “phase one” in Buenos Aires, but we are still called to get involved and bless others in whatever way we can, day by day, moment by moment. Let’s pray together that God gives us the strength and presence of mind to be able to live up to His calling.

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