For the past two weeks we have been visiting the East Coast, our first stop was the town of North East, Maryland for two IM led conferences. We spent a lot of time with some colleagues: some of which have been living cross-culturally, others who are in pre-assignment like us, and many friends from the IM home office. For us, learning from and spending time with our IM family was the highlight of these two conferences. Our time was not just about hanging out with each other though, the main focus was on Soul Care and being in a healthy place spiritually, emotionally, physically, and relationally. We took time to practice solitude, silence, community, prayer, along with other spiritual practices. Why is this important? If we are not healthy when we are serving, it is easy to get off track and rely on ourselves rather than on God. Loving God with everything we are allows us to love others and love ourselves.
After our time in Maryland, we decided that since we were so close to our nation’s capital, we could take the opportunity to visit Washington DC. What a great way to end our East Coast trip! We spent our time visiting the monuments, memorials, and museums along the National Mall. Our goal was for the kids to experience some American history before we move to Thailand. While we were expecting to learn from the monuments, we were not expecting such a thought-provoking experience. The two most thought-provoking and introspective memorials for us were for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. Both memorials highlighted some of the more famous quotes from each of these men. What impressed me most was the power that many of these quotes still carry today in several different contexts, especially as we walked and read each one, building upon each other. My favorite quote is one that I have read before but the context gave it more of an emotional punch:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
When I reflect upon those words, I think of what we are called to do as followers of Christ: love God, love ourselves, and love others – even to the extent of loving our enemies. There is a lot to hate in this world: sin, actions, choices, violence, etc. but we must resist the temptation to stop loving people. The way that we combat hatred is not with more hatred, we combat hatred with love. What does that look like? I think it differs for each of us and our context. For me and my family, it is expressed by sharing God’s Word and God’s love with others holistically, especially in Thailand.
We are getting closer to being able to move to Thailand; and each week we are moving closer to being able to join in with what God is doing in Thailand, by loving people. Thank you to our current partners, we are at 84% of our pledged support goal! If you aren’t partnering with us on an ongoing basis, we would love for you to partner with us and with what God is doing in Thailand. Please join us in loving the people of Thailand, in bringing light into the darkness, and in bringing love to drive out the hate.
What is next for TeamJuanes? This weekend we will be sharing at FBC Pacific Grove. In September we will be driving up the coast to Oregon for a couple weeks of visiting churches and friends. On October 19 we will be celebrating the journey we are about to embark on with our Commissioning Ceremony at Crosswalk Community Church, Sunnyvale, CA (our home church!)
Homeschool has started! Our new year of homeschool has started and there are a few changes, the biggest of which is Kolin joining in the homeschool! The challenge this year, of course, is to incorporate learning into all the traveling. In the past six months we have visited nine states (plus Washington DC!) Honestly, it has been great and the kids are very much enjoying experiencing so much of America. We’ve enjoyed seeing them grow, mature, and gain resilience through these experiences.
What was the most memorable part of our East Coast trip for the kids? Was it one of the culturally or historically rich museums? Was it a thought provoking experience at one of the monuments or memorials? How about the time spent getting to know the other missionary kids at the conference? Of course not! All three kids enthusiastically said that what they will remember the most is the International Spy Museum because it was so much fun! They were given secret undercover spy identities and interacted with all sorts of spy gear. I’m sure that in 10 years they will think about the Capital…