So if you have been following our lives for the past year, you know that we have been anxiously waiting to hear from the Peace Corps (PC) regarding our placement of service (if you have no idea what I’m talking about you can recap here).
This past Monday we received a call from a PC placement officer to talk about a potential match for our skills (it turns out that placing a couple, especially one with two different jobs, is more difficult than a single volunteer). Michelle and I were stoked. We had been waiting anxiously, checking the mail obsessively, and now we would learn where we would live for the next 27 months (something we had been preparing for the last 9 months). Gary (not his real name) got straight to it, “We would like to send you to the North Africa/Middle East region starting in September.”
I looked at Michelle’s face and immediately could see and sense her heart had broken. Gary explained to us some of the particulars and about their process, but then focused on the true issue at hand, “I can sense that your energy is not the same when we first started this conversation.” He was right. For me, I was disappointed with the news, but was open to the possibility. My battle has always been accepting that I could actually live abroad for two years (something I have fought with myself for a long time) so for me, where we go wasn’t as important as the fact of actually going. For Michelle, it has been a dream of hers for so long to live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Before Monday, we had believed and convinced ourselves that this was the story that would happen for us but now, at least for Michelle, it felt like that dream was shattered.
We asked to have some time to make a decision. If we accepted we would leave in September. If we didn’t accept, what would we do next?
It’s not that we have anything strongly against the region, there is just no particular draw, no sense of call or excitement when we thought about it. At best we could see how interesting it could be, but there didn’t even seem to be a sense of wanderlust.
Needless to say its been a challenging week. We took walks. We prayed. We spoke to friends abroad. We spoke to former PC volunteers. We prayed some more. While we had hoped for a clear, distinct, yes or no, everyone was encouraging, supportive, and truly believed that we would be blessed in whatever decision we made. Everyone gave us incredible insight, love, and support. It boiled down to two things: 1st. Do we say yes because it’s a great opportunity even though we are not excited about the placement? Because its something we feel like we have to do? Or, do we say no and start all over again, wait for something else that we might be more excited about. Each had its pros and cons.
We decided NOT to take the placement.
We spoke with Gary today and explained that we tried to embrace the idea of going to the region we were selected for, but that it didn’t feel right. We were both scared that this would mean our PC opportunity had passed but to our relief, Gary appreciated our honesty and thoughtful consideration and assured us he would work to try and find us another placement. So we are back in the waiting game. I give PC credit, they know their process well and have been very honest with us from the beginning. They told us not to quit our jobs (which we did), not to give up housing (which we move out this week), they told us anything can happen with our placement (which it did), and they told us it can be a long process (which it might end up being, 9 months and counting). We had been telling everyone about our PC service to Africa, and that we would be leaving in July (our awesome families were already putting together going away parties) and now, it’s almost back to square one. We are still committed to seeing if we can get a PC placement, but the next time those programs would leave would be after January 1st, 2012!!!
So what’s next? Great question.
For now we are going to explore other opportunities to serve abroad. We will take a month and a half to travel, and from June – December we will need to find a place to live and find additional employment. Currently I work part-time for Relevant Studios and am happy that I will be able to stay there longer.
So thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for being with us on this crazy journey. Life before Monday was a lot different than life after Monday, but really, we are doing well. We are thankful for the privilege to be even on this journey and as history has shown for both of us, surprises like this are not uncommon. I mean, we did meet and get married and believe me, we did not plan on that to happen. God is good. He has been and is always more than faithful to us and I hope that we can have the courage continue to trust in His plans. So here’s to whatever might happen next. We will keep you posted, and next time, I’ll have Michelle write because she’s more concise.