Thursday, January 7, 2021

In the In-Between

Ever feel like you are stuck in a perpetual holding pattern? Probably a silly question in light of our current global situation.

I have hesitated to write a post for the past couple of months. We have been waiting for our visas to arrive, and I have been waiting to be able to share some definitive plans, or at least SOMETHING solid. The past few months have felt like we are riding the waves, and as soon as we get closer to "shore", the next wave hits and we are left trying to figure out up from down. Don't get me wrong, we aren't drowning! But we are in a place of unknown and uncertainty, as I'm sure many can resonate with right now. 

This week, we FINALLY received letters from the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Madagascar which confirm we have special approval to obtain visas (and the visas have since ARRIVED). This is a huge answer to many prayers! So we should be celebrating that we are finally off, right?

Not quite. As the world continues to flex and adjust to the ever-changing rules and regulations surrounding the pandemic, the world of international travel is kind of a mess. After hours of phone calls and research and dead ends, we have found only 2 reliable flights going to Madagascar are tomorrow and next week - and they are full. 

While we have found other possible options, we are hesitant to try and get too creative. The borders are closed, and even flights that had been running are rumoured to be ending. From research and experience, it's not uncommon for flights to show up that we have lovingly dubbed "Phantom Flights" - they exist to encourage us to make a reservation, but promptly disappear closer to departure (and our $$ stuck with the airline). 

So, what do we do now? It's a familiar question. We are all needing to be flexible and adaptable like never before. 

When we came back across Canada before Christmas, we didn't know exactly what we were going to. We packed up and moved - to nowhere in particular! We figured getting back to Ontario was at least one step closer to getting back overseas, and as provinces began to lock down again, we wanted to do what we could to be prepared.

Needless to say, we are grateful for an opportunity to stay and work here in northern Ontario, at Kapuskasing. Jesh has been an answer to prayer (more of that story here, in our facebook group), and it's an answer to our prayers to BE here. We don't take for granted that the hospital has provided us with a place we can stay in, as it has been incredibly challenging to find accommodation options during these strange times. Not to mention the fact that Jesh is able to use his skills in this northern community, and make a pay check that allows us to stock up our ministry funds. There is no doubt that God worked this out, as we literally had tried to make all sorts of plans, but this all just came together in the course of a few days - a week before Christmas. 

I'll tell you, these past 7 months back in Canada certainly have not looked like we would have imagined. And yet, as we walked it out one step at a time, we have had the incredible privilege of seeing God's faithfulness. While it has been a bit of a roller coaster (ok, sometimes a BIG roller coaster), we get to watch God at work, and that is so worth it. 

With that said, would you pray with us? We need clarity on what to book, and when to book it. On whether to ride this season of waiting out a bit longer, or push to get there. The idea of packing up and hauling back to Kingston, getting COVID tests multiple times, then heading overseas in a pandemic, being in quarantine, potentially getting stuck in a cancelled flight along the way, all with 3 kids and a dozen pieces of luggage, is not all that appealing. 

Yet we also know that our friend over in Madagascar has been working solo since the pandemic began, and we want to get there to help him out. We long to settle down and set up a home again, and finally get to work towards the residency program we set out to do in the first place!

And so, here we are, once again in the in-between, with no clear idea what the next few weeks or months may hold. And while I love to have a good plan, I am choosing to rest in the knowledge that God is in control, and there's no place I'd rather be then right here in that sweet spot (except maybe a warm island in the Indian ocean with temperatures of 28 degrees, but, you know). 

By Julie

P.S. Aside from work and homeschool, we have made the most of this time, made new friends, and even tried some new things, like ice fishing, hot chocolate "bombs", and chocolate fondue! 

Ice fishing!

Hot Chocolate "Bomb," thanks to a creative friend - so fun!

New Years Eve - Chocolate Fondue!

Some serious "thrifting" has allowed us to get the basics to thoroughly enjoy the chilly outdoors!