“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20
The concept of home is completely different for everyone. For some people it might be physical a place like the house they grew up in or the town where their family has always lived. For others, it’s more of an idea, maybe wherever their loved ones are, but what all of us seek from a home is to find shelter and rest, a place to feel a sense of belonging. Here, we can be ourselves without hiding or worrying about what’s going on in the rest of the world. It’s the only place we want to go after a long day at work or a physically and emotionally exhausting trip.
For us and many others who live abroad or have called several places home during different stages of life, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint one and say, “This is our home.” Especially for people like Jon, it’s hard to give a quick answer when some asks, “So where are you from?” He was born in Tokyo, grew up in Nagano, attended junior high and high school in Colorado and university in Oregon. Even for Kaya after spending 22 years in Oregon, it’s a difficult question to answer having gotten married and moved to Japan. Now do we say we’re from Oregon? Japan? America…?
Along with not really having a clear home comes lacking a sense of belonging to any particular group or place. You hear it said in Christian circles a lot that it’s good for us not to feel too at home anywhere on this earth because we aren’t ever truly at home until we’re reunited with our creator. That’s probably true, but we’re also looking forward to finding a place we’re proud of that we can be excited about introducing friends, family, and travelers to. And it gives us an incredible amount of peace knowing that wherever we end up, God will always be with us and we will be a part of His church. That is all we truly need to be at home.
All that being said, we just recently realized that we haven’t told many people besides our immediate family what our next adventure in life is going to be. So here it is. We will officially be ending our English teaching contracts in August of 2017, but everything after that is pretty much up in the air. We do, however, know that we will be arriving in the States in early August, visiting family and friends in California, Oregon, maybe Colorado and Idaho and then we’re off to Europe! Yes, we’re leaving for Europe after finally moving back to the U.S.
Why, you ask? Well for one, it’s Europe. Second, we will be visiting our Polish family in Switzerland for a week. Lastly, we will be volunteering at various accommodations through a program called Workaway to gain insight into the tourism and hospitality industry. Our hope is to work at at least one hostel, one B&B and one hotel each, and the bonus is that we get free accommodation in exchange. Pretty cool huh? We are currently praying that God opens some doors specifically in the Balkan region because it looks beautiful and they have a reputation for amazing hospitality. This talks about how the term “basa” defines their idea of hospitality. For those who don’t have time to read it, there’s an ancient Albanian proverb that says, “Shpija para se me qenë e Shqiptarit, asht e Zotit dhe e mikut.” And for those who don’t understand Albanian (aka us obviously), in English it translates to, “Before the house belongs to the owner, it first belongs to God and the guest.” What an amazing way to view hospitality as Christians! So essentially, we’re going all the way to Europe to learn more about the concept of “basa” along with the more logistical aspects of running an accommodation business.
Which brings us to our next point of why we want to get experience in the tourism and hospitality industry. God has given us hearts which first and foremost seek to care for the needy and share His love with others. Within that broad calling, we feel specifically called to serve people through hospitality. Currently, we’re continuing to learn what it means to listen to the Lord as we consider the possibility of starting a business/ministry, whether that be a travel company, a hostel, a health-food cafe which would also serve as a hub for ministry, or anything else He leads us into.
So as we try to figure out where our next, temporary “home” will be, we continue to pray for direction, wisdom and opportunities. If you would join us in this prayer for us we would really appreciate it! Whatever happens, we’re incredibly excited because we know all of it is in God’s hands. For now though we are soaking up every single minute of our lives here in Japan (especially the food) as we experience more of His goodness each and every day.
We love you all and can’t wait to see you before long!
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