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The Tallest Waterslide

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The Tallest Waterslide

I remember the first time I went down a huge waterslide. The kind that seems to drop at a 90-degree angle for a half dozen stories. The scary part wasn't the drop itself -- it was the moment while you're sitting at the top waiting for the OK to go and then, suddenly you decide to let go.

Tomorrow morning we leave for Barcelona and, when people ask us how we're feeling, that's the best way I can describe it. We're on the brink of a new, adventures chapter in our lives and, while we're incredibly excited, we'd be remiss to say our hearts aren't in our throats right now. Our bags are packed and tomorrow morning we get on the airplane and "let go."

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Leaving LCC

A few of the Spiritual Life student leaders bond during a recent retreat at our flat. Students and their respective countries are, from left, Kamilė (Lithuania), Lukas (Germany), Xhorxhina (Albania) and Katya L. (Russia).
We're making it official -- this is our last semester working at LCC International University.

*insert cries of sadness and gnashing of teeth or cheers of joy and jubilation, depending on how you feel about this*

We've spoken these words out loud to a handful of people now -- mostly family and supervisors -- and they sound strange each time we've said them. But, with each time, the weight that hangs on them comes into focus more and more.

Although we are in year four of a two-year commitment, this is a decision that has always felt much more connected to a sense of God's call than personal choice. As such, this is a decision we've wrestled with each year we've been here. 
  • By the end of our second year, it was clear our work at LCC wasn't finished.
  • Last year, we knew our efforts were already changing LCC's DNA (in positive ways) and that it would be possible to transition out. However, we've also learned that, in missions, it's always best to be running towards something -- God's plan -- and there wasn't even a remote destination in sight. With staff/faculty members constantly changing at LCC, we've also come to appreciate the gift of good, thoughtful transitions and saw this year as one where we could offer that.
  • This year -- as we shared a couple blog posts ago -- it's been hard to know exactly what to write about. The systems we have helped develop are starting to run themselves. This community graciously stretched when we first came and now it has a different shape. At the risk of sounding boastful, we have changed some of LCC's DNA, which is both humbling and encouraging. When we consider whether we are to return or not, the sense we get is, "It's OK to move on."
Again, LCC was never meant to be the place where we would stay until we're too old and senile to work. We came wanting to participate in God's mission as well as develop our calling as God's agents of change.

"What's next?"

The first thing people have asked us is, "What's next?"

Our immediate plans are to have our baby here in Lithuania, spend some time with our relatives, and reconnect with our Phoenix family. But the big picture is still blurry -- these plans are still in God's hands.

"Wait, what?"

While it's clear our time in Lithuania is drawing to a close, we're still looking towards God for guidance for our long-term plan.

Julija and Alisha take a much-needed break after a long
Through our time in Lithuania, we've felt affirmed that these past four years haven't been merely an experience intended for just a season of our lives. Rather, this has been a time of preparation for something bigger. 

Perhaps it's appropriate our time serving at a university will end after four years. As the students have been transformed, so have we. Whatever we were before we came to Lithuania, now we are mission workers.

We've been working with our mission agency, Mennonite Mission Network, this past year and there are some exciting ideas we're looking into. I'll even be traveling a bit this semester to visit some communities that have expressed interest in our help (Alisha is too pregnant for that at this point).

For now, we ask for your prayers and support as we continue to seek God's greatest desires for our next actions.

Finishing Well

All of this said, don't think we've checked out of our work here at LCC. God continues to move in this community and we are privileged to be able to be part of that movement.