Dear family and friends,
Very warm greetings to all of you in Jesus’ name. We arrived back in Lima on August 4th without any major incidents or problems and we are thankful for that. We were even greeted with a couple days of sun, which is pretty rare for August in Lima. The WMF community once again received us back from our visit with hugs and smiles: we were reminded again how grateful we are for this life that God has led us to wherein we can feel ourselves at home among family and friends in many different places around the world.
When we walked into our house the night of our arrival, both Isa & Natalia scurried into their rooms and excitedly glanced over their beds & toys. Natalia shouted, “my room, my bed!” And after a few minutes of reconnecting with her dolls, building blocks, and various plastic “food” items, she laid prostrate on the floor and declared, “my ground!” We were also all very happy to have our rice, limes, avocados, cilantro & garlic back on our plates at every meal. For us, it is an interesting thing to have “gone home” to the US, having been received once again into all of your lives, felt your embrace, caught up after a year of distance, and then to have “returned home” to Lima. We are beginning to reflect more on themes like home as our 10 year anniversary in Peru approaches this October.
At the WMF Staff Gathering this past July in Nebraska, we collectively reflected on themes like this in a book titled, “The Wisdom of Stability” by Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove (which by the way we highly recommend). For us, this was very timely as we attempt to make sense of the path that our lives have taken having followed God with our young family to Lima, Peru to live and serve in community among to poor. We confront themes of home, identity, belonging, and stability displayed in a poignant way every time someone asks our daughters a simple question like, “Where are you from?” Sometimes they say, “Peru,” sometimes, “the US.” We also giggle a little when casual aquaintences don’t really know what to make of our blond, 10 year old who speaks absolutely perfect Spanish and our brown-skinned 4 year old who speaks mostly English and as yet a little Spanish. Truth be told, our adult answers to questions like this reflect the similar fluidity and sometimes ambiguity. Where is home? Where do we belong?
We find an ever deepening meaning to Christ’s words to all of us where we read in John 14:2,3 “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (NASB)
In God we are given our true and forever home. In as much as we receive this great gift of hope, we belong to God and will be with God always. Much more than any physical “place” could ever mean for us, the “place” that God prepares for us is a new kind of relationship to God and with each other; our being-with-God fulfills our deepest longings for home and for a sense of belonging. This kind of understanding is tested of course when we miss the embrace of close family, when the context in which we live seems so lacking for the resources that used to make us feel comfortable, and when the floor underneath us is not “our ground.” So we live in hopeful expectation in God’s faithfulness to come and meet us in our present circumstances, whatever those are and wherever we find ourselves.
It was good to be together with you. Your love and friendship give us so much life, and keeps our spirits up. We have much for which to be thankful. Please remember us in your prayers, remember us with your support for our family in ministry, and remember the work that the WMF community in Lima is doing, as we also remember each of you and carry you close to our hearts.
the Langleys (Brian, Rachel, Isabel, Natalia)