Well its done. The last difficult conversation has been had, so I can share our news with you all. This likely won’t come as a surprise — to those who don’t already know. But its big for us, and its been important to approach it as the massive challenge that it is…
We’re moving back to Ontario.
Lest this seem anti-climactic given the video — to which I’ll speak later — let me take you back two years and try to communicate what it took to move here in the first place.
We’d entertained the idea of moving to the States for a long time, and in July of 2005 it seemed like that might actually happened. Then our contact dried up. We went on a missions trip together to Asia in August, hoping, but not knowing, if things would start moving again on our return.
In October of that year that contact reconnected with me in earnest, and I began the long interview process. It was almost December when the offer came in officially — more money than I’d ever made, but just barely enough to make the move worth it. We took it, not for the money, but for the adventure, and began probably the most grueling 3 months of our lives.
December was full, not of Christmas, but of runs across the border: getting my Visa status, getting drug-tests, and finding an apartment. Nicole had her hands full arranging a moving company and packing/purging our belongings, since we’d be paying per pound for the move.
The first Sunday in January ’06 we went to our home church in Ontario for the last time as members, said some good-byes, then took a walk together in the park where we were engaged. After that I got in our brand new SUV and drove the 9 hours alone to a completely empty apartment, with an air mattress, some clothes, and enough dishes for one meal at a time.
I lived there, with my meager belongings (and later a 12″ TV I bought at Walmart after I got my signing bonus — nearly a month after I was expecting it) subsisting mainly on Chunky Soup and Kraft Dinner, for a month while Nicole finished preparations for the move. She ended up getting here a week ahead of our stuff, which got held up in the moving truck by a snow storm. By that point we had a bed and a couple more dishes.
I have never been so broke and scared and alone as when I first got here. This literally was “starting from scratch.” But we had a plan to make it work, and my first order of business was to find a church where we could get involved — a family of believers who could help make this place home. And God provided Northway Church almost immediately. To quote the pastor, we “hit the ground running” getting involved in every way we could. We knew God didn’t send us here for a job, He sent us here to teach us how to Go, and we intended to serve our hearts out and learn everything we could.
And we did. For the better part of 2 years we served and learned and grew. God blessed us while we were here with friends and with a family and with a successful career. And then He made it clear that we were done, and that it was time to go home…
This move will be no easier than the last. Although we’re not moving to a strange new country, there are new challenges that make this unique.
Last time we moved with 0 kids. This time we’ll be moving with 2 — one a newborn.
Last time the cost of the move was offset by $10,000 signing bonus — all of which was required. This time the cost of the move is coming out of our pockets.
Last time I was moving to a new job. This time, we’re not sure what will happen with my job.
Last time my bride and I were separated for a month. This time I’ll be missing my whole family for just as long.
This is no small challenge in front of us. The plan is for Nicole and the kids to move home to her parent’s place about a month after Abigail is born (which is supposed to be around March 20th) and start looking for an apartment for us to live in. She’ll have about a month to find us a place, during which I’ll be arranging the movers and holding down a job here, while sending pretty much the entirety of my pay checks back home to Canada. We plan to use our New York income tax refund to pay for the move itself.
As I said, the outcome for my career is uncertain. I had the difficult conversation with my boss today, and its in his hands to investigate the options and try to arrange what he feels is best for the company. I love my job (although depending on what part of a project cycle I’m in, I may not tell you that) and its our hope that I’m able to continue doing it from Ontario — despite the fact that there is no office near-by. That’s not in my hands right now, however, so the best we can do is pray, and trust God has a plan…
As for why we’re moving home. There are three main reasons that I’ll speak to briefly, for now, although I may need to work them out further in later posts.
The first can be looked at in one of two ways. One way is a little depressing, so to look at it another way: we’ve accomplished what we set out to do. As I said above, we came here to learn and to serve. We would have kept doing that forever, if God had allowed it, but it became clear that He had other plans. To put it plainly, the doors closed. And although people, including (but not exclusively) myself, could be found at fault for parts of that experience, we asked God this past August for clear direction on what came next, and His answer was inarguable. We lived this adventure to its fullest, and we are very proud of how God used us and taught us. That’s a big part of what that video is about.
The second reason we’re moving home, dear American friends, is your economy. You can argue partisan politics, right versus left, all you want, but the harsh reality of the matter is, someone screwed the pooch — repeatedly. Your war, your spending, your debt and your government are hurting your freedoms, your wealth and in many ways, the very fabric on which this incredible country was built.
For many of you, this will be a dip that you can ride out. As a country you will recover and learn from this, and as voting citizens, you can flex your rights and ability to make changes. But as of this posting, your national debt is $9,194,599,829,656.43 — or $30,203.24 per person — its growth accelerating rapidly. A significant majority of that debt is owned by China.
Fortunately, the incredible structure of this country allows you the power to change that.
As visitors here, however, we have no such recourse, and we are held hostage by the value of the US dollar. With each point it drops, our ability to plan for our future is put further in jeopardy. As much as we’ve loved this place, its not our responsibility, nor would it be wise for us, to see the US economy through this low point. We need to be where our income is backed by the power of our vote — which is in Canada.
This doesn’t mean that Canada is in much better shape than the States — only that by being there, we get a small say in what our government does. Something we sacrificed by moving here.
The third reason is our own responsibilities. As much as we’ve loved serving and lending our strengths to the goals of others, we have some things of our own that we need to take care of:
- Our children need family around, who can support them and help them grow… I have not traditionally placed a lot of value on proximity as a factor in the strength of a relationship. My family is made up of explorers and wanderers — my brother and sister are in Calgary, while my parents are in Asia — and we all know that we love each other, regardless of geography. Nic’s family’s giftedness, however, lies in warmth and hospitality. In creating welcoming and nurturing places to live and grow. And those are the things that are most important for our young children right now.
- As adults, Nicole and I are in that wonderful stage of life — smack between paying off our own education, and starting to wonder how we’re going to pay for that of our kids. As much as my heart yearns to wander, the responsible thing for us to do right now is settle down, finish paying for our school and our cars, and build some equity. These are gateways to freedom that we need to continue to tackle in earnest — before our 30s catch up with us.
So we’re moving home, because its the right thing to do. Do not think, for an instant, that this is “out of our system” or that we intend for this to be our last move. Because that’s another intent of that video — to remind ourselves, and those that love us — that the incredible adventure of pursuing God across the globe is at the very core of who we are as a couple.
We will settle for awhile, where its safe and comfortable, for the benefit of our kids, and to take the steps necessary to earn the freedom that we want. But we will not get too settled nor too comfortable…
Why? Well that’s the final intent of that video: to answer the question why. If I failed, with what I put together, to communicate the sheer joy and excitement and immense reward derived from our adventure in New York, then look up the verses I put at the end.
It turns out that its not just what we believe — its what God commands His children to do…
For those who missed it, here’s the video again: