Do I miss the babies?
Yes. A lot. I've watched this video probably a dozen times. My Sunday work buddy sent it to me.
That being said, all this QUIET is a rare occurrence in my life!
Am I going back? Or do I want to go somewhere else next time?
I am absolutely planning on it. (At least half my possessions are over there now.) I'm not on a short term trip anymore. I'm committed to this specific ministry and at this point I'm as likely to decide to go somewhere else as I was to decide to leave home for Africa in the first place (read: no one has their entire future planned, but not very likely). This is my job now. Also, I really like this place and these people and this thing I'm doing, so, there is that. =)
How long am I planning on staying?
Officially, until my visa runs out in May 2018. But, I just can't see myself leaving then! I'm desiring to stay on indefinitely. Like I said, no one has the future entirely planned out but I love it at MBH and, as I've already mentioned, most of my stuff is there. Ha ha.
When am I going back?
Lord willing, November 29th (Tuesday after Thanksgiving.) Yes, I have my tickets. Was it a good idea to buy them ahead of time? Maybe, maybe not. I guess we'll see.
Am I getting a job while I am home?
No, because this trip is primarily to raise monthly support and visit with friends and family. I'm only home for 3 months (who wants to hire someone for 3 months?) and I'm going to be doing quite a bit of traveling. I'm picking up the odd job or two when I get the chance, and I'm happy to crochet something for you (Etsy - Abbie's Happy Heads or the same on Facebook). I'm also hoping to volunteer at a local crisis pregnancy center.
How does support raising work?
Last time I raised support for a year - so I needed a specific total dollar amount that would stretch over the whole year. This time, my goal is to raise long-term support - i.e. support that will allow me to stay as long as God has me here. I'm looking for supporters to partner with me on a monthly basis. Of course, I have been very blessed to receive some one-time gifts as well - they help me with some larger expenses/purchases (like flights, repairs to my room, etc) that are sometimes difficult to squeeze out of a monthly budget.
Why do you need more this time?
There are added expenses, the older I get (like not being on my family's insurance anymore and needing to buy health insurance) and the longer I stay somewhere (car repairs, savings, etc.) Exchange rates fluctuate (so sometimes I get more or less in the currency that I use in South Africa, even if the dollar amount stays the same). There is a potential that some supporters just won't be able to support me anymore at some point, and it's just better to have a small cushion when I am looking at things longer term.
What are you doing while you are home?
Well, when I'm not working on support raising, or traveling/visiting people, I try to occupy my time with things that a.) I don't have time to or can't do in South Africa and/or b.) will make my life easier when I get back. So I'm practicing musical instruments, working on learning the local language that many of my friends speak (Shona), cleaning out and getting rid of a lot of my stuff in my parents' house, shopping for all the things on my "buy in the USA" list, using up my fabric stash to sew baby quilts for the multitude of showers/birthday parties at Living Hope, exercising, writing blog posts, thrift shopping with my mom, eating Taco Bell, and sometimes enjoying evening TV binges. ;) Sometimes I'm a little bored (*gasp!* I haven't been able to say that in years!) as support raising is a funny beast - you work and work and prep and send out letters and speak and wait and wait. But it's good to have some time at home.
Speaking of home, which place do I see as "home" now?
To which question I quote the old hymn, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through..." Seriously though, don't make me pick. Haha. Your old childhood home is generally always "home," but I've pretty much made a life for myself in South Africa, and I love it. Yes, I do miss you all. I always welcome visitors. =)