It seems time to make public to our readers what many know privately. After much prayer and many discussions, some with heat and some with light, David and I have decided that we will not be returning to Timor-Leste for a second year. I do believe it very important to state that this decision comes at my instigation, and not David’s.
My initial reaction to Dili truly shocked me. I was very motivated to come and, although I thought there would be some culture shock, I was not prepared for my extreme negative reaction to our life here. The initial two months was not the best start to our adaptation, particularly mine. We were not teaching, and having nothing in particular to do during November and December made it much more difficult. Once we began teaching and our life opened up to friends and some variation of activities, things improved. But the thought of living here for two years was unpalatable.
I prayed daily for the Lord to give me a heart to stay, as it surely was beyond my strength. I made many adjustments, and saw many advantages to our life. Our teaching had meaning in it, even as it could be frustrating in the extreme. We have written before about that. David believed that our commitment to two years was decisive. I did not see things that way and we had many disagreements. My experience of following the Lord has always brought peace, even as it was difficult. I had no peace in the thought of a second year. I could not find peace in this, no matter how long I prayed and reflected. I could not make that decision and longed to return to the States (and our grandsons and children) with all of my heart.
Our ethical standoff was resolved when we agreed to ask Sr. Angela, the head of VOICA in Rome, to release us from our second year. Sr. Angela was unexpectedly supportive. I was, of course, relieved and happy. I experienced a deep peace with this decision and it has remained. David has made his peace with it as well. He has been actively looking at real estate in South Bend, something he finds therapeutic. We are seriously considering a move to the South Bend area.
In the meantime, we pray about our future work lives. We are in no position to retire and need an income.
We realize that this decision is not just about us. Many of you have supported us faithfully from the beginning and must have thoughts about this development. Please share them with us. [posted by Rory]