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Re-engaging in Memphis

My posts have thinned out over the past couple months, as they often do toward the end of the year. But, it's a new year and I'm never above fresh starts. I would like to rekindle my efforts to scribble occasional updates about our life here in Memphis.

Amber and I returned to Memphis late Saturday evening after a nice, long holiday with our respective families in Illinois. We were thrilled to have such a lengthy visit with our families, but we were eager to return to our new home here in the mid-South (and we certainly didn't complain about the 30+ degree spike in the temperature).

We pulled in our driveway late and noticed that our next door neighbors, a Vietnamese couple that we had begun to build a very minor connection with (as much as possible without a shared language), had cleared out over the holidays. Only a few strands of Christmas lights and some potted plants remained. I was surprised at the emotions that rose in us as we lamented their exit from the neighborhood.

To be honest, our return to Memphis didn't start off with a bang. Although we had a great deal of excitement about our fresh re-engagement following a restful holiday, the first two days started out with a lurking loneliness. Part seasonal, post-holiday blues; part reality check. We were quick to recognize the reality of our brevity here in this city. Only four months have passed. Yes, four months filled with incredible memories and beautiful people, but it has been a tidal wave of newness. We've adjusted well, but we are now facing the looming need to develop deeper relationships in our new land.

We don't know what is in store for the future, but we know that we will be here for at least seven more months and we don't want an absence of relationship to be an excuse to skip town. We have so much to be thankful for in our neighborhood. We've heard from more than one brother or sister in our community that the enemy is using a creeping and deceitful separateness to isolate us and confuse us. But we are resolved to courageously and faithfully embrace new friendships and new community.

God is moving here. His Spirit is sowing seeds of life and beauty. His mustard-seed kingdom is advancing. Pray that a lack of oneness and joy doesn't rip out the roots.

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