As I have contemplated our return to the states from over four years of expat life in Istanbul, Turkey, I have desired to return with intentionality. Consuelo and I have had many late night conversations about what life will look like, what it could look like and what we would like it to look like.
Turkey has been an amazing experience of growing in faith and in learning to trust God, of learning a new language and to love a new culture, of stepping out of our comfort zone and of making a home here. We will miss our life in Turkey and the many friends – both Turkish and other expats – we have come to love. Turkey’ stain is one that will not go easily – and for this we are grateful.
But in less than three weeks we will return to South Dakota. It is there that we will begin to cobble together a life for ourselves. The dictionary seems to put some emphasis on the hurried nature of the cobbled together project, but I want to focus on the idea that something is being put together from a bunch of various materials. It is the story of my life after all.
My faith is in many ways, cobbled together. I am the sum of over thirty years of interacting and exploring, of reading books and of studying the Bible, of conversations with friends and to listening to speakers, preachers, theologians and more. I am not defined by any one denominational doctrine but am shaped by many. I believe in the Apostle’s Creed and agree with Augustine when he said,
In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.
It is in South Dakota as well where we will begin to cobble together an income for ourselves. My online ventures and language coaching will supply part of our needs, but in the beginning at least, not all of them. I hope that this site might generate at least a little income as well. We’ll probably do some substitute teaching, help local farmers and will work to reduce costs by growing as much of our own food as time and energy allows.
I would also love to be able to cobble together a structure or two for a home office and guest house. I’ve had a dream for sometime to build a straw bale house with as many recycled or handmade items as is possible and hope to be able to explore this dream in the coming years. A small home office will be a great place to ply my skills, master a few new ones and discover the feasibility of using recycled materials in “new construction”.
There are other areas of life as well: our kids education, continued work in Turkey, church life, living strategically, encouraging community and sharing our faith to name a few. This and more is what I mean when I talk about living the cobbled together life.