Saturday, July 12, 2014
When i was a kid, we used to eat at this cafe a lot. It was called Crossroads Cafe. It was at a Flying J truckstop years ago; I don't think it exists any longer. It's that kind of place now that i search out to eat at when we're travelling. It's a cafe :-) you have daily special and all the watiresses know your name, and even likely what you'll order. I always liked when we ended up there...it meant a grilled cheese or cheese burger with french fries and ranch dressing. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed Crossroads.
Here we are at life at another kind of crossroads. It seems I've had a few of those in my life. Haven't we all?! While I don't know if i enjoy them as much as the cafe by the same name...I think I should. At a crossroads, you get to reflect on your journey so far, assess where things are currently at, and then move on in one of many directions. We are moving on...literally. Hopefully, Lord-willing, we will all be back in the States.
A few of you may have known that I was planning on coming back to the U.S. for my brother's wedding in September. I was then going to work for two months to save up some money to help Steve get going with a business. You can read about that in my previous post (no, I didn't post that one on Facebook as it was written more for the ones who knew and wanted to know why). You see, when we came back to Ghana almost 2 years ago...we had a plan. Steve would find work here to be able to support our family. We would work with the church and school. His work would provide the way for us to stay here (residence permits). It was going to be great! But then we found out that the existing government really discourages foreign workers (some for good reasons, and some for not so good reasons). Steve explored the mining field, the development sector, and the non-profit sector. All of which came to nothing. It was discouraging. His fluent Twi abilities really meant nothing without a Master's degree or a Ghanaian wife (i offered to become one). Enter the first crossroads. Steve really had to sit down and think what could he do? What would he like/enjoy doing? The crazy man likes math. So he considered what he could do in that field. It came down to trading. He's checked it out. He's done his homework, he's been researching and paper trading, some, since last November. This is what he'd like to do, and why I was going to work and save for a couple of months so that he would have a small lump sum to begin. That was the plan. Up until a week and half ago.
Steve went to the immigration office to find out what we needed to do to renew our residence permits prior to my departure since they expire the end of August. We wanted to have that taken care of before I travelled. What he found is that the costs had increased and that we would also have to get alien registration cards (something that we haven't had before). The total cost was going to be very close to $1500. We did not have this kind of money. In fact, we have been juggling our budget every month to try and make ends meet, only to keep cutting back on our food budget more and more. Steve looked at what we had (nothing) and what it would take over the course of the next three months to cover the expenses (a year's worth of rent coming due in October) and we "could" do it if we cut our food back to $100/month. $100 is not reasonable or doable. What we saw is just that we couldn't continue on the path we were on.
Enter crossroads number two. So simply...we are moving back to the States. We are going to find jobs, and we are going to work. Work to be free from debt. Work to be free to do what we love, travel and encourage the saints. We are going to go where the job market is good and kind find work that will suit our skill sets. We have decided to join the Nichols family in Oklahoma City. Now, I will be the first to tell that never, EVER, in my life have I EVER wanted to live in "tornado alley". This is going to take a lot of prayer and trust, at least on my part, and it's going to be an adjustment for all of us. We are going to live and work close to the Nichols to find those who are looking for the hope and salvation that can only be found in the Gospel of Christ. Our focus will not merely to build up our financial house...but it will, even more importantly, be to build up the spiritual house of The Lord.
Of course there are other reasons and things that had to be considered as well. If you would like to know more, Steve or I would be happy to discuss them with you, once we get back to the U.S....or before if you live in Ghana. The next 30 days look to be filled with a lot of craziness. We have to sell most all of our possessions, and trim things down into suitcases to move across the Atlantic, yet again. We have the concern of housing when we get to OKC, and needing a vehicle to get to and from the job site(s). Trying to figure out how to get our dog to come with us...and seeing if we can adopt Stephen Karikari who has become as much a member of our family as any other. The latter is one that needs serious prayer. Stephen's mother is willing to give him up so that we can adopt him, but there is extended family and his biological father (that has had so very little to do with him), and those things carry more weight here than they would in the U.S.
So please, pray for us. Pray for wisdom for us as we move forward. Pray that we will have clarity of mind and thought to make the many, many decisions that need to be made in the next month before we leave.
You know...looking back on the last almost two years here. We have no regrets. We are SO VERY GLAD that we got to be reunited with those whom our souls love. So glad that we've had the opportunity to get closer as a family...to remember what the really important things in life are...to remember that the fast pace lifestyle isn't all what it's cracked up to be....to enjoy family nights again (we won't be giving that one up again!)...to grow up and learn and get a fresh perspective. Very thankful we are.
Just like I enjoyed eating at Crossroads as kid...I'm enjoying the crossroads in life, too. Something new, something challenging, something altogether different. With Christ in me, a spiritually minded man to lead me, super kids to love on and train, and amazing friends to work with...everything is AWESOME!!