Moving to Michigan

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We have actually cleaned out every corner of our old house, turned in our keys to our landlord, and have moved out. I didn’t think we’d ever get done! We have moved from Goshen, Indiana to Sturgis, Michigan. We’re semi-officially living in Michigan now, all we have to do is get a couple bills in our name and we can become legal residents. It shouldn’t be too hard to get some bills in our name, the people handing out bills always seem to be able to find us no matter how far we run.

Moving is a nightmare, sometimes literally. Janice’s parents moved 17 times in the first 20 years of their marriage. Clara, my mother-in-law, still has literal nightmares about moving. She actually has dreams about moving out of a house and then wakes up tired and depressed.

I think the ideal living situation would be where you have enough money to burn down your old house with everything in it (well, except for your children, obviously) and then simply go start over at a new location. Unfortunately we aren’t burn-our-old-house-down rich so this isn’t an option. Although, come to think of it, we are just renting so technically it wouldn’t be our house that we’re burning down but I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to burn down someone else’s house, especially if it’s intentional. Maybe we could buy forty dry Christmas trees and leave them in the living room with some candles and then shrug our shoulders and act like we’re morons. Maybe I should stop fantasizing. Janice claims that it’s unhealthy to fantasize about destroying all our possessions. She’s right, it’s probably more Biblical to just sell everything.

The problem with selling everything is that our furniture is made of paper mâché, glue, and styrofoam. This makes it easy to move since it’s lightweight, but gives it very little resale value. However, every time we move I’m reminded how much I like cheap furniture. Imagine if we owned heritage quality, Amish made, solid oak dressers, headboards, and coffee tables. Not only would you get a hernia every time you pushed the coffee table across the carpet, you would throw weeping fits of hysteria whenever it got scratched.

Not so with our furniture. We stacked it into a cattle trailer along with a motorcycle and other various odds and ends. The neighbors were peeking out their windows trying to figure out why we were stacking our earthly belongings in a cattle trailer. Maybe we could have started a migrant caravan to some faraway destination. It seems to be the thing to do these days. We carefully stacked our furniture into the trailer like a game of Tetris but after half an hour of driving on Michigan dirt roads riddled with potholes, we might as well thrown our furniture into a blender. Well, I’m being a little sarcastic; we did manage to get our furniture intact to our “new” house and I’m grateful for my father-in-law for helping us to move last Saturday. It helped us tremendously!

Our “new” house is actually a rather humble trailer. I refer to it as our “humble hovel.” I have to be careful what I say about it because our landlords may very well read this blog. I’ll just say it this way; it’s good preparation and training for living on the mission field. The toilet sits a little crooked but it still works. It’s better than pooping in a squat pot in China. I tried a squat pot in China once while on a moving train and it was, should we say, a memorable experience. It’s very hard to balance above a hole in the floor with your pants around your knees while trying not to touch the hand rails on the walls. So anyway, at least we don’t have a squat pot. Although if you come over and want an authentic northern China experience, I’ll hand you a shovel and point you to a tree on the far corner of the property. The toilet paper comes with an extra charge (just like in China). But that has little to do with moving except that at our old house in Goshen, there were no trees to squat behind.

We drove back and forth so many times between the houses, transporting stuff I didn’t even know we had. Janice and I were trying to live more simply and reduce the amount of junk we own and I thought we were doing a good job until we had to move everything. The worst offender is that awful, good for nothing treadmill. After lugging it across several counties and a state line, we found we can’t even fit it through the bedroom door. You get more exercise moving a treadmill than you do using it. Think about it, a better way to exercise would be to buy a Grizzly bear and release it in the backyard. Then, every time we put more wood in the outdoor furnace, hang wash out, or hoe the garden, our heart rate would go through the roof giving us a great cardio workout. Not to mention running for our lives once the Grizzly bear spots us sneaking around outside. The bear would also use less electric than a treadmill. Of course, this idea is a little impractical since Janice hates the cold and hibernates during the winter so half the year the bear wouldn’t be getting used. Of course, the bear would also hibernate and so it would actually work well. Mmm.

It just struck me that most missionary folks probably don’t write blogs like this. Maybe I should dam up my stream of thoughts and only let missionary type thoughts come out. Maybe I’m odd, but a few years ago I began viewing my life as a story and whenever something frustrating or bad happens, I just few it as an interesting chapter in my story. It helps me cope. Well, I think, at least this will make an interesting story.

I feel like God is preparing us to live a nomadic lifestyle. Being an airplane mechanic on the mission field will get us moving all over the world and it’s important to learn now to deal with the drama that comes with that sort of lifestyle. We’re still learning! I’ve been more snippy with Janice this last week than I should be and we’ve had to deal with the stress of it all. But you never grow if you’re never stretched.

We are in South Carolina right now having Thanksgiving with my in-law. While almost everyone else went shopping for clothing or other worldly, trivial pursuits, Janice and I stayed back and just relaxed for a little. We are so tired of moving. This week has been out-of-our minds busy!

We have been moving out of our old house in Goshen while preparing for this support raising workshop we are going to attend next week in Colorado. We have about 24 hours of prep study and homework before the actual workshop. And yesterday we drove down here to South Carolina to have a late Thanksgiving with Andrew and Steph (Andrew is Janice’s brother). On Monday we’ll start driving home. We’ll stop in Indianapolis and fly to Denver, Colorado. We’ll rent a car in the airport and then drive to Colorado Springs where the support raising workshop is. We’re going to stay with Janice’s second cousin who will babysit Adilene while we attend the workshop from 7am – 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday we’ll fly back to Indy and then finish our drive back to Michigan.

I should go, Janice is implying we should keep working on our prep work for our support raising workshop. She’s probably right. Adi and her cousin Ezekiel are in the back room jumping on the air mattress and pulling wet wipes out of the package so maybe I should fulfill my fatherly duties and go discipline some kids.

Ten Second Prayer Request: Pray for us as we do the prep work for our support raising workshop. It’s challenging us in all kinds of ways and we want the wisdom to discern the balance between letting God do His work in His timing versus learning how to craft presentations and meetings and putting in a lot of our own effort to get it done.