I’ve done a little bit of hiking since our family’s return to Ohio. And I have to say that I am freshly impressed with the beauty of this region. It’s so green and bushy and wild! The forest floors around here are filled with ferns right now. On one section of trail, I spotted a mother racoon with four of her little ones. They scampered across a riverbank and crawled up a tree, as they heard me approach. And I just smiled and stared at them, while they stared back at me. On a different section of trail, I saw a white-tailed deer in the woods. That glimpse reminded me how much more elegant the deer around here are, as compared to their western cousins.
It was such a privilege to travel all the way across the continent earlier this month. I loved seeing all the different climates and landscapes. But it’s also such a privilege to come back here, to northeast Ohio.
In a similar vein, I’m really glad for the decade that our family got to spend in Amsterdam. I was just telling someone about how much that experience shaped me. But I also feel really glad that we’ve ended up back here, in Ohio. Here, we get to apply the lessons that we learned abroad.
There are some challenges to my current phase in life. Still, I’m glad that we get to live here during this strategic season in our family’s life. The generation before me (my parents) are fighting for the finish line. The generation behind me (my children) are struggling to strike out on their own. So, this really does feel like this is a good place to run the race, keep the faith, and rise to meet the challenges we encounter along the way.
I love my job. I love our church and the surrounding campus and city. It feels like an honor to abide here in Kent. Kent State University students provide the variety of faces and places from which they originate. Almost like I get to “see the world” from right here in Northeast Ohio. I’m energized by the idea of developing younger leaders to plant churches and engage in global missions. I don’t know what twists and turns may come as I continue to “walk the trails” here in Kent. But I’m glad that we get to live here, in Ohio.