Two years ago this week, my family moved down to Allendale.
You may know that for 13 weeks, I “commuted” between Greenville and Allendale. I would leave Greenville on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, work all week (and stay at my Homes Away from Homes), and return late Friday night.
Twice, Joanna and the kids came down here for a few days, so that they could acclimate to Allendale and be at the Boys & Girls Club with me. But in mid-March of 2011, when they drove out of Allendale, I cried my eyes out. I knew that the next time they came down, it had to be to move. I couldn’t stand them leaving and me being left.
With some gracious southern hospitality and help from friends and leaders at Grace Church, we were able to move into our house here in Allendale on April 16, 2011. But when we moved in, we thought this would be a temporary home. We expected to live here a few months (maybe 6-8, tops), and then move to something that would give us more room to live in and have guests.
Yet, we are still here. And we love being here.
In a great neighborhood, around families that we’ve come to know and love. Walking distance to the post office, Hardees, Latisha Diner, and Family Dollar. Less than a 200 feet from a couple of my football players, and the church building where our after school program meets.
Living in this house for so long isn’t the only thing that has surprised us.
Two years ago, I did not . . .
expect that I would leave the Boys & Girls Club by the end of the year;
know that I would become a football coach, or even want to;
think that we would lead two spring break camps, a summer camp, and launch an after school program;
know how much we would need to get back to Greenville to be refilled and encouraged (despite at least three mentors telling me that we would need to do so);
expect that I could go for months without getting back to Greenville (I even went 6 months during one stretch in 2012);
think that I would launch this blog (spinning off from A Different Way);
expect that this blog would reach, encourage, and challenge so many people;
expect that some people in Allendale would seriously not like me and the work that we’ve been doing;
know that so many more people in Allendale would deeply appreciate what we’re doing;
know that my family would be in the cast of Salkehatchie Stew, for two years;
think that Hannah’s room would be a place in which she would invite any girl who came over, and that she would get her 2nd best friend;
expect that Elijah would blossom as a fun-loving, playful boy, as he played more and more with other boys (remember his Rough Start?);
know that Sender would blossom as an entertainer, or that he could last all day at after school and camp programs, even as 4-year old;
think that I would start doing prison ministry;
expect that I would have so many opportunities to speak at churches, schools, and other groups about the adventure that we are on.
Beyond all that we’ve been doing, what amazes us even more is how much we are learning. We’ve learned more about people, poverty, education, our Lord, and ourselves in the past two years, than in the eleven years we were married before that time. And we’re learning that we have so much more to learn.
Two years, I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. And we had no idea all the blessings that God had for us.