FAQ: When Are You Leaving?

artillery_hike_1910 flickr library_of_congress

I’ve heard this several times in Allendale over the past two months:  “I thought you were gone already.”

I guess this reaction is a combination of us:

I’d like to think that people are pleasantly surprised to find out that we are still in Allendale, instead of them thinking, “I was hoping you’d be gone already.”

(I’m sure there are people in both camps, and that’s fine.)

So, the question remains: When exactly are we leaving Allendale? Just like the issues of where we are going and what we will do, we don’t know the exact answer.

(On a side note: Are you frustrated that we seem to have so few answers to these questions? Trust me. It irks no one more than yours truly, who is energized by writing down 3-, 6-, & 12-month goals. And this is to say nothing of making my daily to-do list, and then the thrill making these goals and tasks come to fruition. Please . . . just hang with me.)

Summer, Summer, Summertime

In 2013, Joanna and I had lots of conversations about our moving from Allendale — with God, with ourselves, and with mentors and friends. We considered moving at the end of 2013 (or even at the end of 2014), but we concluded that the end of the school year would be ideal.

Part of this reason is for our own children, so that we could settle somewhere before a new school year. However, since we homeschool our children, we have great flexibility in transitioning in the middle of a school year, much like how we were able to move to Allendale in the spring of 2011, before the end of the school year. It was An Unexpected Benefit of Homeschooling.

Another big reason to move during the summer would be for the sake of the relationships and ministries that we have in Allendale. Since we have worked with children so much, we believe that a summer transition would be easier on us and on the students of Allendale. Summer is a natural break.

That being said, we have set a target of moving in June. But we also are ok with that time-frame being sooner or later by a month or two, as we work to discern what God has for us.

And of course, if we decide to move back to Greenville, some of the timing may depend on how long our tenants will need to be there. (contract, sh-montract — we’re thankful that we’ve had great friends renting our house!).

Trusting God in Our Plans

To be honest, I know that my passive side could easily take over, and that I could let this transition drag on and on and on. And on.

And. On.

My lazy and passive flesh wants to think, “We could wait until the neon sign from God arrives. We’ll just stay here in Allendale for as long as need to. People will keep sending support moneyI hope – and we’ll just stay here in the comfort of what we know.”

The planner in me (remember my daily, quarterly, & yearly goals?) would love to analyze my options forever. I would love to talk, and study, and plan, and talk some more. And plan. And I guess I should pray, too.

But I also know that I need to accept responsibility, and GO DO SOMETHING. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, knew that he could endlessly study and write (Ecclesiastes 12:12). But he concluded that the most important thing is merely to honor and obey God (verse 13).

So, I will actively move forward to finding a new job. I will work to having our family moved in June.  By rejecting passivity, I will honor God in my family and my ministry.

Could God change our plans? Absolutely. And we’re fine with that. But I’m not going to dig my heels in and say, “I’m only moving if God makes me!” (HT: Jon Acuff)

Three years ago, God “changed our plans” by leading us to Allendale. And we’re so glad that He did. We followed Him in faith in our move here. And just as He has blessed us, we trust that He will bless us in whatever, wherever, and whenever He has for us.

Where You Come In

What can you do over the next few months? Three things:

  1. Pray for us.
  2. Pray for Allendale, and for our relationships here.
  3. Consider moving to Allendale.

Related Links:

**image courtesy of Library of Congress via flickr

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6 responses to “FAQ: When Are You Leaving?”

  1. Geri says :

    Synopsis: We’re leaving. We’re not sure why, to where, or even when.

    Submit yourself to God. If he hasn’t already opened a door for you, it is premature to pack..Or maybe there’s something else at work here that you have withheld from this post, What is that?

    Surely you will not let let all you have done fall to the wayside, with the hope that someone will come in behind you and sweep up the pieces? And with such a mysterious departure, who would venture in to continue your work? And what message does this project onto you family? What “transition” would another team see?

    Praying for you in this time of uncertainty.

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Yes! That synopsis *pretty much* sums it up!

      I appreciate your questions, and your prayers. But I’m not sure that just because we don’t have all the answers, that must mean our decision is “premature.” After all, even God told Abraham “Go to a land I will show you.” Now, I am nowhere comparing myself to the faith of Abraham, but I think it goes to show (and you can look at much of Paul’s ministry, too) that going does not necessarily mean that one has all the questions answered.

      Have I withheld something? Nothing malicious, I don’t think. I don’t mean to be deceptive or a tease. But of course we do know more than I write here. There are LOTS of details that would bore most people, and there is no “official” offers — just lots of discussions.

      Our closer friends & mentors know more of these answers, mostly because they have asked, and they have asked in confidence.

      As I wrote, “I don’t know the EXACT answer” to these questions. But we are getting closer to answers. And I think that is what is important now (after all, we have been exploring opportunities for at least 6 months now).

      I do not anticipate that things will fall to pieces when we leave. Of course, some things may not continue. But then again, we’ve started & stopped some things ourselves in our time here.

      I’m sorry that you have come to the understanding that our departure is “mysterious.” The reason for keeping everyone posted on this blog is that I don’t want to keep things in secret. I want to bring clarity, as much as I can. I’m answering these FAQ’s, because we have gotten these questions, and I want to bring the answers to a wider audience of folks who may have the same questions.

      As for our family (I assume you mean our kids), they are excited. They understand (as best they can) that we are on an adventure from God, and that we will trust Him wherever He calls us to be.

      Again, thanks for your prayers & questions. I hope I didn’t come off defensive. I do appreciate questions like these, at the least because they help me process and dig deeper into my own heart.

      As for the question of “Why we are leaving?” I know I still have that unanswered, but I hope to have something on the blog in the next couple of weeks.

  2. Brandy says :

    Joey. Are you sure God is done with you yet there. I am sure you have prayed endlessly about it. Honestly I will be very sad for those kids there. Just being honest. I am sure you have those thoughts. I have learned so much about poverty through your mission. Thank you.

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Great question, and I appreciate you asking.

      Are we 100% sure? Well, no, of course not. But then again, 3 years ago, we were not 100% sure that moving to Allendale was the right thing. I’ll delve more into this idea in a few weeks.

      Like you, we are mixed with sadness as well. I don’t think we’re done working with kids, and I don’t think we’re done working in the area of poverty. Just in a different location.

  3. Taylor says :

    I vote after the end of July and that’s for totally unselfish, non-personally, non-professionally motivated reasons. Yep, after the end of July seems to be the best.

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