We just want to start by saying thank you to our friends and family in the US, Botswana, the UK and elsewhere for your support in various ways as we transitioned from Botswana to the US. We miss our amazing friends and family in Botswana and remain excited to be closer to other amazing friends and family in the US. We love you all so much and feel so loved by you. It has been a blessing to reconnect with many of you in Maryland and get to know others during our frequent trips into town. His People Gabs, THANK YOU for graciously and generously releasing and sending us out. Monument Church, THANK YOU for welcoming us with so much love and enthusiasm.
Increasing Dependence on God
We left Botswana over 8 months ago. Our intention was to stay with Laura’s parents in Lititz, PA area for a few weeks (up to a couple of months) while getting jobs sorted out, and then move to Gaithersburg, MD. For a lot of reasons, this seemed like a plan that would work. However, despite our efforts, that door has not opened, at least not yet. We trust that God’s plan for us has included this season of patience and persevering in faith (with lots of stumbles and lessons along the way). Our planning decreases daily while our dependency on our Father increases. His hand of direction becomes evident when He closes some doors and open some. He makes is easier to TRUST AND FOLLOW HIM when it might not all be making sense.
Act 16: 6-10: The call to Macedonia?
With the help of Laura’s parents, God has provided a home for us in Akron, PA, just outside of the city of Lancaster. The way it happened has been providential and we believe it is the Lord’s doing. It appears that, at least for the time being, He is redirecting us. We are scheduled to close and move into our new house in April. We are so grateful! Lancaster has an amazing legacy of faithful believers and we have enjoyed our visits to several local churches here. We look forward to fully engaging in one of them.
The house we are under contract for!
As for work, Laura is a StoryBrand Certified Guide, marketing consultant, and website designer. If you’re curious about what that means, you can take a look at her website: www.pulamarketing.com. She has customers locally and internationally whom she loves working with. Now that we plan to stay in Lancaster, she is continuing to grow her business while also being open to full-time jobs that would allow her to continue this line of work as part of a team. KG is continuing to provide regulatory support to some pharmaceutical companies with products in Botswana while studying hard for his pharmacy board exams in both the USA and Canada. We really appreciate prayer for us work-wise.
Children are a blessing
The girls are having a lot of fun through all this! They love and enjoy their grandparents. They think ‘Pops is tops’ and ‘Mumzy is the true Fancy Nancy’!
Our girls with their grandparents and cousins.
There are many stories to tell from our first month and a half in Botswana. An overall brief update follows:
After a summer in England waiting on the government of Botswana to let us know if it was OK to stay in the UK they let us know that they were not going to grant the approval near the end of August. Thankfully, KG had planned for that contingency, and we quickly moved forward with plans to ship all of our belongings (including our car which we bought early in the summer) with a group of others.
We arrived in Gaborone at the end of September hoping to ease our way into the hot summer, but had no such luck. The first few days were 35 degrees C (95 degrees F), which was a pretty rough shock to our systems (especially without AC).
Since then, we have been working hard to get settled. Finally, last week, we were able to move into the house we are renting (which is air conditioned!!) nearer to Gaborone and received our shipment. Today, KG started work.
I’ll start sharing some of the stories from the last several weeks and new ones that come up as I have internet access. We still have a way to go for our house to be totally settled, and one of my top priorities is a great internet connection, but that will happen in Botswana time – meaning most likely not be fast.
I always thought running hurdles would be more fun, interesting, and exciting than just running straight through a race. Similarly, I think I’d enjoy a warrior dash much more than a straight-forward long run. One of the things I struggle with the most while running is the mental battle to stay interested and engaged when my objective is just to keep going, one step after another.
I guess that is true for much of how I live my life. I like having shorter-term objectives to keep me focused and interested while working toward the prize. I like hurdles.
That’s probably one of the reasons I like living internationally. There are lots of interesting things that happen, lots of surprises and diversions. Life is very rarely boring. It can be both challenging and rewarding.
Some days, it feels like you are flying through life, leaping over barriers as they come. Other days, you’re reminded that there are far more opportunities to fall on your face or break your leg.
Either way, it’s an adventure.
Today is my baby brother, +Jesse Fritz‘s twenty-second birthday. I guess he isn’t a baby any more.
But I remember when he was. I have vivid memories of the day he was born, in fact. I was almost six at the time and remember how my friends loved him. It drove me crazy how when they came over they figured it was their turn to “hold the baby” since I could hold him anytime. It didn’t seem fair to me… he was my baby, not theirs:-).
I remember when Jesse was three and we had a Pumba and Timone birthday party for him. My mom made a cool Lion King cake. He remained three in my mind for a long time. He was so funny, playing outside in the snow in shorts and galoshes. He was the topic of conversation for my dad at work every day — I guess he was funny from the start. Boy was he cute!
I have a few specific memories of him in elementary school, going through hard things. I remember trying to take care of him. I remember being protective of him as he grew up. It seemed to me that being a boy was more dangerous than being a girl. Especially when you are a boy like Jesse who knows no fear.
When I came home from college one time, Jesse took me to ride bikes in the greenbelt near our house. I thought I could do anything and was a pretty brave person. Let’s just say I was terrified the whole time as he went through the dirt path with ramps and jumps everywhere. At that point, I was more scared for me than I was for him. He seemed to really know what he was doing. And how did he get so cool? I wouldn’t have been eligible to talk to guys that cool in high school!
I remember when I was living and working in Maryland and +Jennifer Fritz was staying with me for the summer. We woke up early one day and drove down to Dullis Airport to see Jesse and his friend as they were traveling home from six months in West Africa. They told us stories and we drank coffee. Jesse was 18 and I was so proud of him. Truth is, I’ve always been proud of him.
I was able to go with my parents to Jesse’s graduation from Army boot camp the following spring. He earned an extremely prestigious award and was clearly loved by the other soldiers and the drill sergeants alike (although they tried hard not to show it!). It was so special to hang out with him for a few days and see how life had been for him. I wished I could shield him from how hard life in the army can be, but there was no way. Jesse doesn’t take the easy road, and the reality is he doesn’t need his big sister’s protection.
|Pops, Jesse, and me.
There are lots of other memories, like the times Jesse took me on dates when I was lonely, when he was the life of the party at my wedding, came to my rescue during my recent visa troubles, or when he was my primary partner to inspire the family to clean out our parents’ basement. Or when Jesse and I were “sniper running” through a crowd right after the New Year was rung in when our paths quite literally collided and we almost took a few other people down as we fell.
So here’s to the best brother I could have ever asked for on his birthday!
|Goofing around at my wedding.
I love you!
Tonight, Pops and I watched Argo. I have been wanting to see it for a while, but didn’t know much about the story prior to watching it. Here is the trailer in case you don’t know the premise:
I can see why Argo won so many awards this year. It was so well done, with both humor and hardship which effectively made me feel like I was there, experiencing the trauma of being stuck in a country where you are considered the enemy.
It was real enough that I am actually still a little stressed!
I have had a few traumatic experiences at borders and it brought them to the front of my mind. I remember how every time I went out of Israel I was considered a security risk because I lived in Bethlehem. I was strip-searched a few times and regularly had my bags meticulously searched.
More recently, I was questioned and held in Glasgow for five hours before my request for a tourist visa was ultimately rejected. They were kind and courteous to me, but it was one of the most stressful situations I have ever been in. Leaving the country the airline staff considered me a “deportee,” although that was not the case. I couldn’t decide if it was funny or embarrassing. I guess it was both.
In the two trips into the UK after that, I needed to wait while all of my documents were examined and am now all too aware that a sovereign state can accept or reject visitors at will. Thankfully those trips didn’t involve too much questioning.
I know more about borders than I would like to. They are stressful for everyone, and even as a civilian sometimes you feel like you are supposed to be sneaky to get through. I have realized that honesty is the best policy and I no longer try to out-smart anyone. It’s important to remember that there is not much need to get stressed when you’re not hiding anything. Transparency is already a life policy of mine but it is helpful to remember its benefits of it when traveling. Thankfully I haven’t had an Argo experience. Hopefully it’ll stay that way!
I am so thankful that I have my visa sorted out before traveling this time.
|Just six days until I leave for England:-). I took this pic in London about a year ago.
Today I was totally and marvelously surprised!
I told friends this past weekend that I was fairly confident that it would be three weeks minimum before I go back to England. I finally have been resigning myself to the circumstances I’m in, beginning to make some plans in the States.
While I was waking up I glanced through my email on my iPhone. I saw an email from the visa agency and opened it before even thinking about its potential significance. Maybe my visa was finally assigned to an officer, which would be great.
When I read the words, “Your visa has been issued,” I was completely flabbergasted. I wish I could replay my facial expressions. Actually, I probably looked something like this girl… except in my case the confusion turned into delight instead of horror:
Much of today was spent looking at airline tickets and buying some for next week. I’ll make sure that they are still the best deal tomorrow — plane ticket prices change on a day by day (or sometimes hour by hour) basis.
I am thrilled that I get to go back to be with my husband. I’m also thrilled that I’ll have a visa which will give official status in the UK — I will be able to leave and return without concern about borders, can get a supplemental job, and etc.
I am thankful that God has sustained us these crazy six months. And I am really happy that from here on out, Kagi and I should be able to be physically together even as we make decisions on where to live and apply for visas together. God willing…
Thank you all for your prayers and for the myriad of ways you have helped and encouraged us through a difficult time. I honestly didn’t know when it would end, and today seems to be that day. Praise God.
|So excited to get back to this man!