The Space Between

Posted in Ancona, church, family, kids, Newsletters at 4:41 pm

When we left Italy on June 30, something happened to me that hasn’t happened in ten years: I didn’t have a single key in my pocket. I had already turned in the keys to our church building. The car had been transferred to our teammates. And our house keys were sitting in a container by the front door, ready for the landlord to come and pick up.

It seems silly, but for some reason it really struck me. How often does that happen? For a short period of time, I had no workplace, no vehicle, and no home. My daily ritual of patting my pockets to check for my keys, wallet, and phone didn’t work anymore. Of course, we have moved as a family before. Ministries and houses and vehicles have changed plenty of times in the past. But this change seemed much more final, permanent, and heavy. We truly were living between two places.

Immediately upon our arrival, the Senior Minister of the church where I will be serving welcomed us to our new home and handed us a key. Our old Italian life had ended and our new Illinoisian life had begun. We had finished the painful process of ending one thing are had begun the process of starting something new.

There are occasional pulls back into our old life: Simone calls me every now and then. We often get pictures from our church members who gather on Sundays at the beach for worship and communion. Even sitting down to a plate of pasta brings back memories of meals around our table in Ancona.

But we have turned a corner and look to the future. This month, we are taking some time off. I mentioned in a previous newsletter that our family is in a delicate place right now. Our last month in Italy was filled with a lot of time spent with friends and church members. Nice, but many of those times ended in tears. Our last week in Italy alternated between busily running around to get everything done and painful times with the church as the finality of leaving settled on us all. So we arrived in the US exhausted – physically and emotionally. Soon after our arrival, we left for Kansas City to spend time with my mom and sister and nephews.

In just a few days we head to Colorado Springs to attend a debriefing for missionaries at the Missionary Training Institute. This week-long debriefing comes highly recommended, and will be important for all of us to process our time in Italy and also to learn how to readapt to our new “home” culture. We need your prayers. I think all of us could benefit from talking to wise people who specialize in helping missionaries return to the US. We have also heard great things about their special programming for the kids, who certainly more than Heidi and I are feeling anxious and out-of-sorts about our future.

We hope that we can continue to count on your prayers and encouragement, and we thank you all for seeing us through these ten years of church planting in Ancona.


  1. Sharon Reynolds said,

    07.21.15 at 8:22 pm

    Our prayers are with you. God has a new plan for your lives. I know that He would say to you well done faithful servants. Just as I have enabled you, and I will be with you this time also.

    All God’s Blessings and Love

    Bill and Sharon Reynolds

  2. DeEtta said,

    07.21.15 at 9:26 pm

    Welcome to your new home. Our family will pray for yours as you settle in.

  3. Rebecca (Becky) Good said,

    07.27.15 at 4:15 pm

    Will be sending up prayers on your behalf as you seek God’s direction. Also that you can find that Restoration of JOY. That’s what’s on my mind this morning, for you. For every Camp Robber that attempts to steal your joy, there are specific ways to recover it. Creating space for joy is a definite must. Taking time to be in God’s Presence and truly “Sabbathing” are essential. Missionary life is not easy. As soon as you get in your home, create a banner of JOY to raise to in the name of your God. He helped you scale a wall.

    “May we shout for JOY over your victories and lift up our banners of JOY in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all my requests…”Psalm 20:5

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