As you may have gathered thus far, the ARI community is a very dynamic one. People are constantly coming and going and adding new life and perspectives to our ongoing conversations about life and food. But this past week tops them all.
Saying goodbye to friends is never easy, and certainly saying goodbye to friends for five days in a row does not exhaust or numb the heart to loss. Twenty-seven rural leaders have now left ARI. We, us, those who have been left behind, are grieving over the separation. It definitely puts things into perspective having left our own communities; where as, we have had to adapt to our new community, our friends and families have had to adapt to our absence. But in all of this, the thing to remember is that twenty-seven rural leaders have now returned safely to their respective, welcoming communities where they will continue their work with new energy and life. We try hard to remind each other of this when the still and quiet just seem too overwhelming.
Our once lively conversations during meal times have turned into quiet whispers only about how quiet things are now. We used to celebrate the fact that our many hands make light work, and now we are feeling the effects of very few hands.
But as we move along in the Advent Season, we can look ahead with excitement and anticipation for the arrivals on the horizon. I am first and foremost referring to the birth of Christ, but I would also like to mention the arrival of another very important person in our life, our sister Katie.
We have wasted no time assimilating Katie into our daily life here. She began her first day at ARI doing nothing other than feeding the pigs! One of our mother sows gave birth to piglets two nights ago so she was able to coo over them as well.
After breakfast, we hopped on our bikes TRIAL bound. After picking up a few essentials, we headed for lunch to eat...can you guess? OKONOMIYAKI! This is our favorite Japanese food thus far, and we didn't waste any time introducing Katie to it.
So as a new week begins, we recognize the changes in our community and appreciate all the gifts that each person brings to share. We hope you can at least catch a glimpse of all these gifts in our blog updates, because they are truly wonderful and lovely.
With the previously mentioned countdowns already concluded, we can focus on counting down 'til Christmas. Katie brought over our advent calendars (which potentially means 16 chocolate pieces in one day!!) and we have begun decorating the campus.
Now we wait, we meditate, we celebrate the coming of our Lord!
Fellow servants in Christ,
Doug and Jenny (and Katie!)