“I will not pray for clarity. I will pray for faith” Mother Teresa
In November, after a long journey of discernment, Donna and I decided to stay put in Durham, North Carolina as our next chapter of life and service. I accepted an invitation from Dean Greg Jones to work to establish a Center for Reconciliation based in the Duke Divinity School, beginning in January.
We seriously explored relocating to Africa, including conversations with the Mennonite Central Committee, whose people have a faithful Christian presence amidst deep social conflict and the poor. Our decision largely boiled down to whether the next step of our life’s journey should be an abrupt change of direction—to Africa, back to grassroots work on very different ground—or continuing with budding relationships and possibilities, from local to international, around the mission of reconciliation continuing to open up from a base in Durham.
It was very difficult to give up Africa. After telling Greg our decision, I expected my exhilaration to build. Instead, dissonance set in. Donna’s and my July Uganda trip helped us see, “Yeah, we can imagine a new chapter in a place like this.” We had come to long for our family to live a period together outside the U.S. The loss of the Africa dream became very painful and real.
But a deep peace and excitement has come, which we receive as gifts from God. Someone wrestling with a decision once said to Mother Teresa, “Please pray that I have clarity.“ Mother Teresa answered with the words above.
Following are some vignettes which give us faith about our decision.