We are 6 days from moving to NW Narnia and this move feels altogether different from any we have had before. From the Philippines, to the Marianas, to urban Minneapolis- St. Paul, Savannah (and of course multiple apartments in each of those places) – this one is pretty simple. I remember a move in Minneapolis that took us less than 3 hours because we are professionals and had like 20 people helping us. Lots of furniture, lots of boxes, a U-Haul. . . all that stuff. The thing that strikes me about this move is that we are attempting to pack for the simplest life we can. There is a sense of taking what you need, but there is also a real sense of taking as little as possible. I’m thankful that we sold all of our things except for what fit into our Oldsmobile Alero before coming out to Narnia.

We will be sharing a place in a larger village community where the population is about 3,000. There is a small Christian presence in this area and we will use it as a base in the NW where some of us come for breaks, do administrative work, and come alongside churches in the area. And extremely nice and trusted Narnian friend has set us up by offering his own house to rent which is already furnished. He said he needed a place to put all his stuff when he rented it so it worked out well for our growing team to be able to use his place and just use what he already had there.

The simplicity comes about a week or two after we get settled in this larger hub. We’ll then move up the trail putting some supplies on donkeys, paying porters, and move into the village to join the rest of the team. What do you really need other than a few things to sit on, some dishes with which to eat, and something to sleep on? Yeah, you really don’t need much. Janessa and I have always tried to live simply and incarnationally but I feel like this is the biggest test we’ve ever had. We’ll be living with at least one other teammate, sharing a house, sharing meals, and likely live in a larger compound (sort of like duplexes) with 2 other Narnian families. We’ll share a water tap, courtyard, and outhouse. There really isn’t a word or concept for privacy in this culture and language. Our potential place to live is pretty close to the center of the village. People will constantly walking by the trail next to our place. A small store (one of the only around) is right by our place. Kids galore. And the fact that we’re the only white people for miles and miles will certainly be a sight to behold.

It is within this framework that we’ll attempt to live out these buzzwords of Christian community and be incarnational. You don’t really ever leave, clock out, or take a siesta. All the language learning and desire for simple living will come to a head. Our team has made it mandatory for one of us to leave the village every 6 weeks for one week because of the intense community and lack of privacy there will be. We signed up for this life and it is not something we dread. The Lord of all Creation has invited us into His beautiful Kingdom and given us the opportunity to proclaim and demonstrate His reality amongst our neighbors. This privilege is a gift and one that our team is constantly reminded of. Incarnational, simple living, communal lifestyle – slice it any way you want it and use the nicest buzz words you can. . . we’re just thrilled and can’t believe we get to do this.

So as we pack, we think of what not to pack. There are details to work out for sure, but the key is to constantly lay our hearts and faces before Jesus asking for the Spirit of God to come in power. The years of preparation and story of how we fell in love with the Narnian people isn’t something that just sort of happened. Lots of things have been poured into this moment and we don’t want to miss out on the journey because we’re overly concerned about what kind of phone or how many bowls to bring up. May the abiding in Jesus continue. I’m reminded of the experience of my last blog and how I chatted with my teacher. “He is all we need. Only Jesus. Just Jesus. Only Him.