Last week I had our carpets picked up so they could be cleaned. The man came to my house and took them and we requested to have them delivered to the new house so we could put them in storage for the summer. I gave him general directions on the phone and asked to meet him in front of a store close to my new house. When I got there, I could not find him. He called and was telling my what to look for, but I could not understand his Albanian on the phone. I went into a local store and explained to the store keeper what was happening and asked her if she could talk to him so I could find him. She spoke to him for a few minutes then took me outside and pointed to an ambulance. Really? That is my carpet delivery guy? Indeed it was. The back of the ambulance was loaded with all kinds of carpets all rolled up for delivery!
Today I am blogging over at Journey to Albania! This week we have been sharing about our upcoming HMA (Home Ministry Assignment) also known as furlough. An important part of being a missionary is learning to live on the gifts of others. Read about our fund-raising needs and goals for the summer … it’s a good thing God has all the Money!
We are preparing to be stateside in a week! Our departure is planned for next Wednesday and we will land in Denver, CO at around midnight Wednesday night mountain time! We have much to do before our departure! I am blogging this week at journeytoalbania.com about furlough and HMA (Home Ministry Assignment). Head over there to catch up on our plans for the summer!
One of the most intereting facts I learned about the family of my friend’s landlord is that the oldest son has an arranged marriage. He only met his new bride a few times before they were married. The marriage was arranged because the younger brother had met a young woman and wanted to get married, but in this culture the oldest brother must be married first.
I tend to think of arranged marriages as a thing of the past. But many countries around the world still hold on to this tradition. In my Western mind set, an arranged marriage may even have a negative connotation. But there are many Albanian women who welcome an arranged marriage to a good young man, from a nice family. And there are even still older women who are known for their match-making. It made me think about how Albania is changing so rapidly on the surface, but down below there are a number of cultural roots that hold deep.
How do you learn to live with a man you have just met, married and moved in with his family? This brings all new meaning to learning to live together. Who cooks? Who cleans? Who has authority in the house? What happens when a young man is a new Christian and his family wants to arrange his marriage to a young woman who is not a believer? This is happening to another young man we know. How does he honor His father and his mother and honor God is his faith? These are not easy questions but they are the ones we seek to find with a God who is grace-filled and loving.
It is opening my eyes to the process of learning to live together. Just this morning, I broke up a fight between Tyler and Austin. We had to have a long talk about learning to love and respect each other, even when we don’t agree or when we don’t like what the other person says or does. It doesn’t get any easier the older you get. Even if you are not under the same roof, learning to live together is a life long adventure.
We are in the process of moving. We have been living in a 2 bedroom house for the last 4 years. Yes, all three of my kids share a room. When they were smaller it did not seem like such a big deal. But as their little bodies grow and they actually take up more space, it has begun to feel more crowded in our little house. We have struggled to find a place for everyone to do their homework, and work, and cooking. Learning to live together is a process.
Last night some friends had us over for dinner. They are here short term and live in an even smaller house. More like a 2 bedroom apartment. Much smaller than our place. They also have three kids… they all share one room. They also home-school their kids. Can you feel how cramped their place must feel??
Their Albanian landlord lives in the apartment above them. It has an identical floor plan to their apartment.
Their 2 grown sons (in their 20s) also live with them.
Both of those sons are married and their wives live there too.
One of the is expecting a baby.
Three couples, two bedroom apartment, one baby on the way.
In no way, can I compare the complexities of learning to live together as a family of 5, with what they are doing, learning to live together as three families…. with more on the way. I still have a lot to learn about living together.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Check out this new song by my friend Brandon and his band. Album coming this June.