Autobio continued

Autobio continued

Starting today I will resume posting excerpts from my autobio on Sundays. Here’s the first one.

In 1993 we were due for a furlough, and this was also a natural juncture for us to leave the fellowship in the hands of the local believers. Our departure also seemed to be the right time to accept a position in the Overseas Department of the home office. The leadership of our company had been asking us to consider it for the past eight years.

We arrived at our new home in Eastern Pennsylvania during August of 1993. The house we moved into, owned by our company, was located in a nice middle class suburb.

What a contrast from the densely populated, heavily polluted city of Ankara! There had been ten times more people just in our one neighborhood of our other city than were in the whole county of our new location!

In another contrast, everything here was so green, lush and well kept as compared to the browns and greys of the Middle East—a gracious gift prepared by the Lord just for us.

Moving here also opened up new possibilities for the boys that were totally missing in our other home. First was some help in the transition into a new culture. The guidance counselor at their school met with us and warned the boys about two things that would help their transition into American high school.

“No one is going to be interested in where you’ve come from,” she said. “I was an army brat, living in Europe and other places; when I returned to the States for school, no one wanted to hear my stories. They won’t want to hear yours, either.”

She paused. “And keep away from watching too much TV, especially MTV. It’s not a healthy way to spend your time.” These were good points of advice and the boys took them to heart.

God’s second provision was through the high school cross-country coach. In our first visit to the city, Coach Hetrick came to the office to talk with Nat. He checked Nat’s shoes for wear to determine his running style, and talked about developing his abilities.

Nat had never run competitively, but was fast, and Mr. Hetrick picked up on this potential. He turned out to be not only a great coach for Nat, but became his mentor as well.

Running provided a niche for Nat and he was quickly accepted by the other runners, giving him an instant sense of belonging in this new environment.

He went on to excel, being named the best runner in the county his senior year and placing 8th in the Pennsylvania State Championships.

Nat’s performance inspired others to try running. In his freshman year there were only 6 male runners, but by his senior year ten percent of the entire student body of eight hundred were running cross-country.

Josh’s experience was very different. After finishing his sophomore year in the German school in Ankara, Josh had transferred to a boarding school for MKs in Germany for his junior year.

Now, his senior year would be spent in yet another high school. But the Lord provided just the right niches for Josh also, first in a singing group and later in the drama club. He even landed a major role in the main production for that year, an unusual accomplishment for a newcomer.

Josh was not afraid to speak up in class, which the teachers appreciated, since most of the other students didn’t find class participation cool. The fear of man ruled, but Josh ignored it. He also was not afraid to talk openly about his faith and was quickly dubbed as “God boy.”

During that year Josh, Nat and a couple of other MKs from our company started a student prayer group that has continued on after their departure for at least another fifteen years. It was usually led by an MK from our company.

again facebook will not allow me to post a picture