It has been 18 months now since we moved from Amman, Jordan to Harrisonburg, Virginia. We continue to reflect upon the rich lessons learned in the Middle East, even as we are increasingly becoming involved in our new community.
2014 has been an enriching year. Cindy teaches day classes at Eastern Mennonite University’s Intensive English Program, and evening English classes for recent immigrants through the Rockingham County Schools. Daryl is executive director at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) and has been spending one weekend a month on the road for Mennonite Central Committee, facilitating conversations about how anti-Jewish and Christian Zionist theologies have impacted the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Highlights of the year included:
- Travel to Iran with an MCC delegation in February.
- Hosting Cindy’s mother, brother and sister-in-law in June.
- Hosting 10 Iranian women seminarians at CJP in May.
- Hiking in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina in early July.
- Attending a restorative justice conference in Vermont in late July.
- Helping to host the Somali President at EMU in August.
- Attending our nephew Austin Keeler’s Hobbit-theme wedding in October.
- Hosting Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian physician from Gaza with a remarkable story of forgiveness and hope, in November.
- Having our whole family together for Thanksgiving.
- Sharing meals with CJP students throughout the year.
In October, Daryl was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma, a rare form of eye cancer. He had surgery in November to treat the tumor in his right eye. The prognosis is optimistic. We have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of family and friends throughout this experience.
In 2015 we anticipate:
- Going solar – installing 28 solar panels on our roof, which is projected to produce 94 percent of our electricity usage.
- Hosting many guests and learning their stories.
- Spending lots of time with our children and granddaughter Sydney.
We remain concerned about the significant number of violent conflicts around the world and the vast numbers of uprooted people. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. It is challenging to figure out how to respond even in small ways that are meaningful. We seek to be good global neighbors, to practice hospitality, to be good stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us; to reflect God’s love for all. With the psalmist we pray, “Send out your light and your truth, God, let them lead us.” (Ps. 43:3)