Monday, August 6, 2007

Home Sweet Georgia

12:04 AM

Well, I am back on the other side of the globe now. It was quite an ordeal getting here too! 17 hours of plane travel, plus more for layovers and ground travel, I have never been so excited to see my bed ever! It's weird though, being alone in an empty apartment after living with constant people for 9 weeks. The saddest has been when I started unpacking and found things I bought in New Zealand and wanted to share with someone, but no one was there to share it with. I'm definitely looking forward to moving back to FL and reconnecting with friends there.

Backing up, our final days in New Zealand were jam packed. We spent the last week at a beach house in Whiritoa, which is on the Pacific Ocean coast, for our debrief. During debrief we talked about the trip, how we felt about it and what God showed us this summer. It was a good chance to process all of our experiences and emotions about reentering a "normal" life. And when we weren't doing that, we were relaxing in a super nice house (it even had carpet!!). We also took time praying over each other and commissioning one another into life back home. It was a great bonding experience.

We got back to Auckland on Thursday night and had a great dinner prepared for us by our Iranian friend, Melina. Her food was quite yummy! It was sad to say goodbye to her. She really connected to us as a team, and we had a great time pouring into her and speaking truth over her. She and her husband are Muslim, and have been only been living in New Zealand for three years and have found themselves surrounded by a Christian community. It will be exciting to see what God does in their lives.

We flew out of Auckland at 6:00pm Friday night after a large farewell from most of the Mangere Baptist church family. They have been so supportive of our ministry and so invested in our lives that I feel like I've left lifelong friends there.

Unfortunately, I've been sick since about Thursday, and it made international travel even less exciting. But we finally landed in Atlanta at 9:00pm on Friday (gotta love those time zones!) We all went our separate ways from there, Rebecca and Jessie home with their parents, Julianna we had left in LA (not accidentally!), Michelle, Julie, and Autumn to the hotel debrief, and myself tagging along looking for a ride back to Gainesville, which thankfully, I got.

So now begins a new phase in my life - post New Zealand. I am heavily burdened by the things God revealed to me there, but I am struggling with complacency in everyday American life. I felt God call me into His heart of compassion and love the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61), but I'm scared. I heard Him challenge me about finding success in Him and not in the world, but my head won't let me. I have realized why He asks us to live in simplicity and was eager to do it, but now I look around at all my stuff and I don't want to part with it. I am hoping that this is just initial "culture shock" and God will continue to impress these things on my life, because He is that good to me. But I'll keep ya posted.

Thanks for making this journey with me. I am so grateful for your prayers and support. I am humbled to have even gone. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience! I'll be adding more pics so check them out!

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!