Today we are headed down to Lake Junaluska. But first we made a little rendevouz with a former student of Phil’s. I knew only a little bit about this student and most of what I did know was that he asked really good questions during Bible. Shannon, Tyler, and Ruby, thanks for taking time to see us and for feeding us a delicious lunch! The next time we are in this area, hopefully it can be for longer.
We then continued west toward the “mountains” of North Carolina. The beauty and the cooler air were both remarkably refreshing as we made our way out to a small town near Ashville that surrounds the Junaluska lake. We were visiting Bob and Sally Christian who had been missionaries and dorm parents at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya for nearly 30 years. Sally went to Houghton College and Bob to Kings – both connections for our family. They know many of the same people that Phil knew growing up. After Kenya, they returned to the U.S. and Sally became the dorm mom at Houghton Academy for many years. That is where my path crossed with hers. For my last year and a half in college I lived as a resident assistant in the girls’ dorm at Houghton Academy providing respite for Mama C. After I graduated, I worked as the Boarding Student Advisor there for their 80+ international students.
Missionaries often marvel at how “small” the world seems as we discover obscure connections and relationships with people that we know from one place who meet other people we know from another place. We share so many of these types of connections with the Christians and it inevitably strengthens our bond with them.
Their “Kivulini” (swhaili for ‘a place in the shade’), is tucked in the wooded hills of South Carolina right next to the beautiful and tranquil lake Junaluska. We had a completely separate space in their fully furnished and recently renovated basement. The girls even got their own room and bathroom!
At one point in a conversation, Bob referred to the book by Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again. As life marches on I think we are all aware that the idea of home is not as concrete as it once seemed. This trip has only served to magnify this reality as our constant rooting and uprooting has resulted in friends all over the United States, not to mention around the globe. Each house we stop at, or group we visit, are so different in personality, experiences, and passions. So, this can often remind us of how we can’t go home again. But, home is something we see shadows of and our time with Bob and Sally reminded us of the promise of our true home. There was something about the multiple points of similarity and shared experience that made us feel that we had somehow found a small part of home. Thanks Bob and Sally for the special time with you both.