Saying goodbye is rarely anyone’s favourite thing to do, but it does make you stop and be grateful for what you have and had. It marks a change in season and is important in “finishing well”.
These last weeks we’ve been saying our farewells to friends, our community at Canberra International Church, and the YWAM base which has been our home these last 2 years. It’s been a time of receiving positive and affirming words, and similarly expressing our thanks in return. I have quickly concluded that I would like to become better at expressing how much I value those around me day-to-day instead of waiting until we are leaving!
Well-meaning people have commented that we must be looking forward to “going back home”. The reason I struggle with that phrase is that we are not just simply picking up our lives from where we left in 2014. It will look different from almost every angle, not just in the practical aspects but especially because we ourselves are different. I suspect we’ll have a fair bit of adjusting to do before we can say that we’ve settled in and made a new home.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I’d like to tell you about what’s been probably the biggest highlight in terms of seeing our work bear fruit from the past year. Last month we had the opportunity to represent RescueNet in a face-to-face meeting with our WHO-assigned mentor. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate RN’s capability to meet the WHO standards and become a verified team. In some ways, it felt like this was what two years of work had been leading up to, and it was a genuine privilege for us to do this before returning to the UK.
Dr. Emma Lawrey, WHO Consultant and clinical lead of the New Zealand National Emergency Medical Team, flew in to Canberra and spent a whole day in conference with us. We discussed many aspects of the WHO registration, including personnel management, training, logistics, technical standards and administration.
I personally find it fascinating to consider all the facets that are required to run a successful medical response team in a disaster zone. The bar to achieving these standards is (rightly) very high, with challenges such as waste disposal (leaving a zero footprint), sanitation, cold chain (keeping vaccines cool from point of origin to clinic), power generation etc. all necessary to provide quality care. The meeting itself was very successful, with an easy flow to communication and much ground covered. We came away from that day with a renewed sense of being able to succeed in what has often seemed like a monumental challenge.
After all of the notes and communications had been completed, we were very excited to head to the coast for two days. A couple from church had gifted us a stay in a lovely holiday park as a generous thank you, and it was a well-timed blessing to us. It’s been a long time since either of us got up in the morning without a ‘to-do’ list in mind, and it made us realise just how much we needed a breather from the busy, and sometimes pressured, environment we’ve lived in over the past couple of years.
Seeing this provision reminded us that we can also trust God to care for us as we transition ‘back’ to the UK. I still have many questions: What new things are in store? How long until we have a regular income? Will we be welcomed and understood, or will we feel isolated? How will it feel to be surrounded by western consumer culture again? What aspects of our current lifestyle and approach can we bring with us?
Maybe in a few months’ time we can update you on any answers we find 😉