God is good. I’ll start with that. He is with us; he is for us; and he’s going to get us through this, no question.

Has the last week been easy? Heck no. But do others have it waaaaaaaay worse than us? Heck yes.

Where do I even begin? First, you’ll need to catch up if you haven’t been around these parts in the last week or two. Here’s where we announce our plans to move to Cambodia. And here’s where we talk about our bedbug troubles.

I have a lot of thoughts. I’ll try to organize them in a way that’s helpful. How about FAQ-style?

Do you still have bedbugs? What’s the plan for getting rid of them?

We do. Yay! The plan (if I were in charge) would be to get rid of them yesterday. The soonest they can come do a heat treatment (the most effective way to get rid of them) is August 27. Yes, that’s very far away.

What are you doing in the meantime?

Lots and lots and lots of laundry. And vacuuming. And we’re keeping our washed/dried clothes in plastic bags in the kitchen. And I sleep in the girls’ room. Nina gave me her bottom bunk, and she’s been sleeping on the floor. So far, we’ve only found bugs on our mattress/box frame. We threw away the box frame yesterday. I haven’t gotten bitten since I “moved out” six days ago, and Gabe has no reaction to bites.

How are you feeling emotionally?

It’s a lot of ups and downs. Yesterday I was in tears for a little chunk of time. As I explained to one friend, it’s a little bit like we have leprosy. Some people are terrified of bedbugs, and they’re hesitant to be around us, touch us, or let us come to their home. We understand, but it still hurts. We feel like outcasts in many regards and kind of isolated/secluded here in our tainted apartment. On the other hand, I’m super thankful for it actually.

Super thankful? What in the heck?

Yep. Super thankful. I feel like God has given us sooooo much empathy for the plight of our neighbors and friends here. It’s one thing to feel sorry for someone who’s poor or a refugee or whatever; it’s another to move into the neighborhood and feel the tiniest bit of their struggles. And yes, we’re only feeling the tiniest bit. We are so stinking blessed.

Blessed? How?

No matter what happens to us, people have got our backs. We have connections and resources and ways to manage life in the midst of all this. Warding off bedbugs is a full-time job. And expensive. (bed covers, new pillows, trash bags, hundreds of laundromat quarters, tea tree oil stuff, urgent care + prednisone, sprays, phone calls, etc) We’ve had some super-generous people give us money for this, that, and the other thing, so we can buy food and pay bills while we’re busy at this non-paying bedbug job. And while I do the bedbug stuff, Gabe has been on the phone and at the leasing office trying to advocate for two families here (one is getting kicked out unfairly and one is having promises broken to them).

Do you want to get up on a soapbox for a minute?

Why, yes. Thanks for asking! You know what I’m learning in all of this? (a billion things, but here’s just one) Poor people aren’t lazy. (well, some of them are, but some of all of us are.) They just spend an inordinate amount of time on things that aren’t even on our radar. I know three other families dealing with bedbugs right now (one here at Abbey Lane, two somewhere else), and they’re also trying to make ends meet and deal with some super hard life challenges, and wow. I just don’t even know how they do it. If you have a chance to bless someone who needs some money, encouragement, hope, will you do that today? I gave my last $6 (not my last $6, just the last of my cash after a trip to my hometown candy store) to a homeless guy on the corner Saturday night. God told me to. He said he’d take care of my family.

What can we do to help?

Prayers. We love it when people pray for us. Pray for us to last until August 27. Pray for the treatment to be effective. Pray for continued provision and good spirits and family unity. Pray for wisdom as we advocate for neighbors. Pray for wisdom as we make plans for Cambodia.

Speaking of Cambodia, what’s the scoop? Are you raising support? What will you be doing there? Why aren’t you answering any of these questions???

We’re moving to Cambodia! And, yes, we believe with all of our hearts that we have God’s blessing. And 100% of us are 100% on board with the move. God is doing really cool stuff already. We ARE going to raise support to some extent. Part of our hesitation has been that Gabe and I both have earning potential (our writing and web design can be done from anywhere), so we thought we could maybe support ourselves. But this last week has shown us that it will be super-duper hard to be missionaries and learn a new culture and do all God wants us to do if we also have to bring in all of our own money. So, we’re sorting it all out, and we’ll have details soon. Our church has already offered to take donations for us (tax-deductible!), and some folks have already felt led to help out (via paypal) without us asking, and we haven’t turned them down. For now, we’ll let people give as they feel led. Soon, we’ll talk about the next steps.

Bottom line?

God has so got this, it’s not even funny. If you have any more questions/concerns, we’ll be happy to address them as we have time. THANK YOU for loving us and caring for us and being so awesome!!