If you missed our big announcement yesterday, you can read it here. Or I can just tell you: we’re moving to Cambodia.

And can I just say THANK YOU!! for your overwhelming, overjoyed responses. You people are THE BEST.

(And for anyone bothered by the comment from “A Friend” yesterday, I may address it in another post. Or Gabe’s got one in the works, too, so I may let him handle it.)

So, I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s post that we had asked God to release us from our ministry at Abbey Lane if it was time to go. He released us from debt; he released Gabe from anxiety (for the most part); and now we needed released from our new home.

And he’s been answering big-time. Some of the things I’ll share; some I won’t. For various reasons. 1.) Believe it or not, I don’t share every single personal detail of our family’s lives on the internet. and 2.) I have neighbor-friends who read my blog, and I respect their privacy.

One biggie I’ll share, so you can praise God with us, concerns our next-door baby neighbor, Judah. So many of you have prayed for him in the past few months as he has battled cancer on his heart. He just finished round 7 of chemo, and this is the end of the treatment road for him. Radiation is too dangerous. He’s in God’s hands now (best place ever).

When we began talking about moving to Cambodia, Judah (and his mom and dad) were heavy on my heart. We met Josh and Laura in September, found out soon after that Judah had some kind of tumor on his heart, and have walked with them through open heart surgery, chemo, etc. Not that they “need” us, but I couldn’t bear to leave while Judah wasn’t well.

Then we got the amazing news that his pet scan came back clear. No cancer! Now, it’s aggressive and could come back, but we’re praying against that in Jesus’ name. He had his chest ports removed, and he can swim and take real baths now. So, so, so happy for their fam. We’ll miss them like crazy (along with our families and so many other dear friends God has blessed us with).

When we first started talking for real and for serious about moving to Cambodia, I spent a couple cool, quiet evenings on our balcony thinking, “We love it here. It’s kind of magical. It’s like we were made for this place.” So, I asked God to take some of the magic away if he wanted us to move.

Ha! I should know better than to pray something like that.

Immediately some things happened that were less than magical (those are the things I’ll keep private). Then more of our kitchen cupboards & drawers broke (oh, that’s a pitiful situation). And our AC has been out most of the summer. (They keep saying they’ll fix it. They show up, look at it, leave, and never come back.) Then the delicious Somali food that our generous neighbors shared with us was making Gabe feel completely awful (very fried and greasy and lots of meat) and giving him serious heartburn.

And then I started getting eaten alive. By something in our apartment. I have over 80 bites on my arms, legs, torso (okay, everywhere). I begged God to show us what was biting me.

Yesterday we found a live bedbug in our bed.

And the list of things we have to do before they’ll treat is massive. As Gabe said yesterday afternoon, “We might as well just move to Cambodia tomorrow.”

We have to wash and dry every single item of clothing, bedding, towel, washcloth in our entire apartment and bag it up. We have to empty all closets and drawers. We have to take everything off our walls. We have to lean our mattresses and bed frames against the wall and pull every other piece of furniture away from the walls. We have to buy expensive bed bug covers for every mattress and pillow. We most likely will have to buy all new pillows and throw away our couches. We have to find a temporary new home for Atlas. Etc, etc, etc.

If you’ve seen our apartment, you know we don’t have much wiggle room. This is a tiny bit of a nightmare.

So, yesterday, as we hopped from Wal-Mart to Wal-Mart to find what we needed (and ended up buying the wrong covers) and spent a nice chunk of time in Wash & Tan, and I scratched my fiery bites, and we pondered how in the world we were going to get all this done, we played The Thankful Game.

I highly recommend it.

(One of our thankfuls is that I’m the only one getting destroyed by these bugs. Nina and Livi have a handful. Gabe and Ava have none.)

The folks in the leasing office told us we’re the first ones in our quadrant to have bedbugs (yeah right), and they also said, “We’ll be honest. You got these because your girls play with Somalis. They carry the babies, and they go in people’s apartments.”

True story. And you know what, I’m proud of our girls. And when I asked them what Jesus would do in this situation, they said, “He would still play with them and help with the babies and go in their apartments.”

We found out just now that the heat treatment for the bedbugs is $350. We have to pay for it ourselves out-of-pocket (or out of our Cambodia Fund, rather). We asked the leasing office why they aren’t paying for it, since they own the building and we got the bedbugs from somewhere in their building.

Their response? “Well, we don’t really know where you got them. Maybe it was the movie theater.”

I can’t remember the last time I went to the movie theater. And whatever happened to the girls carrying babies around?

And the bedbug covers will be another couple hundred bucks. So magical.

Thankful Game. Thankful Game. Thankful Game. (don’t mind me–just talking to myself)

My new motto: that’s it–there are too many bugs here in America; I’m moving to a developing country in Southeast Asia. :)

Bedbugs aside, we’re encouraged by the way the people at our church have gotten on board with the ministry here at Abbey Lane. People are excited to learn more about a culture so unlike their own and to share the love of Jesus. We know this ministry will continue beautifully without us. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time to be pioneers, so to speak (Josh and Laura are the real pioneers).

Like we said, God has shown us many things we haven’t shared, and there’s still much more to share. He has made it clear that our time at Abbey Lane was not wasted, and it was the perfect stepping stone to what’s next. And we still have four months left here, so we’re going to make the most of every opportunity.

So, the burning questions: What will you do in Cambodia? Will you be missionaries or just regular people? Will you raise support? Will you go with an organization? Are you sure you’re not crazy??

We’ll answer them soon. To the best of our ability. Thanks for your love and support and prayers! We need ‘em!