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Home is Where the Heart Is

Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2012 in Mamie, Richard
So we're headed home. After a long period of discernment, Mamie, Nora and I will be moving to Louisville, Kentucky.  I've accepted a position as the Coordinator of the Young Adult Volunteer Program with the Presbyterian Church (USA), a  program that has been close to my heart and sense of God's call since I became a part of it 13 years ago.  But that is not what this post is about.  Because to start something new, you always have to leave something behind... Here is the letter we sent out to folks in Colombia just a few days ago:

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It is with gratitude to each of you, and with heaviness in our hearts that we share with you our plans to leave Colombia this September to stay in the United States. Though we will be visiting churches through December to speak about the Colombian context, the work of the IPC, and the partnership between the IPC and PCUSA, we will not return to Colombia in 2013. Both the Presbyterian Church here and in the US were gracious enough to extend to us the invitation to return, and though we would love to do so, we feel a great need to be closer to our families and allow them the chance to get to know Nora - particularly while her grandparents are still well.
This has been a very difficult decision, and while our prayers have led us in this direction, we will never cease to miss being among you. What eases are minds is the knowledge that we will continue working with you all, from a distance, as our commitment and care for Colombia could not possibly end simply because we no longer live here. Certainly our daughter is the most dear reminder of all we love in this beautiful country - most of all the people who have been so kind to us over the past three years.
We will leave in early September, though the date is not yet finalized, and we will move to Louisville, Kentucky. Richard will begin work as the Coordinator for the Young Adult Volunteer Program of the PCUSA which we hope to bring to Colombia in 2014. Mamie hopes to find work, and we are grateful for your prayers as she searches. Nora will simply miss you all terribly as you are all she has ever known.
Once again we thank you for all the ways you have helped us, guided us, taught us, laughed with us, shared with us, and transformed us. We welcome you in our home as you have always welcomed us into yours. We look forward to visits here or there and continued service together in new ways.
Blessings of grace and peace to you all,
Mamie, Richard, and Nora Elena


We are grateful for the opportunity to go back to the US and be close to dearly missed family and friends.  We are excited for the opportunities of new and challenging work.  But we are deeply saddened to leave Colombia, and a piece of our heart will always stay here. Thanks be to God for our wide, wide family. And pray for us as we leave home.  

Bring on the comments

  1. JoAnn says:

    John English was a fixture in the Pampa schools for a number of years and he often said, “I feel strongly both ways”. I often identify with that statement and I know you do also at this time. Personally, I will be glad to have all of you closer so that we can see you more often.

  2. JoAnn says:

    John English, who was a fixture in the Pampa schools for a number of years, used to say, “I feel strongly both ways.” I have often used that statement myself so I think that I can identify with your emotions. However, I am glad that all of you will be closer so that we can see you more often.

  3. Laura says:

    Wow, now I’m crying because I’m SAD. But I’m so excited for new beginnings. Jess will come speak Spanish to Nora Elena when we visit.

  4. Gary Cozette - Chicago says:

    I am very grateful for your 3 years as permanent accompaniers for human rights and the displaced with the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (IPC). You represented all of us in your efforts to give visibility to the 5 million internally displaced persons in Colombia – now the highest in the world, illegal land grabs by the powerful, and continuing violence against campesinos, indigenous peoples, and Afro-Colombians. Thank you for amplifying the voice to the IPC in our own country as the IPC and its communities across Colombia pursues justice and seeks peace in this difficult context.

  5. Pauline Coffman says:

    I’m so happy for you with the new job, Richard, and so sad for you all as you say goodby to wonderful friends. Thanks for the explanation of your travel schedule in the future. I do hope you are successful in expanding the YAV program to Colombia. Cheers to all of you.

  6. Cheryl and Doug Hunt says:

    We know how hard it is to decide to turn down a new road. Please remember us when you come west to talk about Colombia. Nuestra casa es tu casa! We heard a friend say on leaving a country where she had worked,”It’s true that I left part of my heart behind, but I also found that my heart had greatly expanded.” Stay well!

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