I was jogging past EMU the other day when a thought flitted through my mind- the same thought that I’ve had a few times over the past several weeks.

Namely, this: it can be instructive to see what steps have led us to where we are. Christophe talked about this in his chapel at EMHS in May, and I spoke on the same theme in a faculty meeting a few months earlier.

For example, Glenda and I have been married for almost 21 years. Trace it back, though. All the way back to….. a 16-year old junior in high school feeling a little crazy, a little reckless perhaps, and sneaking up behind and tickling a 15-year old boy in the high school library, embarrassing him in front of his friends. They asked, “What was that all about?” He said, truthfully, “I have no idea.” But it started a little friendship, and then a dating relationship, and then…. well, I think I can stop there.

So how about Kenya? Let’s start at the beginning (this may seem odd).

  1. Between my 7th grade and 8th grade years, I shot up several inches, going from a very-much-picked-on normal sized boy to one who would not often be picked on again.
  2. Ted Swartz decided that I needed to play basketball. He took me to the summer camp at Christopher Dock. I began to show a little bit of aptitude for the game.
  3. I played four years in high school, and ended up playing for EMC for two years.
  4. When I left the program after my sophomore year, I started as an assistant JV coach at a local high school called EMHS.
  5. After two years of assistant-ship, every other coach in the program left. I applied for the varsity position, thinking, why not? I was 22.
  6. Got the job. No idea how- maybe the only one applying? Anyway, I still had two years of college to get my teaching degree. I inherited an amazing group of talented players- Ryan Strite, Doug Blyer, Steven Baer, Ben Yoder, Weston Yutzy, Mike Martin, Herbie Williams- and we won a VIC championship in my second year as coach, just as I was graduating from EMC.
  7. EMHS hired me (what else to do with a coach who has just won a championship?), and I started going to chapels every day, hearing former missionaries tell incredible stories about their experiences in hard-to-imagine lands.
  8. After five years or so (no longer coaching), we applied to teach at Rosslyn Academy, wishing to have some of those experiences ourselves, and trying to follow God’s lead in our lives.
  9. And, of course, we had those experiences, and adopted two beautiful girls, and made a home for ourselves in a far-away land.
  10. Now, after having been back for seven years, we are planning to return.

Could this really have been the result of growing a few too many inches when I was 13? Maybe, maybe not. But all of these factors have come together to make us what we are today, and leading us back to where we left a piece of our hearts seven years ago. It won’t be the same as the last time, the same way you can never put your foot into the river at the exact same place more than once, but we hope it will still be a wonderful experience for our family.

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3 Responses to Steps

  1. David Kratz says:

    Great story John! Praying for you guys as you prepare for the transition…

  2. Annette says:

    Wonderful story…blessings to you all as you prepare for this adventure. 🙂

  3. jon kk says:

    Blessings to you and Glenda and the girls. May your return be as meaningful as before.

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