My wife and I have been feeling quite sentimental the last few days as we consider all that has transpired in the past year. You see, today is our 1st “Nassau-versary”—one year ago today we moved from Toronto, Canada to Nassau, Bahamas.
I shared many of the details related to this transition in a post written in March 2010. This current post is intended as a kind of “Year in Review” that affords me the opportunity to say “Thank you” to those who have helped us along the way.
I’m inclined to keep this post brief having read this morning my wife’s reflection on our transition and believing that she has conveyed better than I how we currently feel.
One year later, we feel at home.
The transition shouldn’t have been so smooth. None of us had ever lived outside of Ontario. The differences between Nassau and Toronto are too numerous to list. We left behind family, friends, and familiar culture. I left behind, not only a congregation, but a denomination. My wife gave up her Marriage and Therapy practice and transitioned with no guarantee of being able to establish a similar practice here. My 8 year-old daughter left behind the only home she has ever known and all that was to connected to it.
Somehow, in spite of these drastic changes, one year later, we feel at home.
There are many who deserve credit for this. I immediately think of my new congregation, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk. The people have been exceedingly kind toward me and my family. I am acutely aware of my flaws and my shortcomings as a pastor, and yet these shortcomings have been continually met by grace.
As I consider all of the Sessions I have worked with as a Moderator and Interim Moderator, I can say that my experience has always been largely positive. It has only been a year, but I am proud to say that my interaction with the Kirk Session here has been entirely positive. At our last meeting I explained why I hadn’t suggested that we have a Session retreat this year. My feeling was that every meeting felt like a Session retreat. I am so grateful for that.
Many Kirk members have offered hospitality to our family–taking us out for lunch, or having us over for dinner. This may be something that can be anticipated in most congregations, but it is something that I refuse to take for granted. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
There is always a danger in naming individuals while attempting to say thank you to a group, but I must. Two individuals have gone above and beyond what you might expect from any church leader. Earla Bethel and Robin Brownrigg, by every appearance, have made it their mission to help the MacPhails adapt, settle, and thrive in this new environment. I will forever remember and give thanks for their kindness to my family.
Above all else, I thank the Lord for His sovereign mercy in my life. He has controlled and managed the things that I could not. He has kept congregational conflict at bay. He has shown Himself faithful in so many ways.
I suspect that many people read a passage like Jeremiah 29:11ff and think, “I hope that holds true for me.” It delights me to say that I have experienced the fulfillment of this promise in my transition here:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Grateful seems like too small a word to convey how I feel today on my Nassau-versary. I say that I feel at home, but I am quite open to the possibility that this might just be home.