Leaving my Study Leave

Picture of books in a library

Just wrapping up my three-month study leave here in Boston and reflecting on my time.  I can think of many highlights / experiences that have left an impression on me:

Separation anxiety – Being apart from my family (for 7 and 5 week periods) well, let’s just say anxiety doesn’t quite describe it.  Some may think that having 24 hours to yourself without the usual marital and parental responsibilities is paradise.  I just call it being perpetually homesick.

Progress – I was able to complete two chapters toward my thesis, which for me is quite an accomplishment.  I am a notoriously slow writer, but having dedicated time and draft deadlines was huge!  I was also able to seriously expand my bibliography of sources to use while I am away from Boston.

My topic on shepherd leadership in Acts and 1 Peter continues to inspire me.  I am learning a great deal about the shepherd image in the Bible, the different uses by Luke, Paul and Peter, and leadership in the New Testament church.  When my thesis is completed, I feel that I will be able to make an important contribution to the discussion of church leadership here in Latin America.

Park Street Church – This place is special.  Our church here in Boston isn’t just historic (200 years old and counting), but it simply thrives with so much life and purpose in Christ.  I participated in our 74th annual Missions Conference.  (Yes, that’s seven decades!)  and spoke at several venues.  Every time I come back to our home church, I am inspired and encouraged for the work that God has called us to do in Colombia.

Generous Community – I have been so touched by people’s love and generosity, for invitations to meals, to speak, to hang out.  Someone even lent me some winter clothes. It’s always 72 degrees in Medellin so I don’t have much use for sweaters and fleeces! Brrrrr.

I especially thank my two hosts in Boston who put up with me for several weeks of being in their kitchens and living spaces.  That’s real love.

Conclusion

I’m definitely going to miss Boston, my friends and my home church, but there is nothing like seeing my children smile, hugging my family, sharing community at the seminary and teaching future leaders in Colombia.

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