We are finally back home and there are lots of changes here! My dear husband and father-in-law worked tirelessly while we were gone renovating our bathroom. We bought the house with only one bathroom that didn't even have a bathtub - only a shower stall... not very conducive to bathing kids who are still afraid of the shower! Since adding another bathroom was financially out of the question, we did what we had to do to at the time to make the bathroom functional, but as with so many other projects in our 78 year-old house, there was still lots to do. Not to mention the fact that we are surrounded by families who may not even have running water - so who am I to complain about my bathroom being unfinished. But here we are, almost two years later and the finished product is amazing! I will post pictures soon.
In contrast, many things are the same as when we left... The prostitutes (or neighbors, as my 4 year-old calls them) are still walking by our house all day and night and getting dropped off (and picked up) on our corner. One of the girls is pregnant and every time I see her, my heart just aches for her and her unborn child. The drug house up the street still has tons of foot, bike, and automobile traffic at all hours. We still have patrol cars and undercover agents driving around our streets, quite often at very high speeds with lights and sirens blaring, along with the occasional foot chase. Sometimes there is trash piling up because the garbage, recycling and street sweeper trucks mysteriously forgot this part of their route. We have a neighborhood full of children without fathers, mothers without self-respect, and people who are merely existing. But in the midst of it all, we have a neighborhood full of people just like us who so desperately need Jesus, and when it all comes down to it, none of that other stuff matters.
While you may think this all sounds depressing and desolate, maybe even scary for a family with small children, I want you to know that we are so overjoyed that God has brought us here and we are so in love with our neighborhood and the people we are getting the privilege to serve. I won't lie and say some days aren't trying or exhausting, but what better way for my children to learn compassion and humility. What an honor for us to answer God's call for our family. We wouldn't be anywhere else than where God has placed us right now. There really is no place like home!
Kind of makes wanting a new bathroom seem frivolous and selfish.