I've never been the adventurous type. I like security, stability, predictability . . I take new things in small doses when I take them at all. This is why I was rather astonished at my reaction when hubby asked a few months ago what I thought of the idea of moving out of the country.
My reaction was: hmm, I can maybe see that. I was even more astonished that our daughters' reactions echoed my own -- even the daughter with the history of anxiety issues. Sure, that might be cool. More astonishment that, of the two places my husband was focusing his attention on, the girls and I unexplicably all zeroed in on the same one: Boquete, Panama.
Yeah, it might be nice to have a real change. A slower pace, a simpler lifestyle. Beautiful weather and terrain. The challenge of adjusting to a new culture, learning a new language. Hubby could basically retire with the lower cost of living there -- he could relax and let God direct him to where He wants to use him there (the way I've been able to do every time we moved).
Boquete is desirable, too, because it's something of an expat haven. Many Americans live there who have paved the way already. You can get by on English pretty well for a while. They have frequent get-togethers where you can feel a taste of home again. They've even started their own community theater in town, for pete's sake -- talk about right up my alley! I've been in contact with some American moms down there -- homeschoolers, even. Ministry opportunities nearby, including an orphanage -- right up our girls' alleys.
My husband just got back from a conference in Panama City for expats considering a move there. And there's another astonishing thing: they just happened to be having this conference now, when we're considering the idea and when he is unemployed and free to go. And other "coincidences" keep happening as we mention the idea to friends here and there. "We have friends in town who used to be missionaries in Panama." "I stayed last week with a couple who used to live in Panama." "My cousin is living as an expat in Panama City -- you want his email?"
And the big "coincidence": when hubby and I started discussing this, he had four good job possibilities out there. We prayed, a lot, and decided that if none of these jobs panned out (which at the time seemed so unlikely), we would take that as a serious nudge from God that he wanted us to turn our attention to the Panama idea. Well, the jobs have dropped one by one -- very slowly, interestingly enough, which is also unusual -- and the last one soon after he returned from the conference.
So, we're all flying down to Boquete for a week or so in late June, because hubby said, this is so different, you all need to experience it yourselves before we make a decision. But just the fact that we're seriously considering this, and even excited about it . . . well, that's astonishing. And frightening. And thrilling. Prayers are welcome.