when the bread seems delayed…

The coffee shop is bustling as I walk in. The Mid-State Fair always brings people out into the streets of Paso. I take a quick glance around the place before taking my glasses off. Do I recognize anyone in here? Better question, does anyone in here recognize me? I think I’m clear. Oh, wait, I went to high school with one of the baristas. She looks the same, but I’ve got a beard now, not to mention she was more popular than me, I should be okay. I am a bit socially awkward and not crazy about running into people from high school when I come to town for a visit. I walk on eggshells in public places throughout Paso Robles.

Its probably insecurity that makes me feel this way. I care about people’s perception too much. Its not that I was particularly disliked in high school, I was just an average kind of guy. Its just that I went out from this place over seven years ago and I’ve experienced more things and changed because of where I’ve been. Yes four and half years in SoCal changed me, but far more the two and a half in Tanzania. I don’t know how to show that on my sleeve and I want to. I don’t want people to think of me as the kid I was at 19. Even Jesus wasn’t highly regarded in his hometown, who cares about feeling awkward when the townies are fixing to throw you off a cliff (Luke 4:16-30).

Its always tough to go back. To me, it doesn’t feel right most of the time. When I knew that we’d be coming back to California for a time surrounding our daughter’s birth, Melissa and I both wanted to be somewhere in Orange County or Long Beach, which hasn‘t exactly worked out. We have been wanting that because we see more of a community there that we can plug into, the area seems to thrive creatively and we were hoping to be a part of a particular church during this interim time in the states.

I suppose it helped that I wouldn’t have to seemingly rewind my life quite as far and Melissa could experience a new place and new friends.

Yet, we’re here right now. Up to this point, nothing’s come up as far as feasible work and home. God told us “I will fight for you, you only need to be still.” (Exodus 14:14) And it gets hard to follow that word and to hold our peace right now. We’re back in San Luis County, living with Melissa’s folks, borrowing a car that we’ll return soon, without a job and the baby will be here in a matter of weeks.

I feel like its taking more faith to be here right now than it did to be living off of support in Tanzania, not that long ago. I, in fact, would prefer to be in Tanzania right now. It’s funny how that works out. When I first moved to Tanzania, I longed to be who I was in Long Beach, I liked that, it was comfortable. Now, we’re back in California until sometime next year and I wish I was who I was back in Tanzania, it was more comfortable, believe it or not.

I know the Lord loves me. He is gracious enough to push guide His beloved children into spots where they’ll have to grow and sometimes it feels like sink or swim. That’s a bit where we’re at these days up on the central coast.

Tough spots like these are where the rubber hits the road in our faith. Do we still believe He provides even when we expected the bread would be here by now? Do we choose to love Him even when we don’t get what we want, when we want? Do we lean in, even when it hurts? Do we really trust He has our best interest in mind in every single situation?


Quick Update on Us: The questions that I posed in this blog are on the table for our family right now. We could use your prayer. We had hoped to be settling in (or nesting really) into our temporary home by now with the baby coming in early September. While we will head back to Tanzania in, most likely, mid-2013, we have to allow ourselves to truly live in California for this time. This time is catalytic as we set our roots into God and one another as a family with our daughter nearly here. Our biggest needs right now are a cheap (or free) space of our own and a job for me (we’re on a break from receiving support from the organization in Tanzania). We are so grateful for the friends of ours that have been awesome in helping us out with financial gifts and gifts for the baby, it has helped more than you realize. Yet our biggest needs are to tap into consistent income (an interim job) and place for us to call home for now. As the head of my household its been hard to figure out what comes first the house or the job, your prayer for discernment and wisdom would be great. The Lord told us that He would fight for us, so we’re trying to figure out how we play our role in His plan for us.

Author: Brandon Stiver

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, living and working in Moshi, Tanzania. My wife is named Melissa and we have three children: Moses, Promise and Shepherd. We are directors over an orphan care ministry called Kingdom Families; advocating for the needs of orphans and vulnerable children and assisting families to welcome them into their homes as sons and daughters.

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