We are packing up our house, preparing it for rental. We leave for Central Asia July 4th, but we'll return by the end of the month. We leave for the year-long portion of our ministry on August 22. But we are well underway to having our stuff all packed up.
Until we moved to San Gabriel, Lisa and I had moved about every four years: 1989, 1993, 1997, then 2001. We've lived in the same house since 2001 and it is embarrassing how much stuff we've accumulated. For a long time, our expansive library has been a source of pleasure, if not pride, but lately it is just a source of chagrin. I wish I could sell our books at 10 cents on the dollar, but I doubt that would be possible. We've sent many boxes to Goodwill, but of course many boxes remain. We will, no doubt, have a substantial library on our return, whenever that is and to wherever we return. But I'd rather rent/borrow books I need than own them with the burden they are over a lifetime of moves. And with the internet, face it, physical books just aren't as necessary as they once seemed to be. I have many regrets about books I wish I had not bothered to purchase, because I certainly never bothered to read.
So one byproduct of this mission, and the fruit it has already borne in my life, is that I literally covet nothing. We had two cars (one was a gift) but when one died, we didn't replace it, we have been borrowing from friends for several months. We plan to sell our other car before we leave for the year. I do not want to own a car right now. Ownership has its benefits, but it also has its costs. So right now, we are anticipating carrying our entire possessions around in two pieces of luggage for more than a year. That is actually liberating and clarifying--the only things I want are things that help me with the mission--some clothes, my computer, some manuscript studies and other notes I will take with me, flip flops and perhaps shoes for the winter.
We will, for about two of the next four weeks, be staying at a conference facility without internet service. We also will have no working cell phones. I think it will be kind of difficult to communicate at all for the first and last weeks of our month of travel. That will be challenging, but also simplifying and clarifying. While we are in Central Asia our focus will be the students and staff around us.
Jesus sent his disciples out two by two without extra money or clothing or food. Our luggage is stuffed with embarrassing luxury and abundance by comparison. But it is a start at de-accumulation, one that I hope will change the way I look at all my possessions long after we return.
Rich and Lisa Lamb