The beginning in the End


Dear Readers:  Thank you for your patience.  Since my last post, I have continued working with Refugees and Immigrants in Michigan, mainly with LIRS,  Samaritas, J-FON, and WRW. But, we were mainly planning for two new things I’m sharing today:

We’re moving to Wisconsin!

I received a call to pastor two congregations in the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA, and David will be leading a new Innovation Center at a school in the area.  We are very excited about this new plan God has for us.  I just wish that I could somehow have all the new experiences while still living in Ann Arbor!

When I was a kid, I was fascinated with the Oregon Trail stories.

wagon trail.jpg

I seemed to think that traveling on a bumpy road in a wooden cart was more romantic and exciting than the summer RV trips my family took across the USA. (We had visited 45 states by the time I was 20).


Now, as an adult, that entire plan seems ridiculous.  I can’t imagine trying to fit my entire family, and everything we *might* need for the rest of our lives in a strange and foreign land, into a tiny little wagon.

As it is, we’re trying to downsize from a medium-sized US house & garage to an average apartment with parking space.  It means leaving behind half of what we own.  Not nearly as difficult as packing a Conestoga wagon.  And definitely nothing like what the refugees and immigrants must do.  Most refugees have only 60 seconds to pack a bag – or, even if they have more time to plan, they can only bring what they can carry.  Check out these photo galleries to see pictures of what they’re bringing:

In the meantime, I have the very first-world problem of fitting my life onto small traveling Pods:


I suppose that’s the modern version of a cross-country wagon, right?

It also means that I’ve spent much of the last 6 weeks saying good bye to friends and family and co-workers.

Farewell dinner with WRW steering committee, and Final Chapel with St. Paul school

We’re going to Africa!

Along with selling our house, packing our things, and moving to a new state, we’re also packing for our final trip of the Graduate Preaching Fellowship:  East Africa!  We will spend 3 weeks in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania – learning about refugees, refugee work, and churches there.

Packing for that is something I have practiced before!  We’re re-using lots of shoes and clothes and backpacks we’ve used before, but we also had to spray our clothes for mosquitos and pack super light for this trip (because we are on some small planes).

So, even though we had to leave Miel behind (don’t worry, she’s still very happy at home)


and my favorite shoes needed repair before we even got on the plane
(which of course, David could do without even a tool kit)


We are really excited to visit Africa!  Stay tuned for more regular updates in the next few weeks!

One thought on “The beginning in the End

  1. says:

    God bless you Kelly and may God continue to open borders in your life. I am thrilled about your call. Florida will be a great place to take your vacation and all of the people at Emmanuel will be pulling for you. Great that your husband got his dream job also. I am so proud to know you and believe me we are working with refugees. We are going to have something in January that will involve “Tools for Refugees.” Please keep in touch. Wes Runk


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