Seven Days!

It’s true! One week until we leave Duluth! I know this may be a surprise to some of you since we haven’t written about it here on the blog yet. We’ve just been so busy packing! We’re working on a newsletter update, too, but here’s the plan for the upcoming weeks.

One week from today – May 18 – we will board a plane in Duluth and head to Florida. Yes, Florida and not Kenya. Back in January when we were at training, it was recommended to us by our coach that we take a little time together as a family between Duluth and Kenya. The term we were given for this time is a boat. It comes from the idea that missionaries used to have to take a boat from the US to wherever they would be serving. It often took a couple weeks to make the trip, allowing the family to transition from one home to the next. Now we jump on a plane and arrive in our new home country the very next day! With Pete’s intense work schedule continuing right up until next Monday morning, we’re thankful to be heading out for our own ‘boat’ near friends in Florida.

Ella gave us her approval while we spoke at Riverview Church in Pine River last week.

We chose Florida for a variety of reasons. One is that we know multiple people there, including our friends the Smiths who will be graciously hosting us for part of our boat. Another is that it’s warm, which we still haven’t quite experienced this spring in Duluth. Also, there are beaches! We love the beach and are so looking forward to letting the kids play and play and play.

We received a beautiful send-off at Duluth Vineyard, our home church, two weeks ago.

We currently have tickets to fly out of Tampa for Kenya on June 9, though that may change. We are still waiting for Pete’s Kenyan work permit. We applied for it months ago and are trusting that it will arrive soon. Will you please pray with us that it does? It’s the one final detail we need before we make our way to Africa. In the chance it doesn’t arrive, we have flexible tickets and will adjust our leave date accordingly.

This week I said goodbye to these incredible mamas in the small group I started two years ago.

So for now, we’re wrapping up our packing! I started in February, so it’s not too crazy right now, which is exactly what I wanted. The house is empty and the suitcases are nearly ready!

Seven days to wrap up our goodbyes and head south.

Twenty-nine days to Kenya!!



Photo Friday

Photo Friday is a little glimpse at our week in pictures. To see more, follow @TheMangoMemoirs on Instagram!


An Empty House

Tomorrow morning nearly all of our furniture will be loaded onto a trailer and moved down to Rochester. We have dear friends who just moved back from Ethiopia, so it’s going to a very good home, which makes the parting a bit easier. I’m really not very attached to this furniture. We’ve only had any of it for 15 months. It was all purchased on Craigslist and Wayfair and was only meant to be in our possession for a short time. So no, I’m not attached to the furniture itself. But today, as I get ready for it to be carried out of the house, I realize I am attached to it in a different sort of way.

I love these little pieces of home because of how well they’ve helped make our house a home. First it was our little apartment on London Road a year ago, and now it’s this three bedroom condo over the hill. We’ve all cuddled on the couch watching movies. We’ve gathered around the kitchen table eating meals and doing homework. We’ve fallen asleep, all four of us, on the bottom, twin-size bunk in Ella’s room. These pieces hold memories of the home we’ve made, and now we’re passing them to our friends, who will make new memories with them. That is the sweet part of sending this trailer down the road.

The hard part is what it means to live for the next few weeks in a nearly empty house. It means this transition is real. We’ll soon be boarding a plane, moving between our home here in Duluth and our home-to-be in Kenya. I’ve been dreaming of this move nearly my entire life. Almost everything I’ve done in the last few months has been in preparation for leaving. I’ve packed boxes to be donated, given to friends, put into storage, and loaded into suitcases for Kenya. All the kids clothes have been purchased for the next two years, school has been planned, and new quilts for the kids’ beds have been sewn. I’ve tried to think of every detail, even though I know there are lots of things I can’t possibly think of until we’re actually doing life at Tenwek.

I think having a transition into this wild simplicity a few weeks before our move will be an adventure for us all. We don’t mind the feeling of making things work, and this is no different. Pete and I will share an air mattress, Ella will have her own, and Sam has his toddler mattress on the floor, as usual. Our clothes will be moved into bins and boxes, as will toys and books. We’ll still have our couch until the move, so a whole lot of cuddle time is on the horizon in that spot.

This transition is real. And it is soon. We’ve purchased tickets to fly out of Duluth the morning of Thursday, May 18. We won’t be heading directly to Kenya at that time, though. From Duluth, we’ll be going down to spend three weeks with multiple friends in and near Florida, including a family we grew very close to during our training in Colorado. We’ll take some of that time alone as a family to reconnect, rest, and prepare for our transition into full-time ministry. We’re incredibly thankful to be able to do this following the past seven years of Pete’s intense work schedule after med school. We’re working on finalizing our tickets to Kenya for the weekend of June 10. So the countdown is on!

As I feel these emotions stir – excitement, anticipation, nervousness – I find myself continuously asking God to focus my heart. All of these feelings are good and to be expected, but I want to keep my focus on the One who has called us to East Africa. I want to continue to prepare well, but not at the cost of missing these last weeks in Duluth. I want to dream about being there, but not to the point where I lose sight of what God has right in front of me. I know it’s okay to be nervous, but I don’t want to allow that nervousness to get in the way of fully trusting God every step along the way. Twenty-eight days remaining before we leave this city I so dearly love. Every one of those days, and all the days beyond, have been counted and are surely known by our Father.

Jesus, you called me to this path as a little girl, and I’m ready to go. Just help me with all these emotions in the transition. We’ll be there soon!




Happy Easter!

We had a wonderful Easter surprise this weekend: Pete had Sunday off! We hadn’t expected it, but he was asked to switch shifts just a few days before. Ella helped me decorate to get ready for the special day, and we spent the week reading stories from her Bible and other various books about Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, Good Friday, and Easter.

We stayed at the hospital with Pete on Saturday night, then drove back to Duluth Sunday morning to meet my parents at church. Afterward, we went back to our house to find what the Easter Bunny had left!

The Wizard of Oz was the very first play I was in back in 4th grade. I was a munchkin in a high school production, caught that theatre bug, and it never left. The kids have seen the stage production at The Children’s Theatre, but Ella hasn’t yet seen the movie. Can’t wait to watch it with her!

Miss Ella was beyond excited to help Sam look for his basket. This is the first year he’s been interested in finding his own treats.

No one needs to teach this kid about the amazingness of chocolate bunnies! He was ready to rip right into that box.

Oh, that first nibble!

My boys! I was ready to donate both these purple shirts a few weeks ago as I continue packing, but then I realized they would be perfect for Easter. Immediately following this photo, we took Sam’s shirt off to spare it the chocolatey mess.

Sadly, I don’t think I captured any pictures during our annual egg hunt! Papa brought eggs, in addition to the basket I had prepared, so the kids had quite the hunt. Two days later and Ella is still asking me to hide all the eggs again. And again and again. Happens every year!


We took Pete back to work Sunday evening, incredibly thankful to have spent the day together! We hope you had a wonderful day celebrating, too.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

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