Sabbatical year

España 2020

Hi friends,

We’re reviving this old site. This is the first post here since nearly six years ago, when we were preparing to leave Spain and return to Kentucky. To those of you who followed it back then, thank you. Your support leading up to and throughout that year meant more to us than we had even expected.

For anyone new to this page, our family spent 11 months in Spain in 2013-14. We called it a sabbatical year. (That’s a term we’ve struggled with since, but we’ve decided to keep using it. More on that later.) You can see more about that decision and the year that followed on the page “The First Year.”

A “first year” implies a second. We’re reviving this site because our family is planning to return to Spain this summer––late July or early August––for another 11 months. That decision has been even more surprising to us than to some others. We’ll share more about it as we go.

Though many things will be the same––we’re going back to the same town, working with most of the same people, on the same 11-month timeline––this experience is, at least so far, more different than it is similar to the last.

Last time, we were primarily compelled to go because of rhythms and renewal. While those are still a factor, this time is more about people and place. If we hadn’t been able to return to that little town and church and group of people––an obstacle that was a strong possibility for a few months––we would be staying home.

Last time, it was as if signs and provision were falling from the sky. We would pray and surprising things would happen to propel us forward. Everything seemed to come together easily and on time. This time, nothing has fallen from the sky.

Last time, the kids weren’t involved in the decision and planning process. This time, they’re heavily involved. (In some ways, they may be the reason it’s happening.)

Last time, we were quite ready to get away. This time, there has already been a lot of grief in leaving. That’s despite the fact that last time, I thought I was leaving my position at the church for good, while this time, we’ve already made plans for me to return.

Each of those little paragraphs has much more behind it. We’ll let this serve as an introduction and share more over the next several months.

One other difference between last time and this one: Last time, all of our updates came as blog posts from Emily or me. This time will be different. Emily suggested that we record some short family podcasts. The kids agreed but demanded suggested that they also do their own recording “so people can hear from us without you all interrupting.”

Here’s a clip from their first recording. And now the full audio and video are available here.

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