The stuff

Sitting out on the lawn at 6am the morning of our yard sale, Diana held her coffee pensively and mused, “Life is just a bunch of junk.” We could not believe how much stuff we had accumulated over the last 11 years in this house. It covered all the way from one end of the property to the other, poised on 13 tables, a 30 foot ladder, and several tarps. Didn’t we purge regularly? Didn’t we have a modest lifestyle? We sure couldn’t have ever afforded to do otherwise, we thought, living on a ministry income.
We got rid of a little more than half of our stuff that day. We gave some more away. We have some more items to sell (go here). We took a trailer of stuff we “couldn’t part with” to my parent’s house in Georgia. Some more boxes are at Diana’s parent’s. We are taking about a dozen suitcases with us, and asking some folk to bring one or two later. All told, that’s a lot of stuff.
Turns out we are rich. We are fabulously rich compared to the kids we want to serve. It actually feels good to get rid of all of that excess baggage, as it were. Try it some time. We sure didn’t need those extra several thousand pounds of stuff as much as we thought we did.
The average income in St. Petersburg is about $300-400/month. And that despite the fact that the city is now rated the 12th most expensive city in the world to live in (above Paris, Singapore, and New York!). Talk about living in paradox – “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”
Like any missionary, we will have the inevitable challenge of navigating the path between having what we “expect” in a lifestyle, and what the people we serve have. On the other hand, the cost of living will keep pretty strict controls over what we can get anyway. But this is good. We want to relate at least a little bit to those kids. They’re blessed if they have a home. “Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in.”


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