I hope that 2009 has begun well for you. I was happy to spend Christmas and begin the new year in the warmth of my welcoming family and friends.
I'm not sure what 2009 will hold for me. For now, I will not be returning to Congo. I went through several weeks of limbo, waiting for medical test results, talking with friends and family, waiting for news from Congo, wondering and praying about what path to take. Last week, I received an e-mail from Sr. Pat, who coordinates the VOICA program in Rome, saying that she agreed with Sr. Tina (in Congo) that it could be a serious health risk for me to return to serve in Aru, since there is no hospital to treat stroke patients nearby. No cause has been determined for my stroke (all the tests came back normal), but having one stroke is a risk factor for having another.
I am sad that I will not finish the school year with my students, and that Liz and Kyle are left "alone" since Fausto also returned home for health reasons. I also regret leaving the library project in its beginning stages. I hope that I can continue to support the development of the library from afar. I know there is a reason for my time in Congo, and for the events of the last few months, too, although those reasons aren't clear to me yet.
For now, I continue to discern what direction to take from here and my vocation in general. Serving in mission in another location is a possibility. Part of my discernment process will take place in Italy where I'll spend a few weeks (mid-January-beginning of February). I am also beginning the application process for schools on the Western Slope of Colorado for next school year. As you can see, I'm not sure what my future holds. Please keep me in your prayers, that I discern wisely where God is leading me. I also ask prayers for Fausto and Luca as they adjust from returning from mission, and for Liz and Kyle who courageously continue their work in Aru.
Thank you again for your overwhelming concern and support.