Summer season has now arrived in Northern Hemisphere. As someone who grew up in a tropical country, Indonesia, summer is the closest season to what I used to know. I get to spend more time in my backyard here in Akron, Pennsylvania. I tend to my garden where I planted vegetables and flowers. I love watching and listening to birds. I enjoy having meals at our picnic table with my spouse and our friends. On cooler evenings, we like to sit around by the firepit making s'mores and drinking tea. I treasure what seem to be ordinary things in this season knowing that they will change.
My IVEP year in 2014–2015 was the first time I lived in a place with four different seasons. I remember how fascinating it was to watch the leaves changing their colours in the fall, snow slowly falling from the skies in the winter and trees and flowers coming back to life in the spring. In that year, I also learned that there are seasons in our lives. There was a season of new beginning. I lived in a new place, met new people, built new relationships, learned a new culture and way of life. There was also the season of ending when I had to say goodbye. There was sadness when I had to say goodbye to my two host families, my friends and the community who were once strangers but had become my family. There was also joy when I was thinking about returning home and reuniting with my family. It was a learning process to seek God and be present in a life that is so complex with both joy and sadness. I finished each season with insights, emotions, and attitudes that were sometimes different from when I started. These seasons changed me.
As an IVEP alumna, it has been a special honour for me to have the opportunity to now work with IVEP. It has been a privilege to witness God’s love and work through the current IVEP participants, hosts and partners. My hope for them during this season of ending and farewell is to embrace the complexity of it, to make space to reflect on this past year experiences and yet to treasure each moment that seems to be ordinary. May there be joy and delight in celebrating the gifts that were given. May there be strength in bearing the sorrows of challenges and the sadness of farewell. May there be fruits to harvest and pass along. May there be rest in between seasons. May there be courage in facing the future — known or unknown. May there be hope and assurance for the journey forward from God who loves us all.
Header photo caption: Morning sun over wet grasses. Photo/Febri Kristiani