February will be a very busy month for me. Leanne and I could be traveling to South Korea as soon as March (or as late as June), so we have a mile-long list of things to take care of before we might have to leave. Given the way life works, I imagine either I will get everything done early and then get a very late travel date, or travel will come very soon and I won’t be at all ready. If those are the options, you can guess which one I would choose.

As most of you know, we get about a week’s notice when it’s time to leave, so you should have the pleasure of one Sunday morning worship service after we get the travel call. I promise to look suitably panicked about the whole situation. Once we go, I’ll be off work for four weeks. We’ll spend a week (or slightly more) in Korea, then we’ll take the rest of the time to adjust to our new life with Ian.

Much of my to-do list has involved preparing things for the people who will fill in for me at church. Because we can’t predict our timing, there won’t be any one person doing everything while I’m gone (not that there should be one person doing everything anyway), and we’ll have to make many arrangements on the fly. Bonnie Schandorf has graciously agreed to help out with worship and visitation as much as she’s available, and a few area pastors have offered to back her up when needed. Sylvia will manage the overall list of people to call, so if you’re ever not sure who should help with something, please check with her in the office.

If you’re doing the math while you read this, you may have noticed that if I travel during March, I’m going to miss a big chunk of Lent and probably even Easter Sunday. I’m sure I wouldn’t miss Easter for anything less important than this! Still, the Resurrection happened without me the first time, and I assume it will take care of itself again this year. I’ll be disappointed at not being able to celebrate Easter with you, but I hope you’ll all be holding us in your hearts if that time comes.

We’ll be back in town for two or three weeks before I’m ready to start work again. It will be about that long before we’re really ready to take Ian out and introduce him to the people in his new world. As much as our heads will be spinning, Ian will be even more disoriented as he adjusts to a new home with new parents whom he doesn’t know how to trust. During the first part of our time together, our whole job will be to demonstrate that we are the primary people who will meet his needs. So if you see us and we avoid sharing Ian with you, please don’t take it personally. We’ll just be catching up on the important attachment work that most parents get to do from birth.

Once I start work again, I’m not entirely sure what life will look like. I’ll probably try to do more work from home than I have before, and Ian will probably accompany me to the office from time to time. With God’s help, I’ll try to stay on top of things, but I’m sure I’ll depend on your patience more than I wish I had to. Just another way that the adventure of fatherhood will teach me humility, right?

I am constantly amazed by the support you have given Leanne and me throughout this process. I had no idea that this would be part of the reason God called me to this congregation, but it must have been in the Plan.

In Christ’s peace,