The training facility is a sort of voluntary commune. We get to own things, obviously, but no one has much of anything since we sold it all to head overseas. We all eat together in the cafeteria (we aren't forced to, but why cook and do dishes when someone else will do it for you?), we play together in the giant "yard", we take classes together, and our kids go to school together. It's an interesting change of lifestyle. Allow me to say that girls with bows in their hair are definitely in the minority here. I like that. Way less pressure. If they have bows, great. If not, who cares? They usually do have bows, though. (I say this for the benefit of Mom and B.Wal.)
I mentioned previously that we had friends before we even got here. We came to candidate conference and were assigned to a small group. That small group included two other couples with young children. We have become very close through Facebook and Skype since then. I was a little afraid that we would be diappointed by one another after the months of anxiously looking forward to our reunion, but we weren't. They're just as wonderful as I remember. They still seem to like us, too. It's a shocker, I know.
Everywhere I go on campus, there is someone whose passion matches my own. The conversations at the swing set are encouraging. Dinner is full of chatter on the lessons God has graciously given us. Every day you meet someone else, and every day you know someone new to love. We're so imperfect. Most of us will be more than happy to tell you that. We're also completely forgiven, and we want more people to receive that forgiveness. It's a goal that we share: to see more mixed-up, unworthy, slightly nutty folks like us receive the grace and forgiveness that only our God can provide.
Not a bad neighborhood, huh?