As we are preparing to head to the mission field of Cusco, Peru, we are experiencing many “lasts.” We know this process of finishing in the United States is only beginning and we are determined to finish well!
Last Event at Brighton Church of Christ (Peruvian Dinner):
For some reason the church at Brighton seemed convinced we wanted to throw our own going away party. When Mitchel got up to announce that we would be embarking on this journey nearly a year earlier (in Jan 2016), he did so in a flood of emotion. It is one thing to tell the people you love you are leaving them; it is another thing entirely to see their eyes looking back at you as you do it from the podium in the Worship hall. He was barely able to choke out the words that we would be moving to Cusco as soon as we were able. We were determined to leave on a much happier note with a Peruvian dinner for friends and family.
Now you may be asking yourself, “What is a Peruvian dinner?” And to do so would mark you as a highly intelligent individual. This dinner was meant to expose those who love and support us to the culture, cuisine, and status of the work in Cusco. It was a meal of rotisserie chicken (Peruvians do it best) with Aji verde sauce, sliced boiled yellow potatoes with la Huancaina, chicken empanadas, salchipapas (hotdogs and french-fries), salad, chicha morada, Inca Kola, tres leches cake, and of course coffee! Through the course of the dinner we played trivia games about random facts on Peru, we shared our story on how we came to love the city of Cusco, and we cherished our last moments with those we had come to call family.
The dinner was a major success. Those that had never been able to hear why we had chosen to leave the states were able to get our story firsthand. Those that never knew where Peru was could now point to it on a South America map. We were able to record some final memories and get well wishes that will continue to help carry us through what is sure to be a hectic upcoming year.
Last day at General Motors:
It should be noted that this transition was never because we hated our lives in Michigan. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Mitchel’s job was one that little boys dream of. Who wouldn’t want to drive around in test vehicles on 4,000 acres of closed tracks trying to develop and make bullet proof the software in cars that are three or four years out from launch? It was actually one of the hardest things to give up when we made this decision, but some things are just so much more important…
It was hard for Mitchel to tell his boss of our plans. He had invested so much into the hybrid programs at GM, and his boss had gone out of his way to get Mitchel into the pathways that would lead to his “dream (engineering) job” of a lead calibrator of a control module. Fortunately his boss was also a very Godly man and told him, “I suppose some jobs we just can’t compete with.”
The last few weeks at GM were crazy busy. There was a replacement for Mitchel to train, last meals with co-workers to be had, transferring of files and rights to be accomplished, and a group send off picnic scheduled. They even made a trophy for Mitchel out of one of the contactors (the part he worked on in car) that had been broken. It was labeled to him as “Thanks for fixin’ the worst contactors and the best butts.” Mitchel had become renown for bringing in smoked Boston Butt from time to time.
While the work at GM was cool, it will be by far the relationships with his coworkers Mitchel will miss the most. There is just something about relying on your friends to make the car work and survive when it is -40 degrees in Kapuskasing or 127 in Death Valley that brings you close together. However, we knew that cars would continue to be developed with or without Mitchel. We knew that we would form close relationships no matter where we called home. We knew that if we did not move to Peru, then perhaps someone may never hear the good news.
Last day with our friends and family in Michigan:
While Mitchel was at work performing his exit interview with General Motors, Rachel was able to see her sweetest friend, Anna (who will be having her second son at the end of this month!!!) at one of their special places, the Sweet Afton Tea Room! We couldn’t think of a better way of saying “goodbye for now” than a tea party! (Note: Adam and her 2 year old son, Carter, are also going to be missed… I just didn’t grab a picture 🙂 )
After Mitchel was able to come home, now completely jobless, we were so blessed to spend a few hours with our second family in Michigan. There are no words to describe how much the Nall family means to us! They have walked with us side-by-side through the mountains and valleys of our trying to reach our goal of becoming full-time foreign missionaries! They will be so missed!
We are also going to miss our amazing Church family who support us emotionally, spiritually, financially in our mission effort, and physically (when we needed someone to come pull us out of a snow bank in the middle of winter! – cough, Duane, cough). And finally, we are going to miss Mitchel’s work friends, the Tennessee expats in Michigan, and Rachel’s Wednesday Bible Study ladies! Thank you so much for everything you have done with us and for us! We love you!!!
Last day in our house!!
It only took five total trips to get everything moved to Tennessee. Rachel’s dad came and “visited” us a few times with their family trailer, but eventually we decided to bite the bullet and rent a big Penske truck to make one last trip to Tennessee. Thanks to all of the church members in Michigan, Mitchel’s parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers-in-laws, Jacob and Amy England, Rachel’s parents, and Rachel’s sister that helped us get packed up and settled once again.
We have proven ourselves Millennials… We have moved back in with our parents! TEMPORARILY!!!!
Mitchel and Rachel Routh