By Van and Janet Vandagriff
In our 45+ years of marriage, our family has moved
many times, but two of those moves were especially significant: In 1965,
we moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Malawi in southeast Africa forthree
years; and in 1976, we moved to Ann Arbor to be a part of the Word of
The culture in Africa put us in a situation that
unified us as a family, so that we came into community life in Ann Arbor
as a “unit.” Our commitment to one another as family expanded
and grew to become a broader commitment to our brothers and sisters in
community. From being a family unit amidst a new and different culture
in Africa, we found ourselves becoming part of a bulwark that involved
not only our family and our brothers and sisters, but others who were just
coming into community life.
Through the teachings of the community and through
serving others, we have experienced ourselves becoming stronger as individuals,
as a family, as members of Washtenaw Covenant Community, and as
a part of a bulwark for others. And it has been a source of great
joy for us to watch our family plunge enthusiastically into community life!
There is so much strength to be gained from living
one’s daily life with other committed Christians.
But there is extraordinary strength to be had
from knowing that we – our children and their spouses – our grandchildren
– and, in our case, our great grandchildren – are living out the Christian
life precisely where God wants us to be!