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Home Sweet Home: Augustana Band Members Arrive in Sioux Falls

The final group of Augustana Band members and Band leadership, known as the "Cleopatra" group, arrived in Sioux Falls Tuesday afternoon after spending more than 20 days in Egypt.

The Augustana Band departed for Egypt in early January for a 20-day five-concert tour.

Final Update from Rob Oliver, president of the College:

HOME! What a special place it is, and how wonderful it is to welcome our Egypt explorers back HOME! We praise God for the many blessings that made this possible, and can now once again breathe easier as a community.

Home is a place of love, warmth, security, and peace. Home is where we can relax in the company of those we care about, let our guard down, and be cozy and comfortable. Home is predictable, reliable, always there for us.

But … what would home be if we never left, never accepted the possibility of venturing into the unknown? Would we really understand how truly special home is, and why it allows us to find its comfort so nurturing? Would we begin to be critical of its imperfections, critical of those we share it with, less satisfied with ourselves, if we never left? Clearly we would know little of what is out there beyond the boundaries of our cozy den, and so be even more fearful of what and who is out there.

And so we take the risk to go, explore, discover, and learn about other places, other cultures, other peoples; to hear and know their stories. We make new friends; discover new foods, new songs, and new traditions. We grow in ways never imagined, and look forward to taking our new understandings back home, now less fearful of the horizon.

But what if one couldn't get home? What if one found the trail home uncertain, filled with barriers, vague and confounding? Anxiety displaces the excitement of the adventure, and makes home seem a very far and elusive destination. For those at home, a chasm of great distance and concern inserts itself into our consciousness; we ponder the wisdom of ever having let go.

HOME – Yes, now they are once again home. We praise God for all those who assisted our sojourners, who cleared the barriers and created their pathway home; those who confronted anxiety with calm demeanor, presence of mind, and commitment to the mission of the homecoming. We are grateful to all who were a part of this journey, and all who waited for the return of loved ones – those who kept HOME ready for their return.

Our prayer also turns to those left behind, those for whom Egypt is home. Those who started out as strangers have become new friends. We pray that in the midst of the disruption and chaos, they might find peace, justice, dignity, and love – HOME.