Life can be funny.
A decade ago, if you had asked me what our lives would be like, my answer probably would not have included words like Kenya, Haiti, missionary, or PTSD. And even five years ago my answer would have Kenya and missionary added to it, but without having Haiti at all on my radar. Here we are just over a decade in to this surreal life which God called us with some stories that show His presence, some that show His grace and mercy, some that seem impossible to believe, and some that give me a visual picture that leaves me in awe of His Creation.
In this decade we have moved 8 times. Sometimes those moves were ones we wanted (selling our house, leaving our apartment, downsizing our home in Kenya to save money, moving to Haiti) and sometimes those moves were because circumstances pushed us. In every decision, every house move, every step of the way, our one desire was to obey God's call and be in the center of His will. Sometimes it was hard to know and we sought counsel from pastoral friends and team leaders. We prayed and asked those who love us to pray for clarity alongside us. Sometimes God left us with choices: no right or wrong option.
In January we were feeling weary. Support raising has been a long road. It can be extremely discouraging. We had a Skype meeting with our team leader in Costa Rica and we were sharing our weariness and our concerns about the length of time it was taking to raise support and the age of our teen kids and how that move could affect their last years of high school. His advice was to set a date and pray about it; asking God to make it clear. If the money were to come in by that date, we move. If not, we stay. It seemed like a super simple thing, but we had never considered it. On that cold January afternoon we set the date to July 1 and the amount of peace we felt after making that decision was astounding. We knew it was right.
Many things happened in our lives between January and July; too many to mention here. But it was made very evident and clear to us that God had shut that door to Costa Rica and had opened a door to a different life ministry right where we are.
If you have supported us financially then you should have received a letter from ReachGlobal stating that we have resigned. July 1st came and our support wasn't raised. We have complete peace with this life change and ReachGlobal has been very supportive of us. We resigned on good terms and still believe in their organization and the work they do worldwide.
All of this to say that this will likely be our last newsletter. We are so thankful to those of you who have prayed for us especially in those times when we couldn't pray for ourselves. We are incredibly humbled by those of you who gave sacrificially to support our family all of these years - through 8 moves and country changes. And we are deeply blessed by those of you that we would have never met had we not been support raising and visiting your churches. Along the way we have made some wonderful friendships and have seen a wide and diverse reflection of the bride of Christ. Thank you for that wonderful and unexpected gift.
This chapter in our lives may have ended, but the relationships we made with all of you and with our friends in Kenya and Haiti, continue on. Our eyes have been opened to so many things. We see our culture and the world differently now. And even though we had times of struggle, fear, and tragedy, I wouldn't change it. (Truthfully, if God had told us at the beginning what it would be like I would have pulled a Jonah and walked away, but He knew we could never understand or see the big picture at the prologue).
If you only take one thing away from this newsletter, let it be this: support the spread of the gospel and support missionaries, especially ones you know. Pray for them, even when not asked. Send a short encouraging email or text. Financially give and invest in what they are doing. They are not on a vacation in a tropical land. They are fighting culture shock, malaria (and much worse diseases), spiritual warfare, loneliness, the inability to connect with nationals, language struggles, and many times, spiritual dry spells. Love them. Pray for them. When one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers. We are all one body!
Our accounts and emails with ReachGlobal are now closed but we can still be still reached at our personal Gmail accounts and on Facebook. We would love to hear from you! We are still in the process of following up with those of you who have already emailed us for updates and to check on us. Thank you for your patience. And thank you all for your support, prayers, and friendship. These are treasures for which we will always give thanks to God.