Missing in Action. Yes. Guilty. We could use many excuses of our lack of updates and how MONTHS have passed with out so much as a word on our blog. Sorry for that. The truth? We started many posts that we never finished. We either couldn’t find the words or life got busy. Also God has been speaking to our hearts and it’s been hard to put it into words until now. Please stay tuned in the coming weeks of more updates of our work here and our recent family road trip (those can be entertaining). So without further ado.. What’s been going on with us….
So as of Feb. 2015 we have been here one year. When we came we were open to this being a long-term venture. We had thoughts to go 2 years at a time, check in with God and see if we should stay further. I had already had been feeling a bit unsettled with the idea of this being long term. Bruce had his eyes on a business venture (starting a fish farm with potential aquaponics growing capabilities) to help sustain us if we decided to stay longer term. Some decisions needed to be made regarding this because of the finances that needed to be spent to get it up and running. However, after the first of the year God started speaking a lot of stuff to us about change and the future. When our family had a little vacation over Christmas Bruce and I had time to sit down and talk and pray and work through some thoughts and concerns and ideas about our future here in Tanzania. We had come to the conclusion that we would move forward with plans to stay until we felt God say stop. After our vacation we felt renewed and refreshed and ready to get back to the work in Tanzania.
Within weeks of being back both Bruce and I began to feel unsettled and really started having this strange feeling that God was trying to say something. We stopped and prayed and waited and both heard very clearly that we were not to move forward to plan for long term but we were only to finish out the last year of our commitment. We both felt instant peace about the decision although we were a bit shocked because we had just come to the conclusion that this possibly could be where we were to put roots down and raise our family. The thought of moving our family and starting over again was almost unbearable. We have really loved the work, the people and the culture here. It has no doubt been a struggle and a frustrating year at times but God has been so faithful and there have been so many beautiful and good times within the struggle.
For many years we have been asking God for a place to settle and raise our children. It’s now clear that this is not that place and Bruce has mentioned that honestly, if he had known that originally, we probably wouldn’t have come. But it was God’s plan to bring us here and since we have come to grips with the decision to leave, he has showed us his faithfulness in so many different ways. God is gentle and kind and works on us all differently. In the past months God has been speaking to Bruce more and more about this and reassuring him that the plan he has for us is good. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 Bruce and I have always tried to be present and live 100% wherever we are. I believe that is what God has called us to do.
The end of this May, Bruce and I have been married 11 years! In this time we have lived in 4 states in the US, and 4 foreign countries for 3 months or longer. To say we have had our share of adventure is an understatement. God has grown us immensely in these times but still we are longing to find that place where we can stop moving and watch our children grow.
So once again we are in that place of trusting. Our 2-year commitment is up this Feb. 2016 and we have been praying about our next step. Initially, after understanding we’re to leave Tanzania, Perth, Australia was on both of our hearts. As many of you know, I was trained at the YWAM (Youth With a Mission) base there. In fact, when we were training there Bruce had felt that maybe we would stay there long term, but then Tanzania came on the radar. So we both find it quite interesting that this is possibly where we are being led back to.
There are many opportunities at YWAM Perth to train medical missionaries, to teach, to lead and to disciple young people. These are all things God has been instilling a passion in us for. We have definitely seen how God has been leading us on a journey and preparing us for something like this. (click here to see opportunities)
Although at times living in the YWAM community as a family can be overwhelming and there are other organizations we could work with, we are just drawn to the heartbeat of what Youth With a Mission is and what they are about. YWAM’s motto is “To know God and make Him known”. They believe in championing young people and equipping them with biblical knowledge and tools to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel. YWAM Perth is doing this and doing it well and we desire to be a part of this mission. We also are loving that our family can still be a part of short-term third world medical missions which we love.
SO.. what does all this mean and when are we coming home to see you??
We finish our commitment here in Feb 2016. We plan to leave the 10th of Feb. to fly to Perth for 5 weeks. We have applied to be mission builders (temporary support service) just so we can be in and around the base and get a feel of how life is there now. Our older kids are excited to go and see the old playgrounds where they used to play and some of the people we used to know there.
Then we plan to come back to the States. We first stop in California and Portland, OR in order to visit some family that has recently moved. Then we will fly to the Midwest (after a pit stop in Washington State) around the beginning of April and will stay between Chicago and Michigan probably until around the end of June.
As we prepare and plan for our future we are prayerfully walking towards applying to be staff of the healthcare team at YWAM, Perth. The 5 weeks there should either solidify or negate this decision. We are unsure of what the future holds but we are feeling confident that these are the first steps of where God is leading us. We covet your prayers in this time of decision-making and transition.
As we are also transitioning in these next 7 months we also desire to stay faithful to the work God has called us to until Feb. 2016. We are pressing in daily for the grace and peace and opportunities until God moves us on. Please pray for our relationships, our clinical interactions, and for the opportunities for ministry that God lays before us. We are humbled by these opportunities. Our kids are excited about the next phase, but as we prepare to move yet another time with uncertainty, and as we prepare to leave the lovely friends and the home we have made here we also covet your prayers for our family.