Catching You Up To Speed
To be honest, it’s really hard to know where to begin. It has been FOREVER since I have updated our blog. I feel like our lives have literally been turned upside down since our last post.
Has it already almost 2 years?!?
So for those of you who haven’t been tracking with us, we were among the many who packed up and left their places of ministry in a matter of days due to the COVID19 pandemic. Our visas were running out in Tanzania and we had already made plans to leave (as acquiring another visa was not a possibility) the country and return back to the States on May 1st, 2020 but all of that was expedited as soon as we learned how quickly the world was shutting down. We had 5 days to pack, say goodbyes and give away all everything in our home that did not fit into our 12 pieces of luggage.
It was wild. To say the least.
To be honest, I look back and wonder how we even survived those days.
Of course I really do know how. It was my Father’s amazing grace and care. He had every detail covered. He arranged it all. And He caught every tear of mine in the process.
I knew leaving would be hard. I fought the Lord a lot on this before we even came to the conclusion that He was leading us away from Tanzania. But then add on top of that leaving a month and a half early in crisis-mode. Extra hard.
So here I sit a year and a half later. And it’s still hard. My heart still breaks when I see a picture of Tanzania or when a memory flashes back in my mind. I keep asking the Lord when the ache in my heart will lessen. I wonder when people are going to start tiring of hearing me talk about this pain.
Have you ever experienced the death of a dream? Have your plans ever crashed and burned in front of you? Have you ever been disappointed in the outcome of something? In God? – Ouch. It certainly takes some time to get used to new realities. To be okay with the fact that God’s plans can be very different than ours. That His ways are higher and better – especially when they don’t feel higher and better at the time.
I’ve been amazed at the care and patience He has showed me in this process since our return to the States in Late March 2020. He can take my honesty, my frustration and my disappointment.
He’s doing something in it all. I’m sure of that.
So Now What?
Well, we are now serving at Ethnos360 Training, our organization’s 2 year missionary training center in Missouri. They had a need here on campus for an Office Manager for the Building, Grounds and Maintenance team and Chandler has giftings in being organized and detail oriented. We also knew the Lord had also given us 3+ years of experience on the field and we trusted He would use that as we live on campus and interacted with students. The campus childcare, where all the student’s kiddos go when their parents are in classes, also always has a need for more help so that’s where I was able to plug in during our first year on campus. We both have various other ministries/small groups we’ve joined/been a part of as well.
Our favorite part of serving here has definitely been living in community with both students and staff. I guess you could say that all the community living we experienced in Tanzania really prepared us well for where we are now. Kids are constantly coming in and out of our doors – needing itchy cream, iced water, books to read or a bandaid. Moms and dads flock the playground beside our house in the evenings and it’s there that life happens – conversations happen. Many families have circled around our table for shared meals and stories of life and we never grow tired of hearing peoples hearts. It’s neat to have the privilege to rub shoulders with so many who have either served on the field or are on their way.
Our Hearts Desire
Although we are confident this is where God has us for now, our hearts still beat strongly for the Nations – to be out among the Nations. We’ve had a few opportunities that we’ve prayed about, but at the end of the day, they weren’t what the Lord had for our family. If I am honest I struggled with wondering why He would even bring those opportunities our way if in the end it wasn’t what He wanted. But I know deep down that it was our hearts that He really wanted. He wanted us to desperately seek Him. Not for what He could do for us, but rather for who He is. So here we wait, learning to seek Him for who He is – asking Him to be our hearts desire – and still trusting that in HIS timing He will show us what’s next. And in the meantime we will serve, we will love, we will give out bandaids and cups of iced water, we will chat at the playground and we will share meals around our table. May we not say that the hand He has given us is less, because with Jesus, what He gives is always more.
Looking forward to keeping up with the blog that I’ve finally broken the silence! Thanks for taking the time to read.
Together Making Jesus Known,
Jamie (for the Sharpes)