This collage tells a story that tweaks at our heartstrings as we remember the journey we have traveled over the past year. The picture in the top right was taken in March 2016 during our aviation training in Arizona. I (Carol) was four weeks pregnant, and we had just been told by our leadership at NTMA that we would be headed to Asia-Pacific. Our plan had been to arrive on the field in November 2016, but suddenly and unexpectedly, we were due to have a new baby at that very time! Though the past two years had been fraught with the sorrow of three miscarriages, and we longed to have another child, we still wondered why God chose that particular time to bless us with the gift we had prayed for so long.
In June 2016, we finalized the difficult decision to move to Asia-Pacific before the baby was born, setting a target date of early August. The picture in the bottom right corner was taken in the throes of our preparation for an international move. It was a whirlwind two months, including a “last chance” Kresge family vacation, countless shopping trips and Amazon orders to fill luggage with items we would need overseas, paperwork, paperwork (did I mention paperwork?), and even a couple of fundraiser/farewell parties during our last two weeks. Through it all, God sustained and provided for us, and we felt so loved and encouraged as our friends and family pitched in to help in any ways they could.
At our lowest moment of discouragement, when we were wondering if we had made a horrible decision and would live to regret it, God encouraged us with unbelievable news: a family from Germany would be joining us in language/culture learning in Asia-Pacific, and they were also expecting their third child in November! Since our arrival, we have been entirely blessed to become friends with the Kellers, and Lina and I gave birth within four days of each other.
Our sweet third son was born in a neighboring city on November 29, 2016…15 days past his due date! He is currently in the process of becoming an American citizen, but again, God has been faithful in preserving health during this time, and there has been no cause to worry over our inability to travel outside the country with him at this point. He is a daily joy, and he opens up doors of friendship and communication that we never could have experienced without him.
We continue to press on in language learning, though our days are often colored by humiliation and frustration over our inability to communicate well. It is during those discouraging moments that it is so refreshing to reflect on the clear direction and unending faithfulness of the Lord as He has brought us to this place for His good purpose. As we name our blessings one-by-one, it is evident that God has done great things. All for the sake of HIS Name!