“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Is.26:3
Since our last update, which detailed some of the upside-down-ness of us returning from PNG and joining the rest of the world in this craziness that is now called normal, we embarked on a summer rollercoaster that just now seems to be slowing down! We have MUCH to be grateful for! But I will be honest, there were some tired stress tears on my part as we tried to navigate the details of settling into this country. For several weeks there were so many unknowns (where would the kids go to school, what would we drive, would we be able to share about the ministry, and one minor question that was unknown for quite a while- where would we live?). These, and many other details were a heavy load that we woke up with each morning until we consciously, intentionally, and sometimes moment by moment could declare our trust in the Lord’s will and His perfect timing! Can I just say that I have new found gratitude for the every-day miracle of peace? I do marvel that God lovingly held us together, kept us sane (somewhat!), and enabled us to function in such a weird transition. MANY of you were praying for us! MANY of you reached out and gave extra financial gifts! Family was gracious and allowed us to overtake their home for many more weeks than anticipated! Our hearts are full of thankfulness as we reflect on the Lord’s provisions through His people! There are probably many questions on your mind, so I will attempt to answer what I think you’re thinking, but if I miss anything, feel free to shoot me an email!
How are things in Dinangat? While we do not have direct communication with the elders in the tribe, our coworkers, the Smith’s who are still in PNG are able to talk with them and keep us updated. We were so excited to hear that the church has begun a new youth outreach in T village! (with apologies, safety policies restrict me from writing specific village names.) Would you please pray for the teachers and young people as they embark on this journey together! Please pray that hearts would be softened and challenged by the Word, and that our teachers would walk closely with Him and teach and lead with His strength and grace?
We also learned that one of our Bible teachers has been an antagonist in a conflict regarding his pigs. This is a common but very frustrating issue among villages in PNG, and sadly this teacher is struggling to act in a manner that glorifies the Lord. The elders have wisely asked him to step down from his teaching position at this time. Please pray for this teacher and the other man in the conflict, also a believer! Our hearts long for the village to see Christ not just through the teaching, but by the love the believers have for one another! Pray also for wisdom and grace for the church leaders.
Unfortunately, our co-workers, the Schlegels, have been delayed in returning to PNG from their home assignment in Germany because of the major impact of covid19 both on travel and our mk school in PNG. They were super disappointed to not be able to go back, but will continue to work on translation and soak up extra time with their graduated daughters while they wait to return, Lord willing, in January. Our other coworkers, the Smith’s are in PNG right now. They have a lot on their plate and we would be so grateful if you would lift them up in prayer as well.
Where have you been, and where are you now? You may remember that we were allowed to quarantine in the parsonage of First Baptist Church in Augusta, KS, when we first returned to the States. While we intended to ultimately move to MI for the school year, finding accommodations proved far more difficult than we’d anticipated. Thankfully, the same church in Augusta offered to let us live in the parsonage for the duration of our home assignment! So after living out of suitcases and traveling for 4 months, we are finally unpacked and settled in Augusta KS! Though not what we expected, we are grateful to be ‘home’, and truly looking forward to plugging in to this church and the community! We were able to see a lot of our family over the summer, making special memories seeing nieces, nephews, siblings and parents. God is so good and we cherish those days! We were also able to spend 4 weeks with our home church in Albion, MI. It was such a blessing to see how the Lord is using this unique era to draw people to Himself! They were also a blessing to us as many reached out to help us with our extra needs during this time.
Another huge blessing was that Alayna and Judah were able to attend retreats specifically tailored for TCK’s (third culture kids). They both had an amazing time getting to hang out with a very special group of kids- Americans who have grown up all over the world. It’s amazing how quickly TCK’s bond, they understand one another’s stories and experiences in ways that they each can relate to. And the amazing staff, most of them TCK’s themselves, provided incredible insight, teaching and encouragement pertaining to re-entering their passport country after having been gone for so long. It’s a more delicate transition than most give it credit for, and this retreat was so beneficial to helping them navigate these waters, as well as providing them instant friends in their “new” home. We are so grateful!
What are the kids up to? One of the blessings of being back in KS is that Alayna is able to attend 8th grade at the same Christian school she attended on our last home assignment! Granted, a lot changes in 4 years, but there are some familiar faces for sure! She decided to join the cross country team, and we are looking forward to cheering her on in her first meet tomorrow! But please keep her in your prayers as she greatly misses PNG and her friends there.
Judah is happily checked in at the Ethnos360 Bible School in Waukesha, WI! We are thankful that they are able to attend class in person, and the staff is taking every precaution so they can to remain so! Please pray for him as he adjusts to life in the States, life independent of his family, and seeks work to be able to pay for his school bills. A lot of changes for him! Pray that he would cling to Lord and dig into His Word and find his grounding in Him! If you would like to send him a note of encouragement, please feel free! His address is Judah Markley, 915 N. Hartwell, Waukesha, WI, 53186.
Jordan has exciting news, have you heard? He and his girlfriend, Sarah Lueck, joined us for the most wonderful family vacation ever. And on the last day of this vacation at the beach, Jordan got down on his knee and proposed to this amazing young lady! We are so excited for these two! Sarah is a beautiful, incredible follower of Christ with a sweet spirit, easy going attitude and a quick laugh. If you meet her, you will be blessed! The wedding is set for October 24th (next month!) and I cannot tell you how grateful we are to be able to be here and be a small part of the planning process! This is huge for our family! Sarah lives in Nebraska with her family, and Jordan was able to get a part time grounds job (that came with a house!) at a Bible camp about 30 minutes away. The two plan on spending a year in NE and then going into the next phase of missionary training in Missouri.
So what’s next for us? As you would expect, this is not going to be a typical home assignment. Mid- September will find us speaking in our first ever Zoom Missions Conference- there’s got to be a fun word play zinger with that, right? We will be sharing updates with most of our local supporting churches in person, but a lot of distance traveling will likely be next summer. God has been doing great things in all of Papua New Guinea, and we are excited to get to share those things with you! In the mean- time, we are both looking into finding other part time work to help with the major expenses of this year. And as we plug into our local church and community, please pray that we would bring glory to God in all that we say and do!
Thank you for your part in standing with us! We are so grateful to serve with you on the global team reaching the least reached!