We want to take this chance to explain a change in our ministry that’s taken place over the past few months. This will help you understand why we’ve been as quiet as we have been.
Much of the past three years serving with Equip Asia was a form-fitted ministry for both Bethany and me, one in which both of us found our skills and abilities utilized to the fullest. We had the chance to be a part of a really special thing as the Lord built Equip Asia and increasingly brought new students each term. For many moments, it was a dream come true! It was a way for us to be good stewards of the knowledge, the experiences (of failure and success in cross-cultural ministry), and the perspectives of more than 75 years in ministry as NTM and Ethnos360. We had the chance to be good stewards of all of that for the global church!
Over these three years as well, God allowed us to experience the hardest times of our now 20 years of marriage. Like you all, we faced a global pandemic while two in our family were “high risk” for serious complications. We were drawn into some agonizing conflicts that are ongoing. We endured three painful and tiring years of intense caregiving in our home for Bethany’s Mom (Lynn), while actively parenting three teenage children. We experienced sharp ups and downs in our financial support along with a host of large and completely unexpected events that have left us in significant debt (medical emergencies, unexpected tax bills, home appliances that quit unexpectedly, etc). These happened while we were also dealing with the ongoing and still not settled fight with Medicaid to cover the expenses of Lynn’s Assisted Living Costs. We also found ourselves looking for a new local church to be a part of after the pandemic settled down. We were a part of a house church for a little over a year and now have found a new local church home. We are so grateful for that source of light in our lives right now.
Shortly after we returned from our trip to Missouri in June we had some realizations that led us to conclude, with the counsel of others, that our time serving with the Equip Asia team was coming to an end. The Lord had already been putting desires on my (Joel’s) heart to pursue a role that would allow me to serve our wider global missions community in the area of media and communications and we knew that with Kate starting to hybrid homeschool, she was going to need much more support as a homeschooled student. We also realized that Bethany needed to pursue some side-jobs and employment to supplement our very tight financial state.
So, for now, I’ve had my new ministry role approved and am making strides at getting an audio and video studio setup here in Sanford as well as beginning to make many plans for upcoming projects both here and abroad. I’ll be able to use both the experience I gained working with the Communications team for 8 years as well as the newfound skills in videography and media production to serve many different teams in what we call the “Global Partners” family (all related to Ethnos360).
Bethany is also off to the races, so to speak, helping to homeschool Owen and Kate, working several small jobs on the side, all while keeping our incredibly busy household sane and well organized. It’s a different scene for sure after the last three years, but there are some blessings that come from it.
We covet your prayers as we adjust to all this in the middle of continuing to hurt from many other circumstances we can’t mention here. We are more aware of our fragility now than ever before and we crave a season of rest and removal from so much trial. When and if that will happen is not in our power to bring to pass, but we know that God knows our needs and will supply his grace to continue to persevere in trials if he chooses not to remove the trials.
Thanks for praying, encouraging and financially supporting us as we continue to serve in making sure every last people group has access to the Gospel in their heart language. This is the goal that is ever before us and it is what motivates us to keep going.