As we look back at our time since leaving Brazil, we marvel at how quickly our time of home assignment, from June 2011 through July 2012, went by. It was a beneficial year of healing, rest, recuperation, and reconnecting with family and friends, for which we are thankful. Our physical and emotional state, and unforeseen circumstances (like the passing of John’s mom in March), did not allow us to reconnect with as many people as we wanted to, but we plan to continue doing that in the months to come. Our readjustment to the American culture and life in the States is ongoing and we recognize the fact that we may never feel totally “at home” here again after over 20 years of calling Brazil our home. This reminds us of where our citizenship truly lies and we look forward to our forever home in Heaven!
We are excited as we settle into the new ministry God has led us to here. We are fitting in with the staff here at New Tribes Mission’s Missionary Training Center at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, where we are helping train missionary candidates for serving overseas. The department we are working with is called Families in Ministry whose mission is “To equip families within their unique dynamics to be effective in ministry wherever that location may be.” We help prepare the missionary candidate families for many varied situations they may face overseas. Due to the many challenges of living overseas and dealing cross-culturally, missionary families encounter numerous extra stresses on a daily basis. When difficulties do arise, often the lack of help, resources, and being properly equipped simply become too overwhelming and can force them to leave the mission field. Our desire is to do all we can in equipping and providing help so these families can be healthy and succeed in the ministry that God has led them to.
On a more day-to-day basis, John has been assisting the department’s coordinator with things like class grades and next year’s budget, representing the department in meetings, setting up some online information, and it looks like he will be fitting into teaching some classes as well. Melanie is learning how to handle the finances for the department, which is new for her, but her love for math makes it kind of fun. She will also be finding other ways to fit in and help as needs arise. Please pray that we will be quick learners and ready and able to fit in to the niches God has for us here, and at the same time not become over committed to the many needs that arise.
We have another significant prayer request related to our new ministry. In order to be officially accepted on staff at the training center, we have been asked to have at least 60% of our recommended support. Having a minimum support level is something new that the mission is requesting. Currently we have about 55%, which is actually an increase from last year. As the semester began, we were told that we could go ahead and start functioning in our roles here on staff, but we have until December to meet this requirement of a 60% minimum. We are confident that God knows our every need and that He will be faithful to supply what we lack, just as He has been faithful to clearly lead us to this present ministry. Please pray with us that God would raise up more interested partners and that we will rest in His provision and plan for us.
We sure do appreciate your part in our ministry that God has given us. We couldn’t be involved in this work for all these years without you standing with us on the team. It is exciting to be a part of God’s work together to reach the unreached with the Gospel!