Last month, three other missionaries and I traveled to Las Moras on a work team. This was the first return for anyone from our family since we left in June of 2021. After leaving, mold needed only a few months to take over our mountain house (rain and termites made appearances, too!) – and even our former coworkers’ best efforts could only limit the damage so far. A full cleanup-and-prevention crew is needed to truly restore the house… however, all of our family’s belongings would have greatly hindered their work. Our team, therefore, had a straightforward goal: pack everything up, and bring what we could back to Chihuahua.
During four workdays, we accomplished more than I thought possible. Going through the contents of both house and shed, we set aside as garbage everything damaged beyond recovery, expired, impractical to clean, or no longer useful. Other things – no longer needed, or too challenging to transport – required a series of difficult decisions. Some of these we left for sale; the rest we donated to the missionary team and Nahuatl church. Everything that still remained we either loaded into our two trucks, or left packed in a surprisingly limited stack of totes and boxes. Until brought down in another trip, they can be quickly shifted at need.
In short: our trip was successful! The house and its remaining contents are ready for the needed cleanup crew – which will need to first remove the remaining mold, and then effect a thorough plan to prevent its return. Since leaving the Nahuatl team, Amy and I have hoped to see the Lord still use that house to benefit the church in Las Moras… potentially as the home for another family someday joining the missionary team. Our work was necessary to make that possible, and it is good to have seen it accomplished.
While this trip closed the door well on one chapter of life and ministry, we also see God using it to open another. A particular encouragement from this week and a half journey was its relational impact: getting to know the three guys working with me more deeply, reconnecting well with Rachel and Katie, and conversing with several friends and neighbors from the village who made time to come visit. We see ways to keep supporting the Nahuatl church and missionary team from our new support roles – goals which remain very close to our hearts – and so, Lord willing, our family looks forward to seeing how we can lend a hand in the future.
Going back to the village after the last two years was personally challenging, and my absence was just as hard for the rest of my family. After weeks of hard preparatory work together, my departure left Amy single-parenting for nine days… with several unexpected challenges arising during my absence! We all anticipated my return home, and have been grateful to be reunited. Unloading the two trucks went quickly, yet Amy and I have needed three weeks to almost finish the long, tedious job of mold cleanup – spaced out around other life and ministry responsibilities. It has been slow work, but rewarding – most things are not badly damaged, and end up useful for our family once again.
With the work team behind us, it is time to consider our next steps. God blessed our first year back in Chihuahua, teaching and growing us while reminding us what rest in Him looks like during a season of busy, fruitful ministry. After much prayer and consideration – and good feedback from our coworkers and field leaders – our family’s desire is to remain serving here in Mexico, continuing to support church planting teams among this country’s least-reached people groups. Our next step in that direction will be face-to-face meetings with our support team at Peaceful Valley Church… so once more we are preparing for a road trip, and hope to see many of you during a short summer home assignment in Washington!
This summer will permit us a couple months’ time Stateside, and a long-awaited chance to reconnect with our partners. Our recent time up north has focused on medical needs, so a more ‘normal’ – if abbreviated! – furlough is a refreshing change. It will be so good to share how God worked during our two years in Las Moras, the challenging transition out of the village, and this constructive first year back in Chihuahua. We also have much to share about the year to come. My role in IT will impact support and remote workers alike, and another class at Binimea will build my classroom teaching experience while helping cover for traveling teachers. Beyond that, several new potential roles lay before us – we are excited to discuss them with you, and see how God fits us into the field’s long term needs. Look for a short update soon with info on the church visits and open houses we are currently planning!
Finally, we also hope to see the Lord build our monthly support this summer. The field-recommended level has increased since our 2014 arrival, reflecting higher costs here in Mexico. Inflation plays its part, and the US dollar has also lost 13-15% of its value over the past year compared to the Mexican peso… meaning that our support in dollars doesn’t go as far here as it once did. As well, new family dietary restrictions also add notably to our expenses (and prep time). While thanking God for continuing to meet our needs – and for an ideal place from which to work out health questions – we ask you to pray with us that He grow our support to offset these additional costs. If you know of opportunities where we could share this summer, please let us know!
- Our kids’ MK school needs a third and fourth grade teacher for the 2023-2024 school year! Read the school’s SOS flyer here, or open a printable PDF version here. Please help us find a great missionary teacher: pass word to anyone you know who might consider coming!
- For a great transition and settling-in year in Chihuahua.
- For the privilege to serve in IT and as a math teacher this year, and to see ways God has thereby blessed others.
- For both re-established relationships and new ones in this community, especially for Amy.
- For how the kids have done here, adjusting well to another change and enjoying the school year.
- For everything God did through my trip to Las Moras in April.
How to Pray:
- For the Nahuatl believers, and the teens in particular, who face persecution within the community for following Jesus. Pray that each finds peace and courage in the Lord.
- For God to arrange our time this summer to His glory – helping us do all He has planned, especially when we don’t have as much opportunity to plan as we prefer!
- For God to provide the needs He knows better than we do – in prayer and encouragement as well as finances.
- For ongoing health questions our family is asking – in particular, allergy and dietary issues that cause rashes and stomach pain. Pray for help discerning what we should do, and ultimately for God to provide both comfort and healing.
- For wisdom as we consider future ministry options, and seek to discern how God is leading as we move forward in His service.