Anyone else feel like while 2020 went very slowly, 2021 has been trying to do double time to make up for it?
I know that March was just 3 months ago, and maybe it seems like this BECAUSE WE’RE in the, “Hurry up and wait mode.” But it just seems like I’ve had so much to save for this update.
Well, doggone it! It’s June! I get to tell you all how awesome it has been to see God keep working!
You guys! We made it! The 75% goal has been met and exceeded. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re done with partnership development, by any means! That is an ongoing necessity (and new found, joy!) of ministry together, but it means that as soon as we’ve got medical clearance to move over to the consolidated school, we’re going! And honestly, that accomplishment is really more on you guys than it is on us! AND it’s REALLY about what YOU guys have been willing to trust God to do with you, through us, for His glory! Many of you have embraced the role of advocate and have invited us to share with your small groups, friends, family and even entire church congregations! Your generosity has been staggering. Many of you have humbled us with unexpected gifts, which we could never have imagined receiving.
Now, over my years (it makes me sound extra old, but…) I’ve observed that numbers are a funny thing for many relationship-oriented people to talk about. Conversely, I’ve noticed that relationships are a funny thing for many metric (or task-oriented) people to talk about. So, it really doesn’t matter which conversation is more uncomfortable for you to have, you just get to wade into uncomfortable, with Jesus, and trust that He is willing and wanting to teach you something important about Himself! That’s what we’ve enjoyed while we’ve been re-learning partnership in ministry for the last 12 months!
Ethnos360 Bible Institute, in Waukesha, is filling up! The next freshman class has 112 students already accepted! This is great news, and we’d love to see 2x that number registered for classes. I don’t know where we’d put them but wouldn’t that be the best problem to have?! Our co-workers already there are busy getting the campus ready for the influx in August. We keep getting emails about campus workdays and Student Leader training and it just adds energy to the desire to get there!
Alumni Coaching keeps calling our name! We are super stoked to “open up shop” at the EBI campus. This ministry has been running in the background. There have been a few people that have been able to dedicate the time and energy to coordinating the effort to help Training Center candidates connected with trainers while they are just beginning to focus on the local church connection that will keep them in ministry over the long haul. So many things for us to teach and learn!
Through our (yours, too!) ministry at the bible school over the years, you guys have been part of the training for some awesome students. There really isn’t enough time or space in an update to list them all, but your prayer and financial support, your gifts of time and service have not been eternally wasted. Kaje, Dem, Isnag, Nahuatl, Pei just to name a few of the people groups that have been introduced to The Redeemer thought the lives of students that are fruits of our cooperative ministry! Seriously, if this isn’t enough detail to get you a little excited about what the Bible says will be happening into eternity, let me know. I will happily come share stories with you and as many friends as you can pull together! God has been, is currently, and has promised in His Word to continue providing for ministers of His message of reconciliation in ways that will blow your plain Christianity out of the water!
While it appears that we dodged Covid (or at least a debilitating infection of it!) 2020 did NOT leave us physically (or mentally?) unscathed.
5/6 of our kids were enrolled in school this year. They had great teachers, who deserve all the thanks and raises they can be given. Our oldest graduated from HS (tears, so many tears!) We also had 8th grade graduation from an excellent charter program (more tears!) And we also had a Kindergarten graduation (definitely more laughs than tears!) And not to be outdone, we also had two more that “just” wrapped up one of the weirdest school years that I can remember. Each one of them had a different last day of school. But, NONE of them got left at school, unintentionally!
We also had orthodontist visits and ER visits and eye injections and other internal discoveries of the effects of sin on the human condition. I have a doctor (friend, maybe?) that liked to remind me that when I turned 40, I should just expect things to quit working. I’d love to tell you that we also dodged that maxim, but Tamara and I both have at least one pair of reading glasses nearby…
Tamara and I also have been noticing the frailty of these old, “jars of clay” a little more as of late. Tamara’s multiple c-section births (and other ensuing medical adventures!) have left damage and scarring that we’re still trying to understand how to best care for. Many of you already know of the first round of cancer that I dealt with in 2018. Things have gone well with that, and this year marks 3 years of clear “lower pelvic” scans. However, when they did their CT scan back in April, the lesion in my kidney was officially big enough to be concerned about. We’ve had a flurry of new doctor appointments, made friends with new departments at the U of M, and reacquainted ourselves with the beautiful drive to Chelsea. If you’re interested in more details, I’m happy to share, but I don’t want to bore you… This Friday morning, June 18th, I get to spend about 3 hours completely sedated with my newest robot friend DaVinci and its highly acclaimed operator, Dr. Weizer. He will hopefully be robotically, laparoscopically, and very skillfully removing the offensive 2.2 x 2.1 x 1.9 cm Bosniak 4 type cyst on my left kidney. Dr. Weizer believes that he’ll only need to take the part that is no good anymore and we’ll be able to let the rest continue on its merry way. This seems like an agreeable outcome to me.
We’re only pretending like all of this isn’t a really big deal, and that we’re not just about to scream or cry because there has just been “A LOT of feels” as we also work through a major move and ministry transition. But at the same time, we are resting in the gracious truth that our heavenly Father absolutely has all the details under control. We do know that! We also are surrounded, quite literally, by caring family and church family that have made it abundantly clear that if we come up with something that they can help with and DO NOT ask, we will be in trouble. These are just the beginnings of why we are really going to miss our church family and all the friends we’ve made over the 20+ years living in Jackson…