Thank you so much for your care and concern for us over the past seven weeks. What an incredible privilege to see the length and breadth of this beautiful country! As you know, however, sightseeing was not the only goal.
PRAISE the Lord that almost every supporter we have out west we were able to see and thank in person. There were several individuals we were unable to contact by phone ahead of time, yet when we stopped by their house it “just happened” to have been the only day that week they were available.
PRAY that we could be more diligent and creative in finding ways to stay connected with people across the miles. Because of the long distances we were driving, we found that visiting usually had to be limited to churches, family and individual supporters; there was not as much time as we had hoped for seeing other friends. It has been a full four years since we were last in our home areas (and twelve years in the Pacific northwest); at times we felt the lost years keenly.
PRAISE the Lord for times with family. We got to spend Father’s Day holiday with Ken’s parents and speak at their church in Little Rock, and Christina’s birthday was celebrated with other relatives. Although Andrea’s parents have been out to visit us once a year, it has been four years since we brought our children out to see them and her grandmother.
PRAISE the Lord for safety and help. Ken averaged over a thousand miles of driving each week (sometimes through the night) without any accident, and gifts from places we spoke covered most of the gas expenses. We did need one car repair as we got into California; initially, the mechanics were concerned it could have damaged the transmission (but it didn’t). Numerous people, some known, some unknown, put us up for one or two nights apiece so that we did not have to book hotel rooms. Sarah broke her arm just 1½ days before we were planning to get home; we were thankful for our hosts who helped with the other kids while we were in the ER.
PRAISE the Lord for the teens we met who expressed interest in attending the Bible College. We are always excited to see young people who are serious about serving God full-time and wanting to make a difference in the lives of people around them. PRAY for their finances, goals, and assurance of where God is leading them.
PRAISE the Lord for provision. Two donors offered to raise our support slightly. And weekend side jobs were available to Ken as soon as we returned to Jackson. PRAY that we would be wise stewards of the funds and opportunities available to us. Like most stateside missionaries, our income is significantly less than our mission’s recommended support level.
PRAY for New Tribes Bible Institute students and staff. New and returning students are confirming the finances they need for next semester. Maintenance crews are finishing up major electrical and fire safety upgrades to the building before students return mid-August. Next month, Ken will be teaching a series at church on discipleship. His studies have reminded us to most of all pray that we would be actively and compassionately sharing the Lord and His Word with people around us; that is why each of us, staff and student alike, are here. But it is all too easy to get so caught up in the “have-to”s of life (and even “ministry”) that intentional evangelism, prayer, and discipleship can be sidelined.