The saying goes that a doctor is his own worse patient. Well, similarly, it’s a little ironic that one of my (Jessica’s) new roles is that of Media Manager for our field of Integral Vision in Southeast Africa and I forgot that we, as a couple, even have a blog. Michael reminded me of it and here I am to update everyone on the many, many changes that God has brought into our lives during the last several years.
I looked back at our blog before starting this post and see that the last one was made at the end of 2019. Well, there’s a good reason for it. Our lives, along with many others in the world, got turned upside down when the pandemic hit. Our newsletters detailed what happened in early 2020 concerning the pandemic and the loss of our Tanzanian work permits so I won’t go into it here. We ended up leaving Tanzania in March of 2020 and landed in Missouri where our oldest daughter and her husband were living.
We have since started working as itinerant missionaries (someone who works in one place but lives in another) based out of Missouri but working for Integral Vision in Southeast Africa. My roles transitioned to that of being an editor as well as the Media Manager for our field. Michael continues with what he’s been doing (Culture and Language Consultant, Consultant Trainer, Finances, and a few other things) but sometimes it looks a little different than it used to. When travel opened again Michael began to make trips to Africa and just this year, I was able to join him.
We made a trip to Asia and Africa early in the year and then the beginning of June kicked off a marathon trip for us when we attended a workshop called Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills. The workshop focused on improving our communication skills, which we found especially helpful in our personal lives as well as in ministry.
A common saying is that skills are best learned when put into practice. We took this to heart and traveled right after the workshop to attend leadership meetings in South Africa as well as a visit to a new team in Central Africa.
One of the skills we brushed up on and are growing in is that of being able to come alongside missionaries and be a listening ear as well as offer practical advice if that’s what’s needed. When we were in Central Africa, we were able to do that with a new team which currently consists of a family and a single lady. Life is not easy there as poverty and corruption abound and just living takes a lot more energy than we are used to in the Western world. It was good to spend time with this team so we could understand their reality better and be more effective in the advice we give.
We wear a lot of hats and one of them is that of helping missionaries with their culture/ language learning program. Michael and I took turns sitting in on this team’s language sessions to see how they did things as well as orienting them to tools they can use to help them reach their goals. It was encouraging to see how far they’ve come despite the challenges they’ve faced since arriving.
A highlight during this time was meeting Gloria in Central Africa. She showed us African hospitality when she hosted us for a traditional meal. This meant a lot to us and made us feel very welcome and cared for.
Another highlight of our time was reconnecting with old friends from Mozambique, Benidito and Natalia. (insert picture) They’ve recently joined our organization in Mozambique and are key to helping some of our new members get connected with a local Mozambican church and find housing near that church.
The goal of these connections is to learn from the local church and eventually be able to partner with them in reaching a nearby people group that is so far unreached with the gospel.
After we returned from Africa, we began to travel around North America and are currently on a hybrid home assignment as well as continuing our normal work, which has been challenging at times but very rewarding. We’ve made many great new connections as well as renewed old ones and are scheduled to arrive home in Missouri in mid-September.