Happy New Year!!
Here we are, the last day of 2016!! What a year, huh?! For us, the year has been filled with a range of emotions. The symbolism does not go unnoticed as we spend this last day of 2016 packing up our house, ready to begin a new chapter and season at the Missionary Training Center in Missouri. As we pack boxes and sort things to give and things to keep, we are also sorting through the nine years of life and ministry in Asia Pacific that are about to come to a close. At times, we wish it was as simple as “Out with the old, in with the new.” Selfishly, I wish a ball could slowly drop somewhere tonight signaling an easy, celebration-filled transition from one year, one life, one season to another.
But as God so faithfully reminds us, time is a necessary force in adjustment. In transition. In growth. While pouring my heart out to God in my journal this morning, I wrote:
A year ago, on January 1st, 2016, we found ourselves living life in Asia Pacific, without answers to Shad’s increasingly troublesome epilepsy symptoms. We’d hoped that at years end, surely we’d have answers. God would have worked out all the details and we’d be back to serving in our corner of the world, free from medical concerns and stocked up with enough medication to keep it that way. Surely we’d look back on 2016 amazed that we’d even worried about Shad’s health. Surely God would provide as He always had. Surely He’d do what it takes to keep us in this ministry that He’d placed us in. As far as we could tell, there was no one else who would take our place. Not that we were irreplaceable, just that there was no one else available to step in to where we were. We had the language, the relationships, the experience to serve in our role. Wouldn’t it be easiest for God to just meet our need and keep us there? Wouldn’t that make the most sense?
And here we are. The last day of 2016 and God had other plans. He did not provide in the ways we expected. He did not sweep in and heal Shad. He did not give easy answers in the US. He did not give us the option to return to our beloved ministry and life in Asia Pacific. What He did do was give direction. Give peace. Open another opportunity for service and ministry on this side of the globe.
He also reminded me of His promises as we move forward:
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13
He has not left me alone. He holds my hand. He speaks to my trembling heart, assuring me of His help. His command to fear not reminds me that He is in control, not me.
“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Psalm 61:2,3
Yes, even when my heart is overwhelmed, He is my rock. He is my shelter, my strong tower above all that happens around me. Though all else may change, He remains steady, strong, and sovereign.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6
It’s in acknowledging Him, who He is, what He does, that I find true wisdom and direction. He directs my paths as I seek and acknowledge His sovereignty and His goodness in all that touches my life.
We’ve got lots to learn going forward into 2017!! Please pray with us that we would cling to His promises through it all. Through all the change, all the unknowns, all that lies ahead of us.
Thank you for your continued prayers in the days ahead! Our plan is to leave early on Friday, January 6th for Missouri!! Our friends have graciously offered to drive a truck and trailer for us, which will save us lots of money on moving!! We praise the Lord for a refrigerator, purchased at a great price, and a stove that will be delivered on the 11th! We have also been blown away by the outpouring of gifts from friends that total nearly $900 so far towards our set up costs! Many have offered kitchen items, bookshelves, food, and other miscellaneous needs, and we are so grateful for their help!!
We praise God that our home on campus (half of a duplex) is cleaned and ready to go for us to move in! We are trusting the Lord for the remainder of what we need to set up house in the next few months. We are expecting that it will take around $3,000 to get set up with everything we need (the $900 that’s come in so far will go towards this total!). Thank you for praying with us!!
Please pray for our boys as they adjust to Missouri. Pray for us as we continue to homeschool and as we seek wisdom and direction regarding next school year. Pray for friends for our boys, and for a sense of belonging in a new place.
Shad’s first appointment at the Epilepsy Center at University of Missouri is on January 17th. We are praying for a good transition to this doctor and good communication with him.
After we have a chance to get settled, we plan to make a trip back to Asia Pacific to sell our things and say our goodbyes. Prayers are also appreciated as we plan for and make this emotionally-filled trip.
We thank God for each of you and your outpouring of support and prayers during our transition season!! And may you all have a wonderful New Year trusting our Savior’s plan!!