Our last update was about waiting, and the frustration we have felt in the unrelenting questions and uncertainties regarding Shad’s continuing seizures. In the waiting, we have indeed questioned God. Questioned why He has allowed epilepsy– uncontrolled and complex epilepsy at that– to enter our world and set up camp in our daily lives. Questioned why He would see it “good” to remove us from a life and a ministry in Asia Pacific where we were fulfilled, needed, and accepted. Questioned how life is supposed to look right now, in the midst of the struggle.
Yes, there are many questions. But in the day to day struggle in the fog of continuing seizures, in the mundane moments when we live out our new normal here in Missouri, in the moments when the grief for all we’ve left behind hits us hard, we are learning to let go and trust God. Trusting Him has meant surrender, and that is never easy.
And so, we live day to day and adjust to this new life and ministry God has given us in our corner of Roach, Missouri. Ministry isn’t so easily defined these days, but we praise God for the opportunities He’s given for us to be involved in the lives of staff and students here, and the space we’ve had to process, grieve, and grow closer as a family.
We have had the opportunity over the past few months to build relationships with several student families and singles here, some of which are interested in serving in Asia Pacific. It has done our hearts well to share memories, struggles, and advice from our nine years of experience there, challenging the next generation that it’s worth it and God is faithful through it all!! I (Sarah) have also had several opportunities to be involved in the Culture and Language Acquisition department of the training here, including substitute teaching and a seven day forum here on campus last week. God has been so gracious to allow me to directly use my experience as a Culture and Language Consultant as I encourage and help equip the next generation of church planters here at the Training Center!
As I write, Shad is out mowing on our campus. He is looking forward to being involved more this summer in maintenance, as well as helping prepare housing for the next batch of missionary candidates who will arrive in August. When the new students arrive, we will begin to build relationships with them and will be involved in a formal time of discipleship with them through their two years of training here.
We want to again thank each one of you for your continued prayer and support for our family!! We have been so encouraged and humbled by your faithfulness to us over these past months. Please continue to pray for Shad’s journey with epilepsy. As the title of this post suggests, he has been given the green light to proceed with surgery. Before the actual surgery is scheduled, he will be undergoing a few more invasive tests that will help guide the doctors to the best course of action during surgery to ensure seizure freedom. As you can imagine, this is a scary time for us as a couple (and as a family). We believe that God has lead us this far, and He will continue to guide us as we walk this path toward surgery. We hope to keep you updated about the specifics as we know them, but at this point we are still waiting for details from the neurosurgeon.
This past week marked a year since our sudden return to the US from Asia Pacific. This is surely not the journey we imagined for ourselves last year, but we are confident that God has brought us to this place. He has guided. He has given peace at each step. He has provided all we have needed along the way. He has lead us to a wonderful team of doctors in Columbia. He has given us a glimpse in to potential ministry fulfillment and fruitfulness here at the Missionary Training Center. Above all, He has pursued our hearts every moment, teaching us to let go of our own agenda and dreams and cling instead to the certainty of His love and His greatness and His sovereignty in our lives.
Again, we thank you for standing with us through this journey!! We praise God for so many who have come alongside and encouraged us along the way, and we pray that God will encourage each of your hearts as well!!
(Here’s a little picture update, too!!)