As summer is upon us, we are feeling our countdown clock beginning. “Countdown to what?” you ask. Every three years or so, we schedule a trip to our home country (America). This scheduled trip is called “furlough” or “home assignment”. Looking back at a picture of our family from three years ago helps me to gain perspective on how long we have been gone, and how much our family has changed.
Beyond just adding three more years to our age, we have gone from a family of 5, to 6 people now. We will have our first teenager in Aug. Also that peaceful little baby Andrea is hold, has grown into a very active, and talkative little boy. These are blessings from God that fill our heart with a happy contentment.
One of the reasons we are mentioning our upcoming home assignment plans is that we would like to help you understand this part of our life and ministry. Also (Spoiler Alert) for those of you who are interested, we would like to invite you to help us make this scheduled home visit full and special.
One of the reasons the scheduled home visit is called “home assignment” is that although we will not be living in a foreign country, during the “home assignment” months, we will continue to work toward our ministry goals. This will include further training and education to gain ministry skills useful for our work in Asia-Pacific.
Another big part of “home assignment” time is reconnecting with people that, in one way or another have and are a part of our ministry. If you are receiving this update from us, then we are talking about you😊. Although email and the internet are useful ways to stay connected, it is no replacement for these scheduled visits which allow for one on one connecting. Also, we will be looking for new opportunities to share our ministry with others and grow the team that is an essential part of supporting what God is doing in this part of the world.
There are lots of personal needs that we often put-off or are not able to take care of. These needs can get worked on only in our home country. Some examples of this are, getting SSN for our kids who are born abroad. Renewal of passports and other vital documents. Physicals and other medical check-ups like teeth cleanings and orthodontist visits.
Beyond the above-mentioned things there are, what we can feel are the unmentionable things. Things like “home-sickness”, feeling lonely and friendless, the need for rest and refreshment from years of culture shock, discouragement and disappointment with life and ministry. Now you see why we called them unmentionables! Andrea and I deal with all of these things to some degree. Although home assignment does not solve these struggles, it does give us a context to face them, and seek God’s perspective and healing. The community of believers in our home church(es) is a big part of helping us to face those things.
So if you are still reading, we would like to mention something that you could do for us. First of all, we would appreciate your prayers that we won’t get distracted and lose focus during these months before we go on home assignment. This happens more than you might imagine. Pray that we would keep our “heads in the game” so to speak and make the most of the opportunities. We want to live as though these are our final opportunities to invest in this area, while at the same time trusting God to open doors for more kingdom work here.
Secondly, if any of you are interested in helping us get set up in our house in Jacksonville FL, you could send us a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email simply let us know you are interested in helping us get set up in the States for our home assignment time. We will follow up with more details. What we have in mind are basic house items, clothes for kids, bicycles, toys, used grill… If you think you may have something or would like to help with any of that let us know. Thanks!
We don’t want any of you to feel pressure to respond. Honestly its easier for us to not say anything. But I know that there may be some of you out there that appreciate knowing a practical way that you could help us. So if that’s you, shoot us a quick email.
~ Tim, Andrea, Dina, Abby, Titus, & Torin