For many months it seemed like we might never actually be moving on to our next place of ministry down in Mexico. In spite of diligent efforts on our part to make the many preparations, communicate with our “senders” and others, the fact was: without the Lord’s miraculous provision of our needs to go to Mexico… we were not going anywhere!
For a little while we had been feeling a bit doubtful that the Lord really wanted us to leave for Mexico based on the slow pace of support coming in for our many needs. I’m not gonna lie, I got a bit stressed a few times. Tom and I both did. Each time our hearts were tempted to panic I was reminded of the fact that if we were delayed, that was God’s call. 🙂 He is the boss and if He wanted us to remain in Michigan longer than that was ok!
“Halloween 2014” will be a date I will remember forever. That is because that was the day when the Lord made it evident He was in fact paving the way down to Mexico with His provision-and SOON! After an anonymous donor from our church offered to “match” a large gift toward our needs, the “flood gates” seemed to open and in a matter of a few hours almost our entire need came pouring in! Some giving $20, some giving $100 and some giving more. I felt like my head was going to explode! For a long time I had been praying and emotionally preparing myself for the possibility that we might not be able to leave for Mexico and would have to come up with a different departure date and a new plan. It was all in God’s hands and by the end of October 31st He had moved in enough people to give that we knew we would be able to purchase a van and be able to stick to our departure date! WOW. We laughed, we hugged, we cried, we prayed and thanked God and…we told the kids. Then they laughed for joy with us! 😀
The day we bought our van was a HUGE day and took care of one the the biggest things we needed to do before we left! After countless hours of research, getting good advice from others and much prayer we chose a very reliable used Honda Odyssey through a car dealer in Lansing, Michigan. We are so happy with the van the Lord provided and trust it will serve our needs well for hopefully many many years to come! We decided to drive back to my parents house with Tom driving OUR van (still seems totally crazy that I can say that) and the kids riding with him. Naturally they were excited to have a ride in our new van! As I drove back to my parents house in my parents van I enjoyed the silence all by myself and spent time in prayer thanking the Lord for everything. After a while I turned on the radio and was encouraged to hear a song that I love and perfectly fit the feelings of my heart at the time. If you would like to you can enjoy it here:
Our last two weeks in Michigan were a bit crazy, but also very special and emotional as we said many goodbyes and made every time consuming preparation and attended to every little detail in order to leave! Here are a few pictures and explanations of special moments in these last few days of preparation to leave for Mexico.
Our small group in our church will be greatly missed! We have so enjoyed being involved in each of these families lives and getting to know them and love them! Our families last time to meet together with them was special and instead of doing a study we just spent time together. Yes, I shed a few tears but it was a wonderful last evening. They prayed for us and it meant so much!
If you know me at all you know that I am a people person. 🙂 One thing that I struggled with as we said goodbye to everyone we cared about was coming to a place of contentment for the time we have been able to have with people and the time we now didn’t have. Even when I try my best to be intentional about relationships and try to spend time with as many people as I can, life is busy, kids & family take up my energy and time and it’s easy to have regrets about play dates that never happened and coffee dates I just couldn’t pull off but I wish I could have. It is sad to say goodbyes-the sacrifice of leaving them is real-but the Lord is helping me (and us) to have a good perspective on what a blessing the time we had with our home church and community was & we thank Him for it! We can leave with no regrets but rather we can leave with joy of knowing we spent great time as many as we were able. People matter to the Lord and they definitely matter to us! 🙂 Even in goodbyes I can say, “See you later!” and mean that with all my heart because we have every intention of picking up right where we left off the next time we see everyone!
It is the time in his week that he looks forward to the most and the pride he has for his Cubbies vest and patches is unmatched! The leaders & friends in his Cubbies group have become very special to him and on his last night at Cubbies they gave him a very special goodbye.
They interviewed him in front of his fellow Cubbies and prayed for him, too. Back in the class room they had a little party for him complete with gifts, a card and cupcakes! Jude felt so special and it meant so much to us for him to be loved on so much in this way. Our church family is such a blessing and we are continually thankful for them!
Speaking of our church body, I will miss so much having the privilege of being with the 2’s & 3’s (and sometimes 4’s & 5’s) on Sunday’s! It is truly a joy to spend time with these great tiny people each week, helping them learn and understand who God is and hear their priceless little thoughts on all things! I always laugh out loud, enjoy precious moments with my co-leaders and feel stretched as we handle a wide range of kids needs. I just know that when I see these kids next I will be shocked at how much they have grown and changed! I can’t wait!
Our last Sunday at our home church was bitter sweet. Part of me felt like I was in a daze because we were leaving the next day and I had A TON to do but the other part of me felt like it was just another normal Sunday. So many hugs, so many encouraging ‘last’ conversations with people and so many kind notes and tiny gifts slipped into my hand or purse. I cannot say enough how important it is to us to have such a supportive backing of brothers & sisters who are spurring us on and committing to faithfully pray and give of the their finances to be a part of reaching the lost with Christ along with us! We seriously NEED this kind of support or we would not be able to do what we are doing!
We did not get to say goodbye to everyone we would have wanted to but that’s ok. Though it’s difficult to leave we are thanking the Lord for allowing it so we can get back to a full time focus on cross cultural ministry! It is a passion the Lord has taught us to have and one that He continues to grow in us and fascinate our ability to be a part of! The Lord is worthy of us saying goodbye-again-to all that we know and love!