Oh, July has been a busy month! It’s hard to believe how much traveling and craziness we were able to fit into our second month in America, so here is a brief overview of how we saw God moving in, through, and around us.
July 5-10: Debriefing and Renewal (DAR) in Colorado Springs, CO
We scheduled this time in Colorado Springs at least 6 months ago. It’s a good thing we already paid for it, because when July 5 rolled around it felt like an unnecessary interruption to all the work we were in the middle of doing. We got up before dawn on July 5 to fly to Chicago and then to Colorado Springs in order to get to the Hideaway, a bed and breakfast in the Black Forest. As soon as all the traveling was over and we were able to settle into the room for the night, we took a sigh of relief and were glad for the getaway. The week proved to be very refreshing and fruitful. God, in HIs ultimate wisdom, showed up just when we needed it most. We left the Hideaway remembering that God is bigger than all our problems, struggles, and apprehensions.
July 10-12: Candidate Review at World Gospel Mission (WGM) Headquarters
We left DAR a few hours early in order to get to WGM before Friday’s end. Although we missed the Friday evening session and dinner, we jumped right into the ‘work’ of the weekend on Saturday morning. Really, it was a great time of meeting some people who we’ve been e-mailing for months and reuniting with some other people who have already become friends. We left Marion, Indiana with a peace that God was with us and that He would direct our paths as missionaries. Sure enough, God is taking us back to Tenwek. We got the official acceptance as career missionaries with WGM just a few days after our interview. We are super excited!
July 13-15: Packing Frenzy at our Allentown house. Every little thing left in our townhouse had to be analyzed and then packed either for Virginia or for Kenya. All the while, I had to feed my 5 hungry men and keep them safe! God was gracious though. Noah, Jacob, and Levi have been playing really well together. They had a blast with their old stash of Thomas trains and tracks!
July 16: Hershey Park! We took a little break from the sorting and packing to spend a day with a friend at Hershey Park. The first ride: the Super Duper Looper! Yes, Levi, Jacob, and Noah all rode the roller coaster! Although they insisted that they loved it, none of them wanted to ride another roller coaster the remainder of the day. 🙂
We ended the fun-filled day with dinner with a precious family who remains in our prayers. Thank you, Brackbill family, for such a special day!!
July 18: Church work team! A group of men from Salem Bible Church came to the rescue on Saturday. Another great friend spent Thursday and Friday building crates for our shipment to Kenya. Then, on Saturday, we packed them up and loaded a moving van. Starting with all the stuff for Kenya and ending with all the stuff for Virginia, we filled up a Ryder truck! We also got the gardens trimmed and cleaned up. What a blessing to have such great support from our home church!!
July 20: The Big Move! The caravan set out Monday morning and arrived in Goode, VA by late afternoon. My dad drove the moving truck, while Aaron and I each drove our cars. The boys were split up, so no one went too crazy. God was good in all the logistics of getting us here and providing many hands to unload the van. Our new church, despite the fact they had never met us, rallied around us to get all the Virginia stuff in our house and then all the Kenya stuff into a storage unit. Others watched the boys, stocked our pantry, and provided dinner. Again, we were blessed by the body of Christ!
July 21-23: Unpacking, organizing, etc. We quickly distributed boxes into the right areas of the house and then went to work unpacking and organizing the house. In the midst of all that mess, we had to make our move official with driving license transfers. The trip to the DMV went well, and we now have Virginia license plates and driving licenses! And because it doesn’t feel like home without knowing where to shop, we located the closest Target and Lowes. Unfortunately, the Lowes is much closer…
July 24: Levi’s 5th Birthday!! I still can’t believe this boy is 5! When did my baby grow up and get ready for kindergarten?? He was surprised with a small gift in his room and then more gifts at the breakfast table. All day was about him, and he loved every minute as the birthday boy!
July 25: Aaron’s Birthday!! The next day was Aaron’s birthday, so we headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for some of his favorite food. Although he didn’t request that I call him “birthday boy” all day like his third born, he did request that we NOT sing to him at the restaurant. He’s always been a little party pooper. After filling up on wings, we stopped at Cold Stone Creamery for his traditional ice cream birthday cake.
July 26-28: Trip to Boone, NC. After our first appearance at our new church, we loaded the van and headed to Boone for two nights. We ate dinner with the new class of Post-Residents headed to the mission field with World Medical Mission. Then, the next day, Aaron and I shared our experiences with them. Meanwhile, the boys got tours of Operation Christmas Child and the WMM warehouse. We all had a great time, but we were glad to be back home.
As eluded to in my previous post, my dad was sick this month. In fact, he went to the emergency room on Levi’s birthday and then was admitted into the hospital over the weekend. My mom was supposed to stay with the boys while Aaron and I went to Boone, but she stayed with my dad instead. Fortunately, he was discharged after only a few nights in the hospital. However, he is still experiencing kidney issues. God was with all of us during the time of uncertainty, and He remains with us as the doctors continue to treat my dad. I know this doesn’t sound like a blessing, but I want glorify God anyway.
When we become Christians, God doesn’t promise an easy road. He doesn’t sweep into our lives and make everything rosy and beautiful and picturesque. No, it’s often quite the opposite. It’s in these hard and uncertain moments that it’s most important to praise God. I’m not sure what blessing is hidden in my dad’s illness, but I know there will be good. We just have to keep looking for it.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Praises and Prayer Requests:
- Please keep my dad in your prayers.
- Pray for the boys and I as we start school, try to make friends, and keep the house relatively clean and orderly.
- Pray for Aaron as he navigates his many responsibilities at work, home, and as a missionary.
- Praise God for a family-focused, Bible-believing and preaching church that is right next door! We can still walk to church, just like we did in Kenya!
- Praise God for birthdays! We celebrated Jacob’s 7th birthday today!
- Pray for our boys, that they would grow and mature into godly young men. Pray for wisdom for Aaron and I as we try to raise them to be god-honoring men of the Word.
Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”