For the past three months we have had a major learning curve. Having a special needs child adds so much extra to our load. As a result our updates on here have suffered and we sincerely apologize. It is our desire to keep you as informed as possible and we will strive to do that. Up until now the doctors appointments have all melded together creating very busy weeks for us. Though things are not slowing down, we are beginning to get used to this new way of life. God has allowed us to go down this path and we are certainly running the “race of life”. We are trying our best to “fix our eyes on Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.” Some days we do a great job and others, we fail, but we continue to press on knowing that only Christ can keep us steady.
So What’s Next?
I know many of you may be wondering what is next in our lives. Our intention is to go back on the mission field in about a year. First, we have to choose an assignment that will also allow us to get good medical care for Malachi. We are in the process of doing that now and we are close! We ask that you hang in there with us, we hope that we will post a blog soon about our next destination and detailed information about the work that Christ has for us. We believe that God has not called us away from the mission field, but He has rather increased our faith that He CAN provide for our needs anywhere. Our desire is to serve the Lord overseas while still being able to get the best care for Malachi and we are seeing Him work it out for us.
June 1-10: Trip to Chicago. The first Sunday we visited supporting church, Springbrook Community. We updated them on the happenings in Belize and then the pastor took us out for a delicious lunch. Then later on in the week, Melissa spoke to the youth group on the topic “Free to be a broken Vessel” at a youth event.
The next Sunday we spoke at another supporting church — “Life Community Church.” The pastor of the church, Kirk and his wife Joyce graciously opened up their home to us for a week while we were in Chicago. We were given two hours to speak and present the ministry. John preached the sermon, and after we had a “question and answer” time with the members of the church.
We were also able to connect with family members in the area as well as so friends. It was a wonderful trip and the kids were great.
June 15-July 2nd: Trip to Minnesota. The first few days on this trip we were able to connect with the Lubinski’s. They are our friends and have supported the Belize Mission and Retreat in many ways including serving with us there in Belize. It was great to reconnect. Then we spent a few days with some of our colleagues, the Nelsons. It was great to get to know them better.
Missionary Retreat: Every year our mission board hosts a missionary retreat for those of us who are on “home assignment.” We had a wonderful time at the retreat connecting with fellow missionaries and meeting the new Director of International Ministries, Ivan Veldhuizen and his wife Susan. We relaxed, talked about our missionary term, attended meetings, and most importantly: worshiped together. Our director spoke to us about the Converge Worldwide “One Mission”: Multiplying Transformational Churches. He cast a vision that John and I easily grasped and we have never been more excited about being a part of our mission board than we are now. The kids had a great time with the wonderful children’s workers at the retreat. They took such great care of them and that enabled us to be worry-free throughout the retreat.
Month of July: While at the retreat our mission board suggested that John and I take a couple of months off of fund raising and visiting churches to focus on caring for Malachi and resting from the past 3.5 stressful years. We are thankful for this break because there has been so many preliminary appointments for Malachi, and it has been incredibly overwhelming. We are thankful to be with a mission board who recognizes the needs of their missionaries. Malachi has a steady schedule of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. He will also be getting equine therapy when the approval goes through. At the end of this month he received his torso brace and leg braces. These braces allow him to isolate certain parts of the body that need to be strengthened. His improvement is there, but it is very slow. Please continue to pray for him.
This last week, we were also able to spend another day with Ivan and Susan Veldhuizen (VP, international ministries) at our home in South Carolina as they were in the area.
September 1st -9th: John will be doing a trip to Ohio to visit three supporting churches.
September 22nd-29th: We will be traveling to Orlando Florida to visit a supporting church, connect with other churches, visit our mission board, and go on vacation.
How you can pray:
Pray that Malachi will be able to sit up on his own by the time he is 2 years old.
Pray for Evangeline and Ellis as they continue to transition to the US culture and the beginning of the new school year.
Pray that we will be able to discover more churches and individuals who will partner with us financially.
Pray that God will use us here in the town of Hartsville for His glory.
Pray for strength for us.