Several times these past three weeks, we have felt a bit like our heads were ready to spin off our bodies! That’s just how busy and crazy our transition has been. So please forgive us if we have been out of touch for a bit.
Being back together again as a family feels fulfilling -like finishing a puzzle and having all the pieces fit snug and tight. Its nice to be under the same roof again -especially when it is now our home and we can settle in. The house-finding story was distinctly God’s provision. Suffice it to say that in His perfect timing the Lord introduced us (through a co-worker at SIM) to an elderly Christian woman who had been praying to find the “right” person to sell her home to, as she needed to move to a retirement community. After meeting with us, she and her family offered us her home -so certain that God was directing them that they lowered the price to within our limited budget. Not only this, but they also gave us ALL appliances and several pieces of furniture, paid all the lawyer fees and half the closing costs! Later, her daughter’s church helped us with more second hand furniture and household items. So we have been greatly blessed, to say the least. What could have been a very stressful, costly transition has been made so much easier by these dear folks, as well as all of you who have faithfully continued to give and pray.
So now that the beds are up and boxes unpacked, Mark and I headed over to the SIM USA offices this week to have our debriefing and meet with our new Personnel Director and Member Care Director to discuss our roles.
We came away from these meetings with a new sense of awe, a sense that even through difficult circumstances, the Lord is doing something new and exciting (“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19NLT).
After seeing the success of pastoral care with our South Sudan team, SIM USA has a great vision to expand Chaplain care to SIM missionary teams worldwide. This will involve travel (for Mark especially) to many strategic areas of the world. It will involve the training of lay-chaplains on various fields. There are also urgent missionary needs worldwide for pastoral care and mediation. As part of the US member care team, we will also be debriefing and offering pastoral care for missionaries who return to the US for Home Assignment/Reassignment or Retirement. One role I (Stacey) am especially excited about is acting as a Homeschooling Advisor for moms on the field. I found this to be a great need among mission organizations in East Africa. Already I’m finding plenty of work here as I meet with both seasoned missionary moms who need new resources and new-to-homeschooling missionary moms who need guidance to get started. Mark and I are also hoping to continue our work with Trauma Healing, training missionaries in the material both here and on the field. We are pretty excited about all the possibilities – and so happy that we have been able to also stay involved with our South Sudan team via Skype calls and email. In late January Mark and I will be traveling back to Nairobi for the Spiritual Life Conference and to do some trainings for the team on Mediation, Chaplain Care, and Child Safety.
So, a few days ago a friend emailed asking if we were still missionaries. The answer of course is: YES! YES! YES! We are still missionaries who raise our support just like before. The only difference is that we will be based in the US now. We will still be doing the same pastoral care work with missionaries -and even more so as our ministry sphere widens. We are so very thankful for those of you who believe in this ministry and recognize the incredible need for pastoral care so that missionaries can thrive in their place of service. We pray that you will continue to stand with us both prayerfully and financially.
Thank you also for praying for our children over the past several months. Everyone is doing very well. It was a relief to see Katie more her old self again when we returned and also to find that all of our children are sleeping better. We will start a familiar homeschool routine next week, including two days per week with a local cooperative.
During the month of September, Mark will be traveling a bit to visit many of our supporters. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about our pastoral care ministry to missionaries, you can call Mark at 803-818-0629 for a phone call or a visit if he is in your area.