|Posted on January 19, 2016 at 12:30 AM|
Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you for your support, prayers and visits, as we have served overseas for the last 8 years. We want to let you know what God is currently doing in our lives right now.
About 9 months ago God started us on a process that we only recently have come to understand. It started with some problems at Parker and London’s school here in Salta, Argentina. Two weeks later we arrived to the United States in a fog, and needing a break. Thanks to the IMB and our State-side assignment we were able to regroup, rest, and return to the field.
In September, after speaking with the Pastor at First Baptist Las Cruces, we were presented with a job opportunity that would keep us in the States. We kindly declined, but felt very flattered. Over the next three months our lives took a turn that we never would have expected, ever.
One week after speaking to the pastor, we received an email from the IMB. The email explained the current situation in which the IMB found itself and the measures to correct that situation, namely missionary and staff reductions. They would accomplish this in two phases, hoping to reduce the current mission/staff force by 600-800 personnel. The first phase was a voluntary retirement package for those over 50, with a minimum of five years of service. The second phase would be a voluntary hand-raising package for everyone else who feels that the Lord is leading them to something new. We were saddened by the news and our resolve to stay on the field was strengthened. No one but God was going to move us from the mission field. Then, God began to move us.
I would like to sum up the following months with some of the ways that God led us in an unexpected direction. I attended a leadership conference within the IMB. It was clear that the leadership structure directly over us, was beginning to change drastically. The Affinity leader for the Americas had accepted the Voluntary Retirement. We began to think of the reality of the retirement package and how it could affect us. We realized that we could also possibly loose our Indigenous cluster leader, a teammate, and our immediate supervisor, who had walked through the last 8 years with us. If those people accepted, we would loose all of the leaders above us, and our entire team. We would be the only missionaries working with indigenous people in Southern South America.
We were also unable to get our children into the only Christian school in Salta, which was going to force us to homeschool Parker and London. We also thought of future possibilities within the mission. It would be very unlikely that anyone would be deployed to Salta, or the indigenous work in Northern Argentina with whom we could serve. This in turn would mean that we would need to find another place to serve, which is something that we had not felt the Lord leading us to do.
About two weeks before our return to Argentina, the Pastor at First Baptist Las Cruces asked me to give him a resumé and go in for an interview, reluctantly I accepted. That same night he offered me a different position at the church, for which he had interviewed numerous people who had actively applied for the position. He informed me that he would not interview any other applicants and that the position was being held for me. If Leann and I were not confused already, this news threw us for a loop, as in our minds it was not even in realm of possible situations. I answered the Pastor, with a strong, commanding, “I have no idea.”
Leann and I began seeking the Lord and purchasing tickets for Argentina. We began praying and packing for our return. We began sharing this news with friends and asking them to pray as well. It seemed that in some ways God was leading us back to Argentina and in others, that He had opened a door for us to serve in the US. He even seemed to be working in family situations in the US, doing things that were very different than anything we had seen Him do before. Upon our return to Argentina, we felt at home again, but still very confused. As we prayed and sought the Lord together and individually, we both finally came to the conclusion that God was moving us from the mission field to serve in the United States. We came to this conclusion before thanksgiving and though we are just now sharing it, we are certain that this is what the Lord wants for us, and we have not felt Him leading in any other direction.
We will be raising our hands, and returning from Argentina and our ministry here. I have accepted the job as Family and Connections Pastor and FBC Las Cruces, because the Lord has led me to do so. We, as a family, will move to Las Cruces, NM because, as a family, God has led us to do so. Even though this was not something that we had wanted or were expecting, we have come to love the idea, because we love the One who is leading us to it. I could not be more excited to begin work in this new role, which will include, beginning and leading small groups in a new area of the city. That is exactly what I do here in Argentina. God has done this from start to finish and we will rest and be glad in His perfect plans.
Please pray for us in all of this, as we change countries again, and as we embark on a new chapter in our lives. We covet your prayers and support as we always have. It is with your support, that we have succeeded in our call as missionaries and it will be because of your support that will succeed in this call.