God has placed a calling on our lives that is impossible to ignore. He has revealed His purpose for us and has begun to show us the way. So, now that we know where we are going, and we know God is with us, it should be a cake-walk right?
In Ephesians we are told that our battle is not of flesh and blood, but against the powers and authorities of this world. We are fighting for a kingdom but are rarely prepared for the battle that we face. God alone is our rock, our fortress and our mighty deliverer. This said, Bart and I both agreed that the week before we left for Dallas, Texas (June 2-8) was the hardest week of our marriage. Bart had worked 2 night shifts back to back. We were trying to pack up as much as we could for 2 kids and ourselves for our trip to TX. We had spent the previous weekend in Richmond for a brief partnership development meeting and we were exhausted when the week started. Then, a good friend died in a car accident, a man who loved the Lord and with whom we had just spoken with on Sunday at my family’s church. We planned for the viewing on that Thursday and spent all of Monday driving to and from Marion and Fort Wayne for two different appointments. Hosanna, our youngest, had not been sleeping well. She woke up 4 times each night and did not want to be put back to sleep. In the midst of this, Bart and I discovered that my driver’s license had expired and I had missed the easy way of getting it replaced. All week we dug and searched for the papers needed for me to retake the test, which I failed by one questions on the Friday before we left. The enemy was distracting us, and discouraging us, but God, our victor, triumphed! We left for Dallas with both kids on Saturday morning. Bart’s mom drove us there. We had a double stroller with two car seats, and Lucas’ sport’s tote, as well as one large duffel bag and my suitcase. It could not have gone more smoothly. We checked in with no problems with plenty of time to get to our gate. We were blessed by strangers along the way who helped us carry our stuff. We discovered that our seats were separated and Bart along with both kids would sit 7 rows behind me. I’m not sure if any of you have ever been on a plane with babies, but I was terrified! What if they screamed the entire time??? We were blessed again. Hosanna only woke up once the whole flight and that was to eat. Our genius little boy knew that his ears would hurt (we had prepared him several days in advance) and patiently explained it to his daddy. We fed him Gummy bears to take away the pressure; halfway through the flight he and Bart were asleep.
Our first week here was been amazing, and we have NO doubts that this community is where we belong. We have many good friends here from Johnson and one couple let us borrow their 2nd car while we are here. Yet the week came with challenges. I started out with an awful chest cold that sucked me of energy, and with little or no rest I kept getting minor but painful breast infections. Then, to top it off, I found some chiggers somewhere and they decided I was Andi-a-la-mode. Our classes were great and we both felt like we walked away with so much to think about. We took different classes. We dropped Lucas off at the nursery and went to chapel at 8 am. Our first class was at 9 and ended at noon. We ate lunch with the kids, and then our next class was from 1-4. We dropped Lucas off again for this, then we ended the day with chapel at 4 and supper at 5. Needless to say it was a non-stop week.
On Thursday, my dad Greg arrived, and Bart’s mom Pamie joined us. As Bart drove from his cousin’s (Pamie was visiting there) to pick up my dad up from the airport, the car he was driving broke down. The guys who changed the oil last time didn’t tighten the plug well and it fell off the drain pan! So Bart began hiking up the road to find a 24-hour auto store that was closed (Huh??). He met a man named Chuck who believed in God’s call to missions and he drove Bart to the nearest Auto-Zone while Pamie stayed with the car. They got it running, refilled the oil, and got Greg only 2 hours after his plane came in. They arrived home around 12 a.m.
Pioneer Bible Translator’s provides seminars for missionary parents during which they are introduced to the Missionary Care Dept and learn more about what their children are doing. Pamie is our forwarding agent and stayed for a class on Saturday that was all about Partnership Development. Then on Sunday after church we sent both parents and our little boy Lucas, back to Indiana. We miss him tremendously!
We began the next week of 9-5 classes excited about what God was showing us. We always brought Hosanna to class with us, and she did very well. We were taught how to effectively minister to the churches that are supporting us. We practiced giving presentations and we were given very helpful resources for Partnership Development. On Tuesday we spent some time with some great friends who have a little boy that is about 5 months old. He hadn’t been feeling well and I (mistakenly) attributed it to teething. Now, Bart and I, and the mom of that baby, were home heaving all day yesterday! We missed our first Medical class (good thing it was just the basics and Bart can teach me) and spent most of the day in bed. God blessed us by a couple from Johnson, Bill & Charliece Fierbaugh (or “The Smurf’s,” to college kids). Mama Smurf came over in the middle of the night and rocked Hosanna back to sleep until early hours of the morning. She kept Hosanna all day yesterday, bringing her back when she needed to eat. Bart and I rested all day (in between bathroom trips). We were visited by one of the RNs who is one of our medical teachers this week, and she checked to make sure we were surviving. We were able to sleep off some of this bug, & we did ok with Hosanna last night.
Friends, let me encourage you! Our God is not limited by the means we think we need. When we are at our end, and don’t know what to do, God provides just what we didn’t know we needed.