Six weeks seems like a long time to go without blogging.
And so, we apologize.
There were reasons for the wait however, and I hope that this post more than makes up for the longing you have felt to keep up with what we are doing in our ministry… (Intended sarcasm, while hoping for it to be a truthful statement) 😉
So, what has happened in six weeks?
The list is long, but I will try to fill in the void as best as possible.
I need to preface this next paragraph to make it clear, that this is simply our personal reflections on what the Lord had called us to do, and was convicting our hearts of. God has certainly called millions into the professional world and in no way do we want to diminish their calling as if it were any different or lesser than ours. We are each called to serve a purpose in the building of the Kingdom of God, one body, many parts, all equal.
We are so thankful for the way that God used Haiti to wrest our attention away from our own little world. He truly used our time there and the experiences to transform our minds and hearts away from a life wasted seeking liberty, and the pursuit of human happiness. The American dream had always seemed like a good enough goal, but at the same time left us feeling hollow and empty. The idea of working in a job or a career our whole lives, was just not what we had been called to. And it took a trip to Haiti in May of 2010, right after the earthquake to shake us from the comfortable life that we had fallen in to.
So with that being said, we knew that God had used that trip to Haiti, to grab our attention and, as it turns out, our interest in Haiti, is what led to our being contacted by Back2Back. They were looking at possibly expanding their operations into Haiti and contacted us based on our interest. It was out of this that the Lord began opening the doors with Back2Back and closing the doors with the other organization that we had been interviewing with, CFM.
So after two wonderful exploratory trips to Cancun to visit the new Back2Back site, and to Haiti, to the visit CFM orphanage and a week with Back2Back and the ministry that they are looking to partner with in Haiti, Jesus in Haiti Ministries, the Lord had made it clear to us that we were to be with Back2Back. So, it was in March that we committed to Back2Back and officially became Staff Candidates pending fundraising in April after board approval.
We knew that Back2Back was the organization, but we still had not heard definitively from the Lord on the location that He wanted us. ( I say definitively because we had experienced a few signs and words, including this totally unexpected one as were driving from St. Marc, in the north of Haiti, back to Port Au Prince on the day that I just happened to be praying specifically for a sign from God for Cancun:
|In case you can’t tell, the little boy crossing the street in front of us in Haiti was wearing a shirt that said Cancun on it.|
…but we were asking for just one more wet/dry fleece 😉 )
After beginning fundraising in May of this year, telling our support partners at the appointments that we will be in Mexico and then Haiti or may just stay in Mexico, it became more and more difficult to proceed and fundraise without having direct answers to some of the most important questions that our partners in ministry were asking us!
“When are you leaving?”
“Where are you going?”
“What will you be doing?”
These are important questions to have answers to, when you are asking people to sacrificially give from their hard earned money to assist you in building the Kingdom of God! As you can imagine, not having answers to these questions can be a bit nerve-wracking during such meetings.
So in August, our fundraising began to slow and plateau. We began to pray, to seek God for answers to these questions. We knew how it was affecting our ability to share our heart and vision for ministry and we knew that God had an answer that would allow us to answer these questions.
And more patience was necessary.
And we began having dreams, dreams about a place and ministry ideas for this place and God began cultivating our hearts to care deeply for those we had met in this place, He was breaking our hearts for what was breaking His at this specific location.
We began seeing the name of this location popping up in very unexpected and random places, and people were sharing things with us in regard to this place.
And still we were not sure.
And after it seemed all patience in the universe had been grasped, utilized and reused, Anna came across a sermon online entitled Decisions and God by Eric Johnson.
After we both listened to this, we began to comprehend what God was trying to say, so with surrendered hearts, we said yes to God and allowed his peace to immediately come over us. Once we had told God out loud that we would serve him in Cancun, the uneasiness and uncertainty of wether or not we were in the center of His will immediately disappeared.
I can’t express the feeling to you in words, only that it was akin to the power of the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in a time of prayer or worship, breaking chains on your heart and soul that you did not even realize were there.
Many people have made remarks like, “you had plenty of signs, why not just listen to the first couple!?”
Well, honestly, we wanted to be sure, and there was a measure of selfishness and guilt that we struggled with for a long time.
Guilt, because we had originally thought Haiti was where we were going. We had been talking and making plans that way, and did not want to let anyone down who was thinking that we were going to Haiti for sure.
There was also the struggle with selfishness; for two reasons.
The first was that clearly, Haiti, was a much more difficult place to live than Cancun. In no way did we want to make this decision based on an easier lifestyle or the fact that we could not live without the things that we would live without in Haiti.
Secondly, we have family at the site in Cancun. Anna’s sister and brother-in-law, and our two nephews. We did not want to make this decision based on a selfish desire to live by family.
These are just a few of the many, many reasons that caused us to take pause, and read deeper into each sign and word. To pray longer and seek His will even more about what specifically He was calling us to do.
So, back to the timeline. Five weeks ago, we sent an email to the Back2Back directors and Cancun site directors indicating what we perceived to be God’s leading in our lives, and as some were away and traveling, it took several weeks for us to hear back that we had officially been given permission to join the blossoming ministry at the new Back2Back site in Cancun!
That was three weeks ago, and since then, we have been working like mad on our fundraising event coming up on October 23 in Elkhart. Please come out and support us if you can! Also, we have been working on logistics and fundraising issues related to our switch to Cancun from Haiti, and we have even started packing!
Andrew will be leaving this Tuesday, October 11, for Cancun for one week of meetings with the staff in Cancun, as well as seeking out a place for us to live when we get there and working out other details to prepare for our move there at the end of this year!
I think that brings you up to speed on our lives and just one of the amazing ways that God has been moving! Apart from these things, God has been moving mightily in our home church, FCC, and we are praying for revival and know that the Lord is bringing it!
So, Andrew will bring updates this week during his trip in Cancun and if you are receiving this email and we have not had a chance to get together with you to discuss partnering with us in our ministry, please shoot us an email at email@example.com or come on out to our For the Orphan Chili Dinner/Silent Auction Benefit later this month! We want so badly to have time to meet face to face with each and every one of our partners! We really do not want to have to send an impersonal letter out in our last months to meet our 100% funding goal!
We just want to say thank you to our partners in ministry! We are closing in on 50-60% funded and would not even be in a position to leave on time without all of your support thus far! We pray for each and every one of you every week, that God would bless you and your families and provide in miraculous ways.