Hi there dear partners and friends!
This post is a little different in nature, and will surprise some of you. Many of you are already in the loop because we live in close proximity to you while in the U.S. and have had face to face conversations with you lately. We would love to be able to sit down with each and every one of you, but you are all too spread out to accomplish that anytime soon! Our circle literally extends all the way around the world, for which we are very grateful.
So, here we are in a blog post to let you know that the Lord is up to something again!
To bring what God’s up to into some context, let’s recap. We’ve spent the last seven months in the United States, not according to our plan. The bullet points are that Michael was sick in Indonesia, treated in Singapore, became even sicker as a result of said sickness and treatment as we were already in transition to the U.S. for a one-month furlough, was just recently finally treated appropriately and is now well and will stay well as long as he doesn’t contract the same type of sickness as the original issue.
The last sentence of that previous paragraph is key. After much deliberation and prayer and advice-seeking, the Lord has said “enough” to our time in Papua. Long story short, Michael’s gut was permanently damaged it is a very real possibility that it will get even more permanently damaged by another round of sickness, leading to the inability for him to ever recover well, such as he did this time.
Many times we’ve sat down to write an adequately meaningful letter to you to try to explain the depth of disappointment, sadness, fear and frustration that this is causing in us, but we just end up hitting the delete key over and over again. There are just no words, especially in print, that convey the weight that this decision has carried and will carry for our family. We are riding a roller coaster of emotions and some days it feels like we’re all on different roller coasters and trying to hold hands.
Please pray for us – we are desperate for God’s grace in every way.
Does this mean we are done with missions? Not if we have anything to say about it. Even though the road the Lord has us on has taken a turn we didn’t expect, each one of us has a heart heavy for those who don’t know Jesus yet, and no intestinal bug can take that away. We are in discussion with Helimission about how we can still be of service in the U.S., and are constantly asking the Lord to allow us to stay involved in missions, locally and abroad. Our desire is to not let the dust settle too deep on us…
He’s already allowed us to have three distinct ministries during our time in Oregon thus far, with a couple more possibilities on the horizon. Recently we’ve learned that there are over 50 Papuan college students at three universites within and hour and half of us, most of whom are from the same two towns we’ve lived in Papua! That just blew us away and we are so excited to continue developing a relationship with them and getting to speak Indonesian with them (with our Papuan dialiect even!).
Also, of course, we have our own little “tribe” here – our two older sons and their families, one of which lives close to us, and we are having regular contact with and getting to love on our son and daughter-in-law and our grandkids in the name of Jesus. We don’t take that gift and responsibility for granted.
Another very cool ministry that has been getting Michael into the airplane has also benefited other missionary pilots who have returned from years and years on the field. These pilots need a specific type of training in order to be eligible for jobs in the U.S. and normally it would cost them tens of thousands of dollars to rent an aircraft and hire an instructor pilot. Michael is able to train them for free, in an airplane provided at the cost of fuel only by a dear friend and partner of ours (you know who you are – thank-you!). This is a huge blessing for the returning pilots and for Michael.
We’ve purchased tickets to return to Papua on June 13. We are so excited to get back! And to make it even more fun, Michael’s mom, Mary Kaye gets to go with us! The plan is to be there 6-8 weeks and then return to Oregon in August.
Please be praying for us during this time – we trust the Lord wholeheartedly, but there are still a lot of emotions and fears, financial needs, and logistics to work through.
We love you,
Michael, Fawn, Kalem, Adria