Neither up nor down.? (at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago)
Neither up nor down.? (at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago)
Commuting the city ?#ontheOrangeLine #thosebirds (at CTA Orange/Green Line Train: Roosevelt Road)
It’s time for an update! Let’s work backwards ..
Mary Beth and I are married!
On January 2nd, Mary Beth and I entered into the covenant and sacrament of marriage in a beautiful ceremony that took place at a Lutheran church in San Diego. We surrounded by many of our family and close friends from all over the world, and the Triune God was definitely present as he blessed us with his grace and love. The next day we flew to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for a couple weeks of honeymoon rest and relaxation, and we have come back to Southern California ready to commence the long but rewarding process of deputation, that is, our being deputized by our partners and supporters in the United States to continue our missionary work. In regards to the budget that our missionary society SAMS-USA has given us, we have approximately 50% of our pledge support raised. We will have to reach 100% before we can resturn to Belize.
We began deputation yesterday, January 24th, by visiting All Saints’ (Bakersfield) and sharing about what God has been doing, and is further calling us to do, at our various churches and schools. We received an incredible welcome by former SAMS missioanry Fr. Richard Menees and others in the congregation who quickly made us feel like a part of their community. We are looking forward to deepening this relationship over the years, and providing a link to their ministering alongside of us in Belize one day.
This coming week, we are very much looking forward to visiting Holy Trinity (Ocean Beach) and similarly sharing about our ministry in the Anglican Diocese of Belize.
I ought to share a bit more about the last few months, particularly leading up to Christmas. To be frank, they were very difficult months for me and Mary Beth. For me, November and the first part of December were consumed with issues relating to the school. Without going into too many details, I found that I was having to step into a managerial role to support teachers and principals with regard to a number of crises, crises that were emotionally draining both because of their nature and also because of the time they required. The Lord sustained me during those difficult weeks, and I thank you so very much for your prayers and for the encouraging messages that many of you sent me.
They were also difficult months for Mary Beth. As she and I have shared before, she has been wrestling with an assortment of health issues that reared their ugliest heads during a very stressful semester at school. The Lord sustained her as well, and she earned the highest possible grades and received “jury approval” for her senior recital this coming spring. Nevertheless, it was truly exhausting.
A true answer to prayer came, however, a few weeks before Christmas, as a medical specialist was able to identify what is most probably at the root of the many horrible health issues she has been experiencing. The treatment she is undergoing is straightforward (though the worst of it involves and incredibly restrictive diet), and we are so thankful for the many people who were praying for her health and recovery. And please, continue to keep her in your prayers.
So, thank you all! As life returns to “normal” we are looking forward to being in touch again very soon. Take care, and may God richly bless you!
Today, Jan 20, is my 5th missionary anniversary! I arrived here 5 years ago today with 2 bulging suitcases, joy in my heart, and a twinge of nerves. Through God’s mercy, Leamarie True, came with me for 3 months to share her wisdom and experience with our teachers. What adventures we had!
The five years have flown by. I have met so many wonderful people, Honduran, American, and others. I have witnessed so many miracles, seen Jesus everywhere, wept during tragedies, my heart has been broken and has been filled with joy more times than I can count. The teams and I have built cabins, sidewalks, walls, painted countless walls, played for hundreds of hours with the cutest kids, worshipped, cared for thousands of patients, prayed for thousands more and collapsed from fatigue. I have fallen in love with our Honduran staff. Coming alongside me have been so many people and my church, supporting me and praying for me. Suzy has become my spiritual advisor, co-worker, dear friend and sister. How rich I am!
Many missionaries sign up for a term of service – 1 year, 3 years, 5 years. I came with no particular end date. I figure the Lord will let me know when it is time to go. I remember thinking, about 2.5 years ago, that if I had committed to a 5 year term, my time would be half over. It was an awful feeling. I realized I would have been living a countdown. “2 years left, 6 months left, 1 day left.” That is no way to live. Instead, as Jesus tells us,
“ Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:25, 34
This is hard for us to do in the US. I am learning how to do this from the Hondurans, who as a pastor explained to me, set their sights on the next life. They take each day at a time. Many of them worry about how to feed their children today…every day. But still, with their eyes toward heaven, they have time to be generous, kind, joyful, and full of faith in the Risen Lord. This is surely a better way to live.
I wrote a blog the night before I moved here, called Honduras Eve. In it I reflected on my call, its effect on many people and their loving response. The truth is God is calling each of us. Every call is different. Some are dramatic, leaving home and family or becoming clergy, and some occur in place, teaching Sunday School, joining the medical profession, raising your children in the Lord, modeling Christ in the workplace, volunteering to help the poor and oppressed…
But, here’s the thing. God calls us to many things. The most important is the call we all share:
There is no end date to this call.
Finally, I reaffirm my commitment to my calls:
Lord, grant that I may always allow myself to be guided by you, always follow your plans, and perfectly accomplish your holy will. Grant that in all things, great and small, today and all the days of my life, I may do whatever you require of me. Help me respond to the slightest prompting of your grace, so that I may be your trustworthy instrument for your honor. May your will be done in time and in eternity by me, in me, and through me. Amen. – St. Teresa of Avila