One of my favorite parts about the Church Calendar is that we are not limited to one day of celebration. We didn’t celebrate Christmas for one day, we got twelve! And now we get fifty whole days to celebrate our Lord rising from the dead in this season of Easter! This is now our second Easter in the States (weird, right?), since we arrived right before Easter last year. That’s right folks, it’s now been over a year since we evacuated from Belize. It’s still hard to have left so quickly and to not have said a proper goodbye to those whom we love and have served with for many years, but we’re confident we will see all our Belizean friends and family again someday (and then they can finally meet James!).
One of the things that had been very consistent about our time in Belize was that Easter was always the hottest time of year. I remember thinking, right before I gave birth to Austin, that we could have timed that better since it was SO hot. But while there were more beautiful flowers and lush green trees around Easter, that was also something that was reliable all year (beautiful and green). Even when I lived in San Diego I could appreciate the beautiful flowers of Spring, but it also never really got the look of Winter. I have now come through my first winter in the Midwest. We had the lush green summer. We had the colorful fall where it looked like each tree was hand painted. We had the cold winter where everything was suddenly stark and bare. And now we’re in spring with new life just starting to sprout up. I remember David telling me that he always loved Easter in the Midwest because it fit so perfectly with the season (he probably phrased it way better than that). But there’s something about going through Lent (which seems longer every year) and being surrounded by death, where even nature looks kind of hopeless, and then right about the time of Easter: life! So, while the weather is still leaning chilly (although we’re starting to have more warm days), the end is in sight. The flowers are blooming. The trees are budding. He is risen!
So now for the family update. When last we wrote we mentioned how our plans to return to Belize to pack out our stuff and say goodbye had changed as the church was in need of the rectory sooner than our travel would allow. We also mentioned that my mom was able to go down to Belize to help organize our stuff a little to be shipped. Well, we are happy to say it arrived here to Indiana (way faster than we anticipated!). While we still have a few things left in Belize to sell, it is very nice to have most of our possessions back with us after a year. I also have to add, it is truly amazing to have a God that answers prayers you didn’t even know you had to pray. When we planned to return to Belize, it was going to be in the summer so that we could ship our stuff straight up to Toronto and our new home. So finding out the majority of our house was going to be arriving early could have been very stressful. We are currently renting a very small furnished home in Indiana (no space for our belongings). Except that in this cozy home there just happens to a completely empty basement that was able to accommodate all the boxes! We didn’t know when we were looking for a place to rent that we would need to find somewhere with a lot of storage space, and yet here we are in the perfect house that God provided for our temporary stay in the States. It also has the added benefit of treating homesickness (in that the basement now smells like home since it’s full of our stuff).
Speaking of this house, I’m doing much better since we moved. In the last update that I wrote I was having a really hard time with being away from home and stuck in a sort of limbo, but getting our own place has really helped me start adjusting to our new life. We will always cherish the time we spent living with family, but there is something nice about being just us. Even so, we are less than ten minutes from grandparents and taking full advantage of the closeness while we have it! It is strange to think that we are coming up on moving again already. While we don’t have dates yet, we are planning on heading up to Toronto by the beginning of August. This may sound weird, but I’m excited to being moving out of the States. Don’t get me wrong, I love the U.S., and I’ve enjoyed being back for a time, but I found from my four years in Belize that I love serving in another culture. I miss being on the mission field. Even though I agree that your own backyard can be your mission field, I don’t think that’s what God has planned for us right now. We may not have an address yet for where God is calling us after David finishes school, but we still feel called to go. It’s strange for me, never having felt called to the missionary life growing up, to not have a solid plan yet, but I keeping thinking of Isaiah saying, “Here am I. Send me!” Maybe for right now it’s enough just to be willing to go.
I say that, but trust me, we are actively discerning where God is calling us next. David just finished up his first year courses at Wycliffe College (I can’t believe he has one year down already!), and while the classes have been challenging, he is doing a fine job. I’ll take a second to brag here that not only is he working hard to do well in his classes, but he is also making sure to take time for his family (even if that means late nights and early mornings). While it can be distracting for him to have us around while he’s working (we live in pretty tight quarters), I love that the boys get to see their daddy throughout the day. David works in the foyer and Austin has taken to running to the door, knocking, and calling “Daddy” when he needs his Daddy fix. It’s adorable! The fact that David has already finished one year of his program is proving to us that the time is already flying by and we will soon be returning to the mission field. Until that point we’re excited to see how God will use Toronto as our new mission field for the short time that we are in residence. We are happily getting involved with our new church, even if it’s currently over Zoom, and looking forward to plugging in even more in person (they’ve even asked me to join the music team when we arrive!).
Concerning our churches in Belize, we are happy to report that they are finally open again to in-person services. It took a long time, but the parishioners are now able to come together and worship. Yay! I was excited to see both churches all decorated for Easter (and talk to some parishioners about how things are moving forward). Please continue to pray for our churches in Belize as they continue to transition. They have a great team of people working hard to get things moving, but it is still going to take a lot of work. As for our boys, they are both doing very well. Austin just turned two-years-old and got to celebrate with cake (that he refused to eat – minus the M&Ms) and fun times with family. James is getting so big and positively adores rolling around after his brother. Those two are going to be thick as thieves. And we, of course, are loving getting to raise these two goofy, frustrating, loving boys!
I should probably call it quits or I’ll keep rambling for another few hundred words (I’m pretty good at rambling on – especially when I’m up late). But we want to thank you all again for your continued prayers and support. This time of transition is still new for our family. And while we might not always know exactly what the mission field is going to look like, we do know that God will use us wherever we are (transition and after).
Please pray that we are offered student housing before we move to Toronto. Student family housing is considerably cheaper and would be very helpful for our family.
David’s Doctoral Studies
Please pray for David and the work he has to do for his degree program.
Sleep for Our Kids
Please pray that our boys consistently sleep through the night. They had been doing really well at sleeping, but it is kind of all over the place now and both stresses me out as well as keeps me from sleeping.
Selling our Truck
Please pray that we can quickly sell our truck in Belize for a good price – this is made much harder since we are not there in person.
Churches/Ministry Team in Belize
Please pray for the churches we left in Belize. They are just starting up services again – which is it’s own challenge as they navigate COVID-19 restrictions – as well as transitioning to new leadership since we left.
Please pray for our continued missionary financial support. We are still missionaries through our mission’s society – SAMS – but this is a time of training and transition, which can always be a little tough. Please pray that we maintain support throughout our time in Toronto so that we can immediately return to the mission field once David receives his degree.
Our Mission Partners
Please pray for our mission partners. They are truly an incredibly important part of our mission team and amazing people.
Discernment for the Future
Please pray for our discernment of where God is calling us to go next. We are in the process of talking with different people around the world to see where we are needed, but we want to make sure we go where God is calling us.