In the past year God has placed a few thorns in our family’s side. Unlike, Paul, we shouted, “Ouch. Stop it God. No, take it away.” God, in his perfect wisdom, has pushed and pushed and always has been there waiting to receive us when we are ready to trust him. Some of the thorns were obviously hard, and other bits surprised us with their sting.
In the past year Maddy has had the rollercoaster ride of learning how to deal with some speedbumps. Her struggles have been hard on all of us, mostly on her. But, while our beautiful blue college junior has not left her problems behind, she has developed the skills to subdue them and learned how to trust herself and Christ. Her GPA has earned her academic scholarships, she is owning her Christian faith and politics and honestly becoming a pretty amazing adult. Her art is reaching new levels, she has great friends and she even communicates daily with her parents. It has been a hard 18 months, but we couldn’t ask for more in a daughter.
Erin and Mike followed God’s leading away from Central America to Central Africa. We underestimated how hard it was going to be on us to say goodbye to the home and friends and ministry we had created in the previous 8 1/2 year. When we arrived in Honduras in 2008 it was just the three of us. With the help of dozens of amazing teammates, dozens of nationals and thousands of stateside partners God used us to create something amazing that was truly part of our souls. It was hard to say goodbye, it was just as hard to say hello to a new culture and a new ministry in Africa. The language, culture, food, government, etc. are very different here and that has been hard to adjust to.
In March Erin’s father unexpectedly died less than a month before we left for Africa. Her mom died three years earlier and the loss of her second parent hit her hard. The death made everything around us harder to adjust to.
Erin experienced two unforeseen health issues in the past eight months that caused some stress and required her to return to the U.S. for a few medical procedures. It is almost all over, but it added to the anxiety.
While we have been very busy and active during our nearly seven months in Africa, it almost feels like we are just now hitting our stride. Our only missionary teammates left for the U.S. two months after our arrival, so much of our learning has been on our own. We spent much of the first few months setting up our home, doing language learning, taking exploratory trips and studying and translating for our seminary classes. The seminary started the fall semester six weeks ago and we are busy teaching classes, preaching, hosting medical clinics, doing admin work for the seminary and more.
Death, drama, trauma, sickness, culture shock, saying goodbye, saying hello, and distance are all hard things. But, being all rolled into one 12-month period is a lot to handle. We are starting to breath and are getting closer to “normal” and hitting our stride. We aren’t quite 100% emotionally and spiritually and we could use your love, prayer and support.