We've been back a week and I'm able to look back and identify some of the things we had a chance to experience. I've broken them down into a few highlights or subjects if you will....
Justice Doll. Ithemba Woods.
Our heart in partnership has always been to do our part to help along ministries. Coming out of relationship is always key as we offer not only practical help but also a willing ear and heart to pray, strategize and listen to the current state of the ministry and where our friends believe to take it.
With bringing a team over last month not only could we help more practically by having the girls help out in the shop but it gave us some good, solid chunks of time to spend with Joylynn and Dave during the day to offer our help.
Both ministries have been facing some pretty stern challenges particularly in regards to discipleship. There have been some heartbreaking stories mixed up along with the encouraging stories. Our hearts broke as we heard of how difficult it has been lately for them but we are also so encouraged as we hear the faith that has been rising and the growth that is happening. Sometimes we must walk through the fire so God can establish His plans.
We brought home suitcases full of product that we can sell throughout this year that will pour money back into their ministries so that they can continue to hire more men and woman. It is so beautiful to see the hope and dignity this brings first-hand.
Taking our Family.
I was so close canceling our trip last month. It was a few days before we had to leave and I was doubting our decision. While we had seen enough money arrive to get our tickets there wasn't much left over. I had rent to pay, I was concerned to leave the team in San Jose. I really had to go back to the Lord and make sure I was on the right track. You see, Angela had already left with the team and was expecting us to arrive in a few short days.
I kept trying to talk myself out of it. Thoughts like, "What are you guys really going to do over there anyway?", "Is it wise to pull the kids out of school for so long knowing that you are going to travel to Australia shortly after anyways?", "You don't even have enough money to do it!"
So many voices, most of them pretty logical actually, forced me to back to Jesus and hear what He was saying about the situation. This is such an important step. Going back to Jesus. I think quite often we miss that step. We are tempted to fight the decision out in our own minds when the healthiest thing to do is to submit our minds to Christ.
As I did it, I believe God gave me a picture of our family being and example of hope and love. Sure, we can do it anywhere. But I felt in that moment He encouraged me to not fear and to step out to take them. And he provided in the most beautiful, unexpected ways. Dear friends gifted us an overnight safari, something that Angela and I had laid down, he provided for our rent here in San Jose that came in due to an unexpected donation that arrived just in time. Our children thrived. They made so many friends and dove into all that we were doing, it was beautiful to behold.
During our time there, we had a chance to hear Floyd McClung speak. One of the themes was of finances and generosity, affirming our need to step out, even if we don't have all we need. It was a beautiful encouragement, one that our souls needed to hear.
Thank you for your prayers and help. As we pioneer Ember Ink it has been so difficult but we see the light that has been breaking through!