An update on our travels and a new starting point
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.” Psalm 57.9
Happy new year to our partners in the Gospel!
We hope 2015 has been good to you so far! God has been so kind to us. We have spoken to over 3,000 people at 5 different churches over the last 5 Sundays. We have made new friendships and partnerships and have had so many divine appointments with people who have connections to the Czech Republic. Despite a hectic schedule we have also continued to see supporters join our team and invest in the mission to reach the Czech people. God has shown His kindness in countless, unexpected ways over the past few weeks.
We also had an unexpected change of plans (our plans, at least) this month. We found out a few weeks ago that the apartment for which we had already signed a lease agreement and put down a deposit plus an extra month’s rent fell through (we still don’t know why). The realtor there couldn’t find any other apartments for us in the city, so she suggested we rent in Olomouc, which is about 20 minutes away from Přerov. We rejected this idea at first because we would not be in Přerov, but then we found out that the air quality in Přerov is some of the worst in the area (5/5 on the air pollution scale), which was a huge red flag because of Lily’s asthma. April’s mom, who is a nurse practitioner, said this could cause a lot of complications for Lily, and the last thing we want to do is be so determined to be in one particular city that we put Lily’s health at risk and end up having to leave the field. So, at the moment, it seems God is directing us to start out in Olomouc. The options for learning language are much better there, as are the healthcare and the air quality (some of the best in the area), and as of right now, we have a place to rent there as well. We will be a little farther from Přerov than we had hoped, but because of the housing situation and, more importantly, the possible effect the pollution could have on Lily, we believe this is the best choice for our family, and it may prove to be a more strategic location as we begin learning the Czech language and culture. Although it feels like a big shift for us, we’re taking comfort in the fact that God very clearly closed the door for us to live in Přerov at this time.
God has continued to teach us about ourselves and about Himself during our deputation. We have had to grow in patience and faith and perseverance more than we ever thought we would. And God has continued to show us that He is our refuge during all of this. The verse at the top of this newsletter is the verse that has been on our prayer card since day 1. It’s a nice summary of our desire to spread God’s glory throughout the earth and see the nations join us in worshiping Him. But I was reminded this Sunday that this verse is preceded by a lot of despair. David talks about being “in the midst of lions” and lying down “amid fiery beasts” (v. 4). His enemies set nets for him and dug pits for him to fall into (v. 6). But in the midst of his despair, David cried out to God, the One in whom his soul took refuge; the One who would send from heaven and save him; the One who would send out His steadfast love and faithfulness (vv. 1–3). And he ends the Psalm with a declaration that, even while he was suffering, he would worship God and declare His praise for all the nations to see. His pain resulted in praise; his despair led to doxology. For a lot of reasons, the past month or so has been the most difficult time of our deputation. We’ve had support commitments fall through, we’ve met some significant frustrations as we’ve tried to secure a house and a vehicle and visas in a foreign country, we’ve dealt with an inordinate amount of sickness in our family, and we’ve struggled with the reality that we’re actually leaving everything and everyone we know and moving our family to the Czech Republic. But our prayer during all of this has been that we would come out of this time worshiping God, and not just because we know He’ll connect all the dots for us in His perfect timing, but because He is God and because He is our only hope and refuge. If this short season of difficulty results in an opportunity to witness to God’s goodness, then all of it will have been worth it.
We covet your prayers in the days to come. We are leaving in less than a month and have a lot to get done between now and then. We are trusting in God’s timing as we finalize several important things before we move. Thank you for praying for us and encouraging us during this time.
Here are pictures from our time with two of our partnering churches. We’re so grateful for churches that believe in this vision and give sacrificially to make it happen!
|The Church at Greer Station||FBC Jacksonville, NC|
- We fly out February 25th! Our next newsletter will be our last before we are on the ground!
- After claiming we sent him less money than we actually did, the owner of the original apartment finally sent our deposit back.
- Anthony was able to find a used, reliable vehicle for us. He has a friend who buys cars from other countries (upwards of 80% of the used cars in the Czech have had their mileage rolled back), so we’re grateful for his connections and for all his help!
- Pray for God’s peace to cover our family, especially the kids, as we get ready to move.
- Pray that we will be able to secure a place to live in the next week or so.
- Pray that we will get a date for our crate and that we will be diligent in packing our remaining things. There is a strike on the West coast that is slowing everything down on the East coast, so the shipping company hasn’t been able to give us an idea of when they’ll drop off our crate.
- Pray that God would raise the remainder of our funds before we depart. We lack about $500 in monthly support.