Monday, December 28, 2015

The Shift

So here we are, between the birthday of Jesus and a new year.  A new year always brings about questions for our family. "What should be our theme for 2016?"  (Respect)  "What changes will 2016 bring for our family?" (Our daughter will leave for college in the states) "What can we do to improve as a family?" (Yet unanswered)  "What is God calling us to do together and individually to make the most of our time here, in Ecuador and on earth?"  How can we better serve the local people and missionaries that we work with?"

Lots of questions- some have answers or partial answers and some don't.  Our job is to listen to the Lord's leading and be willing to change - that's that hard part.  So based on the last blog you may be asking what shifted or changed?   I would love to give you a very concise, direct answer but I don't have one.  Right now from all outside appearances our jobs are the same.  Yes, a couple of new opportunities have been added in, like volunteering a couple times per month to work with the teachers of the special needs school in a nearby town, but nothing completely outside of our previous scope.

Perhaps that is good as we know we need to  focus on these last few months with our daughter and anything outside the scope would distract us from that. As a parent we always wonder, "Is she ready?"  "Did we teach her enough?"  " Does she have the tools and know how to use the ones that she has?"   Those questions will be our focus over the next months.

While we are preparing her for what lies ahead we also will continue to prepare our hearts for what HE might be calling us to do or in some cases, not to do.  

So Happy New Year! 2016 awaits - what will you do with it?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Decisions

It is always a dilemma.  Do I try to go over everything that has happened in the last 10 months since our last blog?  Do I create several blogs focusing on the large "happenings" or  a few blogs that summarize?  Or do I breeze over the last 10 months and focus on the present - realizing that I can never give credit to the missed 10 months?

So, my decision for today is to apologize for the lack of updates over the past 10 months and move on to what is happening here and now.

2 weeks ago we returned from our second furlough to the United States.  This one was a bit longer and less stressful than the first one 2 years ago.  No homeschooling was involved, no holidays and lots of sand and water time.

Our return to Ecuador was very different, however.  We still know that this is one of our "earthly" homes and we are to stay until He tells us otherwise.  We know that our time here in Shell is not yet done - so what was different?   Just before we left for Michigan in June several things happened that made our return less "secure".  I don't mean that we were unsure that we could or should return - just that our roles may or may not have shifted during our absence.  

Now that we have been back for 2 weeks the question arises, " Have they shifted?"  The answer is Yes.  And No.   The ambiguity of that answer bothers some (including me - some days).   Nothing is defined yet.  At this point everything seems to be as it was before but shifted.  I can only compare it to the nearby volcano,  Tungurahua.  It blows off steam and some ash on a fairly regular basis but lately there have been tremors - something has shifted.  If you did not feel the tremors and just viewed it from afar everything would appear the same.

Something is around the corner or under the steam and ash. We are just not sure what that is yet.  So what do we do in the meantime?  We continue to do what we have been tasked with while being open to the unknown.  It is not comfortable, but Jesus Christ does not mention our comfort.  Recently another missionary mentioned that when his family felt "too comfortable" in their current area of service, they  asked to be moved to a different area.  Perhaps our "uncomfortableness" is a good sign - a reinforcement that our earthly home is here in Shell - for now.   We can only wait..........


Our furlough in photos.

Paddle boarding for the first time. 


Visiting Colleges

Picking blueberries. First time for Jacob.

Sunsets of Beaver Island.

The view of the Mackinaw Bridge from underneath.


Camping on Lake Superior

Climbing the dune at Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Our one speaking engagement outside of Michigan.

Oswald Bear Park in the Upper Peninsula.
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