It’s crazy to say out loud but in all actuality we’ve been back now for only about a week and a half since our first return from visiting in the states. The time spent there went by so quickly and now we have been able to ease our way back on the frontlines, the Dominican Republic with Project Mañana. We had a nice yet strange transition (thumbs-down Covid regulations and curfew) but His word, His truth- it keeps unveiling His blessings, His confirmation to our calling.
"We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home." - Acts 21:4-6
Recently being led in scripture (interesting that in this 21st year, it was to a 21st chapter), we can’t help but relate to this with our trip back in the states and now returning home. We experienced some that didn’t want us to go and we are so grateful for all those that pray. But there is a reality of questions that are shared, with our family continuing work as an overseas missionary. A lot of them came into play during our time in the states: “When are you going to come home in Ohio permanently? You will come back won’t you?”, which then brought along some dazed expressions when we replied with our responses, “Well, we believe God wants us there indefinitely. We’re not sure if He’ll ever have us to come back.”
It could be that some people just don’t understand work in missions overseas. In reality, our family has only been personally involved with overseas missions for the last seven years. (Trust us when we say though, we wish we could have gotten more involved a long time ago.) It could also be that there are some who struggle with the understanding of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To know God is to love Him, believe in His son Jesus, live for Him, and serve Him. We can choose today to impact the world around us for His good, His kingdom.
Another question that would come up from time to time- “What are you enjoying the most, now that you are back in Ohio?” Ricks great reply, “we only have three things that we look forward to- 1) No power outages 2) Running water with consistent, good pressure and 3) a dishwasher”. (And wouldn’t you know? We returned to our home here in the Dominican late on a Friday evening and by 9am the following day, our electricity went out, pretty much for most of the day. Which no worries, it got us moving to unpack and settle in much more quickly.)
In that moment, we said, “It was good while it lasted” or we could have said, “all good things must come to an end”. However, as Christians, there is GOOD in our suffering because our place here on earth is only temporary. We know, we have to remember…
"...Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. Lord, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, power and the glory forever...we're singing amen." Compilation of the Lords prayer from Matt 6: 9-13, City Harmonic song "Manifesto"
We’re not finished here for Him yet. His call for our family hasn’t changed or shifted. In fact, there are times through everything that’s happening now (especially all around the world because of Covid) it’s as if He continues to keep preparing us, strengthening us in our weaknesses. There are struggles, discouragements, discomforts and fears. But in those moments, it can only draw us to Him more and it should then move us to draw close to one another. We can hear from Him through His word, be moved by His Spirit and lean on the church, our brothers and sisters in Christ.
LOVE! Amor! The encouragement for courage to share the gospel, no matter what! Something we always heard way back to our days in foster care. There is “Beauty in the Brokenness.” He wants to use us all (the broken) for His good, for our good. Our heavenly father transforming our hearts (the beauty) every step of the way. You’ll hear us say it a lot with Project Mañana, we work ” Together today for an Eternal Tomorrow”. If you can’t see it yet, we continue to hope and pray that you one day will see it soon…
“When WE heard this, WE and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, WE gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” After this, WE started on our way up to Jerusalem.”Acts 21: 12-15
There’s so much encouragement in this scripture. In the work of the church, it’s ok if we have moments feeling lost and sad. The struggle in our flesh, it’s REAL. But we always have those we can look to, strengthening each other up to push ahead! So our family, our ministry here at Project Mañana, we want to stand as Paul did because he chose to stand with Christ. God is on our side and He is for us! All of you that work with us, for those that believe in what can be accomplished for His people here in the DR, the opportunity is there. We can continue giving hope to the hopeless, being an encouragement for one another. Don’t give up, move forward with us and WE can do so much more together!
Thank you for being on this journey with us. From the bottom of our hearts always, THANK YOU.