If the last several months of our life were a movie, it would surely be titled "On The Road." Now that we've confirmed our call to minister among the First Nations people of Paraguay through SIM, we've been busy reaching out to family and friends to raise up a team of supporters to send us out and to partner with us in pursuing this crazy call the Lord has placed on our lives. Practically, that has involved plenty of road trips, including: Baldwin, WI; Cadillac, MI (2x); and Charlotte, NC, along with another trip to Charlotte in April and a trip to St. Ignace, MI on the horizon. Whew! Thankfully, we're a family who loves to road trip, and we've been extraordinarily blessed at every stop along the way. It's a joy to share the passion that the Lord has given us to see the gospel spread to and through the First Nations people groups of Paraguay, and we have been so encouraged at each stop.
We're reminded that the Bible is replete with stories of God moving in powerful ways on the road, from the people of Israel hitting the road out of Egypt (the mother of all road trips!), to Saul meeting the Lord on the road to Damascus, to the disciples meeting Christ on the road to Emmaus. The Lord moved in unexpected ways on each of those road trips, and it's been a good reminder to us to keep our eyes open for Him on our journey rather than just looking ahead to our destination. I believe that's true of our journeys as we raise support, of our overall journey from life as we know it to our new life in Paraguay, and for all of us as we journey through life. Let's not be so focused on where we want to go that we miss the movement of God in our life along the way!
We were privileged to spend our Spring Break at SIM USA headquarters in Charlotte, NC in March for SIMGo, the second of three rounds of training as we prepare to head to the field in Paraguay. We went as a family this time, and I can confirm that it was a blessed time for all. The adults spent our days fairly evenly divided between (1) better understanding the nuts and bolts of life as a missionary with SIM, (2) focusing on important training for what we are about to embark on, and (3) gleaning as much advice as possible from what we lovingly refer to as the "hall of heroes" at SIM headquarters: the countless SIM workers who have lived a life of service on the mission field all over the world and who so generously share their wisdom with these two rookies! It's a humbling experience, and one we are so thankful for. Addi, Barrett and Em spent the week learning about life as a TCK (Third Culture Kid), learning a bit more about Paraguay, and learning how to both leave well and to engage their new culture. It was valuable training for all of us, and as always, we came away with many new friends!
Over the last several months we have been blessed to get to know (from afar) several of our new SIM teammates in Paraguay. We can already tell that they are a welcoming, talented and fun group of folks, and we are so thankful for what is already feeling like a new family. Praise God for blessing us with such a strong support system before we have even stepped off the plane!
Our plans are starting to firm up as we begin to turn our eyes even more towards final steps before we leave. While our plane tickets aren't completely finalized yet, it's looking like we'll be heading down the first week or so of July. Between now and then we have a final training in Charlotte during the last week of April, Mark is continuing to wind down his practice and say goodbye to beloved partners and clients, Jodi is wrapping up Pixie Dust Marketing, and we have plenty of things yet to sell - a final garage sale is a definite necessity! We're also continuing to finalize our support raising process. Thank you to all of you who have already so generously partnered with us! We're almost there, and are confident that the Lord will continue to provide as our departure date is now on the horizon!