Friday, July 16, 2010

We're Coming Home...

     Fifteen months ago we left Oregon to begin a life as full time missionaries in Puebla, Mexico. It has been a time of great growth for all of us and we have thoroughly enjoyed being able to be a part of the children’s lives here at Esperanza Viva. We have made deep personal connections with many of them. We have been able to see children from the time they arrive here and slowly witness their lives transformed by the love and care they receive at Esperanza Viva. We personally saw a family of four come into the home last year and now the two oldest teenagers have dedicated their lives to the Lord and were baptized this past May. How wonderful it is to see these kids on a path of serving our wonderful Lord and Savior. The children here receive far more than just a roof over their heads, food and clothing. They receive hope, the living hope that is only found in Christ Jesus.
     As part of the normal process in a missionary’s life in the ministry here we recently completed our one year evaluation. At this time, we evaluated how things were going for our family, it is a time to choose if we would be continuing on for a second year of service. After a lot of fasting, prayer, council with our church and with friends here in Mexico, we have sadly decided that God is leading us to return home sooner than we had first planned. We have had many people speak into our lives and the Lord has placed several verses in our hearts to confirm this choice.
     Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” And Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” We made plans to be here for a much longer time but it is God who determines our steps. His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.
     Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” We know he has a plan for our lives and we want to follow his ways, not our own.
     Prior to moving to Mexico, God gave Joshua 1:9 as a verse to hold on to. I had always quoted this verse as saying, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Well, I have gone back to that verse many times while living in a foreign country with new ways and a new language to learn. But, as we have been working through this process of deciding to return home, there have been times of confusion and discouragement and God had me go back and look at this verse again. The actual quote of Joshua 1:9 is, “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I had totally missed the part where it says to not be discouraged. God is so good!
     So, now we are set to begin yet a new chapter in our lives. We are finishing up some tasks here in the ministry and our plan is to start our journey home on the 26th of July. We hope to be back in the Portland area sometime in early August. During the journey home we plan to visit Esperanza Viva Youth Home in Matamoros, Mexico and see the children there once more. We stopped in Matamoros on our way down and had a wonderful time getting to know them just a bit.
     We will keep you updated on our journey and would ask that you keep us in your prayers for safety and health. We look forward to sharing more about our experiences here upon our return. Thank you for all of your support and prayers. We so appreciate all of you and could not have done this without your help.