We have been very blessed ever since our last update. The conference we wrote about went very well, even though fewer people showed up than we planned for. That just made it possible to pour more into them, so it’s not all bad. Of the group that came to put on the conference, for most of them it was their first experience with missions and a number of them got wrecked for “normal life,” so we expect to see some of them again J.
Jon and I had to leave the country again to renew our visas (since we have to leave every month now), so this time we went out to Zimbabwe since that’s the closest border to us. We had to do the same thing last year at exactly the same time of year—our anniversary! It was amazing to see the transformation that country has been through since last time we were there. We only went right across the border into Mutare (same as last time), but this time we were not stopped by men with machine guns every kilometer, so it felt a lot safer. Last year the country was experiencing the worst inflation in world history, where a bottle of coke cost $125,000,000 of Zim money! Stores were empty, cars were parked because no one could afford gas, and everyone just seemed miserable. They have since switched over to using US dollars, and we found everything to be quite affordable by our standards. It was also just a great getaway to have a chance to really spend time together, something that has become pretty rare with all of our new responsibilities. On that trip we also got to spend some time with a friend, who has been a missionary all over the world for 28 years and has so much wisdom, experiences, and stories to tell. We learn so much from her every time we get to hang out.
Now we are entering a new season of growing community on the base. We already have one long-term missionary who just returned from furlough (Ashlee, amazing young woman!), and one short-term missionary who will be with us on his summer break from grad school (Travis, incredible guy), and next month we’ll be getting 4 more short-termers to help for a few months! We’re excited about being able to spread the weight around a bit and have time to go deeper in some areas rather than always having to be shallow in all areas! We also have a good friend from our college (Quinn) visiting for a few weeks right now, and it has been a blast to show him around and watch God stretch and grow him here. We’re really excited about all this new help, but now we’re just praying for more people to commit to staying long-term…
Do please keep praying for our transportation situation. We do have 2 working big trucks now, but we still need a reliable vehicle 4 wheel drive to be back up and running with all of our ministries. Our mechanic keeps waffling back and forth as to whether or not he thinks it’s worth it to fix the Land Rover we wrecked, so we’ll keep praying and see where God leads us in this area.
Another prayer request is for our older kids here at the base. According to the government, we cannot keep an 18-year-old in a “children’s center” anymore, so we need to find other places for our teens to live when they reach that age. The only problem is by 18 almost none of them have graduated from school, they don’t have any job skills, and they’re not used to hard labor in the fields like the majority of the subsistence farmers, and so far all the ones who have already left the center are really struggling. We have two of our best and brightest 17-year-olds, Tony and Zacarias, in a trade school in Beira learning to be mechanics, and we’re excited that they have that opportunity… but they were being sponsored by a person in Canada who recently stopped helping out. Their rent and school fees and materials are very expensive (about $200 per month total), so please pray that we can get a new sponsor for them to be able to continue going to school there. It’d be ideal to have sponsors for all of the kids once they reach 17 so that we can really provide them with training so that when they leave they’ll know they have a future and a hope. I have found some training centers that are much cheaper than Tony and Zacarias’ school, but we would still appreciate all the help we can get. Please also pray for wisdom for us leaders of the kids, as walking them through the transition from childhood to adulthood is very difficult and we need all of God’s help that we can get to prepare them mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for their life after the orphanage.
Thanks for your prayers and support!