The past twenty days have been filled with a little bit of every emotion. We are trying to focus on the good!
We have been met with so much kindness and compassion, it has been outstanding. We could not have asked for more open arms or a safer place to land. My aunt and uncle picked us up from the airport with a Uhaul to carry our twelve suitcases. They still had the big kids’ car seats from when we did this three months ago. Then they proceeded to let us move into their house and welcomed us to stay as long as we needed. And let me tell you, there is no way to move into someone’s house and NOT be a burden when you have THREE kids. We appreciate your hospitality more than I can even explain.
There are so many things that made our re-entry go as smooth as possible. For one, we still have our old van! The title has both my name and my dad’s name on it and I ran out of time to sell it before we left. The plan had been for my dad to just sell it when he came back, but here we are and we didn’t have to buy a new car!!! It’s like God knew this would happen! Also, Jonathan and I had given our bed to Kelly’s mom, Sherry, to use in their guestroom, but she had it ready for us as soon as we got back!! And my grandma still had a big pile of stuff I had left for her to sell at a garage sale or give away. I also think she went to about 100 garage sales looking for all of the essentials she thought we would need when we got back. So much love.
The day or two before we had to leave Neema, I remember talking to Jonathan saying, “What are we going to do if we stay in Tanzania? And what are we going to do if we go back to America?? We don’t have any good options!” And then, as I was texting Sherry she asked me if she could throw me a shower if we come back to the states. Y’all, I just cried and cried. Who does that?! So yesterday we had our shower and I have been totally blown away by everyone’s generosity. The church here in Temple has truly been the hands and feet of Christ and we would not be here without them and without so many other friends and family who have been supporting us this whole time. So many thankful tears.
To those of you who have been supporting us monthly through The Vine Church, you may now stop your contributions knowing that we are safely back and we will not be needing further support in that way. Thank you so much and if you have any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if anyone is looking for other missionaries to support, PLEASE get in touch with us and we can point you toward some great people doing some really great kingdom work.
Unlike we said in our last update (I told you I should stop trying to make plans!), we are not in Austin. We have found a rental house and we are settling back into Temple. Jonathan intends to reopen his old woodworking business like we did in Tennessee (more info on that later!) and my goal is to finish nursing school. And when we are finally stable we aim to eventually be foster parents!! I am super hesitant to write all of this, but as a good friend encouraged me to do, we’re not thinking of these as firm plans, just really good ideas! So, Lord willing, we will work toward those objectives, trusting in God for daily bread and praying for a plentiful harvest all around us.
One thing we heard a lot from the church we met with in TZ was, “If you’re a Christian, you are in full-time ministry.” It’s not just the missionaries’ job, or your pastor’s job, or the youth minister’s job….it is everyone’s job no matter what your profession is. It is our responsibility to be ambassadors of the love and truth we know in Jesus. All of that is just to say that we are still missionaries even if we aren’t working with orphans in Africa–and so are you if you believe in Jesus.
Anyway, we are thankful for all of the love and support and if we haven’t seen you yet, we would love to get together!