"Many are the plans in a man's heart but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
First, let us apologize for not blogging in a long while. It's not that we haven't had anything to blog about, there's actually so much to share! Mil Casas is such an amazing ministry and we are so honored to work with exceptional people every day. Our days are full. Jack has the wonderful opportunity to visit families in the neighboring villages of Santa Maria de Jesus and Pastores. Susie and the girls cook dinner for teams. The older girls also translate for medical clinics, after school programs and wheelchair ministries, to name a few. And the days when all of us are on the schedule, it's a juggling act to make sure someone is with the younger kids! It has been a tremendous gift to serve in Guatemala. We are nearing our third year here and we all agree this was the greatest move for our family. There is a joy we have received that hasn't compared to any other and we are extremely grateful the Lord brought us here.
The ministry has reached out to thousands of families in multiple ways from medical clinics, activities for children, water filters, stoves, after school programs, homes and much more! The objective is to bring the Gospel to people where they are, physically and spiritually. During the past three years, Jack has had the opportunity to visit over 300 families and has seen first hand the need of His healing in their lives. Of those families, almost 100 have received a new home, stove, bed and water filter but ALL have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The improvement in their physical health is immediate through clean water and shelter. This allows us to share a tangible example of the healing Christ offers spiritually. We love how God uses everything to testify to His amazing grace, which He gives abundantly!
We want our supporters, who have so generously given us unconditional love and support, to know that we are returning to the US in June. Three years ago you helped raise money for us to stay for two years and when we needed to extend that to a third year, you gave boldly. Faithfully, you stepped up and met our financial needs so we could continue working in Guatemala for an additional year. We thank you. Mil Casas thanks you. However, the funds are not sufficient for long term living. After prayerful consideration, we know we need to return to North Carolina. Frankly, we do not feel like this is a closed door to Guatemala. We have no idea what that means for our family as of right now but we are spending time in prayer and seeking His guidance. All of us absolutely love Guatemala; we have met and worked with incredible people through whom the Lord has truly developed amazing friendships.
When we moved from North Carolina to Guatemala, we did not know how the transition for our children would be. We were warned about how difficult the adjustment could be for the entire family. In contrast, we are still in awe at the ease of the transition. All God! The kids adjusted so quickly and Guatemala became home for them. Of course, we missed holidays in the states and special time with family, but their adaptation to the culture and language was almost flawless. There were a few rough days, but many more amazing days in which we give God all the glory! In the blink of an eye, one year turned to two years and two years turned to three years. Without a doubt, the Lord has given our children a love for serving and living in this marvelous country.
Therefore, our biggest concern right now is for our children. Unquestionably, they consider Guatemala their home. We believe the Lord has His hand upon our children, and He is ultimately directing our paths but we acknowledge returning to the US will have its challenges. Our kids are reluctant to return. We see them flourishing here, involved in ministry and Bible study and church and it's hard not to feel some apprehension. We trust in the Lord's plan and even during this time of change, we praise Him and call Him faithful.
It will be wonderful to catch up with family and friends when we return to the US. We want to give you all a great big hug of thanks for your kindness! Additionally, over the past three years we have met so many fantastic people who live in the US; our family hopes to visit some of these new friends in the future! It will be a joy to see what God has planned for the next step in our journey of life!
Some of you stood up when we dedicated our children to the Lord and agreed to help guide them in His ways, others were there when our children decided to follow Jesus, and many of you prayed with us when we left the US in 2014. You interceded for us. We thank God for you. Would you please pray for us now? Would you intercede for us as we readjust to a new life, culture, career and ministry?
1. As stated above, please pray for our children as they struggle with what inevitably feels like a loss to them.
2. We need a job, vehicle, and home in the US. We know God will provide all three and thank Him in advance for His provision.
3. Pray for Mil Casas. Pray the Lord will bring someone to fill Jack's role. We trust this next person will be outstanding for the ministry!
4. Continue to pray we will be good stewards of our financial situation. We humbly ask our supporters to continue giving until the end of August, which is the earliest Jack will receive a full time paycheck from teaching. Jack will line up part time work until that time and thankfully we will live with Susie's parents until we are on our feet again. Certainly we will still incur expenses and therefore will need an income during this interim period. As always, give as led by Him.
5. Please join us in thanking God for the wonderful work He is doing in Guatemala. Pray for the many brothers and sisters who are seeking to do better all the time in this breathtaking country which endures the heartache of severe poverty. Rest assured, God is being honored here.
"The Lord Almighty has sworn,
'Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
and as I have purposed, so it will stand'"