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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A glance back and a gaze forward, resolving to seek God and what He wants for us and from us

2013 was without question the wildest, scariest, and most adventurous of our lives.  It began with 8 weeks of training in Virginia, a quick stop in SC to say goodbye, continued for 3 months in Vancouver Canada, a month in Kenya, and finished in Tanzania.

We just returned from a few days at the beach which were an absolute blessing.  We were able to take a break from language, focus on our family, and just rest and have fun.  After such a tempestuous year, to end it so peacefully was a gift.

To describe our year as "transitional" would be an understatement.  Learning to adapt, to be flexible and fluid has been our m.o.  Globetrotting with four kids in tow is not for the faint of heart, and we have at times certainly been emotionally and physically spent.  But it has been worth it.  First, because we know the Lord has called us to Africa, second because the experiences for each of the six of us will forever shape us and our worldview for the better.  

Meeting new friends, learning a new language, experiencing and adapting to new cultures, seeing God's beautiful creation in Africa, and experiencing brushes with terrorism and medical emergencies have all been events that shaped us and formed us closer to who He wants us to be.

We would not trade the last 12 months and we would do it all over again for how it has changed us. We are constantly reminded there is SO MUCH MORE out there than we were seeing and experiencing.  Our fear of losing something good was keeping us from experiencing something great. God indeed has a plan for us, and it is greater than what we are able to design for ourselves.  We have to be willing to take the plunge, to walk where it scares us, and to be obedient to the pull in our souls.

Sarah and I are not perfect, we are sinners thankful for a Savior.  We disappoint him daily I am sure, but we are trying to follow him, to serve him, and to please him in what we do.  We are thankful for the favor he poured into our lives to enable us to say yes to the call to Africa.  We would not have been able to but for his matchless grace.

Looking ahead to 2014 we are so excited.  Another 8 weeks in Iringa to polish our language, improve our vocabulary, and practice sharing the truths that are eternal.  Then we finally hit our destination of Mombasa. For three years we have been working towards that point, where we can settle into a community, invest in people's lives, and make an eternal difference for people that have not heard the truth of the good news.  

We are thankful for this break in the calendar that allows us to reflect on the year past and look forward strategically and expectantly to the year ahead.  We have set some goals for our work, for our family, for our personal lives and we are anxious to see how the Lord leads us in this year.  We rejoice in today and thank the Lord for the past.  We have a hope for the future grounded in the one true king and our expectations are for him to continue to transform us and the nations for is glory.