It is the time of year when we reflect on the past year and look forward to what lies ahead…
And I find myself amazed once again at the goodness of the Lord. This time last year we were facing the hard truth that we would not be returning to Papua New Guinea. It was a difficult and bitter pill to swallow. Hard in that we were leaving the only life goal that we had known since we met on the very soil where we ministered for so many years together. Difficult in that we were leaving friends, co-workers, and national believers and unbelievers whom we had come to dearly love, and many were the bitter tears that were shed. Not a bitterness of heart that longed for something forbidden, but a bitterness and anguish of soul that desires God’s perfect plan in spite of what must be released into His loving hands.
Hello to All our Friends, Family, and Former Supporters,
Now that we have figured out how to send e-mails from our new addresses again, we would like to let you all know where we are, where God is taking us and how we are doing with the process.
I think process is a good word for where we are right now. God has continued to lead and direct clearly, and we have been through many steps in the process of Him redirecting our lives. For us, it has been long, wearisome, and just plain hard, yet after receiving some clear direction over the past couple of months, we are encouraged and excited to move forward where He is leading.
Happy New Year
We hope this correspondence finds you and your family enjoying the holidays, spending time together, and remembering the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I never tire of contemplating the significance of Immanuel – God with us! He is with us in good times and bad times, in the heartaches of life, in the joys of celebration, in the depths of mediocrity. There is no place we can travel, or anything that we can do, to be absent of His presence. The psalmist says it this way, “If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Ps 139:8-12).
Greetings from beautiful Michigan
Fall is my favorite time of year due to the leaves turning colors & decorating the green landscape. Michigan is there right now, so we are enjoying more of God’s wonderful handiwork. We are settled in Michigan now, and are involved in our home church. I am teaching a Wednesday evening Bible study in I Corinthians, and the kids are helping out in various ways in Awana. All of them are enjoying school (as much as that is possible for teenagers & preteens), with Hannah & Hadassah attending a public school for the first time. One of the deciding factors for us in choosing a public school over home school was their attitude toward it. They wanted to be in a place where they could share their faith with peers and to live out their walks in an environment that needs Christ. So we prayerfully sent out our 2 missionary daughters into the public school system. They are doing well, and are standing up for what they believe.
The Provider Never Changes
Dear Praying Friends and Family
As I am reading through the Gospels in these recent months I am observing another consistency of our great God. While Jesus walked on this ground, He provided for many different people in many different ways: He healed with His touch, He spoke healing into existence, He provided by instructing someone to go fishing, He multiplied a meal to feed a multitude, He instructed a person to go wash in the water to experience healing, He healed by being touched, He turned water into wine, and He gave His life as our sin-paying substitute. The method of provision often varied, but the Provider never did. He was always faithful to provide for His disciples.
Waiting Upon the Lord
We intentionally have not written an update for awhile, because we thought we would have more to share concerning getting back to PNG. That is not the case, however. We are still in KC waiting for the Lord to open the doors for us to return to our ministry in Papua New Guinea. In our limited understanding, we are waiting for Dawn & Hannah’s health to improve; and we are waiting for our monthly support level to increase to at least 70% of what our mission recommends for our family.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas
We had a good, relaxing Thanksgiving season this year. Dawn’s parents came from Michigan to stay with us for a week, and we celebrated in the usual way with a big meal on Thursday. Hannah, Hadassah, and I started the day by running in local 5k races on Thanksgiving morning. The girls ran their race on a team with some friends from church in one location, and I ran as part of a 4-man team in a different race in a different part of Kansas City. All 3 of us had a good time exercising our bodies and spending time with friends. My teammates were high school runners who I had the privilege of coaching during our home school cross country season. They are young & fast, and I am the slower ‘used-to-be-that-fast’ middle-aged man. But we made a pretty good team and won the open division of the team competition. The prize was a gift certificate to a local running store, so I will be getting a new pair of running shoes sometime soon.
Hello praying friends
In our last correspondence we mentioned that many discussions were underway regarding our future. Shortly after our correspondence to you, NTM did communicate to us that the decision was made that we should take a family leave from the mission, so that we could better care for my mother without the pressure of trying to fulfill the obligation of being a full-time translator. Thank you for all of the correspondence that you sent our way encouraging us with your prayers and reminding us of God’s great sovereign plans that go beyond our understanding. We sure do appreciate knowing your concern for us and for our ministry to the Bena people of PNG.
Hello Our Praying Friends
We would like to give you a brief update, and to request that you pray with us.
As most of you know, we have been in the States for over a year living in Kansas City, Mo taking care of my aging mother and working on Bena translation. If you have been following our updates over that time frame, you know that I was able to finish up the Romans translation, write the remaining Bible lessons to accompany that translation, make a trip to PNG to encourage the Bena church & to do comprehension checking in Romans, and more recently I completed the initial draft of the Book of Ephesians. But also in that time, I was required to meet many of my mother’s needs. At times, caring for her hindered my potential progress in translation, so I have not been able to make sufficient strides forward in that endeavor. We do not regret making the decision to care for my mom, and in fact we are thankful for this opportunity to serve her. We are also thankful for this time of growing and stretching as God challenges us in new ways to walk by faith and not by sight. These lessons are not always enjoyable ones, but are profitable for His purpose in our lives, which is conforming us to the wonderful image of Christ.
Dear Friends and Family,
The past several months have been eventful ones for us here in Missouri. Several of the events were unexpected, but nevertheless came from the hand of a sovereign and loving God. My mom returned to our home after a 2 month stay in a rehab facility following a fall in early April. With that return came the realization that her health has deteriorated to the point of needing to be in a wheelchair, and her dementia is more pronounced. Before she could return, we had to make the house wheelchair accessible, which meant I poured a sidewalk and built a ramp at the entrance, and I replaced the carpet with hardwood flooring in the living room, hallway, and her bedroom. We also sold her house during that time, so we had to spend some time getting that house ready for sale. Since her return to our home, we have also elicited the assistance of a home health company to come help care for my mom. The initial efforts to get all of that work organized and completed took up a good chunk of my time for the past 2 months, but now as a result we have more freedom in our daily lives which enable me to spend more time in translation work, and for Dawn to spend more time in her many responsibilities. We are thankful for the Lord’s continued guidance and provision.
Our Dear Friends,
We had this update written about a week ago, but before we could finish it, several events have taken us away from getting it complete. These events have been significant enough that we want to include them in this letter, so that you can pray with us. Rich’s mom had a bad fall in our home that caused her to have a concussion and a small hemorrhage on her brain. She spent most of the week in the hospital, and then was transferred to a rehab facility for further care. Doctors say that with time the blood will dissipate back into the tissues of the body, and she should be fine. Please pray for her recovery, and that she can be a testimony of Christ to those who care for her. Her name is Evelyn.
Our Provisionary God
Since our last writing to you, we have seen our provisionary God supply all that we need – and so much more. Thank you for praying for the many requests mentioned earlier; in this epistle we will tell of God’s answering of those prayers.
I am scheduled to depart US soil this Friday for the long trip back to PNG. I will stay 3 weeks in that country, and then return to the US in time to rejoin my family for our oldest son’s (Jordan) birthday. While in PNG, I am looking forward to spending time with the Bena believers in fellowship, in discipleship, and in formal times of teaching from God’s Word. Part of our time around God’s Word will be spent comprehension checking my Romans translation, as well as reading and studying Romans together.