The end of an era-
After 11 years and 4 months of being on the field as a missionary with Bethesda Outreach, my time as a member of the Bethesda team is officially coming to a close. We knew this was a possibility a couple of months ago, but we were hopeful that a new arrangement may be worked out that I would be able to stay with Bethesda from the US, but in spite of great efforts by all, we have not been able to come up with a suitable arrangement for that. There is still a LOT of unknown, and I am definitely feeling that struggle. What I do know right now: God is in control and He has a plan. I will be on a plane back to America on the 25th of April, and will be saying goodbye to my home and my family in South Africa.
My sending church has been fantastic! They are excited to have me back in the States and are looking forward to getting our own ministry to orphan and vulnerable children in the Lafayette area off the ground.
BOMI will continue to receive support for me and pay my salary out of it for at least a few months (my sending church, BOMI and I are still discussing how long this period will be) until I am able to get together with leaders at my church and come up with a clear direction for the future. Additional funds not needed for salary will be available to me as I find housing and transportation and incur other moving costs. I do plan to visit with all of my supporters when I return and have a better understanding of what is next.
As for the future I, and others who know me, believe that God has been stirring my heart for the past few years to have a more hands on approach and involvement in orphan care - to do orphan care not only help others do so. I do not fully know what this looks like as of yet. Many ideas have been thrown around, but nothing is officially decided.
As God brings it to mind, here are some specific ways to pray for this transition period:
· I covet your prayers for my sending church leadership as they make decisions at the church level for where I might be best used in ministry.
· Please also pray for the Bethesda families and children. Though I view myself as replaceable, I have built lasting friendships and have become a trusted member of the family for many of them. Though I still hope to come back for visits in the future, it will be different for all of us for me not to be here on a regular basis.
· Pray for Heather! Heather and I have walked every step of the road at Bethesda together since we stepped on that plane 11+ years ago. For 9 years we have shared a house, pets, and more importantly hospitality opportunities. It will be a big change for her as well!
· Pray for me. My heart breaks a little every time I think about leaving. There have been lots of tears. They come without warning sometimes (like as I write this update). Pray for me to be thankful for the time I have spent here and to be excited for whatever God has for my future. I know He has a plan and it is better than the one that I had envisioned. Pray for me to trust Him and not lean on my own understanding in this process.