2017 has been a year whirlwind of the unexpected for us!
The first part of the year, we were kept busy visiting many doctors in Houston's medical center, getting Micah back on a healthy growth curve. We are so thankful for great medical care and the Lord's clear hand of healing over Micah - she's doing so well! (If you'd like to hear the full story of how God healed Micah Mae, drop us a line! We'd love to share it!)
In January, we discovered we are expecting another baby (a boy this time!), due October 1. Loren has experienced a very difficult pregnancy due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum. She has been quite sick and weak all year, and continues to be so.
In February, we began fundraising full-time. We are sent out by United World Mission, and they have encouraged us to develop and fundraise a more sustainable budget. We've been busy speaking at churches, with friends, and whomever will listen about the opportunity to join us in building up the church in South Africa.
We imagined that by Summer, we would be back in Cape Town, stepping back into our EM ministry roles full-time.
We long to return!
We now find ourselves in late July, and still in the U.S. Fundraising has gone more slowly than we expected, but we are thankful to have 75% monthly commitments! We couldn't do this work without the unwavering support of our friends.
With a baby coming soon, we have realized that it is best for us to remain in the U.S. until the end of the year.
This has been a very difficult decision to make, because our hearts long to be back in Cape Town as soon as possible. We made this decision after a lot of prayer, conversations, wise counsel from trusted friends, and the direction of our East Mountain leadership team.
Here are some of our reasons for returning later, instead of earlier:
It doesn't look likely that we will be 100% funded (in terms of monthly commitments) by the time we need to book flights and get on the plane. Our leaders in South Africa and our sending agency stateside (United World Mission) agree that we should not be return to the field until we are fully funded. Being fully funded means we have commitments for 100% our needs for the next 2-3 years. A lack of monthly commitments is holding us back.
Loren continues to be very ill this pregnancy - baby is healthy, but she is still nauseous and weak most of the time due to her Hyperemesis Gravidarium pregnancy condition. She doesn't have as much peace about delivering this baby in South Africa as she did with Micah.
The Lord has been speaking deeply to us about the importance of healthy rhythms of work and rest for our family. We want to help our family transition well while maintaining healthy rhythms - and we are not confident we could do that if we returned to SA so soon. Jack recently shared some of his hearts on this during a recent sermon. We'll post the audio when it's uploaded.
So, how can you help?
Pray with us!
Here are some of our prayer needs:
Loren's health: please pray she will feel better more consistently.
A healthy delivery and baby boy, in God's timing! There is a slight risk that if baby arrives early, in September, Jack could be in South Africa coordinating Ph.D. Summit and miss the birth. We are aware of this risk but trusting God! (And thankful for such a strong network of friends and family in Houston, along with great medical care.)
Rest: pray that we would establish and maintain good rhythms of work and rest despite a lot of changes in our family.
Logistics for the Ph.D. Summit in September in South Africa: Church leaders from across the Global South will be convening in Stellenbosch to pursue further theological education and spiritual enrichment, so that they can minister more effectively in their home countries. Please pray for the details to come together.
Jack's masters thesis: please pray for productivity, for clarity of thought, and for discipline in writing.
Monthly financial partners: please pray for 40 more families to give $50/month or more. Our ministry is primarily funded by faithful people giving small amounts regularly. Will you ask God to bring more people like that?
For good connection to our East Mountain community while we are away, and the ability to serve the ministry in meaningful ways from the U.S.
It is so encouraging to meet with friends, hear how you are doing, and share what all God is doing through the East Mountain community. Don't hesitate to reach out!
Thank you for being part of this work with us. Your partnership means so much!