Greetings from the Toronto Airport! Mary Beth and I are sort of stranded today: we should have been in Belize today, but unfortunately a delayed flight has pushed back our arrival until tomorrow. In the meantime, we figured this is probably a great time to write you an update as we exit North America and enter into a new life and ministry in Belize (Lord willing) tomorrow.
Where to begin? The last few weeks have flown by! We returned to California for a few days to attend the wedding of Mary Beth's brother, and in addition to finalizing the bulk of our packing, said some painful goodbyes to family members and close friends. The same could be said for the next week that we spent with my family in Indiana and Ohio. Our hearts are full, to the point of being heavy with the pain of parting and distance, but at the same time we are enjoying the growing anticipation of our being back in Belize and serving the Lord in mission there!
As our ministry launch in Belize has been drawing closer, we've been keeping a close eye on the progress in our financial support. Thanks to many, many faithful partners, our monthly support has come to just over 80% of our overall budget. Despite the ongoing deficit, you can how pledges and gifts have grown, and this has meant that (as of today) Mary Beth is now officially a SAMS employee with salary and benefits.
This also means that, of the support that we had to raise when Mary Beth was accepted as a SAMS missionary a year ago, we have 26% left to raise. We are so grateful when we see everything that the Lord has done to get us to this point, and we are trusting him to get our mission all the way to 100% as soon as possible! Please keep our financial support in your prayers, and if you are interested in partnering with us financially, please let us know!
The last two weeks of our journey has taken place in Toronto, as we joined together with missionaries from many denominations and many parts of the world for MissionPREP's IMPACT training. We loved making connections with so many incredible people involved with missions, and we felt the Lord challenging us at various points of the two weeks together. In many ways, it was the perfect way to transition from life and ministry in North America to life and ministry in Belize.
And so here we are: almost there. It's a good place to be. As we prepare to return, we would ask that you pray especially for the following requests:
- Mary Beth's visa paperwork. During our first few days in the country we will be applying for Mary Beth's missionary work permit visa. There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and we ask you to pray that we move through everything quickly and smoothly.
- Acclimating to our new life. Belize right now is hot and humid, and a tropical storm is brewing in the Caribbean as I type this. Additionally, we anticipate many things to have changed in our world in San Ignacio, our churches and schools, and though it will certainly take some adjusting for me, it will take even more for Mary Beth. Please pray that we would make all these adjustments well, with a good attitude and flexibility, and we would soon be feeling at home.
- Health during the transition. With all the traveling, our health (especially Mary Beth's) has been up-and-down over the last few weeks. As we undergo the stress of this transition, please pray that our health would improve, and that we would find a new and healthy equilibrium in Belize.
- That financial support. As I shared above, we would like our financial support to reach 100% as soon as possible. Please pray that the Lord would raise up passionate partners with our ministry for the coming months and years.
Again, thank you all for your prayers and support! May the Lord richly bless you!