A sense of urgency

Every few weeks, my colleague in Germany and I talk by phone or by Skype about what’s going on there and what’s happening in our efforts to get there. It’s good to stay in contact so that I keep our goal of leaving the U.S. within sight. In return, Martijn and Wycliffe Europe get some reassurance that we haven’t dropped off the face of the planet – or given up.

In our conversations, I am always reminded of our brothers’ and sisters’ urgent desire that we come and help. Hopefully I can convey something of the same to you so that you, too, understand their desperation – if you’ll indulge me in calling it that. Then, you’ll be able to pray more clearly and in the right tone, and you won’t have to rely so much on the Holy Spirit getting it right for you behind the scenes (that’s from Romans 8:26-27).

Martijn told me that we have been invited again to provide technical support for the next instance of the conference that we helped last October. That event will be held in early 2012. Another invitation, also resulting from our success last year, has been given to us for a conference in September aimed at helping people working among the deaf communities in and around Europe. Did you know that Bible translation is important for the deaf? You can read more about this need at Mission Network News, and you can read at JAARS about one way in which technology is used to give the deaf access to the Word of God.

Supporting such conferences – and the individuals who attend them – is icing on the cake of the daily technical support that Wycliffe Europe IT provides to the people in the region who are busy recruiting and assisting their fellow citizens in ministry. (That is, both parts taste good to me.) We do what we do best so they can continue doing what they do best, whether their jobs seem mundane or extraordinary. Each of us is working for the growth of the Kingdom of God. What a sweet thought!

But Martijn can’t continue doing all the technical support work in Europe alone. And I can’t live here in the United States and provide him with effective help. If all of those ministry efforts are to continue smoothly, he and our brothers and sisters spread throughout that region need me and my family in Germany. Not here!

Added to this urgency is the fact that Martijn and his family need to relocate this year, moving from Germany to Switzerland, his wife’s home country. Logistically, he needs me on hand soon so that we have time to develop our working relationship and share knowledge face to face before we are separated by several hours’ travel. If you have ever taken a job without adequate orientation, you know how important such time is.

On a personal level, we need to make this move soon for the sake of the boys’ educations. Jonathan and Caleb are homeschooled here, but we can’t continue to do that in Germany. They’ll attend the local school instead. If you have ever moved as a family, you know the benefit of changing schools at the start of the year. Add to this their need to get used to speaking German on a regular basis before class starts, and I’m sure our sense of urgency will take full form in your mind.

Getting there is a whole-Church effort – it needs us (the goers), Wycliffe Europe (the receivers), Wycliffe USA (the facilitators), and our brothers and sisters who send us. All we lack now are the senders. Are you one? We’re thankful for your boldness and generosity!

Well worth the wait

The dust has settled now from our move out of Dallas – and from our journeys north to put things in storage and west to celebrate Christmas and the new year with Katherine’s family. We’re leaving Colorado tomorrow for St. Joseph, Missouri, where we’ll live while we dig in to the work of getting to Germany.

Last month, moving out of the house took longer than we had hoped. As much as we had sold or given away, there was still too much left to fit safely into the trailer we had rented to pull north to Missouri. With God’s help, though, we persevered through that stressful time. We also traded in that trailer for a small truck!

Now both Christmas and the new year have passed, too. The holiday time was refreshing for both of us – we got to rest and play with the boys and with Katherine’s family. And we got to spend time together without the need to deal with stuff or moving or that house that we still own. What a relief!

When it comes to housing, we feel pretty good about both the house back in Dallas and our needs in St. Joe. We have had some good prospects for renters, so hopefully we’ll see someone in there soon. In Missouri, we have arrangements in place through February, and we’re praising God that we might have a place to stay after that as well.

These things come from praying – and waiting. It’s been about a year and a half since we first agreed to go to Germany, and while we’re closer than ever, we still have some work to do. But there’s often a lot of time between God’s promise and His answer, as I heard a pastor point out recently (Mark Gungor, “The Misery of Christmas”). We’re still waiting for Jesus to return, aren’t we? Just as we savor the possibility that each day might be The Day, our family is eagerly waiting for the day when we get on that plane bound for Europe. And just as Simeon and Anna praised God and rejoiced when they finally saw the child they were waiting for (Luke 2:25-28), we too will go completely nuts – spiritually speaking, of course – when we set foot in Holzhausen and see God’s calling fulfilled.

So it’s worth the wait! When you pray for us, please pray for that patience and trust that comes from the Spirit of Jesus. If God’s leading you to get more involved in our ministry, the Wycliffe Links to the right will help you learn more and get started. Happy New Year!

Going, going, going … gone?

The end of our time in Dallas is getting closer and closer. Ten days ago, we moved out of our house and into an apartment on the Wycliffe center. From here, we are making better progress with clearing out the house and selling the stuff we don’t need or can’t take with us to Germany. (If there were background music to this paragraph, it would be a strange mix of the theme from Jaws and the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah.)

Our house has been re-listed for either sale or rent with a different real estate agency. The rental market in Duncanville is currently stronger than the market for home sales. We know the agency owner and the property manager personally, so we feel that we can leave Dallas confident that our home is in good hands. Our agent is confident that we can get and keep a good renter in the house, which will remove owning that property as a barrier to us leaving the area and the country. Hooray!

In another twenty days, we’ll drive out of Dallas with a trailer behind our car, not planning to return until we come back to visit supporters and friends. Our first stop is Denver, where we’ll spend Christmas and celebrate the new year with Katherine’s family. After that, it’s on to St. Joseph, Missouri, where we expect to stay (near family) while we find the additional financial supporters we need. Thanks to friends in a church there, we have housing arranged for the first month or so of our stay. That is a major answer to prayer! Thank you, God!

So when you pray for us, please pray that we’ll be able to sell or give away everything that remains. We’d like to throw away as little as possible. Pray for us to get everything we’re taking organized in plenty of time, so that we’re not completely stressed out when we arrive at my in-laws’. (We don’t like to just dump ourselves, exhausted, at their front door.) Thank you, pray-er friends!