Resume the countdown!

On the NASA website, you can read this about Atlantis’ launch for STS-135: “There was a slight delay at T-31 seconds while retraction of the Gaseous Oxygen Vent Arm, or “Beanie Cap,” was verified.” After several email messages, in which cost-of-living discussions and proposals were passed back and forth across the ocean, the delay in our own countdown was lifted. Today I read, “… you are cleared to depart as planned.” Hallelujah!

When you pray to the LORD our God, please pray for us to stay focused on our departure from Missouri next week and to remain active in our preparations for that trip and the one on August 8. And pray that we won’t leave anything important behind. We can’t do this without you!

P.S. We can, however, go to Germany without removing our beanie caps.

An “unplanned hold” in the countdown

This morning, I pulled the boys early out of their swim practice so that we could watch the last launch of the Space Shuttle from the lobby of the YMCA. With 0:31 to go, Mission Control detected a potential problem and put a hold on the countdown. Our jaws dropped — we all wanted a picture-perfect launch. Thankfully, they resumed the countdown after checking video cameras and sensors. And the three of us enjoyed a beautiful launch on a special day — Caleb’s 8th birthday.

When we got home, I gravitated to our email. In it, I saw a new message from our personnel administrator which posed a question about one of the fields I had completed in the ministry budget form. When I opened the form to check it out, I realized that I had made a mistake. And what an error it was — the correction pushes the budget amount nearly up to the previous level. I can’t say at all that this launch is scrubbed, as NASA would say, but we need to put a hold in the countdown while we and Wycliffe figure out what’s going to happen next. All other preparations stay underway, but there’s a pause in the final approval.

What can you do? Pray to the Lord our God for a favorable resolution. That could take different forms. Certainly the clearest way it could be resolved is for additional financial partners to join us in the “eleventh hour” and make it a moot point. There’s about a $550 gap. Surely the people of our God can prove that he is indeed Jehovah-jireh, “the LORD will provide”!

To become one of those partners, please click this link to get started. Thank you for your demonstration of faith, hope, and love!

Recalculating …

If you own one of those GPS units that’s designed to help you navigate the roads, you may have seen or heard the phrase, “Recalculating …” after you took a wrong turn, stopped somewhere off-route, or turned to avoid construction and traffic. But imagine how you would feel if, towards the end of a very long trip, your little electronic buddy suddenly piped up with a new route — one that cut hundreds of miles off your trip?

Yesterday, our Wycliffe personnel administrator (PA) — the man who’s overseeing us while we’re between assignments — encouraged me to recalculate our ministry budget with a new method that Wycliffe put together within the last year. I had expressed to him our hope and concern that we get to Germany in August so that the boys could start school there on time. (Germany splits students into different tracks around Jonathan’s age and, even as things are now, he needs to be held back to give his teachers time to evaluate him properly.) Jim, our PA, wanted to see how our present support level compared to the results of this new method.

When I filled out the form, I had to double- and triple-check my work, because to my great shock, the amount went down! I called Katherine over to look, too. Even more astounding was our realization that the new estimate was at the level of our currently pledged support! It was all we could do to control our response until we could get the figures checked and confirmed by Jim and by Frank Lautenschlager, our director in Germany. This morning, we received the final approval from Frank, and a phone call with Jim Lear verified that we are clear to finalize our departure. WE ARE GOING!

There’s a lot to do over the next few weeks as we prepare to leave Missouri and head to Pennsylvania for our flights to Germany on August 8th. We have to pack up, sell a few things we kept for this stay, and fill out a fair amount of paperwork. (There’s never a shortage of paperwork, is there?) And then there are the good-byes ….

Most importantly, we want to express thanks to our great God, who has worked through many of you to provide what we need to go. Some have been stalwart supporters for a long time, laying a foundation to which several have added in the last few months to cap off our need. We only need four tickets for the trip, but in reality there are dozens of you going with us in prayer and financial support. May the Lord our God reward and bless you for the sacrifice you are making for our sake and for the sake of the Good News!


P.S. You can still become a financial partner with us, especially if you wish to give to our setup costs, which are presently at 59%. Just go to this page to read more information. Thanks!