For almost 7 LONG years we had moved at a snails pace and in October 2014 that all changed. Our last 5 months in the US was a whirlwind to say the least. Early one morning in mid October we prayed together before Mike went to work. We had come to a point where we had to lay this ministry down on the altar before the Lord and pray, "Lord, this is your ministry and if you are going to take it, please take it quickly. And if you are not, could you please provide the sacrifice (the lamb in the thicket) for us. We promise to RUN through any open door if YOUR will is NOT to take it from us. Lord, you know how broken we will be if your will is to sacrifice it, but we trust you to hold us and heal us. Lord, we are yours and however you see fit to work, we will continue to serve you and be obedient." That is word for word what we prayed, trust me I will NEVER forget that Thursday morning as long as I live. It was one of the hardest prayers I have ever prayed in my life, because I had no idea if the Lord's will was to sacrifice this ministry or provide the lamb. We both cried and were not sure what the days ahead would hold, but we trusted!
We had been told that November through January were not good months to gain people to partner with God for His work and that it would probably be mid to late 2015 before we would depart for the field full time. I honestly did not know if I could face another new year without caving to emotions and throwing in the white towel. It had become so difficult to understand God's timing, to trust it and have joy. I was angry with God and could not comprehend why God's people were not joining Him in His work. Bitterness had crept in and everything seemed to be falling apart instead of coming together. I was weak, very weak. So many things had happened during this time as well. Mike lost his job, our dear pastor left our church, some serious issues with family came up and we were hanging by a thread. In hind sight, I can say that is a great place to be although it sure doesn't feel like it at the time.
We had asked our awesome Advocacy Team if they would join us in fasting and praying 1 day a week from sunrise to sunset and meet with us after sunset to break the fast and fellowship. We said that prayer together on a Thursday morning and on Friday we had 2 people give us their pledge cards and said, "we are so sorry, we have been meaning to give this to you". That Sunday was our first day to fast and pray and it was also our church picnic. When it came time to eat and the sun was not yet down we decided to take a bike ride until sunset. As we were riding through the campground Mike heard someone call his name. He turned around and saw a dear friend that he hadn't seen in a long time. We began talking to him and his wife and found out that they too had come to Christ and wanted us to come and share with them more of what God was doing the next week!!! We rode away with thankful hearts believing that God had answered our prayer and told us He was in fact NOT going to sacrifice the ministry but in fact provide a lamb!!! After that day people, churches and business were contacting us to share with them!! Wow, did He ever provide.
Things started moving fast and we were making great strides to our needed 90% of funding to head to the field. It became clear in December it was going to happen way faster than we had thought possible during these months. So we decided that we had better get busy and start getting the house ready to put on the market. We worked and worked and still had a lot on the list but decided that in January that we needed to go ahead and put it on the market and continue working on things as we showed it. We put a sign in the yard on a Sunday afternoon late in January. Within 1 hour the phone was ringing off the hook and we had 26 people asking about the house. The following Sunday we had someone just stop by and ask to see it, we were reluctant but showed it and they gave us earnest money that day!!!! We ended up with 4 families interested and on a waiting list. The first two didn't work out, but the third did. And their story went like this, they walked into a bank at 4:30 and at 5:15 they walked out with a pre approval for the purchase!!! That was God too, that doesn't just happen.
We started selling more stuff, getting rid of so much stuff and packing what we for sure wanted to take with us. All of this happening so fast and extremely emotional. Our house is the only house Ashtyn knew, EVERY single memory she has was in that house. This was extremely hard on her. The new family has teenage granddaughters so her room would remain lime green and purple and she was super excited about that. We worked from daylight to well into the night packing, painting, sorting etc… It was painstaking to say the least. Imagine if right now you had to sort through every drawer, closet and nook and cranny in your house and only keep what could fit in an 8x8x12 POD!!! Ya, really hard.
There are so many stories that we could share but long story short, we sold our house and closed on it in less than 4 weeks, put all our stuff in a POD, packed our car and camper and headed toward Mexico. We had hoped to take about 2-3 weeks to drive toward the border and catch our breath and grab a hold of our emotions. But we headed out February 28th and had to stay ahead of terrible ice, snow and extreme cold temperatures. We hurriedly traveled to get to AZ where we had 2 days of debriefing before crossing the border. We crossed the border on March 11th. Whew!!!
Mike and I are in language school Monday - Friday from 9 to 2. Ashtyn just started school here on Monday. Her classes begin at 7 a.m., she is to be in her seat at 6:50 and they go until 3:10 pm with only two 20 minute breaks!!! All her books are in Spanish and classes too except English class. Prayer for all of us as we learn the language and make friends is much appreciated. Below is a video of a class at our school. Our teachers do NOT speak English, so we are taught and explained to in Spanish only!! And a picture of Ashtyn on her first day.
So as you can see we have been in a whirlwind for the last 10 months now and trying to get it to settle down. Not sure that life on the mission field full time will actually allow that, but some sense of routine and familiarity in time will be welcomed.
Thanks for keeping up with us, praying for us, encouraging us and supporting us!! Will update again soon with more details of life here and what it looks like.