This morning we woke to a new day, a new year and a new decade!
At this time of year where we find ourselves reflecting back over the past year and making resolutions for the new year, we have also reflected back to the beginning of the 2010-2019 decade.
In this past decade, we have lived and worked at two ministries (one in our passport country/one in a host country), met and served 1000’s of people from all over the world, been a part of 3 church families (Wisconsin, Bahamas, South Carolina), graduated 3 of 4 sons from our homeschool program and then launched them into adulthood, made 2 international moves, experienced a cat. 4 hurricane, emptied our nest/learned how to be a family of 2 again, welcomed 4 females into our formerly male dominated family, became grandparents, discovered our love for cruising, and experienced many painful good-byes, many faith-growing/humbling/image-of-Christ forming trials, countless undeserved blessings from our loving/providential/sovereign God, and new/never-ending opportunities for ministry. What a decade of sanctification and growth, joys and sorrows, ups and downs, etc.
Through it all and as we reflect back, we can’t help but see the hand of God and how He has worked in us and through us. We enter 2020 with much anticipation and prayer as we wait to see what God has in store for us.
A Home of Our Own
After 11 years living in ministry housing (Remember our blog on fishbowl living?) and with family, we finally have our own place. In September we moved into a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment in Summerville, SC. It is the first time in over a decade that we and all our belongings are under one roof. Because we did not bring much back with us from the Bahamas and most of what we had in storage in Minnesota was camping/fishing/hunting gear and memorabilia, we had to purchase nearly all of our furnishings/housewares. We have enjoyed feeling like young newlyweds again as we shopped for and furnished our little apartment. This time around though, we have been very choosy about what we buy. We are trying to be minimalists and avoid materialism. What we like most about being in our own place is having privacy and a place to practice hospitality once again.
Speaking of hospitality. We had an opportunity to extend hospitality to a young lady who recently moved to the area and found herself without a place to live. The weekend before Christmas she came to our church, and we have been able to host her for several days at our apartment while she tries to sort things out. We love using our home to serve the Lord, and extending hospitality to those in need is one way to do that.
In August I started working as a utilization review nurse for AmeriHealth Caritas. In short, I review medical claims/cases to determine medical necessity for insurance companies that provide coverage for Medicare/Medicaid recipients. The work is intense, and it has taken a lot of time to learn how to do the job. However, I enjoy the work, get to work from home and choose my own hours. The only draw back is I only get to work up to 20 hours a week. I still have not heard back from the other position with the juvenile detention center. It will be nice if that position ever comes available again.
Tim is working steadily on building his coaching and leadership development business. In January he begins monthly meetings called cohorts. These leadership development meetings are a partnership with his brother-in-law’s company, Strong Lead, based out of Hickory, NC.
Trip Back to Nassau
In November, we were able to make a quick 3 day trip back to Nassau to check in with our Kingdom Life Church family, the kids we mentored, fellow missionary staff (from ALC&C as well as from other ministries on the island), Joy Bible Camp/youth night co-leaders, and other friends we knew while living in The Bahamas. Of course the trip was a whirlwind experience, and we left feeling like we did not have time to see and do everything we wanted to do. We did get to see ALC&C and get a brief update on how things are going. Please feel free to private message us if you want more details.
Our Church and Ministry Opportunities
We continue to be blessed, cared for, and encouraged as we fellowship with, worship with, and serve alongside like minded believers at Risen Hope Church. We are so thankful for how they live out their mission to “…exist to glorify God as we treasure, apply, and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.” We can honestly say that Sundays are a highlight of our week.
Besides helping on the welcome team together on occasional Sundays, we serve in other areas at the church. Tim works the sound booth periodically, I serve on the hospitality committee, and we both are discipling a younger person.
It is no surprise that we miss not having the day to day interaction with our own sons and their families. But God has given us “family” within our church to love on and be loved by. Charleston is a big transplant area with people coming from all over the USA to work for Boeing, Volvo, Mercedes Benz, the military (Navy and Airforce), and civilian/government work. Because of this, there are several young families here without extended family (parents/grandparents). We have had several opportunities to be “mom and dad/grandma and grandpa” to some of these young people in our church. One thing we have done for a few families with small children is go to their homes in the evening and send mom and dad out on a date while we sit with the children. We love serving these families in this way.
Pictured above is the community group we were a part of last year. It was lead by Nathan and Michelle Wingate (top right). In the new year, we will be leading a small group at our home (something we would not have been able to do before getting our own place). We look forward to serving our church in this way.
A Look to the Future
We continue to live day by day, moment by moment. We do not worry about what we will be doing or where we will be living in the years or decade ahead. We are confident that our providential God has a plan for us and has already ordered our steps and numbered our days. We look forward to seeing and experiencing God’s providential guidance and care of us and participating in the tasks He calls us to do.
In the immediate future, we are heading to Minnesota/Wisconsin today (New Years Day) to spend some holiday time with our children and parents and are thankful for these opportunities to be to be with them all.
Thank you for taking the time to get caught up on what is going on in our lives. Until next time…
Happy New Year and Happy New Decade from our home to yours!