Highlights of the last four months have been pumpkin patches, giving candy to trick-or-treaters, fall leaves, hosting family parties, playing with grandkids and SNOW–all things we haven’t experienced in a long time. Stay tuned for the details…
In October we attended “Abide” which is a debrief/reentry conference for missionaries in Joplin. It was very beneficial for us and our kids, learning about transitioning back to the USA and how to do this in a healthy way. We also got to meet up with some missionary friends home on furlough that live in Hannibal, MO and were treated to dinner on the Mark Twain Riverboat. We got Jolie to the doctor for her scoliosis and she is now in physical therapy. It has helped with pain, headaches and getting some strength and flexibility back.
We headed to Teen Missions, Florida in November to pick up our bags the summer team brought back from South Africa. So we got eight of the nine duffels with one missing that had our Christmas stuff and African memorabilia. We are praying they still can find it. Then we had a good meeting with the new Director of Teen Missions, Richard Barber, and we were given furlough which is a huge answer to prayer. They also let us know of the many opportunities available both overseas and at the Florida headquarters when we are ready for that decision.
The beginning of December, our oldest daughter, Jenn, landed in the hospital for over a week and so our two grandchildren stayed with us. We had a blast with Ntsika and HannaLea but their mom ended up with osteomyelitis which is a painful bone infection in the middle of her back. She is still receiving daily IV antibiotics through a PICC line and in a lot of pain. Jason was sick the entire month, but we were still able to host the Shrock Christmas which was a lot of fun especially the sock exchange.
In January Jason ended up with an infection in his knee that sent him to the hospital. After four days, they were unable to identify the actual cause of the infection and he was sent home to rest and recuperate. The outcome…God said to rest and that it is okay to be still. He was getting antsy to be involved in church and God used this time to show that He still wants us in prayer and quietness before Him.
Looking Back & Looking Forward
Many times in a day we are still in South Africa (in our mind) as the Boot Camp just finished there. It is a joy to still be in contact with friends and former students. One graduate, Merci, is now doing children’s ministry with refugees in Nairobi, Kenya. I (Karen) just did the Ancestry thing and found out in my DNA that I’m part Congolese! So my Congolese sons have given me an African name, Zahabu, which means “gold.” Yes there were many tears of joy!
Africans have taught us many things over the past 11 years and one important thing is retrospection. At year end we look back at what God’s done and then after introspection and fasting in January, God will give you His plans for the new year. A couple verses helped me through this process. I Samuel 7:12 says “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us”. Samuel had just set up the Ebenezer or Rock of Help recognizing that God had been with them and protected them. Then Joshua 17:14 “Forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto”. The Message says “God has extravagantly blessed us”! That lovely word HITHERTO repeated in both verses caught my (Karen) eye.
Looking back at all God has done, not only last year but in the last 12 years, is overwhelming in how He has provided, protected and guided us and brought extravagant blessings to us and the many people He brought into our lives. Charles Spurgeon taught me that HITHERTO also points forward. Ahead are “more trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fight, more victories. Oh, be of good courage believer and with grateful confidence raise your Ebenezer, for He who has helped you HITHERTO will help you all your journey through”. As of now, we are still waiting to hear from God on the next step of our journey. Please pray with us as we rest, pray, seek and wait on the Lord to hear His still small voice. We are still with Teen Missions and praying for the new assignment that God has for us.
Love & Blessings,
Jason, Karen, Joy & Jolie
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”
Contact us at [email protected]
• Every month Joy is coming off medications that she was on and is back in school
• That we could be home to help family. Also, our son’s family is expecting their third child in April!
• Being with family during the holidays! What a blessing!
• Healing for Jason’s knee, Jenn’s back, Jolie’s scoliosis, and Joy’s anxiety
• Finances—our support in the last few months has decreased, so please prayerfully consider donating during our furlough time
• Renewed bond in our marriage as we look to the future