Dear Family and Friends,
Since our last newsletter, two Scripture verses have been abundantly clear to us. In Proverbs 16:9 it says “A man’s heart plans his way but the Lord will direct his steps” and in James 4 where he says we must say, “but if the Lord wills”. At the beginning of a new year we usually plan out our goals and directions so we can book our airline tickets. Then we can accomplish what we believe God wants us to do. This year was no exception. Our goals were to head to Australia in February stay there for a few months and train the new Australian staff couple on how to run the Australian program. Then Mike would meet up with the Teen Missions assistant director in Cambodia and Rena would head back to the US to assist the staff with Boot Camp preparations. In June Rena was scheduled to run the Preteen program in Florida while Mike was to head back to Australia to train the new staff on how to file the end of the year audit. Then Rena would join him in Australia in July to continue staff training to be back in the US about mid-September. To say the least our plans were amended!
Instead of heading straight to Australia we went to Ecuador. We joined a staff couple from Honduras. In hopes to work out a solution to some issues at the base in Ecuador. It was a challenging time with very long meetings. Please pray for them that God will touch their heart and revive them for His glory.
From Ecuador we made our long journey to Australia to meet up with the new Australian staff couple which was quickly becoming a staff family; Tim and Monika Foulkes and now baby Heidi. What a blessing to be there and to help out. After a month or so of training and going over all the contacts we have and showing them the ropes we thought we were prepared and ready to leave for our next destinations. In March the day before Rena was to fly out to the US Mike was hospitalized due to on-going angina attacks. Not sure how to make this long story short, but we found out that Mike had a blockage since 2014 which had created its own by-pass and had three additional blockages, which the doctors only found out just before the surgery. We praise God for His timing and the series of events that lead to the surgery. In a matter of a 24-hour period Mike would have been traveling to Cambodia. The triple by-pass surgery was a huge success and there was not any damage to his heart or tissues. All the doctors along the way said it was a miracle. Mike is doing fine; he has been obedient to the recommendations that the doctors have given and continues to exercise accordingly. There is still one prayer request. During surgery they removed a vein from his right leg and he contracted Golden Staph infection. He has been on antibiotics since the surgery in March. He has seen an infection specialist in Orlando Florida and will see him again in October. The outcome of that meeting will determine what they need to do next, from skin grafts or the outside possibility of amputation. We have received one miracle and are waiting on the next. Thank you for your prayers.
Instead of leaving Australia in March we stayed until the beginning of August. While we were there we realized there was a lot more we needed to teach the new staff about the ins and outs of Teen Missions Australia. It was a good time of training and a lot of information passed back and forth. The reason why we decided to come back in August was for our son Michael’s wedding. He married Olive McClean on August 10 in Minneapolis MN. What a blessing to be able to be there along with our daughter Katie and her husband Brandon at the small and private Celtic style wedding, where parents, bride and groom were all a part of. Michael and Olive took a week and went to Iceland for their honeymoon. They returned home to pack up and move to Dallas TX.
For deputation our original plan was to take an extended time to travel through the US raising much-needed support. But due to Mike’s leg infection and the specialist appointments we needed to cut the journey short. We did have a great opportunity to visit both the Dallas and Denver area visiting churches, family, and friends. One added bonus was that Michael and Olive arrived in Dallas in time for us to visit them as we went through. We were able to see all four of our children as Katie and Brandon still live in the Ft. Worth area.
We do not know what to plan next as most everything will be dependent upon Mike’s leg and what the specialist determines, but this will not stop Mike from planning. We are very grateful for an amazing, sovereign and compassionate God as He directs our steps.
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Mike and Rena