Exciting News Ahead! Blessings and greetings to our dear friends, family, and ministry partners! As September unfolds we are excited to update you on our journey to Ecuador. We are happy to announce that we have been given permission to apply for a full missionary appointment from AGWM, our parent missions organization. If we are approved, our time in Ecuador will be longer before returning to the states and we will be able to itinerate more fully. This is exciting news and something we have been praying about for quite a while! It has been a long journey but God is working in a variety of ways - even when we’ve grown impatient at times. He is faithful and knows the desires of our hearts as He also sows the seeds of passion and burden within us.
Recently, Serenity had a play date at our home with a new friend. I listened, with a full heart, to the sounds of their laughter and play as they giggled and ran all over the house in dress-up clothes. I was so thankful for this new, little friendship in her life. It made me think of all the friends we have and all those who have partnered with us and the importance of community. We often find ourselves isolated in this very busy western culture we live in. We push ourselves to accomplish great things, to produce good fruit, and to show the world how successful we are. This cultural pressure comes from both inside and outside the church. I think it’s easy to forget that Christ places enormous emphasis on the value of community through the New Testament. It was Francis Schaeffer who said, “Our relationship with one another is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful - Christian community is the final apologetic”. There is truth in this, according to scripture, but how easily we forget the value of community over our sense of productivity and the business of life. It is a challenge for us all to remember the value of being vulnerable and transparent to others, allowing them to see us in our triumphs and in our brokenness and to in turn offer words of encouragement, a hug, and loving prayer on our behalf.
We are so thankful for each of you and your roles in our lives. Many of you have known us for years, offering advice and guidance along the way. Some of you are dear friends who have hugged us in our pain and wiped away our tears. And still, some are new friends who will see the new triumphs to come as well as the failures we will experience in our humanity. But to all of you, we are thankful and blessed to walk beside you; to call you friend, mentor, loved one, partner. You are a blessing to us and we thank God for you!
Serenity’s Space Serenity has just started school and is very excited to be in 1st grade. I think the most exciting part is that she no longer has to have rest time in the afternoons! She continues to be full of energy, life, and attitude, teaching us patience and encouraging us to pray for wisdom more than ever! We are amazed at her growth and curiosity in life. She often thinks of Ecuador and asks many questions. We can see her processing what life will be like there, how she will learn Spanish, and how she will have to say goodbyes to her friends stateside. The missionary kid in me can relate to her excitement and anxiousness and we have plenty of discussions about it. I know God is preparing her and helping her to process it all. We pray for wisdom to help guide her through the ups and downs of cross-cultural living. In the meantime, she keeps busy with gymnastics, friends, and homework - now that she is a big girl in 1st grade. :-)
Update on Ashley Penley – We thank you for your prayers and emails regarding Ashley's surgery. The surgery went well and he is now out of the hospital. They are still waiting on lab results and there will be follow up visits, but so far things have gone as well as they could.
Prayer requests – Please pray for the upcoming interviews in regards to our full appointment. We have just begun the process and have several interviews and requirements that need to be met before a full appointment is granted. Pray for us as we seek to accomplish these as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Pray for those helping us to determine a possible new budget. A full appointment will mean an extra two years in the field, which will affect our budget.
Continue to pray for Serenity as she navigates a new school year and prepares for Ecuador.
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