Moving In

We’re here!

In fact, it was just over one month ago that we landed in Lusaka, Zambia.

We are “resurfacing”.  Here is an update…

  • Travel was remarkably smooth and uneventful.  We arrived on-time, without a hitch, and with all of our luggage.
  • Wafuka met us at the airport and he and his wife Lily have made us feel totally welcomed and have helped us in every way.
  • We immediately began the house hunt.  Found a beautiful home in Southern Lusaka, but it would have consumed our entire housing budget and would have been more than 30 minutes drive to the ministry site.  We opted instead for a “charIMG_3430ming” home right in Kafue.  The price is right and is just a short walk from Wafuka and Lily.  But…let’s just say it needs some work.  The landlord agreed to install a hot-water heater (err…warm) and we have been busy painting/repairing/cleaning.  It is slow progress and the little achievements are exciting!  Just the other day Rob installed a new “normal” kitchen faucet so we can at least have hot (err…warm) water on both sides of the sink!  We celebrated!
  • We found a car.  It is a Toyota Hiace van.  It is a bit old (2000) but the milage is low and Rob gave it a thorough look.  (He really knows cars).  We were entirely blessed by Wafuka’s brother, who loaned us his van for over 2 weeks as we made our way through shopping for our own car.  Without his help, getting this far in our settling in would have been next to impossible so we are very thankful for his help.
  • And…. the best news…. we are all together.  We have had Matthew and Luke with us this entire time and it has been THE BEST to be able to count to six again!
  • Everyone is adjusting well.  Rob and I are very excited to get more involved with the ministry and to continue to get to know Wafuka and Lily.  All 3 boys are looking forward to school at the beginning of September, especially Will, who is attending for the first time.  Matthew is sitting next to me as I write, working on college applications, and Rachael is already at work making new friends.  She has her sights on 2 girls, both her age.

Whew!  Transition is hard work!  I have to say that this time, coming to Africa, has been much more exhausting and demanding.  We experienced in our last move, a “cushion” of support while moving to Africa by having the time and space in South Africa with friends for about a month (thank you Derrs!), which allowed us to get home-set up and car in order (mostly) before we moved to Swaziland.  That was helpful.  Really helpful.

Moving to Zambia gave us the “opportunity” to start from scratch.  Thank God Wafuka and Lily were here to help us!  Thank God…

Just so you know, I have learned the art of bucket bathing.  I’ve also learned to make sure I have had my “shucket” (a cross between a shower and a bucket) and do any laundry before 9 am, because some time thereafter, the city water is turned off for the day.  I am amused by the paradox of showphoto 1ering with a bucket (shucketing) and still using my blow dryer….

And no… I do not normally drink iced tea when I shucket, I just set my cup down to snap a photo.  And yes, that would be a giant-sized soaking tub in avocado gold (without a hot water heater??)  Check the curtains.

 

Rob has learned the art of painting in Zambia.  When they say that you should take all of your cans of paint and mix them together in a 5 gallon bucket, it is not a suggestion.  It is mandatory… lest you end up with multiple colors of paint on your walls.

That message would apply to
IMG_0427sheen also.  Might as will mix all those together too because the paint cans aren’t labeled.

And as crazy as things sometimes seem and as ridiculous as some of the curve balls thrown at you can be, we love it.  We love being here.  We love the challenge of making everyday life work despite the challenges.  We love the people we get the privilege to work with, and we love the opportunities to see God at work in this place.

We have already been meeting the staff and students at the Teen Challenge center and Rob has been to the ICBC site to begin the process of planning out the locations for buildings and to start foundation work.

We received a team of visitors for an afternoon!  A large team of Korean visitors came to see the Teen Challenge program and learn about the ICBC ministry.  Wafuka spoke to them about the work and Lily translated.  It was fun to have people visit and we were thrilled to see their enthusiasm for what God is doing here in Kafue.

Under the Baobab Tree, the future site of the church, pastor's home and preschool!

Under the Baobab Tree, the future site of the church, pastor’s home and preschool!

Next up… find a language helper and get to know the boys at Teen Challenge.  Rob will become more involved with construction.  Can’t wait to get started!

We’ve been taking pictures along the way.  Take a look at the “Snap Shots” page and there you will find 2 new links to photo folders titled, “Move to Zambia July 2014” and “Zambia August 2014.”  Hope you enjoy seeing what we see!

I also want to invite you to find us on Facebook.  It is an easy way for us to give “little” updates, with an occasional photo or comment.  I guarantee you will find Rob’s humor there.

Rob’s Facebook page        Jennifer’s Facebook page

Please continue to pray for us, stay informed, and participate in this ministry with us.  We are not here on our own.  And stay in touch!  We love hearing from you!

With Much Joy,

Jennifer

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Eight Days and a Funny Word

Just eight days left in the United States.

Of course that is not forever, we will return, after-all this is our “passport country”.  I will be back with Matthew when he settles into college life, and in 2-3 years all of us will be back for another time of home-assignment.

We found that a lot of people were a little confused about our time of home assignment at first.  What is it?  What do you do with your time?

Let’s just say our time has been filled-up.  I could  give you the list of all that we have crammed into just over 6 months of time “at home,” but I think it would make for a boring read.  I will leave you with this thought… Home assignment is hard work.  Raising support is an aspect of our work that takes time, lots of it, and a self-driven effort which is often hard to muster.  It also escorts you on a ride of highs and lows as the unexpected rush of a “yes” is followed by the disappointment of a “no.”  And there is the flurry of paperwork and “get-your-house-in-order” items that land on your plate while at home, all of which contributes to a work-load that brings unmistakable clarity to the fact that we are not on vacation.  It sheds light on the fact that there are those that really know what this is and those that really do not understand.

And while not on vacation, we do find the time rejuvenating.  Enriched with people we love, things we love to do, see and taste…OK, eat…too much at times.  We are filled by being home.  Our hearts are here with you.

The importance of home assignment goes beyond the obvious like “taking a break” and proves itself as a necessary component of our work.  It is a time that brings clarity to our sense of call, gives opportunity to wrestle with the difficult aspects of what we do, minister to and be ministered to by those around us at home… though we regret the part about the expanding waistline.

With only a handful of days before we return to Africa, I’ve realized that home assignment is a funny word, because even though we are “at home” and we LOVE our “home,” we now sense our home as being somewhere else.

Our assignment is overseas.  We will be living in Kafue, Zambia and we will, at some point, call it home.  It sounds funny to me now to say that we are finishing our home assignment and returning… ummm…  home.  To our next home assignment?

I guess the saying holds true, “Home is where the heart is.”

So as we wrap up and say our goodbyes for now, and enter into transition will you hold us in your prayers?

But wait!  There is something that cannot be neglected.

We must acknowledge the amazing amount of support and encouragement we have received while in the States.  Our nomadic lifestyle makes us, for lack of better words, “high maintenance”.  When we come home it is not without needs… we need a place to stay, a car to drive, help with the kids, and the myriad of small items like printers, beds, cookware, and winter clothes.  And then there’s those who helped us spread the word about Zambia and raise support for this ministry….

How can we possibly have the words to express our thanks?

A great-big special thank you with a giant hug (and perhaps a few tears) is needed for the folks that allowed us to stay in their homes…. not for just a few days, or even weeks… but months!  And thanks to those who graciously lent us their cars despite the fact that our most recent driving experience was on the left side of the road.  To the handful of people that put their heads together and helped us, really helped us, transition from one ministry to another… to do it healthfully, thoroughly, and in a God-honoring way… wow… thank you!  Many, many thanks for all the people who took care of our kids, let us borrow stuff, fed us, entertained us and made us feel welcomed home.  And the folks who took the bull by the horns amazed us with their selfless efforts to raise support for this ministry with big, time-consuming events, and they did … and continue to do so … with grace, offering their time, energy and resources… a holy sacrifice.  So many of you ministered to us and we are deeply grateful.  We are so proud to be called Christian and hold you up as examples of selfless love.

So as we make our way back to Africa, think of us and know that we appreciate you, love you, and think of you all of the time.  Soon this blog will be filled with stories from Zambia… the people we serve, and life in Africa.  Can’t wait to get blogging about all that God is doing in us and through us and to share with you all the good news of changed lives!

Love, Jennifer

PS  We are still raising support.  Join the team!  And watch your investment produce kingdom results!  Click on the link.  You will be encouraged and find joy in knowing your support serves the orphaned, the vulnerable and the rural poor in Zambia.  Thank you!

www.TheAntiochPartners.org

Want pictures?  We just uploaded at Picasa.  You will find a link on our “snap-shots” page.

 

Progress Report

We are in Colorado now.

After a fantastic show of support at the “Taylor Lunch,” we spent our last few days in Gig Harbor visiting friends and packing our things.  This process is always bitter-sweet… the tension between not wanting to leave and can’t get there soon enough.

An especially bitter-sweet moment was the moment of life-changing decision for us.  Rob signed on the dotted line.  He is no longer a firefighter.  It is official.  We are missionaries for keeps and there is no turning back now.  And like any difficult decision, the toughest part is the process of deciding.  There is actually a sense of relief once it is done.  Ever had to make a big, life-changing decision?  Some decisions can torment you until you are willing to let go and just decide.  Ahhhh… the letting go.  Seems that there is freedom on the other side of everything… as long as we just let go.

If you know Rob, then you also know that he LOVED his job, and not only did he think it was the greatest job ever, he also loved the guys he worked with.  When they talk about a “brotherhood” among firefighters, it is the real deal.  It was not a small decision, or easy, but now that the decision is made, we somehow feel lighter… ready to go… looking forward to what God has in store for us in Zambia.  I think in some ways having to face the choice between a job you love and the unknowns of missionary work solidifies one’s sense of calling.  Seriously… who on earth would give up a great job they love for… for who-knows-what-lies-ahead?  Only the called.  (or crazy!)

Back to our arrival in Colorado… The Taylor tribe arrived either by car or plane as planned, though you ought to ask Rob sometime about his adventures en route, and now that we are here and sitting still for more than a couple minutes, I thought I’d take a moment and fill you all in on our progress.

The Taylor lunch was a success!  Thanks to the help and leadership of many friends photo-1(thanks Jackie!), it was a full house and what a joy it was to share with everyone about the work of ICBC and Teen Challenge.  For those of you who could not make it, I hope you will take the time (13 min) to watch this video.  Just so you know, the really professional videos were done by Christian Life Center in Dayton, OH. The really home-spun videos were done by us on our phones, but… it describes the ministry well and it will give you a clear picture of what we will be doing.  You will have an opportunity to hear about how this ministry is already at work in Swaziland and join us in bringing this God-sized, God-inspired dream to reality in Zambia.  PLEASE watch.

Rob and Jennifer share on Vimeo

And for the news you ware all waiting for… how are you doing, Rob and Jen?  How much support have you raised?  How much more do you need?  What percentage are you at? Did the fundraiser help?

We raised an additional $600 in monthly pledges and $1,000 in one-time gifts!  Thank you Chapel Hill for your support, your giving has bumped us up to:

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That number could be higher.  Occasionally folks send in gifts and don’t indicate if it is monthly, ongoing giving or a one-time gift, so… we could actually be as high as 78%!  That would be amazing!  Stay tuned…

Our goal still remains to get to Zambia in May, but as each day passes it becomes more likely that our moving day will be bumped into June.  That said, we have not given up on our May dream yet.  You can help us get there by pledging now.  If we can gain the 22-26% we need on a monthly basis and collect the resources needed for our outgoing expenses over the next few weeks, its doable.

So, if you are waiting to jump on board, please do so now (or let us know your intentions so we can mark you as a pledge).

We hope that you watched the video and it has inspired you to take part.  One of the really great things about joining us in this ministry now is the timing.  Watching this project grow from the beginning will encourage you and before you know it, we will ALL be dreaming big dreams for rural Africa.

Click the “GIVE NOW” button below and it will take you to our sending agency, The Antioch Partners.

In hopeful anticipation of 100%, Jennifer

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Going Public

We have been visiting a lot of people.  A lot.  And with that comes new folks to this blog and our newsletter, so just a little FAQ before I get started…

Our goal is to send out a quarterly newsletter.  I say “goal” because you know how it goes with goals… sometimes we miss the mark.  Ministry, kids, personal craziness, etc, etc, etc. We do, however, intend to communicate with a newsletter on a quarterly basis and we aim to share ministry updates.  In other words… just a bit more formal.

Here, on this blog, I write my personal reflexions and experiences as a missionary in Africa. It is not nearly as formal, and I do this:  1. because I enjoy writing (though I do not claim to be a “writer.”)  2. because I believe it is good and right to share my personal life and experiences with others, and  3. because I think there are at least a couple of people out there who are interested in how life is going for us as we serve in Africa.

If you are just now joining us, you can expect an email newsletter about 4 times a year and an email link to this blog (at best) every couple of weeks and (in reality) about once every couple of months, but I hope to get better about that.

WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!

We love nothing more than sharing about what God is doing through us, in us and despite us… and we LOVE sharing about what God is doing in Zambia.

This is Rob and I with Pastor Wafuka and Lily Kapolesa.  They live in Zambia.

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In fact, Wafuka IS Zambian… a national pastor with a call to serve in his own community.

Wafuka and Lily used to live in Swaziland.  Wafuka was living in Swaziland as a missionary learning and working with Teen Challenge Ministries and a community development ministry called ICBC.  While there, he met and married Lily, who was also serving in Swaziland as a missionary.  After this time, Wafuka felt that God was calling him home, and asking him to implement this ministry work of Teen Challenge and the ICBC concept in his community of Kafue.

I am telling you about these people because they are the folks we will be working and partnering with in Zambia.  We are SUPER excited about that.  We love them already.

And here we have a picture of a little community just outside Kafue, Zambia.

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It is in this place that Rob and I are going to serve in Zambia.

You can see from the photo that life is pretty simple in rural Zambia.  Here, and other places like it, the needs are great.  Families still haul their water, malnutrition rates are high,  rates for disease like HIV/AIDS are high, but educational opportunities and job opportunities are minimal.  The list could go on from here.

This place needs a ministry like ICBC.

What is that, you ask?

In Community By Community” is a community development ministry.  The goal is to come alongside a pastor and other leaders in the community and help identify the needs within that community.  We will develop relationships, encourage, pray, even help train and educate, but the idea is to have community members identify needs and solve problems.

We (not just us, but many people who have worked in communities like these) know that issues like water and food security, orphan and vulnerable children care, and health will rise to the top of the list of needs.  We will work alongside community members to find solutions to these devastating, life-draining problems.

But we don’t just want to bring relief, we want to bring transformation.  Using local talents, a church, community center, a clinic, and a preschool will be built.  The materials will be Zambian, the builders will be Zambian, and the teacher, health care worker and pastor will be Zambian.

I love that.  Rob and I have dreamed about working with national people right in their community… living alongside, learning the language, being with the people, doing things the Zambian way.

And all of this will be done within the context of the local church, where ministry is central to the work and evangelism is a product of the work.

We are excited about that too.  We have seen that a national has way more impact in a community, especially lasting impact, than we ever could as foreigners, and for us to come alongside local people and offer the support they need to become effective workers for the Kingdom… what an opportunity to transform a community!

So what will you be doing exactly, Rob and Jen?

Rob will be leading and coordinating the construction projects.  As much as possible, local laborers, both skilled and unskilled, will be utilized during the entire process.  The local builders will be building with traditional, kiln-fired mud brick using traditional methods.  Great care will be taken to build safe and durable buildings to serve generations of Zambian believers.  The end goal is to have buildings that community members can look at with pride and feel a sense of ownership that they helped bring it to reality.

Jennifer will be keeping things organized with bookkeeping and record-keeping.  She will also be the one to communicate through newsletters and this… the blog.  Her role is to free Wafuka up from many of the admin tasks so that he can fully invest in his passion, Teen Challenge ministries, and do what he does best, pastor.  Jennifer also has another role as an educator.  When the preschool is going up, Jen will go out, and identify preschool teachers and offer training for a quality, early education school.  Again, Zambian builders and a Zambian teacher.

Those are our specific tasks, but in all of this we both feel called to develop community, and for us that means being relational, and investing in the lives of our new friends.  Even in common tasks, like gardening or repairing a car, we expect relationships to happen and friendships to flourish.

The mission: Transforming communities for Christ through holistic ministry.

The process: In Community, By Community – Helping to build a Christ-centered community that reaches out to those in profound need, drawing them into a life-giving relationship within the local church.

So how can we help you, Rob and Jen?

We do need your help.

Consider partnering with us both financially and with prayer.  We are raising support and it is expected that we are 100% funded before we go.  Our goal is to be in Zambia sometime this May.  This is a steep goal, but we know that as people like you learn about this ministry and become excited about what we are doing, the funding will come in.  Join us.  This is a ministry that will encourage you as you watch it grow and develop.  It will bring you joy as you meet the people through us and learn about how they are investing and growing in their own community.  You will be inspired when you are a witness to the Holy Spirit at work through the hands of His people.

If you feel that the Lord is asking you to partner with us, please visit the website for The Antioch Partners, our sending agency.  They make giving easy.  Most people find that automatic giving is a simple way to keep things, well… simple.

Check out our “Connect” page for other ways in which you can help.

I also added photos to our space over at Picasa.  There is a direct link on our “Snap-Shots” page.

Thanks for walking this with us.  We love you all and are encouraged by your support!

Love, Jennifer

What are you doing?

The most frequently asked question du jour…

“What are you doing?”

There is the, “What are you doing right now while on home assignment?” question and then there is the bigger question, “What are you doing next?” and generally speaking, when we get asked this question, we are actually getting 2 for 1.  Most folks are asking both.

Legit.

If you have been around us at all during this season you may have noticed that we have been a little vague.  Or perhaps you have heard us speak to where we believe God is calling us and then we add…. “but we are waiting.”  I get it.  It seems that if someone was “called” to go someplace, the conversation ought to be compared to shouting the call from the rooftops, speaking to the call with absolute confidence and unwavering faith that in fact, we are going to pursue the call.  ASAP.

And while that is true, and there is no doubt we feel like shouting from the rooftops and packing our bags yesterday, we are learning to be intentional about waiting.  Waiting on the Lord, that is.  We do believe we know where we are going, but we also want to allow space and time for our ears to adjust, our hearts to soften and our prayers to be answered, so that we know, and I mean KNOW …. know-without-a-doubt-no-way-will-you-convince-us-otherwise that what we believe is in fact lining up with what God is asking of us.

We had a friend of ours at our sending agency remind us of how we as Americans, don’t wait.  Our strength in decision making and go-get-um work ethics does bring us success in many arenas… well… except those in which we are hoping to seek God.

Self-check, is there anything you need to wait on?

Will you wait with us?  Pray with us?  We are headed to Georgia for a long weekend to intentionally set aside time to pray, along with our sending agency, for confirmation on the next assignment.  We anticipate concluding this time with confirmation.

As for the other question, “What are you doing here? and, What is home assignment anyway?”

Home assignment is a normal piece of overseas mission work.  It is common for families (or singles) serving abroad to come home for visiting family and friends, doctors visits, contacting donors, training, and even (gasp) rest.  Home assignment typically lasts for some months, anywhere from 1 month to a year.

What are we doing?  The short answer… running like mad crazy people.  I have learned that airfare purchased during the Christmas season should come with a warning label.  We have seen family, spent time with friends, countless coffee dates, weekly meetings, dinner parties, paperwork, shopping, holiday festivities, attended small groups, prepared and sent 2 boys to school, and, (of course) settled into the routine of educating our other 2 children.  Coming up next are the doctor appointments, taxes, planning several weeks in California to visit churches, speaking at small groups, calling and writing to individuals, planning for church visits in Colorado, receiving 2 boys back in April, packing and sorting (yet again) and travel planning back to ______, Africa.

Whew.  Let’s let the dust settle after that last paragraph.

Would I change any of it?  No.  I’ve loved being back here in the States to visit and I love this season of generating excitement for what is coming next.  Being here and stepping back from our life in Africa also reminds me of how much I love living in Africa.

And though we are busy, busy, busy, we have had times to talk, and think.  I write in my journal and share my heart with trusted friends.  We get feedback and ideas and have time to read books and do research.  All of those things bring clarity to our calling and help us prepare for our next assignment.  I’ve loved having this time of renewal remind me of the vision God placed in me for service in the first place and I am anxious to get back and cling to it.

The time is sweet, but it is also running short.  Before you know it we will be on our way once again.

So here’s how you can help:

  • Help us stay in touch with YOU.  If you think we might have an incorrect email address, please send a new one our way.  Read our blog and letters, attend an event, meet us for coffee.  All of these things help us!
  • Partner with us.  We are building our support now for the next assignment.  If you are already contributing financially, consider an additional gift to help us get there.

The Antioch Partners – Giving Page

  • Pray for us.  We cannot overstate the power of prayer.
  • Help us connect with others.  Connecting us with people in your circle helps us get more people excited about what God is doing in Africa.  Have a dinner party?  Invite us to your small group?

And in all this, know that we really appreciate you.  We treasure this sweet time of reconnecting and love having the opportunity to sit face-to-face… a gift we no longer take lightly.

With Joy and Love, Jennifer

People

Anywhere you go, it is really the people that make a place.

I have been stewing on the idea of writing a blog entry about the people we live and work with for some time now.  Perhaps a form of “show and tell” … allowing our people at home the chance to look into the window of our relationships and see who it is we’ve come to love and now have to leave.  No matter how you shake it out, goodbyes are hard.

I’ll begin with the New Life Homes Team.IMG_1454

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All of these folks are hard-working people, dedicated to the mission of serving children with the love of Christ.  It is with joy and pleasure that we worked alongside these people and with a heavy heart that we say farewell.

The moms…. IMG_2187Over the course of our stay here in Swaziland, I have learned something about these women.  Strength.  Courage.  Dedication.  Commitment.  Compassion.  They love the children of New Life as if they were their own.

I love Make Shongwe for her soft heart and loving soul.  She bathes the kids with gentle touches and encouraging words.

I am amazed at the hard-working character of Make Johnston.  She is rock-soild and she can be counted on for anything.

Make Msibi (Happy) has a leadership that the entire farm respects and she is looked to for advice, decisions and knowledge.  Her longevity deserves respect… it is tough work and she is still here.

And I love Make Khumalo’s spirit.  She has an insightfulness that seems to give her the ability to look into the window of your heart.  She understands people and her honesty (sometimes brutal!) is spot-on.  She is a truth-speaker.

As my days at the school were coming to a close, I realized just how much I loved the people I worked with everyday.  I spent most of my time with the teachers at the school and can count each one of them as a friend.

Make Dlamini was (is)  my first Swazi friend.  I’m pretty sure she knows everything there is to know about Swaziland and Rob and I both learned SO MUCH about Swazi culture from her.  She is thoughtful and considerate.  When all the rest of us get caught up in the business of teaching, she is the one who will remember an important detail concerning a friend.  I love her sense of humor and her deep desire to bring people together and develop community.DSCN3207

Make Dludlu also needs special recognition as the new head teacher of the school.  Full of energy and enthusiasm, she leads the school with gusto.  I’ve grown to respect and love her.  She is easy to talk to and is willing to share her own heart.  Make Dludlu is a fantastic addition to the school and she will take New Life Primary to the next level… and beyond.

IMG_2235Make Glory Dlamini.  I.love.her.  She is the classroom helper for grade one and two.  A dedicated, hard-working woman, she certainly made my life easier, but in the process she became a friend.IMG_2243

And of course, how can we neglect the children of New Life Homes and the students of the Primary school that come in from the community?  What joy.  I think each one has captured my heart.

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Rob forged some pretty special relationships too.  Mthi, Ray, and Bomber are also my friends, but Rob spent countless hours working alongside these guys and laughing at who-knows-how-many dumb jokes.  If you know Rob, you know about the humor…

The truth is, these guys are first-rate.  They work hard, but not just work… they work for the greater good.  They look out for the farm in a way that is always seeking out ways to improve.  It is not just that they show up for a paycheck, but they participate, demonstrating to the kids (and everyone else) what it means to have skin in the game.  Thanks guys… for a job well done.

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Finally, I must say something about our neighbors.  They weren’t a part of the New Life Community, but they were very much a part of our lives.  They listened and shared.  They cared for our kids…even babysitting for days at a time.  They basically walked this season with us and to be honest I am not sure how we would have fared without them.  They are generous, considerate, and offer a servant’s heart.  We will miss you Sean and Nicole!

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And though we come to the end of this chapter, we are not done with the story.  As God is closing doors for the Taylor Family in Swaziland, we clearly see Him opening doors for us elsewhere.

We are now in the States and with the help of our sending agency, our church, and the prayers of those around us, we are participating in a time of home assignment.  We continue to minister and we need your prayers and continued financial support as we finish the discernment process for our next assignment.  We have been blessed over and over again as you all minister to us and we look forward to sharing God’s plan for us more fully over the coming weeks!

Now the advent season is here and Christmas is approaching.  Will you consider a year-end Christmas gift for the Taylor Tribe?  We continue to raise support in preparation for God’s call on our family.  Take a look at our sending agency’s website… they make it easy.

The Antioch Partners

As always, we love you and we will see you SOON!

Love, Jennifer

With Reckless Abandon

We had another visitor.

Bob Beilke from our home church, Chapel Hill Presbyterian in Gig Harbor, came to visit New Life Homes.  He has been working with the kids over quite some time and came to follow up and continue his work with them.IMG_1535

What you may not know about Bob is that he is a professional.  In his day-job he works with kids…specifically, he is a pediatric psychologist.  What an amazing gift he brings to this ministry!  Not only is Bob professionally trained to speak into the lives of these children, addressing their hurts, but he also offers us adults a great service, to continue our training as the staff at New Life in working with children such as these… helping us to be an encouragement and a help to hurting kids as they grow and develop.  Now, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that the children at New Life Homes are suffering, far from it!  They are thriving!  But as you probably already know, recovery from trauma can often be a life-long process and Bob’s contribution to New Life, the staff, and the children is one of healing and hope.  Thank you Bob, for your service.

While he was here Rob and I “took advantage” of his services.  We “snuck” in some personal time with him, probing him for answers to the very BIG question in our minds…. “How are our own kids doing?”

Moving cross-culturally is no small deal for kids, and I have wondered, “Are they OK?”  and even if I can see with my eyes that they are doing well, I have still secretly wondered about their adjustment.  Rob and I often joke about how our parenting style offers our children “opportunity” for seeking professional help later in life, and just so you know, we ARE joking when we say that!  But seriously, we are concerned for the well-being of our children just as any parent is, and being a missionary doesn’t offer any promises for a good outcome for missionary kids.  We enter this new Taylor reality in fervent prayer!

Sometimes you just need to hear from someone else that you are doing OK, and we are.  We are doing OK.

Thanks Bob, for the encouragement.  Thank you.

Sounds crazy, I know, but May is the end of summer.  As you (in the Northern Hemisphere) are warming up, we are cooling down and as a last hurrah for the season, we walked down to the river with the kids.  Bob went with us.IMG_1523

It was the first time I had taken the walk down to the river, and I was totally amazed at the beauty.  It was a stunning playground for the kids.  I really need to get out more!  It was one of those days where you get out, and are taken back by the beauty of God’s creation.  Children at play have a way of doing that.  They play with reckless abandon, enjoying every aspect of the “playground.”

We could probably do a lot to take lessons.IMG_1554

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Switching gears…

We have had to make a few adjustments.

School for our own kids is one of those adjustments.  With Luke getting older and preparing to enter high school, we have been considering where to send him.  Matthew took the last bed at the Derr household (though I am sure the Derr family would have found a way to squeeze Luke in!).  We were considering schools in Swaziland and quickly came to the conclusion that the boys would be on different school schedules, not to mention as a teacher, I have my own schedule.  Getting this all figured out was starting to become a big puzzle.

We started looking at a boarding school in Kenya, Rift Valley Academy, for Luke, and wouldn’t you know it…. we found out the Derr family would be headed back to the U.S. soon which meant Matt would need a new school too.  Truth be told, it was a bit like fresh air had blown into my mind- to have both boys together at the same school and on the same schedule was a relief.

We are thrilled that they have both been accepted and will begin school September 1.  You can see what they will be doing at rva.org.

In my last post I alluded to the fact that we would need to raise additional support, and adding Luke’s schooling expenses to the budget confirms it.  We are asking for help specifically for Luke’s education, but also to make up some of our regular budget expenses.  We fell a little short with monthly contributions, and some expenses have been a bit higher than anticipated, but the real kicker is the increase in the vehicle expenses.  In the last year we have replaced 10 tires (6 new, 4 used) on the car!  Thank goodness Rob can do the work on the car himself because we have also replaced almost the entire front suspension not to mention a whole host of other parts.  Turns out, commuting back and forth 70 kilometers a day on a rough dirt road does a little damage….

We have already received gifts from supporters who knew these expenses were coming,  and wow… we cannot even begin to explain how in awe we are of the generosity of ordinary people who want to participate in what God is doing!

We are seeking to raise $20,000 for the second year of Taylor service in Swaziland.  We have already received $10,000 in committed support for the upcoming year.  Now we are asking you.

Will you consider how God might be asking you to participate financially?

Please visit our sending agency’s website… they make it so easy!  (P.S. check out the “Partner Stories” page and see what they are doing with EPC!)

 The Antioch Partners

We appreciate your generosity and your prayers.  We are honored to be in partnership with you all doing God’s work in His kingdom.

Seeking to serve Him with reckless abandon….

Jennifer

P.S.  You are always invited to check out our photos at Picasa….

March/April/May 2013             June 2013

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