Glad Answers and Sad Goodbyes
I plopped down on the chair and looked at the clock. Only 7:30 in the evening. I sighed. I’m not quite old enough to go to bed at 7:30, but I’m evidently old enough to wish for bedtime that early! Getting up at 4:30 a.m., getting breakfast and sending kids off to school, teaching Bible and English to the homeschoolers and supervising their work, and tending to the hundred and one daily tasks before the day-school kids come home and the second round of activities and teaching begins — it wears a “no longer young” lady out! Paul and I have often discussed how much we need help. We’re thankful for Denise and Kimmy and their eager labors with us. We see we are getting older, though, and we have been concerned about who will be taking over the ministry here when we are no longer able to manage it. Every time we have visitors we think, “Maybe the Lord will call them here….”
And He has heard our prayer and done just that! Matt and Brittany Villandry have answered the call to join us in our ministry. We are so delighted! They couldn’t be a more perfect match. Matt and Paul have talked extensively and are in total agreement in points of doctrine and have the same goals. Matt has the same burden for teaching and training the hill tribes preachers.
He has already left his pastorate at Grace Baptist in Wagoner and they have joined Central Baptist Church in Grenada, which is also our sending church. He is working now on the sale of his business — a pharmacy. Matt is also a pharmacist. I am jumping with joy at the prospect of someone more knowledgeable than I am to take over the medical ministry. I’ve learned a lot over the past five years of helping with these needs, but I’m often stumped and unsure what to recommend.
And he and Brittany are young enough to become fluent in the language. Paul tries, but can’t squeeze out the time from his work with the preachers to become fluent. I’m working at Thai, but I’m afraid that by the time I get it all down, I will get dementia and forget it all!
Brittany shares my burden for giving education opportunities to the young people in the mountains. She homeschools their children and is obviously a good teacher. Besides that, she delights in organization — which is my weakest point. She is even a Mac person. Both Paul and I missed out on being in the computer generation. We limp along and whine, “Why is it doing this?” and “But I don’t WANT to update! Why don’t they leave things alone?” I asked the Lord to send a Mac person into my life to help me cope. And He graciously answered. Now I say at least every other day, “When Brittany gets here I’ll have her help me figure this out….”
We enjoyed getting to know Cohen (11), and Lila (9), their two older children, when they came with their parents for a visit in November. They hit it off with our kids right away. It was a joy to see Cohen playing chess with Jay and all the kids competing in a noisy game of Uno. We are looking forward to meeting their “littles,” Ben (4) and Caleb (2).
Please pray with us that the Lord will bless their time of deputation. They will be traveling to churches to present the work and to raise support to meet their needs here on the field. We are praying that they will be able to quickly raise the funds they need. (So they can get here as soon as possible!)
I’m particularly glad that the Lord called them at a time BEFORE we started to plan and build on our property. They will most likely be living here longer than we will. I had visions of the missionaries who followed us saying, “What on earth were they THINKING to design the buildings this way?” I’m glad they will have input on how to build. (Then the most they can say is, “What were WE thinking…?”)
The property is still not officially ours. There have already been several little glitches that will take time to iron out. Nothing serious — but progress has been slow. When we finish, though, the land will be secure. No more troubles over ownership like we’ve had in the past!
We plan to move when the school year ends in March, as we have discovered that changing schools mid-term is a giant headache. We searched online and in person to find two houses to rent while the sale is completed and the building started. There weren’t any. None. Not a chicken coop or a condo. But that’s no problem to the Lord who created the universe. Two houses that just meet our needs became available. We’ve already rented one and have another secured which will be available in April. The Lord is good to us! There are many hill tribes villages around the small town where we will be living. Already I’ve had people ask if they can be in my English class. We can’t wait to get there and to start having services and ministering to the people there.
That’s two of the big concerns about the future — a permanent place and people who will eventually take over the work. What a confirmation that the work is not ours, but the Lord’s. Where He leads, He always provides. We can rest in that truth. But I’m still a bit impatient for it all to come to pass!
In other news, we’ve been busy traveling to Thanksgiving celebrations. We have another one coming up this Saturday and a home dedication the following Saturday.
We had a going-away party for Rusty and Jemelle last Friday. They left to return home to Australia early this morning. We will certainly miss them! They’ve been more than friends to us. They have become part of our Thailand family. We’re praying the Lord will bless their business and enable them to return soon. And I’ve always wanted to visit Australia…..
We had another sad goodbye — this one permanent. Andy, who has lived with us for four years, moved from being a difficult kid, to being one who refused to obey the rules. He had behavior issues that forced us to send him home. Please pray for him, that the Lord will bring to his mind the verses he memorized here and the things we taught him. Most of all, pray that the Lord will have mercy and save him. We are broken-hearted, but have no doubt that the step was necessary.
We already had another boy waiting in the wings. He is a friend of our school kids and is another hill tribe boy without parents in his life. He has been here nearly every night and weekend, hoping we will take him in. Now we have a spot for him, but we want to make sure he is the one the Lord has for us to raise. We aren’t ready for any more heartbreak!
Life in a house full of teenagers can’t help but be a challenge. We have other issues we are facing I’m not free to share, but we do covet your prayers for wisdom and patience.
And strength. At least enough to last until bedtime!