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As we spread blankets and sleeping bags on the floor Friday night to prepare for our second annualHome Alone marathon on the first Friday in December, the kids and I reminisced. You see, the last time we enjoyed activity, Bryan was in Missouri. He was taking a survey trip to Missionary Acres, a ministry we feel God has called us to serve at.
And as we remember the past year, we can clearly see how God is working in our lives.
No, we aren’t in Missouri yet. We aren’t even on deputation or through the application process yet.
But we are more sure than ever about God calling us to serve. And it’s been remarkable to see Him work in our lives! Here’s a peek at what’s happening…
One of the requirements for us to finish the application process and head to candidate school with Baptist Mid-Missions is for our total debt to be at $18,000 or less.
At this time last year, we were sitting at $30K, the remaining balance on my student loans.
Paying off $12,000 seemed impossible. Our income, even with my writing, is low. There just isn’t much extra to put towards the debt.
But, we prayed for God’s guidance. And you know what? He has been so faithful. A couple of people have even helped us pay down part of our debt, which was such a surprising blessing.
Our remaining balance is now $23,007.44. In a year, we’ve paid down nearly $7,000 in debt. We have just over $5K to go to meet the threshold.
Prior to this year, we were only making minimum payments each month. Do you know how amazing it is that we’ve been able to put that much extra on our debt?
Especially when you factor in all the car repairs we’ve done this year. We’ve sunk several thousand dollars into our old cars to keep them roadworthy.
While sometimes we look at the remaining debt and think that it feels impossible to have paid down by the upcoming April deadline, we’re learning to give our worries to God. He will take care of it, in His perfect timing.
And if we don’t make it to candidate school this next summer, we know God knows when the best time for us to go will be.
Speaking of God’s timing, we’ve really learned how to trust this past year. We want to be in Missouri now. But, we can see how God is carefully moving us toward the goal of serving. Along the way, He will teach us the lessons we need, and prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies for the job ahead.
He’s also working in our family in other ways.
In the past year, we’ve had some medical struggles with Owen. But, he’s so much calmer now. While he’s not the Owen we’ve grown used to in the past five years, he’s back to his more easy-going personality that he used to have. His movements aren’t as erratic, and he’s listening a bit more.
It’s incredible what seizure control has done for him!
In fact…we even put up a Christmas tree this year, for the first time in many years! (Here’s a really early blog post on this topic.)
The other kids have all grown as well. The older they get, the better they travel, sit in church, entertain themselves, and all those other important things we’ll be doing a lot of once we begin deputation.
We also will have another driver soon! Jayme just finished Driver’s Ed, and will likely get her license in the spring. Since we’ll probably be driving two cars on deputation, having an extra driver will be a huge blessing!
Part of applying to become missionaries meant writing a doctrinal statement. As we dove into scriptures, Bryan and I both learned so much. When you have to explain why you believe what you believe by linking it to specific verses, it really helps you to get a clearer understanding.
We’ve grown spiritually as a result of this process.
And three more of our children have come to know the Lord as Savior this past year. We’re rejoicing in that!
Perhaps our biggest lesson during the past year was learning how we can trust God in all areas of our lives. You see, when we first heard we had to pay down debt, we made a plan. We decided I’d work on growing my business, and we’d rely on that income to get us below the threshold.
Except, ever since we made this decision, my business hasn’t been growing. In fact, I had my first negative month since launching back in October. While things are looking a little brighter now, this lack of growth really opened our eyes to something important.
We weren’t trusting in God to get us to Missionary Acres. We were trusting in our abilities to get us there. Our focus was on us and how we could do it, instead of on God and how He would do it.
And He’s been showing us how wrong we were.
We’ve been trusting in God more, and learning His timing and provisions are perfect.
The Future Awaits…
This past year has been one of growth, even if it seems to those around us that we’re standing still in our decision to serve God. It may be years before we pay off our debt, raise support on deputation, and arrive at Missionary Acres.
But, we can trust that in the meantime, we’ll be learning exactly what God wants us to. And we are excited to watch Him work in our lives!