Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Guess We're Really Doing This...

We arrived back to Nicaragua in May with a lot on our minds.  We spent a majority of the plane ride home, mentally going through our house, pricing and figuring out what we were going to sell.  Then we began to talk about how we were going to break the news to our friends, both Nicaraguan and missionary friends that we have become so close to.  Oh, how we didn't want to have to do it.  If we thought there would be an easier way, we would have found it, trust me!  We knew it would be so hard.  
When we arrived, we were so glad to be back, but sad because we knew it was for such a short time and we were going to have to say goodbye.  

Roger had a conference in Puerto Cabezas, in the northeast, less than a week after we arrived, we also had to get school supplies out to the schools and communities, and we had a clinic in just days.  We had a lot going on right away, but also had the impending move in the forefront of our minds.  We realized we couldn't think about leaving yet and had to focus.  Once we finished those tasks we'd hit it with full force, and did we ever.  

I was feeling the weight of all the logistics...selling, packing, leaving.  It's always a balancing act, as people leave, to have just enough stuff left behind so you can live but not too much where you are having people in your home up to the last day picking things up; and packing all at the same time.  We were talking with some friends of ours one night via Skype (pretty sure God inspired the invention of Skype...amazing) and she gave us a great idea.  Sell, pack and get out of your house early, rent a furnished apt. so that you can have time to spend with the people you want to spend your last weeks with, friends.  I literally felt the weight of the world lift from my shoulders.  It was such a freeing moment.  We immediately called some friends of ours, missionaries, who happen to have a guest house.  God answered our prayers, they had the house free for nearly 3 weeks so that we could use it.  

We began to get serious about this purging thing.  Everything must go!!! We could only move back with suitcases and totes.  So if it wasn't really important or too big it was sold or given away.  Now, don't get me wrong, there were things that were important that we parted with, but it was tough to make the cut :)  We were also blessed by some other missionary friends who had teams that were coming down that offered to take some totes back for us; who also happened to live close to where we were moving to...God again!!!  I really wasn't for sure how we were going to scale everything down from 9 years of living, and accumulating, to 8 suitcases.  God must have known we needed the help.  And the kids were grateful too.  There were just things that were hard to part with for them, and as a parent, it's hard to ask them to do such a hard thing sometimes.  They were already giving up and leaving everything they had ever known. 

Well, within a few weeks we had everything sold.  It was a very liberating, but sobering realization.  This move was really going to happen.  I was trying so hard to stay focused on the logistics that when we finally had a chance to catch our breath it hit me hard.  We were really saying goodbye to our lives of 9 years.  We were really leaving the work in the hands of our new directors there.  We were really saying goodbye to so many friends that had become more like family.  We were really leaving it all behind.  

We spent the last few weeks working with our new directors, Michelle and Eliseo, making sure they were ready to take over the Nicaragua projects and work.  We also took every opportunity to spend time with our friends there, both missionary and Nicaraguan friends.  We tried to enjoy the last days to the fullest.  The goodbyes were, by far, the hardest.  Not knowing when the next time is that we would see them.  We are still planning on visiting Nicaragua, but after spending year after year with these families, birthday parties, weddings, babies, it just doesn't seem the same to maybe get to see them once a year.  It's still hard to think about it.  We miss them all so much.  

But God had asked us to do something for Him.  And we knew it.  He had asked us to leave our country behind.  To follow Him and His leading.  To be obedient in the midst of difficulty, when it wasn't what we wanted.  Not our will but His.  He had been faithful to us during this whole process.  He worked things out before we knew we needed it.  Our truck sold in days, we had a house to live in, we were able to bring more suitcases back with us, and just a few weeks before we left Nicaragua we had already found out we had an apt. that would be open for us to rent within 2 days of landing in the States.  The hand of God had been over us and seen throughout this whole time.  I know it would have been so much harder had we not known without a doubt that this is what God was calling us to do.  His peace, in the midst of sadness, reigned in our hearts and minds.  Don't get me wrong, there are still days that are hard, but I know God will see us through.  

July 10th we landed in the States.  Two months and 5 days after we returned to Nicaragua.  What a crazy two months they were.  Without God, I don't know how it could have come together....but I  wouldn't have wanted to go through it without Him.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Didn't See This One Coming....

As I have laid in bed many a night knowing I need to update the blog, I think, "Where does one even begin".  I realize the last post was in March and look back on that date and realize I never knew what was coming. 

We arrived in the States, excited, and ready to travel.  To see our friends and family.  Excited to share all the things that God is doing and extend our gratitude for all those who have made it possible.  

Little did we know what God had in store for us.  

The trip progressed as normal.  We traveled from place to place, realizing that we wished we could stay longer everywhere we went, and realized that wasn't possible.  Enjoyed the fellowship, the late nights, card games, and visits.  But, there was an underlying theme going on that not many saw.  

In Branson, our first stop, the conference was amazing.  The Lord spoke and we enjoyed the fellowship as we always do.  Then, the Lord said something about coming back to the States.  WHAT!?!?!! We didn't see that coming.  We weren't even sure if that was the Lord.  Can't be.  So we just kept that in our hearts, the back burner, and continued our trip.  It seemed as though someone would say something about coming back to the States or taking a break, nearly everywhere we went.   We both were simmering on that internally.  Not even discussing it amongst ourselves.  Then one night came where we were receiving prayer and, again, it came up.  OK, now this is in a group setting.  Can't ignore it.  So we went there a bit.  Discussed. Cried. Thought.  

The days following Roger and I (Rhonda) were in some serious meetings with the Lord and each other.  "Was this really His will?"  "We've always said we'd stay for the people of Nicaragua." "We love the people."  "Our hearts are with them."  "They are going through, and are getting ready to go through, such a hard time."  "Could this really be?"  We cried more, talked more, thought more, prayed more.  Later in April we came to an agreement, the two of us, that we felt peace about returning to the States.  (Even as I write this I can't believe we did it.)  

We kept it between us, for the most part, until early May, when we told family.  It was one of the hardest decisions I have been a part of, to date.  It was hard for all of us.  The kids have never lived in the States. It was a totally new thing to them.  They weren't returning to a life they once knew.  And we, Roger and I, weren't returning as the people we once were.  We've been changed and molded by the time we've been out of the States, 9 years, and the people we have met and the God that has seen us through.  

We were about to embark on a journey like no other....

Friday, March 11, 2011


We're currently at the Branson Conf. that we attend every year. It has been a blessing to be with the Body and worship together. The Word has been rich, full of conviction, truth and confirmation.

Here's the kids with their "conf. buddies". Yesterday was our Rachel's birthday, she turned 7. The first time we attended the conf. she was just 6 days old. It's been amazing to have that as our gauge of how long we have been blessed with these relationships here. She and Josiah have literally "grown up" in the conf.
We are so blessed that God has not only brought Roger and I relationships in the States, but the kids as well!! He's a good Father like that :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let the Journey Begin...

Tomorrow is the big day!! We arrived in the States Monday and have had a couple of days to get some logistics and errands run. We've bought the snacks (got to keep the kids happy for the travels), repacked our luggage and are ready for our 6+ week journey throughout nearly all of the midwest, including Canada. We start out at the United Minister's conf., led by Ira Milligan, that we attend every year in Branson, MO. We always enjoy being with the Body of Christ there. It is always encouraging and will be a great start to our travels.

We are truly grateful for the Lord, once again, providing a way for us to be State side and having the chance to continue relationships He has blessed us with in our family's lives. We can't wait to see what God has in store for our journey!!

Please be sure to check out our calendar here to see where we'll be and hope you can join us somewhere along the journey.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

School's in Session

Tonight I read this from a fellow missionary's blog. These stats are staggering, and on top of that teacher's pay is minimal and only about 35% of school aged children finish the 6th grade. I would say that it sums up part of the reason that we do what we do when we deliver school supplies, provide supplies for teachers, etc... We feel so blessed that we are able to help so many that, on their own, would struggle with such a basic need, education.

Tomorrow we head out to deliver school supplies to all the schools. Between 5 elementary schools, 1 high school and Francisco & Erica's 2 children churches we are able to help provide 400 students with supplies for this year. We are so excited and blessed to see how God continues to take care of details, all the details!!