In the past month, we’ve been going between extremes. From Chad to Minnesota, from the desert to the winter tundra! We arrived in Minnesota four weeks ago and have been adjusting back to life in America. It’s strange how much we got used to things in Chad. First, there is the weather. But there is also the food (we are enjoying the plentiful options here!), the people – from dark black to pale white! – and the language, French to English.
We finished our term in Chad in a very good way. It was our prayer that we could go strong to the end and leave a positive impact where we were serving. Thanks to God, things came together very well. We weren’t too stressed in all our packing and moving things into storage, and we were able to bless many people with things that didn’t make any sense for us to put into storage. Of course, as people found out we were leaving, many people came out of nowhere to say goodbye and others to ask for things one last time, but, thankfully, God always gave us the right words at the right time.
We had several ‘last-chances’ to speak at churches the last few Sundays we were in the village, and Eric got to share with all the pastors of the area how to start discipleship movements in their churches. We thank God that His word was preached and seeds of gospel discipleship were sown. Someone asked us who would continue the ministry in our absence and our only response was, “The Holy Spirit will!”
On our drive to Ndjamena, our air-conditioner broke, so I guess it was only appropriate that we should enjoy the finer points of the natural Chadian climate one last time before we leave!
In Ndjamena, we had a chance to spend some time with our best friends in Chad, Solomon and Justine Basse. Solomon and his wife helped us get settled into village life in Bere and we became very close, they even named their newborn son Eric! Our hearts were so happy to spend a Sunday with them. Imagine our heartbreak when the next day we heard he was in a terrible car accident where 5 people died. He was thrown from the back of a pickup when it rolled on the highway, and, miraculously, he managed to live. We visited him several times in the government hospital in Ndjamena and although he has severe head injuries and a couple broken bones, he is still living. We continue to pray for him and his complete recovery.
Such is the life for missionaries in Africa, straddling between extremes, of life and death, of sickness and health, of modernity and tradition, and by God’s grace, learning to navigate drastically different worlds. In all this, we pray that God’s message remains clear and relevant for everyone we talk to.
Our time home right now is considered our ‘home-assignment’, where we connect with supporters and churches and share what God has been doing in and through us. We look forward to seeing our friends and supporters during this time.
We ask for your prayers during this time. Julianne’s pregnancy has been going well so far, keep her in your prayers (baby’s ETA: April 30.) We also have some big decisions to make concerning our future. We have an opportunity to teach with the Chadian Evangelical Church’s seminary in Chad, but in order to do that Eric would need to finish his Masters. So we are exploring that option. Please pray that God would direct our hearts and give us wisdom for the future. We feel a little like Abram when God called him to go ‘to a country that I will show you.’ But God didn’t tell Abram right away where he would go and Abram had to follow in faith. Likewise, we are learning to walk in faith.
Thanks so much for your prayers and support! You are our partners in this walk of faith! Keep praying for us and let us know if you want to get together sometime (we love cooking ‘ethnic’ food for our friends, if that interests you).