We hope this update finds you well. There is no better time than the present to update you on what’s happening in our lives and also engage your prayer for our future.
In May, Eric graduated from Phoenix Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree with highest honors. From the very beginning, it has always been our vision to teach and train pastors and church leaders in Africa and around the world. Because of this, it made sense to us to also get a Theological Masters (ThM) which is the minimum standard for teaching in an accredited seminary in the US (click here for more info on ThM). To this end, before even finishing with the MDiv, Eric had already started classes towards the ThM and it means that next May, God willing, he will have defended his thesis and will graduate (again)—and our season of schooling will be done. Whew! It has been longer than we expected; as there have been joys and sorrows unexpected. But through it all, God has been good to us and taken care of us.
For the past year, Julianne has been teaching a women’s Bible study at church. She has relished this opportunity and has found it life-giving not only to other women at church but to herself, as well. While much of her week is invested in raising our children, she also has been part of a pastors’ wives’ fellowship. Even though she is not a pastor’s wife, she recognized that on the mission field one of her major ministries will be with the wives of the pastors with whom we interact, so why not learn to relate, sympathize, and exhort them right now?
All of these things help us to remember why God brought us to Phoenix in the first place: to be equipped for better ministry in Africa.
What is ahead?
This is our opportunity to engage your prayers as we look forward to the future. We left Chad in the Spring of 2016 with the intention of going back there to teach at the Evangelical Church’s seminary in Kelo. While away from Chad, our umbrella church, the Evangelical Church of Chad, has undergone a major and messy split which has taken its toll on the seminary. Not only that, but since leaving there the AIM leadership in Chad has refocused its ministry concentration on the unreached peoples of Chad. This has left us in a lurch. We know that God has not equipped and prepared us in vain. So, we are prayerfully considering some other options for ministry in Africa. There are three major opportunities before us: in West Africa (Senegal, Mali, Niger, Guinea) where AIM wants to begin a new ministry; in Beira, Mozambique, at Sofala Bible Institute; and in Windhoek, Namibia, at Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. So, will you pray with us about these options before us? Right now, we are focusing on being present where God has put us, but we know in the back of our minds that graduation is coming soon and we’ll need to go where God wants us to go. We’re not worried about this decision but know that with any change we have to factor in financial support, logistics, spiritual gifts, etc., and trust God through all the changes that will be involved. Please pray for us that God would direct us and guide us. Pray that we would be humble enough to follow Him wherever he leads us. Pray that he would continue to supply our needs and open doors for us to serve Him and proclaim Christ.