New Beginnings and an Awkward Tension

Where to begin?

At times I’ve been truly undone and overwhelmed by the Lord’s kindness.  I find myself thoroughly enjoying the joys and benefits of being in the US near family…

In many ways, it feels like I’ve embarked on a new adventure with loved ones by my side…

I’ve done all I know to do to prepare, to train, to have a wise plan… yet, I’m waiting for my train (which isn’t necessarily everyone else’s train).

At the same time… I feel like I’m still somewhat stuck in between one season of my life and the other.  I’m trying not to look down… I want to get to the other side, but progress “seems” almost non-existent.

Yet, in the current season, I delight in seeing my family enjoy the sweet gifts of being in East Tennessee.

Relationships that have been cultivated and enjoyed for many years…

Relationships that have sprung up recently out of our new soil…

Relationships that have blossomed Into something far richer and beautiful than could have been imagined…

Still, other times I battle discouragement from the dozens and dozens of rejections in my search for employment.

I will admit that I have applied to quite a few that I am way underqualified to do, but I’ve also applied to some that I thought I was overqualified to do (even though my qualifications are limited to a pretty narrow field).

I find myself feeling embarrassed by my inability to find a good job locally.  I hope this is the Lord’s way of protecting me from a poor decision.  Although I’m not sure of the Lord’s plans, I do want to be faithful in seeking His voice as I pursue employment.

Stress and anxiety lurk and linger in my mind as Kelly’s health and Charli’s lungs have continued to be an issue (plus an intense bout with Covid).

But then the Lord gently reminds me (yet again) of countless times that He has lavished His generosity upon us…  He lovingly floods my mind with how He has repeatedly made a way when it had seemed illogical and impossible in the past.  He has always been so good to us… always.

Our desire is to stay in Knoxville for the season.  Staying local is one of our highest priorities at the moment.  Our hearts have missed being near family.

The Smalls are long overdue for a season in which they have the opportunity to thrive.  Their current school situation seems to be a wonderful step in that direction.

In addition, we are hopeful that the medical care that Kelly is receiving here will be part of the Lord’s path to full health in the future.

Now to the awkward part…

When we realized that furloughs were normal for missionaries… (well, not only were they normal, they were necessary), we realized how desperately we needed one.  Initially, we planned on a six-month period to rest, to regain emotional health, and to acclimate to a new culture.  That six-month period officially ends on September 2.  So, the question now is, “What do we do about those who have continued giving during our furlough?”

I don’t want anyone to feel pressured.  My heart feels an indescribable gratitude for the support that we have received.  I wonder if I should turn off on-line giving… or do I let givers decide for themselves?  Do I give it another month as I continue to aggressively seek employment?  (In hopes to have found full-time employment by the end of September?)  I am praying and seeking counsel as I want to do what honors the Lord.  I would love your feedback and suggestions.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure what to do about your online giving.  I just know that I am extremely grateful.  I do try to steward well what the Lord has entrusted to us, and I am looking for work on a daily basis.

My path just doesn’t seem to be as clearly marked as I had hoped.

I have a few more places where I could apply.  Unfortunately, these would involve a pretty drastic salary cut, but it would provide a salary.  I am open to all options of employment, but my heart and gifts lie in ministry.

If you would like to cease your support, please know that there will not be any awkwardness. There would only remain a heartfelt gratitude for your kindness and love.  If you are not sure how to pause / suspend giving, simply send me an email.  I will immediately honor your request.  We are just so thankful that you have walked with us so faithfully for so long.

For now, I humbly request your prayers.  Again, I do want to honor the Lord.  The uncertainty feels hard to be honest.  If you know me, you know that I somewhat obsess on planning and being prepared.  Aware of my inability to control the circumstances, I’m trying to trust and honor.  It’s just easier to type about trusting than actually do it.  So, as I already requested, please pray for me (and us) as you think of us.  Much love to all.