Nancy and I wanted to pass along a quick update, just three Pictures, and three Stories, as we head for South Asia. It would be a gross understatement to say that our time in the states this summer didn’t go as planned. We had the schedule set well in advance with numerous speaking opportunities, meeting with ministry partners and churches, receiving additional training, etc. And while some of that did happen, most of it was sidetracked — God had another plan.
At the end of April, you may recall, I was detoured while returning to South Africa from a ministry survey trip to South Asia. Although I prayed, asking God to allow me one last visit with my Dad, he passed away before I arrived in the states. Leading my Dad’s memorial service was a hard thing to do, but also a real blessing.
Then, just two months after Dad’s death, my mother was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. Within three weeks, her God-ordained battle was over and she, too, entered glory. It was extremely sad and yet comforting, as my mom and dad were married for 63 years. This time I preached at my mom’s memorial service — same clothes, different message. It was like a déjà vu experience.
Living overseas for almost 20 years separated from our family most of that time, we experienced the days we always knew were coming. I rejoice that both of my parents had trusted Jesus for salvation and I know I will see them again. His Ways Are Higher…But Sometimes They Aren’t Easy.
Would you pray? Many of you have experienced similar life events and are familiar with grief. Dave Furman, someone who knows suffering as much as anyone, wrote in his book Kiss the Wave a statement that expresses what I’ve been feeling. “I have a deep experience of loneliness, but I have never felt alone.”
As we shared in a previous blog post, Nancy and I have been called from our ministries in Southern Africa to the region of South Asia. In addition to everything I just mentioned, God planned for a much quicker transition from one region to another than we had planned or envisioned. Nevertheless, He enabled us to hand over our ministries, sell our home in South Africa, and ship some of our household items back to the states.
God also gave us an opportunity this summer to meet with our new South Asia teammates and begin preparing for our new role. We are excited about these new opportunities as we prepare to minister to unreached people in the Muslim-majority, limited access countries of west South Asia. His Ways Are Higher…But Sometimes They Aren’t Easy.
Would you pray? Pray for us as we begin traveling to our new region this week. Pray that we adjust to a “new normal,” adapt to new cultures and find a new home, etc.
#3 – We Had the Vacation We’ve Been Dreaming of This Summer
God blessed us with the first-ever Wolfpack Family Reunion. It was a week at the beach with all four of our daughters (two of which live overseas), our sons-in-laws, and all the grandkids (19 in all, in the same house!). It had been nearly seven years since we’d all been together, which means most of our grandkids had never met each other. It was an absolutely crazy week, and yet awesome all at the same time!
Would you pray? Pray for us as we continue to serve God in our call to missions. My heart, especially, is pretty tender heading back to the field this time. There is a strong desire to make an impact for Christ while continuing to maintain close and intimate relationships with those we love that are oceans apart. His Ways Are Higher…But Sometimes They Aren’t Easy.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:8-9)
Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to serve our faithful and sovereign Lord. We would greatly appreciate your prayers — You can probably tell that we need them.
All our Love,
Tom and Nancy