Monday, August 29, 2005

What I know and what I don't know

I bet Peter, Andrew, James and John had NO IDEA what was lying ahead when they lay down their fishing nets in response to Jesus' invitation
to "Follow me!" (Mk. 1)

When I first responded to that same invitation and committed to doing so wherever God may lead, I had no idea that the path would lead to Taiwan, to the US, and beyond. I realized that the journey would be one step at a time, and as I take steps of obedience, the next step of the journey would unfold.

For the past year or so, I believed that the next step was to Canada. I've been involved in women's ministry in preparation for involvement in a ministry that reaches out to women in difficult circumstances.

As you know, getting my Canadian work permit has been a major ordeal. According to the Canadian Consulate General's office, getting a work
permit takes between 2 and 6 weeks. It's been 12 weeks since I submitted my application, and still no news. (I've been told that since 9/11, it's far more difficult even for missionaries to be granted work permits in Canada.)

During this time, I have been praying about the delay and God's purposes behind it. Various devotions I was reading had the same message: Allow God to intervene and change my plans.

When I think of the past three years, the absolute highlights were the times I spent in Mozambique and Kenya, serving at ministries that worked with orphans. I grew more and more restless that moving to Canada is a move in the wrong direction, that I need to move back to Africa and be involved full-time in ministry to orphans.

On Thursday, I spoke to Gwen, the director at Linwood House Ministries. Gwen, too, agreed that she believed that serving in Africa was where she envisioned me to be.

I spoke to others that know me well and who have served in Africa with me. Each and every person I spoke to affirmed whole-heartedly that
they far more see me in Africa full-time rather just on a short-term basis.

And I've been speaking with a ministry in Africa whose core values and passions are congruent to mine about the possibility of me joining
their team. At this stage, they are considering my application. Nothing is certain yet. I will keep you up to date on any news in this regard.

I have immense peace about this change.

I know that my life is in God's hands, that He has a purpose with what would seem like a major change in direction for me. For God, I believe, this isn't a change. He has known all along that I wouldn't move to Canada after all.

He knows where I'll be moving. At this stage, I don't. I know that He will open the door where and when it needs to be opened.

I know my American visa expires at the end of September, and that I will have to leave this country. That means that I'd have to reserve an airplane ticket in the next two weeks. It will most likely be to Johannesburg. That way, I can take some things home and see my family. And from there, I can fly or drive to where God's opened the door.

Will you please pray for clarity during this process?

Some other praise & prayer requests:

• Praise God that He is sovereign and in control, even when we cannot see what's lying ahead
• Praise God for an incredibly supportive church community in Cedar Rapids, for the lessons I've learned during my time in the Midwest, and for many, wonderful memories of my year in Iowa
• Due to my delay in departure, I have a chance to go to a Beth Moore conference in Kansas City (Sept. 8-9) with the ladies from our Tuesday night Bible study group. What an unexpected blessing!
• Due to the delay, I will also be able to attend the missions weekend. I am praying that we'll know for sure by then which ministry I'll be serving with so I have specific information to share.
• Please pray for God's leading, to me as well as to the ministry leaders with whom I am communicating. I would LOVE to see this process wrapped up before I leave. It would make communicating with supporters far simpler. Plus, I am truly ready to be part of a ministry team once again...
• I need to sell my car. Please pray for this process, too.

I appreciate that you are part of this journey. I look forward to letting you know which door God has opened once I know for sure where the road is leading.

In His grip,

Financial supporters, please note that I will be calling you this week with information regarding support.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Announcing the birth of my goddaughter, Anja Barnardt

At 6:30 p.m. (South African time, our 11:30 a.m) on Monday, August 15, God blessed our family with a new addition: Anja Barnardt (5 lbs 4 oz/2.45 kg) was born after a very long day of labor to my younger sister, Liesl and her husband, Stefan. Anja's Apgar score is 9, and both mother and daughter are doing well.

This is Liesl and Stefan's second girl. Clara (5) is excited to go and see her little sister at the hospital tomorrow morning. I am godmother to both Clara and Anja. Liesl and I are 3 years apart and have always been very close friends. It's tough being this far from home during a time such as this, but I am thoroughly looking forward to meeting Anja in December, when I'll be in Africa for a missions trip.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Prayer requests: August 2005

I truly do value each and every one of you who support me through your prayers as well as financially. Please pray however God leads you to pray for me. Here are some specific requests I have as well as items of praise:

Praise God!
. . . for affordable housing in downtown Vancouver. Pray that God will bless my friends Rod and Amy as they have stepped up and offered their apartment to me
. . . for each and every individual and family who have comitted to support me financially and through prayer. Pray that God will continue to provide for those who give sacrificially and to those who seek to be part of what He is doing globally.
. . . for friends in Cedar Rapids who have opened their homes to me in the past year. I stayed at Pat Rieck's for the first half of the year, and at Danette Brooks' home more recently. It is truly a tremendous blessing to have a home away from home here in Iowa.
. . . for health and a good car! I have had some minor issues with my car recently, which made me realize how blessed I am to have a vehicle that generally works well. I do not take my good health for granted, either. I do have health insurance and will continue to have missionary health insurance in Canada. I pray I will not have to use it. ;)

Please pray
. . . that I will make the most of my borrowed time here in Iowa. It's challenging not being able to commit to teaching at the House of Hope or get involved in long-term ministry opportunities. May I continue to bless others in whatever ways God brings before me.
. . . that my work permit/Canada visa will come soon. I'm ready to go do the work I've been preparing to do for the past year.
. . . for a safe drive to Vancouver. It's a 3-day drive. I'll spend the first night somewhere in South Dakota, the next night with a former ORTV colleague in Montana, the next night with ORTV friends in Seattle, and then it's just a 3-hour drive to Vancouver. Crossing the border will delay things, though, since I need to export my car from the USA and import it into Canada.
. . . for a safe border crossing with no glitches regarding exports/imports.