It is a very fitting verse to quote as we share with you the news that we will be returning back to the states after having lived on the mission field for almost 7 years. Having been in Ecuador for about a year and a half, and seeing the ministry grow in a healthy and God honoring way, we had thought that we would be here for some time. but the truth is that the Lord has clearly showed us that it is time for us to return. Although it is a difficult decision to make, we have received the support of our Director and other leadership as well as the support of many who have been supporting us over the years. And though it is a decision that was difficult to make, we have absolute certainty that the Lord is directing our steps.
Though we do not know the exact plans for the next steps for our family, we do know that it is He who guides us and goes before us. Just like He led the Israelites in the desert by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, so too we know that He is leading us exactly where we are supposed to be.
Though we are stepping away from our role as missionaries to a foreign country, we by no means are stepping away from our role as ministers of the Gospel. As my Ecuadorian pastor friend reminded me this week during our good-bye that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. And the truth is that this is exactly the way I feel. Even though the Lord has a sanctifying purpose in brining us back to the states to bring some healing to our souls and get us deeper connected with the body of Christ, I still have a burning passion to preach the Word of God, make His name known among the world, and help strengthen the church to do the same. And I believe that the Lord will lead us into a role in which our gifts will be used for the advancement of His kingdom.
Over the last several years, the Lord has been stirring my heart more and more towards pastoral ministry. After having lived on the mission field in 4 different countries, I have seen a lot of expressions of the Bride of Christ. I have learned much from many and am also thankful to have had the privilege to teach much to them. The Bride of Christ is beautiful in so many respects, but we still have so much to learn so that we might be conformed more and more into the image of Christ. After being involved for several years now of working directly with the church in Latin America and helping provide biblical teaching, training, deeper theological understanding, and overall strength to the church so that she can be more effective in her witness to the world, the Lord has given me a great burden to serve the local church in my own country and be a part of shepherding her for the glory and honor of God. So, please pray that the Lord will reveal His will for us as we make this big transition.
These past 7 years have been incredible, rewarding, difficult, and sanctifying. We would not trade them for the world. We have been blessed by God to be part of His kingdom building work in many countries. Whether it was ministering to the orphaned children of Haiti, teaching the Bible to at-risk youth in Nicaragua, or teaching theological truths to pastors and leaders here in Ecuador, we know that His Word has gone forth and we trust that He will bring the harvest.
We look forward with great anticipation as to what the Lord has in store for us next. Whatever it is, we just want to live our lives in such a way as to bring Him glory and share His glorious truths with those around us.
And so…the journey continues on…