Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Important update on us.......

Dear family and friends,

Happy New Year!  We pray that your year has started out well!

We have some quite important things that we're finally ready to convey in this email so will get right to it.

This past year Steve has spent quite a bit of time going back and forth to India while the kids and Heather have been based in New Zealand.  The purpose of this has had a number of facets, but the main one has been to look after our kids. We've spoken of Aaron's health, etc.  Thanks for all of your prayers for him!  He seems to be doing better and better.  

Another reason we think we are to be based in NZ for now, however, has been for the sake of Rachel.  We haven't felt the freedom to convey information about her since what's been going on in her life is her own, very private story.  However, she has just started blogging and sharing her journey herself as she wants to give hope to others. She's doing an amazing job!  (http://365reasonstostayalive.blogspot.co.nz/ ---Read the first entry first) 

Basically our beautiful, amazing young woman has been struggling with depression for a while and tried to take her own life on Oct. 10, 2013. She's had a lot of hidden pain for years and years that we've come and are coming to know more about slowly.  She's moved back in with us, is working but will take the next year off of university, and is making good progress in her life towards healing.  But she knows herself that she has a journey ahead of her.  And while she's an adult and this is her journey, not ours, we want to be there for her when she needs/wants us.

So to make a long story short and for many various reasons (not just Rachel), we feel like the time has come for us to leave FS and for Steve to be New Zealand based full-time as well.  We've been in a holding pattern a bit seeing how things would develop, but while we have deep sadness of heart we also have deep peace that the next season of our lives is in New Zealand, at least until Aaron is ready to be on his own and possibly Adam as well.

But what does that look like exactly?  We'd like to know as well!  Basically we think it would be good to stay in the same area (north of Auckland) that we are in since we've all made relationships here and are feeling settled, and we'd prefer not to throw any more change in the mix at this time.  Steve will need to start looking for a job and may have to commute to Auckland depending on what he finds for work. A job for him is a huge concern for us so we'd appreciate your prayers!  A bit daunting to join the workforce again after years of full-time work in missions.

While we know that God has a plan and a path, this has aspects of feeling like a child ripped away as I'm sure those of you who have put your heart and soul into something will understand.  We love mission work, people in general; that's our heart.  But we love our kids as well.

For those of you who support us, first of all we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts!  We've had the most amazing, supportive team of people behind us.  We just can't express how much easier that's made the load that we've carried overseas as well as left tangible things behind.  We are humbled by you.

Our plan is to be off missionary financial support as soon as possible, but for those who would like to continue for a few months or so longer as we transition, that would be very appreciated as well.  We are blessed to have the asset of a house that Steve's had in S. Auckland for years so have just sold that so we can relocate, but we own little else.  We've been living in Steve's sister's holiday home and using all of her furniture, kitchen stuff, etc.  A huge blessing!  But will need to set up the basics of life for ourselves as well.

So there you have it.  And to be honest we're probably more surprised than you may be!  We're a little bent and a little broken at present, but trust in His Goodness and plan for our future path.  We also know that He's not finished with us yet.  

Thanks so very much for your many prayers over the years---and for us right now, too!

With love,
Steve and Heather

Our crew along with Hannah's man Luke and our mate Toby from Kolkata.
And why are they the only two just looking normally at the camera? :-)