We were incredibly encouraged by our trip to Spokane. If you had a chance to come out to see us, thank you so much! We really appreciated the opportunity to testify to the Lord's work in Malawi and were so encouraged by so many responses of prayer and excitement for what the Lord is doing and our involvement there.
Matt had a chance to meet with some dear friends and church leaders from a couple of different churches in Spokane. We are so thankful to know that those faithful men will be praying for us, and we rejoice that there may be some partnering churches in the future as well. God is so good!
In addition to the "work" we came to do, we also got to catch up with some friends and see our dear extended family. It was very strange not to have our "Fab Five" with us, but it also afforded more conversation and freedoms than we would have had without them. A big thank you to our dear kid-less friends who were with our five for the whole weekend without us!
We continue to thank the Lord for all of the encouragement He brought from our quick trip to Spokane. Lord willing, we will be back late spring/early summer. We hope to see many of you again then!
As we prepare to move to Malawi, we have been going through many of our belongings and asking the question "do we really need this in Malawi?" My new favorite joke in the last couple of weeks is that God helped me to do this with my organs too!
A couple of days before our Spokane trip, my stomach started hurting. I wasn't sure what was causing it (we had just recently got over influenza a) so I ignored it for as long as I could. After getting through my busiest day with the kids (but barely!)... I collapsed into bed and did my best to "sleep it off". By the morning, Matt and I were both pretty sure we needed to at least rule out appendix, so off to the ER we went. Long story short, it wasn't long before the ER doc sing-songily announced "guess who has appendicitis!" and I was whisked away to the OR to remove the source of my pain.
The Lord's kindness showed through in so many ways. We were able to tell many of our doctors and nurses about Malawi and our great God. My recovery time was remarkably short -- in fact, the aforementioned flu kept me down considerably longer than the appendectomy! I was even able to travel to Spokane with Matt to meet with many of you as we got to present to our friends, family, and church contacts there.
We are thankful to the Lord for his grace in allowing this to happen now, and also for his kindness in the ease of recovery! We trust the Lord will continue to prepare us in every way as He sends us to participate in His work! Thank you for praying for us and this preparatory season!
Thank you to all of you who prayed for Andrew and his surgery this week. We are so thankful for the ways God cared for Andrew and the rest of our family during this time.
Andrew had his surgery bright and early on Tuesday morning. While the doctors were working on him, they found he had not one, but two issues with his kidney/ureter. They were able to correct both at the same time. The surgery was long (almost 5 hours!) but successful and we are so thankful that it seems Andrew is on the road to a complete recovery and full use of both kidneys. Please continue praying with us for this - we have a long road ahead of us of visits, ultrasounds, and one more small surgery (to remove a stint that was placed inside him during the surgery), but we know he is in great hands - both the doctors and most importantly our kind God!
The Lord has been so kind to us during this week. We had a lot of practical needs met by our local family and church family - caring for the other kids, rides to/from classes, and an abundance of meals. We definitely have felt all of your prayers as well. Andrew in particular had an abundance of peace through this process and we know that is God's kindness displayed and resulting from your prayers. Thank you!
Thank you for continuing to pray for us as we see his treatment through to completion. We appreciate all of you so very much!
Thank you for your continued prayers. The end of September and the beginning of October has been a busy and joyful season. We have a number of exciting updates to share.
First, in answer to your prayers, we have potential buyers for house! There were some hiccups along the way (on their end, not ours), but we are on track to close escrow on October 27th and need to be moved out by the 31st. We would appreciate your prayers for the move, particularly as we will be out of town all of this week, and prayers that there would be no more issues with the sale. We are so thankful to the Lord that the has provided so graciously, both with the buyers and with a temporary home for us to live in from now until we leave for Malawi.
A couple of weeks ago, following our church's annual family camp, we were incredibly blessed to get to have our dear friends and co-laborers the Floreens stay with us for a couple of days. We experienced God's grace through this visit in many ways. The fellowship was sweet and encouraging to our hearts. And on a practical level, we were able to ask a million (or more) questions to help us as we pack and prepare to head to Malawi. It was an invaluable time for us and our kids have fallen in love with Uncle Matt, Auntie Rachel, and the girls.
Also, on the last day of the Floreen's visit, we drove up to Grace Community Church for a meeting with their Elder Council Handling Outreach (ECHO). This meeting was the final step in being accepted into Grace Ministries International (GMI), the sending agency we were hoping to partner with. In the Lord's kindness, we found out on Friday that we have officially been accepted as GMI missionaries. We are so thankful for the godly men of ECHO/GMI and their faithful service to the Lord in the area of missions. After the meeting with ECHO elders, we were privileged to enjoy dinner with some of the other folks in the missions department and then attend an ECHO prayer meeting that included a presentation by Matt Floreen as well as one by a recent short term team to Malawi. It was a great evening and we are very grateful for the ministry of GMI.
We are also very grateful for our home church, Faith Bible Church (www.faithbibleoc.org). Just in case any one might be confused, we are being sent by FBC through GMI. We are grateful for the partnership between our home church and our sending agency. Just this week, FBC sent out their first home-grown missionary family and we are so thankful to be a part of a loving church family that is passionate about seeing Christ glorified through spread of the gospel to the nations.
We would appreciate your continued prayer in a number areas. Please continue to pray for the process of getting California birth certificates for our girls (so that we can get them US passports). The process has been going very slow and the next step is to get a court date to "re-adopt" them in California. Please pray that our court date would be soon. Also, please be praying for the financial support we will need. Since we have been accepted by GMI we will soon be able to send out an update with specifics of how people can give, but we are praying that God will be moving in the hearts of individuals to support us as well as providing like-minded churches that we can partner with.
Thanks again for your prayers, love, and support. And we would love to hear from you too! It would be our joy to pray for you if you have any specific requests to send our way.
Another month is upon us - they go so quickly these days! When we first started this journey to Malawi, a year sounded like such a long time to get things together and ready to go...but as months start clicking by, we are realizing how little time is actually left.
In the last month on the Malawi prep side, we put our home on the market and just over 2 weeks later, we are entering Escrow. We praise the Lord for His wisdom and guidance during this process, as well as His sustaining grace. The decision to sell didn't leave us a lot of time to prep for Open Houses, but God has been kind to us and given much grace (and coffee!) to keep us going even when we were tired. We are thankful for His provision of a buyer, but it is bittersweet to leave this home. We moved in when we had ONE 18month old child. Since then, we have brought 4 kids home to this house and cared for many others...this home has many happy memories for us and we are so thankful for the 8 years the Lord allowed us to live here.
On the home front, we started school mid August and are starting our 4th week on Monday. To say there has been a learning curve for me (Brianne) is an understatement. There are a lot of great things about having our kids' ages so close...but having 3-n0n-readers in a homeschool environment can be a challenge. We are all learning what works at home and starting to fall into a rhythm with our schooling days. We thank the Lord for allowing us to be together as a family, and for the flexibility it provides us. We think this will come in handy this year as we prepare for Malawi. We were also reminded what a blessing it is that homeschooling will not be another transition for our kids in Malawi - since we already homeschool them, at least that part of life will feel pretty normal to them.
In addition to school, we also started our soccer season. This is a very fun time for our family since all 5 kids play soccer and Matt coaches two of the teams. This is one of our primary opportunities to build relationships for the sake of the gospel on top of just being a great source of exercise and fun!
S is also for...supplication! Would you pray with us in the following ways?
How can we be praying for you?? We would love to pray for you as well, please send us a note so we can be praying for the things God is doing in your lives too!