We are finally back in Oregon now! We traveled across the southern states upon our arrival to visit friends, family and supporters. This proved to be rich and time well spent. Most mission agencies provide some sort of “reentry” preparation, even after a short stay abroad, and so since ours was not able to provide this …we opted to make our own reentry retreat. The time with our children in a small van was precious and a memory not to be taken lightly. We are grateful for this time of slowly getting used to America again with the unending choices, changes in technology and clothes, and people so willingly sharing their homes and tables with us.
My sweet mom has opened up her two bedroom home to share with us. We are so so thankful to have a roof and beds to sleep on. We had been warned by many that the J.O.B. market here was bad, but we are hoping and praying for something to quickly open up. My school district has laid-off over 350 teachers this past year and although I am in touch with my old HR personnel director he can’t help me out right now and says the cuts are all the way to SpEd now. I am applying for other things that do come on line, but have been told over a thousand people right now are applying for ONE position. I do know God is greater than the stats, but it is a bit overwhelming. Aser started the next morning we arrived with his search for employment and he found some small Jobs that will help with a bit of cash, they are not the type we need to support our family and have insurance. We have some pay until August and then our support and insurance will stop and so we are really praying that something quickly happens here. ( I am also sure my mom would like her house back:) — she is an amazing sport about all of this!
I have so so many thoughts and questions that I am still sorting through and hope to put them here once I have the words to express them, but we could use your prayers in a very real way that God would direct us and we would listen. We are really hoping to stay in the Portland area as that is where my mom and our church are located. However, we have to be open to what God is calling us to now as well. We have heard many HOT states are hiring in Aser’s field so we are trying to be open to that but….. not what our hearts want at this point:)
There is an opportunity to return to Ethiopia, but we are needing more time and prayer to see if this is from God at this point. We are so thankful and have such rich and vivid memories of our time there and experienced things that would not have been possible if we were here.
One of my favorite memories will be how Aser found out that the boys outside our school gate ( they had increased from 5 to 23 this year) spoke a certain tribal language as their first language. He was able to find the Jesus film in this dialect and our school allowed us to share this with them and provide dinner. We even had clothes for them and there were many smiles and prayers that night. Also, we became very involved with an orphanage about 2 months before it was time to leave. The director had fled the country and left 14 kids in dire need of food and medical attention. My heart was shaken to the core during this time as I tried to understand how evil can be so present and corruption accepted at the expense of children. I am still working on this, but as much as it shredded me I praised God that He would allow me to meet this children and walk a short path with them. We had late night food runs, medical emergencies, clothing drop-offs, meals out with the older ones, HIV testing and tears, and even rescued a 9 year old boy that was in a dangerous situation late at night with a guard ( yes it was a bit tense and we saw God lead us to helping him Just in time) . I have grown in my admiration of my sweet and courageous man during this time and have never seen him fight for something with such determination and valor. We began praying for a miracle that these kids would be removed from this situation before we left… the miracle was a bit different, but from God, when a family we love stepped in to take over the work with these kids and THEN ON TOP OF IT, my assistant wanted to partner with them. When he first asked his fiance if he could help she thought it sounded dangerous, but God worked in her heart and the next day she told him that if he was going, she was too. That first night we took them all there SHE stayed later than all of us and had developed relationships with the different nannies now. This family has been keeping us informed and are doing an amazing work and we know this was a different answer than we had hoped for, but a miracle none the less. We are missing these kids and so many people in Ethiopia and this change back to the USA is more complex than I was ready for. I think one of the hardest things for me is that there are too many decisions each day with EVERYTHING and it makes me tired:) Also, watching my kids trying to figure life out here again is wonderful and hard all at once. Our church was savvy and offered help for them to go to camp this week to get back into the swing of things with other kids. We are grateful for this opportunity and are praying that this will be the beginning of them adJusting to life here again. Three of them were not really ready to leave Ethiopia and that has made this a bit more heart wrenching for me as a mom. They were thriving there and I know God can make that happen here too, but I need to give it time.
We could really use your prayers that God would quickly let us find JOBS so we can begin renting our own home and the kids can begin to settle down once again. Thank you for your love to our family!
We have NO way to repay or express how much the support monthly and prayers have meant to us these past 2 years. We call you partners and truly that is what you have been. You have blessed us and we have asked God to bless you and hope you know how much we have appreciated you. THANK YOU and hope you know how special you are to our family.