*For those in a hurry, read the underlined text!
Greetings from West Michigan!
We have been back in Michigan for almost a month now, and feel like we are finally getting our feet under us. Our goodbyes in Jamaica were incredibly bittersweet, but we are excited for what's next for us!
G O O D G O O D B Y E S
Our two months in Jamaica contained just about every emotion you can think of. We were grieving moving from the Deaf and the friends we have made, excited about what we were being called to next in the US office, overwhelmed with the amount of things to do, frustrated with COVID, and really grateful for the extended time we got to have on-island. All that being said, we were also given a lot of peace about moving to Zeeland and continuing our work in CCCD's US office.
About a week before we moved, the Jamaica Deaf Village threw us a surprise going away party. Nearly everyone was there (a feat in and of itself) and we were given the opportunity to say goodbye. There was cake, ice cream, and really good community time. We were so overcome with gratitude, not only for the party itself, but for the people and relationships we have gotten to invest in the past few years. Knowing we would be back on-island and still serving the Deaf of Jamaica from the US definitely helped in these goodbyes.
W E G O T T A T E S T I F Y
On our last day in Jamaica and our travel day, we felt overcome by the Lord's presence and grace in some really difficult situations! He provided a final opportunity to say goodbye to residents at JDV when we thought there wasn't going to be a way. He healed severe carsickness on the way to the airport. He gave us an airport employee who saw our struggle and offered to let us in a VIP security line, effectively passing over 300 people. He is so good to us, even amidst the chaos of travel and transition.
N E W N O R M A L
So now what? We're back in our house in Zeeland, and grateful to be getting settled for the first time in a long time. Our life has been shifting and changing so much over the last year (really the last 3 years), that it feels a little weird to be staying in one place now. We are now working in CCCD's US office in Zeeland - Pat full-time and Kara part-time. Kara is in the training phase of her Office Manager position, and will fully step into her new role on June 1. We're of course excited to see family and friends here, but even more excited for what the Lord has planned in this next chapter of our life! Some of you may remember us going to Mission Training International (MTI) out in Colorado for a month in 2019. MTI also has a Debrief and Renewal weeklong program that assists people in coming off of the mission field with managing the emotions, the culture shock, and what to expect in the transition phase. We are trying to get in to a Debrief and Renewal program over the next few months to help us process the transition in its entirety, and we are currently on multiple waitlists. Please be in prayer for this to work out - those who have completed the program say its essential in transitioning back to the US!
K I D S
Our sweet, resilient kids. They certainly loved the time in Jamaica, and we loved seeing them there. Silas had been gone for over six months, so it felt like bringing a totally different kid down now that he's 2 and a half! It was so fun to see him make friends with kids and residents at the village. Gianna loved her first real tastes of sunshine, swimming, and island fruit! She's now 8 months old. Towards the end of our trip, both kids were definitely picking up on the stress and moving parts. We worked hard to explain things often (specifically to Silas) and prepare him for what was coming, and ultimately both seem happy to be settling into Zeeland now.
F I N A N C I A L
Two big things to note regarding our fundraising!
First, YES we will continue fundraising for our new roles in the US, and our monthly goal of $5,500 per month will remain the same.
Second, we will be moving our fundraising to go directly through CCCD, and we will need your help with this. If you are a current or future financial supporter of ours, we will need for you to visit this webpage to view the new ways to give (online, check, direct deposit). Then, you will need to cancel your current giving to Community Reformed Church (if you auto give online, you can do this by calling 616-772-4907 and speaking with Laurie).
The reason we are moving the housing for our funds is because this allows CCCD to pay us directly, and Community to focus solely on being our sending church and supporting us as missionaries. Please reach out with any questions about this!
Thank you so much, from the bottoms of our hearts, for following along with our family. We are immeasurably thankful for our community near and far, and would not get to do this work without your support. As a reminder, we will now be sending updates quarterly - So, see you this summer!
Pat, Kara, Silas, and Gianna
- The current Reach campaign being spearheaded by the US office. You can read more about it here - please consider supporting CCCD in this way!
- Following Easter break, all campuses will move to entirely in-person learning. Please be in prayer that all students will return to school - It is likely some families will not send their child back after having them out for the past two years.
- There are a number of changes happening in CCCD's leadership (both Jamaica and US side). Please be in prayer for the boards who oversees the changes, and for all those impacted by the changes.