We’ve been back in the States for almost 2 1/2 months now, and back in Montgomery for just over 4 weeks! The process of settling in and adjusting to a new normal will take a while, we have begun to figure that out. Maddy is continuing to excel at Montgomery Christian School… she is having a blast in 1st grade! She recently lost her third tooth and looks absolutely adorable! Riley-Grace has really adjusted the most. She has been a trooper going from place to place, meeting so many new people, living in new homes, sleeping in different beds. However, I am sure we will ALL be happier once we get moved into our new place.
Speaking of that new place… we found a house we will be renting for at least 12 months, until we are ready to buy. It’s just about perfect for us… 3 bedrooms, a nice big backyard, plenty of storage space and it’s located in the same neighborhood we lived in before we moved to the Caribbean nearly four years ago! How about that?! We plan to move sometime in November.
As we have begun to settle back into Montgomery we have noticed there is some confusion about what we are actually doing now. So I’d like to answer a few of the questions we get the most to clear up any confusion you may have about our new role.
Are you still serving with Child Evangelism Fellowship? Yes! We did not change organizations.
Do you still need to raise support? Yes! We continue to be faith supported missionaries and we need individuals and churches to partner with us so we can continue serving.
Where are you living now? We are based in Montgomery, AL. We can easily travel to and from the Caribbean by flying from Montgomery to Charlotte, NC. Charlotte has MANY flights throughout most of the Caribbean.
Are you US missionaries or International missionaries? We are STILL international missionaries, we are not affiliated with CEF in the USA.
What are you doing exactly? Sean is the Area Director for the Northern Caribbean (Bahamas, Bermuda, Turks & Caicos, US Virgin Islands, Anguilla and St. Kitts & Nevis). He is also helping to carry out regional responsibilities in other parts of the Caribbean as needed. He serves the national workers of these countries and is responsible for their ministry development. For example, last week the Bahamas was hit by Hurricane Joaquin, several islands were obliterated. He was in contact with workers in Nassau immediately trying to figure out the extent of the damage and what we could do to assist as CEF. He helped to coordinate a large shipment of Do You Wonder Why? booklets (these are for children experiencing huge issues like a natural disaster) for distribution. He will continue to follow up with the workers as they reach out to those devastated.
Is this a long-term position? Yes and no. Our main goal is no different than what we have been doing in the Caribbean for the last four years… to work ourselves out of a job. CEF (and us too) want to have national workers from the Caribbean overseeing the work in 2 – 3 nearby islands as well as their own. The position would be similar to the US position of District Director. We must find that person and train him/her to become an Area Director. Because of this, the countries Sean is responsible for will continue to change over time as Area Directors are hired until there is no need for an American to serve in this capacity.
What will you do then? Only the Lord knows! He will show us when it is time.
If you are working with several countries in the Caribbean then why aren’t you living there? Believe it or not, although the islands are close together (sometimes we can SEE the neighboring islands) traveling around is difficult and expensive. You would think it would be easy and cheap but the vast majority of the time we have to fly to the States first to fly to another island. Plus, the cost of living in the Caribbean is so high, living in the States saves money on many levels.
Why Montgomery? Why not Miami or Charlotte or another hub? Why NOT Montgomery! It’s our home. Our church is here, our friends are here, most of our supporters are here, our doctors are here, our babies were born here and it’s the only place in the States we have ever lived as a family. It actually doesn’t cost much extra to fly from Montgomery to Charlotte and then onto the Caribbean.
How often will you travel? Sean will be in the Caribbean about once every 6 weeks or so. However, he will only be gone a few days at a time since we have young children. Once a year he will take a longer trip (2 weeks max), I will travel with him on short trips at least once a year and whenever we go back to St. Kitts we will take the girls with us. Hopefully we can all travel to Turks and Caicos as a family once a year as well.
How are you able to work with the Caribbean while living in Montgomery? Email, Skype, What’s App, Vonage (VOIP) and his travels all enable Sean to easily work with staff, board members and volunteers on a daily basis.
What kind of work are you doing with the local CEF office in Montgomery? We are available to help with things like teacher training when needed but our responsibility and full-time focus is serving with the Caribbean.
Are you (Sean) going to become a pastor? No. Sean is starting seminary this year and as a missionary he does preach from time to time in the Caribbean as well as in the States but he is not interested in becoming a pastor. He loves being a missionary with the Caribbean and we love CEF. We feel no leading whatsoever from the Lord to quit being missionaries and go into pastoral ministry.
Hopefully this will help with any questions you had about our new role. But please feel free to ask if you have more! And, if you are local we would LOVE to get together and talk with you more! Most people have made a point not to call or invite us over until we get “settled in”. But if everyone does that then we start to feel lonely. We really would love to see you!