Sharing Hope in Turks and Caicos!

March 31-April 9 we partnered in short-term ministry with CEF of South Dakota to share the message of hope with 2,079 children in the Turks & Caicos Islands! We were able to reach out with the true meaning of Easter the week before schools in TCI let out for a two week Easter break.

Something that we are very passionate about with short-term ministry is the vital importance of the local church in the local community. We go with the primary goal of helping the local people reach the local children. So we rejoice in saying that we partnered in ministry with 21 local churches and 20 local churches received CEF curriculum! Also, 28 local Bible teachers from nine local churches were trained at a CEF teacher training at Bethany Baptist Church Monday night.

We were able to reach out to every public primary school in the islands of Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos and South Caicos!

Ianthe Pratt Primary School

Oseta Jolly Primary School

Enid Capron Primary School

Doris Robinson Primary School

Hubert James Primary School

Iris Stubbs Primary School

Neat story about our time in South Caicos, one of the teachers is from Jamaica and has family in St. Kitts! Such a small world.

We also ministered in two private primary schools in Provo and South.

Precious Treasures International School

Calvary Christian Preschool

Interestingly enough the principal at CCP (below) trained with CEF forty years ago in Jamaica. It was a special privilege to encourage each of the principals at each of the schools with an appreciation gift!

Last but not least we were able to bless another private primary school (The B.E.S.T. Institute) with teacher appreciation gifts (including the book “What is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert), and 60-Day Wonder Devotional Books for the children.

Through this trip we were able to share the hope of Jesus Christ with 2,079 children! Of those children, 343 kids came to after-school Easter Party Clubs.


2,084 60-Day devotionals handed out to children


197 Meet the King booklets given to children


4 islands, three of those islands having the very first CEF ministry ever

South Caicos Docks

79 Christian books given to primary school teachers through partnership with The Gospel Coalition International Outreach

One of the most exciting things was that after the teacher training Monday night, two individuals came up to us and asked how they could be a part of leading the local ministry there in TCI. Will you pray for them and pray for me as I continue to share with them the process for coming on staff and the next steps they need to take?

We could not have done this without another great team from CEF of South Dakota. Brittani, Kendra, Winter and Annalise were fantastic, flexible and never complained about anything the entire trip. They were a blessing and encouragement to everyone they met and the children loved interacting with them and hearing them share about the love, hope and joy found in Jesus Christ alone. We are very thankful to Leanne Higgs from Harvest Bible Chapel TCI who was gracious in letting the team stay with her!

All Glory to Jesus Christ for all that HE has done!

Grand Turk Short-Term Ministry Trip!

On March 26 I led a short-term ministry team from Child Evangelism Fellowship of South Dakota! A team from CEF of SD came to Provo last year and God used them to reach many children in the primary schools. This year they came to Grand Turk, the capitol island of the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Layout 1

Grand Turk is very different than Provo, as it is much smaller (only about 7 sq. miles) and only has about 5,000 people.

IMG_8892

Grand Turk is also the cruise ship port!

With Grand Turk being the capitol island, we felt strongly that we needed to reach out to the children and churches, expanding on past efforts in 2014 and 2015. We are still praying that God will raise up a local Turks & Caicos Islander to lead the CEF ministry and we are praying for board members that are passionate about seeing the children of TCI reached with the Gospel!

Here’s what we were praying for the trip:

  1. Reach children during their Easter break through 5-Day Clubs and through partnership with local churches.
  2. Train local Bible teachers and equip them.
  3. Cast the vision of reaching children in TCI with as many people as possible.

Friday:

I arrived ahead of time to make sure everything was situated properly, get groceries, etc. Also, before my flight to Grand Turk, I picked up 50lbs worth of CEF literature (printed freely courtesy of the Revival Movement), so that we could give it away at our teacher training night. I was also able to spend time and catch up with my good friend Raymond, an elder at Harvest Bible Chapel – TCI. My flight to GT was delayed, but I was bumped up to an earlier flight that was late, so I left at the same time I was supposed to leave ;-).

Saturday:

The team from CEF of SD arrived! They had a very long couple days of travel with very little sleep, so we kept it simple on Saturday and planned for them to rest that afternoon.

IMG_3572

I was also reminded just how involved daily life is on a small island, as that afternoon I had to go to four different places to get water, food and ice!

Sunday:

Though we were all away from our families, it was a blessing to spend Easter Sunday with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Salem Baptist Church. It was joyful to worship together as one people from different nations, and Pastor Chad Archbold clearly and powerfully shared from God’s Word. One memorable statement he made that morning to the congregation was “Children are not things you dress up and take to church, they are the next generation of worshippers“. Amen!

IMG_3575

(L-R) Pastor Chad, Nick Hauck, Hannah Cleveland, Blake Mendel, Kendra Baltzer, Sean Miller

I took them on a tour as well…and they got to see the Grand Turk Lighthouse!

IMG_3578

IMG_8854

IMG_8856

IMG_8883

Astronaut John Glenn landed in Grand Turk in 1962!

IMG_8880

The team had fun seeing everything!

Monday:

Our first day of ministry through 5-Day Clubs was one that reminded us of God’s plans vs. man’s plans! We were quickly reminded of how hard it is to get children to come out on a holiday (Easter Monday), and actually did not have children at any of the clubs that day. We did however double our efforts of promotion, canvasing the neighborhoods, putting up flyers around town, and we went to Salem Baptist Church’s Easter Monday Funday!

IMG_8870

Drawing/Designing the posters

IMG_3601

This was a great part of the day as we were able to see and talk with many kids and parents…

IMG_3603

…and even spending time playing soccer with the children!

Also on Monday, we also had the first of a few “visitors”….

IMG_3611

The Caribbean Giant Centipede, which can get to be over a foot long!

IMG_3682

5-Day Club visitor

IMG_3699

Driving the infamous Grand Turk wild donkeys out of the yard…they would wake us up at 5am braying!

Tuesday:

This was our “true” first day of 5-Day Club ministry, and we had 52 children between all three club locations!

IMG_8876  IMG_8930

IMG_3626

As the Gospel went forth, a child about 12 years old came back for counseling saying: “I thought you had to do good things to go to heaven”. You could see the Holy Spirit working in his heart, and by God’s grace he professed faith in Jesus Christ as His Savior! He now knows that it is through Jesus alone that one is saved!

Wednesday:

As we came to the middle of the week, we were glad to see new children come to the 5-Day Clubs, and we went to Salem Baptist Church that evening for Bible Study. Another church member was there, and we spent time outside discussing the Gospel, life, ministry and the vision for reaching the children of the TCI! None of us knew that church had actually been canceled for that evening, but we were thankful that God allowed us all to have that hour and a half or so on the church porch.

IMG_8937

IMG_8954

IMG_8990

Thursday:

Such a joy to teach these children and also introduce some fun games before 5-Day Club begins!

IMG_9176

IMG_9207

IMG_9214

A version of “Duck, Duck, Goose”, except with a cup of water!

In addition to continued clubs, we scheduled a teacher training for Thursday night. We had representatives from the two public primary schools at the training, and equipped them with a TON of free CEF resources! We found out as well that from the materials given away in January, children were using the CEF 60-Day Devotional Book to lead their school-wide devotions! Kids reaching their peers! Praise God for how He is using these materials to communicate His Word in surprising ways!

IMG_3695

Thankful as well to partner again with The Gospel Coalition International Outreach—the team brought down a case of John Piper’s Finally Alive book to give to these teachers.

IMG_3693

We also frequented the local Grand Turk fish fry that is every Thursday night…people thought we were tourists at first but then many of the kids ran up to us! They were so excited to see us at the fish fry, and were helpful at showing us the best booths to get food and snacks at!

Friday:

We got to the last day of 5-Day Clubs, and were encouraged by the parent’s comments on how the children appreciated coming to club. One parent said: “I know y’all are trained for this, but I really appreciated how the team was able to keep the children’s attention. I even enjoyed the club as an adult.”

IMG_8993

IMG_9220

IMG_8956

IMG_3661

Saturday:

As we flew over to Providenciales to make our final flights off island back to the USA, the team had a couple hours of a layover (I had about five hours) so we rented a car. I gave them a short tour of Provo and even grabbed a few of the incredible pastries at Crust Bakery.

12901208_10209188223445234_5407224019134130953_o

Final team picture, taken on beautiful Grace Bay!

After I dropped them off, I was able to spend time with the Cox family of Harvest Bible Chapel, discussing the trip and the future of CEF in the TCI.

IMG_9091

All in all God used the CEF of SD team to teach the very first 5-Day Clubs in this capitol island of Grand Turk! Apart from the most important results of 66 children being reached with the Gospel and local Bible teachers being equipped, this pioneering trip led to key TCI government and education leaders hearing about CEF for the first time through their children attending the 5-Day Clubs.

We continue to pray that God would raise up national board members and local staff in the TCI, the ministry still has a long way to go before it is fully established locally but this was a key step in ministry development.

Glory to God alone!

All That Happened on the Turks & Caicos Trip!

“Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands.” – Isaiah 42:12

We give God praise for what He did during this past trip back to the Turks and Caicos Islands!

This specific CEF ministry development trip had four main objectives:

  1. Take care of “behind the scenes” administrative and logistical matters
  2. Distribute recently cleared CEF materials to local churches
  3. Train local Bible teachers for ministry to children
  4. Prepare for the upcoming short-term ministry trip to Grand Turk

First, there were a number of things that needed to be taken care of on island. The biggest thing was that when we left Turks and Caicos in August 2015, we had left all the CEF TCI materials and equipment in a storage unit that had been paid through December 2015. Keeping the materials in storage long-term is a huge ministry cost that we did not want to continue incurring, so we are incredibly grateful for Harvest Bible Chapel opening up one of their storage rooms to us. HBC was the church we were a part of when we lived on island, and this also makes the materials more easily accessible when we need to distribute them. All of the previous and newly cleared CEF TCI material was moved during this trip.

New storage

The material in the new space at HBC! Still needs to be organized better, but that can be a later trip.

Secondly, CEF TCI received its first shipment from The Revival Movement! The Revival Movement is an amazing organization in Northern Ireland that helps CEF globally with the printing of our curriculum to equip churches in ministry to children.

IMG_3296

No that’s not Irish butter…it’s free CEF curriculum!

During this trip, I was able to equip people from 20 different churches on 5 different islands with 914 different pieces of CEF curriculum and children’s materials! Out of those 914 pieces, 292 pieces were lessons and flashcards, a year’s worth of teacher’s packs! This is truly “above and beyond all we can ask or imagine”!

IMG_3343

Material about to go on a boat headed to North & Middle Caicos!

There are still more churches to give these teacher’s packs to, but this distribution during this trip means that a large majority of the Bible-believing churches in the Turks & Caicos Islands now have Gospel-centered curriculum to use in their children’s ministries. Many churches have to scrounge for good materials, or import them on island at high cost and a long wait. What a joy it was to freely give them away to people that both values them and will use them!

Here are a few testimonies!

IMG_3339

Sivil said: “I would love to have some more materials to work with in the Children’s Ministries at my Church.  The last stack of materials I received from you turned out to be very helpful and useful in our ministry.”

IMG_3335

Gerilane said: “I remember CEF material being used at my church as a child when some missionaries came…I was so happy when I saw that CEF was getting started here…we must get into the schools, we don’t know how much longer we will have these open doors!”

I also had the privilege of training local Bible teachers in ministry. Bethany Baptist Church, a fantastic church that we have partnered with in the past, desires to start an after-school Good News Club in the spring! I was able to meet with most of the team (four people were able to come), building upon the training they had already received.

IMG_3328

Training at Bethany Baptist

Grand Turk preparation was the fourth objective of this past trip back to the TCI. We have the privilege of hosting a short-term ministry team from CEF of South Dakota again this year, and we are focusing in on the capitol island of Grand Turk.

IMG_3310

Grand Turk is very flat, and it is where the cruise ships come, so you can see them from almost everywhere!

Over the course of the two days I was there, I realized that our initial ministry plans of school-based ministry needed to change. However, with the children being on Easter holiday, we have the opportunity to partner more with local churches and teach 5-Day Clubs!

IMG_3323

Ona Glinton Primary School in Grand Turk

This will allow greater discipleship to take place with the children and also build better relationships with teachers and leaders in the Grand Turk community!

IMG_3322

I ended up needing to rent a car (right hand drive) in Grand Turk…the roads are much more narrow!

Lastly, it was an eye-opening experience to be back in Turks & Caicos. It was the first time in our new missionary role to come back to a country that we used to live in. It is hard to explain, but I felt the same there as I do back in the USA. It was encouraging because there are so many friends there in TCI that love, pray and care for our family. Even when I was in Grand Turk, I walked up unannounced to a school that I had not been to in a year, and one of the teachers looked at me and said “Hi Sean!” Even after a year, people in Grand Turk still remembered the training conference that was held, and she also asked how the girls were doing.

I had the great privilege of sharing God’s Word at Harvest Bible Chapel Sunday morning. I also was able to distribute 9 ESV Global Study Bibles to local elders and pastors of 5 churches! This was through our ministry partnership with The Gospel Coalition-International Outreach and Crossway Publishing!

IMG_3341

Giving an ESV Global Study Bible to my friend and local pastor Pedro Williams of the Jericho Baptist Church. He actually just published his own book “Walking By Faith and Not By Sight“!

All in all, the trip was encouraging, an answer to prayer and helped lay a foundation for locally led ministry in the future.

Keep praying for the Turks and Caicos Islands!

Layout 1

Our July (One Crazy Month!)

We arrived back to Turks and Caicos on June 22nd knowing a few weeks later we would be moving back to the States. But at that point we were just focusing on hosting a mission team from South Carolina. This was an awesome group! They served with us from June 27th – July 4th and were a huge blessing to us personally and also for the ministry in TCI. The group taught 5 Day Clubs at three primary schools, reached 194 children and counseled 4 kids who made professions of faith in Christ! To God be the glory! On Wednesday evening they split up and attended a couple of churches and on Friday they taught the largest teacher training class TCI has ever had. 53 people from 11 different churches attended, how awesome is that?! We were shocked… especially considering it was graduation week… we were told not to expect much.

team

The Simpsons, Tyson, Sarah, Sarah and Ryan – The Team

team2

clubs2

clubs3

clubs1They did a great job AND helped us replace the alternator on our vehicle when it broke down!

They left on July 4th… it was sad to say goodbye. That night we watched a video of fireworks… we’ll have to make up for it next year.

On Sunday, July 19th Sean and Maddy went to the TCE graduation at United Christian Baptist Church. The service started at 6am and we were still planning on making it to our own church’s service that morning… so… we let Riley-Grace stay home instead of waking her up so early. Sean taught a TCE for seven ladies at the church (this is a great Haitian church) before we left in April so we were very happy he was able to make the graduation. The service was in Creole… something Maddy won’t soon forget! And Sean had to speak through a translator!

Moving Back To The States

For most of July we were consumed with the whole moving process. EVERYTHING was up in the air. We had an idea of when and how things would happen but up until the last week we were still waiting on the Lord to make it all work out. We didn’t know when we were leaving, where we would live when we got back or what school Maddy would attend (or if I would homeschool her). We couldn’t purchase our tickets home until we sold our vehicle… but we told the owners of our house we would be out by July 31st. Our neighbors wanted to buy our vehicle but just a few days before they were ready, the wife had to get her appendix removed… there were complications and she stayed in the hospital for over a week. A lot of our stuff was packed up and we still hadn’t purchased our tickets home! But of course, the Lord was in control, everything happened in His time.

We tried to get together with friends in TCI, get things set up for the ministry to continue and enjoy living overseas for just a few more weeks… going to the beach, eating Caribbean food and spending time together as a family. Maddy rode her bike a lot (and without training wheels!), Riley-Grace fed the fish in the canal, Sean and I soaked it all in. And just like that, it was time to go.

Because we waited so long to purchase our tickets, our normal flight to Miami was crazy expensive so we had to fly to Charlotte, North Carolina instead. The whole process at the airport was a nightmare but we made it. And we were able to enjoy a couple of days to relax and transition a bit in Charlotte. We took the girls to an awesome science museum (Discovery Place) downtown… they LOVED it. The next day we took it easy, swam in the pool and went back downtown to a fun market (7th Street Market). We woke up the next morning and we flew to Pensacola (a much better experience!) and have been in Spanish Fort at a missionary house since then.

It’s been great seeing family, shopping at grocery stores for 1/3 of the price, having central AC and NOT getting bit by mosquitoes constantly. But it’s all still a bit surreal for us. We don’t really “feel” like we live here yet. I look back at our life for the last 4 years and can’t believe it’s really over. We are still working in the Caribbean but we aren’t going to be living there. We have a lot of adjustment coming, that’s for sure. On one hand we are very excited to be home but on the other hand, we have all changed so much and we miss being in the Caribbean everyday. (Even with all of the issues!) It will take time…

We’ve been scouring the internet for furniture deals (since we have none) and a car. We wanted a SUV with 3rd row seating, under 10 years old and under 100K miles… let’s just say there hasn’t been much (nothing really) to chose from in our budget. But God provided once again and we purchased a 2008 Hyundai Veracruz last Saturday!

We plan to come to Montgomery around September 1st. We are praying for a missionary house to be open at the beginning of September, but it could be later before it is available. We get to stay there for 3 months so we can get everything ready for a house (finding one, furnishing it, etc.) and everything else that comes along with living in the States again. When we get to Montgomery though, it looks like Maddy will be attending Montgomery Christian School… she will be in 1st grade!

moving our stuff

Our stuff at the port in TCI waiting to be shipped. IT’S STILL THERE! Pray it comes soon!

planes

Watching the planes in Charlotte, NC.

welcome home

Welcome home goodies at the missionary house from the WOW kids at Faith Family!

carOur “new to us” 2008 Hyundai! We really like it!

 

This August we celebrate Sean’s birthday, might welcome our niece (she is due Sept. 7th) and we have a Caribbean leadership conference at the end of the month in Orlando. We aren’t certain yet if Riley-Grace and I (Mandi) will be able to go yet, so please be in prayer. She isn’t weaned yet so needs to go with me but we aren’t sure how that will all work out. Sean officially begins his new position on September 1st!

 

Why We Are Moving Back Home

SO much has happened over the last few months! If you haven’t heard the news… we will be moving back to the States at the end of July / first of August… less than a month away. Sean will now be serving as the Regional Area Director for the Northeast Caribbean. His top priority will be continuing to develop the work here in Turks and Caicos but he will also help with the work in The Bahamas, US Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Bermuda. We are very excited about this opportunity but I know a lot of people have questions about this decision. So we would like to give a little bit of background information (personal and ministry related) about how this all came to be.

At the end of April we flew to Colorado Springs for a week-long missionary debriefing program. This is actually for missionaries returning from the field or in between assignments… we were supposed to attend this program last year but had to leave the first day because my (Mandi’s) grandmother passed away. CEF leadership felt the program would benefit us anyway even though it didn’t seem applicable to us anymore. Initially, we were frustrated with having to go but we are so grateful we ended up attending. Over the course of the week our eyes were opened to a lot the stress we were under and the effect discouragement had on us. We knew we were stressed, discouraged and burned out but we didn’t realize the extent of it until then.

You see, it’s been 4 years since we made the decision to move to St. Kitts & Nevis. Those 4 years have been amazing, life-changing and wonderful. But they have also been hard, discouraging, stressful and tiring. There is nothing abnormal about that… such is the life of missions! It’s a paradox… the same rewarding life of being a missionary can cause the greatest amount of stress. We learned that most all missionaries experience the same paradox. That’s why it is so important to take care of yourself and your family… spiritually, physically and emotionally. We learned that missionaries tend to push the line of “normal” out continuously until what is abnormal becomes normal everyday life and then wonder why we begin to have problems. Sean and I were blind to how far we pushed the normal line until we were forced to objectively look at it all in Colorado.

Our time in St. Kitts was awesome. We got to be part of a ministry overflowing with fruit. We made some of the best friends we will ever have. We were part of such an amazing community. We grew closer as a family, learned to live away from America and overall had an amazing time. We will NEVER be the same. We also lived with the constant reality of being robbed. Every time we left the house we knew everything could be gone when we returned. Every night we went to sleep knowing someone could break in. We all slept in the same room, not only to save on electricity, but for safety… we had 2 deadbolt locks on our bedroom door. We hid everything of value every time we left and every night before bed. Several of our friends were robbed, our first mission team was robbed across the street from our house, our upstairs neighbors were robbed, someone tried to break into our home, we kept nothing of value in our van and left the doors unlocked so they wouldn’t break a window (and it was regularly searched) and there was daily life of constant heat, a high cost of living, frequent power outages, centipedes, large spiders and being homesick. The “normal line” was pushed pretty far. But it’s that paradox again… we would do it all over because it was such an awesome experience!

In fact, we WANTED to do it all over again so we made the decision to move to Turks and Caicos (after seeking the Lord’s direction of course). So we left St. Kitts when our time there was over and went back to America for our furlough… but it wasn’t much of a furlough. I was 18 weeks pregnant and our time was spent traveling, meeting with people, raising support and having a baby. During the 7 months after St. Kitts we traveled to Turks and Caicos, Orlando, Spanish Fort Alabama, Montgomery Alabama, Houston (area) Texas, Colorado Springs, back to Houston, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Dallas, back to Houston, Spanish Fort, Indianapolis, Warrenton Missouri, Knoxville Tennessee, Montgomery, Spanish Fort, then moved into a missionary house back in Montgomery, gave birth 6 weeks later and 6 weeks after that moved into a missionary house in Spanish Fort for 3 weeks. Sean moved to Turks & Caicos, I left the missionary house and stayed with his family for 2 weeks and then we followed him to TCI. Oh, and when I was about 36 weeks pregnant Sean flew to North Carolina to speak at the CEF International Conference.

And that felt normal to us… the line kept getting pushed.

Turks and Caicos has been vastly different than St. Kitts. Life here is so much easier. Crime exists but it’s nowhere near as bad. The infrastructure is better, the power hardly ever goes out, the grocery stores are nicer, we can get more things on the island and it’s about an hour plane ride from Miami. It’s very “western”. That being said, we have faced much more discouragement here than in St. Kitts. The ministry has so much potential. Efforts have been made to get things started here since 2011. All everyone thought (including us) was that we just needed someone on the ground. Once a missionary was placed here things would take off as it has in every other target country in the Caribbean. The more western culture may offer us a familiar lifestyle but it comes with western apathy. One of our friends, a leader in the church we attend here, compared Turks and Caicos to a beautiful apple tree that bears no apples. When we talk to people about the ministry they are genuinely excited to be part of it but it has been difficult getting them to put feet to their words. What little development we had when moving here has slowly unraveled over the last year. It is difficult to work so hard and see so little fruit. There is so much potential here and we can see God moving but it will not be so easily done as it has been in the rest of the Caribbean.

At the same time we were facing discouragement with the ministry we were also experiencing stress within our family. We were so grateful to have Riley-Grace but she wasn’t an easy baby. She didn’t start sleeping through the night until she was 10 months old. We were sleep deprived for most of our time here…. which really got to us after a while. Maddy was having her own issues too. She had very few friends and never really got to play with kids because she was homeschooled… nobody really homeschools here. She was struggling socially. So we placed her in a private school and that came with it’s own challenges. She had to go by a different name, she had some problems with other kids at her school, struggled with her handwriting and we were realizing she might have ADHD. She wanted to go to school but often came home sad. (While in the States her doctor confirmed she probably does have ADD or ADHD and he has also recommended she have occupational therapy for her fine motor skills.) I (Mandi) was struggling myself to make close friends that I could be with on a regular basis. I would often go weeks without speaking to an adult other than Sean except for the “Hey how are you doing? Good to see you” at church. It is much hotter here, our house regularly reaches almost 100 during the day for most of the year. Riley-Grace does not like the heat and often crawls (and now walks) around crying. I’m not trying to complain, so please don’t take it that way… I simply want to let you know where we were at when left for Colorado Springs in April.

We knew we were struggling. We just didn’t realize how much.

And the guilt……..

The guilt weighed heavily on us. “Why were we having such a hard time? It’s Turks and Caicos for crying out loud! It’s the #1 island in the WORLD. Why are we miserable? Why can’t we make it here? What’s wrong with us? Other missionaries deal with far worse”. On the rare chance we voiced some of our struggles to people back home we risked being told “You live in paradise!” “I’ll gladly trade places with you!” We felt like such failures.

And this was still all normal for us.

But God is SO GOOD.

Aside from our personal struggles, we knew something needed to change with the ministry. Whatever we were doing wasn’t working.  At the same time, our regional director was making plans to create new positions for people to oversee a group of islands. Now that all of the Caribbean islands have been reached there is a huge need to make sure these infant works continue to grow… and he couldn’t do it by himself. So after speaking to our leadership about our personal struggles and the struggles with the ministry we took a step back to see what God was doing. We had our plan for how things were going to go in Turks and Caicos… and God has His. It became clear to us that it would be better for our family to be back in the States and for Sean to travel to Turks and Caicos regularly. We have a heart for the Caribbean and felt no peace about walking away. This new role Sean will be serving in gives us the opportunity to continue working in Turks and Caicos, continue developing the work in the Caribbean but doing it while we live in the States taking care of our family.

We are sure the Lord wanted us to go to Turks and Caicos… he made that clear. And yet, we are sure He has made it clear that we are to move now. We have learned so much through this. None of us knew the challenges of doing ministry in Turks and Caicos until we moved here. We can now re-think things and hopefully get on board with God’s plans for this country. For our family, we will return to the States placing a much higher priority on REST. We were taught a lesson in humility… the work in Montgomery and St. Kitts are both very successful. This is really the first time we have experienced this level of discouragement and lack of growth. We also believe that we may not have been as willing to move or be open to different ways of developing the ministry here if God hadn’t allowed us to struggle.

Through all of the changes, our vision and our work in the Caribbean have not changed. Turks and Caicos will continue to be our top priority.

We are still faith-supported missionaries. We still seek to work ourselves out of a job by training local people to take over the ministry. Even in Sean’s new role this vision remains… eventually he will be replaced by someone from the Caribbean!

This wasn’t an easy decision and we know transitioning back to the States will have its challenges too. So we appreciate your prayers for us during this time. You all have been so encouraging to us through this and we are more thankful than we could possibly express!