This past Sunday Deanna and I were enjoying our first time to attend Church services in person together this year. One of the things I missed most was standing and praising the Lord together during the worship time. As we both turned to sit down we bonked heads awkwardly. Chuckling and rubbing the spots on our heads that throbbed slightly we settled into our seats to listen to the introduction to the book of James.
When I wrote you all last I was in the middle of getting a Church Rebuilding program up and running at the start of the Puerto Rico summer where, at last count a couple weeks ago, there are around 30 completed churches and we are hoping to have about 40 by the end of the year. (in case you missed it last time, please click this link for a video we filmed that gives an overview of what is happening there)
I was able to head back to Canada for a quick trip to see our beautiful Autumn graduate from High School at the end of June! The day after she graduated I was on a plane to Nebraska for my Aunt’s funeral where we celebrated her life and I was able to enjoy visiting with a lot of family that I hadn’t seen for quite a while.
I then went back to Canada to finish up my time of leave with Deanna and the kids. It was around that time that I was asked to relocate to a small island south of Guadalupe called Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). They were very short staffed and needing help getting their church rebuilding program up and running. I was happy to help out wherever I was needed most, however, that meant our future plans for the rest of the family moving to Puerto Rico with me was now up in the air!
While in Dominica I was able to help get the program jumpstarted by working with the contractors there, helping to hire 2 local men to look after the sites, purchasing materials for the current projects and assessing damaged churches for future projects. It was very much the same type of damage I had seen in Puerto Rico… after Hurricanes Irma & Maria struck the Caribbean Islands almost anything that was built out of wood was severely damaged or destroyed but most structures built out of concrete were still standing. There were a lot of churches with concrete walls still standing but most had wood framed roof structures that were severely damaged or completely missing.
During that time, I was also able to help out the Ministry Team with a program that was meant to help get the young men involved with their communities by teaching them how to build and install storm shutters. I really enjoyed interacting with those awesome young men!
My original contract in Dominica was for 6 weeks, which has now been completed. I was asked to extend my time there but I have been away from my family for 12 out of the last 14 months which is not ideal.
And as we settle into our time together as a family, we are going to have awkward head bonking moments but we hope that we can chuckle at ourselves a bit without getting frustrated. It would be easy for us to get frustrated that our plans to move to Puerto Rico together are not working out but Deanna and I just read together
Proverbs 16:9 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (NLT)
We have been able to endure this time by God’s grace and comfort and are praying for clear direction from the Lord for the next steps to pursue.
There are a lot of details that I have not expounded on in an effort to keep this somewhat short… however, if you would like to get together and connect over coffee sometime I would love to share more with you while we are waiting for the Lord to direct our next steps.
So just as Pastor Acree read in the book of James this morning,
James 1:2-4a “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow…” (NLT)
Please pray with us that we would continue to let our faith grow and that we might not grow weary during our times of waiting on the Lord and, as Pastor Dosso prayed
“That we might live wisely in this world making the most of every opportunity, living in a way that brings Glory and Honor and Praise to the Lord.”