It’s hard to believe, but our furlough is over, and tomorrow we fly to Portugal. Six months has flown by, and our whole furlough experience has been better than we could have imagined. We leave with hearts filled with gratitude and good memories.
1. In six months, we travelled 20,000 miles and were in fourteen states. God provided a terrific van that was reliable and spacious.
2. In January and February, while we visited our supporting churches in the area, we stayed at mission houses in Kingsport and Chattanooga, Tennessee . They were an oasis to our family, and we are grateful for the “homes” away from home. Thank you, Temple Baptist Church and Mile Straight Baptist Church, for your gracious hospitality.
3. During furlough, we visited fifty churches, almost all of whom were already partners with us. Every church we visited was an encouragement. It was sweet to have so many people tell us they read our prayer letters and pray for us; we loved answering people’s questions about Portugal and the people there; and we experienced an amazing outpouring of generosity.
4. We got to see lots of friends we hadn’t seen in years. It was great to spend time with them.
5. One of the big purposes of furlough is to get to spend time with family. We got to see almost all of our extended family, and the moments we shared with parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins was priceless.
6. The list could go on and on. We loved eating out at as much as we did, and free refills are an American custom worth exporting. We went to zoos and museums, and we got to see again what a great country America is.
This past weekend, I received an e-mail from a pastor with whom we work. He ended his message to me by saying, “There is a lot of work to do.” As we return, we know this is true. Here are some ways you can pray for us as we look forward .
1. We have already said most of our good-byes, but still we ask you to pray for our family as we say leave tomorrow. It will be a long time before we see most of our family again.
2. Pray for our flight and for our kids. Flying with little kids is always a challenge. In the big picture, it’s not a huge deal, but it would be great if we had an empty seat next to us to give us a seat for Samuel.
3. Pray that God would fill our hearts with energy and enthusiasm as we begin our work in Portugal again.
4. Pray that God would give us wisdom to know how to best serve him.
Our time in America was great, but we are excited to be heading “home” to Portugal. Thank you for praying for us!