Friday, November 11, 2016

A Veterans Day Tale of Reuniting Family

In honor of Veterans Day, we want to share a pretty amazing story from this past year.
This story is shared with the permission of Dr. Chris Cottrell.

Living in the BENELUX area of western Europe, of course there is history all around. In particular, there is evidence of World War I and World War II all around.

Living in Holland, we have seen a lot of historic appreciation extended to the U.S.A. for their part in restoring the Netherlands to Dutch rule during the era of Nazi Germany.

In fact, in September 2014, we visited historic Maastricht, one of our favorite cities. It was a Saturday morning, and quickly we realized something was unusual about the day. There were period vehicles from the era of the 2nd War. Following the commotion, we stumbled upon a gathering of elderly men who were remaining U. S. military survivors who had taken part in the Liberation of Maastricht. The date happened to commemorate 70 years since Maastricht was liberated from the clutch of The Third Reich.

As both of us had grandfathers who were U.S. servicemen during the war (Christy’s grandpa in the Army Corp of Engineers, and Daniel’s grandpa running back and forth across the Atlantic in the U. S. Navy), it was especially touching to us to see these elderly men receiving a Hero’s Welcome into a city that was deeply appreciative for their efforts 7 decades ago.

Nearby to Maastricht is a large American War Cemetery which entombs the remains of many American sons (and a few daughters) who gave their lives during the 2nd World War. It is in the small town of Margraten. This is really a sacred place, and one that we enjoy taking visitors to. It helps us to remember the past. It helps us to remember the sacrifices of so many in the name of Liberty and Justice.

This past June, we had the privilege of hosting a small group from the Ohio Ministries’ Missions Committee. This trip was to give them a broad understanding of the diverse Three Worlds we live and work in. For a few days, we hosted this group, led by Dr. Esther Cottrell (State Pastor for Ohio Ministries) in our neck of the woods, in Holland. 





Driving from the airport, I (Dan) chatted with Dr. Chris Cottrell (Esther’s husband). In this conversation, he relayed to me that his grandfather was involved in World War 2. In fact, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Furthermore, he watched his brother (Chris’s great-uncle) fall in the line of duty in the Battle of the Bulge.

After a few days of connecting with our church leaders here in Holland and giving seminars, we seized the opportunity to take our Buckeye visitors to Margraten, to the American Cemetery.


Chris Cottrell preaching in Kerkrade.


Chris Cottrell giving one of the many seminars the group from Ohio Ministries provided.
The memorial between the Reflecting Pool and the Cemetery in Margaten.



After walking through the informative section and the memorial section (complete with reflecting pool and list of soldiers MIA), we arrived at the cemetery.  For all extensive purposes, it’s like a smaller version of Normandy: row after row of white Latin Cross (or Star of David) paying homage to the final resting place of the men and women buried beneath. It’s breath-taking and humbling, especially keeping in mind that this is a minute fraction of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for freedom.

But as we took a few minutes and spread out, I noticed that Chris was walking unnaturally fast and seemed to really be scouring the names listed on the crosses. I approached Esther, who said: “He’s looking for his uncle.”


Chris and Esther amongst the graves in Margaten.


Whoa. It had not even dawned on me that his uncle could have been buried over here on European soil.

I asked Esther his name and where he was from.

She said the family name was "GOULD," and he was probably from Michigan.

I began walking quickly to the registration center to ask if they could see if he was here. But then I remember I had Google at my fingertips. So as I typed in my phone “GOULD + MICHIGAN + AMERICAN WAR CEMETERY,” it took me to a database, which listed two fallen soldiers with the family name "Gould."

I quickly approached Chris and erupted with the good news: “I think I found him…”



I think both Chris and I were in disbelief that it really could be that simple. But as I read the family information, Chris responded: “Yes, that’s my grandpa's name. This is him. Is he here?!?”

The bad news was he is not buried in Margraten, or anywhere in the Netherlands.

The good news is that he is buried in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, 25 minutes to the south in Belgium.




Nothing could have prevented our car from making that 25-minute journey through the hills and small towns of northern Belgium.

Initial view upon entry into the Henri-Chappelle American Cemetery in Belgium

Arriving shortly before the Cemetery was set to close, I quickly led Chris & Esther to the location my phone gave: 

Plot: C, Row: 6, Grave # 52.








And there it stood: The grave of Chris’s great-uncle.









Chris shared with me that he was the first person in their family ever to stand at his great-uncle's grave. In fact, nobody in the family even knew precisely where he was buried. After returning from the War, Chris's grandfather was so traumatized by having watched his own brother fall in battle that that was all the closure he needed.

Now, not only did the family know where he was buried, but now Chris has seen it and has pictures. Additionally, through conversations with the Director of the Cemetery, this grave has been 'adopted' by a Belgian man for the past several years. So even though family was unaware of the location of the grave, some individual was honoring the grave periodically with flowers as an act of memorial and appreciation.


This may go down as one of the coolest moments of my life. I was privileged in that my grandpa made it home after the War. He got to live out the rest of his long life in peace, surrounded by his family. I cannot imagine the sacrifice so many families know all too well (even in more recent wars): their loved one not coming home. On this Veterans Day, let us remember those veterans who paid the ultimate price. Let us remember their families who mourn their loss. And let us rejoice in those who return home, safely. 
Thank you for your service.




To have such a small part in helping Chris’s family be reunited with the grave of their family member, and to connect the dots of their family’s history is priceless. It is an unexpected honor and privilege which we will forever cherish.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Inaugural 3W Northern Italy Youth Camp

Preface
Italy as a country has many great things to offer the world. Espresso, gelato, the Colosseum, Venetian gondola rides, and of course...pizza!!!

You may not know that the Italian Church of God also has great things to offer the world.

The hospitality of the Santonocito's and the Church in Ostia (Rome) is legendary! This month, we got to experience one of the greatest gifts of the two congregations in Northern Italy (Arco & Treviso):

their passion for seeing young people grow in their relationship with the Lord.

It took shape in the form of the first Italian Church of God Youth Camp, assisted by Three Worlds. Let us walk you through how this camp came to be and what it was like to be there. Because it was incredible!!


Setting the Stage
In August of 2015, we accompanied Marcos Lovaglio to Bulgaria. The purpose was to visit the Bulgarian Youth Camp, as Marcos had a vision of hosting a youth camp in Northern Italy.

There had never been a youth camp for the Italian Church of God in the north before. Thus, Marcos arrived with wide eyes, making notes and asking Dave & Kathy Simpson a plethora of questions.

Costumed-up for Talent Night @ Bulgarian Youth Camp 2015
Retired missionary Dave Simpson giving instructions @ Bulgarian Youth Camp 2015.

Marcos and his family (the Lovaglios) pastor two thriving Church of God congregations in Northern Italy (Arco & Treviso). Marcos' father, Nicolas Sr. serves as 'pastor' to the congregation in Arco. Marcos' older brother, Nicolas Jr. serves as 'pastor' to the congregation in Treviso.
Nicolas Sr., Jr., & Marcos Lovaglio (L-R)

Marcos leads worship in both congregations, and has built up a very active youth group in Arco.

Between summer 2015 and summer 2016, we had regular skype meetings with Marcos, tracking with him as he put plans into motion for the inaugural Italian Church of God Youth Camp.

And then during the first week of July 2016, we were present in Italy with Marcos as the youth camp he had dreamt about came to reality.


Typical Three Worlds Work
Disclaimer: This is not about the Kihm family. We simply provided resources and helped ensure all necessary details were being considered. Marcos and his team in northern Italy did the lion's share of the work. But this is one illustration of how Three Worlds works. Rather than similar ministries happening in isolation, we knew that Marcos dreamt of a youth camp in Italy. So, we brought him to Bulgaria to learn from what the Bulgarian Church of God was already doing. And then we provided mentoring to this emerging young leader.

If you would like to help support the work of Three Worlds or specifically the work of the Church of God in Northern Italy, please click on one of these links which will take you to the Global Strategy website:


and



Behind the Eight-Ball
It is difficult to attract and reach 'youth' in secular, post-Christendom Europe.

It is even more difficult to do so in Italy. Yes, the stereotypes are accurate: The Catholic Church basically has a monopoly on the 'faith market.' To be a Protestant evangelical Christian in Italy is to be different. And just like anywhere else, to be different is to be strange and suspect. And yet, in the midst of this deeply secular, Catholic and yet Post-Christendom environment, the youth ministry of Marcos Lovaglio and the Arco Church is exploding.

Marcos and team; These individuals also are a part of the 3W Leadership Network;


Really, it is astounding how fast the Arco Church has grown. This is a major victory. And this is something that we at Three Worlds are trying to perpetuate. In fairness, we didn't start the fire, but we are trying to fan the flames for even greater Kingdom results.

Location of the Camp
The camp was located in an amazingly gorgeous part of the world: high in the Dolomites of northern Italy. The precise location was about 2 hours north of Arco, or Lago di Garda. We were treated to amazing natural beauty. Especially in settings such as that, I always ponder how someone could not believe in God!!

The clouds came from deep in the valley and just rolled their way up the mountain. Really amazing to behold!!!

We had games & devotions before the descent.

A rare non-selfied Kihm Family photo!

The descent has begun

Focus of the Youth Camp
Most youth camps that I have participated in (either as a student or a leader) are 'fun'-heavy. Yes, there are some very serious spiritual components (worship service and discussion group or time of singing), but a good portion of the day is spent on the games and activities! As a kid, these were some of my favorite parts of a youth camp! And in the games and activities, oftentimes there are lessons: Lessons on working together, lessons on exercising faith, lessons on friendly competition, etc.

But the focus of the youth camp in northern Italy was quite simply: Experiencing God.

Of course, there were games and fun times.

The joys one can have with shaving cream...

Relays: Ball-knock-over with panty-hose-head.

Classic Water Balloon Toss


But each day began with devotions and prayer in the dorm rooms!

Coffee yet to be drank. Some feet barely touching the floor! Wakey wakey!

After breakfast, there was a 2-3 hour worship service. Here's a brief video:  Worship song 1

The worship team was absolutely top-notch. Amazing in talent. Amazing in passion. Amazing in dedication.


And in the evening, after dinner, there was a second 2-3 hour worship service: Worship song 2

A few of the afternoons were filled, too, with discussion groups (either guy/girl, or everyone to think about questions that had been submitted anonymously).

The preaching themes were:

  • Who is Jesus?
  • What is Salvation?
  • Who is The Holy Spirit?
  • Importance of The Holy Spirit.
  • Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Evangelism: Love your neighbor as yourself.

At the close of each sermon, there were at least a handful of persons responding by coming forward to pray. These were not overly-emotional or manipulated actions. These were sincere hearts crying out for more of the Lord in their lives. It was a privilege to be one of the speakers, and to get to pray with these youth.




Participants
This was a very ecumenical and international youth camp!

In addition to the youth from Marcos' congregation in Arco, he worked with two main other congregations. What's amazing is that none of the leaders were interested in "stealing sheep," or promoting their doctrinal preferences. It really was an illustration of Dale Oldham's old hymn:

"Let me see Jesus only."

To say that it was international is not an understatement. While Italian was the common language, English and Spanish were also regularly used for communication. The youth and leaders were from: Italy, USA, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, El Salvador, Brazil, China & Burkina Faso.

Even in the midst of such cultural diversity, there was no racism or prejudice. Everyone treated one another like family. Really. At meal times, in conversation and sharing food. At play times, in inclusion and playing fairly. It was very impressive to watch!

Group shot;


Wrap-Up
Really, this youth camp was a sparkling success. Very little, if anything, could have been improved on. And yet we have many notes and thoughts with which to help future youth camps build on this success!

One way you can be of help is to bathe this ministry in prayer. Really, pray not just for future youth camps. But pray for Marcos and his fiancéé, Katherine. Pray for the Lovaglio Family. Pray for the Church of God in Italy, our three congregations in Ostia (Rome), Treviso, and Arco.

Another way you can be of help is to financially support this ministry. Really, this is a tremendous need. And every gift helps! The Church in Arco is in need of a larger facility to meet in, but they are severely restricted by finances. To put in perspective how much they have outgrown their present location, look at this picture.

Dr. Esther Cottrell, State Pastor of Ohio Ministries visiting in June 2016.


Yes, it is a picture of one parking space in a garage. That is the location where the children meet on Sunday mornings. Imagine up to 15 elementary-aged children having Sunday School in exactly what you see in the picture.

That is the present reality for the Church of God in Arco, Italy.

If you are able to contribute toward the Italy 3W Expansion (42.40530) Project, know that there are some very real needs that you can help address. And there are some very real potential Kingdom works that could come about precisely because of your contribution! Really, the potential is so large in Arco. The sky is the limit. But there are practical barriers that must first be crossed.

Please pray for the Church in Arco, the ministry of the Lovaglio Family, and Three Worlds.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Typical Few Days in our Life...

Typical Few Days in Our Life

What really is "typical?" Certainly nothing in the life of a missionary.

However, the past 48-hours are a pretty condensed summary of our life.

In that span, we have hosted 8 incredible young leaders from the Dutch Church in our home, for our Leadership Training Group. Those relationships and conversations began before the scheduled time, and continued long past "the schedule" said the evening was to end. It's this kind of 'Bonus time' that really is the crux of ministry. Whether Stateside or on the Old Continent, it's during these times that real life is shared and real ministry happens.

We have spent time reading and responding to e-mails, both from "supporting Churches" (US) and from our "ministry Churches" (EU).

Christy has had a Driving Lesson, working towards getting her Dutch license (in a manual transmission).

Dan has worked on next Sunday's sermon.

We have gone to Dutch classes, both with the private tutor we've been meeting with since last year, and the intensive course Dan is currently enrolled in.

We have gotten the mail, and then secondarily translated it, to see if it's a bill or just a notice.

Dan has finished a journal article, submitted for the Dutch and German Vital Christianity.

We have worked on videos for some supporting Churches, and skyped with others.

OH yeah, and we have successfully parented an energetic toddler for another 48 hours! :-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Baptism in Holland, Part 2, a.k.a The Cost of Discipleship

**Disclaimer: Due to the sensitive nature of this material, names have been altered.**

Growing up in the Midwest, it was always easy to be a Christian. I mean, sure, I got made fun of a little for wearing blatantly evangelical Christian tee-shirts to my public high school. But hey, I was not in the popular crowd, so I was going to get teased to some extent anyways. When I chose to get baptized, it was largely a personal decision that my family (even the Catholic side) respected and celebrated with me. Friends and classmates either celebrated with me or didn't really care. However, my experience, which I imagine could be similar to many of your experiences, is far from the norm for many people.

I wrote a post recently about some of the baptisms we have gotten to observe and celebrate in the short time we've been living in Holland. What I want to do now, though, is tell the story of two of these believers in Christ.

For the sake of this story, I will refer to them as "Mary" and "Tina."

"Mary" is the aunt of "Tina," the sister of Tina's mother, whom I'll call "Anna." Their families lived previously in Iraq, their homeland. Anna, Tina's mother, got a job working for Americans in Baghdad. This affiliation with Americans was not well-received by her family, but it was employment.

However, Anna's family dynamics further were complicated when she befriended some of her employers. Through these friendships, Anna began attending a Bible Study. And in what would be a radical move, she became a Christian.

Anna led her daughter, Tina, to the Lord, too. Soon mother and daughter were both attending Bible Study, and more importantly, both were publicly identified as Christians.

In the Islamic world, this is more than just a cause for questions to be asked about what this means for one's philosophical outlook on the world. This is heresy. And this brings Shame upon the family and community.

Anna experienced persecution that I can only begin to imagine. So fervent was Anna's persecution that her very life was threatened if she did not renounce her newfound Christian faith.

For Anna, though, what she experienced in Christ (the freedom, the love, the Hope) far outweighed anything this world could offer her.

She held fast to her faith.

And she was murdered.



Her daughter, Tina, had to go and live with her Aunt Mary after her mother's death. Still reeling from the murder of her sister, Mary chose to become a Christian.

What she saw in her sister, and the determination that her sister had to identify with Jesus Christ so strongly was reason enough for Mary to want what her sister had found.

Thus, without understanding all the doctrinal nuances, and without reading the Bible from cover-to-cover, Mary placed her faith in Jesus Christ, largely based on the testimony of her now-deceased sister.

Tina continued to experience the ridicule and the shame that had been cause for her mother's death. And now, Mary began to experience it as well. In addition to taking in her Christian niece, who had departed from Islam, Mary was the sister of Anna, who had also departed from Islam. And now, Mary herself had turned away from the faith by embracing Jesus Christ.

Mary's persecution also came with threats. And yet, like her sister before her, Mary stood her ground, professing Jesus to be Lord and identifying herself as a follower of Jesus.

On account of her unrepentant faith in Jesus, Mary's son was murdered.


Having lost her sister and now her own son, Aunt Mary took Tina and the two of them fled the country.

Because of the Asylum program that the Netherlands offers, these two followers of Jesus made their way to Holland, seeking refuge literally.

They met some Iranian refugees who are a part of our fellowship, and they began attending regularly. Even though they did not understand Dutch at all. Even though they generally knew nothing about the order of worship or what happened and why.

What they knew was this: they had been embraced by the Love of God, and they had chosen to follow Jesus. 

Their new identity was found in Christ.

And so they worshipped regularly and faithfully. For them, truly Jesus Is the Subject. It was our great pleasure to welcome them into the family of God and to celebrate with them as they witnessed to their faith by entering the waters of baptism.


"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." ~ Romans 6:3-5

The Old has gone. 


The New has come.


"Let the Saints rejoice with my raptured spirit,
I am a Child of God..."


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Baptism in Holland, Part 1

When we arrived in Holland last November, the Dutch Church of God held a Baptismal service. Now, since only one of the 4 congregations meets in a place with a Baptistry, baptismal services are also Unity services, which is nice.

That first Sunday we were over here, there were 5 people who entered the waters of Baptism, publicly declaring their faith in Jesus.

This Easter Sunday, there was another Baptism/Unity service, where 13 people declared their faith in Jesus.

The Dutch Church is quite a diverse blend, really a microcosm of the Kingdom of God.

For instance, at our Easter services, there were maybe 200-250 people present. And yet, in that number, there were roughly 16 nationalities represented, and several languages spoken: Dutch, German, French, English, Spanish, Farsi, Arabic, et. al.

Here's a pic from the "Pulpit-Cam," a.k.a. Dan's iPhone.
I had the pleasure of preaching the Easter morning service. This sermon was spoken in English and Dutch. :-)
English by yours truly, and Dutch by Pastor Bert Hage.










Here's a great picture of an Iraqi woman giving her testimony in Arabic, which is translated into French, and then translated into Dutch!












One great thing about this baptistry is its location, down in the floor. Thus, in order to really see, you either have to be physically standing around it or have a video projection up on the wall. Why not have both?!?








The children pack around the opening in the floor, getting an up close and personal view of the rituals of baptism! 


What a great teaching tool!!!! And the rest of us get to see the immersion take place up on the wall!

















In the Church of God, baptism is done by immersion, and is a sign of the individual having chosen to follow Jesus (Ref.: Anabaptists, Believer's Baptism).
















This past Easter was truly a time of great worship as the entire Dutch Church of God gathered together to worship our Risen Savior, and a time of great celebration as we witnessed so many testifying to their new life through the act of baptism.



Our first Easter in Holland was really quite a long and busy day, but a joyous one nonetheless!




Friday, November 22, 2013

We Made It!!!



Well, friends, here we are…in the Netherlands.

The past few months have been insane. Truly crazy how things have changed and developed and happened. Many many many instances of a Divine Hand at work in a human world. Many many many instances of resistance and opposition by a darker force also at work. And yet, those of us with faith in God know the end of the story: "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."

Here's a brief synopsis of some recent events.

Sunday November 10th, we were driven by Christy's parents to Chicago, from which we had a departure out of O'Hare on Monday November 11th.

After a HAUL to O'Hare with our luggage (Imagine moving continents….with a 16-month-old) and a bit of trouble checking in, we made it to our gate, only to see snow falling out the window.


We briefly panicked as we knew that that could mean delays. After conquering the airport shuttle, hiring the baggage guy at the curb to lug our stuff in to the check-in counter, successfully making it through airport security (no small task…), and making it to the front of the line at the gate with all three of us alive and well, all three of our overloaded carry-ons, all three of our overloaded "personal items," Sofie's stroller in a gate-check stroller bag, and Sofie's car-seat in tow for the plane ride, the thought of possibly having to leave that area, or even move to another gate was MORE than enough to cause a small panic attack.


Nevertheless, we made it onto the plane, where we endured about an hour-delay as they de-iced and prepared the plane and runway for take-off.



Sofie did fabulous! Thank you for the prayers as we were concerned that she, an active toddler, may not exactly handle an 8-hour plane ride OK, but she did! It helped that we left Monday afternoon, and arrived Tuesday morning as she got some sleep. As we were getting settled into our seats, we met a young lady that was sitting behind us. Her name is Sarah, and she was en route to Uganda to do mission work. We don't know much more than that, but it was a blessing for all of us to meet and to swap prayer requests.

After arrival and customs and gathering of luggage, we were warmly greeted by Adriaan Bais and Jamie Nachtigall! As our Regional Coordinator, Jamie flew over to welcome us and spend a few days with us, helping us settle and acclimate to our new world! Thank you, Jamie!









Jamie and Adriaan drove us and our luggage the approximate two hours to Brunssum, in the province of Limburg, where we are currently calling "Home."
















Over the first week we've been here, we have had several interactions with people from the Church, in small settings and in large settings. The hospitality and welcome that has been shown us is nothing short of extraordinary. The Dutch Church truly understands the biblical emphasis on Hospitality and on welcoming the stranger in your land.

This is a motif that we will share more stories about soon!












We have felt such great love and support from the Church literally around the world. We think of so many of you dear friends who have supported us and hosted us in various cities and states in the US this past year and-a-half. We think of our friends in Canada who showed us such warmth and encouragement in August '12. We think of our friends scattered the world over who have committed to praying for us. We give thanks to each of your presences in our lives.

The Church is not bound by language, culture, race, or nationality.

As we arrived here this past week, our friend in Australia, Pastor Dave Ravell changed his Facebook profile pic to a pic of our family as a way of supporting and praying for us. Dave, we thank you. And in honor of your tribute to us, I sported an Aussie shirt our first day here! Know that we in the Netherlands are in prayer for you all in the Land Down Under!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

One Year In...

Recently Christy and I sat with Zach and Audrey Langford at La Nueva Charreada Mexican restaurant in Anderson. We raised our glasses of water and toasted to our 1-year anniversary of being friends.

One year ago (roughly), we were all commissioned at the North American Convention of the Church of God.

I cannot speak for the Langfords (and so, won't...), but the past year has been insane for Christy and I, and Sofie (who joined our little clan almost one year ago, last July).

A year ago when we started this journey, I was the Senior Pastor of the Maple Grove Church of God in Anderson. I served this congregation for 8 years, through this past May, and am presently, technically, Unemployed as we continue raising support.

See, we are not "Employees" of Global Missions until our support is raised 100%. So now we are in the world that so many people have been in in this declined economy: the world of pinching pennies and crunching budgets.

To be perfectly honest, this has caused us great stress, and I think this is something that a lot of people don't always think about when they think of "Missionaries."

I know that I never realized the sacrifices that they made, and the stress and uncertainties that they are forced to live with as their lives are in a constant state of limbo and transition.

And yet, that's exactly where we are right now.

Christy is still working full-time, as all of our Health Insurance is through her job, not to mention our only guaranteed source of income for the indefinite future.

We are working like crazy to connect with the people and congregations who hold the key to our final 20% of Living Link Support. If you are thinking that maybe that's you, take that as a sign that you are part of that group and click HERE.

Over the past year, we have been to 10 different states and three other countries (Canada, Germany and the Netherlands) as we prepare for this major life transition. As for support, we are past the 3/4 mark, or as Joe Nuxhall used to say, "We're rounding third and heading for Home." (Go Reds.) All this traveling has been good at times, but also very exhausting, especially in addition to all the other normal aspects of life and work. Also, the stress of being apart has been tough on all of us (Much of the traveling has involved Daniel going and Christy and Sofie remaining in Anderson).

And yet, in order to get to "the field," this has been the necessary reality under the current structure of us being required to raise our own support.

Now, we are also working like crazy to get our house sold and our goods liquidated. :-) Ten years in one house, as some of you know, is more than enough time to accumulate a LOT of "stuff."

But, for now, we are forced to live in a state of flux.

When will our support fully be in? We don't know.

When will Christy be able to transition out of her job with integrity? We don't know.

When will we make the move to the Netherlands? We don't know.

When will our beloved dog go to live with his "grandparents?" We don't know.

Essentially our entire lives are up in the air.

Pray for our sanity, and pray for the timing of everything to coincide in a positive way for our departure from this context, and our entrance into the next.

As for our new friends, we are more than thrilled to be friends with the Langfords. Even more so, we are thrilled to be teammates, co-laborers for the King's Vineyard. We give thanks to God for our friendship with the Langfords, for the ways that we have been able to sharpen one another in the past year, and for all that God has in store for us in the future!

While you're praying for us, will you add them to the list, too?

--Daniel


P.S. This has not been intended as a "pity party" for us. Rather this is to serve as a reflection over the past year, an update to our current situation, and also as an educational piece about some of the oft-unknown aspects of this way of life!