If you're reading this it means that you are one of the dear and very important people that God has placed in my life. If we were eyeball to eyeball I could list ways that God has used you in many specific ways. And, for many of you, you have been a part of this grueling, amazing journey that Liesa and I have been on for over four years. Let me give you the short version...
Back several years ago, February of 2002, I sensed God's leadership to investigate the possibility of serving Him as a missionary. Liesa had some reservations but after several months we decided to contact the International Mission Board and see what would happen. The IMB was very encouraging but the reality of the matter was that I had some health issues with my weight that would have to be addressed before we could move forward. So, a long road of losing a lot of weight began as well as a spiritual journey for Liesa and myself seeking God's plan for our life and the strength and willingness to carry out that plan.
Along the way God continued to confirm the direction we were headed. He used many of you as His instruments in so many ways. We thank God that so many people are around us who are seeking to live for HIM. God also used mission experiences in the U.S., South America, and Asia to show us more about His plan for our world and, specifically, our lives.
A major concern for us were Haylee and Jackson. What would a decision to move overseas do to them? Would they be O.K.? And, the answer we were given is that God can help us raise our children in His Ways no matter where we live. Oxford, Mississippi is a great place but not the most 'Family-Friendly' community on earth. God finally convinced us that serving overseas as a family would be something that He could use to grow our kids into His image. This has not been easy for us.
In August of 2006 the process with the International Mission Board began to accelerate. Then, in December 0f 2006 I finally reached my goal for my weight and we were given clearance by the IMB to move forward with the missionary appointment process. We had our in-depth interview with the IMB in early February 2007 and on April 13 we were given preliminary approval to be presented to the IMB Board of Trustees in July 2007. We are confident that this is God's plan for us.
We will be headed to Lima, Peru to serve God in reaching some of the last groups of unreached peoples in South America....there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of communities in Peru where the message of Jesus has never been proclaimed. Our timeline looks like this...
+September 12...Appointment Service at Ridgecrest, North Carolina
+October 22 until December 21...Field Personnel Orientation in Richmond, Virginia.
+January 2008...Language School in San Jose, Costa Rica
+January 2009...Begin our work in Peru.
WE are grateful for the many people who have invested in us over the years to allow God to get us to this point in our lives. We are especially thankful for our families...who are so supportive, and even in their grief at our moving, see the need to take the gospel to Peru. We are grateful for First Baptist Oxford, our home church, and their commitment to God's Word and God's work around the world.
We'll keep you updated regularly here...PLEASE, PLEASE PRAY FOR US. Your prayers will be the fuel that keeps us going on the difficult days.
You can find some information about our TEAM and our work at http://www.reapwsar.org/.