|Hello friend, we have some big family news. We will be returning back to the States to live again. What an honor and joy it has been to serve, 6 years here in South Africa. It was a privilege to carry out His plans, He placed in our hearts.
We will leave with full hearts. Isithembiso, is being left in Mama Wendy’s and All Nations capable hands. Kids clubs and discipleship will still continue. We believe that the Lord has a great hope and future for Isithembiso and we are so thankful that we were able to be part of Isithembiso’s story. We are also thankful for Kommetjie church and how it’s grown. There is a great Elders team set in place and the church will continue to thrive and be healthy.
It helps our hearts to know that these ministries and relationships will continue even without our presence. Ultimately, that is exactly what you want when you serve in another Country.
This season has come to an end, in a healthy way, but closing this chapter is not easy. We are grieving what and who we leave behind.This next 3 months we will be very intentional with finishing well. We will hand over ministries, debriefing and love on the people around us that have become like family.
God is starting to show us beautiful slivers of what He has for us in the States. It’s a bit scary to think about it right now, but He is stirring the US into our hearts little by little. We are super pumped about doing life with our families again and reunions with dear friends.
This may come as unexpected news to you, but we have spent many monthspraying and seeking the Lord’s will on our return. We believe this decision honors and glorifies God. We also trust our time here gave Him glory and that He will bless the work we leave behind.
We believe the Lord is asking us to plant a church in Florida. We are just now starting to dream about this. All Nations Cape Town will be sending us out and we are beyond thrilled to keep this connection with them. We are so blessed to be part of this amazing community for 3 years and will spend the next three months preparing to be launched.
Please be patient with us as we do not have all of the answers right now. We are trusting that God will meet us as we walk this out and will share more as He downloads more of His plan. I, personally (Andrea), feel very released to just focus on the leaving, at this moment.
Here is the part we do know, concerning leaving and re entry. We are planning on purchasing tickets for the beginning of May. This gives us time to hand over responsibilities, sell our belongings and say good bye really well. It also gives us time to raise finances for our move. God moved us here and provided for while we lived here and we believe He will provide for the return.
When we get back to the States we need to take a 3 month sabbatical. We have not taken a vacation in 6 years. When we did return to the States it was for fundraising and that is NOT a holiday. We really need this time, our kids really need this time. We plan on spending a month with each of our families (who we have missed deeply) and then also give us some time to just adjust and debrief, as a family, before school starts.
Everything we read and hear is our 2 greatest needs will be reverse culture shock and financial hardship. We will probably have our hearts linger between 2 countries for awhile. Knowing this, we are equipping ourselves, this side, with tools that will help us walk this out in a healthy way on that side.
The financial aspect is often hard hitting. We have not been able to work for money for almost 6 years. We do not have a savings to fall back on. We are literally starting over (at 42 and with 5 kids). We are asking that if you are a supporter financially that you please continue for 6 months to a year or longer. Our $1400 month, that we live on here, will not be enough in the States. We will sell our cars, furniture and clothing for a fraction of their replacement value in the US. If you have ever given to us in the past or feel led now, please consider giving to us for a season or a one time donation. This will literally save us while we start over in the States.
Knowing that these 2 areas are the hardest hitting we are trying to make a plan that makes re entry a bit softer. We have been counseled to take at least 3 months sabbatical, which seems hard to our type A personalities, but we really want to do this well, for us and our kids.
That is our very long but exciting news, thank you for reading this far. This news is now going public. We would love, if you have a word from the Lord for us, to email it to us. We are holding on to all the promises that He gives us right now. It is also an exciting time as we know we WILL see God show up! He is such a good God!
We love you guys and are so thankful for your part in this journey. We trust that the Lord will bless you over and abundantly for how you served us these past 6 years!
Shelby, Andrea, Brie, Drew, Gabe, Eli and Finn