It's been a while since my last blog. It seems like the world has turned upside down since then. I probably have not blogged because I have not felt like I had anything good, uplifting or positive to share.
But I was wrong. Our team was in Moldova when our country began to close down and we had to leave unexpectedly. I am not always the greatest at being calm in hard situations but I can honestly say that there was never a moment of fear or worry. I knew God had a plan, He had gotten us to Moldova, we had been able to do ministry and spend time with sweet friends and He would get us home in His time and His way. We came to know the Embassy workers well that week and I am so thankful for those working in Embassies and in the military around the world. They truly had our best interest at heart and made sure we were able to get flights back to the United States.
I came home to self quarantine for two weeks with my precious mom with Alzheimers. Her adult day care had closed due to Covid and God worked out the details that we could be home together without having to worry about work. It gave us time to watch movies, play games and take a lot of rides through our county.
A little unsure of what was next for Village to Village and life in general, our church began a program to help our community in this hard season. I was able to work through zoom with a team to meet needs all around us. I soon found myself in the car with my mom daily picking up material, delivering mask, dropping off baked goods to frontline workers and having collection days where I was able to have weekly conversation at a distance with our bakers and pour into others in a way I never thought possible.
Not only were adults able to invest in our community, our children did as well. Through baking and making cards they were learning how to be Jesus to those around them. It was amazing to watch and be a part of.
May brought Village to Village's annual fundraiser night. How would we ever facilitate this in a way that would be meaningful? One of our board members works online daily with their job, another committee member is amazing at design and just a few months earlier my daughter's wedding photographer had taken a trip to Guatemala with us to take pictures for our ministry. She works with online training and all the things social media. God had given us a team for just this moment. A very unexpected turn for our Hope4Villages Night allowed people around the world to hear about our ministry and begin investing and praying with us for the next step.
Village to Village began talking with our partners around the world to see how we could help. All of our trips were cancelled but we knew that there were still needs to be met. Guatemala and India received funds for food bags for their communities. Africa's funds restocked their fish ponds. And Moldova? We struggled with this one. Recently on a trip to Washington D.C. to visit Ebenezer's Coffee House, a place that brings hope, we figured out how to invest in Moldova. Driving to D.C. a board member and I realized some of the boys from the camp we had hosted in Moldova in August of 2019 were living with a family in the city of Chisinau that we had come to know through our foster care training. Students from the villages have to move to the city to further their education. This is not possible for many but these boys were able to move in with a foster family that would help them navigate their years left in school, teach them financial responsibility, love on them, invest in them and give them hope. Through some Facebook messages and a follow up Face time call we realized we could sponsor this family caring for 12 students. God's timing is always perfect.
Things were good with our partners but that left us still unable to travel and feeling like we had to help local families. Village to Village works with an organization helping refugee families transition to the states. They help them find jobs, apartments, English classes, register their children for school and so much more. We have worked with them for several years at Christmas to supply families with basic needs and a few fun things as well as baked goods. A few months ago they ask if we had a few specific items for a family transitioning to our community. The day I delivered the items they asked if Village to Village would consider setting up homes for the refugee families just moving to our community, our country. Clearly I wanted to say "YES" but I do have a board and they help me work through details and pray over decisions. We eventually did say yes and now have a warehouse full, waiting for families to transition to their new homes. The unexpected stay at home mandate has brought meaningful, new ministry.
When Village to Village started over four years ago we had a long term goal of me working part time with the non profit while working part time at our church adding hours to Village to Village each year while letting go of hours at the church. This year, in the middle of this season, I left my job at the church to begin this full time journey. The church has been my home and my family for over twenty years. My time there prepared me for what I would eventually do full time.
The one thing that has stayed steady through the long, hard days is my family. My husband has been amazing while we have cared for my mom over the past year. My son and daughter in law are living in Sweden and though we be cannot be with them, we can stay in touch and they are healthy and well. Our son in law and my daughter, who travels with me and takes care of so many things for Village to Village, have been able to visit often and that allows us to feel somewhat normal. And they shared the very unexpected news that they will be having a baby in February! Doug and I, aka Pop and Lolly, are very excited.
Life goes on, seasons come and go. We learn to live and have joy in it all because of the God we serve. If we allow Him to work all things out and if we trust Him, the unexpected can be amazing.