Change of plans

Hi friends! 

For those of you that read our prayer letters, I promised more details on our blog about our recent change of plans. So here you are. (If you’re not getting our prayer letters and suddenly feel as if you are missing out… You are! Go here, scroll down and hit “Subscibe”)

First, let me say that this decision was not easy for us. It was not our Plan A. We wrestled and prayed through this and have learned a lot through the process.

We have always known that our departure date would be dependent on God bringing in 100% of our financial support. However, after we completed our training last October, Marcos and I both set our sights firmly on April for leaving for language school. The school we will be attending in Costa Rica runs in trimesters so our options for starting school were January, May, and September. Since we were having a baby in January and we were sure we would be done raising support, April made the most sense. 

In fact, we didn’t even consider not going in April until a dear friend of ours asked Marcos if he would be ok if it came to that. Had we set our sights so firmly on April that we were failing to see the clear signs of God’s direction otherwise? Marcos later asked me the same question and I was adamantly against the idea. We would be ready. We had already told people that was when we were leaving. To not go when we had planned would be a defeat. 

As the weeks passed, we pondered our friend’s question. Would we be ok with delaying our departure? We asked our small group and our families to start praying with us for clarity and for our hearts to be prepared for the outcome. We asked for input from our leadership at MAF about how to move forward. There were logistical details to work through like how far out do we need to purchase plane tickets, what about school applications, etc. 

As the deadline for those things approached in mid-March, and our support wasn’t in, we began to realize that the answer might not be the one we were hoping for. As ready as we felt to leave for the field, this season wasn’t over for us. However, there began to be glimpses of clarity as to what God had in store for us. Obviously, there was still work to be done on the support-raising front, but we began to see that this wasn’t just an issue of finances. God really did still have work for us here and lessons for us to learn.

At the same time we were thinking through all of this, there became a need for a worship leader at our church. Marcos and I have both been serving through music at our church for almost 5 years now and since Marcos has a more flexible schedule right now, he was approached about helping facilitate some of the work that goes into preparing music for Sunday mornings. One of the things that concerned us about not going in April was that we were delaying getting to the “ministry”, but God was teaching us that serving Him isn’t about a destination. It’s about seeking Him with all of our hearts and doing what He gives us to do in that time and place. This is an opportunity for us to serve and encourage our local church and we are really excited about that. 

Other small things also began to happen that continued to confirm that we weren’t supposed to leave in April. For instance, the mission house we’ve been living in since November was initially only available until April. However, there was a change of plans and it is now open for us to stay until the end of June. So our housing is covered for the summer until we go stay with my parents for a few weeks before we leave. 

Housing in Costa Rica works out better for August. 

The other family going to language school with us has also been delayed until August. 

So many little evidences that kept pointing to an August departure. 

One of the verses we keep coming back to during this process is Isaiah 55:8-9 which says, 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

His plan is better! He has chosen to show us a few of the reasons in this particular case but even if we never know the reason, His thoughts are higher than ours. They are better. He knows infinitely more than us and is working to bring himself glory. The plans for our life aren’t even ultimately about us. They are about Him and we praise Him that we get to play a small part in the massive work He is doing throughout time to make His name great. 

When our deadline came and we realized we couldn’t go in April, there was peace in both of our hearts. We were able to lay aside our plans for getting to the field and commit this time to the Lord asking that He would teach us and grow us to be able to serve Him better. We know that He will provide in His timing and that our departure for the field is already divinely planned. 

And just for fun we looked back at the initial plan we put together when we started support-raising last January. Plan A: leave January 2016. Plan B: (if we have a baby) leave August 2016. 

Maybe it’s not such a change of plans after all. 

Until next time,

Maddie

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