Dear friends in Christ,
This is our public prayer mail in different format than usual. I realize it is a busy time, being Holy Week, but if you would take the time to read the whole prayer mail prayerfully, that would be appreciated.
Our path on the Christian walk is not always clear. The same was true with the Apostle Paul and his missionary ventures.
For example, in Acts 15, he has a falling out with Barnabas. It is not clear who was right, but the Bible continues to follow the journeys of Paul. Then, in Acts 16, the Holy Spirit prevented Paul from entering Mysia and Bithynia.
By this time, I wonder if Paul knew what God had in mind or why. And then came the Macedonian Call, and the world was never the same. Saturday morning, we may have just received our Macedonian Call.
We had just had our own Mysia and Bithynia experience, except in our case it was Uganda and Kenya: a family member needs our attention, so we need to operate out of the US for the most part, passing on the current opportunities to teach full time in those countries. The door is open when we would be ready, but pressing matters at home have closed it for the moment.
The good news is that there is a road to recovery for our family member.
The less-than-good news is that this phase will take time.
But, on the heels of this, we may have had our own Macedonian Call (or at least a potential one). As usual, our situation changes daily, and this is our latest update on missionary matters as of 9 am, Saturday morning.
Background: This week, I have been sending out mission ideas to a few friends of mine about online education to Africa from the US, seeing that our circumstances have changed.
Then, Saturday morning, a friend of mine responded that my request was an answer to prayer, and he is interested in pursuing online education with an Anglican Bible College in Tanzania (East Africa), where he has been traveling to set up computer operations over the past few years. Our next step is to meet with my friend, aiming at this point for dinner the week after Easter. That seems to be the open door, and the door opened quickly.
The plan: if this plan works, I could be teaching students in East Africa from our home, online, as a missionary with SAMS. There would be class preparation time needed, as well as teaching time, very much in the same proportion as we have done elsewhere as missionaries.
If successful, this arrangement helps our family situation, as well as keeping missionary activity going, and we would be available to help out in the Diocese of Albany.
We would still look to missionary financial support through SAMS. For example, I anticipate a short term missionary site visit trip to Tanzania, other short-term mission trips as needed, salaries - medical insurance - pension payments, and weekly expenses to carry out the ministry.
The implementation steps might be something like this:
a) Plan out a proposal with our friend.
b) Make a proposal to the bible college (perhaps as part of a site visit).
c) Work on some relatively minor computer upgrades in Tanzania.
d) Get the learning program up and going.
e) Teach (with periodic short-term trips over time)
Courses would be taught in English.
We would probably need to augment this strategy with other employment, as possible. The prayerful general consensus is that it would be best for us to find work somewhere near where we live, so we are considering possibilities with parishes, other ministries, and with secular employment. There do not appear to be full time openings in parishes in the Diocese at the moment, whether long-term or interim. We are open to ideas, offers, thoughts.
Over the last few days, Julie and I had been starting a job search. If we both seek employment, which we plan to do, we will probably need to buy a small second-hand car.
Our decision to be missionaries closer to home was not based on funding or lack of opportunity. We still have three other locations in Africa waiting for us, as we are available, at any time in the future. Until a few days ago, we were planning to depart long-term for East Africa in late June with sufficient funding, to one of those sites. But this new opportunity helps us minister to people in East Africa and minister to our family situation, as well, simultaneously.
Finances sent to SAMS on our behalf would be used for our East Africa mission work, covering our mission expenses, salaries, short-term trips, and the like.
There is always the possibility in the next few years that we find ourselves preparing to serve as full-time missionaries living overseas, again. The current situation may only be a delay.
In the meantime, we would provide a vital ministry to East Africa from the Albany Diocese.
At the moment, we are like Paul on the doorstep of Mysia and Bithynia, having just received our Macedonian call. Prayer for direction and discernment would be appreciated.
We hope that whatever you do, you will keep praying for us. Thank you for praying.
1) For the door that has potentially opened up.
2) For the great time at Trinity, Lansingburgh, on Wednesday.
Please pray for:
1) Our family.
2) Plans and preparations for the next step in our walk with Jesus.
3) Our financial provision.
4) Julie's parents as they move to Colorado this week from Connecticut, with Julie's sister and brother-in-law.
Prayer is important, and I pray for you every day.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
God bless you,
Shaw+, and on behalf of Julie+.