Hello friends and family,
Many of you have said goodbye to 2021 with pictures of stories and memories of the year and are looking forward to 2022.
Our family said goodbye to 2021 as well and rang in the New Year with family in the USA for the first time in three years. We strategically scheduled our home leaves for Thanksgiving time to ensure plenty of leftover discounted Halloween candy, fresh turkey with cranberry dressing, and Christmas decorations. This was also a good time to catch up with many of you as we travelled throughout the Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and...
This year was a bit different for us because we not only said goodbye to 2021, but we also said goodbye to our home for the past three years - Cucuta, Colombia. For Andrew, who was 18 months old, this was really the only home he has known, which made for some fun conversations when he says, "We are going home to Mema's, but then when are we coming home?"
You all have been on our journey in Colombia for the last three years and we are overly joyful for that.
In 2018 Kevin accepted one-year contract with SP which the Lord blessed. He made a decision to leave warehousing and logistics to follow the Lord, and the Lord quickly surprised us with a two-year contract! So our family packed up a one-year old and a three-year old and set out for South America. We trusted God the whole way, knowing that we had a village of prayer warriors behind us all over the USA and beyond. Then last year before we left for Thanksgiving again, there was a question of enough project funding to stay another year, but the Lord blessed us with another extension for a third year!
Kevin's job impacted so many people but the part many of you played was in the ministry that Karen took on with our church, First Baptist of Cucuta, was life-changing to so many. Many of you gave to our family in so many ways and helped meet the needs of Venezuelans as well as Colombians.
In November 2018 Northside Baptist Church of Indianapolis had a sending prayer time for our family as well as my mom's church in Decatur Illinois. Their support of praying over us and including us in their activities over the years were so encouraging and used by God in our lives and those around us. Both were so important to us as we left on our journey. The Lord placed around us many mission-minded churches and people who have known our hearts over many years and encouraged us in our calling to GO & SERVE others.
Now, in December 2021 our church in Colombia held a sending prayer time for us to the next place where God will call us. What a powerful and emotional time to reflect and know God has wrapped HIS loving arms around us and carried us through the last three years while proclaiming HIS name. Our Cucuta church family is focused and so intent on reaching Venezuelans and those in need around them that we felt instantly at home with there especially as we met the pastor and his wife. We shared needs that we discovered with each other, and then saw the Lord open up ways to meet those needs oftentimes through the support many of you gave from small gifts to donated items that we would bring back with us. A random item that someone gave would suddenly find itself as an answer to prayer that no one could have anticipated except the Lord. I am reminded of the teen girl who was panicked at the La Donjuana shelter when we pulled up because she was carrying her sister's infant baby who was crying uncontrollably because they were separated during their long walk from Cucuta. A receiving blanket that we happened to have with us immediately calmed the baby while the SP staff came alongside both of them to calm them. Within the hour, another NGO who was with us had located her sister and the rest of the family and reunited them.
We do not know the next steps of the plan He has for us but we ask you to be in prayer with us and for us about that. We are trusting in Jeremiah 29:11 as we know that the plans He has for us are to give us a hope and a future. We know that we are on a great adventure together as a family, but only He knows if it is to be in the US for a little while or to keep on moving to the next post overseas. Many positions with Samaritan's Purse are contract roles with fixed times rather than a more traditional missionary lifestyle that is much more long-term.
Again God did not only bless us with a great job for the last three years but God gave us the desires of our heart and that is to serve him as a family overseas.
Before we close the 2021 whitesonmission year we want to recap our top 10 stories of the last three years.
1. Food for the hungry.
2. Sewing machines and fabric for a women's ministry project
3. Clothes for children and adults
4. Over 600 pairs of socks
5. Electric blankets for the cold
6. Suitcases for travels
7. Surgery for a little girl with a broken growth plate
8. Medicine for those who had no money
9. Bus tickets for a mother and children separated by hundreds of miles from their husband and father
10. Oxygen concentrator for a cancer patient with Covid
Thank you and God Bless
Kevin-Karen-Benjamin & Andrew