Dear Family and Friends,
I will start tonight with some quick, important information and will then continue with sharing some exciting ways that God has been at work this past week.
Quick Important Info:
Dan updated our website and blog to include directions on how to contribute financial support to our account.
Our account with CRC World Missions is now open and ready to receive funds.
Our monthly goal amount is $4,000 a month which includes living expenses (housing, groceries, utilities, travel expenses) and medical insurance.
Our annual goal is $48,000
Our contract with Nicaragua Christian begins in late August. This is our target arrival date.
We currently have 7% of our monthly goal pledged.
We have committed to a 3 year term with Nicaragua Christian Academy
Praising God for His goodness:
Our garage sale turned out to be an amazing God story. I asked God to help me discern how to pray for His financial provision through the garage sale. He led me as I was praying to pray for $600.00 in profit. I initially thought that was too much, but began praying for that amount. We had a few items that sold for ten, twenty dollars, and a mower for fifty, but during the sale I thought, "We are not going to make it to $600 because many of the items we are selling are a quarter to $1.00. Saturday night Dan counted the money and found that our total was $595. Dan's faith-filled response was, "Now we need to find out what happened to the last $5.00. We prayed as a family thanking God for the success of the sale. After we said "Amen", Dan said. I know where the 5 dollars is - I forgot to add in the fifty dollar check for the mower! I then found $10 from the bake sale. God spoke to me later about how what appeared to be impossible to me is not impossible with Him. We now go into this task of raising $48,000 in three months with this truth to stand on.
Our meeting with the Mission Board at New Covenant went well. We were very encouraged by their questions, comments, and prayers for our family. A decision about financial support has not yet been made.
A Pastor called today to offer our family generous financial support. This pastor is from my parent's church and the congregation he serves knows us through my parents and our occasional visits there. We have not met with this church or asked them for financial support, but he said that the Council met and wanted to offer us support. This too was an unexpected gift and another confirmation of God's provision.
We have found temporary housing!!!!! I don't think I've even mentioned this concern before, but this has been weighing heavy on my mind. We plan to put our house up for sale next week. So, another amazing act of God is the gift of being able to stay in Cedar Rapids through the summer while Dan continues working at Aegon. We will be staying in a basement kind of apartment complete with kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, rec. area, and walk out basement. A couple from our church has offered this to us at no cost - it is one of their ministries to missionaries.
My dad went to a new doctor last week and he is treating Dad's high blood pressure more aggressively. We have been concerned about my Dad because there is nothing that has been effective in lowering his blood pressure which sometimes reaches 200/100. His new doctor is concerned and is making decisions that my parents are pleased with.
The caring community of friends we have here in Cedar Rapids. It would be so easy for our friends to distance themselves from us, knowing that we will soon be leaving. But, we have felt very much the opposite. And they have been an incredible help and support to us in practical ways - cleaning our house and landscaping, helping with the garage sale, feeding our kids supper during the sale, having our kids over to play while Dan and I work on things, the list goes on. Last night a friend also offered to pay for and design a Creative Memories book that would tell the story of our calling and mission to Nicaragua. She is a consultant and said that she would like to use her business to support those who are serving cross-culturally. At times it is very humbling to receive so much - we are so thankful.
Our kids are adjusting in their own way. Often, people will ask about our kids. We keep checking in with them to see how they are doing. A prayer request Rebekah wrote in her journal the other night was, "Help us to have enough money to go to Nicaragua in the fall". This troubled me a little thinking that this was becoming a burden that an 8 year old should not carry. I asked her about it after we prayed. She said, "No, I'm not worried. I just want to be there." She has also been fasting from sugar for periods of time and tonight we found a verse she had written out - "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard. No heart of man can tell the store of joys God has prepared for those who love Him." I've watched her grow in trust and expectation throughout these past months. Will embraces this adventure with some tentativeness. He's been saying, "We'll be there for three years and then we will move back into this same house - right?" We've been talking about holding things with an open hand and letting God choose. Ironically, many of the missionaries have said that missionary kids enjoy Nicaragua Christian Academy so much that many of them have a hard time leaving to go back to the States. Prayers for Will are appreciated as adjustment to change is more difficult for him. He and I both grow attached quickly and deeply which makes letting go difficult.
Rebekah's friend will be adopting her Guinea pig "Precious". This was another unexpected gift that developed through a conversation Rebekah had with her friend Sophie. It was one of those concerns that was always in the back of my mind knowing that finding a good home for Precious was important to Rebekah. Thank you for being a part of God's care for our family in this way Stutts Family!
· Please pray for time, wisdom, and energy as we work on presentations this week. We will present at Rebekah's school on Friday and at a church on Sunday to the Sunday School. We will also be revising our small group dinner/adult presentation to include pictures from Nicaragua.
· Would you begin to pray for a buyer for our house? For anyone who may be interested, our home comes complete with the best neighbors you will find!
· Please pray for sleep. The adrenaline rush is beginning to wear off and I'm finding myself to be quite tired. I sleep fine when I get to bed, but am not doing well with getting to bed on time as those hours after kids are in bed seem to be my most productive hours of the day and the list is long.
· Dan is doing a great job of juggling everything. Prayers for continued health and focus for him are appreciated!
· Our kids do feel a shift in the amount of "family time" we have together right now. Our prayer is that Dan and I will be in tune with their need for life to be "normal" sometimes, if only for an afternoon or evening.
Thank you so much for reading this (I am always honored when people say they read these updates, as I know it is a time commitment) and for praying for us. We continue to feel peace in the midst of chaos and are confident that we are regularly lifted up in prayer. You are such a vital part of this journey as you cover our family in prayer. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!