April 2012

April 2, 2012:
Dear Friends,

The month of March went by so rapidly that we did not post a prayer update during the month!  I spent a good deal of time working on a new training course which will be taught in May at the Kenya IT Connect training session.  I will be attending the two week session to help train our African IT colleagues.  I am developing one course myself and I will be teaching three or four additional courses which other IT professionals are currently developing.  This training is helping equip the IT staff who support our missionaries working in Africa, with current skills and techniques which are needed in their environment. 

Another coworker of mine, Gerry, will be accompanying me.  He will be training in three power-related courses covering the basic principles of power, generator maintenance, and solar power system maintenance.  In the USA and other well developed countries, most IT staff do not need to be trained in power systems, but in Africa where power is very unstable, and often totally unavailable, this is a critical need!  That’s what I mean when I say that IT Connect is giving IT staff the training that is needed in their environment.

The IT Connect session is scheduled for May 14-25.  Late in the second week of training, Krista will fly to Kenya and join me at the conference center.  Over the last couple of years when I went to Africa, she has longed to go with me, and this year it seems like the Lord is working out the details to make that possible.  You might wonder, is this just a vacation, or a boondoggle for Krista to go along?  What will she do there?  Good question and that brings up the second thing I wanted to mention...

For over a year I have been feeling the Lord prodding me that He might have another change planned in our ministry, that of serving overseas.  We have no definite plans at the moment, but I feel that the Lord wants us to begin investigating our options now.  I would rather put this off for a couple more years, as I am very happy doing what I’m currently doing and living where we are living.  And the Lord might direct us to stay here and continue in the roles we are filling today – and that would be great!  But He is really burdening my heart about the possibility of something else and I need to investigate that.

An important piece to consider is whether Krista feels the Lord tugging at her heart too, and by joining me at the end of this trip she will have the chance to get a feel for things in East Africa.  If after visiting Kenya and seeking God’s will, she does not believe this is what the Lord wants, then I would take that as God closing the door.  But we will not know until we check it out.  Perhaps I am misreading things and romanticizing the idea of relocating and serving in Africa.  That’s totally possible.  But if that IS what the Lord wants us to do, then I know He will put Krista and I both at peace about it, AND He will start to align other details such as what role I would fill there.  We do not feel called to change mission organizations, and Wycliffe needs people of all types to serve in Africa.  So part of our research includes seeing what needs align with my specific skills and passions, and maybe what types of things Krista could do as part of our ministry there.

This whole idea is stressful to both of us right now!  If the Lord wants us to move to Africa, do we keep our home here and rent it out so we have somewhere to come back to at a future time?  That is a common occurrence near JAARS.  Or do we sell it and not have to deal with that burden from the far side of Africa?  When our kids need to come "home" from college during breaks and the summer, where would they go?  With either option for our home, they could not go there.  I am really not ready to deal with these questions, but my head is full of them now!  These questions are ones that every missionary must work through, and I am confident that the Lord will make things clear if this is what He wants.

We have experienced relocating a few times now, since going into missionary work, and every time the Lord worked out all the details perfectly, in ways better than we could have ever imagined.  So we are trusting Him in faith and seeking His will.  If He does move us forward to relocate, I do not expect that any changes will take place until next year at the earliest!  The Lord usually moves slower than we want, but His timing is best.  If we were to relocate overseas then there would be many months of preparation and additional training before we would be cleared by Wycliffe to make such a move, and that does not even include dealing with any decisions about our home.  So all of our investigation this summer is only to seek what the next steps are, and then the remainder of this year would see us start moving in that direction one step at a time.  Again the Lord could redirect us to stay here and continue in our current roles.  He may just be testing to see if we are willing to follow Him.  So (for the benefit of our relatives:) there is no need to worry!

My travel costs for the trip to Africa are covered by the mission organization but Krista’s flight costs of about $1,600-$2,000 will come out of our pocket.  That sounds like a lot of money, but compared to the costs to fly to many other countries in Africa and Asia, Kenya is relatively cheap.  We are now watching the flight costs so we can pick up a cheap flight when one surfaces.  We are hopeful that some of our partners will feel led to kick in and help cover Krista’s travel costs to offset this expense.  If you feel led by the Lord to help with that need, we thank you in advance!

Please pray for the following requests:
  1. For me and the other people who are putting together the training courses for IT Connect.  We need to be finishing these in April, and a number of us still have quite a bit of work to do!
  2. That Krista and I will clearly discern God’s will in what seems today like an overwhelming idea of uprooting and moving to Africa.
  3. For our ongoing monthly financial needs to be met.  Income continues to vary and is consistently short of our budget, but somehow the Lord always helps us stretch so the critical bills are paid.

Thank you for your partnership in our ministry!  We could not do this work without the support of our prayer and financial partners!

Seeking to follow the Lord,

Hank & Krista