April 17 2012

April 17:
On April 2 I posted our April Prayer Update in which I mentioned that Krista and I were planning a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, as we consider the future possibility of serving in Africa.  That trip has now been postponed…

I was making the trip to help with technical training for African IT colleagues and Krista was going to join me at the end of that training program.  Last week I was just about ready to make our flight reservations for the trip when the person coordinating the training program told me to wait a few days before purchasing the tickets.  We have now learned that the training session has been put on hold.

Wycliffe is in what I would call a funding crisis.  This year project funding is down, as is the case with most Christian organizations, and on top of that a couple of major donors who were giving significant contributions each year toward specific projects have stopped giving.  The impact of this is that Wycliffe needs to halt some projects which were funded through these gifts, and the training program for IT workers in Africa is one of those projects.  When funds come in later to meet this need then the training will once again take place, but for now it is on hold.

Krista and I still feel the Lord leading us to investigate options for serving in Africa, but our next step of making a trip to Kenya can wait until there is a more pressing need for me to visit there, whether that is to help with staff training, or if it is to do other consulting, or deployments of equipment, etc.  The money to cover my travel expenses to Africa was coming from our IT fund to help build capacity on the field, and those funds have not yet been cut.  But it doesn’t make sense to spend that money until a real need arises, especially considering the funding shortage that our organization is working through.  The IT fund could still be cut and used elsewhere, so we want to be good stewards of that money.

In fact last week our IT department leaders met and we cut nearly $90,000 out of our operational budget for 2012, to help free up funds which the organization can spend in other more pressing areas.  All of the departments are making sacrifices.  We would appreciate prayer for the Wycliffe and SIL leaders who are making some tough decisions about what work to stop and where the limited funds should be most strategically spent.  Wycliffe has already laid off nine paid employees as part of these cutbacks and SIL is working through the impact analysis of potential cuts.  Also please pray that the Lord would provide the needed funds to allow Wycliffe and SIL to start work again on the projects that have been halted.

Krista and I also value your prayers as we continue to seek the Lord for His will in our lives and our ministry.  We were both really looking forward to making this trip so we are disappointed that we cannot do it right now, but we also realize that God’s timing is perfect.  Being flexible is one of the requirements of being a missionary!  That keeps us focused on the Lord as well.

We just wanted to let you know about this change in our plans, so that you could be praying effectively.  When we hear that the timing and the need is right to make the trip, we will make that known.  That may be later this year or it might not even happen until next year.  Thanks so much for remembering us in prayer!

Hank & Krista