Monday, June 15, 2009

June Update 2009

"Bitter Sweet" by Laura Carter

It was my turn to write this month and I have really been looking forward to it, except for the fact that I haven’t known where to begin. My understanding is that a blog site is a place to just talk and tell what is going on. So rather than narrowing down my ideas or trying to organize them very well, I am going to do just that, talk.

We are so thankful for the five months God has given us here in the United States. It has really been a very precious time and we still have eight months to go! Going on furlough is a bitter-sweet necessity. During these five months we have clearly felt the bitter and the sweet. Let me share the sweet things first. As you know, we have been staying in Oskaloosa, Iowa, with my family. This has been the sweetest of all. My parents live on a beautiful acreage with corn and bean fields all around and with woods and a small creek running around the property. We have enjoyed looking for deer antlers, mushroom hunting, and just good old exploring. They also have a pond near the house where we have enjoyed fishing on several occasions. And of the course, the fresh asparagus and strawberries that my parents grow have been truly enjoyed by all. We have enjoyed all of these activities so much, but it is the ‘who’ that we share them with, that has made them so special. My parents, my sister and her husband and three daughters, and my brother are the who. We praise God for their love, generosity, patience and time. And of course there are many other sweet things such as time with friends and extended family, worshiping in English, resting, reflecting on the first term in Colombia, reading, watching a good movie, soccer games, baseball games, swimming lessons, attending Christian school, concerts, reading with grandparents, raising chickens, having a pet turtle, guinea pig and gecko, sharing about Colombia and many, many more sweet things.

As for the bitter moments, thankfully the Lord has been gracious and we have not felt many. Of course the news of Santiago has been the most difficult. He continues receiving chemotherapy treatments and is doing well. They will know in July if the treatments have had any affect. Please continue to pray for them. The Lord has given his parents, Alfredo and Juana, a peace and a faith so strong that it could only be from the Lord. Scott will be spending next week in Colombia with them, so hopefully we will be able to share more details when he returns. Being far from friends who became so special to us is part of the bitterness of furlough too. Receiving news of fellow believers who have fallen into sin has also brought some bitter moments. But our God is so great and these bitter moments have brought us to our knees more and more.

So what is next for us? We will spend the month of June here in Iowa. During this month we are looking forward to a week of Bible school at Bethel Baptist Church in Oskaloosa, spending a week in South Dakota, camping with my family, and packing for our move out East. Our first week of July will be spent at Twin Lakes Camp in Indiana. From there we will head to Immanuel Baptist Church in Arcanum, Ohio. After that it’s off to ABWE headquarters in Harrisburg, PA. And then on to our final destination of Erial, New Jersey, where we will be able to spend time with Scott’s side of the family as well as several of our supporting churches.

We praise God for the time we have had here in the States so far. We thank Him for families who love the Lord and love us. We will once again experience some bitter–sweet moments over the next month as we say good-bye to my family and transition on to New Jersey where we will be able to make precious memories with Scott’s family. Thank you for your prayers and kindness to us. Please continue to pray for spiritual growth and maturity in our lives and in our children’s lives as well. We recognize that we have eight more months before we head back to the front of the battle lines. We have to be well-prepared and as spiritually strong as possible. We are thrilled to think of all that God has for us and know that he will be our strength as we seek to live out the gospel.