How quick I am to forget that God’s timing is perfect, that He has my days all planned out, and that He works all things together for His good…You would think I would know these truths by now after years of experiencing them time and time again, but it seems I always am surprised by them. The last few months I have been living with the stress of not having enough support to stay in Rome. I was allowing this one thing to pull me and my attention in every direction except for where God was going with this situation. But finally this past weekend while I was at a conference for Italian young people interested in missions I was able to get refocused on what God was doing and where He is leading. I think I had been so fearful that He would say you have to go back to the States, that I had been avoiding listening.
All weekend God spoke through the speakers and His Word and by the time I got home to Rome and sat down with Brian and Sarah and God to seek His direction together I was no longer fearful of what God’s plan was. As we talked it seemed clear that God was indeed sending my back to California, but not permanently only just long enough to raise support, and share what He has been doing here in Rome. So friends and supporters I am returning to the Santa Cruz Mountains on May 10th, this is earlier than I had planned, but because of the significant lack of financial support coming in it is necessary. That said, we do see God’s hand in the timing and that has been an encouragement to me and my team and hopefully to you as well…
Originally when I applied for my visa last June I needed a return flight scheduled that I could change later when I had a better idea of when I would want to come back to CA. My travel agent selected a “random” date for that return ticket, and it “happens” to be May 10th, which is just after I promised to help the group from George Fox University get acquainted with Rome. It is also the week before Zach and Naomi and their son Anthony (our newest teammates) are scheduled to arrive in Rome. Which as it turns out will work out fantastically as one of my biggest concerns in leaving was having to get out of my rental agreement early and lose the home I love, but with the arrival of the Baliva family coinciding with my return to the States it looks like they will be able to stay in my apartment while I am away. This gives them a great place to stay while they search for their own home here in Rome and it means I will not have to lose my home.
Another great part of the timing is that Mike Davis just finished going through CA and connecting with Free Churches letting them in on the great need in Europe for missionaries which means that hopefully I will have some open doors and hearts to share with upon my arrival. On top of that in June there is the Evangelical Free Churches National Leadership Convention in San Diego that I will be able to attend and hopefully build some new connections and find new supporters.
As I mentioned I am only coming back to California long enough to raise the support I need to return to the work God has called me to here in Rome. It is our (my team and I) desire that I will be back in Europe no later than August 10th in time to attend the ReachGlobal European Conference in Germany. While I am home it is imperative that those of you who support me regularly continue to do so as I will still be working for ReachGlobal during my time in CA. I also value your prayers and your help in making as many connections as possible with new supporters of the work God is doing in Rome. Please be thinking of people and churches you know that would be open to hearing about the ministry in Rome as I will be asking for your help as part of my team to build these new connections. Thank God with me for being in all the details.