Sabbatical year

On Looking Back, and a Ministry Update

A Reflection — Looking Back

It’s good to be able to stop occasionally and take a long view back over things. There are some built-in times to do that in life, usually at major transition points — a graduation, leaving a job, moving…

Those occasions are helpful breaks after all the time we spend immersed in the day-to-day demands of life. If you’re like me, those times make you more sentimental than usual, more ready to overlook some of the petty things that clutter daily life, more grateful for people and special moments and even mundane routines.

In total, we’ll be away twelve months — six in 2013, six in 2014. When we began our time away, we committed to not think much about the future for the first half of our time away — until January. As far as life back in Kentucky goes, that’s giving us some good time to reflect back, which has proven to be a special blessing. More than expected.

I’ve found myself thinking about different people and how grateful I am for them. Some of them are obvious — people who surely would have made any short list of most important people in my life. Others come out of the blue — someone who sent a small note of encouragement several years ago, someone who always went out of her way to pay me special attention when I was a kid. A few have come to mind often enough that I sent them an e-mail or card of thanks.

When you stop and think about where you are — wherever you are — you start to realize just how many people played a role in that. Whether it was because of too much busyness or too little effort, I hadn’t spent enough time reflecting on that, being grateful, and expressing that gratitude.

When January comes, we’ll begin to look forward again. We’ll need to start thinking about jobs and figuring out all the other details that will come with a return to more “normal” life. For now, not worrying about the future has been a welcome break to allow more reflection on the past.

So many of you who read this have been a part of that great community of love and forgiveness and support and encouragement. Thank you.

Ministry Update

Spending time to reflect on the past should never make us miss the present. And there’s plenty going on now that we’re happy to share about…

We’ve had some good meetings in the past few weeks, and we have some exciting things coming up. This Sunday, we had our biggest church meeting since the first one — 18 people and a great spirit in the room. After a week in a city-provided space, we decided to move back to the Cummings’ home for now. There’s a great difference in intimacy and what you can do when you’re in a home. We especially enjoy having a meal together after worship each time.

For the first time this week, I led our Bible Study time and gave a short message — some in Spanish, some in English while others helped translate. There were only a few pieces of what I shared in Spanish that were entirely unintelligible. I learned not to take a Descartes quote that’s difficult to understand in English, then try to translate it into something that makes any sense in Spanish.

Our children’s and teens’ groups are also coming along well. The teenagers who have come are really bright, and I’m enjoying early discussions with them.

At the end of November we’ll have a big Thanksgiving celebration for anyone we can invite in Algete. The Cummingses have done this for several years and had 60 there last year. It’s something a lot of people here look forward to and hopefully a good opportunity for people to meet each other. Then in early December we’ll be having a white elephant party with the youth (something they’ve never done but are excited about) and possibly with children and young adults, as well.

Thanks for all of your continued prayers. We have so much to give thanks for this Thanksgiving season.


One reply on “On Looking Back, and a Ministry Update”

So happy for you, Emily and the Kids. Glad things are progressing well in Spain. Prayers and Thoughts are with you all. Take care. 🙂

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