Click on the links below for info about the foreign missions programs that we support at SNBC!
 
In the Philippines: The Mahusay Family
 
 
In South America: The Eason Family
 

August 2020 Update

The Rest We Needed, When We Needed It

If you had to sum up this year in one word, what would it be? “Loss?” “Fear?” “Boredom?” “Anxiety?” It’s been a very hard year for a lot of people (including people we know) as they’ve lost loved ones or jobs or businesses. It certainly hasn’t been what anyone expected. For us, it’s been a really weird year, and we’d probably answer the question a bit differently than most people. For us, in many ways, we’d define this year in one word – “rest”.
 
Last year, we really began to feel the stress of a lot of aspects of ministry weighing on us in a lot of new and different ways. To be honest, there was a level of frustration and burn-out that was starting to set in. After six years in Ecuador, we were talking about how much we needed a time of furlough/home assignment, but how impossible it would be to take that sort of time given the way that we’re currently doing ministry. We had prayed and asked the Lord for rest. As the world closed down, we found ourselves stuck in the U.S. and forcibly removed from ministry-as-we-previously-knew-it. But, in some strange and unexpected way, we found ourselves in a position to finally decompress and get the mental, spiritual, and emotional rest that we needed. We were pretty busy in the U.S. (we still had our kids with us 24/7, Amanda took on a part-time job, and we worked to finish some things up with Will’s dad’s estate), but the change of pace and scenery was good for us in a lot of ways.
We made a lot of memories as a family during our time in the States. We roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. We picked wild blackberries to make cobblers. We went to our first drive-in movie. We fished and we kayaked. We ate boiled peanuts and caught those little green lizards that are everywhere in south Georgia.
After almost five months in the States and two sets of cancelled flights, we were finally able to make it back to Manta on July 10. We then had to spend two weeks in obligatory quarantine at our house, but we were HOME. In a lot of ways, we feel refreshed, and our time in the U.S. really served to confirm that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be until/unless the Lord ever sees fit to move us elsewhere. “Home” is a weird concept for a missionary, but we’re here now in Ecuador, and we’re glad to be. We probably won’t be able to say we’re fully rested until someone agrees to babysit our kids for a month or two (those of you with small, loud, energetic children in this pandemic know what we’re talking about), but we’ll take what we can get.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Especially when you’ve been absent from delicious encebollado for five months and you finally get home to eat some!

Our Family

We don’t believe in purgatory, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the concept was invented in the middle of a pandemic. There’s a feeling of “stuckness” at times, especially here in Ecuador where restrictions are much more intense than they are in Georgia. As we’re trying to figure out how to adjust and adapt to the “new normal” that we’re living in, our kids are having to do the same. We’ve had a lot more time with our kids than we usually do, and in spite of the stresses, that’s been a really good thing. We’ve been able spend more intentional time together, we’ve had a lot of teachable moments (some of which were the result of us being imperfect parents), and have generally been able to invest more deeply in our kids relationally and spiritually. Emery started online classes a couple of months ago, and it’s not what any of us would prefer, but it’s not so bad. Selah started online preschool last week, which probably requires as much time and effort from us as it does for her teachers, but it seems to be good for her on a social level.

Bonsai

With all-that’s-going-on, we haven’t been able to hold the after-school program in person since mid-March. We do, however, have a great team that we were able to remain connected with from the U.S. (thanks, Zoom!) that has been doing everything possible to continue to love and serve our families. As soon as we were forced to shut the doors, our team started buying, dividing, and distributing food and other basic items to our families each week. They were also able to begin working with one of our most disadvantaged families (no phone, no laptop, no internet, and the parents can’t read or write) in person twice a week once online classes began so that they wouldn’t fall even farther behind. Now that we’re back, we’ve been able to plug in in both of these areas, and it has been an absolute joy to be able to see “our kids” and their parents.

Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta (our church)

In a lot of ways, being in the U.S. only slightly limited us from continuing to serve within our church. Almost everything’s online, anyway. Will has been able to continue to preach and meet with other church leaders via internet, and Amanda has been able to continue teaching and working with the women’s group. Since making it back, Will has been able to [temporarily] teach an online study for our church’s college group, and also to begin counseling and discipling in person again. One of the couples Will has been able to disciple are the parents of some of our Bonsai kids. As we mentioned in our last update, the dad (Jean Carlos) put his faith in Jesus at the beginning of the year, and the mom (Grace) is really open and interested as well.

Prayer Needs

  1. Many of you know that we’ve been having trouble with our truck for years now. One benefit of our time in the States was being able to sell off the rest of Will’s dad’s estate. We’ll be listing our truck for sale next week, and hope to be able to buy something more reliable with the proceeds from the estate and the truck. Please pray that we’re able to get a good price for our truck and that the whole process will go smoothly. Things here in Ecuador have a strange way of not going smoothly.
  2. Like we said, we love our kids and we’re grateful for the additional time together. But all of that time together for months and months does begin to fray the ol’ nerves. Pray for us to be patient and gracious to one another, to find spaces for rest, and to make some time for each of us to be alone.
  3. We’re evaluating how to better organize and streamline our communication with our Bonsai parents and the sharing of Bible lessons and resources with the families. We’re also evaluating how to slowly and carefully return to hosting the after-school program. Please pray for wisdom as we evaluate the best ways to re-open Bonsai and our church.
  4. Many of our Bonsai parents are showing a deeper spiritual interest than they ever did before the pandemic. They are demonstrating this in the questions that they’re asking and in their participation with our church’s online services. Pray that God would do in them what He does so well – use all of the difficult and broken things in our lives to bring about new life.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and financial support. God has been so good to provide all that we need.
 
Love,
Will, Amanda, Emery, and Selah