So we aren’t off to a very good start. It’s been over a month since we last posted, sorry! We will try to be better at posting regularly. And with that, settle in for a longer-than-usual post to get you all caught up.
We are down to just under two weeks before the move to Lesotho. Everything we own is either in a suitcase or in storage. And we are more nercided than ever.
Oh yeah, I came up with a new word to help us communicate how we’re feeling. It’s a nice blend of nervous and excited. Rachel and I are overflowing with nercidedness!
Before we talk about the next 13 days, let’s take a few minutes to highlight the incredible month we’ve just had.
It started with an amazing weekend relaxing at Virginia Beach with Rachel’s family. It was so great to be able to spend intentional time with family and friends. After leaving my job and Rachel finishing nursing school, we needed some time to regroup and recharge before moving out of our apartment.
After the beach, we jumped right back into action and scrubbed down, repainted, and moved out of our first home. Surreal feelings clouded the air as our home was transformed back into a boring, albeit cleaner one bedroom apartment. We packed boxes to go straight into storage, boxes to keep out and use this summer, and boxes to set aside and bring with us to Lesotho. We had to make a lot of tough decisions about what stays and what goes. There were also a few nights in our empty apartment filled with thoughts like:
“What are we doing?”
“We have such a good thing going here, why are we leaving?”
It was definitely a time of growth for the two of us and a perfect time for the Lord to remind us of the incredible journey He was allowing us to begin.
As some of you know, back in 2012 I spent the summer traveling to six different states working with CentriKid Camps. I loved working as a camp counselor, and look back on my time with CentriKid as a transformational moment in my life. Not to dig too far back into my diary, but at some point throughout that summer the Lord began to break my heart for sharing the gospel with children and sparked a desire in my soul to pursue that with my life.
All that to say, the week after we moved out of our apartment, I was given the opportunity to go back to CentriKid with the kids from Cool Spring. It was such a joyous time of reliving past memories, connecting the dots of how God has worked in my life over the last 4 years to lead me to this point, and having new experiences with an awesome group of 4th and 5th graders.
I am so thankful for the team I was apart of back in 2012. I learned so much back then, and spending the week at CentriKid again was such an uplifting experience and has solidified God’s calling on my life.
I’m sure your getting tired of hearing from me, so here’s Rachel to tell you more about our summer:
The day Tyler left for CentriKid, my mom and I left town for our girls-only road trip! We had a great time spending a few nights with my cousin, Meredith, who works at Ridgecrest (North Carolina). While we were there we also got to meet up with Avery, one of my best friends from Liberty. I treasure the friendships I have with Meredith and Avery, and will miss them a lot while living so far away. I was so happy to spend intentional time with just my mom, and it was so special to be able to celebrate both of our birthdays together.
On Wednesday, we concluded our birthday trip by meeting my brother and sister-in-law, Hunter and Kelli, for lunch in Lynchburg. Then I was able to join Tyler at CentriKid! Seeing Tyler lead the kids brought me so much excitement for our future. God has truly given him a natural ability with kids and a passion for teaching them about the gospel.
The following week Tyler and I had the opportunity to travel to Mississippi to visit some of the Reclaimed team. We were looking forward to this time with Brett, Allison, and Beau Barnhill who are in the States for a few months. When we move to Lesotho, they will move to Zimbabwe to work with a local church with a growing widow ministry. We are excited to see what the Lord does in Harare, Zimbabwe through the Barnhill’s. We were also able to spend a day in the Reclaimed office meeting with Jason and Hayley, going over paperwork, and finalizing all the things needed for moving to another country (which is surprisingly a lot). We had lunch with Mr. Robert and Mrs. Margaret Fortenberry who were missionaries in Lobatse, Botswana. I met them when I spent the summer of 2013 with Kasey and Allison serving at the first Orphan Care Center. Speaking of Kasey, I got to see her too! It was great being with her again; it reminded me of that fantastic summer and got me excited for all the wonderful relationships through ministry to come.
The day we flew home from our week in Mississippi, it was time for another adventure and we went straight off to a conference all about medical care in missions. How perfect for us! A huge thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Brown for getting us connected with this conference and making sure we were able to go. I struggle with some insecurities about using my nursing skills overseas and they thought this would be a great resource for me. God works when we need Him most and really does equip His followers to do His work. Long story short, Tyler and I spent the next two days furiously scribbling down notes the entire time and we couldn’t ask enough questions. So many of my fears were wiped away just by hearing the stories of other missionaries allowing God to work through them and trusting that their medical training would be a catalyst for advancing the gospel. I may not be totally confident in my ability, but I am in His ability!
Hey there, it’s Tyler again:
After the conference we were able to spend a couple days at home working on banking stuff, immigration stuff, travel stuff, packing stuff, and a bunch of other stuff we had been putting off. At this point we were a little less than a month from our departure date and in need of a little time away. Our summer calendar was filled up and as much as we love and cherish the time with family and friends, we were in desperate need of some time away from it all. We were so grateful for Mr. and Mrs. Craymer for allowing us to stay at their cabin at Wintergreen. For four days we hunkered down in the mountains and spent intentional time reading, praying, and preparing our hearts for the month to come. It was such a sweet time with each other and with the Lord. So often we get consumed by the busyness, we thank God for the opportunity to get away and recharge for the last push.
Our last night at Wintergreen, Rachel’s brother and sister-in-law, Hunter and Kelli, were able to join us. We had a great time with them staying up late and talking about life, eating lots of food, and hiking down to a waterfall. We even got to see two bears who were a little too close for comfort. Another thing we are learning about this time of life is that with every happy memory we have, there seems to be a hint of sadness in our hearts. We are really going to miss time with family like that. It just kinda stings.
So a week and a half has gone by since Wintergreen and we have filled our time with even more banking stuff, more immigration stuff, more travel stuff, more packing stuff, and more of a bunch of other stuff we have for some reason still been putting off. We are 99% there (Rachel says we are only 75% ready, ever the realist!).
This Friday we head to the beach with my family for the week. It will be a great time of relaxation before the big day. Rachel and I are so looking forward to spending time with my dad and mom. I hope to play some golf and Rachel is ready to sit by the pool and snooze the day away. It’s the calm before the storm!
Thank you so much for your prayers during this time. A lot of people have been asking about ways they can specifically pray for us, so we wanted to send out four intentional ways you can be praying for us between now and August 23rd:
- Pray for our transition into Lesotho. Pray for the documents to come together, for the immigration process the be successful, and that our move into our new home in Katse will go smoothly.
- Pray as we learn to live within a new culture. Life in Lesotho will be incredibly difficult at times and we pray that God blesses us with friends and ministry partners who will help us through these times.
- Pray for us as we learn to work with a new team. Pray that we can work well with and are able to encourage and empower the Barnhills, Cofields, and Floras.
- Pray for our family we are leaving here in the States. Pray that they will have peace about our move and stay encouraged and excited for our work.
Thanks again for taking the time to read all about this crazy adventure. If you haven’t already, check out this event we are having on August 20th at Cool Spring. It will be such a sweet time of worship and prayer, we would love for you to join us from 6:00 – 8:00. Hope to see you then!
Tyler & Rachel