Dear Friends and Family,
We wish you all a very happy new year from Aiken, South Carolina. 2010 was a very exciting year for us following the Lord's plans to Mexico and serving Him there in every way we could. As 2011 begins, it's hard to imagine just what all this year might bring our way. We're excited about the birth of our first child in about 7 weeks, if the Lord wills. We're anticipating preparations to move to Europe, if the Lord wills. And we're settling into the South for a few months, looking for ways to serve the Lord here, for as long as He wills. We're writing now to update you on our life and ministry.
Although we're not exactly anticipating a "normal" life, Abby and I have noted that now is the most settled time we've had since our wedding in May of 2009. I think, too, that it will be good for Abby to have a place where she can settle in, have the baby, and learn to adjust to new-parent life. We've rented a small apartment here in Aiken for the next several months and we're only about a mile from her parents house so she's able to be close to family for this special time. She's been a busy little bee getting the baby's room all painted and decorated while working with a very small budget and borrowing as much furniture and accessories as she can. For all of you who follow her blog, I'm sure you'll see lots of pictures and posts going up in the next several weeks!
I am very thankful to have been able to find a job here in town. I was unsure if many places would be willing to hire me, knowing we plan to be here for less than a year. I also wanted a job that would allow me much time at home to be with Abby and Kyle, but still give me enough hours to provide for the medical bills we'll have coming up soon. I won't take a job where I have to work Sundays and my conscience won't allow me a job where I could be serving alcohol. So the Lord provided me a job at the Chick-fil-A here in town. It is really a perfect fit! For any of you in the North who don't know what Chick-fil-A is, they are a Christian-owned company (the inventors of the chicken sandwich, in fact!) whose stated corporate purpose is "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A" (Try finding a statement like that from McDonalds or Burger King!). Obviously, this doesn't mean that everyone I work with is a Christian or even goes to church (though most I've met so far do). But the fact that this company is run on Christian ethics and principles makes us distinctly different. Seriously, customers ask us why we're different than everyone else. We promote things to our employees like "Second-Mile Service" (Matthew 5) to go beyond the normal service of fast-food restaurants. Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays to allow people to be with family and attend church. I am glad to be able to serve in a company like this to help provide for my family during this time.
For our ministry plans, here is where we stand. Our applications with Operation Mobilization have been approved. Once this part of the process is complete, we will go to Atlanta for a week of Outbound training after the baby is born. There may be some additional training or meetings overseas for us, but I'm not sure what those will be yet. Then as I said in the last update, OM sends out their new missionaries in August and in January. We will likely need to do some more support-raising because of the higher cost of living in Europe compared to Mexico. If that support is brought in by August, we could move then. Otherwise, we would continue raising support until January.
For the time being, we are still running our financial support through Cornerstone, our home church, and not OM yet. When that changes, we will be sure to let all of you know the details on how to send your contributions through OM, etc. My job here in town is really just to supplement our income because of the hospital bills we'll have and because our support budget that we lived on in Mexico isn't enough to live on here in the USA. So we are very grateful to those of you who support us financially to allow us to be here for this time.
Lastly, for all of you who are a part of our prayer support team, I pray that this update will let you know where we are, what our prayer needs are now, and what our requests are concerning the future. We pray also for you and if any of you have specific requests that we could keep in mind, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on Facebook and we will pray for you as well. Thank you so much for your partnership in our ministry. May God bless you all and richly repay you for your faithfulness to Him and your investments in us.
We love you all!
- Jonathan and Abby (and Kyle!)