April Showers (Or the Beginning of Dry Season)
Recently I started reading through Revelation. It's the last book in my journey to read through the entire Bible. It MAY have taken a little more than a year lol. I'm not gonna lie, there were some books I was not excited to dive into (Leviticus? Numbers? Habakuk???). However, God has used each book in His precious word to speak to me in whatever season I have been walking through. I expected to learn a lot about Revelation, but not necessarily from Revelation. I had always viewed it as a way to understand what's coming, but maybe not what I'm dealing with now. But praise God for His LIVING word! It never fails to meet me where I am and speak life over me.
April was not much different than March. Phone calls, reaching out, being told "next week", "next month", waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting on our visas, waiting on churches, waiting on materials, waiting on a start date at the prison. It can get a little maddening. One of those mornings where it felt like NOTHING was happening, I read Revelation 3, and verse 8 jumped off the page. Jesus is addressing seven churches and tells each one that He knows that what they do. Sometimes it's bad, sometimes it's good. In verse 8 He is praising the church of Philadelphia for serving Him well and He is declaring that they will have an open door to evangelize to the many people who traveled through the city. Because of all they had done, God was opening a door that NO ONE CAN CLOSE that allowed them to share the gospel! God reminded me that this is HIS ministry and that He is the one opening the door for it to happen. His timing is always better than our timing!
I was reminded of the saying "April showers bring May Flowers." It's a saying that doesn't make sense everywhere in the world. Instead of the typical winter, spring, summer, and fall, the Caribbean experiences just two seasons: Wet (Fall/Winter) and Dry (Spring/Summer). So here, April isn;t typically very rainy. Well, we may be in the Caribbean, but our prayer is that all our April "showers" or work, and prayer, and waiting will become beautiful "flowers" of new ministry starting up in May and June.
Next week Aaron and I have a meeting with the assistant superintendent of the prison to set a date to start! God willing, Aaron will be going twice a week to do a large group worship and lesson and then a 12-step small group with the men, and I will be going once a week to do a 12-step small group with the women! There are roughly 200 men and about 5 or 6 women, so Aaron may have a SLIGHTLY bigger job ahead of him ;) We have a church on board to start Celebrate Recovery! We just need to nail down a date to start meeting with potential volunteers.
In addition to CR, I'm getting the opportunity to do discipleship training with 3 other women from our church! Our pastor's wife is taking us through a study over the summer so that we can be equipped to start discipling young women in the fall! I miss small group leading/coaching and I'm excited to move into a similar role here :)
Aaron has continued to go once a week to New Horizons Juvenile Center.
Aaron and Success Imoke
Our friend Success goes with Aaron to help lead the group at New Horizons. He has been such a blessing to Aaron, helping to bear the load of pouring into these teenagers. The young men and women are starting to open up more and more as Aaron and Success earn their trust. One of the guys asked how we know that Jesus is the son of God, another asked about insight into Revelations 12. These teens are not taking it easy on Aaron and Success, but I know Aaron is loving coming home and going back prepared to really answer their questions. This is a group of kids who have not been made to feel important, who have not been told of their worth. Who are dismissed and overlooked until they are in enough trouble to land at New Horizons, or enough of a hassle that their own parents send them there. It's wonderful to hear how they are learning that Aaron and Success (and ultimately God) love them, care for them, and will take each question seriously and treat it as worthwhile.
We took a spontaneous family hike to Sofa Stone last month.
We spent some time at the top praying for this country that we love so much.
Aaron made me a real laundry line! Almost 60 feet of clothes hanging beauty!
We had to say goodbye to students who were leaving the island :(
I hate goodbyes, I cried a lot!
Our church has a Good Friday service on the beach every year!
It was a beautiful time of worship and reflection on what Christ has done for us! We also took communion together as a church family.
Afterwards, our friend Grant decided that he wanted to get baptized before he and his wife, Kelsey, moved off the island!
It was a wonderful evening!
Easter was really neat in our new home!
We had a church egg hunt for the kids that come.
We found out that Easter in the Caribbean is not a family-get-together holiday. However we were missing our traditional family-filled Easter, so we had 4 families from church over for dinner and to celebrate with us! I managed not to take any pictures, but it was a blessing to have our island family around us.
The kids and I got to love on these two cuties while their parents shipped off some of their belongings to their new home.
Their mom, Carrie, quickly became one of my best friends and was a huge blessing to me on this rock. We miss you Mills family, so so much!!!
Aaron is guest co-hosting a radio show on Monday mornings this month called Personally Experiencing God! Look for it on Facebook live from 9:30-10am!
He is also coaching two additional basketball teams, the youth and junior teams, while the head coach is out of town.
And part of his role at our church includes filming and editing our church service to upload online! #techteam
Mia (my mom) came to visit! It will be her last time here for several months, so we tried to soak up all the fun and laughter we could.
Our friend Edikan was able to return to her home country of Nigeria this past week. It was bittersweet to say goodbye! We know it's a good step towards taking her medical boards, but we will miss her sweet presence at church and bible study and get togethers!
We had Nigerian food to celebrate and say goodbye!
Most of our Nigerian church family! We love this group and learning more about their home culture!! They had me cracking up all night :)
So that's the last month-ish in our crazy little island lives. We have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks and seasons! We would love your prayers for our family as we do begin new ministries and go through (yet another) transition with our schedule and time management. We would love your prayers for our visas to get approved asap! Thank you for being on this journey with us.
We love you all!