First, WE MISS YOU ALL and sorry for the hiatus! We deeply appreciate your prayers and partnership in this ministry journey. Know that you are on our hearts and minds. Please continue to trust in the Lord with us and pray for His timing. ON TO THE UPDATE:
In preparation for applying for our visas and since Andréa worked in the field of international documents she was able to reach out to some of her contacts to get an estimate on how long the process may take. Our realistic estimate was 3-6 months due to backlogs in many government agencies due to Covid-19. These past few months have included many mountains and valleys and we want you to know we are still at it! Also, this is not limited to our circumstance as many missionaries we know are also facing visa and travel challenges, so please pray for all of our Nazarene missionaries!
In the meantime, here are some of the things we’ve been up to:
When we arrived in the U.S., after many, many attempts over the last year, we were FINALLY able to return to our home church in Cerritos, CA. It was an absolutely wonderful week and was incredibly encouraging to share more with our church family and friends about our lives in Ecuador. We were able to give a few gifts to friends and family, including Ecuadorian chocolate and coffee, just a few of our favorite things.
The following week we visited family in Henderson, NV and had the opportunity to help with a surprise 80th birthday party for my Grandma Lynn. It was an uplifting time to be with family, and my grandmother was completely surprised. This was our last week on the West Coast and while we were sad to say goodbye we were excited to head East for my ordination.
At that time, we moved our home base to Virginia, where Andréa’s dad is a Nazarene pastor. Fortunately, its proximity to Washington, D.C. and the Ecuadorian Embassy makes it convenient for us to work on our visa process. The Virginia District Assembly was during our first week here, and thanks to Lord, I was able to be ordained remotely under some special accommodations due to COVID-19. However, we were pleasantly surprised that our Anaheim District Superintendent, Rev. Rollie Miller, made the 2,500 mile journey to be present and preside over my ordination. This made such a special moment for our family, and we celebrated with our families and Rev. Miller after the service at a wonderful dinner.
As soon as we were able, we began the process of submitting paperwork for our visas. Much of this process is a hurry up and wait game, which we are still playing. Thanks to the Lord we have much of the paperwork we need to apply for our visas but are proceeding with the process as we work with the regional leadership, the Ecuadorian lawyer, and the consulate here in DC.
Serendipitously, we were able to visit Andréa’s extended family in Ohio. It was a great time to see everyone and even attend a high school football game at her alma matter. We then snuck over to Michigan to surprise Andréa’s former roommate in California, Kristy and her husband Matt. We had not seen them in some time, but had kept in touch through technology. It was another wonderful surprise and it definitely again lifted our spirits.
Upon return to Virginia mid-September, I began working at a local coffee shop to help with finances since we are, unfortunately, in limbo while we wait for our visas. Soon after, Andréa began temporary employment at the county health department. Both employers know our story and are graciously working with us even in our unknown timeline.
A major theme for us in this time has been the constant trust we have in Jesus. It is a challenge for us since our hearts are in Ecuador but our feet are in the US, but God continues to show his faithfulness to fulfill what he has begun in our hearts and in the work in Quito. This time in the US has allowed special moments with friends and family and we treasure the things God is providing that that we never thought possible.
We are very grateful that we have been able to continue with projects for the North Andean Field and NILI. While the uncertainty of this time is challenging emotionally, we keep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in His timing and His plan for our lives. God has been speaking to our hearts through his word, the holy spirit, and some wise Christian counsel, that instead of trying to plan out the next 20 steps in our lives, maybe God is asking us to simply take the next one. And that is what we are striving to do!
We cannot say enough that we are so appreciative of your prayers and partnership throughout this journey. At the moment of this writing, we are down to one final document (that we know of) that need be prepared and we then should be able to apply for our appointment. Please pray for the Ecuadorian embassy to be available when our appointment time comes, and also please pray for the students that are currently in Ecuador as a part of the 40th semester of the Nazarene International Language Institute in Quito, Ecuador. Thank you all so much and may God bless you and your families!