After a busy two weeks in the Midwest, we've finally arrived and moved into our Arizona home -- well, home until we return to Barcelona.
While we want to give thanks to all who hosted us throughout our travels, it truly feels great to no longer be living out of suitcases!
Already we've been surrounded by folks who tell us that our being back in Phoenix brings with it a sense of "the good ol' times." Although we've never thought of ourselves as the stuff of nostalgia, we are truly excited to spend some time with friends and family who we've only seen in brief stints the past several summers.
After all, we weren't running away from the lives we had built in the United States when left to serve in Lithuania. Rather, we were running towards the lives and ministry God had been planning for us.
And we continue to run forward with God guiding our steps. Our destination: Barcelona. Our layover: Phoenix.
When flying, a layover is often a place you need to stop on your way to your destination. It's easy to think of it as, at worst, an obstacle to your goals, and, at best, a necessary evil.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
Last summer, our flight path took us from the United States to Lithuania with a five-hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany. We've had many layovers and, before that trip, we'd always waited outside our terminal, praying the time would pass quickly. But this time, we decided to check our luggage into storage and have an adventure.
The photos speak for themselves:
What a fun layover! Needless to say, we had had a good time AND we made it to our destination safely.
Towards the end of his ministry, we see Jesus traveling from the region of Perea to Jerusalem. In the middle of his journey is the city of Jericho and Jesus and his students stop there. However, this wasn't just for a casual meal. From the moment Jesus approaches the city with the crowd to the moment he leaves, he seizes the opportunity to build the Kingdom of God. He does the following:
- Teaches his followers about the nature of his kingdom (Mk 10:35; Mt 20:20-28)
- Restores a blind beggar's sight (Lk 18:35-43)
- Meets Zacchaeus in a tree and dines at his house (Lk 19:1-11)
- Heals two more blind men (Mt 20:29; Mk 10:46)
Jesus saw his layover as an opportunity, was present in the moment, and continued to build the Kingdom of God. We hope to follow his example as we adapt to life back in the Valley of the Sun.
We asked for help with getting reestablished and many of you have helped in amazing ways! We still have some needs, but read below to see the way God faithfully has provided through his community:
- A Place to Live: While in the Phoenix Valley, we need an affordable place to call home. If you have a spare room, consider letting us join you in community! Thanks to Brian and Natalie for your generosity here!
- Home Furnishings:Do you have an extra couch, bed, or lamp lying around? Although we are fine "camping indoors," basic home furnishings would help make the rental house feel like a home. For the most part, we're covered. It would be nice to get a real mattress to replace the blow-up one we're currently using, but it could be worse!
- Transportation: Phoenix is not the easiest place to travel using public transportation. Add a baby to that equation and things get downright challenging. Do you have an extra vehicle we could use? We're covered through early September. Leads for something more long term would be appreciated.
- Part-Time Work: We have saved some money for resettling, but we'll be able to stretch it much further if we can supplement it with some additional income. Leads on flexible, part-time jobs would be much appreciated!
- Baby Things:Although we have plenty of clothing, we are keeping an eye out for other things babies need, such as a car seat and stroller. Asher officially has more places to sit than adults do at our house. Thank you Beka Mast-Gibbs!
- Help Networking: Are you connected with a church community? Maybe you can introduce us! The Trinity Mennonite Church community has faithfully supported us as we served in Lithuania the past four years. However, our work in Spain will require a larger budget to cover the increased cost of living and our additional family member, so we need to expand our fundraising network. Help here would be incredibly significant!