Websters dictionary definition of change is to make or become different. Change is something we go through every day to some degree. At times, changes can be big and even overwhelming.
This past furlough, our family realized we were facing a big change. Our boys are entering upper elementary grades, and we realized it was time for us to begin looking at a move back to the States. We feel a great responsibility to be with our boys as they transition back to life in the States before sending them off to boarding academy. So we began praying seriously about our concerns and asking God what direction He wanted us to go. After much prayer and counsel, we announced to AFM that we would be returning to the States on permanent return in 2013. It was a hard decision because we wanted to see the Tai-Kadai Project through to the end. Nonetheless, we believed it was the right decision to make for our family. We were comforted by the words of wise King Solomon who realized that change is inevitable but not necessarily bad when he said, To everything there is a season.
Returning to the field after furlough, we began sending out résumés to various conferences to feel out the possibilities for pastoral positions near an Adventist academy. But it seemed the more resumes we sent out, the fewer our options became. Conferences were very interested in us, but no positions were available. We were confused. Why did all the doors seem to be closing?
And then a door opened that changed our plans completely. AFM President Conrad Vine sent an email requesting that we put our plans on hold for a few days until he could work out another call for us with AFM. We did and prayed that God would make it clear to us what we should do. Since then, we have been in dialogue with AFM and the human resources committee and recently accepted a new call. This month, we will begin our new role as the field director for AFM projects in mainland Southeast Asia. This wasnt the change we were expecting, but we are excited and see Gods leading in it.
AFM field directors ensure that missionaries are successful, that projects are completed in a reasonable amount of time and that missionary families are healthy. Many of the tasks vary depending on the needs of each individual missionary and mission project. To draw a comparison with Adventist Church structure, AFM field directors serve as ministerial directors for missionaries.
What does this new role mean for our family? We will stay where we are currently are and will remain involved leading the Tai-Kadai Project. However, because of annual field director meetings, we should be able to return to the States every summer. This will allow us to help our boys begin to adapt to life in the States. Were also excited about the education this new role will provide through more world travel.
Solomon was rightthere is a season for everything. Were excited about the change we are going through. Were excited that God has provided a way for us to remain in missions while still providing for the needs of our family. Please pray for us as we take on this new role and work to help other AFM missionaries succeed in making the Gospel relevant and real to unreached peoples in Southeast Asia.