Stopping by for a moment

I just wanted to stop in and say hello! I haven’t been online much this summer but just wanted to write a quick note to say that I am looking forward to getting things going again here in the coming months! You have been in my thoughts and prayers!

Our time in the States, in God’s sovereignty, was extended beyond what we had originally anticipated, so our break here is also being extended perhaps longer than it would have.

Like many of you, we raise our own support for our ministry in Russia, and this summer we ended up needing to raise quite a bit more than we had expected, thus the delay. It has been a chance to grow in our faith through trial, but in the end, God has blessed us so incredibly. Yes, he has blessed us by providing the finances that we need, for which we are in awe and incredibly grateful, but it seems just as much that His plan has been to bless us through trial, thus testing the genuineness of our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Our forced absence has been a great reminder of the blessing that it is to be able to serve God in a place that we have grown to love so much and where God has grown us and shaped us so much over the years, both through joys and struggles. The thought came to me a number of times amidst this time of trial of how heartbroken I would be if I were never again to have the chance to serve God in Russia.  God has called us there, but for how long? Only He truly knows!  Life can be difficult in the places that each of us serve, but I really do believe that it is a great blessing to see God at work in these countries and cultures that He has created! None of us knows when we might unexpectedly need to move somewhere else, or be called back to the US by hardship, or illness, or political troubles, etc., so let’s not take this time or our ministries for granted!   I am excited to get back to Russia to make the most of my time there, knowing that my days there are numbered, even though I myself have no idea what that number is. Have you ever considered how you might view your time and your ministry differently if you knew that this would be your last year/month/week??? This was a new thought to me, and it has really jarred me and caused me to think and pray!

I hope each of you are doing well! I can’t wait to hear from you more often once things get going here again!


8 Responses to “Stopping by for a moment”

  1. 1 Addie September 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I am looking forward to this site being updated more frequently! I loved seeing you for a bit this summer though. 🙂

  2. 2 RebeccaC September 20, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Oh, I’m so glad you’re heading back to Bloggylandia!

    To be honest, I’ve thought about this topic several times lately. Every time we cross the border, I have this niggling fear of, “What if they don’t let us come back???” I’m really not concerned about the “stuff” that we have in Mexico. It’s all just stuff and it’ll all burn eventually. Mexico now feels like home. It’s where my heart is.

    That said, though, I’m willing to go where He leads and if it should happen that this mission field should close to us, I know that the next one will become “home” as well…in time! ;^)

  3. 3 Liz September 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks for the good note and reminder Ashley! I’m sad we missed you at Staff Conference! We so rarely see each other. I’ll just have to stay in touch more with your blog this year! 🙂 Even though I won’t see you in St. Pete, I’m glad to have you guys back in Russia!!

  4. 4 Melissa September 25, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Glad you are black to blogging! I had an idea for a topic that i wondered if you would pose this fall once you are back in the swing of things. As a new mom living in the Muslim world i would love to see the topic of juggling a young baby and the responsibilities of that all while honoring guests when they spontaneously drop by for a visit. I personally am a planner and prefer notice about when friends are going to drop by however that isn’t always possible in the event oriented culture that i live in. In North Africa, it’s common for people to stop by and culturally i should receive them well by serving the appropriate local treats (tea or coffee along with cookies and other local snacks). I find the spontaneity of the culture challenging while trying to juggle a routine / schedule with a young baby (my son is 4 months old). Anyway i would love some ideas if you are up for it (i haven’t search past blog posts so if you have already addressed this just let me know). Thanks so much. Your blog is an encouragement to me.

  5. 5 Ashley L. September 26, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Melissa, I love your idea! I think we may have touched on this topic ever so briefly in the past in a post or two, but not with too many practical ideas. I’ll definitely keep this one in mind! This would be a great “Tuesday Topic” since I know there is likely a wealth of knowledge and experience in our little community here!

  6. 6 richelle October 15, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Good to see you back, Ashley! We’ve also recently been forced to think about the fact that our days here are numbered – even if we don’t know what that number might be. Our organization up and folded… legal dissolution due to financial issues and we had 10 days warning: 10 days to get things organized – hopefully keep our funding heading way, and all of the other million little details necessary to continue living and working in a foreign country. Not to mention the fact that we would have no salary for at least a month or two and no idea how many people would continue to support us as we walked through this organization change. Our nice nest egg of future support/passage funds/education funds for our kids that was now tied up in bankruptcy court and we have no idea if and when we will ever see any or all of it. We don’t know if mission properties (and all of the equipment my husband uses to “do” his ministry) will remain available to or will have to be liquidated. We literally don’t know if we have 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years… and just 2 months ago, our possible “plan” was to see our 2.5 year old graduate here…

    So, not only have we thought about ministry priorities – we’ve also been praying much about preparing to finish well… even when we have no idea when or how or where we will cross that finish line. The Sunday before this news broke, we heard an awesome sermon on the parable of the new wine in old wineskins… and we were asked the question: What if God decides to do something new? Are you going to fuss because the old was “good enough?” Or are you going to move forward with Him, with expectancy for the new thing? That night, as we were talking before driftiing off to sleep, my husband mentioned how he DIDN’T want to appreciate that sermon… didn’t want to think that way. The Holy Spirit had touched both of us through His Word that night. And then all of this…

    When you are a planner, it is hard to walk one day at a time, without plans. But it does become easier to consider God’s agenda before looking at my own, maybe because I don’t have a choice so much any more – or because I’m starting to grasp how God just might choose to completely rewrite my daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and lifelong plans in one fell sweep… and struggling to learn all over again, each day, to be OK with that – and to hopefully come to the point where I accept with gentle contentment His choices regardless of my scribbles in my agenda.

  7. 7 MK October 18, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Ashley and Richelle thanks for your post. This has actually been on my mind a ton this last month. This last year has presented us with many issues that are pulling us mentally and emotionally away from life here abroad. Its HARD feeling like I’m living in limbo. I want to stay in ministry but the question has come up several times, “what if God is calling us back?” Initially this was heartbreaking and hard to swallow. Even though I know life anywhere will eventually normalize I’ve had to depend on God more than ever. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about faith and learning to trust in God even when I don’t know the outcome. So all that to say that I appreciate your posts. They’re encouraging and its nice to have a community to know you’re not alone.

  8. 8 Roderick January 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content for you?
    I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome website!

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