Merry Christmas from the Great White North!
What a big year it was for us!
We officially became missionaries of New Tribes Canada in January, and we started off with Mark working as an intern at the Missionary Training Centre, co-teaching a class called Roots and leading chapels.
Leo took his first trip to Texas, when he and Lauren flew down in April to visit. It was a wonderful time, introducing Leo to family, friends, Rosa’s, and warm weather. When they arrived back home, Lauren sent in her application for Permanent Residency (which should be accepted by December of 2014).
In May, we moved off campus to an apartment in downtown Durham. We love our little home, and our wonderful neighbors, and are excited to celebrate our first Christmas in it.
Mark completed his internship in June, then we entered full-time into Ministry Partnership Development (MPD). MPD is a stage of ministry where missionaries raise the financial support and prayer partners they need to serve on a field. When we started, our support was at 16%, and we are happy to share that God has brought us to 68% of our recommended support for the field of Asia-Pacific.
Leo had a heart catheterization in July, which told us he was ready for heart surgery.
We worked with Off the Grid for the rest of the summer. Mark then flew to Texas in September, speaking at a lot of churches and re-connecting with our partners in ministry (as well as enjoying some BBQ and time with family).
October was a huge month for us, as Leo had open heart surgery, the Double Switch Procedure, on the 22nd. Praise the Lord, through prayer and the wisdom of the doctors and nurses, he was discharged after only 10 days!
At his last appointment with his cardiologist, the doctor said Leo’s heart function and progress was doing so well that he didn’t want to see Leo until November of 2014 (though he has a pacemaker clinic in May).
So what’s next?
We are still needing to reach 75% of our monthly recommended support level before we can join NTM Canada’s Staff. We’re hoping to begin working on the Mobilization team in January, and there are already plans for Mark to visit Bible schools in Michigan and Wisconsin this spring.
Once Lauren’s permanent residency is accepted, Lauren is allowed to leave Canada… and we’re hoping to move back to Texas in January of 2015. Then we’re hoping to move to “Asia-Pacific” in either April or September of 2015, Lord willing! Of course, many of you know our life verse, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Only God knows what this coming year will bring.
Our desire, as it was 5 years ago when we started training, is to work as tribal church planters and Bible translators, to take the gospel to an unreached people group, and plant a mature church. The need is urgent. The job is huge, but not impossible. Will you consider partnering with us in this task?
Thank you for praying with us this past year! We love you all!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Mark, Lauren, & Leo