Spring 2020 Newsletter

May 25th, 2020

Hello, dear friends!
How our world has changed since we last gave a newsletter update! As many of you know, we were planning to move to Ptuj this spring. These past couple months have been a whirlwind for us, and of course for the rest of the world, too. God has guided our steps all along, and we have felt his timing and protection through this all.

The Big Move

We had a house lined up, and a moving date in mind. Then the COVID-19 crisis hit, and we had to act quickly. Thankfully, our new landlord was gracious, and allowed us to move in early - and only asked for half rent for that month. We decided on a new moving date for our family, with plans for our furniture to join us a couple days later - with the help of our friends. A local Christian business owner lent us a truck to haul our things. Our friend, and pastor of Ptuj Church Izvir drove with Dan to Ljubljana, where a team of our friends loaded up our belongings. Then, Dan and Luka drove back to Ptuj, where a team of people from our church were waiting to help us move in. We honestly could NOT have done any of this without our friends' help, and we are eternally grateful. THE NEXT DAY the government shut down all traffic between municipalities. If we had not moved exactly when we had, we would have been stuck in Ljubljana. God is so good!

Online Church

Like the rest of the world, we had to switch to online church. Our church was thankful to be able to partner with the Pentecostal church in Maribor (a larger city/church about 20 minutes away). The lead pastors took turns preaching, and they also recorded a weekly message for the kids. Dan was asked to put together a SOAP devotional, which they also recorded and introduced to the congregations. We were able to share these services on different social media platforms, and were encouraged by the feedback we've received. It was a very real and tangible way for our congregation to introduce "what we are about" to their friends and family. The church has expressed a desire to continue to record its services, and we are looking into acquiring the necessary equipment to help achieve that. If this is a ministry you might want to contribute towards please don't hesitate to reach out to Dan or Abigail. 

Finding New Ways To Minister

Our family being the way that we are, we were devastated that this pandemic made it so difficult to get to know our new neighbors. However, Abigail decided to make a first impression on some of our neighbors (our landlord and his parents are our neighbors, among others). She baked and delivered sugar cookies in the shape of houses and keys to symbolize being a new neighbor. Since we moved, we have been giving our neighbors various baked goods and treats, and Easter goodies for the kids at Easter time. We in return received cake, fresh, garden-grown produce and more. We love the community we are beginning to build.
Once restrictions began to be lifted, the kids all took to the street to play. There are at least 8 kids on our street whom we have met. They took in our son, Aidan right away. Two girls taught him to rollerblade, and they play outside for hours on end coming home only for snacks. Aidan is loving making new friends, and we are thrilled to have been accepted into our neighborhood already!

Family Update - Change in Itineration Plans

Our family has adjusted very well to our new home, and we are extremely thankful for that. With everything going on, and travel being basically halted, we have received permission from our area and regional directors to extend our first term here in Slovenia. That means that instead of returning back to the States in the fall as we had planned, we will be returning at the end of May/beginning of June of 2021. Although we are saddened that this means it will be longer before we can see you all again, we are thankful that this means that Aidan will be able to complete his first grade year in Slovenian school. Thank you for praying with us that the situation will be normalized by the fall, and that his first grade experience would be a wonderful one! We are also planning to enroll our daughter, Jocelyn in preschool (kindergarten, here) starting in the fall. All of this is tentative at this point of course, but we would greatly appreciate your prayer covering. Thank you!

Church Life

Churches here have been closed as of March 15th, however Slovenia's COVID-19 numbers have been very encouraging for the past month. For the past two weeks in fact, we have only had 2 new cases. These positive numbers have caused the government to relax some restrictions, and churches opening their doors has been one of those outcomes. We are required to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, there is no socializing, and we are to sit 2 meters (6 ft) apart from one another, in family units. Everyone is complying - we are all just happy to be in the house of the Lord together! The second Sunday that we had service, the church prayed over our family, as Dan takes on the role of associate pastor, and we join the leadership team. It was a very touching moment, and although everyone was spread out, we felt knitted together in spirit.

Last Week - A Taste Of (New) Normal

We had a very busy weekend, and we were so happy for it! Pastor Luka and his wife, Eva had asked us if we would help them with making the Sunday school classroom more kid-friendly. So, on Saturday, Dan and Abigail spent the day at the church creating a fun wall art. Another young man at the church donated his time by painting the walls, and then we created the cross wall art. We revealed it yesterday, which was appropriate, as it was the first Sunday since coming back that we were able to have a kids' service - once again, God's timing is what knits it all together! Also on Sunday, Dan preached for the first time in his new role as associate pastor. He preached on why we need the Holy Spirit, and everyone was able to take home a SOAP journal that he put togehter to prepare their hearts for the upcoming Pentecost holiday.

Future Plans

We are taking each day as it comes, but are excited to be planning for the future as well. We had to cancel English Club because of the coronavirus. We also had to cancel the English Camp we had planned, as well as all of the Royal Ranger events. We are still hoping to be able to have some sort of English Club get together/event toward the end of summer. We will also be using this time to create a curriculum for kids' church, organize resources, and continue to work on some smaller classroom renovation projects. We are planning to pick up English Club again in the fall, and appreciate you praying for its impact on our city!

Thank you

We have to be honest and say that there were days we were anxious about God's provision for our ministry here when the pandemic broke out. We understand that everyone's financial situation has radically changed in these past months, and since we live by the generosity and consistency of people and churches, we were aware that our circumstances could drastically change. Friends, we are here to proclaim God's goodness in our lives, as well as your faithfulness. We have continued to meet our budget needs, even as this pandemic has raged on. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Never before have we been more sincerely thankful for your partnership with us in prayer, as well as financially. So many of you have reached out, asking about our family, our move, our new home, etc. You have encouraged us from afar. Please allow us to do the same for you. Our God is good, and he is absolutely in control. Thank you for the sacrifices you make to keep us here on the field, it is not something we take lightly. We pray blessings over you and your families!

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