June 2020- Home Assignment in the US

Dear Friends and Family,

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.  The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.”   Isaiah 45: 5-7

Just a quick update.  As you know, we had planned to return to the U.S. for Home Assignment in July for about six months. We just want to let you know that those plans are still in place.  Some details have changed, but we have tickets now to depart from Tanzania on July 9 and arrive in the U.S. on July 10th.  We’ll be flying in to Dulles-Washington D.C. on Qatar Airways.  We still plan to return to East Africa at the end of December this year.

We continue to grieve too many losses to count both in terms of events and people we know who have died in the last few months.  I am both looking forward to returning to the U.S. and dreading it at the same time.  I just don’t know what to expect and I fear that I will feel wounded by lack of affection because of fear of Covid.  Having not seen people for years, it is difficult to imagine that hugs will not be forthcoming, at least from some people.  There are so many opinions and one of my friends who arrived in the U.S. a few days ago said she feels like she will offend people no matter what.  I couldn’t agree more.  So please bear with us as we figure out expectations and try to find our way through these uncertain times while going through all the normal stress of major transition and culture shock.

The last couple of months have seen us holed up in Arusha, wearing masks in public and social distancing for the most part, and spending a lot of time on computers for work and school.  We have had some fun social interaction as well which have been a huge blessing.  We were able to travel to Kondoa in May to visit with fellow missionaries there AND to celebrate 3 birthdays, including Rachel’s 13th!  We were also able to take a weekend trip back to Magambua and touch base with a few friends and church leaders.

The churches in Usandawe continue to spread the gospel, and continue to plant churches, praise God!  Two more have been planted in the villages of Handa and Mabanzini, mostly among Nyaturu people.  And there are a couple more lay leaders, Deograthias and Josephat, who are planning to go to the Kolandoto Bible course.  Pastor Mashauri also hosted another eye surgery clinic last week in Magambua.

Please continue to pray for the churches and the work that will continue in Usandawe.   Pray that our flight will not be canceled, and that it will get us safely to the States as scheduled.  Thank you for standing with us.

Looking forward to hopefully seeing many of you!

Blessings in Jesus,

Melissa for the family

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