May 2022- Tacos, Travels, and Trainings

Dear Friends and Family,

Psalm 138:8 “The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

We’ve seen God’s faithfulness in many different areas of life, family, and ministry recently.  He hasn’t forsaken us, or His purposes which He is accomplishing in and through us.  Please enjoy a bit of a smorgasbord update below!

JON’S TRIP TO THE STATES  –   I had a really nice few days with my parents and Josh, even got to pull my gluteus minimus (you can google where that is) playing a few minutes of rugby with the high school team Josh helps coach!  Apparently, the shuffleboard where my parents live is more my speed…..  yikes!  But it was great seeing Josh interact with other coaches and the high school kids that he has become a mentor to.  Anyway, thank you so much for praying, my trip out west went well.  We were booked pretty tight so I’m sorry I didn’t get to see some of you who live in San Diego.  We actually went down to Tijuana for two days to see the training program at Radius International, and have a meeting with their leadership.  We were impressed with the training program.  All and all, I think the leadership meeting went really well, there was a general clearing of the air and a commitment to move forward with a relationship between AIM and Radius.  The Lord really went before us in many ways.  Tim, our Candidate Director, was pleased with the progress that was made.  We also got to eat some really good tacos in Tijuana and seafood in San Diego! 

KONDOA TEAM ONE YEAR EVENT  –  Back in March, one of the teams in our unit had a one year evaluation, roughly at the half-way point of their 2 year 3 month long TIMO team.  We met over the course of a few days, and it was a time full of prayer, reviews, discussions about strategy, church planting, team health, as well as some fun.  The team leaders together with the Bransford’s and Koch’s did a great job organizing the whole event.  Melissa led a devotional on delighting in the LORD, which included Pictionary, and the team leaders organized a really fun ‘Kondoamanjaro Olympics’ with all kinds of fun games.  We’re rejoicing in the way the Lord is helping the team work through issues and grow deeper in relationship together. We rejoice to hear reports of a few women who came to faith in Christ in Kondoa and are now being discipled, and also some great interdenominational mission training that the team has organized. 

AVIATION INTERIM – Also in March, Drew got to go on one of RVA’s interim trips, and he picked Aviation, no surprise there!  They had a great time interacting with missionary pilots and getting some flying lessons in Northern Kenya and also around Wilson Airport.  Drew heard some really impactful stories, and was told that he was quite the natural at the controls!   

BIRTHDAYS –  Drew turned 18 at the end of February, and we celebrated at RVA with good friends the Pugh’s, whose daughter Imani also turned 18.  Drew opened a letter to himself which he wrote when he was eight years old!  Talk about a time capsule, it was fun to hear him read his eight year old self’s words to him about wanting to be a pilot…. And maybe he could sell model airplanes to pay for the training!  😊     Jon also had a birthday in April, and is inching closer and closer to the big 5-0!   Rachel will be turning 15 in just a few days and we’ll celebrate over midterm. 

APRIL FAMILY TIME – Drew and Rachel were home for most of April. We traveled to Zanzibar together for a family vacation. It’s probably one of Tanzania’s most famous travel destinations and it only took us 16 years of living here to get there. Josh had gone during his junior year of high school for a school trip so though we really missed having him there with us, it was fun communicating with him about places we visited and things we did knowing he had “been there, done that”.

We were also invited by our good friends, Mike and Tammy Weigner, whom we have known since Jon and Mike were in residency, to spend Resurrection weekend with them in Masai Mara in Kenya. We had not been there since our first year of marriage so it was a real treat. But more than that it was so wonderful to spend time with our friends (who live in Virginia but were in Kenya on a medical mission trip) on this side of the ocean and make new memories of shared experiences. The highlight was a Resurrection Sunday morning sunrise devotional out on the savannah led by Jon. Yes, there was wildlife around. A hyena slunk by while Jon was sharing about Rescue, Re-Creation, and Reconciliation through the death and resurrection of Christ.   

LADIES RETREAT-  In May, while Jon was in the US, Melissa traveled to the south coast again for the annual ladies retreat. This time around it was planned by some other ladies so she was able to relax and enjoy the time without any other responsibilities.

VOLLEYBALL AND RUGBY –  Rachel is enjoying playing volleyball on the school’s U17 team, and  Drew is playing on the U19 Rugby team.  We’ve been able to watch both of them play, which has been a real treat, especially since sports were shut down by Covid for so long. 

EASTERN REGION LANGAUGE COACH – Melissa is taking on a new role, as someone who can come alongside missionaries to encourage them in their language learning.  She’s taken an online course through Wheaton’s Institute for Cross-Cultural Training, and will likely do a couple more.  Pray for meetings she’ll have in Nairobi this week. 

BIBLE DISTRIBUTION IN USANDAWE –    Please pray for me (Jon) this week, Monday through Thursday, as some members from the AICT Njiro Church and I travel to our old stomping grounds in Usandawe.  We’ll team up with Odilo, and travel around doing a Bible distribution among the various denominations in Usandawe.  The need for more access to Bibles was one of the take home points from my Sandawe church survey last year.  Pray with us that the Lord would speak to His people and equip His church in Usandawe through the study of His Word. 

Thank you for all your encouragement, prayers, and support for us!

Serving the Lord with you,

Jon for all of us

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