Alright. I'm going to try to catch everything up of the sweet craziness of life in one fatal swoop.
We still have some super big exciting news that we're STILL not quite allowed to share (is this blog considered publicly? Probably. Soon!)
But in other also kind of big news, Matt and I are taking a bit of a break. After nine full years of only stepping away from full-time work in Haiti to be full-time fundraising for EBS, having our babies and packing family time in between weekends of speaking and traveling, camps and revivals, doctorate studies and vaccinations...we are taking four whole weeks.
April 9th to May 9th, we're going to Ohio. We're not running Emmaus from afar. We're not speaking anywhere. Hopefully, we won't be traveling. I'll be homeschooling the girls, Matt'll be working on his doctorate, and our plan is to spend the afternoons and weekends doing culturally normal stuff (as if the four of us even know what that is anymore :)...going to the playground and the zoo, playing at home, going camping, having a prenatal appointment for two, attending one church each Sunday as "normal-ish" people, and most of all, praying and seeking His rest, His voice, His guidance.
Now I wasn't so sure at first, but the Lord has been bringing some beautiful things about already from this decision. Our staff here will be covering as much of what Matt does as possible. That meant that over Christmas, Matt had to talk to everybody about how far we had to get by April in order to make this all possible. Leme was promoted, Fanfan, Lucner, Leme and Simeon have been going through all kinds of training from student records to library systems, and even at retreat Matt found himself excited to get back to work...a job that is starting to look a lot more focused and reliant on others and a lot less like doing everything. The guys are doing GREAT, loving learning so many new things, and a whole new level in our goal of being here--training others--is being reached.
We have almost finalized the hire of a recent graduate/brother to get helping me in the finance office, as well!
Additionally, we have some very beautiful people sacrificially coming in to make it possible for us to go out. John and Dorothy will be here for April and part of May, covering my English classes and maintaining day-to-day finance office stuff, and Rick and Carol will be here the other part of May, helping Phil get ready for graduation and closing out our books for the school year. Canada to our rescue :) And of course, we could not be going without our neighbors, covering so much, making it possible.
Then Matt will fly back in for a week or two at graduation, something that was proving very important to our graduating class and staff and to Matt and I, then head straight to England for his one-month residential doctoral component that he does each year. Then, July moves us on to funding, speaking, traveling, visiting, having this happy baby and coming home!
Or so goes the plan :) We don't really know WHAT all this summer will hold. What we DO know is that setting aside a chunk of time and asking the Lord to take it...not what is leftover, but the first-fruits...has been confirming as the right thing to do over and over.
I hate leaving home, I hate asking others for help, I hate pulling the kids out of school early, I hate missing graduation, and I hate resting longer than like 2 hours. As you know.
But we've really been desiring for a long time now to give Him and our family a deliberate time to sit together, to rest together, and to share our hearts, and most, to dwell in His. I'm so excited our board is behind us doing this (permission always leads me to better peace :) and that our EBS Team is jumping to our sides and telling us to DO IT!
Ah, we couldn't do it without you. Your prayers and support and friendships make it possible for us to WORK and share and live Him so freely, but also to seek Him first. I'm so grateful.
Meanwhile--Uncle Don is here, much to our bliss. A team of 7 from Jersey comes in tomorrow to work on a rather huge men's bathroom project for the main floor of the men's dorm that has been needing done for SO long. No sooner do they head out that all focus goes to the annual CETA conference (Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association) being held this year for the first time ever in Haiti...here at EBS! Huge honor! Huge amount of work :)
If anything, this carnival/Mardi Gras season has everyone even more worked up than normal about how badly the world, starting right at the front gate, needs Jesus. Talking to Junior, listening to our students, mingling with our staff--as always--is about as inspiring-towards-God a life as it gets. Our pouring out has never been met only by takers...but continues to be returned by the pouring out of so many others.