Feature

A Matter of Time

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Transition isn’t easy—but it can be very rewarding! We are retiring after serving as international workers in Chile for 31 years, where we learned to adapt to a variety of situations. At first, we lived in Temuco, an agricultural area with rain and cold winters. Then, we worked for 17 years in Iquique, which is the driest desert in the world (there was a thousand-foot sand dune behind our house). We did not see any rain for years, other than an occasional mist. Finally, we worked in a new church plant in Viña del Mar/Reñaca, which is a tourist city.

As church planters we worked with children’s ministries, Marriage Encounters, Bible academy and discipleship, women’s and men’s ministries, teaching and preaching ministries and counseling. Including our U.S. home assignments, we had moved close to 20 times, and our children had studied in 10 different schools in addition to studying in Spanish. For many years we took a bus to the field forum with our four children, which meant traveling 25 hours across the desert.

In September 2011 the transition process from Chile began. It meant selling everything we owned except personal items which could fit into our trunks. Transition also included our whole family. As we were packing in Chile, our youngest daughter, Julae, had just graduated from nursing school in Indiana; Amy-Li had just left her job in Chicago to work in California. Our daughter Joy and her husband had their first baby and relocated to a new city five days later. Several months earlier our son, Jared, and his wife had moved to a creative-access country with their three children.

It has been hard to leave. Some people said that they could not continue without us. But they adjust. Others said they plan on visiting us here in the United States. That would be great. Transition can be difficult. But how exciting it is as we look forward to what God has in store for us and the church in Chile.

Some are concerned for us, asking, “Are you looking for a position?” I tell them no. I am next to the youngest in a large family of six. Betty has a brother who lives alone. Our family needs us. With our children in different parts of the world, we feel God will have plenty for us to do. We plan on enjoying our retirement.

But we will continue to have a part in extending His Kingdom. Already some of our new neighbors have consented to participating in a prayer group. Our son-in-law, Felipe, is from Mexico. We hope to perhaps start a Spanish Bible study in Fargo in addition to, of course, helping in the local church.

When the Apostle Paul was transitioning out of his ministry, he spoke to Timothy about the need to continue to be faithful to the Lord. It may have been hard to give up what he so loved, but he knew that the Church is God’s and that His grace would continue to be manifested in ways Paul would never know. “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of . . .” (2 Tim. 3:14).

As we transition out of Chile, our desire is to continue to mature in Him until that glorious day of His appearing, when we will be united with our brothers and sisters from every nation and tribe.

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