At the table yesterday, our family exchanged thoughts about what we have seen God do in the year 2016.
As we mentioned various events of the past twelve months, it was with increasing surprise and awe that indeed so many big things had happened in such a relatively short period of time. We considered that the year began with the frightening and life-threatening brain aneurysm of a friend. In God's providence He chose to heal Vikki, which was a tremendous answer to prayer. Yet months later our extended family stateside would lose Pedro's Aunt Rachel under similar circumstances. It was a difficult time to be far away and we will miss her.
It was a year of many trips. Our whole family traveled to Santiago at the beginning of the year and from there to Lima, Peru for two mission-related conferences. Five of the eight of us traveled again to Santiago for two surgeries a few months later. Silas, Eva and Mom flew to the States to visit grandparents in May and Pedro flew stateside in June at the invitation of a new supporting church. In October, Pedro traveled to Ecuador for missionary meetings.
Our missionary team experienced important changes. We received both new teammates and special visitors this year. Jon and Pam Sharp joined us as teammates in Iquique in January. Over the course of the year we welcomed visits from Dave and Terri Fisher and Jenn Taylor who are on pre-field ministry in the United States and Canada, respectively, and will hopefully join us in Iquique in the next couple of years. We had visits from our area administrator and regional director as well, enjoying time with them and their wives.
There were many answered prayers in 2016, and blessings upon blessings.
In January the Iglesia Bautista Misionera transitioned to permanent Chilean leadership after being birthed and nurtured through its early years by a team of missionary families, including our own. The months that followed have been ones of learning the delicate balance of letting go and staying available. We have rejoiced at new growth and have witnessed God sustain His people even through a financial recession affecting many dear families. We praise God for His faithfulness.
In February God literally threw open the doors to the FLORECE prenatal and family counseling center by providing the place we had long prayed for in an ideal location at a realistic rental cost. Along with the property came months of preparation and many more answered prayers leading up to and beyond the ministry's official opening on October 1, 2016. Though we still have much to learn and far to go, God has guided us each step of the way. We have great hope for the future as we trust Him to fulfill His purposes through FLORECE.
Certainly these are only glimpses of a much greater number of events the year held, but enough to give clear evidence of the sovereign hand of God over the last twelve months. We hold to that hope and trust in His enabling grace as we enter 2017, a year of tremendous change and challenge for our family. As we prepare to pause our lives of the past four years in Chile and pursue one year of "home assignment" (aka furlough) in the USA, we face the near future with faith in the One Who has always proved faithful.
Thank You, Lord, for a "Happy New Year."