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We arrived safely home last Sunday morning. It has been a challenging transition to “normal” life this year. We are grateful that there was a holiday last week to help us recover from the trip and the traveling, but the combination of change of pace, change of time zone and change of focus caused a significant disorientation which has just recently abated.

As I sit before the monitor, I find myself with the same blank stare as I did a week ago when I first attempted to write this final blog of our journey – How can I summarize our experiences? What words can adequately express the kindness and struggle, the joy and heartbreak, the laughter and tears of the two weeks of our trip? All I can think is to praise God for His unceasing work in and through His people throughout the world, and to thank all of you who have faithfully remembered us and the people of Central Asia in your prayers. It was very evident that God was dynamically involved in all the activities, conversations and events.

I like to have a plan. Planning is something that I enjoy, and something that gives me a great deal of comfort and satisfaction. I understand that there is a tendency to have more faith in ones plans that in the Lord, so we tried to hold our well-made plans loosely – which in this part of the world is usually best. Looking back on our trip, the events went pretty much along the lines of our plans, but as the events unfolded, it seemed constantly to deviate from the plans, always causing me to have to decide to push for the plan or wait upon the direction of the Lord. The regular interruptions and changes along the way became opportunities for us to be more reliant on the Spirit to guide and control. Often, I would feel that I had nothing to give, nothing to help – then, in that moment, God would provide a word, or a circumstance that brought into focus an encouragement or principle that was perfectly timed for the situation. What a wonderful experience to know that whatever we do, wherever we go, God is already there, working for His purposes and for His glory – even for our good. Yes, plans are important tools, but working through the plans requires faith, and perseverance to Him rather than the plan – it is amazing how it works out!

Thank you for following along on our journey, and for your patience in my first attempt to communicate through this medium. I hope and pray that I have provided a sense of the compassion of these wonderful people for the Lord and for their neighbors. I urge you to continue praying for the people of Central Asia. If you have been touched by their story, by their faithful service in the challenging circumstance of their calling, I would encourage you to look for a way to support the work being done in that region. We will be presenting at Calvary on August 5 in the Gathering Place. If you have questions or would like further information on how to get involved, please come see us there.