Friday, March 29, 2013

Meet the Missions Director

After a year of struggling with visa issues and wondering what God was doing....

After six months of praying about a particular ministry opportunity that was presented to us....

We are happy to announce that on Sunday we became members of North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California (Pastor Jack Trieber).  On that day, my hubby also became the official missions director for Golden State Baptist College.

You can see us join the church and watch the testimonies we gave by clicking here and fast-forwarding to the 48-minute mark.

Though we will be living stateside now, our #1 goal and purpose in life will always be missions.  We are called to it, and will still be actively serving in missions through many upcoming trips overseas.

We pray that, in our lifetimes, more souls will be won to Christ by our training missionaries.  After all, who better to be trained by than someone who has lived it their entire life?  Since my hubby was born on the mission field (Mexico), served on a different mission field (Ukraine), and speaks three languages fluently, he certainly has something he can share and teach.  Really, missions is all that man knows.  He is the grandson of missionaries, the son of missionaries, the nephew of missionaries, the cousin of missionaries, and the brother of missionaries {Whew! That was a mouthful!}  Yes, missions runs all through his family.... and through his blood.   It is his heart and heartbeat, and I am excited for those who get to sit under his teaching and be influenced by him.

Our change is a big one, but one that we know God has been in right from the start.  Though we were prepared to stay on the field forever (and would still go permanently if we knew God wanted it), God had something different in mind for us.  He wants us to be willing to teach, encourage, train, and share, and we are up for this new challenge and phase of our lives!

Monday, March 18, 2013

5 in 2012

2012 was a year of many changes for the Sloan family... a year of many different sleeping arrangements, to be more specific!   The year started out like any other, with us living in our own comfortable home in Ukraine.  Rather unexpectedly, we found ourselves seeking the Lord's direction as to a country to move to, due to not receiving visas to remain at home.  
In March, we felt God clearly opening the doors for us to move to Israel for three months.  In a time of unrest, we had never felt more peace about where we should be during that period of time.  It was definitely a feeling that only God can give when you know you are in His perfect will.
However, when June rolled around, we were equally happy to return to our own home and the ministry God had called us to.  Summer 2012 was a busy, fantastic one!
Without visas, we were only allowed to be back in Ukraine for 3 more months as "tourists."  The final days in August found us furiously packing for a furlough back to the USA, trying to finish up school (the upcoming fall semester that we had worked on throughout the summer months) so that we would not need to travel throughout America with school books.  We reached our goal in the nick of time and were relieved when we realized the weight limit for luggage would have not allowed us to take those school books anyway.

The next three months were amazing!  We traveled, reporting to churches, and enjoyed having a "summer break" in the middle of the school year for most kids.  (For some reason, my kids find extra pleasure in knowing they are enjoying something different than most.  Of course, that is when they are on the good side of life.  It wasn't looking as pleasant when they were working on school during the summer months while everyone else was on vacation!)
Then, the month of December found us traveling throughout Mexico, my hubby's childhood country.  We traveled to several different churches, and were amused that now our kids and I were foreigners in the land where basically hubby's entire family lives and ministers.  Of the 33 grandchildren on hubby's side of the family, our kids are the only 4 who do not speak Spanish.  (But they DO speak Russian, so all 33 of the grandchildren are/will be bi-lingual as they grow up!)

We enjoyed a week and a half of our December staying in the house hubby grew up in, with his sweet mom and other family members who had joined us for the holidays.  We got in lots of family time and made some of the sweetest memories ever.  What a joy it is to be part of a family where everyone serves the Lord, is faithful to church, and has a good relationship with one another!
So, if you count the three summer months where we moved BACK to Ukraine, you can say that we moved 4 times in 2012.  If you count the original three months in Ukraine at the beginning of the year, then our grand total of places lived in 2012 was FIVE.  This, of course, excludes our constant traveling once September rolled around and we were in a different bed every couple of nights for the rest of the year.

Total number of different countries lived in during the year 2012?  FOUR

But, just for good measure, we DID spend one night in London where we actually left the airport and stayed in a local hotel.  So, if you want to get all technical and add another number to our statistics, we actually slept in beds in five different countries in 2012!  Wowsers!  And who says missionaries don't enjoy adventure?!
So, how would I wrap up my thoughts about 2012?  In many ways it is a year I would not want to repeat.  After all, traveling with four children ages 10 and under is no piece of cake.  If you were starting to get the impression we were sipping lattes and munching on scones, that little picture could not be further from the truth.  We were, to the contrary, packing and repacking, shuffling sleeping arrangements, weighing and then lugging heavy suitcases, working on school six days a week part of the year, etc...

But, 2012 is also a year I could repeat.  Never before have we felt so much like God was placing us in key areas of service for specific time frames.  We saw people saved in each location at God-appointed meetings.

In 2012 I watched God provide over and abundantly when we had needs that only He knew about.  Our emotions were sometimes on a roller coaster as we felt complete disruption of our lives time and again, yet God proved Himself faithful to us.

Yes, 2012 was one of those years... a year that will go down in our family books as monumental.

Thank you, Lord, for 2012.... for a topsy-turvy year of change, movement, and adjustments.  We desired to see Your hand in 2012, and, boy, did we ever!