Wow, I know it has been a while since we have posted! We tried to keep some radio silence while we were going through the transition time, but now an update is well overdue! As you know, in March we were officially approved as missionaries to Costa Rica! Well, here is what has happened since.
May: Our plan all along was to complete the semester with XA before moving on to our new assignment. We love our TU XA students, and the last few months there were tough. As the semester ended in May, we said our goodbyes and entered itineration mode. It was about the middle of May, and I (Adam) spent every weekday calling churches all over Oklahoma in an attempt to schedule a service or meeting with them. Sarah was still working at St. Francis during this time. We had one service in May at Stroud First Assembly, met with about 6 pastors, and attended several sectional fellowships and activities in an attempt to connect with every person we could!
June: June was a packed month! The first week was spent calling pastors, like normal. June 7th was Sarah’s last day of work at St. Francis. Then, on June 8th, we packed up and headed to Springfield, MO for Missionary Training and Missionary Renewal (MT/MR). Missionary Training is an intense 2 week event that focuses on equipping new missionaries with the tools they will need in the field. We were in sessions from 8am-5pm. Several days were spent meeting with our specific regions to receive incredibly useful training from the leaders of our Region (Latin America and Caribbean) and our Area (Central America). The training was terrific. We can certainly say our organization is focused on our success by how much they put into preparing us. The biggest challenge of MT was staying in old college dorms and eating less-than-gourmet cafeteria food- Although, one could argue that may have been part of the training for the missions field :). After MT comes MR. Missionary Renewal is a week of refreshing worship services and time spent with missionaries from around the world. As a missionary with the AG, every 4 years you return home for 1 year of itineration- during that year you also attend MR. It was a terrific week where we got to focus on God and build relationships with our “co-workers.” Once we completed all of MT/MR, we were commissioned by Assemblies of God World Missions on June 27th. The commissioning service was very special. All of our family came it, we were presented to everyone, prayed over by our regional directors, and given a Spanish Bible. It’s something we will always remember. We completed June by coming home and having a great service at Oologah Assembly of God.
One thing about MT/MR that really stood out to us was our class motto. Every year, the new missionary class makes a class motto. This motto is put on artwork created by the class, framed, and signed by each missionary couple. We present our motto at the commissioning service and then it is hung in the AGWM national office, forever. One of the speakers during MT said something that inspired our whole class and morphed into our class motto: “When our first missionaries set out to reach the world with the Gospel, they prepared for a lifetime. They packed their belongings in a coffin with no intention of return. “Pack the Coffin,” the class of 2013. This really touched and challenged us because it speaks so clearly the commitment we have made to the call God has placed on our lives. We are all in. We have packed the coffin and are trusting everything to God. I could share a lot more about this, but we’ll save that for a future blog!
July: July was quite a month. We had some amazing services at Celebration Worship Center (Sulphur, LA), Lawton First, New Life Collinsville, Harvest Time Dewey, Norman First, and Lone Grove Assembly. Also, my middle brother, Aaron, got married to Hope on July 13th. We drove to Alabama for the wedding. Between all of the trips we spent a lot of time calling pastors and booking services. That is something you can count on us doing most any day. July also had some rough moments. Around July 5th, Risa, our 11 month old Goldendoodle, started having seizures. We still do not know what caused the onset of these seizures but have been working with a few vets to figure it out. We have had a couple tough months since then while trying different medicines and going through this journey with her. Honestly, it was a miracle from God that we were able to even have her, so we believe that, somehow, He has a plan for all of this still. Also, on July 25th my Dad had quintuple heart bypass surgery. After his surgery, they had to reopen him the next to get the drainage tube out (this was not planned!). Other complications followed, but those happened in August :).
August: To continue the story of my Dad, he was able to go home about a week after his first surgery. However, after about a week at home, he began to have more and more pain. Finally he came back up to his surgeon in Tulsa, who at first look, saw my dad was infected and had to go into surgery that day. In the surgery they cleaned out the entire area, scraped off the bone, repaired the sternum which had been ripped to pieces by the wire “holding” it together, dissected his pectoral muscles from his sternum back to his shoulder, stretched them across his chest, sewed them together, and closed him back up. He was on heavy antibiotics for a week but wasn’t getting any better. This forced the doctors to have to open him up for the 4th time in 4 weeks. In this surgery they repeated everything, but went one step farther by taking a fatty flap from his stomach and using it to cover his chest in order to increase blood flow. During that surgery they learned he didn’t only have the normal staph infection, but also MRSA. Today is August 31st, and we are still in the hospital, hoping to go home soon. We did have 1 service during August- my home church Bartlesville First Assembly which is now Bartlesville Spirit Church. The service was amazing, and we were blessed with an offering we could never have imagined. We also visited a couple of sectional fellowships, called many pastors, and attended the first Century Leadership Roundtable- which is a new leadership initiative by OKAG and possibly the most useful day of training we have had. I must admit that I had grumbled and complained some about not being able to schedule more services in August. Somehow though, like always, God knew what was coming down the pipe for us, and with my father being in the hospital in Tulsa most the month of August, it was truly a blessing to be here and help my family. God always knows what you need, even if we can’t see or understand it yet.
September: No, I don’t have much to report about September yet. However, this will be a big push month for us. Expect MANY posts and updates this month as we shoot to jump forward on our goal of reaching the people of Costa Rica.
Sorry this post was so delayed and lengthy. Expect more post, more frequently, and shorter as we move forward.