Well, we have arrived in San Diego, California for our one-year Home Assignment! Those of you who have already seen us will say, “You’ve been here for almost three weeks!” Physically, that is true, but I feel like it has taken this long to mentally and emotionally FEEL like we’re here. Actually, buying food at Costco made me realize that we’re HERE for awhile! Africa trivia: The whole cart of stock-up food from Costco was LESS than a stock-up grocery trip in Nairobi, Kenya! Yes, imported food is expensive!
NOTE: PLEASE CHANGE MY E-MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR RECORDS TO email@example.com!
I thought it important to share the details of our Home Assignment with you so that you would understand both our journey AND what the purpose of this time is. While we were packing, I came up with a short “vision statement” for our time here, “Make new memories, cherish the old, PROCLAIM what God has done, and seek Him for our future.”
Having this constantly before me helps me to remember that God has ordained this time to CONNECT with family (especially my adult kids and extended family), re-connect with my church family, friends, and supporters, and really seek the Lord on what He has for my future personally, in ministry, and in the missional picture of what He is doing to reach the Nations. While this IS specific, I still struggle to come to grips with this “sudden” shift in my purpose. Living and serving at Rift Valley Academy is an intensely busy, stretching, and fulfilling life and it feels like that has come to a sudden stop. Perhaps answering these “Frequently Asked Questions” will help YOU know why we’re here, why we STILL need your support, and HOW you can pray for us during this season!
1) Where are you staying and how can I contact you?
We are staying at the Mission House at our home church, Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist Church, in San Diego, CA. You can reach me at this NEW E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org or on FACEBOOK – Michelle Michaud Gennaro. You can read previous updates at cmgennaro.aimsites.org. Private message me if you need my phone number.
2) How are your kids doing? Where will they go to school?
All of the kids are well! They were a big part of the decision to be here for a year. It is time for us to be together as a family. Julia is about to start her Junior year at Biola University and works at Disneyland as an attractions hostess in Tomorrowland, the SAME job I did 30 years ago! Stay tuned for updates about her! Olivia finished her Aesthetics program in Maui, Hawaii and is currently with us in San Diego. She is preparing to take her CA State exams and will then be a licensed Esthetician (facials and waxing) and will begin the job search. The other four kids will attend Mt. Everest Academy, an Independent Studies site through San Diego Unified School District. I am praying this gives them a safe, small group environment in which to learn and a flexible schedule for the traveling I/we need to do. They are involved in two different youth groups, so they’re making new friends and nurturing the old ones! Jed will be a Junior, Silly a Freshman, Joseph in 6th, and Duane in 5th.
3) Do you have to get a job? What about your support?
No, I am still active with Africa Inland Mission and this is a PART of my assignment. The word used for missionaries who were temporarily “home” from the field used to be “furlough,” which means “leave of absence.” AIM does not use this term, but rather “Home Assignment” because we are still representing the organization, actively speaking in multiple contexts, connecting with supporters and/or raising needed support, and often carrying out assignments for the organization in THIS context. For this reason, my support and salary continue and the expenses generally INCREASE because of paying rent, etc. in the States. So, I still need your monthly support! Actually, I am SO THANKFUL for the part you play in keeping me serving both in Kijabe, Kenya AND here! My support level is strong, so I will only need to raise about $175/month while I am here! I still stand in AWE of the way God has provided through the obedience of the Body of Christ!
I am doing a lot of speaking here in San Diego and in Mexico with Mexico Caravan Ministries and Radius International. If you would like me/us to visit YOUR church, feel free to contact me! I’ll also be speaking at a Women’s Retreat in Maui in September!
4) How ARE you?!
A friend on our Uganda team used to say “FINE,” Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. Thankfully, that acronym doesn’t TOTALLY fit! While grief is a long and emotionally intense journey, I can say with confidence that we are all doing well with God’s help. Each of us handles it differently and we address the needs as they arise. Jed is currently having some more counseling and I saw my counselor this week to work through some transition stuff and just have a “check-up.” She said I’m doing well and that I don’t need her anymore. That’s good news, but I DID schedule an appointment for next month just in case! 🙂 It has been 2 1/2 years since Chris went Home, so we have managed to learn to live in this new family arrangement. He will always be missed and cherished, but the Lord has answered my prayers and kept His promises to carry us and to “work all things for the good” AND to use our suffering and testimony for His glory. We are learning more and more what that means to us personally and seeing Him do this.
5) How can I pray for you?
– That this time would be purposeful and achieve the goals we have set for this time.
– That the connections I/we make would lead to ETERNAL connections, so that God would use THIS time to reveal Himself through us and bring people into the Kingdom.
– That my kids would connect well and thrive in this new school setting.
– That God would make clear what He would have me do in the future, especially after Jed graduates.
– I also covet your prayers for me personally. Chris and I had talked about marrying again if something happened to one of us and I find myself ready to begin that part of my journey. Please pray with me for someone who would, as Olivia says, “fit right into our family” and be a partner in ministry and life with me. You can imagine all that this entails and the emotions and wisdom it requires. Yet, I truly believe that God SEES my heart, loves me, and knows how long I can handle all of this in “singleness.”
2 Chronicles 20 has been such an encouragement to me over the last couple of days and has given me the COURAGE to obey God in taking steps of faith in the above areas. Here are some of the things God has reminded me of through this passage:
“God HEARS ME and SAVES ME…We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon YOU… Do not be afraid or discouraged… The battle is not yours, but GOD’S… STAND FIRM and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… DO NOT BE AFRAID; DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED… God out to face __________ and the LORD WILL BE WITH YOU.”
A couple of additional highlights: The Lord fought their enemies ON THEIR BEHALF as they SANG PRAISES TO HIM and the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was AT PEACE, for his God had given him REST ON EVERY SIDE.”
You may pray this passage for me! Rest on every side sounds like EXACTLY what I need!
Gennaro kids (minus Julia) with their cousins on the Gennaro-Hill side. Note: they’re ALL crazy when they’re together, but Jed’s face is especially wacky in this picture! That’s not his REAL smile! Whew!
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