Exciting news!! Julia is engaged!! She will marry Joel Wallace, her sweetheart since 8th grade on January 15th, 2016!! We are all so excited to officially join the Wallace/Gennaro clans!
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the LORD of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the TIMES set for them and the EXACT PLACES where they should live. God did this SO THAT men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For IN HIM we live and move and have our being…”
(Disclaimer… there was a slight delay in the publishing of this post… my apologies!)
At some point in the last two years, God made this passage, Acts 17:24-28, one of my “peace verses.” It resurfaces in my mind during transition. It’s fitting that today, the two-month mark since our arrival back in California (9/17), those words are banging around in my head again. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been that long, for part of me feels like I have just awakened and realized that it’s time to embrace this place and intentionally DIG IN to what God has for me here.
Transition is no joke. For me, the most prevalent “symptom” of transition is a general feeling of fogginess and confusion. Imagine packing up your family in a few weeks, moving to a new country, and going from working at a break-neck pace in a fruitful ministry to a schedule that is in “flux.” Home Assignment is meant to be a time to rest, reconnecting with family, friends, and supporters, catching up on ministry-related projects, raising more support as needed, and seeking the Lord for the next term of service. For me, it means doing a lot of speaking. I learn so much about myself during these times. Unfortunately, I usually learn about the parts of me that are still weak and broken.
Over the last two months, I have been crying out to God for clarity and direction. He has been so gracious to use me in this time despite my weakness, brokenness, and confusion. FINALLY, over the last few days, He has revealed ways He desires to use me HERE in this “in between” season. I share these things here, not to “toot my own horn,” but to praise God for His faithfulness to answer my prayers that 1) my suffering would not be in vain and 2) that He would be glorified in my life AND in my brokenness. As a fully supported missionary, I am honored to represent my partners BOTH while I am in Africa AND when I am here Stateside. Another part of that is that I feel accountable to you to be “on task” and faithful to live out my call of obedience to proclaim God’s faithfulness to ALL Nations, including America.
Here are some of the ways He has used me lately on THIS side of the ocean:
- Comforting those with the comfort I have received. (from 2 Corinthians 1) This has been both a privilege and a faith-builder. I have found myself coming alongside my friends in the death of loved ones, through cancer journeys, and in the midst of depression and suicide.
- Mentoring and equipping. Almost immediately upon landing in San Diego, I found myself across the border in Mexico. In the first four weeks, I had at least five opportunities to speak into the lives of young people who were either experiencing cross-cultural missions for the first time OR preparing to GO into missions themselves. This gave me such purpose and comfort. It was as if I took a deep sigh of relief when I crossed that border into a more third world setting. The sights and smells of Tijuana were somehow more familiar to me, making me feel as if I could more gradually ease out of my life in Kenya. In addition, God was so gracious to allow me to see some of the fruit of previous times I had spoken in that context. Even in the depth of my sorrow and grief in the loss of Chris, He used my blubbery testimony to change lives and SEND people out. What JOY it gave me to learn that God is continuing to use Chris’ life to build His kingdom! It has also been an honor to mentor a dear friend as she and her husband prepare to GO in the coming months.
- Challenging and encouraging the Body of Christ. God has affirmed His desire to use my speaking and my testimony to both challenge and encourage the Body of Christ here. I have had a number of opportunities to speak to different groups at my own home church and am (even now) on a plan on my way to speak at a Women’s Retreat in Maui! I have also thoroughly enjoyed meeting one on one with friends and FACE-TO-FACE with Facebook friends who share the same journey as I do. This has been a HUGE blessing for me! In November, I will be the “missionary in residence” for Africa Inland Mission’s “Connect Week,” participating in the orientation of new candidates preparing to leave for Africa in the coming months.
Thank you for your faithful prayers for my children and me throughout many seasons. I know that God brings unity through our partnership and that He is glorified when we stand together. Please continue to pray for God’s direction as I seek to glorify Him in this time of waiting, seeking, and growing.
“Pray also for me that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:19-20