Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Back Story (Abridged Version)

Get ready for a whale of a post. Some of you have mentioned to me that they feel vague on what actually transpired for us to be moving to Ethiopia.  Here is the back story, recounted as quickly as possible. 

Setting the Stage: Jon and Amy got married in February 2008. Amy left the mission field with hopes of soon returning with Jon…wedded bliss, trips to Haiti, Mexico ensued, exploring future possibilities and visiting friends.

March 2010-We are parents! The Littles are ours!

April 2010-Bring The Littles home (Read about it here)

Nichols1large[2] 

Summer 2010-Not sure of exact time, but Amy’s heart finds much security and blessing in raising her babies on American soil, close to family. Amy decides that never “going” is okay, actually preferable…maybe somewhere down the road. Amy transitions from “goer” to “stayer”.

Summer 2010-Dear friends approach us about being Bible translators in Papua New Guinea. Jon and Amy realize their hearts are cold to the idea of moving and sacrificing “US blessings”.  “Thanks, but no thanks”. Wheels turn, Jon and Amy both are surprised by lack of willingness.

Gerst_036_web

September 2010-The happy family of 4 starts the adoption process again. Yay! Sweet toddler boy will soon join the family.

220085

(Sign says “We are gonna be big sisters!”)

Fall 2010-In God’s timing, Jon feels strongly like the happy couple should take “Perspectives on The World Christian Movement”. Amy, having taken the class, and not exactly wanting the husband to decide to move across the world, drags her feet.

January 2011-Jon and Amy begin Perspectives.

February 2011-Approached by a much-loved friend about serving full-time in Latin America. Jon and Amy pray their heads off. One day Jon feels sure it is God’s will and Amy is full of unrest. The next morning Jon thinks it is not of God and Amy is begging to go. Much flip-flopping of thought, fogginess and prayer. A time of discipline of the Lord starts in Amy’s life (Hebrews 12). Amy concludes off this scripture that God must really love her and takes comfort in that during this difficult time.

March 2011-Desperate prayer for clarity for the Little family. Looks like God is opening doors in this direction. Can’t pursue adoption at the same time. Prayerfully conclude that a third child is not in the near future for J&A. Amy grieves the child. She has already pictured this child in her arms, her home. Continue on through Perspectives.

April 2011- Yes, it looks like they are going to Latin America! Jon and Amy love the people, the ministry, the area of service, Amy speaks Spanish and Jon has a wicked Spanglish…wait. God says “no”. Wow. That wasn’t what they were expecting. A few weeks go by. Jon and Amy talk for hours about starting the adoption process again. Excited, Amy launches in…while discussing timeline one night, Jon realizes the amount of time the fam will need to stay in the US to complete the adoption, feels unsettled about it. Tells Amy he feels they should still be pursuing the mission field now and that she is acting relieved, like she is “off the hook” to moving out of the United States. Amy responds “Yes, we prayed about it, I finally surrendered it and God said “no”. End. Of. Story.

May 2011-E-mailed by another wonderful friend about a need for missionaries in Ethiopia. Amy wants to throw up. Jon praises God for His provision. Amy continues to feel the Lord’s discipline as He reveals many idols in her life and He continues to strip those from her.

June-July 2011-Amy knows this is clearly where God is leading but handles this by gritting her teeth and digging her heels into the ground. Doesn’t God know it is just TOO DANGEROUS? Taking babies into Africa is just crazy. Amy has decided that she likes her comforts and securities. I mean, it’s one thing for Jon and Amy to live in a hut, but her babies will NOT live in a hut! Amy spends many nights not being able to sleep, worrying about what is going to happen to her babies. Jon wonders where the woman he married went. “Where’s my wife who is always ready for adventure?” Amy responds, “ADVENTURE IS DANGEROUS FOR CHILDREN.”. Amy fears she may lose her mind. Close friends and family think she already has.

July 2011-God gives an Ebenezer to Amy. (Read about it here) Amy is humbled and trusts in God’s sovereignty. He loves The Littles more than she does.

August 28, 2011-Amy’s brother, Chad, gets married, after the wedding, denial over what God is calling their family to is over, Amy moves into grief. Grief over the “normal” life she wanted her children to have. She cries over the lack of grandparents in their life, not knowing their cousins, missing out on events, leaving church family. No more kicking and screaming, just lots of tears. Jon continues to be a rock.

GerstvacaandChadwedding6735

Fall 2011-More idols stripped from Amy’s life. Jon plans to be done with his job December 1st.

November 2011-Jon and Amy leave on an exploratory trip to Ethiopia to get all of their answers. Have to leave The Littles. Breaks Mama’s heart. God gives peace and resolution to Amy before she sets foot outside the Ethiopian airport (read about that here). God is faithful, The Littles had a party without Mama and Daddio. Many of Jon and Amy’s questions were answered but returned home with MORE questions. Great trip and Amy realizes the words of the world have become more important to her than the words of God.

December 1, 2011-Although the family has no plan to move, Jon feels he still needs to close out his job as a landscape designer. Leave for a quick trip to Phoenix to visit friends. Amy has to ignore the fact that Jon has no job on our return or she can feel slightly panicky. Jon is in discussion with various mission agencies, narrowing down the choices. Lots of prayer.

IMG_0726

December 19, 2011-Jon starts working on Amy’s family’s farm.

Early January 2012- Jon and Amy feel concerned about being so far from Jon during the work day. Jon leaves before the girls are awake, sometimes gets home after they are already in bed.

Early January-Mention to Aunt that living somewhere closer would be really convenient. Grandpa recently died and Grandma just broke her hip. Would she appreciate if the Jon and Amy clan moved in to help with her adjustment? Grandma has a large house and lives less than 2 miles from the farm, Grandma graciously agrees.

Three days later…The G family moves in with Grandma. Leaves cute, little home in cute, little town. The family feels sad but thankful for God’s obvious and immediate provision.

February 2012- Amy realizes that God has made her to be a “goer”. Since she was young this is exactly what she wanted to do. Amy begins to petition God to “bring her joy about moving and the mission”. Jon and Amy work on SIM application process/screenings, evaluations and Bible essays.

March 2012-It dawns on Amy she is feeling joyful and even a bit excited about life again.

April 2012-Put house on the market

May 2012-Jon and Amy are invited to a five day interviews/meetings with SIM in North Carolina, meet wonderful people at SIMStart, talk to many who have served overseas. SIM does not sugarcoat the fact that missionary service means suffering. Amy talks to woman who have lost their babes in faraway lands. Amy marvels at the joy of the Lord these families still have and Amy praises God that she still feels joy and peace amidst the description of the obvious hardships to come.

Ethiopia

May 20, 2012-Jon and Amy are invited to the SIM family. Couldn’t be more humbled or thankful.

June 2012-Buyer is interested in the house. Jon and Amy train and work on preparing for Relationship Development Ministry (RDM). Jon and Amy are assigned a people group and a region!

July 2012-Start RDM, compile list of friends and family, create first prayer letter.

Thanks to those people who have weathered my ups, downs and tears.

AND, if you are still with me, you are up to date. :)

14 comments:

Matt & Bekah said...

Amazing to read your journey thus far in a condensed version - thanks for the clarification. Oh Amy - I can feel your Mother heart, and the clenching and unclenching of your hands, as you release your dreams, your "Hallmark card" to God. My heart is there with you - I understand in some odd way. Love you!
~Bekah

Sarah said...

love this post..thanks for sharing!

Kristi said...

Gosh! GOD IS GOOD! I am astounded by his gentleness and sweetness towards his children.
Thanks for testifying!

Tifani said...

Thank you for sharing : ) This earth or aka the USA is not our home...I feel like that was your message!

nathan and rachel said...

Such a good post! Thanks for sharing your heart:)

Heather Hoerr said...

I was with you through the whole post :) even though I've know about all those different stages in bits and pieces, it was great to read through it as a brief timeline and get a whole picture of how God has worked in your hearts. love you!

Amber said...

Thanks for sharing honestly, Amy. Although never easy, I'm so confident that God has amazing things in store for your family!

Jarrin :: Raquel :: Rocky said...

jon & amy - thanks so much for sharing how God's worked in both of you. <3 so thankful you're moving towards His will with joyful hearts! Praising Him for the work in your hearts & lives! mucho amor de mexico!
raquel

Justin & Sarah said...

Wow....again, wow! Praying for continued peace and joy as you embark on this calling.

Joy said...

Love you both and thankful for the joy and peace that only HE provides. Grace to you as you hit the gas!

Sandra said...

love this journey! So neat to see how God is in it all!! (even the times when we drag our feet:)...which is easy to do).

Tiffany Nam said...

I know I only knew y'all for a few days. But 1. I can't wait till y'all come for SimGo so I can see y'all again 2. I am in love with your journey and your hearts for God. Thank you for your inspiration and honesty! Let me know when you come back to Charlotte!

Ashley Baner said...

Thanks for the timeline! Love your hearts in this!!

Liv & Brett said...

Oh Amy... I think I shoud get your number and save it in my phone so I can cry, laugh, and sing with you all along the way. I love you...