No Longer Missionaries

If you were not aware, our last newsletter as missionaries went out in December 2018. You can see it at this link : https://mailchi.mp/b013b5ba8b16/our-last-symanzik-mission-update?e=cb1bbf8d26.

Vol 6, Issue 3 - October - December 2018. Our Last Newsletter My wife Beth and I are truly thankful for the rich history of grace shown to us through the people of our sending church, Tyrone Covenant Presbyterian, and all the other churches and people that have supported our years of missionary service. Whatever success we have had, we know that the source of that success is found in God's grace and, to be more specific, through the grace that God caused to flow through the ministry of His people.

Yet, if there is one thing that we have learned as a family, it is that although God himself does not change, his world certainly does. When we first joined missions we were trained to be FAT: flexible, adaptable, and teachable. That lesson has been invaluable for helping us to adapt to our changing environment no matter what part of the world we have found ourselves living.

Our permanent move back to the US from the Philippines in late May of this year was a huge transition for us, one for which we are quite thankful. However, we came back without a clear direction: should we continue in missions or retire from the missionary phase of our lives? We decided to not make a rash decision but instead to stay the course in missions as we continued to be open to other possibilities. Our support level was low, especially for living in the States, so I began raising support because we knew that if we were going to stay in missions, at the very least we needed to be at full support.

We have now been in the US for over six months and God has allowed us to purchase a home, get our kids into a good school, and enjoy time together as a whole family. We have also better come to grips with what our family will need in order to thrive financially, especially in light of the fact that Beth and I are in our late 50s. Increasingly in recent months it has become clear to me that even on a fully supported missionary salary, I will not be able to properly provide for my family. As a husband, caring for my wife, including after I am gone or unable to work anymore, is a very high priority. For this reason I believe that the only proper course of action for me is to retire from missionary service and seek other employment as the Lord allows.

We have not come to this decision lightly or quickly. In some ways it would have been easier to have arrived at this decision in June; I would not have invited people to partner with our ministry, for one thing. But I know that if I would have decided to retire from missions in June, I would have always wondered, "could it have worked out?" Well, now I know, with regard to our family at least, what the right decision is. I would like you to know that because this decision was not made quickly or lightly, that I am all the more certain that this is the proper course of action for our family. I hope that you can appreciate the time, energy, anguish, and prayers that have led us to this decision.

Finally, you will wonder what is to become of Midwife-EMR and especially the three Christian maternity clinics that are dependent upon it in the Philippines. I am happy to report that my retirement is only from full-time missionary service, but not completely. I will be transitioning to volunteer status with LightSys Technology Services (our mission organization) which will allow me to continue to support these three clinics and the Midwife-EMR system indefinitely in my spare time.

I thank you again for your support of our ministry and family. We have been so blessed to have been sent by God's people into the mission field, and we have been so blessed by your warm reception upon our return. Our hope and prayer is that we may continue to mutually, "encourage one another, and all the more as [we] can see the great day coming closer" (Heb. 10:25).

Updates

I've been really bad at keeping this blog updated. To say a lot has been happening these past few months is an understatement.

James has glasses now

Ben has his learners drivers permit

Our family at a tree farm along with David, Mikayla's boyfriend

We continue on the path of life, seeking God first in all our ways.

The biggest news is we've sent out our last newsletter as missionaries. Kurt starts a job January 2nd. Below is the main article from our last newsletter.

Our Last Newsletter

My wife Beth and I are truly thankful for the rich history of grace shown to us through the people of our sending church, Tyrone Covenant Presbyterian, and all the other churches and people that have supported our years of missionary service. Whatever success we have had, we know that the source of that success is found in God's grace and, to be more specific, through the grace that God caused to flow through the ministry of His people.

Yet, if there is one thing that we have learned as a family, it is that although God himself does not change, his world certainly does. When we first joined missions we were trained to be FAT: flexible, adaptable, and teachable. That lesson has been invaluable for helping us to adapt to our changing environment no matter what part of the world we have found ourselves living.

Our permanent move back to the US from the Philippines in late May of this year was a huge transition for us, one for which we are quite thankful. However, we came back without a clear direction: should we continue in missions or retire from the missionary phase of our lives? We decided to not make a rash decision but instead to stay the course in missions as we continued to be open to other possibilities. Our support level was low, especially for living in the States, so I began raising support because we knew that if we were going to stay in missions, at the very least we needed to be at full support.

We have now been in the US for over six months and God has allowed us to purchase a home, get our kids into a good school, and enjoy time together as a whole family. We have also better come to grips with what our family will need in order to thrive financially, especially in light of the fact that Beth and I are in our late 50s. Increasingly in recent months it has become clear to me that even on a fully supported missionary salary, I will not be able to properly provide for my family. As a husband, caring for my wife, including after I am gone or unable to work anymore, is a very high priority. For this reason I believe that the only proper course of action for me is to retire from missionary service and seek other employment as the Lord allows.

We have not come to this decision lightly or quickly. In some ways it would have been easier to have arrived at this decision in June; I would not have invited people to partner with our ministry, for one thing. But I know that if I would have decided to retire from missions in June, I would have always wondered, "could it have worked out?" Well, now I know, with regard to our family at least, what the right decision is. I would like you to know that because this decision was not made quickly or lightly, that I am all the more certain that this is the proper course of action for our family. I hope that you can appreciate the time, energy, anguish, and prayers that have led us to this decision.

Finally, you will wonder what is to become of Midwife-EMR and especially the three Christian maternity clinics that are dependent upon it in the Philippines. I am happy to report that my retirement is only from full-time missionary service, but not completely. I will be transitioning to volunteer status with LightSys Technology Services (our mission organization) which will allow me to continue to support these three clinics and the Midwife-EMR system indefinitely in my spare time.

I thank you again for your support of our ministry and family. We have been so blessed to have been sent by God's people into the mission field, and we have been so blessed by your warm reception upon our return. Our hope and prayer is that we may continue to mutually, "encourage one another, and all the more as [we] can see the great day coming closer" (Heb. 10:25).

Still Here

We moved to the states the end of May and into a house the beginning of August. In the meantime, this blog program crashed, but my handsome computer husband has resolved the issue, so hopefully it will stay up and running and you'll hear more from me than you have these past few months.

Firsts

James and Ben are having lots of "firsts" here in the USA. James is doing cub scouts for the first time,

selling boy scout popcorn for the first time

learning to play the clarinet and is in the 5th grade band.
He's mowing the grass with a reel mower,

playing on a community soccer league,

experiencing cold weather for the first time ever.. Ben is playing American football for the first time,

going to a big high school for the first time,

carving a pumpkin for the first time in his memory,

getting ready for his first homecoming dance, having a job that pays for the first time,

experiencing cold weather for the first time in 12 years - he was five when we moved to the Philippines so life in the USA for him now is almost as new to him as it is to James..

(I don't know why all the pictures turned sideways..will try to get that glitch fixed soon)

Setting Up House

Moving to the USA after 11 1/2 years overseas entails starting all over again - with bedding, blankets, towels, dishes, pots and pans, utensils, silverware, purchasing a car, obtaining coats for cold weather,..the list could go on..

but I want to attest to God's faithfulness and abundant grace and blessing..

I look around my house and see the hand of God everywhere.

Every piece of furniture, piece of silverware, dish, glass, towel, bedding tell the story of His grace, of how the Isrealites could walk the desert 40 years and have nothing wear out, of how His eye is on the sparrow and how He watches over me and my family, of how He knows the numbers of hairs on my head, He knows my name, and He, as a loving Dad, wants us to ask Him for needs and desires.

He has blessed beyond measure in this transition from Davao, Philippines to Goodrich, Michigan.

Furniture has been given to us, pulled from storage, found along the roadside as someone is throwing out items no longer needed, or purchased at incredibly low prices from yard sales and thrift shops.

The same story holds true for silverware, glasses, dishes, towels, bedding, and clothing.

One morning I was telling my Abba I'd really like a cheese grater and later that same day a neighbor from across the street came over with some pots, a cheese grater, and some silverware asking if I'd like all those items..of course I said 'yes' and thanked her for the blessing and thanked my Abba God for His provision.

And Psalm 145 plays through my head often - “I will extol You my God and King and bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You and praise Your name forever and ever. Great are You, Lord, and greatly to be praised and Your greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend Your works to another and declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds, and I will declare Your greatness....”