A Sabbatical of Sorts

What Is the Meaning of Sabbatical?

Sabbatical is defined as any extended period of leave from one's customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training.

It is a leave usually taken every seventh year.

I've had many ask why I've been in the USA for eight weeks in July - September and then again October - December.

Part of the reason I've been in the states so much recently is to help Mikayla get settled into college. We moved her into her dorm room at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain Georgia the third week of August and spent a week there with her.

I've also been there in October visiting her during her fall break.

Next week she will be here in Michigan for six days to celebrate Thanksgiving with me before I return to Davao.
On top of dealing with normal freshman college adjustments, many missionary kids, like Mikayla, deal with the added stress of adjusting to a new culture and dealing with parents being on a different continent.

I've also been here in the states to work on partnership development; talking with supporters and asking others to join our partnership team. We need to raise about 7% more support per month.
I've been enjoying talking with groups, individuals, going out for coffee, dinner, etc. Friendship and relationships are such blessings.

But, to be honest, a major reason I've been taking a break from life in Davao is because mission work can be stressful. And for myself the stress was starting to feel like a steam roller running over me. I wasn't handling it as well as I should've been.

Spent time at Baan Sabai a missionary retreat center.
Wonderful place run by a wonderful couple who understand
the unique stresses missionries face.

Like the prophet in Lamentations 3 I can say,

I am the man who has seen affliction He has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; He has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;
He has made me dwell in darkness...

my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, "My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord."

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him;

For the Lord will not cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?
Why should a living man complain,....?

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven:

"I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, "Do not close your ear to my cry for help!'
You came near when I called on you; you said, "Do not fear!'

Seven years over seas have been filled with blessings, joys, growth, heartache, tears and I praise God for His leading us to join missions. I look forward to continued working in missions.
Some of you may know I will be working on a masters in counseling as I desire to become more involved in member care for missionaries.

I've been enjoying healing times of friendship, laughter, change of pace while working through some issues.

When you bury a child, when life sometimes feels like a fiery furnance of anger and pain, .......even soldiers get r and r from the front lines of combat. And truth be known, I really miss my son, Jerard, and ache for him almost daily. Grief is like that. I know he is with Jesus. I know I'll see him again, but his presence and the meaning he gave my days is sorely missed.

This time in the USA has been relief, healing, fun, enjoyable.
December 3rd I will fly back to Davao for six months, and then our family will be returning to the USA for a much needed furlough, time with our church family, friends, family and continued working in missions from the USA.

And one thing I have found is that as I praise Him in the storms, hope renews.As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you,O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.These thingsI remember, as I pour out my soul:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.Hope in God; for I shall
again praise him, my salvation and my God.
(excerpts from Psam 42)