Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Some Family News

     We have not shared any family news in long time, and a lot has been happening, so I’m going to use this update to catch you up.
     We had two graduations in May. Caleb graduated from high school.  He will be attending Lesley University in Cambridge, MA next year, where he is signed up to study Illustration.  We feel that Lesley is a great fit for him, and hope he will thrive and grow there as he discovers his talents and interests.  He is going to be working at Worcester Art Museum this summer as an assistant teacher for their children’s classes.
     Jared also completed his program in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R). He really toughed it out over the winter, traveling every day to Boston on the commuter rail. He is applying for entry level jobs in his field, which is always a tricky process. 
     Max has been living at home since Rick’s illness, and just got a job as a restaurant server. It has been good to have him on hand, especially when Rick is away. 
     Our family has talked and dreamed of visiting Europe for many years (it was always so close, as we traveled through on the way to Liberia) and the timing seemed just right this year to make it happen.  We spent about two weeks in central Italy and France at the beginning of June, just ahead of the crowds and the heat. We saw the sights and the museums until our legs felt like rubber, but we feel like we made the most of it.
   Probably the most powerful day of the trip was the day we spent touring Utah and Omaha beaches in Normandy and visiting the American cemetery. Our guide told stories that made us think “God was there.” 
     Rick left on June 29 for Liberia, and will be there through most of July.  The SIM Liberia team is slowly transitioning back to normal operations.  Our new country director, David Writebol, returned in June along with his wife Nancy (the Ebola survivor) to take up his new position.  The other missionaries are also getting back.  Dr. Fankhauser and his family have been there for several months already. They all recently enjoyed a visit from Dr. Kent Brantly and his family.  In addition, work has resumed on the new ELWA hospital complex.

As the team and staff at ELWA come back together, please pray for them. As we learned after our evacuations from Liberia due to civil conflict, you don’t just pick up where you left off.  Things happened in the interim that might have changed everything. It takes grace and patience and understanding to put the organization back together.  

Also, please continue to pray for EBOLA TO END in West Africa. It was just about a year ago that the first Ebola cases came to ELWA Hospital. Sadly, after over a month of zero cases, at least one death due to Ebola was reported in Liberia this week. Twenty to thirty cases continue to be reported every week in Sierra Leone and Guinea.  The ongoing situation is no longer in the news, but efforts to contain and end this epidemic continue to require attention and resources in the region.

Thanks for your ongoing support and prayers for us, our family and the ministry in Liberia.
For the Kingdom, Rick and Debbie