Well folks, it’s been far too long since we’ve posted (goodness, do I start every blog that way?). We returned from Kenya & India over a year ago, but an exceptionally busy few months have come and gone. We wrapped up the project with the RCA over the summer and want to update you on a few things.
First of all THANK YOU! Here’s a quick video we put together to express our appreciation for each of you and what we’ve been able to do.
We praise God for answered prayer over the course of this project. Many of you have been alongside us from the beginning (almost 3 years ago) and you know the many stories of how God provided. We had ups and downs — turnover in RCA staff and a tumultuous time in our own home church among them — but we have so much to be thankful for. We had good health, safe travels, and financial support on all our trips. And apart from the practical details, God enriched us spiritually in ways beyond what we imagined.
In each country we visited we truly had a sense of God being at work through the local church and missions there. The church is the one institution created by Jesus in his time on earth. Not a government, not an NGO, not a restaurant, not a company. The church (Matthew 16). This affirmed in us our own desire to serve the local church.
International, short-term missions can serve a purpose for those blessed to serve and those blessed by service, but God’s day-in-day-out plan for ministry is lived out locally. People in Nicaragua, Brazil, Romania, South Africa, Kenya, and India need the gospel — and there are people there equipped to share with them. But people in Coralville, Iowa City, Sibley, Pella, Des Moines, and your town need the good news too. And you’re the person called to tell it to them. They are so much closer, and sometimes feel so much harder to reach.
That local missions are important is especially on our mind as we field a couple big life changes. First off, we’re parents! Judah Honken Bouwers came into our lives a little over a month ago, and we’ve learned so much already about God’s heart for his children. We’re also humbled by how much we have yet to learn. Secondly, we’re moving! To Des Moines. This means new jobs, new church, new neighbors, new friends, new almost everything. We know God is at work there, and we’re already praying for eyes to see how we can get plugged in to what He’s doing. We know many of you are praying right alongside us.
We want to leave you with links to most of the videos we’ve compiled for the RCA. There are some shorter pieces done for social media that aren’t here, but these are the biggies (choose CC in the lower right hand corner for captions):
The India video cannot be shared openly online for security reasons, but we can share it with our supporters via a password. Contact us for that information if/when you want to watch.
You’ve also seen our writing and photos in the RCA Today and RCA Bulletin. The denomination has all our photos and footage, and we pray they can use it to bless each of those ministries in the months and years ahead.
Once again, thank you for your prayers and support. We’re calling a wrap on this project, but we know God’s work is not finished yet! God’s blessing to you on the journey.