God's Plans, Not Ours- Written by Dylan
As many of you already know the plans for this year have changed drastically for Holly and I in the last couple of months. There were some immigration mix-ups in Ecuador this past January. Due to those issues, we cannot return back to Ecuador until later this year. This has completely changed the course of 2018 for us, so we would like to fill you in on what we will be doing this year.
The main decision Holly and I have to make in 2018 is where we feel like the Lord is leading the two of us to plant our roots.
We will be travelling internationally with International Church Planters about 4 months out of the year. The rest of our year will be spent working with ICP stateside. Holly and I have the freedom to choose where we will make our primary residence. In order to help make that determination, we have decided to split the first half of our year between Arkansas and North Carolina since we cannot return to Ecuador until later in the year.
To help us make this decision Holly and I are trying to be as involved as possible in our churches in each respective location to try to get a feel for where the Lord is calling us to live. We are excited about the opportunities that the Lord has placed before us thus far to be missionaries in our own backyards. It is our desire to be able to use the experiences that the Lord gifts us with overseas to minister to the local church right here in North America.
Holly and I will be returning to Ecuador a couple of times towards the end of the year, but we will be in the US until then. What are we doing while stateside? I am so glad that you asked!
Holly is the new "Social Media Maven" for International Church Planters. This means that she is now in charge of all of the ICP social media accounts, managing the website, updating the blog, and sending out newsletters. On top of her work on the technical side of things, Holly is enrolled in a class online right now to finish her Bachelor degree. I am the "Director of Partnership Mobilization" for International Church Planters. This title is fairly all-encompassing. I do a lot of logistical work for the organization. This includes things like buying plane tickets, reserving rooms and transportation, communicating with volunteers, securing translators, and working with on the ground partners to prepare for our short-term trips. I also am responsible for volunteer recruitment and networking for the organization. This means that I look for individuals that God might be calling to travel with us on a specific trip. This also includes reaching out to churches and speaking with them about the different ways that they could partner with International Church Planters to mobilize their congregation to equip the church of God in places like Ecuador, Kenya, and South- East Asia.
In addition to these responsibilities, there are some personal goals that Holly and I are working towards together. Holly and I are focused first and foremost on glorifying God with our lives. We cannot do that if we are not seeking him and our marriage is not healthy. With that being said, we are focusing very heavily on our marriage. We want to make sure that we begin on the right foot and that God is all over, in, and around every aspect of our relationship. In addition to focusing on our marriage, we are both focusing heavily on seeking the Lord with our "whole heart" as written in Psalms 119:1. For us, this includes spending time reading and studying God's word to learn more about him and better equip us to serve him. One of the things that I am doing to grow spiritually and prepare myself for the work of the ministry is studying systematic theology. Another aspect of our personal growth is language learning. Even though language school in Ecuador isn't going to be an option for us this year we can still spend time studying Spanish ourselves. We are excited that the Lord continues to equip us more and more for the work that he has set before us.