(written by Mary)
January has been a joyful whirlwind of a month.
Each week has held something wonderful.
On the first Sunday of the year, we made a new friend. Ibi, from Nigeria, works for the UN as the resident artist. He facilitates peace talks, holds art therapy
workshops, and shares the power of art with children and adults all
around the world. His art work shouts of God's love, the hope of
reconciliation and new life, and the heights, depths, humor, and magic
of the human journey. We were so inspired and blessed by Ibi's simple,
bold wisdom and joy-filled demeanor. Take a little time to check out his
work. He has an artist page on FaceBook - Ibiyinka Alao. What a gift to
meet such an amazing brother in Christ!
That first week of January, my dear friend came out to visit us from Colorado. We have known each other for over thirteen years and have witnessed each others ups and downs, the ins and outs of our stories. I remember her first home as a married woman and her first child. Now she has shared in this special season years later with Ben and I. I can always rely upon my friend to challenge my thinking. This visit did not disappoint. Late night conversations brought tears as well as laughter. Her visit left me with a deepened sense of God's unfailing love and purpose moving like a river underground.
The second week of January brought two wonderful blessings. We had the joy and privilege of being a part of a missions event at Foothills Household of Faith Church. We got to share about the vision for WMF-Papua New Guinea and hear other missionaries share their stories. We met Church planters from Mongolia, veteran missionaries to Asia and the Middle East, and a young man who will be working in Indonesia. It was inspiring to see God's hand at work across generations and continents - a reminder of His tremendous love for the world and His purpose to heal and redeem every part of our being. We serve a God who is with us and for us - Emmanuel.
The second part of the week, I had the immense blessing of reuniting with some of the amazing women from my undergraduate years at George Fox University. We spent the weekend sliding around on a frozen lake, hiking, laughing, and generally celebrating each other.
Joya met some more of her "Aunties" and got to show off her newest achievement - rolling over onto her tummy.
The third week of January, Ben and I went on a road trip. We got to see my sister in Portland, share our missions vision and reconnect with friends in Grants Pass, spend some time with good friends on the coast, share at my parent's Church in McMinnville, catch up with more friends, and attend Ben's cousin's wedding. We are so grateful for God's blessing on our fundraising efforts and for the love and support of all of our dear family and friends as well as the new friends we are making along the way. By some miracle, God has finagled it so that Ben is still able to work and take care of our family with all of this traveling and flexible scheduling. We are overwhelmed with His love and provision.
Now we are home again. This week we had a remote meeting with our executive director with WMF and got some things squared away as well as some preparation homework. We have roughly $1,800 in long term monthly support pledges - the goal is $3,200. We have funds set aside for our air fare and are working on our gear list. Slowly but surely, things are coming together!
Thank you to all of you wonderful people who have walked with us through thick and thin. We are grateful for your prayers, encouragement, advice, and support.
May God bless you with opportunities for obedience and growth. May you flourish in whatever ministry He has placed you in!
We love you all,
The Grimm Crowd