Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ups and Downs

(written by Mary)
Hello friends,

I apologize that we haven't updated for a while. We've been in limbo and haven't really known how to share the process of navigating all the frustrating little ups and downs.
Here's the short version of what's been happening:
About 2 and 1/2 months ago, we felt that God told us "I've given you what you need, it's time to go."
At the same time, Ben discovered that he had a hernia.
Mary took over Ben's work at the bamboo farm, while he began sorting out visa and work permit applications.
We thought we had things sorted out and were good to go.
About two weeks before our scheduled flights on the 3rd of May, we learned that the PNG Embassy in the U.S. can't process work visas - it has to be done in PNG.
We delayed our flights. Papers and phone calls started buzzing over the Pacific.
It turns out, the PNG department of labor just moved its office and has no office phones connected.
After days of hunting down numbers and being bounced around, we finally got a hold of the personal number of the head of the DLIR and learned that it's not enough to have a sponsor in country and a sending organization in the States.
Our work visas were not just delayed - they weren't going to happen!
One bright point in all of this, the Yamano (our people in PNG) discovered that they already have an association set up, they just haven't done anything with it for a few decades.
We learned that we could still make our flights with tourist visas - extendable to 90 days.
Here's the plan (unless God decides differently, which is totally possible):
We are flying for PNG on the 17th (tomorrow!). We'll spend three months in country strictly as tourists (that means no work, just language learning and making friends - which, coincidentally, is what we were planning on doing initially anyway).
During that time we're hoping to figure out with the Yamano folks how to get our work permits  processed.
We have ideas about how things will proceed from there, but only God knows.

Ben and I have been on a steep learning curve. We may have made every mistake in the book during this process. We learned along the way, that we don't handle stress and displacement as fantastically as we might have hoped (good to have the heads up though)!
We are thankful that while we were delayed, God blessed the time with opportunities to connect and say goodby to friends and family in the Portland area.

These last few weeks have been humbling. We are once again on a short rope, with God only giving us the next step. We are more aware than ever of our flaws and foolishness. While we were packing up our little cottage, a friend was somewhat jokingly saying, "No matter how badly you mess things up, God will accomplish His plans." Well, we're hanging our hats on that now!
Thank you all for praying and hanging in there with us through this time. We are so deeply grateful for the amazing people God has placed in our lives (that means you!).

Lord willing, our next update will be from Papua New Guinea.
Love and Blessings!
The Grimm Crowd

Monday, March 27, 2017


(written by Ben)
Hello again friends.
    It has been a long while since we last updated you and a number of developments have occurred. I should first thank all of you who have chosen to stand with us in this journey, to give counsel, to encourage, to pray and to share your needs. Mary and I are humbled to be honored with this task from our King. We are likewise humbled that so many friends have risen to the call and been so very strong when we were unable to see a way forward. God has blessed this path and is continuing to point the way forward into even more uncertainty, danger, and difficulty.

    While all the challenges are real, those of you who know us well understand the irony of my statement about what lies ahead. Mary and I absolutely love adventure and are eager to jump into the great plan laid out for us with the Yamano people. So I state simply: the time has come.
    We are finalizing our budget with Word Made Flesh well below what we originally planned for two reasons: First and foremost, our prayer for an answer about when to leave was answered overnight in not one but THREE conversations: I've given you what you need, Go! Each talk was with Christians who didn’t know one another and whose faith we trusted. Needless to say, we heard a message loud and clear. In talking with our team, we have encountered no good reasons to pause. This is great news. It means that our understanding of what we were told is clear, that we have enough, that God is commanding us to trust Him for the unknown quantities, and that we have the support of our community and our leaders. It is with a sense of great relief I can say “We are certain of our path”.
The details look like this: We will be going to PNG for about a year. After this first term we will revisit the 5 year project manager contract with Word Made Flesh. Our actual expenses are quite small and we will be performing the due diligence to fit what we need into about $1000 a month. There will be little room for extras, as has been our template in all things from Him. We plan on adding things like a retirement, life insurance, and project costs as secondary expenses later when we have better established what we will be doing in Baku village with the Yamano people. Our leave date hinges on a few hurdles: first, our work permits must be approved, visas will be issued contingent upon the work permits, and then we have to line up plane tickets. Given past experience, God has made a track record of rushing so I expect nothing less than a miraculous turnaround on our applications.
    Allow me to encourage you as you read this: your prayers have been heard and answered in intricate detail beyond even what my prying and study have found. It is a great thing that we all serve the same God who is capable of coordinating fractious people like us.

    In other news, I (Benjamin) have discovered a hernia and been scheduled for surgery on the 7th of April. This has been a terrifying moment for me and constitutes my greatest fear. I was wracked with tear-wrenching doubt about my ability to provide for Mary and Joya on that discovery. I was able to control my thoughts, yet I was still afraid. I made sure to declare my surrender to God’s will, whether He would heal me or no. And though I did my best to let go this last part of me that I held sacred, I was still afraid.
    But God was there too: Mary was able to seamlessly transition with me to switch roles. Orders at the farm were strong the last few weeks which allowed her to work as much as she wanted. In fact, between feeding Joya at night and working during the day she got more than she expected. Not only that, but we both found a new appreciation for what the other person does all day. I also do not feel so useless since now I can keep busy and do something meaningful. God also allowed me to get seen, diagnosed, scanned and scheduled for surgery in very short order. This was a relief from potential weeks of dead wait time.

    Moving forward, I will have several months of recovery time, some of which I will be doing in PNG. Please keep me in your prayers for a speedy recovery, not because I hold sacred the wholeness of my body or even because I doubt my ability to serve God with less than a complete body. Pray because I want to show the world that God can work in this too. Pray because He knows our fears and comforts us with His plans.

    May God bless and keep you, may He make His presence felt to you in dark places, may His sword stand ready over you and His shield protect you. Do all He commands you and do not fear; the God who made the earth and heaven delights in you.

In His Grace,

The Grimm Clan

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


(written by Mary)
Today is Joya's fourth monthiversary.
For her birth we received a number of beautiful handmade quilts and blankets. Because our little place has a hard time retaining heat, I hung some of them up over the larger windows.
One is a beautiful arrangement of greens, purples, and blues that always makes me think of peacocks. It was a gift from a woman at the ceramics studio I attended briefly this summer.
Joya absolutely loves it. As soon as she catches sight of it she begins to gurgle and coo. She'll go on talking to it for minutes at a time.
At the bottom of the quilt there is a special blessing:
"Welcome, Joya Tov. I give you the audacity of hope."
Those words catch at me every time I read them.

I have always struggled with trust - trusting people, trusting my husband, trusting God.

This season has been one for learning trust and the audacity of hope.

Joya is a manifestation of hope. Her middle name means good. Not just 'fine' but good as in complete, whole, beautiful.
Before I became pregnant, I wrestled with the idea of having children. It terrifies me to think of all of the pain in store for a new little person brought into this world - pain I cannot protect her from no matter how hard I try. It terrifies me to think of the days she will reject me and walk away with my heart trailing from her shoestrings (if she's wearing shoes). To put it simply - as a dear friend did for me - I did not trust the goodness of God.
God gently minded me that He is the giver of life, and it is in His hands and His heart to make a life good and beautiful. I have only the responsibility to love and obey.

During the summer while I was pregnant with Joya, a dear friend died terribly and without warning. Even as I walked under the burden of a new hope, this weight of grief buffeted my trembling conviction. With more urgency than ever before, I mined the scriptures and pleaded for answers.
Answers came, clear and incomprehensible.
God is good, when I do not see His goodness.
His plan is good, when I do not see how He could ever right the horrors that have taken place.
He is merciful, when I am in anguish and when those I love are being battered relentlessly.
There is a new thing growing in me.
It is faith - untethered to experience, exulting in its own audacity, powerful.

Now as we pace forward, waiting for God to say "Go!", old habits of anxiety play across the surface of my mind and heart. Deeper down, there is peace that thrums in resonance with this faith.

"I give you the audacity of hope."

All of you who have met Joya have already met her incredible, gummy whole face smile.

Today, she laughed for the first time!

She is truly joyful, and she is our good gift from God in more ways than we can imagine.

Love and blessings to all of you.
Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement.

The Grimm Crowd

Friday, January 27, 2017

Slowly but Surely

(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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

It's 2017!

(Written by Mary.)
Happy New Year, dear friends!

2016 was full of surprises, blessings, and challenges. I am curious and excited about what this coming year will hold.

January is a special month for our family. It was on January 1st, 2014 that Ben proposed to me. In 2016, we met the recruiter for Word Made Flesh, we started going to the Church we are now so blessed to be members of, and little Joya's life began all in the month of January.

Now our beautiful little girl is almost three months old. Ben is an EMT. I officially have my Masters in Linguistics. And we have the funds for our Romania training trip as well as half of our monthly support for Papua New Guinea raised ($1,500 to go). God has been kind to us in a multitude of ways.

I know last year was very hard for many though. We continue to grieve with our dear friends who lost there son/brother in June. We seek God's grace and ministry on marriages that are struggling. We ask God's healing for those who have been battling illness. We pray for God's hand on our nation and our president as many are divided and fearful over his coming term. And we confess that we have not done all we might have to alleviate suffering. May we serve God and man with greater love in this coming year.

Thank you to all of you who have ministered to us. I cannot count how many times this last year we have thanked God for the gift of good friends and sound counsel. It has been humbling to know our need. Grace is easy to talk about, difficult to receive.

I mentioned before that we no longer have a set date for our departure overseas. That is still the case, but we have seen God's hand at work preparing us to go soon. With that in mind, we are gathering the supplies we will need, raising funds and prayer support, and putting everything in order so that when He says go, we can go.

May your new year be blessed, and may God give you opportunities to adventure with Him!

With love and gratitude,
The Grimms

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Adventure Continues

(written by Mary)
Dear friends and family,

It's hard to believe it is already mid December. I think I start half of our blog posts amazed at how much time as passed. Little Joya is over two months old! Can you believe it?

Here's what's been happening in our lives:
We finally got moving on fundraising, and by God's grace and provision we are a third of the way there for long term support. That means we have a little under $2,000 more of monthly support to raise.

Joya has been growing like a weed. Around Thanksgiving we were blessed with the opportunity of taking a roadtrip to speak with a couple Churches and introduce Joya to family and friends. She is a little champion when it comes to traveling!

We no longer have an exact departure date for our Romania training or first term in PNG. 2017 is a blank slate besides a planned fundraising/partnership building trip to Grants Pass, OR in January. So many times we have tried to project forward, set a date, and run with it. So many times we have been set back down again and given another piece of the foundation God is building before we leave.
This time around, I am at peace - which is a big deal for me (all of you know how impatient I can be). We are trying to be faithful to submit each step to God, follow through with the things He has placed in front of us, and trust Him to take us when and wherever He wants us to go.
That being said, my not so secret hope is that we will get to go early this spring!

We have been blessed and humbled in the process of fundraising; but I have not felt humiliated (the fear of which paralyzed me for a long while). We have received aid and advice from unlikely places, been surprised by generosity when we were most dispirited, and continued to feel the steady, affirming flow of God's movement sweeping us forward towards His work for us in Papua New Guinea. Right now, we are called to work, serve, and prepare faithfully. With your prayers and God's grace we will continue to do so.

Ben would like your prayers as he awaits news on his pending state EMT endorsement which is required for his employment with an ambulance service - this would give him continued education and practical application in the area of medical aid. He is also praying about pursuing training in computer coding as this would potentially give him a way to help support us remotely or at least when we are visiting in the states.
You're all probably familiar with the 'tent maker' model of missions - essentially, Ben hopes to be able to support our family as much as possible so that donated funds can go directly towards project needs such as printing literacy material, hosting skill training workshops, and supporting the men and women who give up there time to work with us on Bible translation and language training.  
Please pray for wisdom and discernment as he strives to balance the desire to be our family's provider with humility and trust in God's provision and direction.

We are praising God for His goodness to us in this season of preparation. He continues to provide us with everything we need and to affirm us in pursuing this path to missions in PNG. Every time we share about what He is doing and what we hope to do in the field, I remember that His plans are so much bigger than our own, His vision so complete, and His love for the people of Papua New Guinea so much greater than ours can ever be. We are blessed and humbled that He has invited us to join the work!

We can never thank you enough for all of your love, prayers, and support. You are part of the work He is doing too! May He bless you in your own areas of ministry. May you be faithful and obedient in all that He sets before you. We are honored and ever amazed at the way God works in and through His people.

With love and immense joy during this season of celebrating our Savior,
Benjamin, Mary, and Joya Grimm

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Written by Mary.
The month of September is quickly coming to a close. Ben is finishing the last few days of his EMT training, and Mary is growing rounder by the minute.

This month has been full of blessings.
For those of you who don't know, Ben has been taking a month long intensive course out in the Okanogan forest, learning about how to respond to medical crises in a remote location. When he is finished he will have four certificates: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Wilderness First Responder, Medical Person in Charge, and First Aid/CPR. We are both thankful for the security that this training will provide when we are living in our remote village in PNG. God answered our prayers for Ben to be able to focus on and retain the information he is learning in his course. He loves the information, has been diligent in his studies, and has done well in all the exams and practicals so far. His final is coming up on Thursday (the 29th), so keep him in prayer!
While Ben has been away, Mary has been staying with some dear friends in Bellingham

anticipating the arrival of the Grimmling sometime in the next few weeks.