Twenty-two years ago this month I was busy packing and preparing to leave the U.S. for a new adventure in Eastern Europe. I really had no idea how long I would be there or what was ahead of me. All I knew for sure was that the Lord was opening a door for me and leading my steps. Moving into former Communist territory held many unexpected moments. Having been born and raised in eastern North Carolina where people are friendly and smiling and the weather is mild my first shocks were definitely the cold temperatures and solemn faced people who never smiled.
Thankfully, I can say that over the years I came to deeply love the people and places that were such a mystery to me at the beginning. It seems like just yesterday I left behind my home, family, and all that was known to me and the years definitely passed quickly. My heart rejoices in the many experiences, opportunities, and watching the Lord at work. MTEE truly allowed me and other missionaries to serve as we followed Christ and at the same time with a common vision to help train the nationals to do the work God was calling them to do and support them spiritually and financially.
As the book of Ecclesiastes tells us in chapter 3, verse 1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”. I watched carefully as different ones sent to the field came and went, as Bible schools opened in the different nations and then finished their course, as students became pastors and leaders, and as different projects such as developing Sunday-school curriculum in Bulgaria began and came to an end.
Each moment when I thought my season was coming to an end, the Lord opened new doors and opportunities and let me know that my time wasn’t up yet – and the years just kept passing. After so many years the places that had been so unknown to me became “home” and the people “family.” One of the prayers that had been a constant in my life was that the Lord would allow me to be at home to support my family, especially my parents, when needed. I strongly believe in the command to honor your father and mother.
In the fall of 2015 not only did I see the need, but for the first time had peace and assurance that my season was getting ready to change and it was time for me to return to my original “home.” I said good-bye to Bulgaria with lots of tears, but knowing that “family” there was well able to carry on the work of the ministry that God had entrusted into our hands and an assurance that I will be back to visit them from time to time and see how they are progressing.
The Soup Kitchen for the needy in Lovech will be continuing as well as Women’s Ministry and ministry in the villages that I had been a part of. There are also opportunities for Bible training with gypsies that MTEE is involved with. I returned to the states in November of 2016 just in time to help take care of my Dad who went to be with Jesus on February 13, 2017. I continue to stand in awe at the goodness of our loving Heavenly Father who hears the cries of our hearts and honors them as we are faithful to Him.
I will now be continuing to help MTEE with communication (for at least a season) and making sure that the needs in Bulgaria for the work are provided for. As many years have been spent in training nationals they are well able to handle the tasks, but are often lacking the financial resources. This is where we come in and continue to assist. Many thanks to all of you who have personally supported me and MTEE through all these years. Together we have made and will continue to make a difference in parts of the world where the Gospel is still greatly needed. Your continued support and prayers are appreciated.