Friday, November 28, 2008

The Smiling Face behind the Frown of Providence

Here is an update we sent out to our prayer partners a few days ago. It explains our situation pretty well. We rejoice in our everlasting God who blankets us daily with His never ending care.

"Our God is definitely the God of all circumstances. There are times in our lives when we really just do not know what He is up to. In those times it is important to cling to the tri-fold truth that God is good, God is sovereign, and God is wise. Indeed His goodness, power , and wisdom are our sure anchors in all the storms of life.

I (David) write this in a prayer update because Katie and I feel as if we have just encountered one of those confounding times in which we were totally surprised.  The bottom line is that we will not be going to the field at this time. What!?!!?

I know, I know. We know, we know.  All of the inertia of the last year has led us to the point of serving with the International Mission Board as missionaries to Zambia. Indeed that is why you are receiving this email. You are our prayer partners for this mission endeavor. Many of you have given to us, prayed over us, and committed to partner with us in the work. The last time most of you heard from us it was at the beginning of our 8 week orientation in Rockville, VA. Now we are a few weeks from finishing that orientation and you are reading that we are NOT going to the field. Why?!!

Without taking up too much room in your inbox I will try to explain.  Ever since we have been at this orientation we have had to leave John David in day care every day.  This was very hard but we simply chalked the difficulty up to first time parents leaving a child for the first time in a pre-school environment.  After a few weeks had passed and John David was still not warming up to his peers at day-care his teachers raised concern. This concern sent us on a two week process of meeting with various medical professionals as we attempted to find out what this issue was.  

It has been determined that John David has a mild form of autism. At first we balked at such an assessment.  That was before we rightly understood how wide a spectrum the autism spectrum was. After talking with a few specialist, however, we concluded that this diagnosis is legitimate. 

What this means is that John David is going to need certain services that were not going to be available in our place of service in Zambia. That initial news flash was a blow to the gut. To hear, “you are probably not going to be able to go to Mporokoso” really knocked the wind out of us. The folks here at the IMB have been so gracious and accommodating to us. They tried to find other options for us but in the end it  was jointly determined that the best decision for us at this time, at least, would be to not go to the field right now.  It just did not seem wise, or kingdom profitable, to try and learn a new culture with little support structures as we try to simultaneously learn the “culture” of autism.

After much counsel and many tears the Lord has truly drawn near to us in this time. He has given us a peace about our decision and a grace to not only be okay with our situation but even be excited about what he has for our family. We think about those in the word who were faced with trying circumstances for reasons they could not understand. Paul told Philemon that “perhaps” his servant had left him so that their reunion would be sweeter. Mordecai told Esther that “who knows whether you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this.” Behind these and many other Scriptural statements is the firm belief that our God engineers all events that ever come about for His glory and our good!  It might be difficult to always see exactly how that works itself out, but it always does.

Sorry for the length of this. We just feel like you all, as our covenant prayer partners should know the scoop. We still covet your prayers as we seek what the Lord has for us in our next chapter. Nothing has changed in our hearts. Our prayer is still the same: “God, take the wet wood that we call the sacrifice of our lives, light it on fire with a passion to know You, and let all who are around us simply watch us burn for Your GLORY!!” All that has changed is geography. We love you all and look forward to keeping you posted. Thanks to all of those who have already responded in prayer to God and encouragement to us.


Knees to the earth,


David , Katie, and John David

Trust not the Lord with feeble sense

But trust Him for His grace.

Behind a frowning providence

There hides a smiling face."



Robyn said...

What an incredible post. I can only imagine how heart wrenching it was when you finally understood that it was not God's timing for you to go to Zambia at this time.

I wanted to share with you a blog post that has meant alot to me and I think that it would perfectly fit you, also (

I just wanted to take the time to encourage you as your family begins this next step in our journey called faith.

Please let us know more about what is next for your family and more about John David's slight form of autism.

Leslie said...

Thanks for posting this update. We are praying for your family and that God will make the next step plain to you. We love y'all!