Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Land

9 summers ago, we left Mali for what we thought was a 4-month furlough in Seattle. Little did we know that we wouldn't return to Mali, that instead God would lead us to a "new land," a land filled with young people from every corner of the globe. These last 8 years, God has filled our home here at Gatehouse with 42 MKs who have lived in 36 countries. These have been rich years, indeed!

God is now leading us to a "new land," so to speak. Last fall, the Lord began to reveal that this was our last year as house parents here at Gatehouse. Some days this was a happy bit of news, but many days this year, we asked God if we could extend "just one more year." (We had "planned" on being here 10 years.) His consistent answer was, "No, I am leading you in new directions." As He did with Abraham, He hasn't exactly told us what those directions are, only "to the land I will show you." (Genesis 12:1)

And so, an era ends. The Gatehouse board has agreed to give us a year of sabbatical/furlough, while living in Seattle to be near my dad, who is in failing health and to be near our children and work to strengthen family relationships.

We believe that God will reveal the specifics of this new direction during our sabbatical year. We know that our hearts continue to be burdened for missionaries and their "globally nomadic families." We believe that God is leading us toward a national ministry, encouraging local churches and districts across the US to care for their missionaries more strategically. We also believe He is leading us toward an international ministry, encouraging missionary parents in their parenting role (here is where some of my parent coaching training will come into play).

Gatehouse has always been more than the physical location here in Redding, housing MKs. Gatehouse is a concept of caring for missionary kids and their families. We feel that the Lord wants us to strengthen His Church to fulfill its role in this care and to help missionary families thrive in ministry and family life, amidst their many life transitions.

Often, ministries flounder when the founders step away from their founding role. We, along with the Gatehouse board, and countless Gatehouse supporters, believe that Gatehouse is a ministry that should continue helping MKs to navigate the "new land" they enter when coming to the US for life after high school. Please pray that the Lord will continue to build up the Gatehouse family - the precious MKs He brings to this home.

And, lastly, a bit of trivia -

Did you know that my maiden name was "Nyland?" You guessed it - it means "new land!"

On the journey,