Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3
Happy New Year from Ecuador! Around here, the Año Viejo has been created, which is a monigote (large dummy), a representative of the old year. It is burned at midnight to symbolize the out with the old, in with the new. We are anticipating a loud night, complete with fires, loud music, parties, and fireworks until late New Year’s Day morning. We’ve been to town, checked out all the artistic renditions, had some pasta de chocolate, and have been playing family games all evening in the comfort of our casa,
Seeing as it is December 31st, the evening seems to naturally lend itself to reflection and reminiscing. While we have certainly done that year to year, this past 365 days has proven to probably be the year sporting the biggest changes for our family. In lieu of a Christmas letter this year, we thought we would share a bit of a recap:
- Shared with our families how God was working in our life and instructing us to “get mobile”
- God truly asking us for obedience without all the puzzle pieces in place
- We meet with Pastor Kirk and Gloria to tell them how God is working in our life and he shares how he was compelled to share Proverbs 16:3 with us that day – one of many confirmations in this path
- Joshua gets a deer hunting with Grandpa Bierle and Uncle Steve
- Plans being made to further heed God’s call to Ecuador – we realize this will may be our last Christmas at our house
- God provides a young, godly chiropractor to begin the transition as owner of Brad’s practice
- Kids continue their dog sitting jobs and brave the frigid temperatures
- Kids begin to talk about Ecuador in “real time” – what we should do there, what they think their home will be like…we see them embracing the changes to come by trusting us as we trust our heavenly Father.
Certain distinctive relationships move us to act differently, love more deeply, and risk boldly. Such was Jesus’s effect upon the apprentices. They did not want the sort of life they once had apart from him. They’d been ruined for the ordinary. What they saw in him transcended everything they hoped to get out of this world. And when push came to shove, they just couldn’t leave him. He had the secret – the words of eternal life. —Sacrilege, p. 219
- Letter sent to all Brad’s patients regarding the upcoming transition
- God continues to speak to us in a variety of ways, strengthening and confirming his leading in our life on a daily basis in ways we would have never imagined
- The whirlwind of transition begins, but we feel an overwhelming sense of peace with every step taken
- Spoke at Abiding Savior to share how God is working in our life along with two other couples experiencing a similar leading
- Continue to marvel at how God was putting the pieces together with each and every step he put before us. He was ever faithful in showing us the “next thing” we needed
- A potential buyer is solidified for our home without needing to list it – a couple placed on our hearts back in November
- Sarah decides that moving to another continent is easier than addressing a letter.
- Continued preparation in all areas of life (work, home, church, family) to be ready to follow God’s leading (So thankful for the prayer warriors who walked this journey with us – and continue to do so!)
- Unexpected ice storm creates a mass amount of clean up at home and office
- Dr.Levi Darling takes over Brad’s practice – changes for staff and patients but God is ever faithful!
- We travel to Quito, Ecuador for vision trip and pray for confirmation of God’s will with this move
- The Travis family welcomes us to Quito and become a vital part of our transition
- Able to attend graduations for two of our godchildren – Martha Fritz and Ali Mogck
- The month is a whirlwind filled with Jacob’s baseball (thankful for the graciousness of team parents who stepped in to help us out), lots of continued purging, and finishing school. Josh and Tessa make the most of time with friends while they can
- Tessa gets her ears pierced
- Bierle Blessing Bonanza is held to sell our household items and ask for prayer support
- Packing and giving away of all our household items is completed
- Our home is sold to dear friends (Pastor Wade and Michele) who will love it as we did
- Brad’s parents graciously allow us to live with them for 3 weeks
- Goodbyes are said to dear church family, friends, and family
- Jacob successfully finishes baseball season and we leave from the state tournament to Minneapolis to spend a final couple days with Sarah’s family before departure
- We arrive at Alliance Academy International, Quito, Ecuador, on August 6th, 2013 and live in the school dorm for the first month, gaining special friendships for a lifetime
- We move to Calacali, Ecuador, to further support the ministry of the AAI Discipleship and Ministry Center. God continues to define our roles and ministry and we seek his direction in all that we do and say
- Brad begins leading Discipleship/Accountability/Nurturing (DNA) group for high school sports group
- Schooling at home begins for all three kids with mom and dad as teachers
- We continue to host and support the groups coming to Calacali
- We get our Ecuadorian visas and celebrate Thanksgiving with our new “family”
- Brad gets his Ecuadorian driver’s license so our bus trips might be greatly reduced as we now have the option to use the school vans and potentially purchase a car
- We host our first Christmas away from home with friends from Germany, Canada, Korea, China, and America
We marvel at the changes of this past year. We are amazed at God’s graciousness in safety and transition. We praise Him daily for children who have not only embraced their new life, but have been examples to us, as parents, in how to step away from the worldly items we often claim near and dear, with the focus on the eternal. We are in awe of God’s faithfulness that pours over us as we learn to fully trust in the Lord for each and every day’s provisions. We are thankful for the peace he provides when we fully let him lead, rather than follow our own earthly desires. Finally, we are humbled by the Christ-child who has taken people like us and released us from the bondage of sin so we might live together with him for eternity. How can we not praise him? How can we not seek him daily and follow him in every way? This amazing gift is free for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Romans 6: 22-23
It took us years to let God take full control of our life. We gave him parts, but not our all. Experience true freedom in him. Give your life fully to him today. You may not be called to Ecuador, but you are called to HIM. Listen to his voice. Follow Him.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and forever. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!