It’s really hard to believe that it has been 5 months since we packed up our home, said goodbye to our dog, and boarded a plane in Tanzania, arriving back in California. So much life has already taken place and a new little life has been welcomed into the world. That’s right, for any of our supporters who have not heard our incredible news yet, we are so pleased to announce the birth of our daughter, Promise Susan Stiver. Born on Friday, September 21st, at 10:14am. Weighing 8lbs 10oz, and measuring 20.5 inches long. The birth itself was not ideal, for Promise was born via an emergency C-Section, but we are so thankful and praising God for great health for both her and Melissa.
Other than Promise’s birth, our time thus far has been spent visiting family, being blessed by 4 (yes, four!) baby showers, visiting our supporting churches, going to several doctors appointments and birthing classes, and settling into life here on the Central Coast.
In this season of life here in CA, the Lord has pressed on our hearts Exodus 14:14 (as written above). We had been praying for wisdom in knowing what it looks like to wait on Him and be still. We had also been praying for a ministry position for Brandon to take up while we are here. After almost 5 months of being obedient and being still, the Lord heard our prayers and we are very excited to share that Brandon has begun a ministry position at First Baptist Church of Los Osos (the church that Melissa grew up in and that we got married in). The church recently came alongside another congregation that had fallen on hard times in the neighboring town of Morro Bay. The church has decided to hire Brandon to lead in the rebuilding of that congregation and lay the groundwork for whomever the pastor of the new church plant will be. We are excited for this Kingdom opportunity as we know that church plants are such a beautiful expression of the Gospel.
Additionally, being on a normal salary with the church will help us ﬁnancially. It has been a real difﬁculty at times to make a meaningful dent in our student loans while working on a missionary’s pay overseas and we look forward to making progress with the loans while we’re here.
Since we are on a regular income with the church, we are not fundraising for our efforts in Tanzania for the time being. We are so incredibly blessed to have the partnership of so many friends and family. We hope that you will continue (or begin, if you don’t already) to partner with us when we return to Tanzania next year to continue the work among the precious orphans of Kilimanjaro.
Some Questions You May Have
When will you return to Tanzania?
The short answer is sometime in 2013. There are different variables that could impact the actual date. First, we want to ready as a family of three to endure the difﬁculties of living and working in overseas ministry. Second, we will have to coordinate the time with both the church and the organization as we transition back to Tanzania. Our supporters, friends and family will be among the ﬁrst to know when we’re going back exactly.
Will you be fundraising and looking for supporters?
YES! Fundraising and ﬁnding ﬁnancial/prayer supporters is such a critical component of being a missionary. Once we have a better idea of when we’ll be going back, we’ll start getting the word out, fundraising and speaking at churches. We prayerfully hope that you’ll consider continuing your support of us and our ministry.
What about Awadhi and the kids at Treasures of Africa?
The hardest part about being away from Tanzania is not seeing the kids that we love so much. We of course know that, as always, they are in the very best of care with the other loving missionaries and staff at TOA. They are doing just ﬁne. People often ask about Awadhi in particular and without a doubt that special little guy is dearly missed as he has a special place in our hearts. When I ﬁrst moved to Tanzania, I had every intention of pursuing adoption of Awadhi. However, not long into my life there I became aware of an age stipulation for adoptive prospects that unfortunately we don’t meet for 8 year old Awadhi. Since then, through tears and prayers, we’ve gathered that God has something else for him and us. He nevertheless will always have a special place in our hearts and lives.
What else are you up to while stateside?
Just living life! Above all, we’re ﬁguring out what it means to be godly parents to our beautiful daughter. We also hope to make new friends here in Los Osos while also connecting with other friends more that we aren’t able to see while over in Tanzania. We have been tremendously blessed by our friend Kelli who has allowed us to use her new car for coming months which helps not only with getting to Morro Bay, but also getting out and having fun. In all things, we rejoice in what God is doing, in Tanzania and here.