Hello there. It’s been a while.
You’ve been on our minds quite a lot over the past six months. We were waiting to update you until we knew our future plans. It took much longer to reach a decision than we’d anticipated.
After much deliberation, prayer, and conversation, we have decided that we will be leaving TeachBeyond and moving back to the States this summer. This was a difficult decision to make. We have loved our time in Germany, at Black Forest Academy, and with TeachBeyond, but feel that this chapter of our lives in closing.
There are several reasons motivating this decision. First, since Mia’s birth, it’s been much harder for me (Dani) to find community. We live outside of town, and, with only one car, the logistics of getting around with a baby are difficult. Second, we came to Germany to work with the students of Black Forest Academy. While Israel’s work at TeachBeyond supports many schools like BFA, we are not passionate enough about education in and of itself to justify and motivate continued support raising. Third, our lifestyle here is not sustainable. We desire more stability in our lives. The transient nature of this place makes long-term relationships very difficult. We are pretty spiritually dry and burned out. We are also weary from living in another culture. Lastly, Israel has long desired to start his own business. He is constantly coming up with new ideas. The determining factor in our decision was the knowledge that if we didn’t pursue some of his ideas, we would regret it. Since we are required to leave Germany for at least a year anyway, this is a natural transition time for us to pursue these ideas.
An Amazing Five Years
We have very mixed feelings about leaving this place. We can’t put into words all that God has done here. We are changed. It is here that God taught us about his goodness, sovereignty, and faithfulness. It is here that we grieved the loss of our children, and learned how much we could love those who are not our own. It is here that God taught us to love intentionally. It is here that we received our precious Mia. Over these five years, God revealed how insufficient we are to save anyone, but how vastly able he is to love, pursue, and save. While I do believe that God has used us to point others to Jesus, we have realized that our “mission” is not to save anyone, but simply to love those God places in our lives. Our hearts have been broken apart and reassembled, and we are better for it.
As we think back on our time here, you all come to mind. God has used so many people to encourage, love, challenge, and provide for our needs. Some of you we expected, some of you we’ve never even met. It’s difficult to think of an adequate way to thank you all. You will never know the impact your generosity and care has had on our lives and the lives of those we’ve known here. You loved us, we loved students, and those students and their families loved countless people around the globe. I hope in eternity we can see the great tapestry connecting us all.
The Next Few Months
We have a lot to do these next few months. We will leave Germany mid-July, five years to the day after arriving here. We plan to live with Israel’s parents for a few months while we rest, process, and recuperate. We will attend a week long debriefing program in October. We are intentionally not making any firm plans until we’ve had some time to readjust.
We can continue receiving support through the end of the year, one month for each year of service. This continued support will allow us to get settled back in, spend some time in counseling, travel to reconnect with all of you, and readjust to life in America. In a few weeks, we will send out more information about the support details and our needs, but for the moment, please consider whether you are able to continue giving during our time of transition.
Please keep us in your prayers as we begin to pack up, say goodbyes, and prepare to leave. This is going to be a hard place to leave.
Highlights from the Past Few Months
This update is already long enough, but here are a few highlights from the past few months.
Israel developed a recruitment series (Featured Five) for TeachBeyond, created personalized giving pages for all interested TeachBeyond members, and is finalizing a website for a school in the Democratic Republic of Congo (learn about the project). His team also designed and published TeachBeyond’s Strategic Plan and 2015 Annual Report, and is launching a new global job board in May.
Mia is five months old! She’s just started rolling all over the place. Hello mobile baby! She’s sitting, babbling constantly, and laughing the cutest laugh you’ve ever heard. Everyone comments on how alert and beautiful she is. We adore her. She’s still not sleeping well, so we’d appreciate prayers for more rest! We’re looking forward to spending lots of quality time with family when we return. We hope you get to meet her!