The months of July through October we’ll be in the States for a furlough. We are looking forward to visiting some of the churches that have faithfully prayed for and supported our family over the last several years. So far we are scheduled to be in around 30 churches representing eight different States.
As we prepared for leaving, the thought often jumped in our mind; “Is this really necessary?” There is a lot of planning and details that goes into a multiple month absence! All the way from making sure all the church workers are trained and ready to carry our their responsibilities, to lining up somebody to care for the dog.
You may wonder as well, “why do missionaries take furloughs?” Here are my reasons:
Furlough is an exciting time as a family. Everyone has their “list” of things they want to do, places they want visit or people they hope to see. Our family will have four months to attempt to get 5 kids’ list accomplished in such a short time span. Activities that range from devouring a box of Krispy Kreme’s “Hot and Nows” to sleepovers with cousins.
Furlough is encouraging for supporting churches. We can’t wait to share with our supporting churches the “fruit that abounds to their account!” The message you share in churches differs slightly from deputation to furlough. On deputation it was “This is what we plan to do with God’s help” and coming in on furlough it’s “this is what we are currently doing by God’s grace.” We are able to show you faces and new churches that are the result of all your prayers and support. Also, we hope to recruit. Reporting back to churches is meant to bring attention to the need for more workers to enter the world harvest. There probably isn’t a single missionary serving on the field that wasn’t influence is some part by a missionary that had passed through their church.
Furlough is a necessary for financial reasons. As the mission work grows (and your children), the financial needs become greater. Kids who were too young for school when you arrived on the field are now studying, elementary age kids are now in high school, and the kids eat waaay more. Apart from family, there is ministry. The first year it was back and forth from language school. The following years it’s multiple church plants, special projects and helping national pastors. In order to continue to move forward in more church planting projects it is necessary that we seek out new supporters to partner with the work in Chile. We still have a few open dates during our furlough and we would be glad to stop by your church!
Furlough is a challenging time for the churches in Chile. This is probably the most important reason for a furlough. The missionary isn’t present and the national leadership must step up. As furlough approached we counted down the weeks, not because we were ready to leave, but because we wanted to be sure the ministry was ready for us to leave. We have two young men that are studying in the Bible college that will be taking on a huge load of responsibility. Others are stepping up as well to get even more involved. A furlough proves to the church that they are capable of doing the work of the ministry.
Pray for our family and for Hope Baptist Church and Trinity Baptist Church while we are in the States. If you would like to contact us while in the States, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.