Jana having fun at work … While Jana’s time is spent primarily with our boys at home, she has also been able to put her creativity to work in a few projects. One is pictured above and was a celebration dinner for staff around Eastern Europe who completed a two year leadership training. Another was painting a world map as a gift for a leader moving into a different ministry role. And currently, she is at work on a special project that involves both watercolor painting and compiling a book of writings from staff around Eastern Europe (we’ll show you more later).

Normally, our letters are geared towards telling you what is happening with our work in the ministry. This one will be focused on one of the realities and difficulties we and others face in living the overseas missionary life.

Saying good-bye to family and friends is an expected part of what we do; it’s never easy and doesn’t get easier. It’s not something that time or experience will ever dull, soften, or strengthen. Good-byes for us are not left at home though. We experience them throughout our time being overseas as well. Sometimes, the good-byes are unexpected, and those can be especially difficult, mostly in that you don’t have time to adjust to what happens. For Jana, this has impacted her the most in the past year.

Fairly quickly after arriving in Budapest, she made a good friend. The friend was a fellow mom, with similarly aged kids, and the kids all got along. A few short weeks after Milo was born, her friend had to suddenly return to the US for medical reasons. Though Jana was really sad for her friend and her family, she was also sad for herself and our boys. This summer, a similar situation is happening. When she told me, my first thought was, “this is her second friend to ‘lose’ in such a short time”. It’s hard. It’s hard for her friend, for the kids, for Jana, and for me to see it happening.

Couple this with the expected good-byes that come with the end of school year and summer— teachers returning to their home countries, seniors graduating and leaving for university at great distances, families leaving for short and long term furloughs, colleagues moving back to the States. Like I said, it is hard.

So with that, I’d just ask you to pray for us, for Jana, and for these friends and coworkers leaving, the expected and unexpected ones. Pray for the Lord to meet us all in our heartache.

Thank you for walking this road with us. We know it isn’t always an easy walk, but we also know that the Lord gives us the strength to walk it.

Saturday morning breakfast date

Saturday morning breakfast date

A backyard vacation Bible school

A backyard vacation Bible school

Older two boys at swim lessons

Older two boys at swim lessons

S’mores with friends on July 4th

S’mores with friends on July 4th

Surviving hot days without AC

Surviving hot days without AC

Simon turned FOUR!!

Simon turned FOUR!!