Sunday, July 7, 2019

March - June '19 Review: From CHAOS to RESETTLEMENT

Tolkien's experience in WWI gave him a new depth of authority in writing for Frodo Baggins.

It was approximately one year ago that Marillyn and I made the decision to close our life & ministry in Honduras and return to the United States.

As we learned in our “Debrief and Renewal” family retreat (DAR) in June, life in Honduras / on the mission field is full of paradox! So many wonderful “peaks” and an equal amount of “valleys”. Our DAR retreat gave us a new vocabulary and the platform to share our story with a room full of individuals who were, in many ways, just like us. 

Our DAR small group represented multiple continents and stages of the missionary experience:
From Mexico to Morocco and retiring to returning.

One of the most pivotal discussions for us was about the process of transition: “The experience of the gradual, psychological reorientation process that happens inside us as we respond and adapt to the external change.” (William Bridges)

The Stages of Transition bridge analogy

The Beard family has been in the stage of “chaos” for nearly a year. The last six months the chaos has peaked, but now we are seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel” as several factors in our lives are helping us transition into the resettlement stage. It was such a relief for Marillyn and I to discover that we are not alone in the experience of chaos and that it is normal and, more importantly, it does come to an end!

Several factors have lead us closer to entering that resettlement stage. They include,

1. All four older children are enrolled to start Fall classes at their private Christian school (USCO). Praise God for the school’s generous financial scholarship and the financial assistance of Dave and Marsha Beard to make this happen!

2. In early June, we moved into our own rental home & out from living with Marillyn’s parents, Wayne & Brooke Goranson. Our rental home is an amazing gift with five bedrooms, three baths and two large backyards! Our immediate financial goal is to take on all of our bills except for rent. The Goransons have committed to continue to cover our rent expense as we continue to get our financial feet under us! Mil gracias! (PRAY for blessings on the Goranson's whole house fan business!)

D49's Falcon Middle School

3. After working multiple part-time jobs, I have been blessed with full-time employment starting in August! Let me back up: I took a long-term subbing assignment in a public school system, District 49, on the east side of Colorado Springs for the final month of classes. By God’s grace, I was quickly able to establish a good rapport with my students and the faculty. I was sought out by the principal and asked to apply for a full-time English teaching position for the following year. I applied and got the job a week later! I will be the 7th & 8th grade Reading teacher at Falcon Middle School! (In order to take the job, I will be pursing an alternative licensure program on the weekends. $325 a month will be deducted from my salary to pay for school. Busy times!)

To be honest, this job wasn’t even on my radar, but God opened the door wide! I realized that much like Peter returning to a career in fishing after his ministry failures, I am doing the same by entering the classroom. When my heart & soul are restored Jesus will once again appear on the beach and call me back into a clearer service to him. See John 21. Right now I need to be rebuilt in my walk with Christ and enjoy the classroom.

4. My health has also improved tremendously over the last few months. After taking some blood work it was discovered that I had 2 different parasites. I have also taken some heavy duty pro-biotics to help recharge my GI tract; essentially, my large intense was not working properly and I haven’t been getting the nutrients that my body needed. A lot of my fatigue and adrenal issues stemmed from this. I still have a ways to go, but improving tremendously! PTL! Thank you, Upstream Functional Medicine!

16 years of marriage on June 21st!
5. Marillyn has been meeting regularly with a Christian life coach. She met Kimber at an event with several of her Young Living associates. She has been learning to create boundaries and carve out time for her own self-care and for investing in her business. It is a blessing for me to see my wife relearn to serve her family out of a sense of joy and not guilt.

6. Our final step is discovering a new church family. Calvary Springs Church, formerly Calvary Chapel True North, has been a great home for us as we initially began our transition to Colorado, but God is leading us to begin the search for a congregation where we can be “The Beards” and not the pastor’s daughter’s family or “those former missionaries”. Please PRAY for us as we step out in faith trusting the Lord’s direction. We desire to reclaim spiritual ground in our family dynamic and individual devotion.

Father's day lunch at a great local Mexican restaurant.

One of the only ministry ties that remains for us in Honduras is the property in Ojojona. By God’s grace we have a third and what we hope to be final potential buyer! A long-seasoned, short-term missionary to Honduras has partnered with friends of ours in the capital, Tegucigalpa. This gentleman recently visited Honduras with the purpose of scouting out a property outside of the city to extend their ministry reach and influence with urban youth in a rural setting. Of the five properties that they visited they liked ours the best! PRAY for us as we work through details of the sale and that the Lord’s will be done!

Despite having a long-term job lined up for August, I have continued to paint to help make ends meet until the school year starts. The challenge with the teaching gig is my first paycheck does not arrive until the middle of September: SIX WEEKS WITH NO INCOME! The ministry is still receiving financial support, but at 25% of what we were receiving a year ago. (And half of this covers direct ministry expenses: caretaker & utilities.) The state of Colorado has assisted us with medical and food; however, the food assistance was recently cut in half only covering about one week’s worth of groceries. Marillyn continues to grow her business with Young Living, but any money earned is used to buy products for the family & reinvested into the business.  We are trusting the Lord for his provision and are grateful for a few special one-time donations that we have received over the last few months! (Gracias Helles and Dietz families!) Perfect timing with our move last month! God is good!

In summary, surviving in a transitional state of chaos over the last year has been, well chaotic! Many times we wondered if we were just going crazy! Not only were we relieved to learn that our experience was normal, but that it also would come to an end.

Capital Gains: Family fun in Denver.

While attending the DAR retreat I started a new journal. A spiritual discipline I have done on & off for the last 20 years. For those of you familiar with the Moleskine journals, it is very difficult to discern the front from the back. Without realizing it, I started the retreat writing on the final page and working my way backwards through the journal. Little did I realize that this simple mistake would speak volumes to my soul: “What I thought was the end, was actually a new beginning!” 

I had begun to believe the lie that we failed and were now disqualified for use in the Kingdom of God. However, God planted a new seed of hope in our hearts during our DAR retreat. This is a season of grieving over what was lost and allowing the Lord to restore our souls as only He can: He is our living hope! He is not done with us, yet! In fact, He is just getting started!

It is with great humility that we thank you for your partnership over the last decade +. Our family would not be who we are today without your consistent words of encouragement, financial gifts and prayers.

Keep ‘em coming!!! We need them more than ever as we continue this new journey in this strange foreign land called the United States!

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