It is amazing how quickly life passes. It seems as if we blink and another day, week and year is slipped into the past. It’s crazy to think that it has been just about 5 months since we left our beloved Zambia and here we are back in the land that captured our hearts! Although it’s been 5 months since our departure from Zambia, it seems as if it has been an entire year.
From the moment we landed back in the US we were on the go. We stayed with Dad & Mom McDuffie for a week before we departed for Arkansas (my home state and where employment was waiting for us). During this week, we thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Dad & Mom. It was during this time that we also saw the Heavenly Father do a transforming work in our lives.
Many years ago, Robert read an article about how Jewish fathers intentionally pray and bless their children at different seasons throughout their lives. (i.e. when they are born, when they are circumcised, when they turn of age, when they get married, when they begin their own family, etc.) Robert realized that even though his Dad is not Jewish that this intentional prayer of blessing is still very much needed within the body of believers today.
Sometimes, I think we don’t realize just how important the role of the father is in his children’s lives and how a father has the ability to bless his children greatly. Robert knew that spiritually he needed his father’s blessing in his life and that there was a great burden that he could not fully explain that he knew would only be lifted once his dad prayed a prayer of blessing over him. So, he went to his dad and shared with him that he needed his Dad & Mom to open the Scriptures and intentionally pray for us and bless us.
Shortly before our departure, Dad & Mom sat down with us, opened the Scriptures and prayed a prayer of blessing over us. We were humbled and grateful for their love and for them being sensitive to the Spirit to do this on our behalf. Robert testifies that since that prayer, a great burden was lifted from his life.
We landed in Arkansas just a couple days later and immediately went to work. Although the work was full of long, hard and grueling days in the 100+ degree weather (around 40+ Celsius) we marveled as Heaven seemingly opened up to us and rained down financial increase into our lives. Within a mere 6 weeks the campaign(s) ended and we were fully funded to return to Zambia.
During our time in Arkansas we experienced some emotional ups and downs. It was during the first few weeks of our arrival there that we lost our very dear friend, Vikki Klepacki. Vikki was sent home from Hospice just 10 weeks prior and told she would not live long. Thanks to the use of Medical Marijuana, we saw Vikki’s quality of life greatly improve over those weeks. It was only in the last 2 weeks of her life that her health plummeted to the point of no return. We couldn’t believe that just 2 weeks before her death we were talking to her on the phone and she sounded like her usual, chipper, joyful self without any complaint(s) or complications.
We have known Mark & Vikki for years and they have been faithful friends to us. Today, Mark is still learning to live life without his life partner. The Father truly did a work of healing and restoration in their lives in the months just prior before Vikki’s death and the Father used many, many wonderful people (even some of you reading this letter) to minister to Mark through your encouraging words, cards, letters, phone calls, and financial gifts in the days before and after Vikki’s death.
We are so grateful that the tangible love of Y’shua was so evident in their lives through this season. There are still days when I find myself grieving for the loss of my dear friend. Even as I write this, tears well up in my eyes as I remember all the fond memories we shared together over the years. I get sad sometimes when I think about all that Yahweh is doing in our lives and how I want to pick up the phone and call Vikki so we can share our hearts with one another. She was a faithful friend who always was there to listen, to pray with me, to rejoice with me through every season of our lives.
I know that one day we will be reunited and what a beautiful day that will be. Until that day, her presence will always be missed.
It was also in our time in Arkansas that we got to see Yahweh restore relationships! I have traveled the world over and seen many miracles but the greatest of them all is seeing a life transformed by the power of the Good News and relationships restored! Just over a year prior I had to make the hard decision to contact the local authorities concerning the well-being of my nieces and nephews, my twin brother’s children.
I won’t give details to the story as it’s not necessary. However, because of this decision, my brother felt betrayed and completely cut relationship with me. It tore me apart knowing that the one sibling I had always maintained a close relationship with had completely cut me off. I fully expected that this could happen, but when it did I was wrecked with an overwhelming sense of sadness and misplaced guilt and at times even anger that he couldn’t see the very dangerous circumstances and situations he was putting his children into. How dare he be angry at me for trying to get them all the help they so desperately needed!
I had no choice but to give my anger and sadness over to Yahweh and to pray and trust that somehow He was going to work it all out for the good. Shortly after I arrived in Arkansas, I made contact with a cousin I hadn’t spoken to in years and she informed me that my brother had just checked into a faith based men’s rehab program. We chatted a bit and I asked about how I could support him. Several weeks later she informed me that he had been praying about how to reconnect with me!!
I wept with tears of gratitude when I read this message. On the week that he was allowed to have visitors for the first time, Robert & I were there. It was a such a beautiful reunion of healing, forgiveness and love!! I’m glad to say that he is still presently in the men’s rehab program and from the limited information I have received, he is doing well spiritually, emotionally and physically. There is still a long road of full restoration that has to happen for him and his family to be whole, but I’m trusting Father to work it all out according to His perfect will.
After leaving Arkansas, we returned to Florida where we stayed with Dad & Mom McDuffie for another week before we departed for Bali, Indonesia – as this is where the Spirit had lead us to go to celebrate the Feasts with our dear friends who we had not seen in over 5 years.
Our reunion in Bali was a wonderful reunion. The time we had to celebrate the Feasts with our friends was wonderful and we were so grateful for all the fellowship. Bali is 90+ percent Hindu and it is hard to speak the language. It is also illegal to evangelize there. So, ministry is a little bit different when we are visiting the island and although we knew Yahweh had sent us there for ministry, however, we would soon realize that the ministry He sent us for this trip was far different than anything than we had anticipated.
To be continued…..