Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! Are You Sitting Down?

Happy New Year Everyone! It has been a while since I've written a post. Perhaps when you read the letter below, you will get an idea as to why. This letter will go out via CVM in a few days. However, we wanted to post here as well. So many big changes ahead. So many unknowns. But God knows. As Noah reminded us recently--"It is important to notice where God is helping us even when we don't know what is going on." (Thanks Miss Laura at MTI for the great guidance you gave my kids!) Over the next days, week, and months I will be sharing many musings on this most recent leg of this journey! 

Happy New Year One and All!
Traditionally the 'new year' is a popular time to start anew, get a fresh start, turn over a new leaf.  Well, we are about to embark on a tremendous fresh start as we start anew!  After much prayer and counsel, we have decided to leave Nicaragua. We depart this month and our plan is to relocate to Colorado!  Talk about a new year (and a cold one)!  
This was a very difficult decision to make, after all, Nicaragua has been our home for the last 5 years and we have invested deeply in relationships here. It will be with MUCH sadness that we leave our host country and our friends here in Nicaragua. We are forever changed by our time here and we hope to bring the goodness of that change with us to the States.  For example, we have had an incredible opportunity to experience the uniqueness of community here. We have had the privilege to live the last four and a half years in a neighborhood that embodies community—from borrowing a cup of sugar to neighborhood get-togethers. We hope to bring that spirit of community with us.
However, YOU all have also been a 'community' for us from afar.  You have journeyed with us through our newsletters, blogs, facebook and letters. YOU have encouraged us, prayed for us, visited us, and supported us as we traveled along this portion of the journey that God had planned for our family. 
A while back, there was a Toyota commercial that said, “Wherever you're headed, all you need to see is the next 200 feet ahead. So just keep going.” As for the next leg of the journey, hasn't come into focus, we 'just keep going' as Toyota reminds us.  Scripture encourages us even deeper to trust God with our journey.  We have confidence that “as [we] plan our course, the Lord will determine our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9). There are many unknowns and unknowns can be quite unsettling. Yet, we trust that God—the God that loves us and KNOWS us—has a plan. “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)  We have felt a strong nudge from God over the last several months to wait patiently on Him. Waiting isn't easy (in fact it can appear crazy—or worse—lazy)! We have been actively waiting.  We have taken steps in several different directions and watched God redirect our steps.  We have 'paused' often waiting for His nudges, whispers, and direction.  
We have a heart and passion to serve missionaries in the area of membercare (coming alongside missionaries for the purpose of encouragement, care and accountability). However, we believe we need more training and education in this area. We are hoping to re-educate ourselves in this area of interest while at the same time Jeff is planning on returning to the field of veterinary medicine in the States. As for the kids, for now, our plan is to continue to homeschool Andrew, Ella and Noah. They are excited about the adventure ahead and we are thankful for the ways that God had been preparing their hearts to say farewell to Nicaragua even before we knew that we were leaving. Regarding our relationship with CVM, we will also stay on as 'associates' which means that we will be able to use any of our reserve funds to take short term trips to Nicaragua (or other places in the world) to serve in the veterinary or member-care capacity.  
We've already written FAR more than is typical for our letters, so PLEASE feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.  Now that the news is 'public', Bethany will start blogging about all the crazy/wonderful things we've been learning through the process of actively waiting on the Lord. PLEASE know that we are SO INCREDIBLY THANKFUL for the ways you've supported us while we've been in Nicaragua. From what we hear, the re-entry back into American culture and life can be a bit rough, so we'd covet your prayers and encouragement as we get re-aquainted with our home culture again!
Starting anew (again),the Bracht family