When we left South Africa for California in October, 2017, we were already on Plan B. Plan A, our original plan, was to leave in mid-November and return mid-January. That plan quickly and thankfully was changed as we hurried back to spend time with Randy’s father whose body was losing its battle to cancer.
We are now on Plan G.
Never before has Proverbs 16:9 rang so true in our lives. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
In the midst of all the changes, we have so much to be thankful for:
Flying back on our original return ticket in January, Marissa and I had the opportunity to be in our South African home for three weeks. What a joy it was to attend Lu’s wedding and spend sweet time with those we have grown to love and treasure!
Marissa used her artistic talents to bake and decorate the cakes for both Lu’s Bridal shower and wedding!
Precious, precious time with our South African Family!
Shepherd’s Conference Randy, along with the pastors from Grace Church of Orange, had the privilege of attending the Shepherd’s Conference put on by Grace Community Church. The mission of this annual conference “is to provide the opportunity for men in church leadership to be challenged in their commitment to biblical ministry and to find encouragement as together we seek to become more effective servants of our chief Shepherd.” Over 3000 men from all across the globe were in attendance including our dear South African friend and director of the non-profit organization, 1Hope4Africa. Andre DeWit flew out with his wife, Karlien to attend this conference and it was a treat to spend time with them and show them our American ways.
Mission’s Conference As missionaries supported by Calvary Church of Santa Ana, we have never been available to take part in their annual Mission’s Conference week that takes place every March. Currently, Calvary is serving and supporting 73 active families in over 30 different countries as well as several retired missionaries. We attended several events during the week that were designed to encourage and bless attending missionaries and to challenge the congregation to consider how they might take part in bringing the message and mission of Christ Jesus to the nations. We truly appreciate Calvary’s commitment to global missions and to be part of a church who has at its core the vision to : “By God’s grace, (we’ll) expand His kingdom into every tribe, language, people and nation in the world Rev 5:9.
Randy continues to work and serve at Grace Church of Orange, filling in the interim with pastoral care duties while the church searches for a permanent associate pastor. He also has been given building maintenance projects for the church. He is so grateful for this position and the opportunity to serve with such an amazing group of men lead by senior pastor Mike Sciarra who is a constant encouragement and friend to Randy.
Family News: Elijah has enrolled in full time school, a unique competency-based charter school that focuses on project-based learning. Each student receives a Google chrome book to complete class and home assignments. Elijah is enjoying his new school and is motivated, focused and diligent in a way he has never been before. We are so proud of him.
Sophia and Gabriel have also been enrolled in a unique charter school where they attend two days/week and receive hands-on instruction in History and Science. They are homeschooled the other three days. They have also enjoyed learning new skills through being part of a home school basketball league.
Marissa is a student of yet another charter school that allows her to access state funds to participate in several extra-curricular activities such as horse-back riding, paddle boarding and animation classes and tap dancing.
Julia tested out of high school and has begun college through dual enrollment/online classes with Master’s University. Although the demanding coursework was a challenge she needed to adjust to, she is now enjoying the rigors of the higher-level university classes. Her extra-curricular has been basketball, paddle boarding, horse-back riding and being part of Grace Church’s Youth Group. In March she also moved into that most important milestone of adulthood as she celebrated her 18th birthday. I don’t know how that happened, but apparently it did.
Speaking of Milestone Birthdays, this youngster (affectionately known as Papa), Susan’s father, turned 90! We were so so thankful to be here to celebrate with him.
Surprise! Quite unexpectedly, my sister Jocelyn and her husband, Mark became grandparents to twin boys. They have brought these two precious bundles home to care for them as long as the Lord allows. They have quickly adjusted to this sudden, but welcomed, interruption to their lives and adore sweet Abraham and Benjamin. Aunt Susan has had the joy of holding babies and helping with feedings, burpings, changings, rockings and shushings.
We are on Plan G, which is to stay put, where we are, in Orange County through at least the 2018-19 school year. As the months since our return in October have unfolded it has become more and more apparent that this is where our path has been directed. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future”. So cliché, almost cheesy. Yet so true. We have made many plans these past few months that have been totally vetoed, amended and modified by the Sovereign King who sits on the throne. We do know that our God is the all wise and loving One who orchestrates the events of our lives and we will be content to trust Him. We are so thankful that He has provided an affordable place for us to live (thank you, Calvary Church) while we wait for Him to show us what is next. In the meantime all is well with the ministry and our home back in South Africa and we are content and grateful.
We rejoice as one body of Christ this Easter celebrating our Risen King and give “Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 1 Peter 1:3
Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday with love from the Clarks!