This phrase literally refers to “something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of, God.” To live Coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.
To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God. God is omnipresent. There is no place so remote that we can escape His penetrating gaze.
This means that if a person fulfills his or her vocation as a steelmaker, attorney, or homemaker Coram Deo, then that person is acting every bit as religiously as a soul-winning evangelist who fulfills his vocation. It means that David was as religious when he obeyed God’s call to be a shepherd as he was when he was anointed with the special grace of kingship. It means that Jesus was every bit as religious when He worked in His father’s carpenter shop as He was in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In October of 2017 we left our home in South Africa. Our intention was to be in the United States for three months, renew our visa, visit family and friends for the holidays and then return to our life and ministry in Pretoria the following January. We made our plans, but it clearly was the Lord who established our steps (Proverbs 16:9), because we are still here.
At the recommendation of our mission’s director, we decided to take a year furlough. Although difficult to accept, as this year progressed, it became clear that living in South Africa was no longer going to be a wise option for our family. So for the past year we have had no definite plans except that we were to stay put and wait.
What I have learned in the waiting comes from the Latin term “Coram Deo.” This means that we do not just wait doing nothing, but that all of life is to be lived before God whatever or wherever we are. Whether it be here in Santa Ana, California or there, in Pretoria, South Africa, we live under His authority, in His presence, for His glory. This truth has brought contentment and purpose in the waiting.
Work and Ministry God has been gracious to give Randy the opportunity to continue in ministry as he has worked as an interim associate pastor for Grace Church of Orange since our return. Recently, this position has transitioned into a permanent one and we are so thankful for God providing employment for Randy.
Since July of last year, I have been working as a teacher-on-record for homeschoolers for a public charter school. Having not worked outside the home for 15 years, balancing work and family responsibilities has been a challenge. At the same time, I am thankful this job provides needed income with the flexibility to work from home. I am thankful that although we have not been on the “mission field” this past year, there are still so many opportunities to be involved in ministry. Beginning last fall, I agreed to help with GCO’s women’s ministry as the co-director and am also helping with a new ministry to GCO missionaries which we have called MPAC (Missionary Prayer and Care) in which the ladies of GCO meet once a month to hear from a missionary and pray for the different ministry needs.
Our Five are all doing well. Some highlights from last year:
Julia graduated high school, obtained a driver’s license, worked as a lifeguard over the summer, and has been taking online classes through The Masters University. She is very involved in the life of the church serving and building relationships. God-willing she will transition to the campus of Masters in the fall where she will major in Political Science.
Although Marissa deeply misses South Africa, she also trusts the Lord thoroughly and has settled contentedly into her life here. She also has passed her driver’s test this week and will contribute to the taxi’ng of kids! A talented artist, she enjoys being on the swim team, horseback riding, paddle-boarding and learning from God’s word.
As Gabriel hit his teen years, he has grown in so many ways. It was precious to witness Randy baptize him in the Pacific Ocean with other members from Grace Church last summer. We are so thankful for his involvement with the church’s Jr. High youth group where they are leading these youth to study and treasure God’s word. He has physically grown over half-a-foot and loves his Parkour and Trampoline classes.
Always so willing to be helpful and serve, Sophia loves being on the swim team and working on her AWANA verses. She is bold in her faith and always willing to challenge her classmates with their ideas. We are so thankful for her sweet-spirit.
Elijah is thriving as he attends public school and we appreciate the additional support that being there has provided to meet his needs. Basketball is his game! He loves to study God’s word and takes copious notes during the Sunday sermon!
2018 Trip Highlights:
- We were able to visit one of our favorites places on earth! Yosemite National Park
- Julia, Marissa and I took an amazing trip to D.C.
To live is Christ to die is gain. The end of 2018 also marked the end of a beautiful earthly life as Randy’s mother’s body succumbed to pancreatic cancer which his father died of the year before. It was a peaceful passing and we are so thankful that the Lord knew and orchestrated our lives to be here to spend her final days with her. We are thankful for the promises of God.
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2Cor 5:8
After much prayer and discussion and more prayer and discussion and ultimately trusting our God, we have decided that for now we will transition our lives back to Orange County. There are many reasons that have lead us to this decision, but in it all we remember that our purpose in life is to live for His glory and honor and this is done wherever we are. We miss our precious South African life, our church family, our home, living cross-culturally, the beauty of the country and its people. Our prayer is that one day God will see fit to bring us back, but we trust that for now, to meet the needs of our family and to serve my parents, we will stay put. We are so thankful that God continues to allow us to be part of ministry and that He has blessed us with such a wonderful solid God-glorifying church family in Grace Church of Orange.
Randy will be travelling back to Pretoria in March to put in reverse what we did five years ago: sell our wonderful home, give away and/or ship our belongings back. He also has plans to visit dear friends in Malawi and Zimbabwe who are involved in church planting work in those two countries.
We have lived in a Calvary Church mission house this past year. While here, Randy single-handedly renovated the kitchen! Well, maybe Marissa helped on demo-day!
God has not shown us where will live once our stay at the mission house is over (end May of this year), but we trust Him to provide as He has always been so faithful to do.
In our hearts we will always be connected to the people and ministry in South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe. We are praying as to how we can continue to be an encouragement, support and point of connection to the ministries that are occurring there. As we make the transition over the next few months, we appreciate your continued prayer and support!
All of life is “Coram Deo”, living in the light of His presence as a living sacrifice with the conviction that there is no higher calling than offering our lives for His honor and glory!