Howards in Belgium
Jon and Stephanie Howard have recently moved to Belgium with their family to begin work as Kontaktmission missionaries. here is the text of their latest newsletter.
-School plans, really asking for the Lord to move in a huge way and show us where he wants the kids.
-Relationships with others in our village. He is out of town, but our backyard neighbor comes to church once in awhile if he can get a ride. Now we can take him!
We’ve got a lot to learn…
Jon and Claire had been multiple places in multiple villages trying to get cash to pay for the pizza he had already ordered. He was ready to give up when a guy came up and said the bank wouldn’t be open until the morning, but did he just want cash? He pushed the door open and proceeded to use the atm. Jon had been pulling the doors to open them at all of the previous places. Ha! Completely mentally exhausted, neither he or Claire ever considered pushing the doors open. He picked up the cold pizza over an hour after he had ordered it, cash in hand. Our super kind friends who had been showing us how to navigate our town all afternoon ate the cold pizza and laughed with us as we all realized how much we have to learn. We need Jesus, people.
We wrote an update earlier that we couldn’t send out due to the fact that we changed our phones to Belgian numbers and I couldn’t receive the verification text to get into our mail server. These little things mount quickly, in reality they are just inconveniences, but they can feel overwhelming. That on top of the fact that we have a huge language barrier, grief over leaving, excitement over arriving, things are interesting. God has been so, so good though and when we are feeling done, he assures us that we are right where he wants us.
Going to church is quite different than what we are used to. The body of Christ is not. We’ve been welcomed as brothers and sisters in Christ, as part of the family. We’ve been to rugby games, concerts, people’s homes. Anna felt loved and special on her birthday because people cared. We’ve been able to pray with others and have been constantly prayed for, sometimes in French, sometimes in English. When we don’t understand the words, we know God does. We’ve seen the body of Christ working here and it’s beautiful just like it is wherever it is working together. We are so incredibly thankful for the church here and how they are graciously leading us through this transition one step at a time. The overwhelming response here when talking to Christian is the feeling of being alone in their faith. As others have explained to us, many people have pieces of faith and an acknowledgment of God yet are missing the final piece, a relationship with Jesus. We have so much to learn. We may go back and read this letter someday and realize, again, how much we didn’t know. That’s okay, please just pray for grace and humility as we learn.
Our normal is constantly changing, but our purpose here is not. God is opening our eyes and hearts to what he is doing here. Our role right now is to be learners as we observe with our eyes wide open, not being tossed around by the wind, but firmly rooted as we begin to grasp who we are in Christ alone, aside from culture and family and anything else, and how we live that out daily in our new context.
In all of this, we want to thank each one of you. Without your prayer and financial support this absolutely would not be happening. We really view this as a partnership and value you all immensely. On that note, we have so many thank you notes to write to those of you who gave and helped and everything else that last week at home. We do not take that lightly at all, we are just now starting to figure out normal life. We are in our house now and should have wi-fi soon, so we can start settling in and getting some things done. We’ll update the blog with pictures asap.
Thank you for making it to the end of this very long and late update!
Love you and praying for you,
Jon, Stephanie, Claire, Anna, Sam and Abby
Here is a link to the Howards website: https://howardstobelgium.wordpress.com/Share on Facebook