For the past four weeks, we have had a merging of titles as we have been homeschooling our 2nd grade nephew. No longer am I just “auntie”, I am now “teacher”. Andrew has no longer recently become an uncle, but is now also the recess coordinator AND principal. My mom is no longer just “Gam Gam”, but is now also the lunch lady. Life, since the rona showed up, has had to change a tad. However, being children of God, we have learned and know

all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8: 28, esv

Before returning to the states to get married, I had already “written” out our plan; I knew exactly how things were going to go:

Andrew and I were going to get married on Friday, honeymoon from Saturday to Saturday, visit my church one last time, visit with my family for a few days, and we were going to head back to Spain Tuesday. Back in Spain, we would be returning to our own apartment. I would be co-leading the Voice for the Voiceless DTS (Discipleship Training School) and mentoring some of the new students, as well as my other roles on the base. Andrew would be working with Impact to begin preparing for summer tours. We’d eat lunch with the DTS students so that we would be able to get to know them and have time to chat. Having done a DTS and staffed a DTS, we both know how important lunch time talks can be. We also know that living off base makes it more difficult to build relationships with the students living on base, because so much life happens after the classes and work duties are completed for the day. We’d both leave the base no later than 7pm to allow time to get home to cook and eat dinner, and still have time to chat before calling it a night.

Once a week, we’d devote to later nights with the DTS to host a small group in our apartment. We’d also keep our date nights alive, but it would just look a little different now since we would be living together and would be able to have dinner in our own space and not have to worry about someone else needing to also use the living room space.

I had it all planned out; it was going to be great. The problem with all of this, was that those were MY plans, not God’s plans for us.

Before returning to the states and before getting married, Andrew and I kept trying to lock down an apartment, but everything kept falling through. Nothing was working out for us to get an apartment. However, being here now, and seeing how things have worked out, we understand why not.

While we were on our honeymoon, we began to see how things were really turning for the worse in our new home, Spain. Everyone was put on quarantine as the number of those tested positive for COVID-19 continued to increase. It was then that Andrew and I prayed and talked about what things could look like for us. We began to talk with God about how we could serve here, in the states, while He has us here.

That is when the conversation about our nephew came up, knowing the situation of my brother and sister-n-love. With both of them being “essential workers”, still having to work, homeschooling was a difficult thing for them. To make matters worse, they live in the COUNTRY, so their wifi is not very strong – which makes things hard for them to connect with the teacher. Andrew and I decided then that we would be open to homeschooling our nephew, in order to help them.

Andrew and I also began to talk about how we could also serve in our community. Knowing the outreach pastor of my church, Pastor Lisa, and her heart for the community, I knew that she would be ready to do something to help the community, so Andrew and I talked about offering to serve with her at the Dream Center.

It was crazy just how quickly everything around us changed. It truly makes a difference when you serve a God that knows all and sees all, and works all things out for you. You begin to trust Him with everything – no matter what. That’s exactly what we did – we surrendered our plans to Him, and decided that we would ride with Him anywhere.

We have been very fortunate to be able to continue partnering with God while here in the states. In partnering with Him, we have been able to invest in the life of our nephew and help give over 1,000 meals to families in our community – and what an adventure it has been! I love how much God loves me – I have been able to do so many things that I love: teach, help out and spend time with my family here in NC, serve in the community, and spend tons of time with my husband.

From Day 18 of Kids Read Matthew

Andrew and I have both enjoyed getting to have this time with our nephew. We have seen how this opportunity has given us time to know Braelyn and help him academically, but also learn how to think. And I couldn’t let this time pass without introducing Braelyn to God and His word. It has been very sweet getting to have devotional time with Braelyn each morning before we begin school time. Since we started, Braelyn has gotten more comfortable with praying, and actually gets really excited for our devo time. He has learned how when Jesus speaks, things change -IMMEDIATELY. If the only thing I do successfully while I am here is to lead my nephew into having a relationship with the Lord, then I will feel as though I have done what I am here for. For such a time as this…

My plans are not what we are living right now, and I am 100% okay with that!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29: 11-13, niv