For those of you wondering about our 2015 Furlough, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about our trip and also provide you with a video of our furlough presentation.
First of all, if you don't know what a "missionary furlough" is, let me give you a brief explanation. A furlough is basically a leave of absence. You've probably most often heard the term used in relation to military leave. It's a time that's supposed to give you a break and a rest.
Traditionally, missionaries who are serving on a foreign field would go to their country of service for four years and then take a year furlough to rest from their labor and visit family, supporting churches, etc.
For many of us serving overseas these days, that type of furlough isn't practical or possible for a number of reasons. I guess the main reason is that it's really hard to leave the work for such a long time.
In our case, we have made a series of short trips (a matter of weeks) back to the States over the last 18 years to visit family and take care of important paperwork, as well as three longer trips that we called "furloughs." We came back for 6 months in 2005, for 10 months in 2009, and for 5 months in 2015.
Interestingly enough, each of those furloughs coincided with a cancer diagnosis in one of our parents lives (my mom during the first two trips and Don's mom during the 2015 trip). It's amazing how God was so gracious to allow us to be there for each of these important trials in the life of our families. He knew how difficult it would be for me to be so far away when my mother needed me. God is Good!
While we were back in the US in 2015, Don's mom was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, so we were unable to travel as much as we had originally intended, but we did visit a number of our supporting churches and gave them an update on the work that has been going on in Australia over the last 18 years.
For those of you who didn't get to see the video presentation, now is your chance to get that missionary report/update that we showed while on our travels.
I have to say, in spite of the difficulties and challenges we faced while back in the States, we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with so many of you who have been praying for us and financially supporting us for almost 20 years. We were pretty much spoiled by you, and we loved and appreciated every single moment of it!
Although furlough is supposed to be a time of rest from the work, it's been our experience that wears us out even more than being on the mission field. :) It's wonderful but exhausting!
We were able to take part in a couple of missions conferences while we were back and I really enjoyed speaking at a couple of ladies meetings. I hope to write more about them later and share some of the clever ideas the ladies had at the churches I attended.
We don't know when we will be taking our next furlough. A lot depends on the health of our remaining parents and their needs, as well as our financial situation and the Lord's leading.
Thank you again to each one of you who has a part in the work here in Australia, either through your financial support or your prayers on our behalf. We treasure every thing you do for us and give God the glory for any good thing accomplished.
Angie (and Don, too, of course!)