Hola Hola, amigos!
Ok, you’re still here. So what now? This is the question I have both been asked the most and asked God the most over the past month. A little over a month ago, I was ready to move to San Salvador to begin my full-time mission work. But God had other plans and it was decided by all parties (Reliant Mission, Gran Comisión San Salvador and Rock City Church) that I was to wait a little longer before moving to San Salvador.
My support raising is done (YAY GOD!) and most of my stateside requirements have been taken care of. My delay is due to things of a more spiritual and emotional nature. My logistics may be ready, but is my heart ready? Is my family ready? The honest, hard to say aloud answer to that question is, Ehhh….probably not. It’s hard to admit that my body, heart and soul are not ALL ready because I so badly want to be ready. I wanted to “GO! And MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS!” I wanted to go to Infinito (Central American Youth Conference that began on December 26th) with the Salvadoran youth and watch as God changed hearts and Latino youths raised their arms in full surrender to Him. I wanted to celebrate Christmas with fireworks! And selfishly, I wanted to celebrate my winter, January birthday on the beach, surrounded by my Salvadoran amigos.
Trust Me.God, what if I don’t have a place to live?
God, what if I lose supporters?
God, what if I don’t make it to San Salvador in 6 months?
God, WHAT IF…?
Well, if that’s all true, then I have no reason not to trust Him. And it is so very true. God is the reason I have hope. He has always provided just what I need, just when I need it. Prime example – at only a month old, God placed me in the arms of my parents, Tom and Lois, who from that day on would love and care for me beyond what anyone could have asked or expected. They adopted me and from that day forward, I was theirs and they were mine. God was faithful to my needs and to the desires of their hearts. Since the day I was born, God has been with me. And He remains at my side, whispering, Ashley, my sweet child, don’t you see how I took care of you then? I am faithful. You are Mine and I will continue to care for you. Trust Me.
God IS who He says He is. Therefore I will trust in Him.
Back to the original question…what now?
Well, most of my days are completely unscheduled. What was once a calendar filled with support meeting after support meeting is now a blank canvas. But before I allow myself to start forming a plan in my head for the day, I spend just a few brief moments with God, relinquishing my day to Him.
I am working closely with Nate Eckhart (Rock City Missions Director) and John Ransom (Rock City Executive Pastor) to decide how my extra days stateside should be spent.
I am continuing weekly Spanish lessons with Andrea Ramos, mimaestra de español muy hermosa. My true learning will come once I am in San Salvador, but these lessons help me to be as prepared as possible before I move.
I am also continuing to meet with PamBoseker once a week for Discipleship. These are serious, hardcore Bible studies. I can freely admit that as a missionary, one of my weaknesses is my Bible knowledge. Pam is helping me to become better read, to memorize more key evangelism verses and to understand just what the heck does THAT even mean?! Pam is not only my Bible Study teacher, but she is also my spiritual mentor as well. As I walk through this season of trusting God more deeply than ever before, Pam has helped to teach me to still the evil voices in my head and reminded me time and time again of God’s faithfulness. As many of you know, my mother passed away 5 years ago from endometrial cancer. Over the past year, Pam has truly become a mother to me. She dries my tears when I feel like the earth beneath me is collapsing, she sings praises when my prayers are answered and she puts me in my place when I’m just being a downright dunderhead. She has blessed my life and will forever be in my heart.
I have added in weekly sessions with a Christian, faith-based counselor. If I’m not sure that my head and heart are ready for this move, I figured I’d better ask a professional. We have only met twice and I am so excited to see how God uses her to grow me.
And best of all, I am using my extra time to love on my dad. As anyone can imagine, this move will be the hardest on him. I am an only child, his only little girl and I am moving to place completely unfamiliar to him. I will miss Dad most of all. He is my only Dad and my only living parent. Losing Mom was a season of brokenness, and I think this feels a little like loss all over again for us both. So the extra time has been a beautiful blessing. We get together weekly to share a meal and talk. Our Christmas this year spread across three days, was filled with laughter, Dad’s amazing cooking and will forever be imprinted in my memory. My unexpected time with Dad has been incredibly worth the moving delay.
The end of November and entirety of December has been spent living with my best friend Kristen, her husband Trai and their 19-month-old son, Dominick. They were incredibly gracious to let me stay with them. I got to bond with Dominick in a way that I know I will never forget and I hope just a smidgen of our time together remains in his memory.
On New Year’s Eve, I will transition to one of my two part-time homes. Let me explain:
Doug Shank, a Rock City Youth Dad, has two girls, Olivia and Tatum. For most of the past school year, on Wednesdays, I would pick them up from school and we would hang out until Youth. As you can imagine, this created a pretty awesome friendship between the Shanks and me. Doug now has a work client that requires him to travel to Alabama Monday – Thursday (don’t ask me what he does. And DEFINITELY don’t ask Tatum 😉 ). Because he is gone those four days, the girls need a live-in caretaker. And since I need a place to live, I have agreed to play the part of the older and super cool sister by staying with Olivia and Tatum at their home Sunday night through Thursday evening. When Doug gets home, I will head to Pam and Brad Boseker’s home for a few days of rejuvenation. I am so excited for this because it is an opportunity to live with some of my best girlfriends and to live with my mentor and teacher – an opportunity I would not have had if I had moved to San Salvador this month, as was “the plan!”
Thanks to my monthly supporters, I have begun to receive a paycheck from Reliant Missions! This will help me to support the people housing me and with my stateside expenses. To all of you that have been and are continuing to support me with a monthly gift, THANK YOU. One of my biggest concerns when I was told that I would mot be moving in December was how I would support myself. Reliant decided that although I am not yet on the field working, everything I am doing here is preparing me for my ministry. Soon, I will also hopefully begin to help Pastor Victor, the pastor at Gran Comisión San Salvador, with things that can be done from afar.
Your gifts are helping to ensure that I am as ready as possible for this life-changing move and that once I am on Salvadoran ground, I will be as effective as possible.
Thanks to those of you that have given special, one-time gifts, my account is ready for when I am given the go-ahead! Your support allows me to purchase a plane ticket, helps cover the cost of my work visa and provides money for other, miscellaneous moving out and moving in expenses.
And my Prayer Warriors! Those of you that have been praying and encouraging me, THANK YOU. You are the reason I am not drowning in this time of uncertainty. You have asked God to provide money, a home, peace of heart and many other things I may never know about. Thank you. Keep it up!
This is all nice and good, Ash, but WHEN ARE YOU MOVING??
Believe me, I wish I knew. When I move will be a decision made by Rock City Church’s leaders. I am still going, I just don’t know when yet. I assume nothing and I am planning nothing…yet. But I am hoping to move in a few months. But I am trusting that God will reveal His timing to me. I will keep you all updated as time goes on and when decisions are made.
I call a woman for My purpose from a far off country.
Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about.
- That God would continue to provide for my needs, both known and unknown
- For the few nights that I will be spending at Pam & Brad’s, I am without a bed! My dad has a fancy, indoor air mattress that I can borrow, but if anyone has even a spare mattress I can throw on the carpet, that would be such a blessing!
- That I would be able to trust God’s timing and His plan. I desire peace that surpasses understanding.
- For God to put people in my life who will help me to be God’s hands and feet in San Salvador by financially supporting me. Even though I have reached my goal, a little buffer would be amazing.
- That Rock City Youth’s January 13th kickoff would bring back familiar faces and bring in new kids, eager to feel God’s love in their lives.
- That God will continue to open the hearts and minds of each person I am blessed to share my story with
- PRAISE! On December 26th, a bus filled with 36 Salvadoran youth left for Infinito in Honduras! As I write this, they are on their way home. Most of them have not had cell phone service outside of their home country, but I understand it was 3 days filled with amazing worship, wise speakers, and an opportunity to serve the Honduran people. One of San Salvador’s own, Emilio, was one of the worship singers for the 2nd year in a row! Infinito hosted a baptism last night, and many lives were entrusted into God’s hands. YAY GOD!
be cheerful no matter what // what pray all the time // thank God no matter what happens.
Want a little sunshine in your inbox each month? WHO DOESN’T?!?
Click this link to get signed up for my monthly email updates ➳ You’ve Got Mail!
Please consider giving. You can get set up in five minutes by clicking the “Give to the Cause” button under my photo or by going to reliant.org/ashley.arend