Hi Everyone, It’s finally time for us to make the BIG announcement we have been telling you was coming! Over the past year, God has been working in our hearts and lives and we wanted to tell what He has been doing. After 12 and a half years on the mission field of Jaco, Costa Rica, God has called us to return back to the United States!
This has not been an easy decision to make, but God has made it clear He is leading us and we always want to follow His will.
While Jaco has become “home” to us, we always knew we were only here until He called us elsewhere. That time has come! While Costa Rica will always have a special place in our hearts and lives, we know we must obey.
The way God is leading us now is much like the way He led us to Costa Rica over 13 years ago. We know the timing is right for us to leave. We have seen God do amazing things and know the work of God will continue through the church we planted, the people we have invested in and the other ministries in the area!
In the video, I share our heart for this transition as well as some of the details of what is next for our family and ministry. Here are the specifics!
The Timeline Of Our Tentative Plans:
When will we leave? Over the past 6 months, we have been working towards departing Jaco by the end of November 2017. We found out we will not be able to bring our animals with us, so we need to find a home for them before leaving. This could push our timeline back some.
Where will we go? A family member has offered us a home to live in rent-free in our hometown. This will give us a place to land and get settled in the short-term. It is not a long-term solution but is a good landing spot. From there we will seek what the Lord has for us next.
What will we be doing? When we land the first thing we want to do is REST! We’ve never taken a sabbatical in our 12 years on the field. Our desire, as well as the counsel we have received from other pastors and missionaries, is that we should plan to take 6 months off before we launch into what God has next.
Why 6 months? Because this will give us sufficient time to make a healthy and successful transition back to life in the US. We own nothing in the US and are bringing almost nothing with us from CR. We will have to completely reestablish life there. This will involve:
- Getting rest and spending time as a family over the holidays.
- Getting missionary care from pastors and counselors who understand what this transition is like and are equipped to walk us through it.
- Visiting supporters and churches who have partnered with us during the last 12 years.
- Visiting out of state family members, some of whom we haven’t seen in 10 years.
- Seeking God’s will for where He is leading us next and what He is leading us to do.
- Finding a permanent place to live and establish our family and ministry for the next season of life.
Will the church in Jaco continue? Yes! I have been discipling a group of men for a couple of years now and 2 of them will be taking over. They will work together to guide the church where God is leading. I will continue to be involved with them on a weekly basis via Skype and plan to visit 3-4 times a year if the Lord allows!
Will we continue in ministry? Yes! God has made it clear He has a call upon our lives. We are His and desire to continue serving Him full-time. Right now we are not sure where that is or what we will be doing. We are sure that He wants us in the US. I desire to continue pastoring in any capacity I’m able to. I also have a desire for speaking and writing. It is a desire that has grown stronger over the years and could have only come from God. I have set up a personal website and have begun writing there. I am passionate about teaching people God’s word and helping them apply it to every area of life. We are also passionate about teaching and investing in people’s marriages. If you would like us to come speak at your church or event, please contact us!
How You Can Support Us During This Time:
Our biggest needs during this time of transition are prayer and financial support. Shepherds Staff, the Missions Facilitators we have always used, allow missionaries to receive support for 3 months after they return to the US.
If we return at the end of November like we plan to, that means we can still receive support from you through the end of February 2018.
However, because we have been on the field for so long, our goal is to get 6 months of rest as I stated above. In order to do that, there are a couple of options.
- You can send extra support during the first 3 months (through Feb 2018) and you will receive a tax deduction for it. At the end of February, Shepherds Staff will send us all the support we have received up until that point. We will use that to live off of. After February 2018 you will not be able to send a tax-deductible donation. However…
- You can also donate to us via PayPal at any point in time. This IS NOT tax-deductible, though it is greatly appreciated!
You can make a donation to our family via Shepherds Staff or PayPal using the buttons below:
To Make A Tax Deductible Donation Via Check, Mail To:
6739 Academy Road NE, Suite 320
Albuquerque, NM 87109 USA
Account # 4203
**Please use our Account. # 4203 on the memo of your checks, Please do not use our names.
What Are Our Needs?
We have monthly needs such as utilities, auto fuel, auto insurance, food, cell phones, etc. We will need funds to cover these monthly needs during the first 6 months we are back in the US. We estimate we will need around $2500 a month for our family of 7. We will also need to find health insurance and aren’t sure of the cost yet. We also have a number of one time needs.
Our One Time Financial Needs:
- Furniture for our new home (beds, bedding, desk, dining table, chairs, bookshelves, linens, simple decor, etc)
- New clothing for each family member including some winter clothing
- Health insurance funds
- Traveling funds (for visiting family & supporters)
- Funds for Missionary Care services for the whole family
- Vacation funds (We would love to take a family vacation)
- Funds to secure a new home once we know where God is leading us
- Homeschool materials for the new school year
- Purchasing a second vehicle (eventually)
As this list changes, I will update this post! If you would like to donate specific items instead of funds, please contact us. Thank you for your help and support in this process!
What Can You Pray For?
- For financial support during this transition and how you may be able to assist
- For a good home for our pets in Costa Rica
- For the right people to come alongside us for missionary care
- For our rest as a family
- For clarity and vision for what the Lord is calling us to next
- For the Lord to lead us to the place He will settle us and establish our ministry
- For opportunities to teach and speak in churches
- For divine appointments with those we are meant to minister to and those whom God is going to use to minister to us
- For our family to adjust to living in a new culture and place after 12 years away
- For our marriage to be further strengthened during this time and not stressed during the transition
Finally, Thank You!
While we don’t know what’s ahead, we know God is faithful! Thank you for all your prayers and support over the last 12.5 years! We could never have done this without you by our side. The Lord has used you to encourage us, support us, pray for us, and love us in ways we never imagined.
Thank you for your continued support and prayer over the next 6 months!
We will continue to post updates to let you know what God is doing and what He is leading us to do next.
If you have questions, comments, or wisdom to share, you can contact us.
You can support us over this transition period by clicking the buttons up above or on this page.
Phil McKay says
God bless you Mike! Thanks for sharing the BIG news! I know what you mean by “bittersweet” and I know so much of the sacrifices you and your wife have made, and yet with so much joy and love. It is awesome to see you guys following in God’s will. We will continue to pray for His guidance and provision. I know He has the right place for you guys.
Michael Lawrence says
Thanks Phil! It’s great to hear from you! How are you and the family doing? We have missed seeing you guys the last couple of years and hope you are doing great in your new calling. Thanks for keeping up with us and taking time to comment. We covet your prayers. Love ya bro!
miguel a Morales says
we got your back Mike and Family. may God lead you in all you do from here on out.
Michael Lawrence says
Thanks Miguel! It was great seeing you last week. We appreciate your prayers and look forward to seeing you soon!
Joel Meyer says
We have been back from Belize for almost 6 months now after 14 years in Belize. We came back in almost the exact same situation, but God is good and he has provided for all of our needs.
Michael Lawrence says
Thanks Joel! That is very encouraging! I’m glad you guys are doing well! Keep us posted with how the Lord leads you!
Mike Jones says
You, Revae and the kids have been a testimony to me of they way God works through trials, testing and grace to mold and shape those who are willing to go through the fire. Congratulations on completing your assignment in CR and God’s blessings for your next assignment. Well done! We will be praying for provision and for ears to hear what He has for you next.
Michael Lawrence says
Thank you Mike! Your encouragement means a lot to us! I hope you and your family are doing well on your mission in NZ! I would love to catch up soon when you have time! Blessings to you brother!