Back To The Bush
I guess the best way to describe how it honestly feels to leave our American furlough and go back to Africa is to say that it feels like both places are home. To leave one is as difficult as leaving the other. We are incredibly blessed to love and be loved on both continents. Thanks to everyone that made the past four months so special for us. It has been the greatest honor to share with audiences every week all the mighty things God is doing in a forgotten region of Africa. It’s also been good to celebrate the freedoms and joys of life with so many of you. Thanks for every rib-eye, every hunting trip, every fishing trip, for Disney World, and for family get away’s. Thanks for every dinner, lunch, breakfast, and for every one of you that asked to hear about our work. Thanks even more for those of you that have invested your financial support. Your faith and trust in our family is not something we take for granted. Apart from God himself, it is the driving force that gives us strength and encouragement that we need to push on.
Most of you know that our son, Ryan, will remain stateside and begin his career in the U.S. Coast Guard. He will ship to basic training in Cape May, New Jersey on May 3rd and God willing he will graduate 8 weeks later to his duty station. His goal is to pursue a degree and career at the same time. Holly and Rachel will join me in Africa after they see Ryan off to basic training. I am extremely proud of the man Ryan has become. As a father, the hardest part is the constant voice in my head asking, “Have you prepared him for life? Have you taught him to seek God? Have you given your best to him? Have you been a good father? Have you set a good example?”. These questions are normal I am told, but in the end he is in God’s hands and not mine. Pray for Ryan as he moves on and gleans wisdom from the many lessons learned from his journey thus far.
There has been so much growth at Abaana’s Hope in the past 2.5 years so it only stands to reason that in the past 4 months the growth has continued. Since I have been in the states, Living Stones Christian School has opened its doors. We are so eager to meet all of the new staff members and be a part of this great program that is building solid foundations for these children. The medical clinic has also opened to meet the basic needs of our children, employees, and immediate family members. It’s a big undertaking that will organically grow into what God wants it to be. Pray for these ministries and for all of the staff involved.
Perhaps the biggest changes we face going back are among the American staff. Chase and Kimmey Barbrey, who have been with us from the start, will return to America to begin the next chapter of their lives which will include assisting a new ministry in Haiti. Kris and Julie Mobbs, who have been with us since January 2015, will return to America to officially take the helm of Four Corners Ministries. Words can’t explain how much these families will be missed but we will be joined in May by a new missionary family, Josh and Kim Moody. Rachel will miss the company of her brother but the Moody’s bring 6 children with them that will help fill that void. We also hope to be joined by Jamie and Sheri Payton’s family before the year is up. We have known these families for years now and cant wait to live and serve alongside them as we conquer and divide the mountain of responsibilities that go into making Abaana’s Hope a successful mission.
There is a song by Big Daddy Weave called My Story. It sums up the desire of our hearts. I hope everyone who has heard our story since we came home has realized that our story is all about Jesus. It’s all about His Grace that is greater than all our sins. We exist to tell of Him! Matthew 24:14 says, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations…”. We are privileged to be enlisted as His servants for this cause. We are honored to do so alongside each of you that support this cause through the West family. Thank you for using your resources to send us. Yes we need your prayers, but without resources we would never leave the prayer room. We love you and can’t wait to see what God stories we will have to tell in two more years. Praise be to God!