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  • T. S. Morrell

Martin Sept 2021 - Papua

As we've moved on to our next stage of life and ministry in the last few months...

we are feeling the meaning behind what I have heard some refer to as the "sandwich" stage. We find ourselves lodged firmly between our kids on the one side, who are living on their own, yet still need dad and mom to help them navigate these lessons learned in the young adult years. On the other side we find our own parents, who certainly know how to live life quite well on their own. Yet as they are getting into the later years of life they are finding that there are ways that we can help them, too. Sometimes they just need for us to be more available to spend time with them, to honor them in ways that may not have seemed as necessary in previous years. As each of our kids were going through individual challenges, it was so good to look them in the eyes, give them real hugs, cry with them, lay hands on them in prayer, and to encourage them in their next steps.

For those who have never lived oceans away from family, it may be hard to understand how painful it is at times; and on the flipside, to understand just how much of a gift it is to simply be together. We consider these last 5 months to be a gift from the Lord. Mike is at a stage in the translation where he needs to spend a lot of time with his computer. So no matter where we go, his laptop and work can go with him. It is amazing to me that the Lord knew all of this when we landed in Indonesia 20 years ago. He knew we would need extra time with family in the United States, while still needing to continue the work. I cannot help but to be amazed at how things work out when we leave them in the Lord's hands.

I am enjoying reading the book Becoming Elisabeth Elliot, in which the author quotes a friend and mentor of Elisabeth. Katherine Morgan was a missionary to Pasto, Columbia. Prior to the well-known martyrdom of Elisabeth's husband Jim Elliot, Katherine wrote about her experience in a letter to Elisabeth.

"Our feelings were conductive to doubt as to the reasons our husbands were taken, but we knew inside we had to do as the Lord commanded. In my estimation there was no particular virtue to what we did. We had received our orders and we had to stick by them and carry our feelings in our pockets. Many times my feelings would have led me to throw in the sponge here in Pasto. I 'felt' the people were unresponsive and the effort was fruitless. I 'felt' everything but the desire to stay here and work. Nevertheless God's plan has to be carried out. This is a hard lesson to learn, and it takes a lifetime."

We are still in the process of learning how to put “our feelings in our pockets” as we hugged each one of our kids goodbye. Not knowing where they will be for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we nevertheless assured them that the Lord has something good planned for them. With “our feelings in our pockets,” and our call to finish the translation before us, we boarded the plane over the oceans that separate us once again.

To what has the Lord called you? Are your feelings getting in the way? Katherine died in Pasto in her nineties. Don't give up! Remember, it takes a lifetime to learn.

It was a busy 5 months in America! During the last two and a half weeks alone, we traveled across the country to hug each kid and each parent one more time before leaving to go back overseas.

In Michigan we said good-bye to Amy’s mother, along with Ethan and his fiancé Abigail as they continue studies at Western Michigan University (left). Then we were off to Arizona to settle Charis into her new home in a dorm room at Grand Canyon University. She will have her good friend from Sentani, Sophie, as her neighbor (right).

Next stop:

Lackland Air Force Base,

San Antonio, TX

We were able to help Creston shop and set up his new off-base home for the next few months. He is now the proud owner of a desk and a dresser! From there it was on to Tri-Cities, TN. We were grateful that we could fit one more trip to Tennessee into the schedule to help Mike's mom get moved into her house (lower left). Mike's dad and step-mother graciously drove us through the pre-dawn hours to the Ashville airport for our international flight (lower right). Currently we are at a hotel room in Jakarta, Indonesia, wrapping up the mandatory 8-day quarantine. We have been living out of a carry-on suitcase for nearly a month!

Lord willing, after receiving one final COVID test, we will be cleared to return back to Sentani, soon followed by our return to the village of Kosarek!

Pray with us for...

  • Stamina to push forward to the finish line! The New Testament translation is in the FINAL STAGES!

  • The Kosarek team to be ready and available to check the material Mike has been working to complete.

  • Our transition back to Sentani, and then on to Kosarek.

  • Our kids to thrive in the Lord and in their new places.

We're thankful that...

  • We were able to attend Creston's graduation from the Air Force Academy in May.

  • We were able to take a family vacation together in a domestic tropical destination that felt somewhat like the home our kids left behind.

  • Ethan and his fiancé Abigail are planning to be married in July 2022!

  • We have made it back to Indonesia before the re-entry deadline in order to extend our visas.

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