One of our own, E, serves in Central Asia. We support his work as a community developer, English teacher, cycling advocate, and Jesus follower as he lives and shares the gospel to his friends.
Good to be writing from rainy Austin, TX.
I’ve been back “home” for two weeks. Great time with family and friends, kind of laying low, meeting with people, doing some cooking and bike-riding, etc. … even sleeping in. Vacation.
A married couple who are mentors to me (and who now live in SE Asia) have lent me their car, which has made life easy as I run around taking care of errands that I can only do here (getting contacts, getting a rain jacket, etc. etc. etc.). It’s been a huge blessing.
I’ll be here for another week in Austin, and then my parents and I will go to Portland, OR to see my brother and sister-in-law for about a week. Then back to Austin for a day or two, then Houston — then it’s back to Central Asia around Nov 1. My NGO contract is active through the end of March, at which point my commitment will be fulfilled and I’ll move back to the States for a time of seeking and discerning what’s next.
A little update on what’s been going on back in Central Asia:
- Four friends from my home faith community visited me for my last week in-country. We were busy busy busy as I tried to give them a snapshot of life—the NGO office and projects and colleagues, the neighborhood with its relationships, my closest Central Asian friends, a village we visited for an NGO project, the food, the stories, and just what life is like in a world of bullets, walls, dust, kebabs, burqas, tea and the immediacy and hospitality and instability that makes up life in that country. So blessed to have that opportunity and to have four guys who “get it” when I talk about that place. We had an incident with Central Asian government/security people our last day that left us a bit shaken, but at the end of the day everything is okay and we are all fine.
- My books project has seen a lot of continued favor and I actually have authors and government people requesting me to do more for the project. It’s been a blessing to be putting an English degree and sense of literature to use in a place with a 28.1% literacy rate, and to actually have books being sold to average people in the marketplaces. We average between 1,000 and 1,500 books sold per month countrywide … not huge but considering the circumstances I’m quite pleased with that. There are also going to be opportunities this winter to expand my discussion groups and actually have one advanced English group reading and discussing our most popular leadership book, “New Horizons,” which was written for a Central Asian audience.
- I have received emails from friends back in Central Asia, some of whom don’t speak English and had to have it translated and who don’t have computers. The effort to say hello touches my heart. Although living there is hard, I am grateful for the people who reach out to me and have really tried to make it a tenable situation for me. Looking forward to getting back to those relationships.
Please lift up my remaining time here, for a sense of God’s presence and peace after coming out of what honestly is a very dark place and having been a bit shaken by a year of life there. And for a sense of His mercy and grace as I look to the future, both near and far … that He would be moving in ways that seal the cracks and smooth over the bumps so that I can just rest in His provision and focus on loving others and growing in my spirit.
Please also continue to pray for the people there who need more love and hope.
Thanks for being with me, tracking with me and loving me.