Time to wait again. Wait on the Lord, that is. Quite an active time, really. And what are we waiting for exactly? Well, lots of things. But most significantly...the next steps. The Buntings 5 are relocating back to the USA at the end of our two year commitment this June.
It is true that our original hope was that the Lord would give faith and grace to remain here longer. I still remember the first day or so after we arrived on our little island. I said, "Oh...I don't want to leave in two years!" But time, reality, and circumstances can change things. We have buried two of our beloved parents/grandparents since moving here. Keith's parents are now in heaven. We have gone from having one teenager in middle school to two teenagers in high school. We have seen the goodness and the difficulties of living outside our country of origin while trying to raise our children in the way we feel called. And the difficulties have pulled at us.
We have made dear friends here and left dear friends back in the U.S. We have buried both loved ones here and loved ones back in the states. We have learned to endure 93 and 94 degree temps in our home while trying to homeschool and cook. We have learned to trust God for finances that we cannot (according to our visas) earn for ourselves. We have seen answers to prayer above and beyond expectation. We have seen the dearness of God's people here. We have missed the dearness of God's people back home. We have struggled under the lack of efficiency here and then defended it to outsiders who criticize it.
And all the while God was at work. Molding, shaping, stretching, sloughing off rough edges, refining, recasting us. We are different. A piece of us is forever labelled "Bahamas." It can't be taken or changed. It remains. And we pray fruit remains here long after we're gone. It is bittersweet. But in the end, we knew we needed God-given faith to remain here. So we prayed and prayed. We read books. We asked for counsel. We had others pray and pray. We ran budget scenarios. We talked to other missionaries. And the faith would not come. God did not birth it. We are soberly reminded of the verse "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Hebrews 11:6. We came here on faith...not quite blind faith, but after only 2 ten day visits. Sold everything but what we brought here in our 40 boxes. And to remain, we would need that same kind of faith.
So now in our leaving, we have many questions. What job will Keith get? Will we have to leave ministry for the forseeable future? How will we make a living? Where we will go? We have no furniture to take back. We have no vehicles to take back. Starting from scratch. And yet, there is faith for it all. So in this we walk. There is faith for it...and so we pray God makes it all clear in His time. The "where?" The "who?" The "what?" And we'll let you know when it all comes together. In the meantime, please be praying for the Buntings and Kingdom Life Church. They are well on their way to seeking another man to lead worship at the church, though not in a full-time pastoral role. Their hope is that it will be a local man who will not have to move or make a cultural adjustment. Ideally, a Bahamian man with reformed theological views and continuationist beliefs who loves leading God's people in song. It's possible he's here on this island somewhere!
For all of our faithful readers, pray-ers, and supporters out there...Thank you! We could not be here without you. Keep us close in your prayers and hearts. We look forward to all God will do.