When last I wrote I announced that we were planning our home assignment for this summer and that “we’re hoping this year will be no exception” to our regular biennial schedule. But even then (March 15), the coronavirus had already been declared a pandemic and now we know this year is, indeed, an exception.
I probably don’t need to say much about why we’re not coming back this summer. I could mention mandatory two week quarantine on the way there and back, limited meetings with supporters, EFCA ReachGlobal ministry travel policy, and all that jazz. In the end, there was no decision to be made since our flight was cancelled.
At first this was pretty bad news because in 2021 we were scheduled to attend the required, biennial ReachGlobal European conference. In order to stay in sync with biennial conference and home assignment, we wouldn’t have been able to come back until 2022. That was bad news because for lots of reasons, not least of which we would have missed our last home assignment with all four of us since Elisabeth goes off to college in 2021.
Turns to Good News
Turns out the gurus in ReachGlobal leadership have their pulse on the everyday life of their missionaries and they rescheduled the conference to 2022. That means we can come back for home assignment in 2021 and there are a thousand ways this is really good news…
- Elisabeth will (most likely) be starting college in 2021 so now home assignment will coincide with seeing Elisabeth off to university.
- Our finances are running a bit low, it doesn’t look like our current support level would have gotten us all the way to 2022. (But then again, the Lord has always provided.)
- Every fifth year I need to be out of Slovakia for 6 months. I’m due to leave Slovakia for six months by the end of 2021 so now it’s possible I can use home assignment for two of those months, instead of home assignment this year and then six months out of Slovakia again in 2021.
- Shifting home assignment to odd numbered years means we will be scheduled for home assignment in 2023, the year Max will be off to college.
- All total, I figure we could save about six round trip tickets and a couple months of extra rent expense.
Bittersweet but Mostly Sweet
It is a bummer that we won’t be back to visit with supporters this year and report on how God has been expanding ministry. And it’s a bummer that we’ll miss time with family (we had a Patterson family reunion planned in CO). But in the end, we can see the Lord’s timing.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to have some online meetings with people this summer and we’ll see you soon in 2021!
If you’d like to have an online meetup (one on one or with a group), let us know.