Posted on June 14, 2019 Home Assignment to New Special Assignment
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It has been so long since we have been in contact via newsletter, and we apologize for what may seem like a long silence.  We have so much to tell you and it is hard to know where to begin, so we will try to catch you up on all of 2018.
As you know, we began our  Home Assignment at the end of April. This is the first time since 2004 that we have been home for more than 8 months. So, this has been a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends. Still, it has also been a year of overwhelming transition that began at the end of 2017.
Our son Jack, who we carried in our arms when we landed in Chile in 2000, graduated from the Colegio Bautista in Temuco in December, 2017. Precisely because of the staggered school years in Chile and the U.S., our boys have only spent about a cumulative 2 ½ years in the U.S.  So, Jack decided to take a “gap year” and use it for a reverse immersion experience in U.S. culture before entering a university.
When we landed in Denver to spend the first three months with Barb’s family, Jack set off for Wyoming to work on the sheep ranch of our friend and supporter, Tomi Strock. He herded sheep, operated tractors, milked goats, hunted, and everything her family does to maintain livestock and feed. Then the last two months he operated a huge haul truck at a nearby coal mine. Now he is back with us in Texas, applying to colleges.
From Denver, we traveled on deputation visits in Colorado and Indiana, and attended the World Mission Conference and debriefings at Green Lake.

Dwight made several visits to Texas to see his mother. She was a few months shy of her 96th birthday when she passed on to eternity in May. Words are inadequate to convey the goodness and greatness of the life she shared with my family and so many others.

Though transitions are hard, they often bring exciting new opportunities. In August, we moved to College Station, Texas where Barbara entered a Ph.D. program in Youth Development at Texas A & M University.
This is a tremendous opportunity that will equip her to expand and enhance the Girls’ Clubs project. Barbara’s mentor/professor is a leading scholar in the field of Positive Youth Development, which, along with our Christian traditions of spiritual and character development, forms the foundation of the Talita Cumi Girls’ Clubs Program.
Barb is looking forward to a summer full of travel to meet with our partners to lay the groundwork for Talita Cumi in three new countries where they have established ministries with vulnerable children.
William’s transition to the U.S. has meant too much travel, and homeschooling, instead of his usual network of friends at school at Chile. 4-H Clubs and the Rock Climbing Club at A&M’s three-story rock wall are places where he is beginning to flourish. But, he has struggled with missing life in Chile and we see his need for roots in the U.S. as a priority.
So, he started at a new charter school here in January that teaches in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and we pray this will give him the new network of friends and activities that he needs. Please keep him in your prayers as he navigates this challenging time.
New Special Assignment – In order to meet William’s educational needs, and for Barb to complete a Ph.D. in Youth Development at Texas A & M University, we will be based in College Station, Texas for three years.
During this time, we both will remain connected with the projects in Chile — Girls’ Clubs, Beekeeping, Rainwater Harvesting, Men’s Volunteer Relief Network, and others.
Barb will introduce the Girls’ Clubs project to some of our partners in Latin America, providing mentor training, materials, and ongoing support. Dwightwill work in help and consultation with partners and development projects, initially in Mexico and Nicaragua.
This development comes out of a long period of seeking God’s way, in prayer, and in consultation with our Area Director and our partners.
Our new assignment helps us meet a priority need for William’s education and growth, and at the same time enables us to respond to a call to enhance and expand the Girls’ Clubs project, and to strengthen ties of partnership in development and relief work.
“It’s really about…..people” That was the refrain we heard last summer at the Conference for Returning Missionaries as a missionary couple shared their reflections on their first term of service. They were sharing their amazement and gratitude that when it comes down to it, after all our plans and projects, what endures, and satisfies, are the relationships we build, and the grace and strength we share, with our partners in the country we serve. We realize the same thing even now after nearly twenty years of service.
In the coming months, we will tell you about some of those people in Chile, with whom we have shared and received the grace and strength of Jesus Christ, our co-workers in the Kingdom of God, who are becoming “oaks of righteousness.”