“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” begins the letter of James. Those last three words of various kindshave been on my mind recently. Going overseas, we expect of course to face trials of a certain kind – things like communication challenges, resistance to the Gospel, culture shock, etc. – and we brace ourselves against them, but then God sometimes permits trials to come that are of a different kind than what we were expecting. That’s been our case this summer, as some unexpected medical problems have caused us to delay our return to Africa by a few weeks. Nevertheless, James continues for our benefit, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” We trust that God is working patience and endurance in us even through this delay.
Here’s a quick summary of this past month’s rather complicated story. In July’s newsletter I’d included a prayer request for the resolution of a couple of Anita’s health issues. Specifically, these were complications due to an ongoing eye infection and a miscarriage (the two problems are unrelated). On July 19 Anita had to split off from the rest of the family, and while most of us visited congregations in Nebraska and Colorado, she received medical treatment in St. Louis. All appeared to be going well until some final test results showed that she needed to have an unexpected surgery on August 16. When I heard about this, I canceled our last two presentations in Colorado and the kids and I immediately got on the road to St. Louis to be with Anita for her recovery. Now, after nearly a month of being separated, Anita, the kids, and I are all back together. She is doing very well, and it appears that both medical issues are under control. Thank you for your prayers. Since our original flight back to Kenya was supposed to be just three days after the surgery, however, Anita’s physician requested that we delay our return to allow for follow-up examinations and the return of lab results. Our new plane tickets for Kenya are booked for September 6-7. In addition to allowing Anita to rest, these extra days in the U.S. will also allow me to catch up on some long-neglected correspondence and to do a little refreshing of my Swahili, of which I haven’t heard a word spoken all summer.
We don’t have much news regarding my Tanzanian work permit other than that everything has been properly submitted. Last week the Tanzanian immigration office instructed our agent to contact them again this week, so we are awaiting their next response. In the meantime, the faculty at Matongo has a heavy course load this term and needs help, so it appears that I will be assisting there for at least another semester.
Emil moved in to his dorm room at Concordia, Chicago on the day of Anita’s surgery, and I and some of the kids were able to visit him a few days later. This week he’s training for his campus job in tech support, and his classes begin next week.
In the midst of all the crazy turns of events, we did also have a chance for some relaxation earlier this month. Ernie, my brother Ben, my friend Chad, and I accomplished our planned hike on a section of the continental divide trail in Colorado, while grandpa and grandma Shields took their grandkids on a series of rides on their UTV in the nearby mountains.
It was wonderful to meet many of you, our supporters, face-to-face this summer. God bless you, and thank you for your support.
Prayer Requests, Praises, and Thanks
Pray for Anita’s good health.
Ask God’s blessing upon Emil as he begins studies at Concordia, Chicago.
Ask God’s blessing upon the studies of the rest of the Clausing kids as they begin their homeschool and online classes this week and next. Pray that the transition to Africa would cause minimal disruption.
Ask that God would open doors for ministry by allowing me to receive the necessary foreign work and residence permits.
Pray for patience for me, Anita, and our kids as we navigate many uncertainties in the weeks ahead.