(*NOTE* This update was supposed to be posted on Sunday, but a flat tire and trying to get it fixed on a Sunday afternoon prevented that.)

Today it is cold and rainy in Roscoe, IL.  That is where you would find us if you were looking.  We are starting off a mission’s conference today and I think it is going to be a good one.  Jill and I love visiting our supporting churches and getting reacquainted with old friends and making new friends.

I am sorry for the absence of these updates for a few weeks.  It has taken us some time to find our “stride” here in the US.  I will try to do better and keep you better informed.  We certainly appreciate your prayers for us.  They are a blessing.

Andy and Jill with Cathy and Leo Paine the day of our departure from Zambia (September 11). The Paines are relief missionaries standing in for us during our brief furlough. Please pray for them!

On September 11, Jill and I traveled safely from Zambia to Johannesburg, South Africa, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Chicago, Illinois, then on to Bloomington, Illinois, and finally to my parent’s house in Decatur Illinois.  It was a whirlwind 35+ hours, but we arrived safely on September 12th and so did all of our luggage.  On September 14 we flew down to Pensacola to see the girls, and what a happy reunion that was!  The girls are well and we had a great time celebrating Andrea’s birthday.  In just a few days we had our first Sunday meeting and so began our busy furlough.

It is funny that some people think that a furlough is a time of vacation.  It really is not.  We are very busy on furlough, and although we love visiting our supporting churches and seeing friends, it is not a holiday.  There will be time in December to slow down and enjoy Christmas with the girls for a couple of weeks, and we look forward to that time of rest.  Sadly, the term “furlough” is a bit of a misnomer.

I have some wonderful news to share with you!  Just last week Jill found that she could move her foot up and down about an inch.  Moving the foot down was never a problem but moving it up was impossible.  The US neurologist that saw Jill in May told her that the tests she performed were pretty conclusive that the nerve to the foot was permanently damaged.  Feeling responsible for Jill’s condition, I refused to settle for that answer and I prayed.  I asked you to pray with me and God heard our prayers!  Little by little the movement in her foot is coming back and also feeling in her toes.  Praise the Lord for doing what the doctors said was impossible!  That is what happens when you go for relief to the one who made the foot!  Please continue praying that Jill’s foot will be restored completely to normal use.

This furlough on our display table folks can pick up our activity page which is a Zentangle Rhino that Jill created. We encourage people – children and adults alike – to color it or to complete the Word Find activity on the reverse side. This is a picture colored by our good friend Moriah Williams. Good job Moriah!

Tonight after our meeting Jill and I will travel through the night to reach home in Danville, Illinois.  Normally we would not do this but we need to prepare for our next series of meetings.  We have to be at the airport at 5am on Tuesday to fly to out West to our next meetings.  We will be away from home for 3 weeks in 4 different churches and two missions conferences.  Please pray with us for safe travel and for the Lord to bless our meetings.  At one mission’s conference I will be the main speaker.  This is a first for me in over 20 years as a missionary and I want to do a good job for the Lord.

The news that we hear from Zambia is mostly good.  We miss our Zambian brothers and sisters deeply.  They are truly our family.  We pray for them regularly.  We learned that the week after we left the Zambian currency lost over 10% of its value against the dollar.  This will put a serious strain on finances for our Zambian friends.  We also learned that one of the faithful ladies who attends our church lost her husband.  When we left, Mr. Zulu had been sick for a week or so, but it did not seem serious.  In a tropical environment illnesses can become critical quickly and sadly Mr. Zulu passed away.  Please pray for his wife, children and grandchildren in this time of loss.  

Please also be in prayer for Leo and Cathy Paine, the relief missionaries who are standing in for us during our furlough.  They are doing a great service for us, and in doing so, are doing a great service for our supporting churches as well.  Please pray for their health, safety and oversight of the church.  The Paines are marginally supported and could use a few more good churches to support them.  Would you pray that they get the support they need?

Thank you very much for your partnership with me and Jill in Zambia.  You are essential to the work that is going on there.  Because of you, the Lord is blessing and folks continue to be saved and grow in the Lord.  Thank you. 

Andy and Jill in the studio recording our furlough presentation. Two days work for an 8 minute presentation. We pray that it will be a blessing and an encouragement to those who view it.