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We are back in the states now, with the funeral scheduled for tomorrow, Friday.  It was a long day of travel for me and the girls, but we finally arrives.  By the time I arose to the time we walked out of the airport, almost 24 hours elapsed.  But it is good to be here with the family and Nancy.

Thoughts:

  • There is never a good time to go.  We will always say, "I wish I had seen him/her one more time"
  • Today is the day to call and talk, tell the person you love that you do love them.
  • Memories are important, so I want to make them with my family
  • Time flies.  In any language, there is that concept.  Enjoy today.

The funeral is Friday at Emmanuel Christian Center, Fridley, MN.  Memorials are going to Rural Compassion and the work in Moldova.  Life Church in Maple Grove (Theron and Evelyn's home church) is handling memorials.


The Day From...

Yesterday was not a good day. 

It started from the dreaded phone call that Nancy's mom had suddenly passed away.  All of sudden, Nancy was no longer packing for a visit to see her mom and dad to packing for a funeral.  A million decisions crashed into me yesterday.

  • Do I bring the girls or should we stay in Moldova?
  • The girls don't want to go back, but want to stay in Moldova.  How do I resolve that?
  • How can I comfort the tearful questions from the girls at losing their Grandma?
  • How can I comfort their fear of not being able to come HOME to Moldova?
  • Do we jeopardize our return if we leave?
  • Can I even find tickets for us all, or afford it if we do?
  • Where did I put my car keys?  (amazing how stressful even that last questions can be!)

All this is complicated by the fact of our continued living permit situation.  As Nancy left, she was given grief for her lack of a living permit, told not  to return until we have resolved that.  So if I leave with the girls, is this permanent?  Semi-permanent?  Two weeks?  Three months?

Then I got the second call that I had to stop our interns that are en route to Moldova.  They are missing one document, and NOW I am told they need it BEFORE they arrive here.  Last night I frantically tried to track them down, locate a contact number, and have them halt before they flew into Moldova.

To paraphrase a once-read quote, I was facing a fork in the road. One path led to utter despair.  The other led to total annihilation.  I was praying for the wisdom to choose wisely.  My high blood pressure was NOT being controlled by medication yesterday.

But the sun comes up, even in this snowy, cloudy, gray country.  The girls and I have resolved to fly back tomorrow morning.  We have found some good tickets.  At 1 am, the living permit situation turned to the better, with a message giving some semblance of hope that we can resolve it.  And I finally reached the interns and put their arrival on hold.

I love The Message's take on the Beatitudes, with the words of Jesus.  "Blessed are you when you are at the end of your rope.  When there is less of you, there is more of God."  I don't have a lot of theological answers about death, life, and living permits.  I don't pretend to grasp God's sovereignty, or our place in building the Kingdom of God.  Simple spiritual platitudes don't sink too deep into my soul, usually causing more questions than resolving them.

But I know I can still hang on to God.

I may be stressed.  I may have peace.  I may have answers.  I may be filled with doubts and questions.

But I will still hold on to the rope of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for praying,

Your missionaries to Moldova,
Andy Raatz


India

Last week Nancy and I attending the leadership meetings for Project Rescue.  Since the rest of the ministry homes are located in India and Nepal, the meetings were held in Mumbai, India.  Thus WE were the ones traveling the distance, but with all of our living permit headaches as of late, it was wonderful being able to leave the country.  Nancy still did not have her living permit, but we were able to make it out and back with only a couple of tense moments.  Dsc_0077

The need of more work in the area of anti-trafficking is obvious.  There are a rising amount of voices and organizations that in protest of this.  But there is something different about Project Rescue and the leaders that sat around the table. 

They are do-ers.  Dsc_0072_2

I cannot even begin to list the organizations and NGOs that focus on awareness or education.  Many people want to be advocates.  But few want to get their hands dirty, actually ministering to those needs, loving and caring for girls and women as they find freedom in Christ.

I believe we are about two months away from finishing the Home of Hope in Moldova (months past our goal, but that is Moldova!).  We are excited to be DOING the work of the ministry.