April/May 2020 Newsletter
“Live loved” has been a bit of my (April’s) personal anthem for several years. I’ve been leaning more into grasping God’s great love for me and living in that… letting that be what overflows in my daily life and interactions with others.
These last several weeks have been really taking us to new depths in this. The circumstances around us have been overwhelming on many occasions in the last six weeks or so, and yet, each time, when things around us seem to be beckoning us to grab ahold of fear, the love of Jesus (often through our partners and the BODY of Christ), reaches out and ministers love to us. The Bible doesn’t tell us that faith is the opposite of fear. In fact, instead, it tells us that, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” -I John 4:18. It hasn’t been about striving for a greater level of faith, or understanding every detail of how He works, but rather resting in the arms of a Daddy that loves us deeply and having perfect confidence in His goodness towards us. We look back at the times He moved us, and it is becoming more and more clear that He was keeping us safe and directing each step. Love never fails (I Corinthians 13:8). Honestly, another huge way He has shown us love has been in physical provision through our partners. There was a time when things were happening fast, and we hadn’t had time to communicate with our partners at home, but questions about how a great need would be provided for were welling up. That night, while we slept, two folks were prompted by God and obediently gave without knowing what was going on, and it sweetly ministered to us that God knew our needs and was taking care of us. As we faced having to return to the states for a bit at a different time and much greater cost than expected, the way people have rallied to help take care of financial and other needs has been extremely humbling. One of our African friends wanted to be a part of this, and together with a couple of her friends gave over a month’s worth of salary to help meet the needs. She said when she gave that it might help, “you understand the gratitude and humility of the many you have given help.” Wow! Definitely humbling. This heart of love and the sacrifice many have made at such an uncertain time worldwide has truly left us speechless with immense gratitude, to the point, at times, it’s been very hard to accept. God has even provided beyond our known needs and seen certain desires and blessings. While discussing how we would handle transportation once back in the US, Elyssa suggested that she wanted a Jeep. We put the need for a vehicle out there and God met that specific desire of Elyssa’s…and later to find out, in her favorite color. We believe this will be something she holds onto for years to come as a time she knew God moved for her specifically. We have had individuals and family step up to provide housing and an abundance of food for us while we quarantined the first few weeks and now are settling in. Friends have had amazing, creative ideas for fundraisers that they have done. We can tell so many stories of how loved we have felt, but this letter might go on for many pages. We want to say, “Thank you,” though, to so many of you that are being used as the hands and feet of God to show us His Love. Your partnership in this is far more than prayers or financial support; you are literally sowing into our lives exactly what we need to be able pour out to others.
We got notification of an embassy arranged flight one morning, and we ended up packing our bags and leaving our house in less than 24 hours. Embassy flights are not free, but they are chartered, and we will get the bill at a later date. We were told the estimated cost was nearly $12,000, but that will not be confirmed until we get the bill. This is probably four times what we hoped to pay for our ticket. Our partners have given over half of that already. We are believing that every penny will be there when by the time the bill arrives. We have felt burdened that we need to communicate some of how things work for missionaries, so that others understand. For example, we only recognized within the last five years the fact that when missionaries are back in the United States, they have the cost of maintaining their home and some other ministry costs in their country of service as well as in the USA. Missionaries return to connect and refresh… to share in hope, faith, and relationships. Additionally, new or renewed partnerships are essential. We raised many of our launch costs as one time donations, but continue to need ongoing monthly partners as well as funds for our return tickets. We are trusting God for provision in all these things, and that each time an expense comes, that the costs will be fully covered. We are believing that we will both be refreshed and be able to refresh others during this time.
We have now been in the USA a little over two weeks and we have completed the quarantine period requested by the government. We are beginning to look to visit friends, partners, and churches as they open up. It is a weird time to be planning this for sure, and yet, for us to continue to serve in Eastern Africa, this is an essential component. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can connect and fellowship together while we are here, or if your church is interested in having us share.
About Jonathan & April Noah
Our vision is to Empower, Equip, Exhort, and Encourage the local people and ministries of Eastern Africa. So, as to become self-sustaining in order to further the kingdom of God, our heart is to see people be radically changed by the power of the gospel.