It’s hard to believe we’ve been on deputation for 18 months now! With over 40% of our support raised, we’re SO close to that elusive half-way point. Everyone tells us that it takes less time to raise the second half of support, so we are still tentatively aiming for a June 2016 departure date!
2014 was one of the hardest years we’ve had as a family, but also one of the most REWARDING. I wanted to share some of these challenges and blessings, because the mountaintops look so much better when you’ve been in the valley! And our Jesus is right there, all the time, teaching, growing, stretching us more and more.
Challenges and Blessings of 2014
We found out God had blessed us with our 8th child and much of January and February was spent facing morning sickness/fatigue, travel and meetings…..we were so blessed to be down South during the cold winter many were facing!
March and April were FULL of meetings as usual, but a great many of them were missions conferences! Several of these churches went above and beyond to bless our entire family. This was an exhausting time, with week after week of trying to keep church clothes—and the children that wear them!—CLEAN. Nightly services over and over again can be challenging for our little ones to sit still through, and as my tummy grew, using the Laundromat became harder, too. BUT just when I would start to grow weary and discouraged, another church would take us on, or I would have the opportunity to minister in a special way…..the Lord would remind me to keep my focus on HIM and the eternal. Always the eternal. TODAY may be difficult—but ETERNITY is what truly matters!
We faced many issues with our “home” (our travel trailer)….from the frame to a water leak, to major manufacturing problems and several things in-between. If it was not our only residence, maintenance and repairs would not be an issue, but when we have to pack for 10 people and stay in a hotel or prophet’s chamber EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. there is a problem—-ugh! It gets old fast. The blessing here is that, after much counsel, research, and prayer, we were able to trade the other model in for a better fit for our family—AND it came with a 2 YEAR warranty. There’s even a little more space (yes, every extra foot counts!). Living on the road in a small space has it’s challenges, BUT the blessing is that we have SO much family time! If Brent was traveling alone, we would miss out on so many blessings.
Late April/early May, we took our survey trip to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Wow—what a life changing trip! From the townships to the towns, from the ocean view to the wild animals, from orphanages to churches, it was fantastic. Even our children felt at home and longed to stay! The Lord confirmed OVER and OVER again that this is His calling on our lives! We can’t WAIT to finally be “home” in this beautiful land.
May was also very hard on our family. Our sweet Johanna, whom we adopted at 14 years old, was having some major struggles. The combination of early child neglect, abuses of every kind, post-traumatic-stress-disorder, and so much more, was culminating in a rough patch for our girl. We are experienced with these struggles, but seeing she was getting closer to 18 (and therefore a legal adult, with less resources available), we took action and sought professional help for her in a residential setting. As you might imagine–even though we believe it was the BEST situation for our entire family–this was a very hard transition for ALL of us. We prayed and prayed that fruit would come of this process….it wasn’t until we publicly shared what was going on with Johanna, and BEGGED Christians to PRAY on her behalf, that we saw lasting change!!! We learned not to be afraid to share things with fellow believers, and we were encouraged by the POWER in prayer! She is a treasure and we believe God’s plan for her is G-R-E-A-T!
One of the highlights of the month of July was our week at the Bill Rice Ranch. We’ve attended Family Camp there 3 times and never been disappointed!
As summer drew to a end, so did our pregnancy. We came “off the road” for a few weeks, and settled in at Pocahontas State Park to await the birth of our precious son. His beautiful (and extremely SCARY!) birth occurred on August 17, and Titus Alexander Bergey has been nothing but pure J-O-Y to all of us! He has been quite the little traveler already, as our meetings have taken us to over 7 states (from northern Michigan to southern Florida!) since he was born. We hit the ground running, so to speak, 2 weeks after his birth, as our schedule for the fall was VERY full!
Our meetings in September took us to Brent’s home state of Michigan, and his parents enjoyed some quality time with all of the children. Around mid-October, we made a scheduled trip to spend more time with Johanna. When we arrived, she was NOT doing well like before, and after several stressful and PRAYERFUL days, we pulled her from the program and brought her home. She was having some health problems, but after 2 hospitalizations and some time to heal (both physically and emotionally), she is now doing amazingly well, and we have become even closer as a family through this ”trial”. We are so thankful and proud of our girl, as she continues to overcome so much.
The month of October also brought some pretty hefty health challenges—besides Johanna’s needs, 6 of our other children got chicken pox and 5 of us dealt with strep throat! We had FIVE back to back missions conferences to attend and yet we had SO much sickness. The combination of a newborn, Johanna’s needs, multiple sick children, traveling, and MANY meetings took it’s toll on us all. Brent graciously and wisely scheduled a “break” to allow us to regroup a bit, and we spent November and December in missionary housing. We continued our weekend meetings but had some good time to catch up on homeschooling. Brent was also able to work extra at scheduling more meetings for this year. The last benefit was that we had a LOVELY Christmas and most of our extended family was able to come and visit. (Company will NOT fit in our trailer, lol!)
Fulltime travel, a precious new baby, growth for Johanna, many new supporting churches—yes, it was a year full of challenges AND blessings. We are thankful for a Savior who counts us worthy to serve Him and who strengthens our faith and grows it one day at a time!
Our schedule for 2015 is filling up and we are EXCITED about this year!! We have the opportunity and privilege to share about South Africa’s ORPHANS. We have the joy of teaching and training our children to serve Jesus. There is NOTHING we would rather be doing!
“For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL of Christ, for it is the POWER of God unto SALVATION.”