SERVING IN: Scotland, Europe
MINISTRY FOCUS: Social Justice
Bob and Melissa are high school sweethearts from Texas. Melissa graduated from UT Arlington. After Bob graduated from Bible College in Pensacola, Florida, they moved to Japan in 1985 with their three young children. In Japan, they lived in Nagoya for nine years conducting various community events from plays and cooking classes to Christmas programs, and established two churches. In 1995 Bob and Melissa and their boy/girl thirteen year old twins moved to Scotland, leaving their eldest daughter in university in the States. In Scotland, they lead a church, His Family Church, in the local community, and have renovated an 1800s baronial mansion, Overtoun House, located in the west of Scotland, as a safe house for women offering them hope and counselling and life skills training. The team in Overtoun House work together in/for the community as well as help with the Overtoun House Tea Room and other projects.
Bob and Melissa’s family now includes, along with their three adult children, two spouses and seven grandchildren. Three grandchildren live in Scotland and four live in Minnesota. The two of them love the people and the country of Scotland!
I hope 2020 ended in peace and joy for you all! We had a great Christmas and New Year despite the strict lock down in Scotland. We were allowed to travel on Christmas Day only, so in the afternoon we went to our daughter’s to celebrate their first Christmas in their new home. It was very nice, and we were sure to be home before midnight so that our car didn’t turn into a pumpkin! But the days were filled with laughter, games, and rest – much needed!
What a crazy year this has been! Melissa and I are ending the year in hope and joy! We made it! YOU made it!! We celebrate the love of Christ and the Father! We celebrate the power and moving of Holy Spirit! We praise God for our wonderful children and our seven very fun grandchildren. We praise God for Melissa’s mother being healthy for another year. We praise God for the church in Scotland and its great people. We praise God for our Member Care team and the missionaries we love. We praise God for you!!
Last month we wrote from the States. Today I am writing from my kitchen table in Scotland living through a fourteen-day quarantine. Yahoo! It’s not easy. We can talk to family from a distance; we can’t pet the dog; we can’t have meals with family. It DOES give me great empathy for the elderly who are not allowed to see their family, and also for missionaries around the world cut off from friends, family and ministry. God be with them all!
Our home church, New Day Church in High Point, NC, pastors Mike and Debbie Sirianni, ordained us while we were with them. Glory!! We also attended their “Women on the Front Lines” conference. We had an excellent time with everyone! Thank you so much!
Imagine being in your new country where the language is different and you’re having a baby in a few months-in pain, different looking rooms, they don’t speak English. Wow! Or imagine coming to the US for a short visit and finding out you can’t return to the country you serve. Do you get a job? A house? You have to repurpose! This is Member Care – walking together through these real-life troubles and staying close listening to their processes, tears, fears, and the realities of life.
We are starting this letter with celebration! In August 1985, we left Texas for a 36-hour trip to Japan with three children, ages 9 and 3 (twins). What an adventure! Little did we know that the adventure would continue for 35 years! Now here we are having just celebrated 25 years in Scotland-see our March newsletter. And we ARE NOT stopping! We are mid 60s YOUNG and have adventures awaiting in the future! Glory!!!
This month we’ve spoken with missionaries around the world. Their feelings are mixed, but mostly they are feeling the same loneliness that the rest of us feel. Forced to stay at home – some countries would allow freedom then take it away the very next day. Other countries are keeping folks in a five-mile radius of home. Missionaries are movers – they GO to the villages; they GO to the “garbage dump” to help people. But for now, they are home finding creative ways to GO.
Here we are heading into June with things easing in America concerning CV19, but not easing in most other countries of the world. As Bob and I talk with missionaries everywhere, we hear the worry in their voices that people aren’t being reached, that the people they work amongst are hungry or afraid or are dying. These are difficult days!
Due to the “shelter in place” around the world, Globe had its first-ever virtual Globe 180 retreat. What a great three days! We had guest speakers with the opportunity for questions and answers, and we also had breakout rooms for prayer, fellowship, and for the youth. “Coffee rooms” were also provided for friends to get together for a blether (a chat). Time zones around the world were online. Bob and I were a bit sad to see it end – it was saying good-bye to family and friends.
I hope this finds you all safe and at peace as you practice “shelter in place.” Bob and I flew out of Scotland not knowing that they would close the airports two days later. Wow!! We are now in Texas with family until further notice. We’ve been calling and encouraging many of our missionaries around the world during our time here. Please continue to lift them up!!
In Scotland, we are mentoring young couples, most of whom are not believers, and Bob is mentoring “older” gentlemen in our area. Both are going great! The men and women in His Family Church are starting studies from books donated by the Kendrick Brothers. They are good studies!
This month we are celebrating 25 years in Scotland! What a journey! Ups and downs, joys and tears and yet, all glory to God who brought us here and has taken us along His great path! Wow!!