Safely Home in the USA
The Kenya Chupps landed safely in Chicago on July 26th and were welcomed and escorted to Stevensville, MI by Warren White (Lakeland Regional Health Care VP) and Dr. Ken O'Neill (Medical Director for Southwestern Medical Clinic). All luggage arrived intact and untouched which we were especially grateful for since we had passed through Rome for a few days on the way home(see pictures below). Michigan is a wonderful place to be in the summer so we basked in the sun and enjoyed the White family pool on 95+ degree days as we recovered from jet lag. Other than a severe cold that Mike developed a couple of days after arrival, our first week in Berrien County was great, highlighted by a wonderful visit to our home church, Berrien Center Bible Church, and with many friends in the St. Joseph, MI area. Our kids spent many hours with old friends from Grace Christian School while Mike met up with several physician partners at Southwestern Medical Clinic during the week. God blessed us through the generosity of Dr. David Pfotenhauer of Mooresville, IN who drove a 2002 Acura MDX all the way to Michigan and left it with the Whites so that our family would have a vehicle to use, not only our first week home, but also for the entire five months we are home. Thank you Pfotenhauers and thank you heavenly Father for such generous children of yours!
We made our way south through Indiana, visiting Mike's grandmother (age 96), aunt, and brothers Brian and Rick and their families. We finally landed in Chattanooga, TN to a joyous reunion with Pam's parents, Wayne and Theresa Butts on August 5th. Chattanooga will be our "home base" this HMA (home ministry assignment) as our two youngest daughters, Kayla (8th grade) and Ashley (5th grade) have already started school at Silverdale Baptist Academy about 10 minutes from the Butts home. Some of you will remember that Wayne was very sick in 2005/2006 and basically became blind but was touched by our loving Lord who gave Dad Butts his vision back and amazing health. Mom and Dad Butts celebrated 49 years of marriage yesterday, Aug 17th, on the same day that we celebrated 21 years of marriage. It is SO good to be unpacked, over jet lag, and looking ahead to these months in the States which will be packed with ministry opportunities, God helping us.
Pam and the kids at the Roman colloseum July 25th in front of a cross placed in Emperor Nero's box where he presided over the deaths of thousands of Christians in the first century AD.
A DOOR CLOSING....WHAT NEXT?
Here was a conversation in our car on the way to the Army Recruitment office in Chattanooga for the third time in a week, this time for completion of Steven's application to enlist....
Mike to Steven: "You remember how God spoke to Ernie Steury (first doctor at Tenwek Hospital) just before he got on the Army bus to go to the processing station.....God told him not to get on. He purposed for Ernie to become a missionary doctor and serve at Tenwek.
Steven: "Dad, I don't think God has ever talked to me like that."
Mike: "God doesn't always clearly say something to us like he did with Ernie. Sometimes he communicates his will to us through other people, his word, or by closing doors, but in any case he gives us guidance."
3 hours later after Steven finishes with recruiter and Mike is sipping coffee at McDonalds......
Steven to Mike: "Its over Dad. I don't medically qualify for the Army because of my, well, you know, I sleep walk. And they say it applies to all the branches of the US military."
Mike (in shock) to Steven: "No way!"
Steven: "Yes, I could maybe do a sleep study or something but they really don't think it will make a difference."
Mike: "Now what buddy?"
Steven: "I don't know, Dad, that is all I ever wanted to do.........."
That conversation took place about 10 days ago and we have been in a period of re-grouping as a family and praying a whole lot more about Steven's future. Steven has described going through the stages of death in loss of this dream/vision, especially working through denial, anger, sorrow over a loss. God has brought some dear people across his path and our path in these 10 days to encourage Steven and us that God has something far better and special in mind for Steven's future as this was an obvious door closure, out of Steven's and our control. Getting a driver's license and a job are top priorities right now but many unknowns are in our minds right now. We would greatly appreciate your praying for Steven and his future as he thinks about what God has in store for him. We really hope that he will find employment in the next month or two before we leave for Kenya at the end of December. Going to college and working locally in Chattanooga seem to be practical steps right now but every Army billboard or TV advertisement has brought pain and disappointment to our son. Pam has been reminding Steven and me of Jer. 29:11 and God's plans to prosper Steven with a "hope and a future". He enjoys Pam's folks church and the program there very much which we feel is a good start. Thank you for praying!
A WEEK OF TRANSITION AND TURBULENCE....
Last week our two younger daughters started back to school at Silverdale Baptist Academy in Chattanooga. This week we will say goodbye to our oldest daughter, Melody, as she returns to Kenya to start the first term of her junior year at Rift Valley Academy. I think this is harder for Mom and Dad than Mel! She is quite eager to get back to RVA, friends, basketball, and a new post as one of four vocalists in a student led weekly Sunday evening worship time at school called Sunday Night Live. As if that change wasn't enough, I (Mike) leave in one week for Michigan for two months to work with Southwestern Medical Clinic and many Christian colleagues there. I already have an appointment with a plastic surgery friend next Wednesday to get started on treatment for a probable skin cancer on my nose that will be a little tricky to remove, given its location. Sometimes when it rains, it POURS!
So, the Chupps have a lot of stuff going on and we REALLY would be grateful for God's people to pray this week. :-)
Melody played guard for the RVA Lady Buffalos JV basketball team last season
OUR HOME MINISTRY SCHEDULE
We will have many opportunities in churches and at conferences to share what God has been doing in and through our family and our missionary team these past two years at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. Mike will be speaking at his home church (Grace Missionary Church) in Mooresville, IN Labor Day weekend to kick off our HMA time. In October there will be mission conferences in Ohio and in Michigan to attend and then November will be packed with services and conferences every weekend in several states. We will wind up our ministry time about a week before Christmas so that we can spend time with family and friends before leaving for Kenya December 29th, Lord willing. We are quite excited to share with as many of you as possible the growth and advancement of not only the medical outreach/work of Tenwek Hospital but also several other ministries and responsibilities that God sent our way these past two years. A big part of this time home for Mike is looking for more doctors/dentists/medical administration/IT professionals to come along side and help us at Tenwek Hospital both short and long term.
Three young talented Tenwek surgical residents: (L to R) Damaris (2nd year), Liz (1st), Agneta (5th)
OUR CONTACTS WHILE IN THE US:
Mike's cell phone: 269-355-8833
Pam's cell phone: 269-985-8023
Our WGM website: www.wgm.org/Chupp
Our blog: kenyachupps.blogspot.com
Postal address: 300 Cyndica Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Our permanent email address: email@example.com
Steven's email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our mission address/financial support: World Gospel Mission, Box 948, Marion, IN 46952
Donate on line: https://www.wgm.org/Chupp
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SOONEST! WE WILL BE SENDING OUT NEW PRAYER CARDS SOON! HAVE A GREAT WEEK WALKING WITH OUR LORD JESUS. Mike for Pam and the kids