"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Year to get Here

For many of you that have followed our story and lives over the past 5 years you know where we've been, what we've left, and how the journey has brought us to this point.

In July, 2013, as we were praying and waiting and trusting for His direction, God led us to be Directors of Ministry at Hope Center. You can read about that part of the journey here

When God affirmed our call to Aiken and Hope Center we thought the building would be ready for occupancy and ministry in September 2013. Little did we know that it would actually be September, 2014.

That doesn't mean we had nothing going on with life and ministry, Oh there has been plenty of that!  I have been blessed to be a part of a women's (and sometimes men) group that meets for Bible Study and most recently to do Jobs for Life classes.  God has knit together hearts and created friendships through this group.
Scott has continued to work on his classes towards his masters degree in Christian Ministry, has been teaching classes for Christ Central Institute, and is doing interim Children's work at Millbrook Baptist Church.
Add all of that to our chaotic home-life with kids in school and activities and you realize we have been busy!  To top it all, we welcomed our first Grandchild, Stella James Smith, to the world on July 5th and have been blessed to be close enough for trips and visits. (You can see all the baby pics you want here).

We have continued to spend a lot time in meetings and prayer as we worked toward the opening of Hope Center.  There have been grants to write, people and places to speak and share the vision.  There have been needs of people to be met... needing rides, and help, and someone to walk alongside them.  There has been a team to build (which is still in the process) and equip for mission ministry.  There have been details of contractors, and invoices, and building inspections but mostly, there has been a lot of work to be done inside our own hearts to be ready for such a time as this.

Although we had a grand-opening with Governor, Nikki Haley, in February we have not had permission to occupy the building until this past Thursday - September, 4th.

So today we mark a very historic day in our Journey.  The opening of Hope Center.  Today was the first full day of ministry. The morning began with transporting momma's and babies to class.

Trinity academy (Preschool Ministry) under the direction of Anita Stokes had class with 4 leaders and 9 littles.  What a blessing to watch God call people that love little ones and see the importance of reaching them with the love of Jesus even as an infant.  It's such a joy to watch preschoolers begin to learn routines and expectations from teachers, and to see teachers pour their passion into the future generation.

 Morning Worship time at Trinity Academy
 Learning to play together in Centers at Trinity Academy

 Mrs. Pam loving on the Babies of Trinity of Academy
 Mrs. Barbara (a jobs for life graduate) serving the babies of Trinity Academy
 Snack Time with Mrs. Stokes 3 and 4 year old class
Ty, a 4 year old, enjoying being in preschool

Jobs for Life class met in Hope Center with 11 students and 5 mentors and leaders.  A great group of men and women learning and growing as they seek jobs and a better for themselves and their children.  This is the heart-beat of what will happen in Hope Center as mentors are matched with people that are seeking to grow and learn and make positive changes in their lives.

This afternoon the doors opened once again to welcome our first kids to the after-school mentoring program.  Donna Paschal, after-school director, has worked a tireless number of hours organizing, planning and preparing for this day.  Although it seemed like a small start it was a God beginning and we had a great day.  Just last week we thought we had one mentor for these kids and could only have 2 kids in the program and before we finished today we have 6 kids matched with mentors and have 14 on a waiting list.

 Entering the After-School program for the first day of mentoring
 Mr. Scott led worship and Bible Study with the after-school children

 Mrs. Donna mentoring Keon
 Camilla Moyer mentoring AJ
 Mrs. Cindy Merritt mentoring Caleaf
The first mentors and students of Hope Center After-School Program

The verse Hope Center was birthed from is from Isaiah 58:12 ~
“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; 
You will raise up the age-old foundations; 
And you will be called the repairer of the breach, 
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell."

Tonight we are grateful for those that have journeyed ahead of us with vision and direction from God. We praise Him for His faithfulness and for keeping His promises.  We praise Him for the faithfulness of His people who provided for the 'rebuilding'.  We give God all Glory for the great things He has done.

As Hope Center begins there are still many needs and we know He that began this work will see it through to completion.  We are asking for you to pray to see where God would have you be a part of what He is doing.  We are in need of preschool helpers on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  We are in need of adult mentors to be part of the adult classes and walk alongside students.  We are need of mentors for the after-school program - there are 14 children waiting for mentors.  We also need snacks coordinated and served, and a recreation leader.

If you feel God is calling you, or you might know of someone that would like to serve at Hope Center, please let us know.  We would love to sojourn with you.

Thanks again to all of you who pray for us, love us, support us financially, and encourage us on this journey of Faith!  We love you all!

~ Tonya

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 - A Year in Review

I can barely wrap my mind around the fact that we have been back in the states for 5 months.

I have done a poor job of blogging since our return, so here's an attempt to catch up:

Praise God for His goodness, mercies and provisions in 2013

When I look back over 2013, I am once again overwhelmed by the goodness of our Lord!

In January: We were blessed to be with family to bring in the New Year. We got to spend a weekend in Tennessee to reunite with a special group of friends. We returned to Botswana to complete our 3-year term. The kids got back in school and we got right back into ministry – Scott preaching at 2 different churches and me leading Woman’s ministry.

In February: While we were busy readjusting to life in Botswana, Scott preached every Sunday and had the privilege to return to SC to be a part of the Millbrook Baptist Missions Conference. I had to opportunity to go to Lobatse Baptist and teach the ladies some basic sewing skills.

In March: Scott returned from SC. We had a 3 day getaway to Bufflesport with our missionary friends. We led a Sunday School training and made preparations for the 1st ReFresh Teacher’s Conference.

In April: We welcomed our dear friends, Karla and Lisa. We spent 3 days in Kasane – got to visit Vic Falls and did an Evening Boat Safari on the Chobe. We hosted the ReFresh Teacher’s Conference for over 350 teachers from all over Botswana. We said goodbye to a precious missionary – Clay and to our dear friends and fellow missionaries – The Barkers. We led 2 Children Ministry training sessions and welcomed Mark Partin from Alice Drive. We spent a week showing Mark the ministry, working toward the completion of the Feeding station in Old Naledi, and seeing the preschool ministry in Mosojane.

In May: We celebrated Makenzie’s graduation via Skype (one of the hardest parts of being a missionary overseas - missing the big life events). We welcomed our 2 summer interns – Joe and Abbie. We served at the GBC after-school program. We ran a Sunday School training at OBC. We welcomed Shan Rose (a dear friend with DEEP ministries). Shan helped us prep for the MBC mission team that came the end of May. Together with the MBC team we ran our 3rd VBS in Gakuto village. We hosted our 1st woman’s conference in Gakuto thanks to Janet Jenkins & Living Hope Missions. God made clear our direction forward – to keep doing ministry in Botswana but live in the USA.

In June: We said goodbye to MBC team. We welcomed our friends the Davis home from their furlough. We added a precious family – The Whites – to our home (who we were blessed to walk our last 6 weeks of life in Botswana beside – both discovering a new meaning of “walking by faith”). We started a Bible Study/small group in our home with the Gakuto Youth. We travelled to Mosojane to serve and say our goodbyes in that village.

In July: We said goodbye to Joe and Abbie. We hosted a teacher’s conference in Lobatse. We learned that God had provided a place for us to live in Aiken, SC. The body of Christ, through Millbrook Baptist, set the entire house up for us. We said lots of goodbyes and continued to pray for direction for our future ministry. One week before we departed Botswana, God made clear our direction - to return to SC to serve as faith-based missionaries with Christ Central Ministries in Aiken. We packed up 4 boxes, 12 suitcases, 6 carry-on bags and said our sad goodbyes as we completed our 3 year mission. We were welcomed stateside by our families and spent the 1st week at home at Edisto Beach.

In August: We registered the kids in their new schools. We tried to adjust to a new pace of life. We celebrated all God had done in and through us with our church family in Sumter, Alice Drive Baptist. We began meeting, planning, and praying with our new mission family at Christ Central. We watched our kids re-enter the American school system and find their place in life and church (which was by far one of the hardest parts of returning).

In September: Scott began leading/teaching a GED program every Saturday. He was able to help 6 people get their GED before the end of the year. Josh and Joe began playing football. Chandler began mentoring/tutoring a 9-year-old boy through the Christ Central Mentoring Program. We began making preparations for the opening of Hope Center – the building we will direct ministries out of. I met with and observed “Prosperity Project” in Columbia to begin preparations for the after-school program at Hope Center. Josh and Joe began an after-school reading program. Parker continued to find his way in Middle School and began going to youth group on Wednesday evenings.

In October: We continued to meet and pray weekly with the Christ Central Team. Scott continued the GED program. I began a Bible Study for Ladies (mostly single mother’s of kids that attend Christ Central) – teaching “Money Matters”. Josh & Joe finished their football season with a win. We had lots of meetings and did lots of networking. The kids got their 1st report cards (which were all good) and we celebrated our first Halloween back in the states.

In November: Parker went to an adventure Camp with a Friend. We finished up our “money matters” class and began a “servesafe” class with the ladies. We made a trip to Columbia to observe the free dental clinic and make some preparations for the clinic that will be on-site in Hope Center. We registered all of the Christ Central kids and helped connect Christmas Sponsors for every one of them. We celebrated Thanksgiving with our kids and family. We found out we are going to be GRAND PARENTS – we are thrilled!!

In December: Scott completed his 1st year of his Masters program with North Greenville. Of course he has a ‘A’ average and looks forward to finishing in 2014. I was blessed with the opportunity to return to Botswana to be a part of a ladies conference, host the youth for dinner, and run a Christmas event for the kids of Gakuto. It was strange to return as a visitor instead of a resident. I am so grateful to able to keep the relationships going that were established during our time there. My precious 'african' daughter, Elizabeth, travelled for 3 days by bus to come and see me (What a sweet reunion). In Aiken we prepared our home for Christmas. We took all of the moms from our Money Matters Class shopping for their kids for Christmas (thanks to the sponsors). We distributed Christmas gifts for 19 families that sponsors had provided. We worked hard to get Hope Center building completed and ready for the Grand Opening on February 3, 2014. We celebrated Christmas with both of our families and had all of our children together on Christmas Morning.

We give God all the Glory for the things He has done. We look forward to 2014 and what He will do in and through us. Please continue to pray for our family, the work at Hope Center/Christ Central Aiken, and the ministry and people of Botswana. Pray for clear direction and discernment as we plan and prepare for 2014.

Thank you all for being a part of our ministry. Your love, prayers, encouragement, and financial support mean the world to us.

Much love - Tonya

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"HE Knows"

"He knows my name. He knows my every thought and He hears me when I pray."

We are so thankful for those of you that have prayed for and with us. God has certainly heard our prayers and has answered beyond what we could have imagined!! Isn't that just the way our Mighty God is?? "To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!" ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

As I shared before we have been walking in complete faith, trusting Him to show us each step. This week He has shown His faithfulness over and over. He has used His body of believers in Aiken, SC to completely set up a home for us. He has used His faithful followers here in Botswana to provide a vehicle for us for when we arrive. He has provided financially to ship some of our belongings back. He is faithful!!

Last week we knew - through His provision - that we would move back to Aiken but we were unsure about jobs and where we would serve when we arrived. Today - exactly one week before we fly out of Botswana - He answered those questions too.

Today an email conversation between Scott and Judy Floyd (director of Christ Central Aiken/Graniteville) began. Judy asked about what we planned to do for jobs when we returned. Scott replied that we were seeking and praying but that if she knew of anything to please keep us in mind. He also told her that we are looking forward to serving at Christ Central alongside them.

Judy's email reply took us to our knees. Please read a small portion to understand:
"As you know Christ Central is an all volunteer ministry to people in need, but if there is a specific position of need that requires 30 or more hours a week, the director (in this case me) is able to offer some level of support and the missionary or missionaries are permitted to raise their own support that can be run through the mission books and 100% forwarded to you.

Christ Central would love for you and Tonya to pray about whether God if calling you to join us for a one year's commitment to establish the ministry of Hope Center in Graniteville.

Hope Center is a 15,000 sq. ft. building that Mike and Stan are rebuilding to the glory of God. It will be an education and job training center and also a Christian community center for preschoolers to senior adults. The commercial kitchen is due to open Sept 1 and the remaining parts of the building should be finished before year's end. We hope to offer Jobs for Life, GED, after-school mentoring for children ages 5 to 18 years, and and other job related programs. It will also include free medical and dental services to people who are uninsured or under-insured.

Hope Center has been a journey of faith for us and we have prayed for several years for God's choice to lead this ministry....we are believing that God is calling you and Tonya. Let me know if I can answer any questions.

Prayerfully yours,
judy "


And our reply:

To say we are blown away would be a complete understatement!!!

Scott and I have been praying for over a year now and have trusted that HE knew the next steps for us. We have trusted and waited and followed one step at a time. Sitting at our kitchen table exactly one week from the day we will fly out and reading your response was an absolute 'holy' moment!

As we sit here in tears of joy - it is without doubt that HE has answered our prayers today!!! He is more than faithful!! We are 100% sure that Directing the ministry of the Hope Center is His answer to our prayers and the prayers of many!! We are so excited about the future and look forward to serving HIM alongside you and Roger!!


All Praise and Honor and Glory to HIM!! Thank you for praying, for giving, for encouraging us and for being eyewitnesses to His faithfulness throughout our journey!

Continue to pray for our transition back, for our new position as Director's of ministry at the HOPE Center and for our continued ministry in Botswana.

With a grateful heart ~

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Walking by Faith

It's hard to believe we are at the end of this chapter in our lives. In two short weeks we will board the plane and head across the ocean to begin the next chapter. As the pages turn God gives us glimpses of what is next but continues to ask us to trust Him with our futures.

These past few months have been super busy and super emotional. We were blessed to host two interns that were just like family to us. We loved having Joe and Abbie here serving with us. We have traveled to say goodbyes in the village of Mosojane (6hours north). My heart broke as I held each face in my hands, reminding them that Jesus loves them and thinks they are special. After serving there over the 3 years and running 4 VBS they all came out to tell us bye. My heart was overwhelmed at the crowds that waited and pushed just to hug us. My prayer for these little ones is that they understand this Love of God and will come to know Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.

We spent 4 weeks hosting the youth of Gakuto in our home for Bible Study. I loved to see their desire to grow and know more about Jesus. The connections we made with these 5 young adults made it even harder to say our goodbyes in the village. Gakuto is where we have served and loved for the past 3 years. Going around the 'greeting circle' after church with tears pouring down my face, just praying that these people understand this Love we have shared - The love of Jesus Christ. One lady told me that she had never seen such love! Please pray with me that the church of Gakuto will remain strong, they would keep a desire to learn and grow in the Lord, and that they would be a lighthouse in their village.

We have served and worked in Old Naledi trying to see the feeding station on the church grounds through to completion. We have invested in individual lives, prayed, loved, and cared for the needs of many. Goodbyes are never easy! Please pray for Naledi Baptist Fellowship as they love and serve in their village. Pray that they will be a beacon of Christ's Hope and Love to this village. Please pray for a sweet young friend in Naledi that is pregnant with twins. Pray for her health, for her to make the right choices, and for her to walk with the Lord. Pray that God would send someone to support and encourage her.

We are helping host a teacher's conference this week in Lobatse - reminding these teachers of the power they have to change lives. We will say our goodbyes to the sweet friends in Lobatse that work daily at the church running an after-school orphan care project. Pray that God will continue to strengthen them and that the good work they are doing in the lives of children will continue. Pray that the kids they serve will understand the love and grace of Jesus Christ and will come to know Him as Savior.

Our kids are winding up their last week at school here. Please pray for them to have closure and grieve as necessary. Pray that God will prepare hearts of friends to recieve them when we arrive back in America.

As all of this comes to an end and we work to pack our bags please be in prayer for us. We have travelled this journey by faith. We have walked with God and watched as He provided everything we needed. We have watched Him open doors and change lives. We have watched Him transform a village and individuals. We have trusted Him to complete the good works that He began. He is forever faithful!

We have been praying and waiting since last October for God to show us our next step - Walking daily in Faith. We have tried not to worry or fret (which on some days was VERY hard). We wondered where we would call home and settle our kids into school. Last week we got an email from my sister, Felicia, saying that God has provided a house and office space for us in Aiken, SC. We are so grateful for His provision. As I write, the body of Christ is busy at work setting the house up for us. We are humbled and beyond thankful!

We have several prayer needs as we transition - please join us in praying:
1. That God will continue to lead us in the way forward as we seek to continue our ministry in Botswana while living in the states.
2. That we would have clarity and direction as far as jobs.
3. That our children would adjust to new schools and get the help they need with their education.
4. That our cars will sell in Botswana so we can purchase cars in the states.

We appreciate all of you that been on this journey with us. Your love, financial support, encouraging words, and prayers have made an eternal impact on our family and the children of Botswana. Our prayer is that you will continue to support the work God is doing in Botswana.

With much love and a grateful heart ~ Tonya

Friday, April 19, 2013

Immeasurably More!!

Eph 3:20 ~ "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

We have had an Immeasurably More few weeks!! So incredible it's just plain hard to put into words. This morning I was reflecting on all the Lord has done and was in tears and speechless. 'Thank You'just seems too little to say.

We have known since we arrived in Botswana that our mission was to reach Leaders of Children. We have worked in lots of churches and children's ministry conferences but God continued to impress upon us that the Leader that has the most influence on a child is his or her teacher. God gave us a vision to do a conference for School Teachers. We were unsure what that would look like or how we would manage to do it, so we began to pray for direction. When Scott mentioned this vision with our friends, Pam and Steve Workman, they shared that they had been dreaming and praying about doing the same thing.

We began to meet together and pray and brainstorm about the possibilities. We watched God open doors as we prayed. Scott and I knew of two teachers that we definitely wanted to be a part of this conference. I wrote my dear friend Karla Hafner and told her to begin praying and ask Lisa Avins if she would be interested as well. Karla wrote back and said that they were both very interested but knew that it would only happen if God made the way.

We continued to watch God open doors as we prayed. Karla and Lisa talked with their principal and got permission to ask for the time off of work to come. We prayed for favor with the superintendant and within a few weeks they wrote and told us that they were given the time off with pay and subs provided. GO GOD (Immeasurably More)!!

We prayed about how we should promote and invite teachers. In our finite minds we thought it would be best to only invite teachers from the closest villages to Gaborone, since we would not be able to lodge them. Pam, the headmaster at the The Learning Centre School, was invited to speak with the ministry of education about the conference. When she arrived at the ministry things seemed to be in chaos so she texted me to pray. A few minutes later the deputy secretary came out and said , "Yes we know about your conference. We are very excited and are appointing 300 teachers from all over the country to come. We will pay for their lodging and their transport costs." He also said, "People have offered to help our schools by sending sports equipment, or setting up computers, but none have ever asked to invest in our teachers. We are hoping this will not be the only conference you have like this!" Pam could hardly believe how GOD had done all of the work and we were just left to praise HIM - (Immeasurably More)!!

We prayed over details, invited more speakers, and began to prepare topics to present. The week finally came (last week) and we got to watch God at work ~ AMAZING (Immeasurably More)!! All of the teachers came. They were very receptive of all that was presented. They began to see themselves in a new light - as the ONES given a unique opportunity to change the world... one child at a time. On the last day of the conference, Steve Workman, pastor of Desert Streams Fellowship, presented the Gospel. 207 people scribbled their names on little pieces of paper (just torn from their notebooks) stating they had prayed to recieve JESUS as savior and Lord!! - Praise be to God!! (Immeasurably More)!!

When I reflect on the week all I can do is give thanks!! Thanks to everyone that prayed! Thanks to Lisa, Karla, Amy, Barbara, and Pam for speaking Truth into the lives of the teachers of Botswana. Thanks to Scott for his energy and passion that he freely pours out!! Thanks to Steve and Pam for being obedient, for hosting the event, and for sharing the life changing message of Jesus! Thanks to The Sumter School District teachers and friends for giving so generously for the 100's of prizes given away to the teachers of Botswana. Thanks to Our AWESOME GOD - for saving souls,for changing lives and perspectives,for giving teachers a reFreshing outlook, and for using ordinary, broken people like us!!

Hope you enjoy some of pictures of "ReFresh"

Psalms 71:8 ~"My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Preparing for Goodbyes

How do you prepare for Goodbye? I have not been able to wrap my finite human brain around that question. I know there are lots of people that are preparing for goodbyes ... spouses deploying, family members terminally ill, aging parents, kids moving away... the list of possibilites is endless. I pray if you are in that place of preparing that God will give you the grace and peace that only HE can!!

But when I think about all of this, I still wonder HOW? My heart breaks every time I say a "temporary" goodbye - knowing I will see them again. My heart breaks as I watch others say goodbyes to their kids leaving to go on mission a continent away. My heart breaks as I watch others say goodbye to their dying family members. My heart breaks as I continue to watch my sister and family grieve over the goodbye that was said 5 years ago to Baby Wills. So why does this heart of mine break? I have often said through the years, "Goodbyes HURT because our hearts are built for eternity where there are NO goodbyes!" I know that is TRUTH and I long for that day of no more goodbyes! Still I'm in a place of trying to prepare for the goodbyes that are coming.

These past few days have been some the hardest on the field. I had to tell 2 of my "daughters" that we are moving back to the States. These 2 have been with us from the beginning and God has knit us together. They were both so incredibly sad that it broke my heart in two. I reminded both of them that we still have 5 months together so we need to celebrate our time together. Still how will I do it come July? How will I leave my daughters, who live in poverty and need, not knowing if we will see each other again this side of Heaven?? I (and they) can only do it by the grace of God. We will cling to this verse: 2Cr 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Please be in prayer for us as we are making preparations and telling our friends and family here we are leaving. Pray that God will give us Grace for every conversation and complete Peace that He has perfect plans for EVERYONE!!

Pray specifically for Elizabeth and Mercy. Pray for their breaking hearts!

Continue to pray for the work still to be done before we leave in July. Our calendars are full of appointments, trainings, kids camps and conferences.

We love you all and appreciate your continued love, prayers, encouragement and support!
~ Tonya

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's Behind Us - And What lies Ahead

We were blessed once again to have the opportunity to travel to the states for the holidays. What a joy to be with our kids that are stateside and see the rest of our families and friends.

We spent Thanksgiving in the mission house in Sumter,SC with my sister and kids, my mom and dad, and all 7 of our kids. Scott preached at Alice Drive Baptist Church the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I was a joy to worship with our sending church and get so many hugs and greetings.

We were able to be with Makenzie and Tyler at the launch service of NewSpring Greenwood where Tyler is on staff as production director. We loved our time there and are excited to see what God is doing through that church.

We got to experience the new Christmas production at Millbrook Baptist, that my Mom, my sister,Felicia, and her family were in. Once again it was great so many friends and church family members. It's always like going home when you see faces that were there when you were a kid,teen and young adult in that church.

The kids and I had a wonderful week with my sister, Lea and the cousins. We enjoyed some Christmas time activities with them, seeing lights, decorating the house, shopping and cooking. When we are together it's like we've never been apart!

The boys and Scott were part of the kids Christmas Program at Alice Drive Baptist - where, of course, my "showmen shipes" stole the show! :D (Isn't that what all proud momma's think?)

We spent 10 days at Edisto Beach where we celebrated Christmas with our kids and Tyler's Mom, Donna. Then had a week with all of my family - a wonderful time of laughing, singing, sewing, eating, playing games, and just making awesome memories! We were blessed to have Meredith(Chandler's girlfriend) and Micah join us for a few days. I'm sure they left with some 'culture shock'after hanging with our crew! :D

After the new year we had a Fun and Fabulous weekend reunion with several of our dear friends. We stayed up til the wee hours of the mornings playing cards and games, laughing, talking and enjoying our time together. I love how God knits peoples hearts together and when they reunite it's like there was never any time or miles between them! That's how it was for all 25 of us in the Keelty home. The Chennaults, The Chandlers, The Arthurs, The Keeltys and all of the Shipes Clan in one house - GLORIOUS!!

We had the chance to share our hearts and ministry with a small group of sweet ladies at Millbrook. They blessed our hearts and our family with many goodies to bring back to Botswana.

I spent the last week in the states helping my 2 grown kids get settled back into college and helping my Momma while she recuperated from Retina Surgery. I was grateful to be there to help since so I often I miss these "life-things"!

It's been one week since we made it back to Botswana and we have spent that week trying to recover from Jet-Lag! Not much time to rest - the kids started back to school this week and Scott did too!! He began his first class on-line through North Greenville University. He is working on his masters in Christian Ministry degree. I'm so proud him he made a 97 on his first assignment in over 28 years.

Scott and I began to make preparations for the coming year. We are filled with anticipation as we fill the calendar with events. There is already a conference scheduled for April that will reach 300 public school teachers. Please pray with us as we plan for this. We pray that many teachers will be refreshed, renewed, and recharged and that they see the importance of their job in the lives of Children. We believe that by reaching the teachers with the gospel many children can be impacted for Christ. We are excited to have 2 special friends from Sumter come to serve at that conference with us. Please pray for Lisa and Karla as they make preparations to come this way.

We have scheduled a week in Gakuto with Millbrook Baptist again and are so happy that it is working out for their return. Please pray that God would prompt those that should be part of this trip. As excited as I am for this team to come, It brings tears of joy to think how excited the kids in Gakuto will be to see them again. When Millbrook left last year the kids told us they were counting down the months until they could come again.

Scott is scheduled to travel back to the states in Late February to be part of the Millbrook on Mission Conference. Such an honor and privilege to be a part of that. We took part of that conference the March before we came on the field in 2010. Nothing like being in the church that God used to transform your life and call you into ministry. Pray for Scott as he travels and shares the stories of what is doing in Botswana and southern Africa.

There are plenty of other things on the calendar like preaching, trainings, supporting other missionaries,church events and Bible Studies. There is one date on the calendar that we knew would come but realize is so close when we wrote it down. July 25th!

July 25th,2013 or there abouts, we will finish our term of service in Botswana. Our family will return to the states for Scott to finish school, Chandler to graduate, Parker to start High School, and the twins to get some help in their education. At this point we have no idea where God will send us to serve but one thing we do know is that He is in control and He has a perfect plan for all of our lives. He knows exactly where we need to be and what He needs to accomplish in each of our lives. Please pray for us as we face the future - that we would be discerning and wise. Pray that we have clear direction about the future of our ministry in Botswana. Pray that we would stay in the center of His will for us. Pray that we finish this term well ~ "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."-Act 20:24

We love you all and appreciate you!! Your encouragement, prayers, and support are vital to the ministry the Lord has called us to!

Thanks for reading! Until next time ~ Tonya