Thursday, June 14, 2007

Swains Moving

Once again the city is filling up with Pilgrims and the slick wet winter plazas have dried and are now filled with sunshine and café tables as the rains give way to summer. This year, the first in a long time, we are not putting out out tables at Terra Nova.

Answered Prayer
- With only one day left to spare in February (whew) we signed over the cafe to its new owners. This was a HUGE blessing. From the sale of the cafe we have been able to cover both the debt that we had to IT as well as pay back team members the personal finances that each of us had put into the cafe. This was an answer to many prayers and we praise the Lord for his faithfulness.

Time of Listening- As we mentioned in our last newsletter, Lori and I have been spending time praying about whether we should stay in Spain or move on to something else. We spent some time meeting with and talking to friends in ministry all around Spain. We prayed about ministries in Sevilla, Barcelona, La Coruña, Madrid, and of course staying here in Santiago. While we saw many worthwhile opportunities here, we both feel that it is time for us to return to the USA. This has been a long and difficult decision, but the more that we have thought and prayed about it the more that we believe it is the right thing for our family at this time. Right now is a crazy and bittersweet time for us as we are anticipating the things God has for us back in the US, but we are also grieving what we are leaving here. We tell our friends here that a part of our heart will always be in Santiago in the friendships and the life we have lived here.

Return Date- Lori and I have purchased tickets to return to the Chicago area on July 8th. We will be spending some time at International Teams in Elgin for a time of debriefing that they offer for returning missionaries. We hope to spend some time in Ohio with friends and family, but have not finalized all of our travel plans yet. We will do so as soon as we can.

Finances- As always, we want to say thank you for supporting us in this ministry financially. Since transitioning from one country to another is one of the most costly parts of overseas ministry, International Teams allows for returning missionaries to have three months severance pay to relocate and resettle. We would ask those who have committed to supporting this ministry to maintain their current level of support through September.

International Teams
- We have loved working with International Teams and cannot express what a joy it has been working with this organization and seeing how God is working in and through people all around the world. We have learned so much about the world refugee crisis, inner-city needs, and so many other ways in which to be a witness of the Gospel in a cross-cultural context. We praise God for ministry organizations like IT and pray for God's continued blessings on their work!

Looking Back- As we think back over the six and a half years that we have spent in Spain, we can't help but praise God for the ways that he has worked in our lives. We are so thankful for all of the wonderful people that have been part of this ministry. THANK YOU to those of you who have supported us financially and through prayer, to those of you who have worked along side us both on our team and in short term experiences and GRACIAS especially to our Spanish friends who allowed us to share our lives and our faith with them. Each of these people have encouraged us and given us a deeper understanding of Christ and his love for us.

As more of our relocation plans finalize, we will be sure to get the word out. It's been a while since our last visit stateside and we are really looking forward to re-connecting with our friends and family there. For those of you in the Lancaster area, when we come to Ohio, we will be planning a time where we can get together at First Presbyterian to personally thank you and share the story of God's work in Santiago and Terra Nova. If you have any questions feel free to drop us an e-mail.

We love you all and appreciate your prayers,

Matt & Lori