To say a lot has happened since our last update would be an understatement. In all things, God has been good to us, showering us with grace and strength!
During the last week of July we had VBS in Cokeville, with the tremendous support of our church family in Kemmerer, who helped provide both necessary supplies and physical help throughout the week. Though we had fewer children this year, with a high attendance of 11, we had multiple children come from the previous three years, and all who came were excited and eager to participate. We praise God for their attendance and for being able to give out Bibles to our top three point earners. God also held off the much needed rain for our area until VBS was over each day except Friday - and on Friday, He providentially sent it to fill our buckets for a water game. Praise God for His good work on our behalf!
On the health front, Elizabeth continues to undergo treatment for her auto-immune disease and regular surgeries to open up and maintain her airway. James' health remains the same overall, although we are thankful to report that his eye ulcer seems to be healed completely. The week of VBS pushed our physical limits to the max (or beyond!), but God provided the necessary strength for both of us. Please continue to pray for Elizabeth to go back into remission, and for renewed strength and energy for James.
Over the last month or two we have finally seen God's hand directing us in our ministry location. Between Elizabeth's auto-immune disease flaring up and a return for her to intense treatments, James' ongoing health issues, and our inability to find housing in Cache County, we made the decision to stay in Kemmerer. This decision was not made lightly, and was directed through much prayer and the counsel of our pastors and mission board. What this means is we have committed to staying to help the Hartmans in Kemmerer, both in the church ministry there and also to free them up to minister more through the mission board. Additionally, this decision allows us to continue the seed planting and cultivating work in Cokeville. Though we are saddened that the door to Cache County is closed to us at this time, we rejoice in God's clear direction and giving us a place to serve that is fit for us. In the coming months, we will be detailing more of the ministry in Cokeville and the opportunities we have to serve in Kemmerer.
Our last big piece of news from recent weeks is that the Army has completed the medical review board for James, and determined to place him on permanent medical retirement. This is a huge praise for us, as it will provide for some of our financial needs and allow us to keep our much-needed health insurance! James' final orders have come through, retiring him as of the 26th of August. There are still multiple details to be worked out, especially with getting designations from the VA to clear his grad student loans (that were to be paid off by the Army throughout his service) as well as the possibility of collecting both VA disability and retirement. Please continue to pray as these details are worked out over the coming weeks, and praise our good God with us for directing the decision to provide retirement.
We continue to covet your prayers which have interceded for us before God, and which He has answered abundantly with sweet showers of blessing!