An important message and prayer need...

Message From the Conards

An Update For Our Supporters

As you know, there have been a lot of challenges for our team this past year - medical crisis, evacuations from South Sudan, robberies, to name a few... Pastoral care has been in great demand.  Over and over we have been told: "God has brought you to our team for such a time as this!" And we believe it -not only for the care we have been blessed to give but also for what God has taught us through the long-suffering of our teammates. There is no doubt that Stacey and I truly love this work and these missionaries.  It has been a perfect fit for us.
But it has become painfully clear that living in Nairobi long term will not be a perfect fit for one of our children. We were all stunned by the Westgate terrorist attack in September, but Katie was especially affected. At the time of the attack, we were able to hear explosions and gunshots.  News reports and rumors abounded. Children and parents from the kids' school and youth group were affected -some killed, some trapped for a time in the mall, some making narrow escapes. After it was over, we found ourselves super-vigilant. To make matters worse, armed robberies are common here in Nairobi and a lady outside of our gate was shot and robbed in December.  When we noticed Katie's anxiety was not getting better, we sought counseling for her.
Our team is also experiencing more difficulty as the situation in South Sudan remains uncertain. Today, eight of our SIMers are back in Doro, but things are very tenuous there, and recently another team member here in Nairobi was robbed at gunpoint.
And though we have joyfully embraced each opportunity to minister and care for our team, we have agonized over Katie's continued anxiety in living here in Nairobi. It is not helped by the fact that terrorist activities are becoming more common.
Recently, we shared all of this with our SIM US office (and our team). They were overwhelmingly supportive. Soon, our US Member Care Director invited us to consider a transfer to the new Pastoral Care team in Charlotte, NC. So this is something we have been praying about. It seems like a good move for our family at this time. As part of our work there, we can still make visits to the South Sudan field as needed and also minister to missionaries as they come in for home assignment, reassignment, medical and retirement. We can also work with missionaries internationally by taking our vision for Chaplain/Missionary care training to SIM teams worldwide who need member care. This would mean some travel and a great opportunity to enlarge the vision of Pastoral care beyond just the South Sudan team and to every SIM field willing to embrace it. So this means we will be moving to the Charlotte, NC SIM headquarters in early August.
Friend, we remain dedicated to the task of Pastoral/ Member Care with SIM. Our service as missionaries will NOT end as we make our transition back to the US later this year. Rather, our sphere of service will change and widen. It is not what we originally envisioned. And with this change, we have had to pack up a few personal dreams and lay them aside, but our calling and determination as a family is to stay together and obey the call of God.

Because you are our significant ministry partners,we wanted you to know exactly what is going on.  Our hope is that you will continue to stand with us. We need your prayer and financial partnership more than ever.

Mark  and Stacey
Grace, Katie, Benjamin, Josiah, and Isaac Conard
"The Lord is a Refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You Lord have never forsaken those who seek You." Psalm 9:9,10.

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