In November we announced that this summer we will be moving to Michigan. When we made this announcement our move seemed far away, but now with our move around 10 weeks away it’s really starting to sink in that change is coming for us! Change is always a little scary as you’re moving from the familiar to something new, but change can also be an exciting adventure!
Over the past few weeks especially we’ve been asked a myriad of questions, so I decided to post a brief recap of where/why/when we’re moving and our future plans, so you all feel informed and know how to best pray for us. :)
Over the past five years Greg has been going to school part time as he has been working toward his Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.). Greg will complete his final class through Columbia International University Seminary and School of Ministry this month. We praise God for His provision in allowing Greg to complete his M.Div. degree!
In July our plan is to move to Grand Rapids, Michigan where in the fall Greg will begin pursuing his Master of Theology degree (Th.M.) at Calvin Theological Seminary. Beginning this fall Greg will be going to school part time, and will hopefully also be working a full time job (or several part time jobs). It will most likely take Greg two years to complete his Th.M. degree.
Greg’s Th.M. degree will give him the ability to teach seminary level courses in Southeast Asia. Providing pastoral training overseas has been Greg’s goal for a long time. There is a huge need in Southeast Asia for pastors and ministry leaders to receive seminary level training, so they can know how to study and apply God’s word accurately and as a result more effectively pour into those they are serving.
In January 2015 our hope is for our entire family to take a short-term survey mission trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand to check out Asia Biblical Theological Seminary to see if this might be the organization God would have Greg teach through once he obtains his Th.M. degree. The professors at ABTS primarily teach 2-week module classes in selected cities throughout Asia, so students already in ministry are able to earn their Master’s degree without leaving their ministries or, in many cases, their home countries. We are excited about this possibility! If this mission trip goes well then we will most likely begin the application process to join a missions organization and will attend a candidate seminar in July 2015 that will allow us to begin the process of becoming career missionaries. We will then immediately begin traveling and raising our missionary support that will enable us to live in Thailand while Greg teaches.
Also beginning this fall, I will be homeschooling Christian and Abbie, so that will be a new adventure of us too. For a variety of reasons, both present and future, homeschooling seems to be the best option for us, especially considering that a lot of travel plans will be in our future and homeschool gives us flexibility in that area. I am so excited to begin homeschooling Christian, who will be in 2nd grade, and Abbie, who will be in Kindergarten!
As exciting as all these wonderful plans are we also have a lot of unknowns. Thankfully it appears God has provided us with a wonderful 3-bedroom apartment on campus at Calvin Seminary (we will be visiting the apartment over Memorial Day week to confirm that it’s wheelchair accessible enough for me), but we still have not worked out the details of health insurance or a job for Greg. At this point in time those are our two greatest needs and prayer requests that God will provide in those areas, and provide for us financially as we wait on His timing to provide in these areas.
I love the challenge of Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” It brings my heart so much comfort to know that whether we are in Long Island, New York, Grand Rapids, Michigan, or Chiang Mai, Thailand that our God will be with us wherever we go. He knows our needs and will provide us with all that we need to serve Him as He sees fit.
Thank you for your love and prayers for us as we follow God’s calling!
Greg, Rachel, Christian, Abbie, & Isaac Vruggink