24 to 14... that's months...
When we moved to the Philippines we planned on being here for 2 years. We knew that it would be at least the 2 years and possibly (probably?) longer. It never crossed our minds that it would be sooner. When we said goodbye, we prepared in our hearts and in our minds that it would be at least 24 months before we saw most of our friends and family again.
We left for Cebu wondering to ourselves, if we could see ourselves as the next longterm missionaries at CSC. Could we see ourselves living here in Cebu for the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?? We thought about it a lot and we wanted to fall in love with the Philippines and do the Lord's work here.
We are learning (again, this is an on going lesson :) ) that sometimes our plans are not always the Lords plans. We've realized that God has other plans for us. When we made the decision not to stay in Cebu longer then our term, we started to think about what the Lord might have for our lives if it wasn't going to be longer term missionaries in Cebu. We were still committed to pouring our hearts and souls into the Filipino people and especially the children at the shelter but we started praying about what it looks like for the Schulz family after our time here in Cebu. We started praying about and asking ourselves how does God want to use us to "look after the orphan and widow in their distress" (James 1:27) after we leave CSC and the Philippines. There are many ways to take care of the orphans and the widows and we wanted to be sure we were asking God what that looks like for our family.
We are still praying about what that looks like, but, we have also made the decision, for the sake of our family, to come home from the field earlier then planned. We have strong convictions on why we feel the Lord is sending us home early and we cannot wait to share those reasons with you in person upon our return!
We are sad to say goodbye earlier then planned and we know that it will be especially painful to say goodbye to the children here. We have enjoyed our time in Cebu and are glad for the path that the Lord put us on. We have made some lifelong friendships out here along the way and it will be sad to say "see ya later" to them as well.
We will be returning back to the states in mid November and plan on doing a family tour before settling back into "home" in Sturgeon Bay shortly after Thanksgiving. Jake will be continuing to work with CSC until his projects are completed. He has full confidence in the people that are in place here in Cebu and he is humbled to be a part of their success. God has placed some pretty incredible talent out here on the field and it has been such a joy to know them and for Jake to work with them.
We look forward to seeing many of you soon. We hope to be able to share what our 14 months out here looked like too! Thank you for the continued love and prayers! See ya soon!!