Well, it has been a crazy couple of weeks for the Haun family. Last Sunday we had an incredible time getting to worship and share our hearts with our Sparta Church of the Nazarene family. We arrived just a bit before service and had the opportunity to greet many of the Sparta Church of the Nazarene members as they entered. My cousin Jamie McCormack is the pastor at Sparta, so when we say that we were with family we mean it on a couple of levels, and that made it super special. It was great to be in a church, not just of family, but full of families. Katie and Jude were with us and as I walked towards the front of the sanctuary for service to begin, I passed by a handful of cooing, laughing, and complaining little children and it gave me joy and comfort both as a Christian and a dad raising my own cooing, laughing, and complaining children in the church. It was a wonderful service and it was equally as wonderful to have the opportunity to connect with our church family after the service. As we got ready to leave, we spotted the Sparta Church’s playground! That meant a quick few runs down the slide with Jude. We left with a lot of satisfaction and a child surprised by what the church had to offer. I think each member of our family has experienced that joy.
We have been up to a lot of other really great things lately, as we prepare for our arrival in Bulgaria. This past week we had the gift of having the East Tennessee District Church of the Nazarene’s NMI council pray for us over Zoom. Katie and I were overcome as we sat under the prayers and blessings of individual members of the NMI council, led by Teresa Hodge. Each individual member prayed for a specific need that would be a part of our ministry: travel, language, relationships, etc. It is such an incredible blessing to be prayed over by those who lead the endeavor to support and participate in missions around the world on the East Tennessee District. After it ended, we looked at each other and I said, “I think there will be days when we will need to remember these prayers.” We are thankful for the East Tennessee District NMI president and the NMI Council.
As a part of our ministry as missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene Katie and I have also been spending our weeks in a special “LAUNCH” training. This was originally meant to be a one-week training that was to take place in Kansas City. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic this was moved to an online 10-week course. This has been a valuable time for us to be equipped for ministry. We have been learning tools and avenues to maintain relationships and partnerships. We have been reminded of the importance of understanding what it means to be a Nazarene missionary. We have been learning the ins and outs of what it means to be an employee of the Church of the Nazarene as a global missionary. We have learned so many things and we are so grateful for such an equipping, empowering, intentional, and accountable church to be a part of. The LAUNCH training has included regular weekly Zoom meetings and these have been great for us.
This next week we will be setting out for Shelbyville, TN, where we will be wrapping up our deputation tour with a wonderful church that has supported and shaped us throughout our lives. Please continue to pray for us as we journey in the process of getting a long-term visa for our lives in Bulgaria. Please, also be in prayer for Sofia, for Bulgaria, for the church, and for those who do not know Christ