Lamps & Lights

It’s been a busy few months since we launched thesubcontinentalsanfords.com! We’ve found new homes for all of our pets; we’ve been meeting with and connecting with ministry partners; we’re continuing to meet with our missions coaches; and the girls have been working so hard to finish well at school (Bret and I are both working hard to finish well at our jobs, too!). As the school year winds down we’re asking the question: Okay, Lord; when?! Right now, the answer is, “Not yet.”

As I began the visa application process, I became aware of documentation that must accompany my application for an employment visa. SO. . .we’re getting those documents together, and I should be able to send off for my visa on June 10th. Mark your calendars, friends – JUNE 10th. Once I receive my visa, we can apply for Bret’s and the girls’ “dependent” visas. In the meantime we’re wrapping up our stay in the AirBnB we’ve been renting this year (we’ll be moving in with family until our departure); we’re continuing to pair down our clothing and other items to fit in a small storage unit; Cam has some dental work that will be completed soon (but “not yet”) and Hayden has a thyroid issue we’re treating here before transferring her care to a specialist in New Delhi; and we’re praying. We’re doing lots of praying. We know that you are praying with us, and we’re so grateful!

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The lamps in those days weren’t big and didn’t put off a lot of light, but the light was enough to see just ahead of you – to keep you from falling off the edge of the mountain. That’s where we are right now: wait for the “word” to move forward as the lamp lights our path. Please continue to join us on this journey. We are believing for BIG things and are so excited you are joining us along the way.

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To Boldly Go. . .

To complete that statement would be untrue – since there are 1.3 billion people who live there (30+ million in New Delhi alone). With that many people living on the subcontinent, we thought you might have some questions about how adding four more will help anything.

Why are you going? We’re going because God’s called us to partner with Him in what He’s doing in the New Delhi area. We have a skill that we can offer (English education) that can change the trajectory of the students’ academic careers. We’re going because Jesus is there; He’s placed a God-sized dream in our hearts and is asking us to join Him in loving the people of India.

What is your goal in going? Our goal is to share Jesus through relationships with administrators, teachers, and students. We plan to do that by being part of the teachers’ and students’ day-to-day English education. Bethesda Christian Academy is an English-medium school (meaning the language of instruction is English). Learning proper diction and communication from a native English speaker will provide an advantage for the village children who attend the school. The students come from very poor homes (farmers and cart pullers) where education is limited.

How will teaching English change anything? In India, the way out of generational poverty is education – an education that includes English. English is the language of business across the globe, and businesses that have hubs in India expect the workers to have a good working knowledge of spoken and written language. Students who learn English proficiently will be able to move out of the villages and garner jobs with better pay. They’ll be able to pour back in to their communities.

This is our journey in unknown territory – our journey to boldly go where we have never gone before. This a journey where some steps come faster and closer together than others, and then sometimes we stand and wait for the path to be lit brightly enough for us to take another step. We don’t have all the answers as to what will come or what to expect, but we do know that God is calling us and is making a way for us in His timing. His ways are perfect, and He is the light for our path; we remain confident that He will complete the good work He has begun!

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Our 2020 Update

SUMMARY: God did a lot of amazing things and moved in a mighty way in our hearts in 2020. We sold our house and all of our furniture and are living in an rental in Virginia Beach. We’re planning to move to New Delhi, India in June 2021! Keep reading for the full story.

I’ve always been involved in lots of different things. Sometimes that works out well; sometimes I wear myself so thin I’m not any good to anybody – least of all my family. The fall of 2019 was one of those times my eyes were bigger than my capacity to accomplish all the things I’d gotten myself in to: full-time teacher, children’s director at my church, varsity volleyball coach, chapel coordinator at school, mom, wife. There were no days off; there was no sabbath; there was no rest.

We continued through the holidays at breakneck speed. In the new year, I asked the Lord what my “word for the year” should be [caveat: I typically think those “words of the year” are hokey, but I’m not too old to try something new]. I went about my day until I hear the quiet whisper of SIMPLIFY come into my spirit. Simplifying was the direct antithesis to what I had been doing in the fall, so I knew I hadn’t come up with it on my own. We began the process of simplifying our lives – which was just the right thing for our family. More family time and more time at home.

At the end of January 2020 Bret asked me what I wanted to do for my fortieth birthday (which wasn’t until September). Naturally, I said I wanted to go to India. [I mean, isn’t that what everyone wants for the big 4 – 0?] I’d been to Nepal four years earlier and fell in love with the culture and people of the subcontinent. I figured if we went for a visit I’d get that itch scratched and could continue my life here in the US knowing that I had had a grand adventure. So we made arrangements to go In March, during the Indian Spring, and bought our tickets.

We got in contact with a ministry partner from our church who lives in New Delhi to ask for recommendations and good locations to stay. And to our surprise, his wife invited us to stay with them. On March 4th we boarded a nonstop flight from Newark, NJ to New Delhi, India where we spent seven days seeing New Delhi and enjoying the Indian culture.

Before we returned to the US, our aquaintence-turned-host-turned-friend took us an hour outside of Delhi to show us the schools that are part of the ministry the ministry work in a neighboring state. Our new friend asked us to come work alongside the ministry – to sell our house and our things and move our family to India. In that moment we knew the Holy Spirit was calling us to leverage our skills and knowledge for the kingdom.

We said we would go IF we could sell our house (not at all thinking it would sell since it had been on the market for six months in 2019 with no contract and then we’d be off the hook). The idea of moving our family to India was exciting and, at the same time, terrifying. But we kept moving forward, asking God for His will to be clear in our plans.

We listed the house with the understanding that its selling was a “fleece” (like Gideon in Judges Chapter 6:36-40). Two weeks after listing we had a full price offer. We realized that the Holy Spirit was for real with the calling, so applied for the girls’ passports and received them over the summer. We closed on the house, sold all of our furniture, and are living in a fully furnished rental in Virginia Beach working out the next steps. We’re working with a missions coach and preparing to raise funds (beginning in January) to go move our family to New Delhi.

And now you’re up-to-date with our 2020 story. There’s a lot to do between now and June 2021, but the Lord has been faithful each step of the way thus far, and we have no doubt that He will continue to be faithful as we walk toward this new adventure. If He is in it we know we can’t fail!

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