Dan & Kari Straley | Solid Rock

Dan & Kari Straley | Solid Rock

Sabbatical: Month 1

We had everything planned.
In about a month’s time we had celebrated Christmas, trained and handed over our roles at the guesthouse to Jeff and Kamanda, moved out of our apartment and into a new home, had our visits, vaccinated the dogs and bought our tickets, planned our last couple days in San Juan and said our goodbyes. We thought a non-stop flight to Philadelphia on Saturday sounded great.
But you know what they say about plans.
Here we are though, cuddled on a couch with the dogs and looking out over the snow covered yard, and it feels…. strange. It is strange to think that a month of our 6 month sabbatical is already over. Changes were hitting so hard and fast it didn’t leave much time for processing all that has happened. It is strange to think that we no longer live at the guesthouse. Strange to realize that it will be 5 months until we see our Solid Rock friends and family again. Strange to imagine our staff may have changed by the time we return and strange to not have any idea what the next 5 months will bring.
When I think about the big picture stuff, I tend to be afraid or overwhelmed which seems to go against the idea of “rest” that this sabbatical is supposed to be about. But I’m learning that TRUE rest is a tricky and elusive thing. True rest is mentally engaged, but not strenuous- it is thoughtful but not worried- it is hope for the future without planning for it- it is actively looking and waiting each day for God to come. Uff. True rest takes time to learn.
 I really want there to be a quick fix to feel healthy, passionate and close to Jesus. I really want to wake up one morning with fresh revelation from God and clear vision for the future. Maybe that will happen, but more likely, it is going to be a steady walking with Jesus, because isn’t that just what he wants?
If you think of it, here are some ways you can be praying for us during this time. Before I share the requests, let me share a few of the wonderful ANSWERS to prayers as well!
ANSWERS TO PRAYER
* Sabbatical Time- We are currently a little over 3 weeks into our 1st Sabbatical. We had really reached the end of our rope and couldn’t see a way out. But God has shown himself to be our deliverer and our provider. We never imagined that help would come in the timing and ways that it has. We praise God for knowing our needs and providing for us in ways we could never have asked for or imagined.
* New Home- Just 2 months ago Dan and I laid awake at night having the same conversation again… “there is just no way we can keep doing this, I don’t see a way forward. It may be time for us to leave”. It was heartbreaking to think of. Since then, we have seen the provision of God and trust that he is not done with us here yet! On January 1 of this year when we spent our first night in our new home here is San Juan, it was a physical manifestation of that fresh hope for the future. We praise God for providing us a home that is peaceful and perfect for us. It has been the perfect place to begin our sabbatical- with peaceful morning quiet times and a place to share with our friends. Mostly, we are grateful that upon our return it will be a safe retreat at the end of each work day.
* Provision– Like many things lately, this sabbatical has been a step forward in faith. We are trusting God to direct our days, our plans and provide for our needs. We have already seen his hand at work in so many ways. We praise God for the anonymous donors who have provided gas cards and gift certificates, winter clothing and even financial support toward our counseling retreat. Our trust grows each day and we are humbled.
CURRENT PRAYER NEEDS
* Solid Rock International- We LOVE our organization and the people we work with. It is tough to step away knowing the weight of extra responsibility we are leaving on them. Please pray specifically for Jeff and Kamanda Bucher (and their 3 year old daughter, Braegan) who will be filling our role while we are away. Pray for wisdom, strength and guidance. Please also pray for our other 2 staff members, Nicole Rodriguez and Laura Rodriguez as they continue on with their work in San Juan. Finally, pray for continued wisdom for our directors (Joe and Shannon Zimmerman) and our board as they make decisions to guide the future of the ministry.* Healing- After just a couple weeks out from underneath the burden we’ve carried, we are already beginning to feel some life returning to us! However, we know that there is a lot of healing to be done in our hearts and our biggest prayer is that God would revive our passion and love of him during this time away. Pray specifically for our counseling retreat (Feb 1-19th, 2016, Alongside Ministries), that it would be profoundly beneficial and uplifting.* Details! In our marriage, I (Kari) am the planner. God has shown over and over how his hand is guiding us- but over the next 6 months, my husband and I and our 2 dogs will be using planes, trains and automobiles to cross through more than a dozen states over the span of 3 seasons. There are a lot of details running through my brain as I try to pack and plan! Humanly, I can get so easily overwhelmed when I try to figure it all out. Please pray that God would continue to work out the details and I would take a few deep breathes and take one day at a time.

Prayer and Dedication time with friends over our new home. Prayer and Dedication time with friends over our new home.

 

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Enjoying a couple of days out doing home visits in Cercado with Laura, accompanying the medical team and having a goat roast with some friends in the mountains. Enjoying a couple of days out doing home visits in Cercado with Laura, accompanying the medical team and having a goat roast with some friends in the mountains.

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My wonderful in-laws were around for several weeks and helped us clean, paint and move. We also find time to just enjoy one another. My wonderful in-laws were around for several weeks and helped us clean, paint and move. We also find time to just enjoy one another.

 

 

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The adventure begins! On our way to the states! The adventure begins! On our way to the states!

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Genny experiencing her first snow in style ;) Genny experiencing her first snow in style 😉
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