“To every thing there is a season,” wrote the Teacher, “and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1, KJV).
As I watch the seasons change here in Ethiopia, I am reminded of the new season of life into which God is leading our family. It feels like yesterday when we booked one-way tickets for our family of five to Ethiopia. Now almost three years later, it’s overwhelming to say that we have one-way tickets for our family of seven back to the US in less than two weeks.
Where do we even start…well it’s impossible to give you a simple answer. We have looked at about every scenario we can think of at least a dozen times each but when we walked into God’s plan for our family to move to Ethiopia we knew it was going to challenge us unlike ever before. We have had to spend a lot of time differentiating between feelings and our faith. Our feelings have been all over the place, and constantly changing, but it’s been our focus on God’s promises that have secured us and given us confidence but not without a battle.
Every moment of our time here in Ethiopia has been worth it. We couldn’t begin to share all that God has allowed us to partner with him in here, but some of the best moments have been in seeing lost people find Jesus and flourish. We have encouraged and walked along side mothers to keep unwanted children, prevented more orphans, discipled leaders to transform their communities, created sustainable jobs, helped women through pregnancy, seen women delivered from prostitution and trafficking…and it’s hard to express but as we think of continuing this list it puts tears in our eyes because it’s truly amazing all that God has done and that He would use us in this time to do these things.
Before moving we told everyone that we would make sure our family was always the first ministry and this is at the heart of why we are moving back. As many of you know our sweet Selah was recently diagnosed with Hypothalamic Hamartoma (HH). HH is basically a benign tumor-like malformation that causes a syndrome characterized by seizures, developments and cognitive deficits, behavioral problems, including rage, and even early puberty. We have tried two medications for her seizures so far and they have been ineffective, and behavioral issues have increased. Her tumor location that causes the seizures is really rare. We are waiting to hear back from a hospital that specializes in it to see if they would even be able to remove it. Selah also just needs more therapy and less chaos in her life and Ethiopia does’t come close to providing the medical needs of Selah.
On top this, our other kids schooling needs are becoming increasingly more demanding. Most important is the help we need with Abby’s education. Even though Abby is 10 years old, she is still at about a 2nd grade educational level and requires a lot of attention to help bring her up to pace with other kids her age. We placed the kids in a new school here in Ethiopia starting at the beginning of September but quickly realized that it wasn’t meeting our needs or expectations. So we started homeschooling them again, and while they are learning a ton, it is just too much. Selah is very emotional and demanding and we just can’t give her the attention while homeschooling the other three.
So what does all this mean… Well we believe that’s important to continue the work in Ethiopia for at least the next 12 months, I, Ian, will be making at least 4 trips back to Ethiopia in 2015. We feel there is more to help with at Ellilta Products and Woman at Risk as things have expanded significantly over the past few years. One of our hopes is to continue the work we have been doing for the Kingdom in Ethiopia but from a base back in the US.
We are also trying to see if we can schedule Selah for surgery soon when we get home. We are currently in a dispute with our International insurance company that is trying to deny our coverage for Selah, but hopeful to have some progress on this soon. In February our baby is due, and that’s very exciting for us.
We love Ethiopia and we could see ourselves here a lot longer, but we feel peace with this changing of seasons. Would really
appreciate your prayer and support as we prepare for this transition.
Over our time here in Ethiopia, one of the hardest parts has been that many of the incredible things we have shared publicly as victories have almost always been met with private battles. We probably underestimated the attack that would come for stepping out of the ordinary to follow God into something extraordinary to advance His Kingdom, but still we remain steadfast in knowing His strength is abundant and enough for anything, everything.
Moving forward we will take things step-by-step. Looking at 2015, other than our trips back to Ethiopia, we will be based in the US and don’t expect our family to be moving back to Ethiopia. Beyond that we just don’t feel we can say for sure, but we are thankful to have such amazing people behind us and supporting us.
-Ian & Brittany Bentley