Tim and Chloe are our dear friends. Covenant friends. Jason has known Tim for the longest, even before they got married. I met Chloe soon after and I knew we were meant to be friends. She is one of those people whose joy is evident. She lives her life outloud for Jesus and wants others to be richly blessed. Tim has a strength and character that draws people to him. His leadership and wisdom combined with her vision and courage allows God to use them in mighty ways. They got married and moved from South Africa to Chicago ten years ago and God knew we needed them. As we shared with them last week they are a huge part of the reason we followed God’s call to come here. We saw in their lives that God can do mighty things through His people. That He does not use those people that are well equipped but that He equips those that are willing to lay down and be used for His glory. Through the weak but willing made strong by His grace. As Chloe says often we are “iron sharpening iron“and able to share and always pick up where we left off. They are real and hard-core and we love being with their family and doing life together. We have a new understanding of what it costs to leave your home and follow His calling; both the costs and the immense joy and fulfillment. Being here with them for these two weeks has been a gift. Seeing the way they are caring for their family in difficult circumstances inspires us to love that way and drives us to pray. At times we have felt we should vacate and give them space but it has been confirmed that God knew this would all unfold now. We desperately needed this time away from our island to process and pray and be with friends. Changes we have felt coming have further been confirmed now for us. It has been His timing. That even when life is messy we can be there for each other. That these times are actually when showing up in real, unshiny, unplanned ways means something. Tim’s father passed away a few days ago. He actually got the call while we were at dinner, his first time out in weeks. His passing is pain for their family and also joy because he felt Jesus’ presence until the end. I am reminded that we do not get to see the full picture on earth of just what God has in store for those who love Him but we do have hope. A hope that is certain and eternal. I am thinking about this even more in this time of advent where we prepare for the coming of Savior. The funeral is today at 2pm and our original flight was leaving at 4pm. We would miss being there by a couple hours. We prayed for an opportunity to change that would not cost us money we simply do not have. Jason tried to call for days and tried to change our flight. We had resigned our efforts yesterday afternoon after another attempt seemed fruitless. The airline even hung up on him! He explained one last time that if there was anything they could do to help us be here for the funeral we would be so grateful and we prayed. A few hours later during a horseback ride through vineyards yesterday (pics will be forthcoming as it was awesome) Jason’s phone rang and they had found a flight for us- next week! We can stay for no additional costs except changing our local South African flight! A miracle! Thank you God! We can be here to try to support and love on our friends that have sacrificed for us time and time again! That is a gift.