Dear Church Family, October 7, 2012
This past summer marked the beginning of our family’s sixth year of being a part of the Plymouth Heights CRC family. We have a deep love and appreciation for the community that surrounds us here at Plymouth Heights, and are incredibly grateful that the Lord led us here years ago. We have recently sensed the Lord calling us in a new direction and we wanted to share with you our plans for the upcoming year.
This past January, we began a conversation regarding a Bible teaching position at Haven of Peace Academy (HOPAC) in Tanzania, Africa. In June, Marc interviewed with them and was offered the position in July. Two weeks ago, after setting some preliminary details in place, Marc accepted the position of full time high school Bible teacher. Part of our excitement about this particular position is that I will be able to continue using my gifts and skills by doing a variety of youth ministry tasks on a part-time basis at the school as well. While we will be employed through HOPAC, we will work as partner-missionaries with our sending agency, Christian Reformed World Missions.
From the time Marc and I started dating, we have shared a longing to serve internationally and have been humbled and amazed at the doors God has opened for us. While it seems a bit daunting to pick up our young family of five and move to a place we have never been, we have felt a continual peace that can only come from our Lord. It has been specifically and repeatedly affirmed in different ways that this is the road laid out for us to follow.
While we feel this peace, there is also sadness as we think of leaving our Plymouth church family behind. We hope and pray that you will be in prayer for us and support us as we prepare our hearts and minds for this new adventure. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Plymouth Heights, just in a new manner through technology as we send updates, videos and such. As this is a teaching position, we are grateful that there will be several weeks each summer to return to beautiful West Michigan – to our family, friends, and church family.
While the timeline for this transition has not yet been determined, we are planning that my ministry at Plymouth Heights will conclude at the end of June, 2013. In the first part of July, we will attend orientation through CRWM and will likely move to Africa towards the later part of the month.
We have started a blog dedicated to update our friends and family of what is happening as we begin massive amounts of paperwork, fundraising and in all ways preparing for this new ministry while continuing our current work and ministry throughout this year. Please feel free to visit the blog and leave comments or questions for us at www.thedriesengafamily.blogspot.com.
Again, we ask you to be in prayer for us and invite you to partner with us!
With gratitude and love,
Gretchen & Marc, Isaac, Hope and baby girl Driesenga