Matthew and Todd back in Kansas City

Thank you for praying for us. Matthew and I arrived in Kansas City last night and are settling into the place where we will be living in April.

Our trip from Oakland to Kansas City was eventful. First of all, because of COVID-19, things are shut down in most places, so we couldn’t find a way to give away the extra furniture that was left in the apartment where Matthew lived, which we were not able to fit into the rental van. We were finally able to dispose of the furniture, but it was very, very stressful, and set us back so that we left later than planned. Thankfully, the van we were provided at the rental was a stow-away version where all the seats go down into the floor, thus maximizing the amount of space available. We were able to get a lot of Matthew’s things in the van, with almost no room to spare.

Then, after loading up our luggage and groceries from where we had been staying in Walnut Creek, CA, and saying goodbye to the dear family who hosted us for a month (!), we headed off. Thankfully, we were able to pick up the last of Matthew’s prescription medications, which had just been cleared by insurance before leaving town.

We traversed California, went through Reno, and were in the middle of Nevada, and it was dark. As I drove, I suddenly saw what looked like the burned-out hulk of a car in the lane next to me. This stretch of the highway has a speed limit of 80, which I was definitely going. I veered over to avoid whatever it was in the other lane but ran over something. Immediately, the low tire pressure light came on, and I pulled off on the shoulder. 

We went back to see what had been in the road and found a young man Matthew’s age, covered in blood and walking around in shock and confusion next to what was left of his car. It must have veered off the road (maybe he fell asleep at the well), and he overcorrected because it had obviously rolled. It was smashed on the front, top and back, and the windows had blown out. A truck driver who stopped to help had the foresight to put road construction barrels out in the lane of traffic to keep others from driving right into the car, which was completely blocking the lane. (There were hundreds of road construction barrels, just lining the roads for no apparent reason; praise God they were available!)

After the paramedics came and were treating the driver, we went back to our rental car and discovered that there was no spare! It took several hours and three different roadside service options, but eventually, a very kind mechanic in a small Nevada town was able to find the right kind of tire for our van and brought it to us and installed it. 

By then it was very late, and we had been on the go since morning, so we decided to forget the hotel reservation which was still over two hours away. We booked a cheap hotel in the closest town and got to bed at 3:30 a.m.

That meant that we were a couple of hours behind schedule, so to get to Denver for the next hotel, we needed to travel 13 1/2 hours. We did, were exhausted, and got to bed the second night at 1:30 a.m.

Yesterday we made the trek from Denver to Kansas City and got in around 10 p.m. Some extremely generous hosts are letting us stay at their lakeside house in Lee’s Summit for a month, and it was a tremendous joy to walk into their beautiful home last night and get a great night of sleep.

So, thank you all for praying for us on our journey of 1,900 miles from Oakland to Lee’s Summit. 1) Praise God for His protection from the near accident, and for strength to be behind the wheel for 28 hours.

Please pray for Pamala, Kirsten, Daniel, and Ariela back in Slavonski Brod, Croatia. Kirsten’s 14-day quarantine after arriving from Germany ends tomorrow. Pam is looking forward to getting out and going to the grocery store. She is packing up our belongings from the house in Croatia, and we would ask you to 2) pray for wisdom for her to know what to pack to ship to the States, and what (and to whom) to give away.

Please 3) pray for the Lord’s timing for Pam and the kids to come back to KC from Croatia. With the massive job of packing up the house, added to the unknowns about travel restrictions in and from Croatia because of COVID-19, we are not exactly sure when they will be able to come back. We think that it will be some time in May. Please 4) pray for them as they pack the house and tie up many loose ends in Slavonski Brod.

5) Pray for the best solution for what to do with our car in Croatia. As foreigners, we can only register it a year at a time, in sync with when we get our annual visas. Our current visas expire May 27, at which time the car registration also expires. We and our missionary colleagues need wisdom whether we should sell the car, give it to our teammates (which means they would need to have the funds to register, insure and operate an extra vehicle), or some other option.

Black Forest Academy is unsure whether they will be able to reopen their campus after their Spring Break. Kirsten is living at home in Croatia doing her classes online, and we assume that she will not return to BFA this school year, but will finish out the school year with online classes. Please 6) pray for her as this means she will not physically be with friends there as we had all assumed when the school year started, back before COVID-19.

We are waiting to hear if our application for an apartment in Kansas City has been approved. Please 7) pray that the Lord will provide that apartment, or another option as a place for us to live, beginning in May, for the next couple years.

On Monday, Matthew will meet with the technicians at Advanced Arm Dynamics in Overland Park, KS, to begin the process of getting an orthosis and/or prosthesis for his left side. Please 8) pray for this huge and significant process for Matthew, for God’s provision of the very best solution for his lost arm and hand.

On Wednesday, Matthew has a video chat (Zoom) meeting with a surgeon at UCSF in San Francisco to get a second opinion for nerve treatment surgeries. On Friday, Matthew meets with our local primary care physician so they can meet him, assess his ongoing medication needs, and hopefully connect us with a physical therapist or occupational therapist for Matthew. Please 9) pray for God’s guidance for us and these doctors as we meet with them.

Bible translation is moving along well. I’ve been editing the Ludari translation of Luke chapter 5 and hope to continue soon editing Luke 19 in all five languages (Ludari, as well as Arli, Bayash, Chergash, and Gurbet). Please 10) pray for all 20 of us working on these Roma Bible translations, that we would all make fast yet accurate progress in translating, for God’s Spirit to empower and guide us, and for the resulting translations to bring Him great glory.

Please also 11) pray for someone to help with handling the finances of the Bible translation project on the field (i.e., expenditures in Croatia and Serbia) and with the logistics of organizing and hosting the Bible translation workshops and checking sessions during times when I cannot be physically present in Croatia or Serbia.

We praise God for each of you who has been so kind in giving financially, praying for us, providing meals, etc., etc. We are far, far more blessed than we deserve.

Grace and peace,


2 thoughts on “Matthew and Todd back in Kansas City

  1. Thank you for all this news. We were praying for you on your long journey to KC. God was watching over you all the way and preparing help for you when you needed it. It is such a relief to be able to rest in His care.
    We recently came across an article on youTube, on the History Channel: In Search of History – Curse on the Gypsies. It was extremely interesting as it traced the history of the Gypsy people. I was wondering all the way through, what you would be thinking of it and if it was truthful.
    We will be praying through your 30 (+) prayer requests for April, and looking forward to the Lord’s responses. You have been truly blessed by His people who have given you beautiful accommodation.
    God bless each one in your family. Kris and Evelyn Meijer. (Australia)

  2. We did not sign up for anything boring, did we? You guys are having adventure after adventure, and some scary. We trust in God. He sees the sparrow and He surely sees you! We are praying for you here in New Mexico. God bless you, your whole family! Colin Murphy PS And here we are in the middle of a pandemic!

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