We are so proud of Luke as a defender of our nation - adopted from Russia, raised in Bosnia, and especially since he spent most of his life overseas. I am so thankful that he was able to celebrate his HS graduation, unlike many graduating this year. I am very grateful to Larry and Roger, and others at First Baptist Church Jonesboro, who had so much influence in his life. I get teary-eyed when I see the Marine Recruits at Parris Island, going through boot camp after their two weeks of quarantine at the Citadel. I can't seem to wrap my head around the whole process, as it is very foreign to me. I have received two letters from Luke. He was impatient waiting out the two weeks of quarantine, as the Coronavirus had already delayed his process by months, but the food was good, and he filled his time with push-ups and pull-ups to stay strong. No doubt he is very busy now, getting bossed around! Please write to en-courage him! PM me for his updated address.
The candidates are sworn in by repeating the enlisted or officer Oath. In the Oath, all new Marine recruits promise to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, adhere to disciplinary standards and accept orders from superiors, and vow to face the Uniform Code of Military Justice should any disputes arise. (from the website for Parents of Marines) The oath is, as follows,:
"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
After finally making it to Saint Croix, Merle flew back home as the boat they intended to return on had delays. He didn't want to wait until another boat was found and Nick offered to pay his flight home. That was a huge blessing as our funds were low this month. If you are able to help us financially, we would greatly appreciate your support, or better yet, partnering with us on a regular basis. We really need you. Here is Merle, serving cheerfully, even in hot weather, and being a light for Jesus. As Nick, the boat owner, has a car on the island, they were able to visit the YWAM base there on Saint Croix. We have been in contact with them and have considered our part in possibly serving there in the future. Nick, the boat owner, was excited to find out that they need someone to champion some gardening projects, which he was already hoping to do as he is getting settled into life there, as well as find a church home. It was great to connect them.
Delores was doing great when I called while Merle was gone, and she was even being screened for therapy, but when we went to see her when Merle was back last week, she didn't recognize us or even know her own name, where she was, or anything, though she was talkative and bright. It was very sad and we teared up.
We had tentatively planned to serve at St. Croix's YWAM base in July during their summer camps, but because of inadequate funds received for us in May and June, as well as the limitations on world travel with the Corona virus, we see that God intends for us to stay in GA for the summer, doing some "tent-making" and support-raising. With Luke in boot camp, hopefully graduating Sept. 3-4, we want to be available to celebrate this milestone with him. Lydia begins her Nurses' training on Toccoa Falls College campus in August, and has some kind of entrance ceremony. We, again tentatively, plan to serve on Saint Croix in the fall or by winter and return to Bosnia/Croatia next summer and fall like we did last year, after all this COVID-19 has hopefully cleared the air. We trust God as we walk along though it can be difficult to be on hold, waiting as we trust Him to lead. My Bible study this morning was about Joseph and his brothers as they encounter each other in Egypt. I was struck again by Joseph's older brothers' comment in Genesis 42:28, as one brother received money back in his pack, "Their hearts sank. Trembling, they turned to one another and said, "What is this that God has done to us?"" They saw their circumstances as from God, not from men. And also, Joseph, when sold by his brothers into slavery and in peril for many years, declared, "It was not you who sent me here, but God." We also see God directing our steps, leading us. It is a privilege to follow the living God.
Jenny began her equipping for serving on the mission field through First Baptist Atlanta's Growing in Grace Discipleship Training to equip those who desired to serve the Lord in foreign missions in 1986. We have been focused on foreigners and the need for Jesus all over the world since we began dating in the fall of 1992. After we were married, Merle also went through the same four years of Discipleship and Leadership Training. After multiple short-term mission experiences, we actively followed God to serve in Bosnia since 1997 when we went on a short term trip only 1 1/2 years after the break-up of former Yugoslavia and the ensuing war there. We realize that there are needs all over the world, and not everyone can go. We are able and willing to go, with 20+ years of cross-cultural missionary experience. But we need your help. We cannot serve the Lord alone. We need the Body of Christ to be our torso and legs to carry us, while we serve as the arms and hands of the Lord in outreach to those searching for Him. We still feel called to actively serve, even though there is this slight pause from Coronavirus in the world. It is an amazing transition that the world is facing and we want to offer the hope and comfort that knowing Jesus brings. I know that this time period has been very difficult financially for some families, but if you are in a position to be able, could you give? Or better still, join our monthly support team? We would be happy to meet with you and talk about more details in person, or on the phone, if you prefer. Just click the Give tab above, which will route you to ARM Ministries. Just select Merle and Jenny Jones under "designation." Thank you so much for your consideration of partnering with us in our calling from God! If you are interested in joining the few who are willing to serve internationally, we would love to give you advice or help in beginning your own journey.
1997- SFOR Tanks were still on the ground. We danced a country swing for our students.
While we are "sheltering in place" in the States, until the world opens up, we must supplement our income. Merle is taking on construction projects as he was a remodeling contractor before we left the country in 1999. Send us an email if you need your bathroom or kitchen remodeled, a deck, or any other project. First come, first served! Jenny taught piano for 21 years previously. If you always wanted to learn, (adults as well as children), again, send us an email. Merle@jonesfamilyjourney.com
We were able to visit with the daughter (and her sister) of the woman from whom Merle bought the property on Lookout Mt way back before we were married. They were grateful to catch up again. Relaxing at the German family's neighborhood pool. Lovely Lydia.
Having a home base was particularly significant for Lydia when her school closed and she needed to school from home, as well as Luke before joining the Marines and going to boot camp. Though it is a little house, we can all squeeze in. I love having my family all around me! God has been so good to draw my heart to seek and follow Jesus, to "put the lonely in a family," to send me to the peoples in the world, to open my arms to others, and increase my joy. I encourage you to test the Lord and see if life isn't so much better in His Kingdom!
Taste and see that the Lord is good!