After months of prayer, research and discussion...we have decided to move back to America permanently.
WHY WE ARE MOVING BACK: Although we have been earnestly exploring the educational possibilities for Emme's next phase of life (as it relates to Down syndrome), we have been unable to find anything for her that gives us peace in our hearts to continue with her education here.
We know the educational system and culture of "value for those with special needs" in America is first class. While we have had peace to be here the last five years, we believe God is leading us in this new direction.
HOW WE FEEL: Our hearts are very sad to leave South Africa, as we deeply love this community and amazing people of Africa. There are no words to express what an incredible privilege and honor it has been to serve here.
It feels like such a sacrifice, but our children come before our ministry here in Africa. We are excited to return to family and friends in Omaha and are looking forward to the next chapter for our family.
THE PLAN: Karl's father, Dave Ostrand, is coming to visit us in Africa in July, and we plan to fly back with him (we need all the help we can get...putting this crew of ours through 36 hours of air travel). We will arrive in Omaha on July 28th. This will allow the girls to start school when it begins mid-August. Living with Karl’s father for a while will be a blessing for all of us, and helpful for the girls to be able to return to the same school that they previously attended.
MESSAGE TO PARTNERS: If you are supporting us financially we want to express our most sincere and heartfelt thanks. We hope you can see our big hearts of gratitude from all the way across the ocean. You have been on this journey with us, every step of the way through each hill and valley!
For those of you that have a heart to help us transition to the next phase, we ask that you consider supporting us through December of 2015, as we work to acclimate to life back in America and find our feet. We don’t know where we will be working, but we will keep you updated as we know more about our future. Of course there is no pressure to do this, and we are grateful for everything you have done to love us so well over the years.
This has been an extremely difficult decision for us, but we believe we are making the very best decision for our children.
We love you so much and join our hearts with you!
With deep gratitude for you,
Karl and Julie (along with Jensen, Emerson, Adison and Colton)