Hello! Thank you so much for continuing to pray for us and supporting us as we get ready to head to Guatemala soon, Lord willing. Just like you, we’ve been rocked by the response to COVID-19. Aaron here speaking: In January, after a long search for a job, God provided in a major way. I was working as a long-term substitute teacher for five weeks. That all came to an end the day that President Trump declared a national emergency. The school district that I work for was cancelling school until the end of Spring Break, and eventually decided to cancel the entire year. That has left me without a job, but thankfully I qualified for unemployment, so that has helped us.
Brianna also lost her job for a time, but praise the Lord, the company has decided to pay them and let them work remotely, so God has provided in an awesome way for both of us.
We have both had adjustment with the new at-home lifestyle, but we’re praying that God will allow us to use this time to talk to our current supporters, grow our support team, and continue down the road to Guatemala. Even in these uncertain times, nothing is uncertain to God.
We’ve Surpassed Fifty Percent!
God has been so good to us with support raising even in the middle of the pandemic. Since our last update, we have passed the halfway mark in our support team raising efforts. Our monthly support team has grown to 51% of what we need to live in Guatemala next year.
These numbers reflect our monthly supporters who have decided to join our team to support us in an amount they feel God has called them to keep us in Guatemala starting in (Lord willing) January 2021. The numbers above reflect the amount that is being given monthly that is currently adding to our startup costs below.
As a result of all our team’s generosity over the past year, we are well on our way to raising our startup costs that we will need to get into Guatemala.
It’s such a blessing to see God work in the ways that he has over the past year since starting this journey. It was last April that we were accepted on staff with Students International and though it has been a rough journey at times, and many unexpected things have happened to us – not all of those unexpected things have been negative. We got to 50% because of two very large unexpected monthly team members that God put in our path. We can’t wait to see what God does next.
Please be praying that God would continue to show us just how much higher his thoughts are above ours and that he would help complete the rest of our support team. Also please pray that he would show us a work opportunity for Aaron or at least the ability to rest in him if this is a season to be just enjoying the time off and working more on the ministry to get to Guatemala.
Lastly, would you please share our page with someone, if even just one person who you might think God could use to send us to Guatemala? You never know what God could do.
Recently we did a live stream on Facebook to tell everyone who maybe hasn’t heard about what we’re hoping to do in Guatemala. If you didn’t catch it, you can watch it here or on the Facebook app. The video starts at about the 2 minute mark.
Maybe it’s a little late, but Happy New Year! The Lord has done so much in our lives since the last time we’ve written. Spoiler alert: God has answered our prayers for a job for me (Aaron) and has also answered prayers for me to have more purpose in employment than to just make money. To put it simply: life has been crazy.
It all started in December, right after I had graduated from Fresno State, right before Christmas, we just so happened to run into a godly man and his wife that I used to work with at an elementary school in Fresno. We later learned that this was a divine appointment as about a month later, this meeting led to getting a job as a 6th grade teacher, teaching alongside my friend! (They know who they are reading this, but for privacy sake we won’t name names).
There were so many hoops to jump through to get into the job:
My degree had to officially come through from the university.
My substitute permit had to be granted from the County of Fresno.
Lastly, there were hurdles of onboarding with the school district.
To keep an amazing, long story short, God knocked down all those hurdles in the timespan of about 48 hours in the middle of January and I was now un-unemployed just in time to celebrate my birthday.
This job has been very challenging at times, but daily I see the Lord changing hearts and minds as we love on the kids we’ve been working with. In only 7 days of instruction we saw the kids’ math scores almost triple. Today I graded their latest math test and the scores went even higher. As of writing this there are 70 days left of instruction and as I tell the kids every day, “That’s [x amount of] days more to improve and get ready for middle school!”
Not only did this great friend get me a job, but it turned out that he and his wife wanted to support us in Guatemala and they have since become monthly partners with us. Praise the Lord for all he’s done! Please be praying for me (Aaron) to have patience with these kiddos and please pray for the kids (all 24 of them) to not only get to grade level but to have their hearts and minds transformed.
Soon to be Two Graduates in the Home
Brianna started her last semester of college at Fresno State. She’s currently taking “History and Systems of Psychology,” “Forensic Cognitive Science,” “Social Psychology,” and “Learning and Memory”. She says Learning and Memory is the most difficult.
It’s her last semester, but the schedule is very trying and Brianna has long days that go from 7am-6pm (or later, some nights). There’s a lot for her to juggle with school, work, life group, a women’s Bible study, and fundraising.
“…best case scenario for a shoulder injury…”
As you may have seen on social media, we were enjoying our weekend time together last weekend riding mountain bikes at nearby Millerton Lake when I (Aaron) crashed and broke my right collar bone. “This is the first broken bone I’ve ever had, and I’m 30!”
Please pray for healing. The doctor said that this was the best case scenario for a shoulder injury since it doesn’t require surgery and that it should heal in 6 weeks or so. Still, it’s been very debilitating for me as I can’t even really dress myself. So pray for Brianna’s patience!
Here’s where even more praise comes. We’re so excited to see how God has provided over the past couple weeks. Even in the midst of so much going on here at home while we try to get to our new home of the future in Guatemala, God has still be confirming his calling for us.
The Arnett’s Are Going to North Carolina!
Our startup costs continue to grow as all our current monthly support goes into our Startup Fund. In addition to the monthly support, we received a large one-time gift that raised our lump sum higher. With that, we were given permission to sign up to attend our training in North Carolina. We were able to sign up for the August classes. This will give us time to finish our school/work years out in May/June, possibly move our of our apartment in July, then head to Union Mills, NC for a month in August.
The biggest boost for us this month comes in the form of monthly support. We are in awe of our awesome God as he almost doubled the amount of support from 18.7 to over 35 percent!
We’re so encouraged by what the Lord has done in such a short time. We know that this is all His doing and not ours.
With all that great news, there is still the reality that we still need to raise almost $2,600 per month in order to get into Guatemala by January 2021. Without your support we cannot walk out what the Lord has called us to in Guatemala. We continue to see the Lord’s faithfulness and we want to invite you to join us in this mission. Would you please prayerfully consider becoming a monthly partner with us and the furtherance of the Gospel? If so, please use the button below.
If you’re already supporting us financially or in prayer, please continue to do so – especially praying. We are so thankful for your support and we look forward to the day that we can write these letters and make videos showing you all the good things that God is doing in Guatemala. We especially look forward to the opportunity to have you come visit us when we’re in Guatemala so you can see firsthand that your contributions and your prayers are not in vain.
If you have the time, would you please share this post on your social media and pass it along to friends who you may think would like to support us?
We want to end this letter by forwarding on a recent blog by Nate Slabach, VP of Staff Care at Students International. If there were ever a great example of an answer to the question, “What are you going to do in Guatemala?” this post is it. The following story is from another SI ministry site in the Dominican Republic, but it is a glimpse of what our hopes are for ministering in Guatemala.
We first would like to thank all our supporters for your consistent support and prayer since we first announced our plans to move to Guatemala earlier this year. Thanks to your sacrificial gifts we are getting ever closer to reaching our goal of getting to Guatemala in January of 2021.
As we began writing this update, we checked on our accounts to get you the most accurate numbers as we end the year. Since our last update, a lot has happened in our lives. Aaron unexpectedly lost his job at the church, and as a result we’re looking for a new church home. Aaron’s best friend from high school unexpectedly passed away. We had to make the decision of who’s going to attend which funeral as we had two funerals – one for Aaron’s friend and one for Brianna’s uncle on the same day. In the midst of all that, finishing up the school semester. Needless to say, there has been a lot on our plates. In all of that, we gained no new monthly supporters. Quite honestly we’ve faced a host of discouragement because of all life has thrown at us, this included. But, as I said above, we checked in on our account this morning to give you an update of the numbers and to our surprise, we were gifted $5,000 to our startup costs. Praise the Lord!
Just as a reminder, the startup costs are a one-time lump sum that we are required to have in our account in order to go to the mission field. These funds go towards:
Our stay in Antigua during language school to learn Spanish
Our eventual permanent housing
Furnishing our home (furniture, dishes, towels, soap, etc.)
Any other moving expenses
We are starting basically from scratch when we hit the ground in Guatemala, as we are unable to take anything besides basically clothing with us.
Time and time again, God continues to surprise us with the generosity of His people and He continues to remind us that this is His will.
The Road Ahead
We’ve been in contact with our leadership in SI Guatemala and have set goals for ourselves for the new year.
Graduate from college
Aaron is finished at the end of December. Brianna will be done in May 2020.
Raise the remainder of our monthly support as soon as possible.
Find a new church family.
Attend Cross Cultural Training in North Carolina in the summer of 2020.
We can’t do this if we aren’t fully funded before then.
Head to Guatemala in January 2021.
We are so thankful to those who have contributed thus far to our mission and words cannot express our gratitude other than to say we are in awe that God would let sinners like us take on that task with the love and support from people like you. Each one of you has a special part in our life that led us to this moment in time. Each one of you has a history with us and a future. We know that this is all because of God’s doing.
A Call for Help
If you’re already a partner with us, would you just continue to pray that God would continue to show his goodness and provision to you to make you able to continue to support us?
If you have been praying about possibly joining us monthly as a partner, would you keep praying about it, and if you feel so led, please join us today?
Please pray that God would give us both peace in our hearts and minds as we tackle the tough road ahead of finishing school and Aaron finding a job.
Please pray God provides a job that will work to keep us afloat until we land in Guatemala in 2021.
Please pray that we will get all of our one time funds and monthly supporters by the end of the first half of 2020.
One of the best ways you can help us, is to share our mission with those who you think may be called to partner with us. Simply forward this newsletter to them and give them any other contact information you have for us.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support as we continue on this journey towards serving in Guatemala. The past couple months have been a trying time for us. In August, Brianna had an uncle who passed away very suddenly. The death was a shock to her and her family and has had repercussions since that we and the family are still dealing with.
In the midst of that we celebrated our second anniversary, which, happens to always fall right before college and one of the busy seasons of work at the church for me, and work at the school for Brianna.
Brianna started a new job – well, the same job but at a new school. It has been a healthier situation than her previous school but as with starting any new job, she’s had to learn a lot – including how to speak to three Chinese students who came with zero English (Maybe God’s teaching us about learning a new language in the future).
Work at the church has been very trying. On top of that I (Aaron) have also begun what is my last semester of college, so working 40 hours a week plus taking college classes, plus fund raising, plus trying to be a good husband, all takes a toll. For both of us it seems like we’re being pulled in 500 directions at once sometimes.
Speaking of fundraising, through all of the trials we’ve been facing, God has provided even when we feel like we’re powerless in all of this. Since last writing in July, we have gone from being about 9% funded to about 18%. Hey that’s almost double! That’s such good news we made a fancy chart!
With all that said, we can use prayers more than anything. Please be praying for us to find time in prayer and in God’s word together and on our own even in the midst of burning the candle on both ends – and in the middle. Please be praying that God would bring friends around us to support us. Pray that God would continue to pour in financial support for us as we want to be fully funded in order to go to our mission training in North Carolina once Brianna gets done with school in the spring. And please pray about whether or not God would want you to support us financially.
How in the world does one decide to be missionaries in Guatemala? Funny you should ask. That’s a long story, and we would be glad to share that with you. In fact, we will share that with you! But if you can’t wait, please take a listen to a podcast we did describing our experiences right after we went down to Guatemala to interview with Students International in the spring of 2019.