It has now been three weeks since the end of Diantha's treatments (radiation) and she feels great and is energetic; she can even keep up with me and sometimes pass me up when we jog each morning! We praise God for healing, and for all the prayers and medical skill that has supported the healing. Her medical oncologist has given us a letter clearing her to go to Sudan.
In addition, as of last Sunday Diantha and I completed all the requirements to be Individual Volunteers in Mission under the Office of Individual Volunteers of the Mission Volunteers Program Area of GBGM, and have been selected to fill the two placements requested by Bishop Wandabula for southern Sudan! As Individual Volunteers, we will not be salaried but will be responsible for raising the funds for our living expenses, work funds, insurance, retirement, etc. We are fine with this, as this basically has been our situation for the last 21 years though I'm guessing most churches don't know this. We will be writing to the churches on our mailing list to let them know that churches that want to continue supporting us can now send funds to the Individual Volunteer National Advance and adding our names, e.g. by writing "Advance #982465, for Diantha and Steve Hodges". The Program Director for the Individual Volunteers, Landon Taylor, has assured us that churches can participate in a Covenant Relationship through this Advance as long as they list the names of the Individual Volunteers.
Diantha is currently at a two-week training on tropical medicine. She and I will attend Holston Annual Conference, including speaking at the Justice Luncheon on Monday and attending the Missionary Dinner Tuesday evening. We will have with us information on our move to Sudan and how churches can consider supporting it. We are planning several speaking trips to supporting churches in June and July, will attend the Schools of Christian Mission in Holston Conference (Steve) and Virginia Conference (Diantha), and are hopeful that we can work with one or two supporting churches to host goodbye receptions in the northern and southern ends of the Conference to which multiple churches/individuals could come if they wish. We hope and expect to leave for Sudan in mid-August.
Thanks for your love and prayers, and please keep praying!
Steve and Diantha