This marks the first update from Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Elizabeth Steere! On a beautiful summer evening, August 25th, Elizabeth and I gathered with family and friends at Walnut Grove Farm in Knoxville, Illinois to celebrate and consecrate a relationship that has been nearly five years in the making.
The ceremony was held outside under the canopy of the walnut grove that formed a natural cathedral for our vows, prayers and blessings. It was surreal, holy, wondrous and elegant in all the right ways. We were overcome by the generosity of our guests and the efforts they made to be present on our day of joy. Many, many thanks to those who made it so special for us.
We continued our celebration in the big red barn. The reception overflowed with Elizabeth’s keen artistic hospitality. Handmade centerpieces, personalized mason jar glasses, home-baked apple pie at every plate, amazing local food and live bluegrass music! Every little detail with a personal touch. It was such a joy to see her thrive as the hostess and bride.
We have spent the time since the wedding on a beautiful and restful honeymoon in Northern Michigan. It has been a season of rejuvenation, preparing in heart and soul for the next big adventure.
As you know by now, that next adventure takes us to Kosovo! Since our first post I have learned that I will be collaborating with another teacher this fall on Freshmen English, 8th-grade Social Studies and two sections of World Geography. I will be taking over social studies immediately when we arrive, gradually taking on the rest of the load over the course of the fall. My fellow teacher Brandon has been gracious enough to bear the full load for the intervening weeks between the wedding and our arrival. I am extremely excited – if a little petrified – at beginning this endeavor, but I trust that God will be faithful to us as we walk forward.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth has made a start to her book! The first words are on the page. I can’t express my anticipation for the development of her writing over this coming year. She is a wise and deep soul, and her readers have much to gain from her subtle insight and unique poetic voice.
We will be in Springfield again September 9th-19th. If you want to see us or have a visit before we leave, let us know! We fly out from Chicago in the evening on the 19th, arriving in Prishtina the following day.
* * *
That’s the big news of the past few weeks. Here, I need to address a few financial things, and down below you can find some prayer requests as we prepare to depart.
We were overwhelmed by the generous support poured out at our wedding. Wedding gifts alone give us a much stronger foundation than we could have imagined as we leave for Kosovo. That said, we still need a core group of people who are willing to support us on a regular basis for the next year. This support enables me to teach at the Prishtina High School and Elizabeth to continue work on her writing. If you need more information about either of these endeavors, please don’t hesitate to contact us (See the previous post for an overview.).
For those of you who are considering partnering with us on a monthly basis, please let us know. We are very actively trying to find the balance of a thoughtful frugality. Elizabeth has been excitedly combing through a new cookbook called “More with Less” (with delicious results, I might add) and we are both determined to live simply within whatever means we have. As I try to establish a reasonable budget, it would be very helpful to know what support will be coming our way. We also want you to know ahead of time that we intend to tithe (give 10%) to communities and individuals who are actively pursuing lives of compassion. We believe generosity is a natural outflow of genuine gratitude.
We want to be open and transparent about financial matters as you and others support us. If you ever have any questions about what we are doing or how money is being used, please feel free to contact us directly. We understand you are making an investment in us and our work, and we want to communicate with you in a responsible way. Know that we are very grateful for your role in our lives.
* * *
You are all a blessing, every one. Thank you so much for your encouragement! It is a joy to call you friends. May you be overcome with His peace and grace. Always.
- Sam and Elizabeth
Please keep us in your prayers…
- That God may continue to unite our hearts and spirits as newlyweds, and that we mature well together through this coming year.
- That our living needs will be met through the gracious generosity of our supporters, and that we may respond with a deep and true gratitude.
- That Sam will adapt well to the oncoming transition into the classroom and connect in a genuine way with his new students and fellow teachers.
- That Elizabeth will have a clear mind and a ready pen to write what God has put on her heart for this coming year.
- That fellow teacher Brandon will have an abundance of energy, wisdom and patience as he carries the full class load until Sam arrives.
- That we will have the wisdom to see what God is already doing in Kosovo and the courage to take part in it.
- That God will go before us, be with us, and follow us this year and give us the wisdom to see the divine appointments he has made with students, teachers, neighbors and friends.