IMG_8402Sabbatical Updates from the Stout Family

After over 20 years of serving our church Pastor Kurt and his family are on sabbatical (an extended time away for physical rest and spiritual renewal) from March – May 2016. On this page you will find updates and pictures from their various travels during this time. Check back often!


March 1-13:Travel to Ethiopia, reunion with biological family, visit cultural sites; Isaac with Fruittswith big sister (2)

The last four days have been majestic! First the visiting of castles and churches proving that Ethiopian history is drenched in Christian faith. How wonderful to hear the stories of Jesus while learning history. There was so much information, our brains nearly exploded…or some just checked out. Then yesterday we went to the highest point of Ethiopia, the Simien Mountains, where we hiked for a few hours praising God for his Majesty and creativity in creation. It was like being at the Grand Canyon, I imagine. Words don’t describe it. Then we were able to play right in the midst of a family of about 300 baboons. Very cool!!! We ended the evening watching a film on the baboons and showering off the vast amount of dust covering us. Beletu didn’t feel very well but made it through the day and is better today. Today we are driving all day to our next destination which will be the most like where the girls were born. We hope to stop to see inside a bit and bless the socks off the family who allows us in. Ha…that idiom doesn’t really work since they won’t be wearing socks…so hope to really bless them. We are praying for the Holy Spirit to lead us to just the right family. We are so blessed to be here! All praise to God! – 3/6/16, Heidi

Today was a harder day. There was nothing planned so we asked to see a country school, hoping for something similar to what Beletu attended when she was in Wello. We approached the first school to find ourselves observing a classroom under a tree. No room, no benches or desks…just a teacher, children on rocks, and a small bag with merely a tablet and pencil for each student. Any shaded place on that land served as a classroom. As we went to each class, they asked the children to tell their problems, their needs. We went further into the country where there were a couple buildings serving as classrooms. And again, as we went thru each class, they were to tell us of their problems. It’s one thing to see the needs as we travel. It’s completely another for them to tell you over and over what they need. So much need in the world. I’m thankful for the Americans who can easily give hundreds of thousands of dollars to help build these schools, hospitals, wells, places for the blind widows, and sponsorship programs. However, I’m trying not to feel guilty that I am not one of those individuals. Kurt has reminded me that we must ask what is ours to do and not feel guilty if it doesn’t look like what someone else is called to do. He is right. We just must stay open and obedient to what is ours to do. May we each do just this today…and always! – 3/9/16, Heidi

We went to church at an international church where we worshiped in English. It was wonderful…a taste of home. We could use prayers as we head to India that there will be a new aliveness in our spirits and energy and that as we cross from a Christian nation into a Hindu nation that angels guard our steps and Jesus victory wards off spiritual warfare. Thanks!!! – 3/13/16, Heidi

March 14-19: India cultural visit; Isaac with Fruitts

We arrived in India this morn in not great shape. All of us were exhausted from a rigorous schedule and only 6 hrs of sleep…on a plane…Thankfully some meds and food got us going enough to go to one of mother Teresa’s orphanages. We weren’t able to play with the kids but we got to see them in their surroundings, resembling Isaac’s orphanage a bit. I spent time talking to and praying for a little girl who is disabled and can’t communicate or leave her bed. Oh, how sweet she was. We then drove attempting to see a market and some monuments that are all closed on Mondays…We just visited the biggest Muslim mosque in India. Beletu and I were the laughing stock of the place. We had to wear these robes out of respect. We were laughed at so much. People even pretended to take selfies with us in background and then cracked up as if we didn’t know. Another fun memory for today. Glad we could so easily make so many smile and laugh. Now, if they would just see the Savior’s smiling face with love for them and turn their eyes, hearts, and ways to him… – 3/14/16, Heidi

India AdventureOur time in Ethiopia and India is almost wrapping up. It has been a rigorous schedule (7 flights, 3 train rides, lots of time in the car each day, and a different place to sleep every night with the exception of twice that we had the same bed two nights in a row) but the kids have been amazing travelers. We are so grateful for your prayers when the spirit reminded you to pray. We can’t thank God enough for this gift to spend time with the girls family a couple times, see their country by traveling to historical sites rich in culture, make new Ethiopian friends, enjoy experiences with nature and animals in both countries ( wash, decorate, and ride elephants in India yesterday), experience the crazy busy streets of India and one of the wonders of the world ( Taj Mahal), and today we will spend one last day in India before traveling back to Ethiopia for a day (layover there) and then to home sweet home. God has granted health and energy ( for the most part) to handle the schedule and soak in all we can each day! Praise be to him who made and loves this great and interesting world and who brought pieces of it into our family. We have certainly learned much more about our story on this trip. 3/16/16, Heidi

March 20-29: Home with family for rest and renewal

March 30-April 11: Chile visit with the Godoy family. Isaac in Florida with the Fruitts.

April 12-25: Home with family for rest and renewal

April 26-28: Kurt and Heidi to California for The Journey renewal program

April 29-May 14: Home with family for rest and renewal

May 15-31: Kurt and Heidi in Australia for worship and relaxation

Uluru Red Rock in Australia – 3/20/16

Uluru Red Rock - Australia

Mission Accomplished: Climbed to the top of Uluru Uluru Red Rock - From the Top