March 23, 2021
Dear Supporter of Joel & Leah Sanders,
Greetings in the living hope we have through the resurrection of Jesus Christ! We wish to inform you that Joel & Leah Sanders will be on leave of absence status with TCM beginning in mid-April.
As you know, the Sanders were assigned as TCM missionaries to Southeast Asia. They were packed and ready to move there last April when COVID hit, and their destination country closed its borders the day before their scheduled departure. In October, the TCM board temporarily re-assigned the Sanders to Kenya for 6 months with the expectation that their assigned field would open up during that time or soon after. However, that Southeast Asian country is still not showing any signs of easing its border closure. The Kilgos, our TCM missionaries on the ground there, say it may be another year or more before the Sanders could move there.
The Sanders have served effectively while in Kenya, teaching in the Bible school and in our Kenya Grace Bible Churches. However, they have chosen to return to the U.S. in April to wait for the Southeast Asian country to open, rather than extending their time in Kenya. Staying there might not have been an option anyway, due to recent changes the government has made in how long foreigners can remain on tourist visas.
In light of these circumstances, the TCM board has put the Sanders on leave of absence status for up to 2 years beginning April 14, 2021. In keeping with normal TCM procedure, we will continue to receive donations for the Sanders for the next 3 months (May, June & July). We encourage you to continue supporting them financially during this transition.
Joel and Leah are still enthusiastic about mission work and still have a vision to serve in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Joel plans to complete his degree from Grace Christian University, which will help them secure long-term visas, and teach online courses for Malaysia Grace Bible Institute. The Sanders plan to settle in Georgia where a relative has offered Joel a job. Please keep this dear family in your prayers as they seek to follow the Lord’s leading through this extended time of uncertainty.
Thank you for your partnership with TCM and our missionaries. Riding the waves of unforeseen changes in plans tests and strengthens our faith and trust in the Lord.
With gratitude for your understanding,
TCM Office Administrator