Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time with Family

I'm sorry that it's been so long since I've written!  Josh and I have been in Wilmington since returning from Colorado and it has been so nice to spend time with family.  We have made sure to have all of our favorite meals, visit our favorite places and meet with every friend we can think of!

It hasn't been all fun and games though :).   We have been getting down to business by speaking at churches and church groups about our coming work, focusing heavily on our fundraising, and volunteering our time to help prepare for the next project to Haiti.

Itemizing medical supplies that were donated for Haiti

Admiring our work after a long day in the warehouse.

There is another team leaving for Haiti from Wilmington on April 21st and we are sad not to be able to go with them, but they asked us if we would help them to organize supplies for the project.  We are very happy to be able to help them do this great work!

We will be in Wilmington until Friday when we head to Pinehurst to celebrate Josh's mom's birthday and spend some time with his side of the family.  We are so grateful to have the opportunity to speak at churches Josh's church on April 14th.  

Please pray for us in these last few weeks as we begin to say a heartfelt and complete goodbye to our families.  It is definitely one of the most difficult parts of the process, but we will rely on the Lord to give us the strength that we need.  We will write more when we get to Pinehurst!

Love and God Bless,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Goodbyes . . .

We are packing up our room and preparing to leave MTI tomorrow around lunchtime.  I can't believe our time here is almost over.  This time in Colorado has been so many things to us . . . a time of personal and spiritual reflection . . . a time to grow closer as a couple . . . a time to increase our faith and confidence in the Lord . . . a time to truly prepare our hearts and minds for our ministry in Ecuador and for the weeks and months to come.  We have learned and discovered more than we can process right now and I know that our PILAT and SPLICE binders full of information will be invaluable to us as we continue to move forward.

Our class time today was spent reflecting on goodbyes and healthy ways to say goodbye.  This is a part of the journey that Josh and I know is coming, but we are often hesitant to face.  Our families play such an important role in our lives and saying goodbye to them will probably be the most difficult thing we have to do.  We are understanding how important it is to allow ourselves to feel this loss and not to avoid or ignore it.  God's strength will carry us through.

As soon as we get home we will be working hard to continue to fundraise.  We are currently at about 52% of our goal for monthly commitments and we hope to make some real progress before we leave for language school on April 29th.  Please pray that we will find donors to join us in our ministry.  We are praying and trusting that the Lord will provide.

Here are some pictures from our day of goodbyes:

This is our SPLICE leader.  He has helped us soooooo much!

The kids memorized Psalm 139.  It was amazing!

This is the whole SPLICE group.  I'm going to miss them all so much!

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us during this process.  It has meant so much to us and we are so looking forward to putting everything that we have learned into action.

Love and God Bless,


Sunday, March 7, 2010

"March"ing Right Along!

It's been a great and insightful week with lots of class participation!

We started the week continuing to focus on our conflict style and then moved into a study on adversity.  We worked with Mark 4:35-41 about Jesus calming the storm and considered who we would be in the story and what we would be doing in the boat (Are we shouting at the storm all by ourselves? Are we trying to swim away from our storm? Are we actually turning to Jesus for help? etc.).  It is so important to really consider our thoughts about adversity because we know that it won't always be smooth-sailing in missions and we want to know where we stand and that we should always turn to our Lord!

Wednesday was INTENSE!  We had a simulated hostage situation that was intended to put us in an extremely stressful situation so that we could really analyze our gut-level reactions.  It was unbelievably emotional, but so enlightening.  We now know what our natural tendencies are and we know whether or not there are things that we need to "check" when stress comes along.  They emphasized the fact that the simulation was NOT intended to teach us what to do in a hostage situation, but rather to help us learn more about ourselves under stress.  They suggested some videos that teach you how to handle crisis situations which Josh and I are looking into.  Best to be prepared!

Thursday was largely about learning to keep the Sabbath and embrace rest.  We learned that one of the biggest enemies to missionaries is burnout and that if you don't make a focused effort to take time away, you won't last long.  It is really interesting that keeping the Sabbath is a commandment just like the others, but we often don't give it quite as much weight.

Friday was all about transitions and transitioning to a different culture in particular.  As you can see below, Josh and I were both involved in exercises that demonstrate the difficulty involved in crossing from one culture to another and that you need "spotters" or supporters with you to help you cross safely.

Also, on Friday morning during our worship time, the kids performed a worship routine that I had choreographed for them.  It was very special and I was so proud of them!

The kids here have truly amazed me!  They are unbelievably mature, respectful, and well-rounded and I am so glad to have gotten to know them.

This weekend we returned to the Air Force Academy Chapel for their traditional service, and we are now working on a homework assignment due later in the week.  I can't believe that we only have one more week of classes left.  It is going to be so difficult to leave all of these wonderful friends, but I know we'll stay in touch.  Can't wait to see what we all learn tomorrow!!!

Love and God Bless,