In-Between

Krista and I have spent the last week trying to get back in the swing of things and we’re trying to come up with a game plan for the weeks ahead! haha… It’s going to be a busy month. On Saturday we are going to be traveling up to Michigan. We are hoping to connect with people who already support us there and to connect with more potential supporters. Krista and I haven’t spent a whole lot of time trying to raise support there so we’re hoping for big things! Once we get back from Michigan we are going to have to move out of our apartment at the end of the month.

We got our latest monthly report and things are looking good as far as our outgoing costs. Many of you know that we have a lot of costs that we have to cover just to get out of the country and into Jamaica. We are within a month or two of getting everything we need. We are 11% away from our monthly goal… This has been our biggest struggle and we knew that it would be. We are still hoping to finish this the next month. Krista has been working hard to contact people who has expressed interest before. We are hoping and praying that we can hear back from them soon! Things are going well, but we’re not done yet. Please pray that we can get in contact with those people soon.

We have had to “redo” some of our Jamaican work visa paperwork. I say “redo” because we had to fill it out the exact same way as before… Makes us wonder if they lost it or something. Gotta love Jamaica! We are starting to think that this might be our biggest hold up for getting to Jamaica. We have everything filled out and ready to go and are going to get it in the mail to head over to Jamaica today. Please pray that everything goes well and that we don’t have to wait another 2 months to hear back about the paperwork.

We have a lot going on and a lot to pray for. Thanks everybody who has been paying attention over these past 6+ months. Our coach at MTI told us that most couples take 18 months to raise support when their working so we’re so grateful that we are as far as we are in 6 months. We’ll continue to keep you updated as best we can!

God Bless…. GOD IS ABLE!

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Home Safe and Sound

We made it home last night. Everything went well… but I’m sick of traveling. Even when it’s only a day its amazing how worn out you get. Krista and I had an amazing 3 weeks of training. It was a really tough 3 weeks but we learned a lot and met a lot of amazing people. It was really nice to be with a bunch of people who knew exactly what we are going through because they are going through it as well.

Looking ahead we have a lot of work to do this month. I am going to be working for the first two weeks of October but after that I will be done. We still have 12% of our support to raise and we’re hoping to get that done this month. Krista will be able to focus her time on that this month. We will be traveling to Michigan on the 15th. We are hoping be there a  week and to talk to some people support. We haven’t had a whole lot of time there to talk to people about partnering with us. We also have a meeting with some CCCD people while we’re there and we are really looking forward to that as well. The last week of October we will be packing all of our stuff up and moving out of our apartment. After that we will be living with some friends here in Knoxville. We are also hoping to hear back about our work visas this week. Hopefully they have been accepted and will be approved soon. Once we get those approved we can set an exit date.

After attending training we are really, REALLY wanting to get down to Jamaica. We are going to do everything possible to get there as soon as we can. We have a busy month but I feel like it is going to be an exciting month and I can’t wait to see God show up this month!

Thanks for all your prayers and support while we were in Colorado. We felt the love!

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Saying Goodbye to MTI

This is how you say goodbye at MTI!

One of the staff from MTI is from South Africa and when he grew up they used to wave goodbye to someone until they were out of sight. They often what run along with the car as well! MTI sends everybody off as they leave. Since Krista and I were some of the last ones to leave we got to wave, jump, and whistle at everyone as the left. I kind of like saying goodbye this way!

 

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Last Week

Hey Everyone! I meant to write a post yesterday but unfortunately I had to make a trip to the hospital last night. I had some severe pain in my abdomen. After some tests it turns out to be a kidney stone. So, not too bad. I’m in a bit of pain but hopefully I’ll pass it soon.

Before that all happen we had an amazing week here. The week started off very intense and then after some of that we had a great look at rest and embracing the sabbath. It was a week of contrasts but what a bunch of great things to think about. We have loved everyday here and have learned so much. This week should be a great week and we are looking forward to heading back to Tennessee… Although I’ll miss Colorado.

Thanks again for your prayers and support!

Here are some pics from some fun things we did this past weekend.

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Simulation

Today we had another simulation. We had one last week which was pretty intense but today’s was a whole lot worse. They split us into two separate groups and all the spouses were separated. They told us that we were all missionaries in a hostel country and our compound was under attack and we needed to get into a shelter in the basement. Twenty of us went downstairs and crawled into a “shelter.” It was 4 x 8 ft and about 5 and half feet tall. Did I mention that we had 20 people in this shelter!  We we stuffed pretty good. It was hot and no one could move. I couldn’t even stand up straight. We heard gun shots and people walking around. They teachers here talked in different languages so we couldn’t understand what was going on outside of the shelter. We received notes through a hole in the ceiling from another “missionary” trying to help us. The “bad guys” eventually found us and then tried to negotiate with us to let some people go, but in the end they were going to execute somebody. And they took two of us out and “executed them.” This whole scenario lasted for about an hour. An hour is a long time under these circumstances. Most of the time was spent in silence. Talk about stressful.

The whole point of this simulation was for us to react how we would react in real life in this situation. At some point your mind doesn’t think of it as a simulation but it actually thinks that it is really happening. It’s crazy. Once we were done, and cooled off, we had a time of debriefing to talk about how we coped with the stress. Some of us handled it well and some of us didn’t. One of the ladies that was in our group started having a panic attack and had to move by the door to get some fresh air. We may never experience this amount of stress and hopefully we will never be put in that situation but we will deal with stress. Like it or not there is a lot of different stresses that we will face when we go abroad that we don’t face here. It was very interesting to see how I handled stress and what thoughts I had going through my mind. I can see things that I should have done differently and I hope that I can use this information as well as some of the coping mechanisms we went over in class to deal with hard times overseas.

Overall it was a very good (hard). It’s good to put yourself through these types of things once in a while. Again, our time our time here has been amazing and we’re excited for what else God has for us in the next week and a half.

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Beginning Week 2

Us at Garden of the Gods with another couple going to South Africa

We are officially in week 2 of our training here in Colorado! We had a great, refreshing weekend (including Ben’s b-day on Sunday!). Ben and I had a chance to decompress, process, relax, and enjoy God’s creation.

We thought last week was intense, but we have been warned that this week really begins to get to the “tough stuff.” Please pray that we would have open hearts and that God would reveal to us the places needing change/examination in our lives.

Recently we have been focusing on conflict handling styles. We have spent time evaluating ourselves, asking close family and friends to give their input, and hearing from others on the team on how they perceive and react to the various conflict styles (Competing, Compromising, Avoiding, and Accommodating). It has been very eye opening and humbling, and I feel that it has personally given me tools to handle conflict and communicate more effectively (including those in the new culture we will be interacting with).

Thanks for all of the encouraging emails and prayers over the past week. Your support means so much! We’ll keep you posted!

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Update… day 3

So I’m trying to come with some summaries of some of the things that we have been talking about over the past few days. It’s interesting. We’ve really only been here for two full days but I honestly feel like its been a week or more. We have gotten so much information and more important than that, we have had to think about so many different things. The class times are set up not so much as instructional but as a time to get us to think and then to interact to questions and situations. Because of this set up and the fact that there is a small number of us we all tend to play off of each other and it has been incredible to see different peoples perspectives and where a conversation can end up.

Probably the biggest theme so far, to me, has been the idea that we can learn all kinds of different ways to deal with culture shock and methods and things like that, but if we don’t get I right in our hearts and if we don’t get it right in our homes then there is no chance to get it right in the field. One of the ideas that we talked about yesterday as well as today is that we judge and interpret the behavior of others from our own frame of reference. When we look at how we communicate and interact with others this make a whole lot of sense. If we can’t get over “our world” and whats comfortable with us even to our spouse, family, or team members, then how can we expect to do it in a foreign culture. It really made me think that I need to look at mission work on a very personal level. It’s amazing how much I judge based on what is “normal” to me.

Another big theme, or cornerstone, is remembering my joys and giving thanks to God!  They have a board set up with a big heart drawn on it with that phrase around it. Throughout the week we are encouraged to right something in the middle of the heart that we want to give thanks to God about. By always looking for the joys we can see God, even in our struggles. We can see his faithfulness. When everything is out of control… God is good.

What it all boils down to is my relationship with God and where my heart is. I can spend all the time in world learning techniques and ways to deal with conflict but I need to have things right at a personal level and I need to have things right with my relationship with Krista for us to be effective. It almost seems simple but yet it’s so hard…. Love it!

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Welcome to MTI video

We had our orientation tonight. There are 44 adults and 19 kids and we are going to 21 different countries. It’s pretty cool. We’re hoping to do a few more videos and some blog posts of what we are learning later in the training.

 

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Hello MTI

We made it! Everything went well. We have a little bit of time to hang out before we go to orientation so I thought I would let everyone know we made it. We’re are hoping to get a video up later tonight that will show you where we’ll be staying. Thanks again for praying for us for these next few weeks! We are looking forward to our time here.

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Packed!

Well, we are packed and ready to fly out tomorrow morning. Our first flight is at 9:35. We can’t wait to get there. We are planning on posting a lot of things in the next three weeks. Hopefully you will get a good picture of the things that we have been learning and talking about while we’re there. It is starting to feel real! That’s for sure…

Thanks for all the encouragement and all the prayers!

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