Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Meeting postponed, but...

Our pastor had to postpone our meeting with the church missions board as some of the members are gone this weekend. But...

eMi contacted us yesterday to invite us back to Colorado Springs to interview. We will meet with them on Thursday March 22 and Friday the 23rd. Pretty exciting! We're flying into Denver on Weds. afternoon, then flying back to the bay area Friday night. Another whirlwind trip, but nothing compared to the Uganda trip in November!

Monday, February 26, 2007

A big meeting...

Well, once again, God has given us a huge boost of confidence. Our dinner with our pastor and his wife was awesome. They were very encouraging to us about our plans, and were excited about what we're doing. He also asked us what we're doing for support, and when I told him we were raising our full support, he said that he really wanted the church to support us and also said that he'd like to bring us in front of the church missions board to present our vision. The missions board then makes a recommendation to the pastoral staff, who then make the final decision on which missions to support.

He said that ultimately he'd like to bring us up in front of the church to share with everyone what we're doing. He said we could play our DVD and also have a chance to speak to share our heart.

What an awesome blessing that is. Before we went tonight, I just prayed that God would give us the words to share our heart and that he would take care of the rest. Our pastor and his wife are great people and we really enjoyed the time. They gave us some good advice and encouragment, and also were very gracious to offer us the chance to come before the church.

So needless to say, we have our work cut out for us this week to put together a resume of sorts and also some basic information about eMi. So please pray that we can put together a good presentation that accurately portrays what God is doing. We're pretty dang excited to have this opportunity!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dinner Monday

We're taking our pastor and his wife out to dinner tomorrow to share what God is doing in our lives. They've been aware for awhile now that we were considering this, but we haven't yet told them we're going ahead full steam. I'm excited to talk with them about this opportunity but also a little nervous since we really want our church standing with us while we're overseas.

We were talking today about how 'naked' we would feel going over there without a large group of people who knew exactly what we were doing and who were following along with what God is doing. We feel honored to have the chance to serve with eMi in a capacity that could directly impact hundreds or even thousands of African lives. The more time has passed from when we decided to do this, the fear and nervousness has turned to a feeling of awe of the opportunity we have to be a part of such an awesome ministry. So please pray that we're able to communicate what we feel is our overall mission, and that they would catch some of that fire.

I'm really trying hard not to create in my mind each and every scenario of how this whole process will work out. Instead, I'm trying to focus on hearing God's desire for us and how He wants to use us, and then communicating that to others. I feel like God has placed this on my heart - that it is not up to me to 'convince' others to get behind us, but rather to first understand and then communicate what God is placing on our hearts in this situation so people can see the great things He wants to do.

I just keep praying that I don't mess things up by inserting my own ideas or misconceptions that could take away from His greater purpose. I need to have the faith to trust His timing and His provision. Afterall, it is His work that's ultimately to be completed.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

...A Downtown Shot

This was taken from the church downtown where some of the staff members attend. It is a Calvary Chapel church whose pastor is a twenty-something American. The worship team was all native Ugandans and that was pretty cool - half the song was in English and half in Lugandan. We will probably choose a church that was less American, and also one that isn't downtown since that was Alisha very least favorite part of Kampala! The shot you see comes alive at night, and feels like Times Square as far as the number of people and 'Matatus' (taxis) out and about:

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...a Typical Neighborhood

...this was taken from the window of the "hotel" where Alisha and I stayed. The outside area to the right of the road where you see tables and so forth is somewhat of a "fast-food" stop at night, where they make "Rolex's" - a homemade tortilla with an egg cooked like an omellete spread thin over the tortilla with fried cabbage inside. Healthy? Not really since the tortilla is essentially lard. Delicious? Yep.
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A Great Motto...

I spoke with an old friend from college last night, Phil Darke. He's involved with a group that is starting an orphanage in Honduras, and has made a few trips there in the past couple of years. God layed these words on his heart a short time ago, and I thought it was worth repeating:

“If it is not from God, it will fail. We need to get out of our “comfortable” lives and our comfort zones, and start going where we can only go if God is with us. We need to start dreaming dreams that will be fulfilled only if God is behind them, is their source and driving power. Have you ever done something that you thought didn’t have a chance, that you knew would fail if it wasn’t from God, because you knew that there was no way you or your church could make it happen on your/their own? – We need to start thinking and acting like this.”

I think this is a good synopsis of where we're at and somewhat of a motto for our whole endeavor. If and when we land in Africa in the coming months, I can honestly say that it will only be because God made it happen. There are so many obstacles in the way that we could never overcome them on our own. It's actually a thought that's given me a lot of comfort - that if this isn't of God, we will fail miserably. That would be humbling and even a little embarrassing, but in the end it's better than forging ahead without God leading the way. My prayer is that God would let this whole endeavor fail decisively if it is not His plan, but that He would clear the path of every obstruction if His will is for us to go.

Having said that, we are very excited. The interviews really seemed to confirm in our hearts and minds the idea that God is calling us to do this. Communicating what we're feeling and hearing more from the interviewer about what this will look like made us both feel like it's a good fit. One thing she said was that my position at the office there will be made up of approximately 30% pastoring the interns and project trip volunteers, 50% administration in coordinating the interns work and organizaning the project trips, and about 20% design work. I think this sounds like a perfect blend for me. If she had said it was 90% design work, I think my stomach would've dropped since my desire is not to simply move my current engineering job to Africa.

So we wait for the HR department to receive our references back and then contact us to schedule the trip to Colorado. We're feeling a little antsy since time is short and that's a month away, but once again, our timing is dependant on God working everything out so we are just trying to take care of things that we can and not worry about the things we have no control over.
One thing we did last week was to give the boys their first immunization shot - yellow fever. They seemed to do well, though Jonah developed a fever later that evening. We're pretty sure it's unrelated since he has a bad cough and his fever keeps coming and going. Brodie had something similar a week ago.

Next on our list is more immunizations (in a month), and also getting the boys passports. We also need to start figuring on how we're going to sell our house.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Phone Interviews II

The phone interviews went well today. Alisha went first this morning and spoke with the Human Resourse administrator for an hour, then I spoke with the same gal this afternoon for another hour. Both of us felt like she asked really good questions that allowed us to give an honest account of who we are and where we're at in all of this. She was very nice and we both had an easy time talking to her.

From here, she will meet with the HR board to discuss us, as well as review the returned forms from our references. At that point she would decide whether to have us come out to Colorado Springs for an interview with the executive board. Tentatively, we've talked about the dates of March 22-23 to be in Colorado Springs if all continues to go well.

Thanks for your prayers. Talking with the HR gal today was very encouraging in that it made us both feel excited to move forward. The more we learn about and interact with the eMi people the more impressed we are with the organization, and the more we feel like it is a good fit for our family. Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Phone Interviews

Our phone interviews are tomorrow (Thursday 2/22/07), so please pray that they go exactly as God wants them to go. Alisha's is at 9:15am, and mine is at 1:30pm. They are each supposed to be an hour long. We'll let you know how it went tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The next steps...

So we've been waiting to hear back from the Colorado office regarding the next steps, and finally today I received an email. We were beginning to wonder a little! The email was very helpful and outlined the next several steps.

First, Alisha and I will each have a 1 hour phone interview later this week (separately). Meanwhile, they are sending out forms to each of our references (Alisha's and mine). They request them back within 2 weeks. At that point, if all is ok, they'll schedule the Colorado trip. She said the earliest we could do it would be the week of March 19. We're going to aim for that Thursday and Friday (22nd and 23rd).

While we're there, we: 1) Hear the vision of eMi 2) Get a personality profile and discuss it 3) Office tour 4) Group Lunch 5) Group Interview 6) Meet with Finance Director to discuss fundraising.

After that, we would await the executive staff approval and position appointment. Then we submit our fundraising "letter" (which in our case will include the dvd thanks to our dear friends CJ & Lindsay who are putting it together for us - cool!). Then, we raise our support: we have to get 3-4 months worth of our budget, plus 90% of our monthly commitments and 100% of our moving budget. At that point they approve us to purchase our airline tickets and set a departure date. I'm then enrolled as an employee and finally, we depart to the field!!

In the meantime, obviously we have to sell our house, sell our cars, find transportation for the interim (rental?), pack our stuff into storage, and get ready to go.

So really, there's really not much left to do before we head out! ;) Yikessssssssssssss!!! Obviously, without God's divine intervention into almost every area of this, it cannot happen. And from what I read in the bible, that's right where God wants us. So we're taking comfort in that!

Other than that, we're very excited and our nervousness and fears have pretty much turned into focus, determination, and excitement to get there.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Uganda overview

(P1-eMi-ea current office, though it will be moving in June to a house right next to Heritage International School, where Brodie will attend; P2-view from the office overlooking Kampala; P3-Heritage International School; P4-the eMi-ea staff and interns at the Thanksgiving table while we were there)
We have notified eMi that we are interested in taking the next steps toward joining the staff at the East Africa office of eMi (emi-ea) in Kampala, Uganda. From here, we will schedule a trip to Colorado Springs to interview with the officers in eMi. If all goes well, we would probably have to start the fundraising process. It normally takes anywhere from 6-12 months to raise support - we will be trying to do it in 5.
After speaking with Chad, the director from the eMi-ea office, it would work well for both parties if we could arrive in Uganda in early August (roughly 6 months from now). Tentatively, I would try to be done working here in Medford by the end of June, and we'd spend the month of July visiting with family and getting ready to go. But all of this is tentative and could change depending on the Colorado trip, fundraising, etc. We plan to sell our house and cars. We will pare down on stuff as much as we can, but we plan to store a fair amount too, particularly the bigger items that will be expensive to replace. If you want to pray for us, you can by asking God to give us the faith to trust him to work out all the details.
Fundraising is the very last thing I would want to do, but part of God taking us to Africa also requires that we humble ourselves to be able to do what He wants, regardless of how we feel about it or what we think people will think of us. It's a scary proposition, but the peace He's given us with our decision is sufficient to get us through. We are thanking Him in advance for his grace and provision (though living that out is a difficult thing to do).
I will try to get on here regularly, especially at the beginning here to get caught up filling you in on the details. We continue to get little confirmations that we're making the right decision, so we will try to be better at sharing those so you too can see God working in the process (though I'm sure He's working in each of you in some way through this). We definitely recognize that this decision impacts our entire family, and we are aware that it's a big stretch for many of you. But ultimately, as sister Traci reminded us, when Jonah (not our Jo-Jo) ignored God's direction for his life, he brought devastation on those around him until he obeyed. So we're just trying to spare our family from that kind of devastation! :)
Our initial thinking is to be there for around 3 years. Can this change? Yes, but that is what we're thinking now. We would love to return to Medford, but we'll just have to see - too many variables to be thinking about it now. Will we be lifetime missionaries? That is certainly not our thinking right now, but we are not going to be making promises or setting definite timelines as that is risky business when God is ultimately pulling the strings. But at this point, we would very much like to return to the Rogue Valley to raise the boys.
Ok - there'll be more later. You're all welcome to ask/post/email any questions you may have for us at any time.


This blog will share what God is doing in our lives right now, and in particular, our decision to pursue moving to Uganda later this year. We will try our best to get this up and running and kept up to date as best as we can. We're blogger-rookies so give us a little grace! This picture was taken in October (duh!) by our good friends 'The Sampsons' at a pumpkin patch just outside of Medford.