Saturday, April 28, 2007

Lithia Park with the Sampsons

Today we finally had a nice day on a Saturday, so we headed to Ashland with our good friends 'The Sampsons' to hang out at Lithia park. The boys had a great time swinging and climbing and hiking. The rock you see us perched atop in the pictures was actually several stories high - it's just an optical illusion that makes it appear 6 to 8 feet above ground in the pictures!

Alisha and Emilie plotted ahead of time to dress the boys in their matching shirts so they could take pictures. Matt and Emilie's boys are: Andrew (6), Brennan (4) and Parker (1.75) and our boys love them. As is usual whenever we hang out with the Sampsons, a fun time was had by all. At one point, Matt and I stopped talking/quoting lines from 'The Office' for long enough to notice that our families were there too! ;)
The low point in the day (for me) was when Alisha tried to climb the rock, lost her hand-hold and punched me right in the eye on her way to the ground (not intentional, her hand just recoiled after it slipped.) It hurt like a devil, but I only have a small cut and very minor bruising to show for the ordeal!)

Anyway, as far as Africa goes, we got an email from Karen (HR rep. in Colorado Springs) on Friday saying that they mailed off a letter of invitation to us that day and we should expect it by mid-week coming up. We'll be sure to keep you posted if we get it.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Things are afoot

Four weeks to the day after we met in Colorado, we received an email from Karen, the HR rep at the eMi-usa office in Colorado Springs. It read:

"Hello Crawford’s!
We have been discussing your application with our executive staff and with Chad . We are currently working on a letter of invitation, job description and training schedule to send to you. After approval from all parties, I will be mailing that out to you. I hope to get that to you next week.


We were very excited to get that email. It looks like maybe the ball will begin rolling soon! We are both feeling very good about things. Alisha's reaction was one of feeling honored that it appears we are actually going to have the opportunity to do this. My reaction was more of relief that it seemed to answer some of the confusion I was feeling (i.e. feeling strongly now that God is calling us to this, yet confused as to why eMi could possibly be having reservations about it).

Anyway, obviously they haven't said anything official, but at the same time, she didn't say , "we're putting together a letter outlining the options you might consider with some other ministries, such as the local soup kitchen in Medford"! So we're pretty thrilled!

Also, we've been really thinking about our timeline a lot and wondering if December might be a better target date for our departure. We'll see what eMi has to say when they send us the packet of 'stuff', but we've been thinking a lot about shooting for the end of the year as opposed to August.

In short, it would give Brodie some time in the Star classroom so Alisha could observe the teaching strategies, it would take A LOT of the pressure off of us to sell our house, it would allow me a more relaxed schedule for planning when to stop working, and it give us time to generally get things squared away here at home before we leave. Also, assuming we are able to afford to come home in the summer, our first stint there would only be 8 months or so before we got to come home to visit. That could be a nice way to transition into overseas living. But, we'll just have to see as there are still a lot of positives to going in August too. God's timing!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Waiting game...

Sorry for the lack of entries, but virtually nothing has happened on the Africa front since we've returned from Colorado. We thought we'd hear back from them last week (the week after Easter), but so far we haven't heard a word. It's a little puzzling I must admit.

I did email Chad (Director in Uganda) a couple of weeks ago, and he responded a week or so ago saying that he'd talked to Karen (the HR person in Colorado) and his impression was that everything seemed very promising (though he isn't a party in the final meeting and decision process).

So what are we thinking?? Well, we still feel very strongly about what God is calling us to do, so that hasn't changed at all. In fact, a couple things have happened that have been encouraging. First, we ran into a former assitant pastor at our church who now has his own church. When he learned of our plans, he told us that his church dedicates a sizable chunk of their budget for missions and that he wanted us to keep them in mind when we started our support raising. Second, our neighbors from down the street told us that they plan to support us monthly. Those were two very encouraging incidents.

But beyond our resolve to push forward, we are also thinking about a probable timeline and realizing that August is looking less and less likely. That's not all that bad of a thing, since it will take a lot of the stress out of the situation. Also, it looks like it could work out better for Brodie's schooling.

We had a preliminary meeting regarding Brodie's schooling next year on Monday, with the final placement meeting next month. It's looking more and more certain that he will be placed in the Star program. Surprisingly, Alisha has turned 180 degrees on the issue and feels that the Star program will be best. After observing in the room again and talking more at length with the Star teacher (Jennifer, who we really like and who is excellent with autistic kids), Alisha thinks it will provide ample opportunities for Brodie to be in the mainstream classroom, but will allow him to get specific training from teachers trained in autism too. Plus, it will allow her to observe the methods being employed in the Star room, which will help equip her to train therapists in Uganda. I still have some reservations about him getting enough social interaction practice with typical kids, but him spending 4 months in "bootcamp" could be the jumpstart he needs to excel in first grade.

So, all of this to say: we're still waiting, and we're increasingly ok with it. God is in control and working everything out according to his perfect plan, regardless of what we think we want!