Friday, June 13, 2014

Beginning of Summer 2014 Update

May in Colorado - high 70's one weekend, 3" of snow in our
backyard the next!
We’re settling back into Colorado, slowly but surely. We do miss our friends and life back in the UK, but we're also enjoying being back in America as well. Overall, it's kind of a weird time. The boys got reconnected with soccer teams straightaway, and got into our neighborhood schools within a few weeks as well. That was great for them as it helped them feel much more connected with being back.

Alisha went through the paperwork of getting her California teaching credential converted over to a Colorado license and just a couple of weeks ago finally received the license! That has kept her from being able to apply for a job to date, but she has also been torn about whether or not to teach. Having her teach would help us financially here in Colorado, but we both want her to do what God wants for this time of life regardless of finances, so that’s where we currently sit – waiting on God to make things clear.
Lots of soccer in our world ever since arriving - I helped coach
Graysen U9 competitive team (he's holding the ball). We had a
fun season with his old team. Graysen fit back into his position
up top, scoring goals. 
My new position with EMI is going well, though I’m still very much in learning mode (I call it drinking from a fire hose). Basically, the CEO is trying to hand over more and more of the day to day operations of the International Office to me so he can focus on bigger picture things such as fundraising, promoting EMI through speaking engagements, and connecting with other ministries and donors. That will be a process though that will take awhile as I get up to speed on the five departments I oversee – Programs, Finance, HR, Communications and Recruiting.

Beyond that, I’m leading the effort to relaunch our Latin America office next summer, so I’m meeting and talking with people about joining staff to move to that office (at this point, it looks like we’ll try to set up shop in either Nicaragua, Guatemala, or Ecuador, but nothing will be decided until we take a scouting trip to the area early next year).
We've really enjoyed visits from both sets of
grandparents.
My mom - holding one of our two new family members...
I’ve also been working on other organizational items, like having to delve into the arena of coming up with a policy for EMI on marriage and gender identity issues – you may have heard the hub-bub created by a major Christian aid organization recently by announcing a new policy relating to those two sub-groups, and then their subsequent about-face 3 days later after a massive outcry from partnering ministries and donors. Anyway, it’s not exactly the ‘saving the world’ kind of stuff we at EMI like to focus on, but unfortunately dealing with such things is a necessary part of allowing that work to flourish. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!  J

Travel-wise, I am headed to Egpyt in September to meet with our other directors and undergo security training. The company that trains us leases a space of 50-100 acres in order to take us through their field ‘exercises’ – mock kidnappings, hostage situations, and roadside attacks are all possible training scenarios we’ll undergo! Sounds like boot camp to me – but, unfortunately that too is becoming a necessary evil for those of us in this line of work to prepare for given the sensitive places we’re working these days. After that, I’ll likely be heading to Nicaragua and maybe Guatemala or Ecuador in February to scout those places out for our new America Latina office. So, a lot is on the horizon.

Currently, we have teams out of the US office in Ghana, Haiti, Ethiopia and Estonia, so please be praying for those teams and trips. It’s likely that I’ll be involved in some or possible even all of those once they return to the office, so stay tuned.

As for this summer – we are planning a road trip to Southern California in late July. If you’re in the area during that time, please let us know as we’d love to connect with as many of you as possible!


Meet 'Murphy' our male mini-lop rabbit.
...and Millie, the female (or Mildred when she's in trouble)
Our kids have been dying for a pet for years, so we thought
rabbits would be a low maintenance option. As you can see
from all the contraptions in our garage now, this was a
significant underestimation.
But, the boys are in love with Millie and Murphy, and they
are certainly cute little bunnies.

...other people like the bunnies too.
Despite the fickle weather, we have been able to start some
of the typical summer activities. (...and no, this is not the end
of a photo progression of what happened to the rabbits, as
one of our blog readers asked!)
Some of you may recognize this school from the news back
in 1999...despite being in Littleton many times while living here
in Colorado, we'd never taken time to drive by Columbine
High School. Hard to believe it's been 15 years since that sad
day that unfortunately has launched a slew of copycats. A
recent stat I saw that shocked us - since the 2012 Newtown
school massacre, there have been 74 school shootings.
Evil is alive and well in the world.
We are loving living near the boy's schools -
they even got to bike to school a few times
(with mom in tow). 
Brodie helping me with math
Brodie's last day of 6th grade at Mountain Ridge Middle School
Jonah's last day of 5th grade and elementary school. He'll
join Brodie at the nearby middle school  next year.