The New Year

EMI CEO John Dallmann (far left) with the EMI Board of
Directors at our Christmas Party.
It's weird how a new year just naturally causes you to become a bit introspective. For Alisha and I as a family, we think about what we're doing and where we're at (given our recent history of moving around, yes, we have to stop and think about 'where' exactly we are sometimes!). But also, at EMI, we have a staff week where we here an annual vision/mission talk from our CEO John Dallmann ('JohnD' as I refer to him in print, since there are a dozen or more John's in EMI!), and then we spend a couple of days going over some of that vision and how we're going to set out accomplishing it.

In recent months, we as EMI staff here in Colorado have been watching some of the videos from the 'Global Leadership Conference' that Willow Creek puts on every year. In one of those videos, Andy Stanley (popular author and pastor in Atlanta, Georgia) talks about the importance of stating and restating your goals and vision. It may seem repetitive or even lacking in our natural desire to hear something 'new', but studies have shown that it's nonetheless critical to actually accomplishing anything.

So, though the vision and mission for EMI has been given a fair amount of fresh insight and refinement over the last two years as John has come to EMI from Samaritan's Purse, this year was more of a re-statement of what we've been talking about. The basic summary points are:

1) We want to involve more developing world design professionals in all levels of EMI. In 5 years, we want to be at 25% 'local national' volunteers, staff and interns of EMI. (Progress report: 1 year in, 17% of our Worldwide staff, 8% of our volunteers, and 14% of our interns in 2014 were non-Western, nationals).

2) We want to launch more field offices, as we see the field office as 'the tip of the spear' for EMI. (Progress report: we plan/hope to open 3 new offices in the next 3-4 years. We have just sent 3 families to France for a year of language school in preparation to launch an office in Senegal in 2016; we have 3 families ready to enter language school in Latin America in late 2015 in preparation for a new office in that region in late 2016/early 2017; and we have a team building for a new office we hope to launch in 2017/2018 in Southeast Asia.)

3) We are still working at setting up our newly named 'Global Office' (where I work), filling some crucial support roles that will allow EMI to take the next steps we're planning. The 5 departments I oversee are developing into a stronger force for supporting the work of EMI - HR, Recruiting, Finance, Development and Communications, and Programs are all developing systems to support the work of EMI around the world. It's a complicated process, but one that is overdo now that EMI is growing into a mid-size organization with potentially 9 offices by 2018.

4) We are working to initiate a discipleship program within EMI, whereby we become much more intentional about the spiritual impact we're having on our own staff, interns, volunteers, as well as the developing world nationals we're working alongside. (Progress report: This was the topic of our 'Staff Week' this past week, where we learned from a Navigator's seminar one of our Directors attended and broke into small groups to discuss.)

5) New partnerships - we're looking at new ways of partnering with some of the larger organizations we've worked with in the past. This could potentially have a big impact on our work and ability to be a resource to the global mission effort, and ultimately, to bring physical relief and hope of Christ to some of the neediest people around the world.

Unfortunately, this isn't even close to the
coldest temps we've been having here of
late. And lots of snow - which is very
different from when we lived here before.

A New Year's Eve hike was a highlight over the break -
it was a very cold hike, but it was beautiful. We felt like we
were in Narnia!
Yes, a certain American football team's success over the
break was also a highlight. Go Ducks!
Brodie and I hiked 'The Incline' over the break
as well. It's a grueling 68% grade hike that
climbs over 2000 feet in just under a mile. It's
a former railway that climbs up the side of
the mountain here in Colorado Springs.
With EMI intern Jesse, who's now headed to our India office
for 6 months.
As a family, life in Colorado is beginning to settle down. It's been 10 months back in the US now, and we're just now starting to feel more at home. The boys are doing well at their schools, though making new friends is always tough for 3rd culture kids and that is very much the category they fall under. Fortunately, they are fluent in the language of 'football', which is a common language for Ugandan, British and American kids alike! And for the first time ever (I think), all 3 boys each have a friend over to play today!

Alisha has been working part-time at the EMI office helping with the Finance department - something that's been a blessing both to us and the Finance department. We love the new experience of getting to work some together, as well as having Alisha more plugged into our ministry work - something that has been much easier to accomplish when we've lived overseas.

Overall, we feel so blessed to be a part of the work of EMI, and though we feel inadequate for what seems like big things that God is doing and going to do with EMI, we are nonetheless honored and excited for what lies ahead - even though we're coming up on 33 years old (the organization, not us, unfortunately!), it feels like we're still in our youth as far as what God is doing in and through us. And, we can't wait to see the outcome of what all it appears he's going to do!
Alisha's folks visited over Christmas - which meant we were
regulars at Starbucks. :)
The bunnies on Christmas morning. We've been running a heat
lamp most days and every night to keep these little critters
warm in the garage.
We did a big move in our office over the holidays, so Alisha,
Jordan, and Jonah painted my new office late one night over
the break - they finished at almost 1am!

The finished product!

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