December 2016 update

With the Senegal Office team!
Well, our trip to Senegal and the UK came and went, and now we’re staring down Christmas! I’m sure you can relate to not keeping up with the busy-ness. Here are some recent highlights…

Senegal
We had a busy 5 days, but it was a great chance to spend time with our staff who have newly arrived in that country to set up life and the office. You can only imagine the challenge of moving your family to a West African nation that speaks no English (French and the local languages only) and is 90% Muslim. It’s a friendly people and generally a safe and open country…but it couldn’t feel more foreign. We were able to talk through a whole bunch of things with the team, both personal and EMI work related, and by the time we left I think the team was encouraged. It’s a tough place…but we saw a lot of potential for that office become a major hub for EMI!
Driving into Mbour, the town where the EMI office will be.
Alisha talking with the Wright kids. Their dad David is the
Senegal Office Director. Nationality-wise, they are from
Northern Ireland, but these kids have lived their entire lives
in Africa!
Home church, Senegal-style.
Currently, this dining room constitutes the EMI Senegal Office!
The front door to what may become the future Senegal Office.
It needs some clean-up and finishing work, but it's could be
a pretty cool place inside!
Looking out on the town from the roof of the prospective office.
Another roof shot of the neighborhood.
UK
On the way back from Africa, we stopped in the UK for 5 days as well. I attended the end of year board meeting for the office there (I’m on that Board of Directors) where we officially handed off the leadership of the office to a guy named Dave Lambert who has become a dear friend (along with his wife Jaz) of Alisha and I. He is a retired British architect from outside London who has spent a couple of longer term stints in our Uganda office. I am happy to be handing off my ‘interim UK Office Director’ title to Dave, who assumes the position permanently. Beyond the meeting, we also had a chance to connect with a number of past, present and hopefully future EMIUK people, as well as to visit our old hometown and home church in Colchester. We have so many good memories and friends there.
Dave pulled some strings and got us this office meeting room in
a swanky sky-rise office building in downtown London!
With new EMIUK Office Director Dave Lambert
Underground stations make me happy. Underground stations
with names that remind me of Oregon really make me happy.
The Colchester train station - it was strange that this was our
home station. So many memories of greeting loved
ones arriving to visit us here.
Out front of Darcy's, the downtown 'tuck shop' (candy store) our
boys used to love to frequent in Colchester.
Got to watch the Man United v. Arsenal match in a downtown
Colchester pub.
The pub where we watched the game.
Visiting our old church, Colchester Baptist Church, was one of
the highlights of our stopover in England.
Coming into Lexden, our old subdivision. We drove this road
hundreds of times. Weird.
With Fiona and Marietta - two dear friends.
Former EMIUK'er and family friend Rob Johnson.
It felt like a normal Sunday afternoon meal with the old
EMIUK office. Dang, time goes too fast.
Keeping it real, we were reminded of a few of
the things we weren't crazy about in the UK -
6 1/2 hours of daylight in the winter, and
bitterly cold and rainy weather (though the
resulting 'green' landscape is a major improve-
ment on the dry Colorado brown!
If you're ever in London, you must eat at this tiny little pizza shop!

Past Projects
The Honduras project design we worked on back in March is under construction! One cool development – you may remember me talking about the connection the ministry leader Andy had with the Mayor of Siguatepeque. Well, that has paid off, as the Mayor has agreed to extend the city sewer line to the project site – nearly 2 miles from the current end of the line! This is a huge blessing – dealing with sewage on-site is tricky, and even with a good design it can be difficult to maintain. It’s one of the main causes of sickness in the developing world – inadequate handling of sewage. Anyway, we’re working on revising our design to connect the site sewer lines to the city main.

Also, the Mustard Seed Academy school project in Uganda I worked on back in 2013 is also under construction. Actually, Dave Lambert was on that project with me and recently visited the site to do an inspection of the work since EMI’s construction management department in Uganda wasn’t able to build the project (over-booked). There were a number of items needing to be addressed, so we’re working to ensure things are built safely.

Up next
With our Nicaragua and Senegal teams now on the ground, our Cambodia staff team flying out in early January, and the South Africa office coming soon, coupled with our 5 current offices, John Dallmann (our CEO) is planning to have me help him with taking support trips to these offices. Being a growing organization brings all sorts of new challenges, so it’s becoming more and more important to make sure our offices are getting the support they need. Also, it is getting increasingly more difficult to operate as a non-profit organization in many countries, so we are being forced to start thinking about ‘business as missions’ options in some places. Stay tuned on that… Travel-wise, it looks like I’ll be traveling a bit more next year to these office locations, so I may not lead any project trips.
We had Thanksgiving at the Dallmann's house again this year.
It was a family first - we actually did the same thing for
Tgiving two years in a row!
EMI CEO John Dallmann with his wife Gala. John and Gala
are great friends and mentors to Alisha and I. Their 5 kids
are almost all raised, so we're gleaning all the parenting advice
we can from them! (John just finished carving the turkey - he
normally doesn't wield a knife.)
Family
We’ve been enjoying a short break in the soccer season since early November! Alisha has been keeping busy with all things ‘Beachbody’, as well as occasionally substitute teaching at the elementary school. The boys are busy wrapping up the Fall school semester – it sure seems like kids have more homework these days than when we were kids. And the rabbits are still eating and, well the opposite of eating, a lot.

We’ll be in the Bay Area over Christmas with Alisha’s family, so (likely) no white Christmas for us…though most of the rest of the Christmas season will certainly be white (and cold) here in Colorado!

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