Monthly Archives: July 2013

Global Fair

We went down to Lancaster again this week to go to EMM’s Global Fair. It is a fun presentation from many places around the world. Missionaries that are home on home leave or getting ready to go out all have booths from their respective countries. Some have food, some have activities, some have displays. We enjoyed visiting all the different countries and learning about different customs and cultures, but, probably more so, we enjoyed seeing many of our friends from WMI again! Below is a smattering of fun things we did throughout the day. From the top-left corner, clockwise: Ted and Cub got dressed up in the Christian-Muslim relations tent; Chimp trying on a sombrero in the Latin American area;  family picture with some alpacas (the fair was at the Hans Herr House, so there were some extra stands as part of that); Chimp decorating a mural for the Czech Republic; Daisy, Cub, and Chimp sporting their Guatemalan flag faces; and Daisy and Chimp at the dress-up tent, mixing and matching with abandon.Image

 

We also got a chance to talk with a few EMM people more about our plans. Although they have been swamped for the past several weeks with summer trainings and retreats and many are going on vacation in the coming weeks, we did connect with someone who will be able to talk with us more this coming week.

 

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A Short Story Made Long* (aka Where are we going?)

kekchi-familyShort Answer: to one of the first opportunities we were given — the Kekchi people in Guatemala where we will help them start a coffee processing business so they can earn more than just pickers’ wages for the coffee they grow…this will probably take 4-6 years to accomplish.

Long Answer: Although this was one of the first opportunities we were given, we ruled it out as it did seem to require a long-term commitment and because we do not have the language knowledge to go in and start working without language training. When we left for training in June, we were considering two other opportunities: one to help with starting up a milk-processing plant in Albania and one to assist with the Mennonite Guest House in Nairobi, Kenya. At training, we met two other families who are going to Albania to work on that business. Ted spent many evenings discussing with them various aspects of the business and how he might be a part of that. Ted also had the opportunity to meet with several people from EMM and discuss the Guest House and the plans and hopes for that; he even skyped with the current manager at one point. Throughout these conversations, we would go back and forth like a ping-pong ball as far as which opportunity we felt was right for us. (Anyone watching this blog may have noticed the changing header pictures during this time.) Although we could do both of them well, neither of us felt a real peace about either of them. It got to the last week, and then the last day of training, and we still didn’t feel settled. However, something said during one session on the last Thursday sparked a memory in Ted, and the next day he asked Steve from EMM about the Guatemalan coffee project. As Steve began to describe it, everything came together. Julie came up during part of the conversation and felt the same way–finally, there was a peace, a feeling that THIS was the right path. We didn’t even have to discuss it. We had a chance to talk more with Steve about the opportunity later in the day and during a prayer time and other conversations experienced many confirmations.

Ted still plans to be involved in assisting with the Albanian project from this end; as such, he went down to Lancaster County this week to help with a couple of investors’ meetings. While there, he was able to talk more with EMM about our going to Guatemala and switching to a long-term track. Although there appeared to be a roadblock at one point, God continued to be faithful and provide encouragement and confirmations.

At this point, there are a few more steps to the application process we need to complete as part of switching from short-term to long-term. Then we will hopefully be able to get our budget and begin fundraising. As part of being successful in this endeavor, we need to learn Spanish well. To accomplish this, EMM recommends that we attend a year-long language learning school in Costa Rica. Their terms start in January, May, and August, and we are hoping to go in May or August 2014.

We are thankful that we were encouraged to attend the long-term training in June despite our short-term plans. God’s guidance during these last few months has truly been amazing. There is so much more to share about the specifics of how God spoke to us, but we would much rather describe it in person.

Ted and I wish to thank everyone that has been praying for us in this discernment part of the process and ask that you continue to pray as we walk this new journey with our Lord.

I will close with a verse that was given to us during a prayer time at training:

“But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”  Isaiah 53:12

*Ted suggested I point out the dual-meaning of my title: not just the short and long answers to the question, but also the changing of our plans from short-term to long-term.
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Guest Post from Daisy

During WMI, one EMM person worked with the older kids on being “third-culture kids” (a mix of two different cultures creating a third, unique culture). I asked Daisy to write about some of the things they did and here is what she shared:

We got blue and yellow play dough one was the new country we are going to and the other is America. Mix them together (go to that country) and its…green! The blue cannot be removed from the yellow dough now, like the culture will stick to you, and you will be a mix of cultures. 

 We made “RAFTS” out of popsicle sticks and sailed them on a river. They represented good byes, or:

  •  Reconciliation (making sure relationships are good)
  • Affirmation (saying thanks,…)
  • Farewells (saying good bye)
  • Think destination (learn about where you are going)

 And we answered some questions about our trip.

 Daisy

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World Missions Institute–a Kid’s Eye View

I really wish I would have thought to take some more pictures of the kids and all the things they did, but fortunately, the teachers for the older class did a very nice job of taking pictures during all the field trips. I was going to ask Daisy if she would do a guest post on this topic, but she is at camp all week, so this post may be updated in the next couple of weeks. Here’s a visual look at some of the fun they had.

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Keeping the heat at bay.

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Fun in the sun

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Visit to a dairy farm.

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A couple of balloon-heads and the morning worship time.

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An outing to the greens

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The whole crew times 3.

I’m so thankful for the wonderful child care they had. They also did some activities with the older kids on being “third-culture kids” and what that means and how to prepare to leave well.

The younger class had 8 kids including Chimp and Rosebud (3 of them under the age of one). They didn’t go on any field trips for obvious reasons, but the 3-4 year olds did get some sprinkler time and park outings several times.

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The End of the Beginning

Wow! The last week of training was an amazing week. It’s so hard to believe a whole month has gone by already. God worked in so many different ways throughout the week to show himself to us. The relationships that began just three weeks ago have deepened into true friendships that will carry on for years due to the bonds we have formed preparing together for our times of service. We have had many wonderful times fellowshipping, playing, singing worshipping, and praying together.  And the teachings have continued to inspire and challenge us.

The sessions this week moved from mostly theory to specific examples of how God has been at work around the world. It began with learning the general methods that have been successful in the “Jesus movement” in the last two millennia, then we heard from missionaries to different cultures and how they were able to reach those cultures with the message of Christ’s love. Contextualization was emphasized many times over as of great importance in introducing Christ without railroading over the current practices and behaviors of those being reached, and contextualization requires a good deal of language and culture knowledge. Tuesday evening we watched the movie EE-taow (more here), and Wednesday morning we were privileged to hear from Mark Zook himself.  Oh, to be used by God and see the results in such a joyous and life-changing way! Mark shared valuable information about how to introduce the Bible’s stories to animistic (tribal) cultures, much of which can be used anywhere, and some of which helped me to see parts of the Bible in a new light. No one was ready for his session to be over.

We also discussed how results are not always this immediate. Sometimes, missionaries can be on the field for decades and see very little return on their investment, but that does not mean God is not at work. One speaker shared that it can take 13-15 encounters for someone to actually accept the truth of Christ into their lives. If we are just one of those seeds for someone, we brought that person one step closer to Life!

Thursday and Friday we reviewed many of the tools we learned about during the month and were encouraged to continue to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit, and to remember that He is always there with us. One of the final speakers challenged us with these four way to have excellence in ministry:

  •  Care more than others think is wise.
  •  Risk more than others think is safe.
  •  Believe more than others think is possible
  •  Dream more than others think is practical.

Friday afternoon we had an amazing time of prayer for each couple/individual and the country they are going to. As we were praying, if anyone had a word of encouragement or Scripture for the person, they could write it on a post-it note and lay it aside. We now have a whole stack of notes as continuous reminders of God’s love for us through others!

Also, the very last day, God finally (in His perfect timing) revealed to us where he has called us to go! However, it is a rather long story and so will be a post of its own in the near future.

Despite the diversity of people and the variety of our destinations, we were greatly encouraged by everyone there. I spent more than one evening discussion homeschooling on and off the mission field with another mom of five headed for a very primitive culture in Guinea Bissau. It was amazing how much we had in common–especially with two of her kids so close in age and personality to Daisy and Cub. Ted organized a ping-pong tournament that came down to one very exciting game that went into mega-overtime the final night. We also enjoyed a late-night hymn sing and many games of Settlers of Catan, Albanian volleyball, and sand volleyball with everyone.

As I sit here trying to figure out how to capture the awesome love and bonding that there is in the body of Christ, I’m realizing it’s not really possible to do with just words–especially not the limited amount of words in a blog post. So I will simply close with a few photos:

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All of the missionaries and their families (along with a couple of EMM staff) the last day of training. We will miss these people greatly and wish them many blessings in their travels to come.

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Late-night hymn sing.

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A celebratory dance–Albanian-style–after our(!) team won the second trivia night.

An exciting game from the ping-pong tournament.

An exciting game from the ping-pong tournament.

The riveted spectators

The riveted spectators.

A cute picture of Rosebud...required for almost every post, right? ;-)


A cute picture of Rosebud…required for almost every post, right? 😉

Passports

What greeted us in our mailbox at home!

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