14 January 2011

unexpected joy

Dear friends,

I write to you from our last day at COP in Florida. We will be leaving at 4:00 tomorrow morning to head back home to cold and rainy Northern California where we will try to put into action some of the steps we need to take before going to the mission field. Yes, that's right... we survived our orientation program and are now "candidates in process." We have been affirmed in our call to overseas missions, but they could not appoint us as missionaries or members yet because of some of the things that we need to take care of first: like our health.

This has been a wonderful week for us where we have been faced with some hard questions. One of which is this: if I am this unhealthy in the States, how am I going to survive on the mission field? The results of our psychological evaluations revealed to us that my physical symptoms were just a manifestation of my emotional state. We are learning that it will take a lot of work to help me recover, but it is possible for me to be a healthy normal functioning human being again. We knew there were some issues, we just hadn't realized how bad we had let things get. But there is great hope! We now have a connection at the Mayo Clinic with someone who is experienced with these types of issues and has had great success! Please be praying for us as we undergo multiple tests and travel across the country to visit with doctors and begin treatment.

This journey has led us to the decision that it is time to move on to better things. Matthew is looking for a better paying job and we are looking for a new living situation more conducive to my emotional and physical healing. I will continue working my nanny position until that time that we can find something better and I am going to continue working my Premier business while we save money for our survey trip.

Once we have been able to stabilize our health and financial situation a little more, we will become "appointees" and at that time will be able to start planning our long awaited vision trip (or survey trip, as Pioneers calls it). This will be a 2 week to 3 month trip where we will visit teams in Indonesia who have invited us to look into joining their work. After we have determined what team we want to work with long term, we will return to the states to complete our pre-field training which includes a year internship with our local church to learn more about church planting and missions. Matthew also needs to complete some Bible classes as part of our pre-field training, but we have 5 years to complete this requirement after our appointment date.

We have been appointed a pre-field coach who will help us through this process, which should take 1-3 years before we can go to the field long term. Many of the staff in Orlando were previous missionaries in Indonesia and I was very encouraged to hear their stories and they were just as excited to hear how God had been calling us towards the country that they had poured years of their lives into. We are so blessed to know so many who have gone before to lay the ground work. We will be able to go and reap the harvest that many have died to sow.

Thank you for partnering with us through your consistent prayers and encouragement this week as we have sought God's heart for our lives and dreamed with Him for Indonesia. We have received wise counsel, and are looking forward to the journey ahead.

09 January 2011

a thankful heart prepares the way

Wow. I can't believe we are really here at Pioneers' Candidate Orientation Program in Orlando, Florida! The past month has been a whirlwind of activity, but by God's grace and the generosity of our friends and family, we made it here!

Thanks to Matthew's saved up vacation time and amazing parents purchasing incredibly over-priced plane tickets, we were able to spend the past few days visiting with Matthew's brother and sister in law in Georgia while trying to adjust to Eastern Standard Time... I think the Indonesia time adjustment was easier! (but I was younger then and it wasn't right after a crazy new years' party!) We had a wonderful time visiting with them and seeing our nephew and niece. We were so blessed by their love and generosity and are so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful family!

Our flight to Florida from Georgia was... interesting... Because people were trying to fly ahead of a huge snow and ice storm that was coming into Georgia later this evening, the flight was overbooked and of course it was our seats that got bumped... There was supposably only one other flight to Orlando today and that would get us in to Orlando half an hour after the program started! One person volunteered to change their flight, so we decided that I should go on ahead so at least one of us could be there in time for the program. I went ahead to Atlanta leaving Matthew to try and get on one of the other connecting flights via standby. When I got to Atlanta, my plane to Orlando was delayed and Matthew was able to get on the standby flights so we actually arrived in Orlando at the same time, more than an hour before the program started! But since Matthew got bumped from his original flight, the airline gave him a compensation check! So God had a plan all along: 1) to teach me to TRUST HIM and not too worry so much and 2) to give us a little more money to cover our travel expenses for this week! He is so good!

So, our first night in Florida... we have already met some amazing missionaries and hopefully life-long friends and co-laborers! There is another couple in the program that have an interest in Indonesia, and we hope to connect more with them as the week progresses.

Our first interview is tomorrow afternoon, so we hope we can get enough rest this evening to wake up refreshed and clear-headed. The decision making team meets on Wednesday to prayerfully decide whether or not to offer us appointment as missionaries with Pioneers. So, if you feel a strong call to pray on Wednesday, that is why!

We are so excited to talk with other missionaries and to hear of all that God is doing around the world through His Church! I have been so blessed by the heart of Pioneers and their servant leadership! If you haven't checked out their website and read through their core values, I HIGHLY recommend it. You can find a link to their website on the left under the PARTNERS section.

Thank you dear friends for your prayers, encouragement, and financial gifts.

I will continue to update you as time allows, but please be patient, as our week is very full and my stamina has been very limited. Please pray for strength for both of us as our over-worked immune systems are adjusting to the new surroundings and our lack of sleep catches up with us.