Changes on the Wind

It’s one of those fantastically windy days in Frankfort.  As I write this, I’m watching things blow around my yard, literally.  Life feels a little bit like that at the moment for me.  It seems like I’m constantly on the moving, flitting from one thing to another.  I don’t dislike it, not for a moment.  I know that most of the things I do in a day are useful: counseling, the work I do with children’s ministry, subbing, spending time with my family, working on a class Michael and I are taking, trying to learn German, prepping the house to be put on the market.  I really think that one of the best things the wind-like busyness does for me, though, is to help me appreciate more the quite moments of rest when they come along.

Michael and I have been wading into the waters of fundraising for the last few weeks.  Two weeks ago, we were invited to speak at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church, where Michael attended as a child in Richmond, IN.  Michael actually spoke during the services, and then we talked individually with people after.  Michael enjoyed reconnecting with people he had known growing up, and it was nice to tell our story to people I didn’t know.  I tend to be unsure about how much people really want to hear, so it was a good experience for me in talking to people about our mission.  They were very warm and receptive, and we felt very welcomed.  My mother in-law’s women’s group there, The Von Boras (named after Martin Luther’s wife) provided a lovely reception for us after both church services.

This morning we were given the opportunity to speak for a few minutes during our church service at Capital City Christian Church.  Our most recent sermon series has been about loving your neighbor, and today’s focus was on immigration and racism.  The senior pastor thought our mission would be a good tie-in, so he gave us a few minutes at the end.  I took the lead on speaking this morning since Michael did last time.  I ended up crying first service and babbling second (so Michael informed me), but I think it went okay.  It wasn’t a fundraising venture, more like just putting out there what we are preparing to do and why.  We did have several people approach us afterwards to get more information, and that was great.  We’ll work on actual fundraising there in the upcoming weeks.

If you would, please pray for us.  Pray that our physical and mental stamina hold, and that we appreciate the moments of rest when they come.  Pray that God would be at work in our hearts, preparing us for all that needs to be done, and at work in the hearts of those whom we will eventually reach out to.

Peace be with you.

“Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

…a very good place to start,” sang Frauline Maria in The Sound of Music.  The problem I tend to have is deciphering where, exactly, the beginning is.

This is my first blog post.  Like, ever.

There is a good chance you are reading this right now because I recently posted on Facebook that my family is moving to Germany.  No doubt that will raise many questions from people, and I think that is where I want our beginning to start.

Germany?  Germany?  Yep.  Hamburg, to be precise.  Hamburg is a large port city in the northwest of Germany, more or less where the Elbe River begins to flow into the North Sea.

“But why?” you ask.  That’s a terrific question.  Our family has been called into cross-cultural witnessing (read: missions).  Last summer, Michael and I each came to the realization, independently of one another, that we wanted to do something more with our lives.  Each of us developed this longing to pick up our family and go someplace else where we could be really and truly useful, all of us.  Now, I know that what I do is useful.  I’m a Christian counselor and an interim children’s pastor (sort of).  Michael does useful work as well.  He does educational research and consulting for a nonprofit firm out of the DC area, specializing in early childhood education and college/career prep.  We do useful stuff.

What we felt, though, was a deep longing for something more.  It began as a vague, undefined feeling that we were anxious to explore.  We looked at the Peace Corps, and at USAid, and at all kind of service organizations.  Nothing seemed right.  As a seminary graduate, I naturally have connections to people in the foreign mission field.  With Michael’s permission, I began contacting people along that route.  Enter The Mission Society.

I first learned of The Mission Society in June of 2015 when I was in Orlando taking one of my last seminary classes.  Jennie, a representative from TMS, spoke in our class for a few minutes.  She passed out several pamphlets and some newsletters, and I took one of everything.  I intended to read through them all and then recycle them once I got home.  I read through them, but they never made it to the recycle bin.  I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t bring myself to part with them.  So as Michael and I began to hesitantly look into missions, I already had something to look to.

From the first moment I contacted Jennie, things fell into place with a smoothness that I could not have anticipated.  An email turned into coffee, which turned into applications, which turned into driving down to Atlanta for interviews within a couple of weeks.  We checked them out, and they checked us out.  We made some fantastic new friends.  We met people who have been in foreign missions before, and people who are preparing to go into the field themselves.  The more we learned about The Mission Society, the more we learned we wanted to be connected with them.  They are our sending agency, the people who will be coordinating our preparations before we go abroad and the people taking care of us stateside while we are afar.

When we began this process, it was with only vague, half-formed ideas about what we wanted to do.  Through lots of research and exploration, we have settled on Germany as where we will go.  When people think about foreign missions, Western Europe doesn’t generally jump to mind.  There are several reasons why we want to go there.  There are not a lot of Christians actively living out their faith in Germany.  Many of the people who identify as Christians do so more out of family affiliation than out of actual faith.  That means that in a city of 1.5 million people where at least a third are immigrants, there is a dearth of Christian presence.  Additionally, Germany has taken in many of the Syrian refugees, and Michal and I are very hopeful that we will get to be involved in that situation in some manner.

So that covers the basics.  There is so much more to this process, so much more backstory, and so many hopes for the future.  I invite you to join us on this journey.  Read with us.  Pray for us.  Know that God is moving in hearts around the world.

Peace be with you.