Monday, January 31, 2011

Humility through the Celebration

 "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace."
-Ephesians 4:2-3

Last semester at Denver Seminary, I took the Intro to Intercultural Ministry class.  Through this class I was shown again how I know God has a sense of humor and prepares each of us for what he has planned next.  For the class I had to read a book by Paul Heibert titled Anthropological Insights for Missionaries.  As I read the book I found it very interesting, long, and overall more of a burden than an enjoyable read.  That is except for the chapter on culture shock.  Heibert wrote about these different stages that missionaries go through and how culture shock starts at home. When I read this chapter I knew that Stacia and I needed to remember this, AND that we needed to remember to re-read this chapter as we prepare for our current adventure.

As last week and finally yesterday passed, a feeling of culture shock beginning has not left me.  This was a great week, an emotional week of sharing our news with everyone.  We love our family in Parker, and can't wait to come back and share stories with them about our travels.  On one level, both Stacia and I are feeling like High School Graduates again rather than adults changing jobs!  But this feeling still looms me.  With so many people excited for us, I am overwhelmed by the love and support.  So overwhelmed that I find myself liking the support.  I am starting to almost expect with the excitement of a child on Christmas the questions from people who know what we are about to do. "What will you be doing? When will you be leaving? Are you sure this is where you are supposed to go?"  The questions are great to answer, and I love sharing the story, but I have to humble myself and regulate my feeling. 

Hiebert described this time as a time of celebration.  People around us are celebrating on many levels Stacia and my call and decision to go to Hong Kong.  The funny piece is, if we fall too much into that feeling, we are doomed to experience culture shock.  The unfortunate reality would be that we would soon be focused more on our new found fame and less on the God that has provided us this opportunity. 

What happens when the questions stop?  What happens when we arrive in Hong Kong and are no longer the couple leaving for Hong Kong?  The thought/feeling/comfort that we depended on for so long is now gone and we are left to fend for ourselves without anyone cheering for us!  This is what we are trying to change, to prepare ourselves differently.  I know that we will experience culture shock, but by embracing our time here, staying focused in God, we will be able to experience His world in Hong Kong as well. 

Paul writes in Ephesians " Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."  If we were to give all of ourselves to the feeling that we get from this news, we will not be living for God and expressing His love through us.  Our prayer is that we are able to stay humble in the coming months, that we may embrace the next 5 1/2 months as a great blessing, and be prepared for whats to come next! 

Blessings for now, off to read for my Acts and Gospels class!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Goal 1: Keep all deadlines that are set before us

A few days ago we received a packet from ICS-HK.  It seems with each day we have more and more to do to get ready for this transition!  A few weeks ago I was able to speak to the headmaster Ben.  He was very helpful and wanted to answer any questions that we might have.  He also gave very specific advice.  Stay up with all the dates and deadlines that HR gives you.  So that is what we are doing.  This week we have been sending out requests, searching through filing cabinets for documents in order to send a fedex back to Hong Kong by this coming Tuesday. 
Here is our list:
Signed contracts
Declaration of Moral Integrity
Work Visa Application
3 copies of each of our passports
3 copies of each transcript that we have (including HS, College, and Masters)
Reference letters
Marrige licence copy
HKCAAVQ Application

Needless to say we are at the mercy of the USPS.  All requests are out for transcripts now we wait.

Now for a little break, this is where we are moving:

If i am correct, we should be up over the mountains to the left.

More tomorrow!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

There's a Bug in our soup...

Think about a time when you were so hungry for soup.  I'm not talking about watery, barely anything in it soup.  I'm talking think full soup, maybe even a really good chili.    You are so hungry for this soup that when you go to the restaurant with your friends all you want to do is eat.  No small talk, no conversations, just order and pray that the waiter/waitress is very efficient at their job.  Then finally out comes the food.  Everybody gets theirs and they place the big bowl in front of you.  Your eyes are wide with hunger, you know that if you don't get this food into you soon you will pass out and cause a scene that would never be forgotten by your friends. The bowl is placed in front of you and you survey which suculant spoon full you will eat first.  As you look down you see it.  Staring up at you, lifeless and lost.

A Bug.

You tell the waiter about the bug, and he apologizes and says that unfortunately that was the last bowl of the soup, you are going to have to order something different.   Everything that you were expecting, hoping and ready for has changed.  It seems that your whole eating experience will never be as good as it could have been.  And so you move on and pick something else and to your surprise it is even better than you thought the soup would have been.

That is where my wife Stacia and I are at.  A "bug" has been placed in our soup of life, and God is asking us to move onto something different. 

In early January we were offered positions within the International Christian School in Hong Kong. (Check out their website: )  WHAT A BUG IN OUR SOUP!  Though this is something we have been praying for, exploring options and thinking is this really what God wants us to do, we still have the shock of the change that is coming. 

So here we are.  in 5 months and 28 days (ish) Stacia will take most of what we have and move overseas.

Now we are not doing this without sadness.  We are in such an amazing church community with PEPC having been the Director for the past 3 years.  I feel that I have grown up before the church's eyes.  Professionally the experience that I have received has been a vital part in shaping me today.  Personally the church walked with Stacia and I as we started dating and then got married.  The relationships that we have built with the community will not be replaced, forgotten or left behind.  We are so excited to continue to walk with the PEPC community from a distance, growing with them in a different side of the world.

In Genesis 12 God calls Abram (who God will change his name to Abraham) to pack up and leave his country.  Abram packs up his wife, nephew and home and leaves on God's word that he will be blessed and be able to bless those in this new land.  Abram is being called by God to do something greater than himself. 

Now let me be honest, we are not close to Abraham.  But I know that through this process of getting to this point, Stacia and I are called to leave.  To move to Hong Kong to continue spreading the word of God.

Here's our Bug.  Our new meal is Hong Kong and we are SO EXCITED to see what God has planned.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says "11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

So here's my blog.  I will be chronocaling our ministry in the next 6 months in parker, and then sharing our experiences as we make this life changing move!  Please ask questions, I would love to answer them and have you join in our journey with us!

Be Blessed