SD Trip

 

Here it is! Our “new” purple car! Isn’t she pretty? We are still quite happy with it. I discovered today that the windows even squish giant grasshoppers quite well…guess she’s a keeper. 😉

 

 

 

Here are a few pictures from our speaking engagement at the Christian Life Center. We desperately need a new camera…sometimes it does great, sometimes it does awful. This was one of its “awful” times. It doesn’t do distance very well anymore. So, the one of us up front is very dark and bad, but oh well..it’s proof we were there and we actually did speak! The other is of our display, in case you’ve never seen it before.

Brian and his two youngest brothers, Patrick and Nicholas, spent all this week (in the 90+heat!) working on their mother’s garden out in front of their house. Here’s a few pictures of Brian with the boys. They moved a lot of dirt and rock this week! Nicholas has the shovel; Patrick is riding the lawn mower. He has two more brothers – Scott (a few years younger than Brian) and Jeremy (a few years older than Brian, married to Amanda).

Here’s beautiful Sadie! We stood in front of the window and laughed when the breeze hit us for about 45 minutes the other day. She’s such a little blessing to our friends. And to us. 🙂 We’re sure gonna miss her.

And here’s us playing with our new webcam! 🙂 We’re very excited about Skyping with our parents and our friends who live overseas now! Webcams are so handy. Pictures are kinda goofy, but hey…why not? 
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Our time out in SD is swiftly coming to an end. We are still waiting for our friends, Miranda and Clay, to have their first baby. We would love to see the baby since we won’t get to see it again for two years. But, the Lord knows what He’s doing…we’ll see what happens. We have a few stops we’d like to make on our trip home…but again, we have no idea how the travel plans are going to work out. So, if you could pray for prudent planning, that’d be wonderful!
We’ve had a great time out here. We’ve had a wonderful time visiting family and friends and we know we’ve picked up some support, which is always wonderful. The Lord has answered so many prayers since we’ve been out here. You’d think we’d stop being surprised!
Once we get back to PA, we will be pretty busy for a few weeks. We start CEF Day Camp the 28th of July and then we go to Camp Sancanak in Pughtown, PA, on August 3. After returning from there, we are planning on going through our wordly possessions for the second time in one year, sorting, throwing, and selling. Please pray for us if you think of it. If you’ve ever gone through your “stuff” before, you know how emotionally attached you get and it can get rough. At the same time, we’re looking forward to releasing more of that burden! It sure felt good last summer to sell all of our furniture and most of the things we own. I’m sure it’ll feel good once again to be free from all that stuff. And then, once September hits, the goodbyes will start. We’ll be saying quite a few this weekend and according to CIT, it’s good to say “goodbye”. We’ll be testing that theory out this weekend and I’m not so much looking forward to it. Goodbyes are hard. But, it makes the “hellos” in 2 years look awfully sweet.
Thanks for covering us in prayer this past month! We can sure feel it. We’ll be sending out a newsletter when we get back…be watching for it mid-August!

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Quick Prayer Request

For those of you who are wondering how you can pray for us…

Before we left for CIT, we thought we had the car situation all figured out. Brian’s boss helped him get a car that he could fix up, which he did, but then, the day before we left for CIT, we found out that it had more problems than Brian first realized. So, we weren’t able to drive it down to CIT after all. We had to take our Blazer, which honestly, does not do so well on gas mileage. We’re home now, and Brian is positive the car is no longer worth fixing up – it needs many more repairs than we can afford at this point. The Blazer is much too expensive to drive across the country with gas prices the way they are, and yet, we need to make a trip to South Dakota in May. That’s a LONG drive, in case you were wondering. Plane tickets aren’t even an option.

So – in a nutshell, we need a car. But, we’re only going to have it for as long as we’re in the States, which is looking like just a few more months. So, it’s not something we want to (or are able to) put a lot of money into. We just know we can’t afford to drive across country in a Blazer.

Will you pray with us about this car situation? We have seen God provide before, so we do not doubt He will provide again. He has promised to meet all our needs and He always has, so we’re not worried. We do realize that we need to ask, though. Ask with us? Thanks!

Home?

Hello everyone –

For those of you who were wondering…we did make it back to Moscow, PA, this evening. We had a wonderful, relaxing trip home. We stayed in the Williamsburg, VA, area Sunday and Monday night, did sight-seeing Monday and Tuesday morning, drove up to Lancaster, PA, Tuesday afternoon, and stayed with a friend. This morning, we visited our headquarters (the “IMC” – International Ministry Center) and spoke with the Personnel Director and spoke to the candidates going through Candidate Orientation right now and other staff at the IMC for a few minutes about our time at CIT.

While talking withour personnel director, he informed us that he has had to up our support need because of the drop in the U.S. dollar over the past year. So, please be praying for us! We thought we had about 1/4 left to raise; now it seems like we have about 2/3 left to raise.

We’re glad to be back with my folks; Gunther (our dog) remembered us which was a wonderful plus for me!! 🙂 We’ll be here til probably the second week of May and then we’ll head out to SD.

We’ll keep you posted on “life” here while we raise support!

Brian’s Thoughts.

            Many of you have been asking what my opinion of the classes has been.  Today was our last day, as Lisa had mentioned.  It was an amazing 10 weeks and we learned more even than we thought possible to learn on these subjects. Looking back, I can see that all of the subjects built on each other and I am glad that we were able to come to all of the classes.  We not only learned a lot in the classes, but also in the community that we were living in here at CIT.

            There were 4 of us that were here at school the whole time and we are grateful that we were able to get to know them.  With every new class we had many new people; it was great for us to be stretched in our relationships and to really bond simply on what we have in common in Christ.  These relationships are what makes leaving here a bittersweet process.  We are raring to go and put into practice all that we have learned, but are saying goodbye to some really close friends.

            There have been things that have stuck out in every class.  The first class that we went through was the equipping class and, along with that, a “Heart of the Missionary” course (HOM) which was a devotional time.  In the HOM course, I was a reminded of who I am in Christ and what all the Gospel entails. Realizing that I am accepted in Christ and that when I realize it, I don’t have to make myself acceptable to any one else.  I realized that things like my perfectionism stem from my wanting to be accepted and Jesus provided acceptance already.  (AMAZING)  The equipping course went right along with that and reminded us that we have to become like children again.  Being children will help keep us from being offensive in our way of doing things and just be willing to learn and do things their way. They are the people we are serving and vice versa. 

Those two courses have meant the most to me during our time here, but we also took a few other classes.  The next class we took was a Language Acquisition class.  We were taught a lot of tools for the “do-it-yourself language learner” and actually got to practice what tools we were given.  I was in a group learning Cabuano; I was amazed that learning language may take time, but that I can do it.  The following class was effective teams and team leaders.  Lisa has explained her side of what happened in her team already.  My team experience was totally different from Lisa’s, but was also really good.  Our team seemed to function really well and we accomplished the task, but it was also made clear how important it is to have a common purpose on a team.  Without that, the team will not function ever as a real team, but rather just a bunch of individuals.

Today we finished our last class, which was Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills.  It also was a great class and we learned a lot not only about ourselves, but also how the body can function.  We learned everything from good relational skills (listening, sharing, etc.), Biblical confrontation, managing conflict, taking care of stress, and encouraging.  It was great learning all of these skills in an Adult Learning environment, where you have lots of time to practice the tools you are being taught. 

We appreciate all your prayers and support getting and keeping us here. 

Thank You!

End of CIT.

Wow. Tomorrow is our last day at CIT. Time has flown by! We are deeply saddened to be leaving; it’s hard to express it, actually. We have really bonded with people here and it’s been so refreshing to be with people who are going through the same things we are…at the same time. We feel accepted and normal and that’s just been really unusual for probably over a year now. We’re going back home, but it doesn’t feel like home (sorry), and really, this will be the beginning of the end for us. From here on out, we’ll be getting ready to officially leave the States! Scary. But, we’re really ready. We feel prepared as well! We’re looking forward to putting this information to use. I’ve said that before…basically because I really mean it!

This week has been very good. A lot of it was review (things like stress and grieving), but a lot of it was brand new. Lots of really good strategies on how to curb gossip, manage conflict, confront people, and help people grieve well. We covered four different topics a day (most days), so that gives you an idea of how busy it’s been. Tomorrow, we’re finishing at 11:45…and that’s it!

However, we have decided not to leave here until Sunday morning. A friend of ours has hooked us up with a couple in Williamsburg, Virginia, who are willing to let us spend the night with them Sunday and Monday. We were hoping for a little bit of vacation time and since I love history and Brian loves wars…this seemed appropriate. And free housing is always a plus! 🙂 We are spending Saturday with two of our close friends here, hanging out in Charlotte, NC, and then we’ll pull out Sunday morning. After we leave Williamsburg, we are planning on driving on to our headquarters in Lancaster County, PA, and visiting with people there. They are in the middle of candidate orientation and we have been asked to come hang out for a day, meet everybody, and talk about our experience at CIT. We have a few other meetings as well while we’re there, and then we’ll head home to Scranton. And GUNTHER! We’ve missed our dog! It’ll be so nice to see him. Oh, and my parents. 🙂

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support during these past nine weeks. We are so grateful for all of you who dropped us little notes of encouragement. Brian has half his rough draft written for the blog…he will get it done before tomorrow is out – I promise! 🙂 Once we’re home, I do plan on keeping this updated so you all can keep up with our journey to Peru. It might only be four more months before we can start posting some really exciting pictures and information – from down South!

Listening?

Today officially began our last module here at CIT. Hard to believe these nine weeks are coming to a close!! I can’t even think about leaving or I get all teary. These classes have been phenomenal and the friendships alone were well worth the time spent down here. It’s hard to imagine going back to PA and “reality” and all that entails. So, for now, I’ll just focus on the present!

Our TESL class this weekend was informative, but to be honest, we probably could have covered the same amount of material in a 2-hour evening session. It was definitely more beneficial for me than for Brian and I am glad for the new resources. But, our weekend was much busier than we had planned on and we were both exhausted by yesterday evening.

Yesterday morning, we decided to go to church and then head out to a place called Chimney Rock, about 45 miles from here. It’s a beautiful overlook that somebody gave us the money to go see. It’s a park and it’s quite pricey to get into, but we thought since it was a beautiful day, it would be worth the day trip together. The view WAS beautiful…but it was a long afternoon. No one told us that North Carolina’s idea of “hiking” is just “let’s put 5 million stairs into the side of the mountain and watch people hyperventilate as they climb up them in the higher elevation than they’re used to.” On the plus side, we saw the waterfall that is used during the filming of the last scene in the movie “The Last of the Mohicans.” If you’ve seen that movie (which I highly recommend), you’ll remember the absolutely gorgeous scenery at the end. That’s all filmed right there and it really is that breathtaking in person. I have posted those pictures so you can see what I mean.

When we got back last night, we had to dive right into our first session of SYIS, though, so we were pretty exhausted by the time we hit the sack…early! We feel much better today and Brian even had the energy to go hang out with some guys, so I’m home alone…which is probably why I’m writing so much! 🙂

Our class this week has a totally new format and there are many more people than the last modules. Since it’s all “interpersonal skills”, we are doing mostly interacting and very little lecture. We get to “role play” (although so far, all our scenarios have been real life) the different skills we’re learning about, which helps solidify how they work in our minds and what we need to work on. Today, we touched on listening skills (silence, questions, drawing people out, helping them solve their own problems). I’m really not sure what we’re doing tomorrow. I do know we are going to cover this week more conflict resolution tactics, receiving confrontation, and dealing with stress (to name just a few; we basically cover four different topics a day, to give you an idea of how much we’re working through this week). We are both loving this course (even though we’re not allowed to sit together 😦 ) and again, are anxious to put these skills into practice!

Here’s the link to the new photos! Oh, and I’m still trying to get Brian to sit down long enough to type something into this blog…before we leave here! 🙂

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=36456&l=880d4&id=513368337

Friday’s Musings.

Disclaimer: this blog is rather long. We have a lot to think about this week. I will try to keep them shorter in the days ahead. But, I can’t really promise that.  🙂

The last two days of class this week have been quite thought-provoking. I’m actually quite exhausted because there is so much information that we’ve taken in this week that I just want to take time to process. We were asked to go to South Carolina this weekend, but I think we’re going to stay here. We need the rest. It’s been great, but again- so much to think about.

Yesterday, we discussed an issue that’s big on our hearts: multi-cultural teams. We are going to be the only Americans on an all-Peruvian team. That’s not a bad thing; in fact, that’s probably one of the most exciting things we’ll be doing. As we talked about in our Equipping module, different cultures bring to light different aspects about God and in worshiping, praying, and studying together with our new team, I’m sure we’ll learn more about God than we ever thought we would. However, it’s a different culture. So, what does a “team” look like in Lima, Peru? How do “team meetings” function? What will our role be in the “team”? How do we discern our part in the “team”, from speaking, offering input, making decisions, and carrying out responsabilities?

In good ol’ CIT fashion….none of these questions were answered. More questions were offered and we were given lots more to consider and think about. Actually, not answering questions is probably the best thing CIT could do for us. We are forced to work things out on our own with the Lord. What better way to solve problems?

The one thing we did do was like a case study. We were divided into four teams and given four different explanations of four different cultures. We first, as a team, had to come up with what our culture looks like and acts like. Then, we were given a scenario. We were going to be divided up so one member from each team would make up a new team (meaning, four new teams with one rep. from each team comprising the new teams…I hope that makes sense). The scenario was that there was a mission board who was wanting to see how multi-cultural teams work together, so they were having a week-long missions conference in Romania and everyone had to work together to plan this conference. Each original team was given a part of the conference to plan, and then we had to come together in the new teams and work through the entire conference and come to a consensus on what the conference would look like.

The culture I was a part of was one where it’s very communal: no decisions are made independently, everyone is family, everyone is close-knit, relationships are more important than tasks…in a nutshell. This is very prevalent in Papua New Guinea and it will be similar in Latin America. Our task was to plan the Fellowship parts of the week. We had to act like our culture during this team meeting, which meant we cared more about talking to the people than getting the work done, we want lots of time for fellowship and less time for meetings and policies, and we’re concerned with how everyone is feeling – no strife! Basically, the over-all consensus from our original team was that we got trampled, disregarded, and ignored during the larger team meeting sessions.

I could go on with how the other teams acted, but that would take too much time. I’m sure half of you are asleep by now anyway! The point of this exercise was to give us an idea of what a multi-cultural team looks like and to put us in the shoes of someone from a different culture, to feel some of what they’re feeling during meetings and understand more of where they’re coming from. It was EXTREMELY affective. I will never look at multi-cultural teams the same ever again.

Today, we moved on to Leadership. Brian said that he was a little frustrated because they talked today about, basically, perfect leadership and the odds are, hardly any of us will be leaders and we’re positive our leaders will not be perfect. So, how do you handle that and what do you do? We’re not sure; hopefully, that will be covered in the future.

The one thing I will say is that today gave me a new appreciation for my father. I’ve always known he’s an affective leader; I never knew how much that’s really true until today. Last Sunday, the church we attended with our friends had a pastor who seemed to be “above” everybody else. He preached down to everybody and told us all how to live our lives – never once putting himself on the same level. It was always “you do this; you do that” – never “let’s do this together; we’re in the same boat.” He seemed unapproachable. I have never gotten that feeling from my father. My father leads by example. He goes through struggles with people in his congregation. He’s never been too proud to say, “I’ve been there; God brought me through that, too.” We talked about bearing people’s pain and how a true leader can bear the pain of many. I take that to mean – they can empathize with people in their pain, even go through some of it with them, but they are able to leave that pain at the feet of Jesus. I see that in my father. His prayer life is phenomenal. I have no doubt that he listens to people and takes their pain on himself…but there comes a very real point where he casts it on the feet of Jesus and lets Him handle it. He is an empty vessel that is used by the Lord to meet people where they’re at and love them like Jesus does.

I don’t mean to preach about my dad; I just felt like today’s class on leadership just explained to me how my dad has been in his leadership roles. I’m so proud of him. I don’t feel called to leadership, but if God ever prepares me for it and puts me in that position, at least I have a great example to follow (besides Christ Jesus Himself!).