Saturday, June 27

A little PFO update

Our training has been outstanding this week. The wealth of knowledge and years of experience have blow us away. It's been a stretch getting back into the "classroom" setting and sitting for long period of time, but it is well worth it. We have been hearing stories of God's faithfulness to international schools all over the world. We've been blessed by some great story tellers who recapture pivotal moments in their ministry, and stories about students lives that are changed as a result. We have been learning about the TCK (Third Culture Kid), which is a kids who lives in a culture other than their passport country. We have been talking about transition, taking personality tests, communication evaluations, and discussing differences in cultures. My favorite sessions have been our time with the group of staff who are going into boarding programs next year. The times have been extremely valuable going over relationships with parents, discipline, dorm atmosphere, relationship with Resident Assistants...and so much more to come. We have another 6 days here at Houghton College with a break tomorrow. It has been encouraging to meet other dorm parents who are going into the same situation as we are and being able to talk through our questions and concerns. Mostly, we are having fun learning about the kids we have the privledge of serving next year!

This is a panel of 9 different international schools represented at this training. Senegal, Malaysia, South Korea, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic, China, India, and Ecuador.
We have classes all day and then we play at night =) Luke is playing a little too hard and in the last two days got a black eye from a soccer ball to the face with sunglasses on and a frisbee to the nose!

Sunday, June 21

PFO in Houghton

We made the 5 hour drive yesterday to Houghton, NY from New Jersey. Instantly we met people who drove from Atlanta so it made us feel much better about our short drive. We settled into our dorm room that we will reside in for the next two weeks and I am sitting here writing from a nostalgic dorm desk. Everything so far is reminding us of our first orientation with Janz Team Ministries in Winnipeg last year. You come to an unknown place, with unknown people and you have to make a community for a couple weeks. Luke and I are both thankful that we are going through this training after being at BFA for a year. I think we are taking this more seriously than we might have if we had it last year. The schedule looks packed, but filled with great information. We found out our small group leader is Evan Evans, a family friend and one of the reasons we are at BFA. We head to our first session at 3pm. Thank you to everyone who is praying over this time. We had a tremendous time being with family in New Jersey and connecting with all of our faithful supporters.  I am hoping it will be productive and fruitful! 
Luke, Ryan and Landis at our favorite pizza place in the city. 

Saturday, June 6

An unexpected trip home

So Stephanie and I leave for the United States on Monday. A three hour car ride to Frankfurt followed by a nine hour flight to Newark. We purchased our tickets just two weeks ago. We hadn't planned to go back this summer, but because of some changes that are happening for us next year a trip home became part of the plan.

As many of you might know and some might not. Steph and I will be making role changes next year. We'll be moving from working within the school as teachers and administrators to residence life as Dorm Parents. Quite a change.

Throughout the year we've been subbing at HBR dorm on Thursday evenings and have developed a strong belief in the importance of quality residence staff. BFA has been blessed by having tremendous dorm staff that mentor and impact BFA students on a daily basis. It didn't take much time of being in that environment that we began to feel pulled.

We feel honored the school feels comfortable entrusting us with such a responsibility. Typically the age of dorm parents has been older with actual parenting experience. The thought is the pros of having younger people in this position (more energy, relatable, less distraction, etc…) might make up for some of the cons. It is in some ways an experiment. One made with excellent support made available for Stephanie and I, and one we’re excited to be involved in.

Some people think we're a little nuts. Its an exhausting job. We'll have twenty girls next year. That's right... girls. Those of you who know me best might wonder how I'll do in such an environment, and I'd be lying if I didn't say we have some healthy concerns. Personally, I'd feel there was something wrong if us if we didn't. Most people have been tremendously encouraging and have placed their support firmly behind us. The decision process would have much more difficult without them.

In the end. We feel confident this is what God has for us. We hold no illusions it will be a pain free experience, but will move through the year day by day humbly pursuing God as we go. That for us will be key.

This brings us back to our trip to the states. We’ll be home for four weeks. Two of those will be spent in New Jersey at my parents place. We’ll be visiting and sharing with our home church what the change will look like for us. We’ll also be doing some fundraising in preparation for year two as self supporting missionaries at BFA.

The third and fourth weeks will be spent at a Conference in Houghton, New York. We’ll be attending the Pre-Field Orientation conference for TCKs (Third Culture Kids). The school believes it will help prepare us to better understand the unique characteristics and needs of missionary kids. We’re excited to see our friends and fellow missionaries, Jewel and Evan Evans as they will be part of the leadership conducting the conference.

We’d appreciate your prayers as we enter the next month. For a relaxing time with my family, for a successful fund raising endeavor, and for valuable personal discovery and applicable info we can take away from the PFO conference in Houghton. If anyone would like to connect with us while we’re in New Jersey don’t hesitate to shoot us an email.