Monday, January 23, 2012

We're Here!

I apologize for the lack of blog posts this past week. Nate was up in New Hampshire on his annual ice climbing trip, while I was working at an event in San Diego. We meet up in Denver today at WorldVenture headquarters for two weeks, and we're excited we are finally here!

Our first week at WorldVenture...we will be going through Pre-Departure Training (thanks to the prayers and support of so many who helped us reach 60%!). These 3 days are focused on preparing for departure. Part of the training is about the logistical side, discussing things like visas, shipping containers, departure requirements, and the like. But another very important part is the emotional and spiritual side. During this training, we will meet with staff and counselors to begin talking about saying goodbye and going through the major transition of moving to Austria.

This training comes at the perfect time for us. We are just beginning to do things or see people "for the last time" and the goodbyes are slowly ramping up. We have been focusing for the last year on building our team of financial and prayer supporters, but now we must shift our focus to also include how to emotionally, spiritually and mentally prepare for the stress, sadness and adjustment that a cross-cultural move can create. We are looking forward to what we will learn this week about culture shock, maintaining connections to home, and saying goodbye well.

This weekend... we will attend two days of a Missions Symposium at Denver Seminary. This is a first time event and we look forward to hearing from experienced and charismatic speakers who are well-known in the missions community. We will also get to meet and network with many other missionaries and missions support staff, learning from them and building new relationships.

Next week in Colorado...we will attend WorldVenture's Renewal Conference. This week-long event is a time for WorldVenture missionaries and staff to come together for worship, prayer and updates. We will spend time sharing and hearing from the field and home office, praying for one another, and seeking the Lord's guidance in our lives, ministry and direction as an organization. Nate and I are especially excited to spend time with several Austria team members at this conference, whom we haven't seen since our Vision Trip last April!

Please pray... for 2 weeks of blessing, encouragement, learning and growth. Please pray that the Lord would protect us from feeling overwhelmed, stressed or fearful of the transitions ahead, but that instead, these 2 weeks would excite us about the journey He has laid out for us and the team that surrounds us at WorldVenture.

Thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Photo Blog: Our 2011 Holidays

Every year, the holiday season seems to fly by so quickly! It is amazing to me to think that it is already 2012. We've been raising support for Austria for almost 1 year already, I quit my full-time job nearly 1 year ago, and THIS YEAR will likely be the year we depart for the mission field. Wow! 2012 will be an important and special year.

But before I completely leave 2011 behind, here are some photos highlights from our 2011 Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanksgiving in Connecticut
The kids work on making a turkey...made out of fruit and vegetables! So cute.

Kylie and Meg

Posing in front of the Statue of Liberty during our trip downtown.

"Big Nate" and "Little Nate" riding the ferry

Getting ready to ride the train.

Aunt Bethany, hanging out with the girls on the train

Our gift to Erik & Amy this year was a family photo shoot. Here is one of the best shots!

Christmas in Minnesota

Nate went ice climbing with his two brothers one day.

A group photo of us, visiting "A Day in the Life of an Elf" at the downtown Macy's.

Playing games at Aunt Diane's house.

Dad and Neil are excited about the ornaments they received in the ornament exchange!

Grandma, with all of her grandkids and great-grandkids.