June 27th, 2010

We’ve Been Oriented

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Orientation

Right now, I’m sitting in an armchair at my Mom’s home in Telephone, Texas. In a few days, we’ll say goodbye to them for the last time before we move to Germany. I want to treasure these last few days with them, but I find my mind wandering back to Minnesota.

We spent the last seven days with about 35 other new staff at our sending organization’s orientation. It was amazing. We met some amazing new people—MKs, teachers, staff folks. We learned some amazing things—about Christian Education, living in another country, Third Culture Kids. In short, it was a wonderful time.

Since I’m finding it hard to put my thoughts into words, I’m just going to hit some of the highlights of the week.

Hearing about the vision and mission of TeachBeyond

We have an amazing sending organization, TeachBeyond. We originally picked TeachBeyond because their application process was streamlined with Black Forest Academy’s. We didn’t know much more about their overarching purpose, but now we do. This organization is using education to change the world.

At our orientation, we had new staff members going to 10 different countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. A few years ago, TeachBeyond was sending staff only to BFA. We were also the largest group of new members ever. TeachBeyond is growing. They are using the need and opportunity of education to further the kingdom of God. If you’re a teacher or want to serve overseas, check out TeachBeyond. God is doing amazing things through this group.

Meeting our mission family

When we went to Orientation, I didn’t expect to find a new family, but that’s what happened. Every person there shared our passion for loving students and MKs. These are people who know what it’s like to sell all of their belongings and leave their lives of comfort for the sake of the Kingdom. People who know the humility, dependence and miracle of asking people to join you in a mission. People who have agreed to step into the unknown, for the sake of Christ. I expected to enjoy getting to know new people, but I didn’t expect to be sad to leave them. I was always excited about loving the students at BFA, but now I’m excited about loving the staff as well.

Not only did we get to meet all the other new missionaries, we were also able to meet the TeachBeyond staff who have supported us during the past year. We met Mike, the first person to contact us. We met the amazing women who handle all of our pledges and finances. We even met the President of the organization. It was a privilege to see these people. There’s no way we’d be going to Germany without them.

Being Encouraged and Affirmed in Our Purpose

More than anything else, this weekend was an encouragement. For the past year, I really didn’t plan to be at Orientation; I planned to be in Germany. Fortunately, God is much wiser than I. I’m so thankful we were at Orientation. Throughout the entire week, we were strengthened in our desire and purpose for BFA. We saw more clearly the need for our skills and passions. We were even able to talk with several MKs, two who attended BFA themselves, about their lives and experiences. We feel more prepared and purposed because of Orientation.

Meeting Anne

Anne is an MK from Central Asia. She spent 10 years living in another country and attended BFA for three years. While she was there, God used one of her RAs (Resident Assistants) to help her understand the depth of his love, which is why she’s going back to be an RA herself. I loved getting to know Anne. There have been two people in my life with whom I’ve had an instant connection. One of these people was Pam, who changed my world by introducing us to BFA. Anne makes a third. I was so encouraged by Anne. She is wise, and thoughtful and insightful. I am so excited that I’ll be able to spend the next two years loving MKs alongside her.

Hearing the Stories of our Fellow Staff

One of our favorite parts of Orientation was hearing the testimonies of other staff members. Each night, we would gather to share what Christ had done in our lives. It was amazing to see the work of God in the lives of these 40 or so people. It was wonderful to see the way that God drew each of us to himself and then gave us the opportunity to serve him overseas. I can’t wait to hear what God does over the next few years through us all.

Please pray for these people. I can promise you, they are all amazing, and God will use them each to accomplish his work. Pray for their support. One couple learned about a school opening only two days before Orientation started. They (along with many others) have got a lot of support to raise by August 1st. Pray for their transitions. Almost all of us are going to cultures that are unfamiliar to us and we will all face discouragement, confusion, and doubt. Pray that God would be glorified through our triumphs and failures, good days and bad days, certainty and confusion.

We’re Official

On Friday evening, we were commissioned by TeachBeyond. It was a short, simple service, the staff simply prayed for us, but it felt like the culmination of the last 12 months, and the beginning of a new and exciting adventure. We leave for Black Forest Academy in 18 days. I have no idea what the next few years will look like for us. I have no idea if we’ll be any good at our jobs, or like German culture, or want to stay, but I know that God has prepared us for this. We’re ready.

One Response to “We’ve Been Oriented”

Comments

  • Hannah Cline says:

    Dani and Isreal im so proud of you guys! at first when Dani told me the plan it seemed so unrealistic to me but you guys proved me wrong and now your about to be sent on your way to do you calling. I’m so happy for the both of you and i cant wait to read more.

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