… for the Rest of the Story

Some of you have been indicating that I’m long overdue for a blog, and you’re quite right. It’s been a busy month since SIMStart! The biggest news is that I know the rest of the story – at least regarding what I’m doing with the other 50% of my time in Peru! Let me backup and give you the back story, because it’s a testimony to God’s faithfulness.

A while back I was visiting my friend Cindy at SIM and we stopped to see her mom, Grace. Grace knew that I was applying to be the Guest House Manager in Peru, but she suggested that I might make a good Short Term Assignment Coordinator. She indicated that someone in that position would need to be familiar with all the ministries in the country and know the needs of the various areas that might be met through short term work (less than 2 years). The STA-Coordinator would also communicate with those coming for short term assignments, align them with the best fit for an assignment, help them get oriented to the country, and follow-up along the way and/or at the end of the term. Interesting, to be sure, but I was fairly certain that I would be sticking with the Guest House Manager position. I noted Grace’s suggestion thinking that I’d promptly forget about it.

While at SIMStart, though, I couldn’t get the other possibility out of my mind. I wanted to run the Guest House, but coordinating STA’s sounded exciting too. Perhaps that would be a neat way to be involved with all the ministries in Peru, but what about the Guest House and the directing I’d received toward that position?! I decided I better mention the idea to Patricia, the long-term coordinator in Charlotte, but I quickly learned that none of the South American countries had an opening for a STA-Coordinator. Patricia gave me lots of job descriptions for similar positions in Africa, but I knew that I wanted to stick with a Spanish-speaking location. I didn’t feel any promptings toward Africa, yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more to be discovered. I was entirely disappointed that no similar positions were posted for South America, especially in Peru. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Patricia, emailed all of the South American SIM offices and asked if anyone was looking for an STA-Coordinator. Guess who responded? Yup, Peru. Not only that, but the individual from Peru who responded was apologetic that they would, “unfortunately” only need someone for about 50% of the time because there is not currently enough work for a fulltime position. This person had no idea that I was also interested in running the Guest House!

Needless to say, I was quick to acquiesce when Patricia asked if she should write Peru and suggest me as a candidate for both positions! Thankfully, Peru was also quick to respond that they would welcome me there. And now you know… the rest of the story. I’m really going to Peru! I’m going as Guest House Manager and STA-Coordinator! It’s a bit overwhelming, thrilling, scary, and exhilarating, all at once!
One of the slightly ironic things about the way this came about is that I actually felt a bit skeptical when things aligned so seemingly perfectly. I had actually told Patricia after she emailed the South American offices that it would be ideal if I could do the STA position part of the time and still run the guest house. When Peru wrote back with an answer that allowed for that exact option, I wondered if perhaps I’d made it happen instead of being about that which He has for me. Had I taken control back and started doing what Robbye wanted instead of seeking God’s direction? Of course, it’s a bit presumptuous of me to think that I would even have any control of that situation to begin with, so I concluded that it had to be God at work. Yet, I still had the nagging feeling that, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Perhaps that old saying doesn’t apply when living to be about that which He has for me. Certainly He can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!

SIMCO update: I have finished one of the 3 required books for SIMCO and have started the second. For those that are interested, I have read The Bondage Breaker, by Neil Andersen, and have moved on to Funding Your Ministry, by Scott Morton. I only have about a month to complete the rest of my reading and finish a few other requirements for SIMCO. Better get busy! One of the requirements for SIMCO is to bring the laptop that we plan to take to the field, thus, I need to purchase a new laptop since mine is on its last leg!

Training Track update: As some of you know, I’ve been busy trying to meet the requirements of the training track that SIM has set forth for me using some online courses offered through Gordon Conwell. They are really interesting classes, but between my already crammed schedule and the required readings, I’m falling behind on my training track. I would love to have your prayers for diligence in that area! If you’re interested in the classes, they can be found at http://ockenga.gordonconwell.edu/ockenga/dimensions/. Anyone can take the classes and it’s free as long as you listen to the lectures via streaming audio from the internet.

Downsizing update: I have begun attempting to arrange the items in my household into the categories of sell, keep, and trash. Additionally, in the keep category I’m dividing between those that will go to Peru and a few items that may live in my sister’s attic for a time. I’m planning to have a moving sale (yard sale) on June 26th from 7-10 AM, so if anyone would like to help organize that event, price the items, setup and run the sale, or anything else, I’ll welcome the help!

Koshka update: Most of you know that I have a 9-year old cat named Koshka (it means “cat” in Russian… actually, it means “female cat,” but don’t tell him that). I am hoping to find Koshka a really great home before I go to Peru. Ideally I would like to find somewhere for him to stay while I go to SIMCO for three weeks in July, and perhaps he could just make the transition then (since my house will be on the market after that time). Koshka is not a big fan of other cats, but he does love dogs. He will not likely make a move easily, but I believe he will warm up to a new place and new people over time. He’s not a high-maintenance cat (he stays home up to 3 days alone when I travel) and I can count on 2 hands the number of times he’s had a hairball or thrown up in 9 years (TMI, I know, but I know that’s a concern with cats). He has all his claws, but he’s been an indoor cat his entire life. If you know anyone who would take really good care of him, please let me know. Otherwise, will you pray with me that I can find him a good home?

Other updates: I’m finally done living out of a suitcase, at least for now! I went from SIMStart to a church retreat the next weekend at Oak Island, to a college friends reunion at Bald Head Island on Memorial Day weekend, to a 4-day business trip in Denver the same week! It’s been an intense time, but one filled with lots of great experiences! Now I need to hunker down and get prepared for SIMCO and selling my house! Yikes! Thank you all for walking with me through this time.