Wednesday, April 27, 2005

April 27, 2005- The Challenges Explored

27 April 2005
Two days ago we visited with another couple with whom we are close and whom we trust. We laid out before them our present plans to go to Kenya and the Czech Republic next year, the reasons we chose to do so and some of our anxieties about going. We received from them no small measure of excitement and encouragement for these ideas. What’s equally important, though, is that they offered us two more perspectives about our upcoming trip. They were able to show us things that we hadn’t considered before—virtues and challenges—so that we could have an even clearer vision of what we’re getting into. This couple is similar enough to us that they can sympathize with our deepest desires and needs, yet are distinct persons able to look with fresh eyes. It is a blessing to have such persons in our life to help us work through what can be an agonizing and anxious decision-making process. We thank God for them.
We shall each have to be aware of what the other needs during this extended trip overseas. Especially, since we are both introverts by nature, we will have to make sure that we get sufficient recharging time. With so much discovery of people and places—both of which require a great deal of energy from us—our quiet, non-interactive time will be quite precious. Part of that time will have to be interaction with each other: checking in frequently with each other and being sensitive to what is expressed in our personal conversation. After all, we’ll be our only support system while we’re traveling. We look forward to meeting new people and forming relationships, but in four months we won’t be able to get genuine, deep support from others. The upside of all this is that next year could prove to be a time of annealing, strengthening our marriage by the fact that we will have to depend on each other so much more.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

April 23, 2005

Sara and I have been scrambling to get together a budget for our travels next year, because the Dean’s office at Fuller needs a tentative itinerary and budget by 6 May. We’ve found that the internet is a useful resource for making such plans. Every seminary we’ve considered has its own web page where it posts academic calendars and tuition fees. So a prospective budget is not hard to put together—especially since Sara has a knack for numbers and proficiency with the Excel spreadsheets. What makes this a crunch is really the fact that we have to decide where to go. Two weeks from the announcement of the award to prospective itinerary is not much time!
So we wrangle with the question of where God wants us to go. It seems like a fair question to ask, until you then assert the follow-up question: How will God inform us of the divine will for our next year? Is it enough to know that I want to go somewhere radically different, and Sara wants to go to Europe? Is that hint enough? Or should we be waiting for someone whom we trust to call us and say, ‘You need to go Here’? Or is God’s will best revealed in the fine mechanics of budgeting and acceptance to seminaries—that is, wherever it’s possible to go, go there? Or is it in the inner peace that prevails among the chaos our lives right now?
I take it as a sign that Sara and I had already been planning a trip to Europe in the autumn of this year, and that she has Prague on her wish-list. That’s enough for me to devote half our time to Prague. Then there’s Kenya. Hmm. How did we arrive at Nairobi as a solid option? Is it just the radical difference of African culture? Nah—we could have had that in Singapore or the Philippines, too. Is it the prevailing sub-cultural winds in the U.S. that say the future of Africa is the future of the church, and of the world? Perhaps. Is it the fact that Paul Hewson, one of my favourite poets and songwriters, has Africa on his heart and in his poetry? Most likely a mixture of all three; oh, and the fact that I have met a few Africans here at Fuller who have piqued my interest in their homeland.
So today we scramble to assemble a budget, fire off emails all over God’s green earth to people in the know about Prague and Nairobi, and put together a seminary application that’s already overdue. What a wonderful time! By the way, our current itinerary is Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) in Kenya from 12 September to 16 December, and International Baptist Theological School in Prague, Czech Republic from 6 January to 12 April 2006. We shall see if we’re on the right track.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

April 14, 2005

Today we found out that Emrys was awarded the Parish Pulpit Award- Sara screamed! Now we will be spending 2 semesters abroad... somewhere in the world, on somone else's dime. Dreams of world travel are on their way to coming true.