Emily and I share a common conviction that exercising inside our compound can be boring. We do what we can to make it through a workout. Music helps somewhat, but if we are lost in a thought then- the laps really tick away. It’s easy to think about on the tasks at hand– lesson plans, staff meetings, Bible studies, laundry, grocery lists, etc. Recently though, with pendulum-like oscillation, our minds have begun wandering between two worlds. Now, as we run the narrow loop, thoughts of our future in the U.S. compete with the to-do lists of our current reality.
Back and forth. Disconsolate thoughts of leaving Addis Ababa are interrupted by the excitement of a new possibility. Reminders of the mundane, such grading papers somehow spark thoughts of seminary application deadlines or the next car we should buy. Some days our brains hurt.
We know the summer will bring change; we’re just a bit fuzzy on the details. This is what we know today:
I have thrived in the challenge of developing new youth ministry courses, researching adolescence in the developing world, and mentoring young men. I am hungry to learn more, so I have applied to a few seminaries. Simply put, I hope to prepare a new generation of youth ministry leaders by teaching on the college level (both in the U.S. and Ethiopia). We’ll maintain an affiliation with SIM, and ETC has invited me to teach modular courses in the summers. I pray that God will direct my path toward M.Div. and doctoral programs.
Emily is searching for a full-time job as a reading specialist. Leading professional development, coaching teachers, and supporting students have both energized Emily and catalyzed vision for her future. Although teaching positions are a rarity and difficult to secure from thousands of miles away, we are maximizing the resources at hand and trusting God to provide. Emily’s next job will determine our next zip code, so please pray for our discernment.
Cliché as it may sound; the journey is just as significant as the destination, so we will do our best to embrace the mental tug-of-war. Ephesians 2:10 keeps us grounded, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has a good plan, so we need not worry.
Keith, Jill, Dan, and Heather were gifts to the young families at our Spiritual Life Conference this past January. As a children’s ministry team, they wrangled little ones from all over the world. One parent commented, “I cannot remember the last time I was able to listen to a pastor uninterrupted.” Armed with toys, games, and a ridiculous amount of craft supplies, the team easily won the loyalty of the youngest SIMers. There’s nothing like seeing a grown man dressed as Moses darting from his classroom to chase down a 3-year-old escapee.