Deeper into the Wardrobe

For months now I have been praying and seeking wisdom about what will happen next. When I originally came to Germany, the plan was to stay for four years, maybe more. I always said, “at least” four years, but I wasn’t sure what was beyond those four years. After three years in Germany I was asked to consider doing some leader development training, but it would mean I had to stay an extra year…so I did and I don’t regret that decision at all.

As my 4th year ended and my new agreed upon length of stay approached, I knew the decision loomed ahead. I needed to figure out what life was going to look like for me going forward. Where would I live? and what job would I have? were the most pertinent questions I needed to address. I’m an over-analyzer so you better believe I had plenty of “options” to choose from. I had seriously considered all of the following (though some were more plausible than others):

  • Return to Toledo and open a boardgame cafe
  • Move to Freiburg and open a boardgame cafe
  • Return to the US and get my doctorate in Instructional Design or User Experience
  • Return to the US and work as an instructional designer
  • Return to the US and work at GEM’s headquarters in one facet or another
  • Return to the US and work at MTI (where I had my pre-field training)
  • Stay in Kandern with eDOT
  • Stay in Kandern, but switch to EuroTeam and work with TEFL

I’m sure there were other options that came to mind at some point, but these were all of the ones I at least spent time researching. The problem I ran into was that all of these options were enticing for one reason or the other.

  • The boardgame cafes were interesting because I love boardgames and have a lot of ideas on how to run a community impacting cafe.
  • I’ve always wanted to get my doctorate, because I’m weird and I like school.
  • I enjoy writing curricula and thought working for a large organization designing their training could be a tough challenge for me.
  • I like the idea of recruiting people to join GEM, or helping them get to the field or designing and leading orientation.
  • MTI is an amazing experience and helped me adjust to life as a missionary. Having a chance to help others would be incredible.
  • I like my team and we do good work, so why change?
  • I love camps and curricula development and believe I am skilled to do both.

I could justify any of those. It was like staring at a counter of cookies and being allowed to only choose one. But they all look so good!

I did have a few major concerns, though, including, “Where does God want me?” and “Where do my passions lie?” After a long while, God finally got me to recognize something I had said many years ago while working at COSI (hands-on Science center) where I wrote curricula and taught camps. I said, “If I could do this full-time and make a living doing so, I would work here in a heartbeat.” COSI barely paid a living wage and I wasn’t ready to do that kind of work full-time yet anyway, but God has been preparing me for this ministry choice for years. I will soon get to say that I am developing curricula and leading short-term teams to teach at English camps full-time.

This is what I get to do…and I’m ecstatic about it. Don’t get me wrong, it was not an easy decision. I didn’t come to this lightly, nor consider all of the things that I would be giving up by living here. I thought about silly things like not being able to get a good hamburger or not having stores open pretty much all day everyday. Then I thought about more difficult things like being far away from my mom and brother and how hard that is at times. I thought about not being there to watch my nieces and nephews grow up. There are many things that made this a difficult decision, but in the end, I am confident this is the right decision; this is where God wants me and so I have said “Here am I, send me.”

So What Does This Mean For Me?

Well, in the short term this means I will be still with GEM eDOT until around March of next year when I make the official switch to GEM EuroTeam. I will continue to develop the Narnia (Adventures in the Wardrobe) curricula and complete my leader development studies. At the end of April I will return to the US for a mandatory year out of Germany (laws are weird!). While in the US I will be talking to churches and individuals about partnering with me and filling in my faithful ministry partners on what things will look like after the year in the US. I am also going to be recruiting short-term teams to come and teach at one of our camps the year I get back (if you are at all interested, please let me know). Potentially I will also be going to colleges to help recruit future TEFL missionaries. I’m not sure if this will happen, but I hope it does! When I return to Germany in 2019, I will work with GEM EuroTeam┬áin the running of TEFL camps and the development of English as a foreign language curricula.

But What Does It Mean For You?

If you are currently a ministry partner of mine, all it means is if you want to continue that partnership you don’t have to do anything. You can certainly alter the partnership with zero hard feelings on my end (contact me if you need more info), but if things are staying the same, then you are already done! If you aren’t a ministry partner of mine, but are curious of learning more, then please let me know and I would be happy to talk with you!

The toughest blog I’ve ever written

I’ve been writing on this blog on and off for the past 2.5 years and I’ve never had a blog that is as hard as this one to write. It’s not that the words won’t come out, or that it is physically hard for me to write this blog, but this blog is tough for a completely different reasons.

So why is this blog hard to write? It’s one of the more vulnerable posts that I’ve written, but that’s still not even the issue. I’m asking for help, that’s why. Normally I have a hard time asking for help from people unless it is something that I literally cannot do alone. Asking for a ride to the airport is no problem for me, but asking for someone to come help me move a large piece of furniture might make me try it myself first. Then once I get started trying on my own, don’t even bother asking me to help…I can be a bit stubborn.

Today though, I must come to you all for help. I must lower my normal defenses to present my struggle and ask for you to stand up next to me and partner with me. As you may or may not be aware, I will be making a trip back to the US this August and September in order to find more ministry partners and meet with existing ones as well. I thought I would be fine until then…but I’m not.

Let me break down the numbers a bit for you:

$5400 – My monthly support need

$5100 – My monthly pledged support

$4400 – My monthly average support received

$1000 – Need

 

As you can tell, each month that goes by I am short by around $1000 and this quickly drains any reserves that were built up over the last two years or so.

This blog isn’t to guilt people into supporting me but it is to help explain the need and to ask for help. The good thing is, help can come in a variety of ways that I will lay out for you below.

Current Ministry Partners:

  • Pray, pray and then pray some more
  • Prayerfully consider raising your current pledged amount by $5-10 a month
  • Share this with a friend
  • Invite me to share with a Bible study, church, your friends, etc. when I am back in Aug/Sept

Everyone else:

  • You can pray too!
  • Prayerfully consider joining my ministry partner team (either e-mail me or go to my support page for more info)
  • Invite me to share with a Bible study, church, your friends, etc. when I am back in Aug/Sept
  • Share this with a friend

I know God will take care of my needs, but it is not without effort on my part. I appreciate all of you who have read this far whether you feel led to help in one way or another.

Thank you.