They are here. Faster than expected or we dared to hope. Tickets are purchased for July 24. Let the adventures commence! We get to speak to the Gosnell Awana kiddos tomorrow night. Cannot wait!
There’s always a bit of uncertainty involved when everything has been done online. On February 24, we would go hear the testimonies in person from 17 school directors and the amazingness happening on each campus. I was overwhelmed and my heart was doing that beating fast thing again. We questioned if the timing was now rather than later.
We met several directors and principals. We had lunch with a director from one of the Korea schools. Then the interviews began.
We booked a double block of time with BAIS and they filled our heads and hearts with information about this country we knew so little about.
I could hear the fears in my ears:
Do it later.
My heart was just the opposite:
For such a time as this.
It’s no accident you are sitting in this room.
Michael Joe and I left as the rain began to fall. Storms were moving in…physical, mental, and spiritual. We had asked how soon they needed to know our decision. The reply? Last week, but we can give you a week to pray and decide if you want to do the next, more formal interview.
One week. Seven days. Ish.
A tornado hit our county that night. Truth was a storm was raging in our hearts, too.
What about our kids? Our families?
How do we pay our debts?
What about our responsibilities-jobs, church, family
What about our house? Still hasn’t sold yet.
Michael: This day in itself was a whirlwind for me. The morning was filled with awe. Awe of what God was doing through these schools, through these people, through education. I went into this day looking forward to it. But, not really expecting anything from it. I told Alithia I was open to go if I knew He was telling us to. But, I was not expecting much from the day.
The morning session ended with conversations and interview sign-ups with the school directors. We had already had a great conversation with the school we planned to speak with that day. So, we began looking at the others. BAIS and a school in Korea had already contacted us, so we definitely wanted to see what they had to say. And we set up a time with a school in China as that country still holds a place in our hearts.
The interviews were very informative, but I was not expecting to be leaning towards going anywhere (other than out to eat with my wife afterwards). I know God will use us no matter where we would have chosen (including staying home). And to be honest, home was still where I was wanting to be. This was not an easy day. It was a great day, but not easy. I had to step way out of my comfort zone and talk about myself. And I had to speed up my processing time. Needless to say, I was a little stressed. And then those questions Alithia wrote above became more and more real.
January 30, 2018: The long-awaited text message arrived. We had approved buyers for the house! I literally fell to my knees in my classroom crying. I recall telling someone it felt like I could breathe for the first time in two years.
So we rejoiced. A debt snowball was made-we wanted to be focused in our zeal to pay off debt. And we rejoiced some more. So many prayers were finally being answered!
Little did we know the applications from earlier that winter were still in play. I was checking the website periodically to see if any new online jobs were posted. A pop-up announced Global Outreach Day, but we were already scheduled to be out of town that weekend. Out of nowhere, that trip was cancelled. Following prayer, we decided to register to go and get more information. We could also meet the online school people face-to-face. Teaching overseas was something we saw as a possibility a year or so down the road.
Following registration for the event, we received an email asking us if we had any questions. We asked a few and thus began a dialogue with NICS. A flurry of emails asking about our heart, passions, and plans, led to a sentence that jumped off the screen.
“Our school in Indonesia is probably a good fit for your family.”
Where is that exactly?
It was February 15. It was the first time we heard about Indonesia. We responded by asking why she thought that was the case. A 45-minute phone call later, we knew we needed to pray about going-sometime in the future.
The next Thursday, Michael Joe received an email from the director at BAIS stating he hoped to meet us at the Global Outreach Day and schedule an interview.
Things were getting real.
In November 2015, we moved out of our home. The reason? To sell it, pay off debt so we would have the freedom to go or stay as He led.
Sounds very responsible, doesn’t it?
We thought so, too, until the house didn’t sell-2015, 2016, 2017. Had we misheard Him? Disobeyed? Why was He keeping our house from selling?
Labor Day Weekend 2017: I was gifted a trip to attend the wedding of one of my youth group kids. I went alone leading to extra time to dig into the Word and soak up His presence that Sunday morning. He led me to Psalm 92-and these verses jumped off the page.
12 But the godly shall flourish like palm trees and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. 13 For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden and are under his personal care. 14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green. 15 This honors the Lord and exhibits his faithful care. He is my shelter. There is nothing but goodness in him! (NLT)
Personally, I had really been struggling with how God was wanting me to serve and bring Him glory. I knew I wanted to still be fruitful, be vital, and green.
Then, at church, I was free to simply listen-no responsibilities, no kids to wrangle, no door to monitor-just listen. The pastor’s challenge? To let it go (yes, cue the Frozen song-we all giggled) What was I holding back on? Was there something I was leaning on more than Christ? (yes, OUR LIST!) Was I making the God of miracles into a logic-following person I could understand and control?
In my wildly-beating heart, I heard ‘whose checklist is to be obeyed? Yours-to sell the house, pay bills, and THEN see what I have for you? Or MINE-to simply trust and obey Me-regardless.’
I knew He was serious. This was a watershed moment. Talking to Michael Joe, we prayed and understood He was pushing us beyond where we could control. He was asking us to trust and to act on that trust.
We chose to obey.
With the house still on the market and yet another buyer who backed out, we stepped out and filled out applications (took five hours each!) to an organization with an online school. Checking the website later, I realized I did not get the job that had been posted.
So we prayed more.
Did you know that God can even use the government to encourage? We put in our requests for passports the first day of spring break, March 19. We simply didn’t have the money to put a rush on it. We prayed that they would come in a timely manner, but we were well aware that with the prices of passport going up April 1, we were dealing with a mad rush of people wanting to save money. Lo and behold, the girls’ brand-new passports showed up March 31! We were giddy. On Monday, April 2 at 5:45PM, I received an official communication from the passport office stating we had chosen the 4-6 week option for renewal. It contained a reminder that if we were traveling within two weeks to contact them. Though I knew the option we had chosen, I could feel my heart sink. I had gotten hopeful when the girls’ passports came in crazy fast. I prayed that He would protect our visa process if the passports were late. I knew He could get the passports to us when we needed them.
Then came 12:02AM Tuesday, April 3! Another official passport email arrives saying:
“We have finished processing your passport, and it has been printed.”
I about jumped out of my bed with delight! God had moved…in less than twelve hours! How faithful is He in the big and small things! How many blessings do I miss when I cover them with worry rather than worship? I cannot wait to hold those six blue beauties in my hands! Praise be to Him alone!
Who: Our family, Michael, Alithia, RyAnne (10), Elliana (8), Kaybrietta (4), & Lissie Joy (2)
What: We are moving to Indonesia. Michael will be teaching at Bandung Alliance Intercultural School. I will be staying at home caring for the two littles, while the two eldest go to school with Michael.
When: July 2018
Why: Michael Joe and I both have a love for the expat community. Expat is a word which describes someone not living in their home country. I have seen the impact expats can have all over the world. Michael Joe will be working with students and teachers from all over the globe. Initially, I will be focusing on helping our family transition. We have been called there and will live intentionally to bring glory to His name.
Aside from literal assignments/positions, we do not know what our future or roles will be in Indonesia. What we do know is that we are supposed to go. We know we have been created specifically with gifts and abilities. We know that the time is now. How He will use us to bring Him glory remains a mystery. But we are excited and thrilled to be walking with Him side-by-side into this next adventure.