Friday, June 29, 2012

The Journey in Preparation

Preparing for a big journey in your life can be quite overwhelming work at times, but the preparation can also be a journey in itself that takes you places you never expected to go.

Jenny and I love the outdoors and have no problem getting dirty, but we aren’t exactly “at home” on a farm. So we thought it would be a good idea to get acquainted with rural farm life. This past week Jenny and I spent a day working on the farm of some friends of ours we’ve come to know through our home church, St. Peter’s in Conway, Arkansas. We helped Kathleen and her daughter Kate do all kinds of work at their homestead, Cedar Springs Stables. We cleaned out the chicken coop, shoveled horse poop, broke down hay bales, played with kittens, and helped to paint a fence. At the end of the day we escaped the heat and filled our bellies with watermelon in the AC.

Yesterday we held a meeting with Teri Daily, Jeanetta Darley,  and our new curate, Andrew Hybl, to work out the details for one of our final fundraisers. We are planning a farewell dinner and fundraiser the evening of August 3rd, which is the Friday before we leave for Japan. We are calling the dinner “Doug and Jenny’s Sushi Sayonara.” All the details are on our Support page. RSVP soon if you want to come out to support us, share a meal and a service with us, and give us one final send off before we go!

After the meeting we walked through the summer heat over to Oasis Massage Therapy to get a free couple’s massage from a friend, Leigh Ann Warriner, who we also attend St. Peter’s with. Thanks to Leigh Ann, and her assistant Anna, our muscles have all the kinks worked out and are ready for the big trip east!

Then our final (not so relaxing) business to take care of in Conway: shots. We were consulted at a travel clinic in Conway and ordered vaccinations we will take next week for Japanese encephalitis. Luckily my tetanus shot was up to date. Unfortunately, Jenny had to get stuck.  

We are taking a break to celebrate the independence of our country this week, but next week we’ll be flying out to Toronto, Canada, for a two week orientation. We’ll be learning and talking about what it means to be a missionary for the Episcopal Church in a forgiven setting. Wow! Toronto, Canada. While there, we’ll try to keep you all updated on how God is further preparing us for our work in this year to come.

May you all find peace in your own journeys and preparations this summer.

Doug and Jenny

Monday, June 25, 2012

Splashing Around the State

Hello Everyone!

We have recently been floating around Arkansas on the river of Southern hospitality. Saturday night we stayed with our good friends, Janis and Benny Mays in Rogers, AR. Our Sunday morning was supercharged with homemade blueberry muffins. Then we went on our way and visited Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs. We shared our mission there and received much welcome and support. We really enjoyed the coffee hour—hummus, cheeses, quiches, the best coffee around! Stan took us out for a brunch of tasty omelets and eggs Benedict. We left Fayetteville and splashed the heat of the afternoon away in the Mulberry River. By the end of the day, the gravity of a feast had pulled us into Conway. We spent the evening with friends, cutting vegetables and cooking/eating in a kitchen full of Indian food.

Thanks to everyone who is enabling our vagabond lifestyle this summer. It has been a blast and a blessing to hop around and visit all of you.

A special thanks to Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam. After we worked alongside several of your parishioners in Guatemala, it was great to finally come up to visit your congregation and to share our mission with you all.

At Grace, sat in on a study of the book The Greatest Prayer, by John Dominic Crossan. The day’s lesson was about how prayer is like plugging in to a power source, becoming an energized part of something greater than the self. I feel our journey around Arkansas and the country this summer has been prayerful in a similar way; Jenny and I have paused often along our way to sit and visit with friends, to become a part of their love as they become a part of ours.

We are hashing out details for our upcoming fundraisers, so be on the look-out for those! Also in store for us this week are our vaccinations…a not so exciting aspect of our preparation.

We are  gearing up for orientation in Toronto, we leave July 8! We’re excited to see all our friends from the YASC discernment weekend and meet missionaries from various other programs who will be serving this coming year, we welcome your prayers for safe travel! Our visas are also pending, fingers crossed they will go through before we leave!

We hope everyone has a safe but fun-filled fourth of July! We’ll be trekking down to Camden, Arkansas (where Doug’s family is from and where we were married!) to make more summer-splashing memories.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

$$ Update

This just in...

Our most current fundraising total is at $13,530!!! Thanks to everyone for your support!!

Also, for more details on the upcoming fundraisers, visit the Give Your Support tab!

To sign up for the EYC lock-in, go here!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Making Connections

Hello friends!

We have been busy, busy, busy since our last post. After returning from our trip West, Doug and I have been hard at work organizing more church visits and fundraisers. By the way, Montana was awesome! Both schools have wonderful programs to offer and a unique culture that Doug and I would love to be a part of! Good thing we have a whole year to make a decision!! Meanwhile, I turned 22, (Happy Birthday to me!) and Doug and I spent my birthday together for the first time ever! Summer plans and travels have kept us apart up until now! So that was just wonderful.

Last week was the first week of summer camp at Camp Mitchell. Doug and I volunteered for the primary session (grades 1-3) and were blessed to spend time with some really special people, friends old and new. The theme for the summer is "Making Connections," illustrated by the hands of God and Adam in the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo. Throughout the week we discussed how important it is to make connections, whether it be with other people, the earth, God, or even within ourselves. For the kiddos, we incorporated the wisdom of Dr. Seuss to help illustrate these ideas. Doug and I found the stories and liturgy to be incredibly pertinent to our own lives and upcoming mission work.

Our job title in Japan is "volunteer," and our job description is as follows: "Our dedicated volunteers support the training of our participants by living and working at ARI. They live simply and work humbly, but find great rewards in their time. Their hard work offers volunteers a chance to grow as individuals, as leaders and as valuable community members." So in essence, we are going to Japan to support the work and mission of the Asian Rural Institute. But as we've discovered through the YASC discernment weekends and our own reflections, we are also going to Japan to make connections--to help people see the interconnectedness and dependencies of everybody's livelihood and happiness.

One of our personal goals for our year abroad is to instill a genuine concern in ourselves for all the peoples of the world, and for that concern to inform our everyday life so that we may live in such a way that uplifts all of God's Creation. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have spent a week at camp. It was relaxing, refreshing, as well as exhausting, but it was a much needed time in a "thin" place (a term coined by our friend, Brooks, to refer to a place where God's presence is so very apparent and amazingly overwhelming).

Before I sign off for today, I'd like to update you all on our fundraising efforts. Last weekend, June 3, we visited St. Mark's, Little Rock. It was discretionary Sunday so all the loose offerings went towards our mission. We do not yet have a count from that but the love and verbal support that we received was incredible! We are so thankful for the opportunity to have had the chance to visit St. Mark's. And today, June 10, we visited St. Francis, Heber Springs! Doug grew up in Heber Springs, and even though he was Methodist as a kid, it was nice to be at St. Francis, it felt like home. :) We received a lot of love and support at St. Francis as well and we will hopefully have an updated total for you here in the next week!

In other news, we have two new fundraisers to tell you about! One will be an EYC lock-in in Little Rock on Friday, July 27 (the weekend before we leave!!). The location is TBA but will definitely be in Little Rock (either Trinity or St. Mark's). The cost is $20/kid, but the fun will be priceless!! As is the fun at all lock-ins! So if you are a kid, have a kid, or know a kid, mark this one down on the calendar! It should be tons of funs, friends are, of course, always welcome. More details to come.

The other fundraiser is going to be some kind of Agape supper. It will be at St. Peter's, Conway on Friday, August 3. The dinner/service specifics are in the works, but this will be a special Japanese themed meal with a sending-off service incorporated within. This will also be the last chance to spend time with friends before we leave on that Sunday, August 5. Please consider yourself formally invited. We would love to share a meal with everyone before we leave.

I'll leave you with some Hey Seuss wisdom as well as some pictures from our recent travels and adventures.

"I'll just have to save him because after all, a person's a person no matter how small."

"We've got to make noises in greater amounts, so open your mouth lad, for every voice counts."

"But McBean was quite wrong, I'm quite happy to say, the Sneetches got quite a bit smarter that day. That day, they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches, and no kind of Sneetch is the BEST on the beaches. That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars, and whether they had one or not upon thars."

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not."