They’re heading to Guatemala

Have you heard?  Talia & Kaisa are preparing to go on a Mission Trip this summer!  I’m excited for them for so many reasons:

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  • They’re going to serve through Impact Ministries – and I know Impact Ministries has a long term presence and a goal to both serve kids in Guatemala AND impact our kids for world missions
  • They’ll be going with their new youth group – and I’m looking forward to seeing strong relationships form
  • The work and outreach project will be in Chijulhá – Kevin & I were there on an eMi trip almost 15 years ago – and our new church here has a special ongoing relationship with the project too!

The girls have been busy fundraising and looking for prayer partners.  Would you consider partnering with them?  You can donate here by selecting “Missions – Guatemala 2017” – just also send an email to hannah@swcc.ca indicating that your donation is for “Guatemala – Talia & Kaisa” (full details here).

Here’s their prayer letters so you can read what they’re excited about:

Send us a note if you’ll be praying for them, so they can send you an update after the trip!

A New Job!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD . . .  (Jer 29:11)

I know that verse.  I’ve watched God work out plans for me and my family time and time again.  And yet, it still sometimes takes my breath away when God gives me more than I could ask or imagine.

You see, when we moved back to BC, Kevin was stepping into a new role in the familiar world of consulting engineering.  But I didn’t have a job lined up – nor could I really look for one right away, since I had plans to travel with my Dad early in the new year.  So it seemed prudent to hold back, help my family settle in, and wait – at least until after my trip.

I have to admit, I was a bit worried.  You see, besides loving my job at eMi, I had loved the flexibility that came with it.  I could work around my kids’ activities and their days off. Yes, they’re teenagers and quite capable of staying at home alone for a few hours.  But you know what – they’ll be out of the house soon enough, and I’m enjoying proximity while I can.  Where was I going to find a job like that?!?

Well . . . just before I was leaving for my trip, I got an email from Sandra from Impact Ministries.  Remember Impact Ministries?  The first eMi trip I took with Kevin – long before we were on staff – was to Guatemala to design a school for Impact Ministries.

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At Impact Ministries in Guatemala 2005

A couple of years ago, eMi (though not Kevin) was back in Guatemala to design another project for Impact  – and Sandra, the Canadian Operations Director, actually spoke at the eMi Dessert Evening that year.  I also worked closely with her as we featured this project in our Christmas newsletter.  Since we had moved to BC, we had even attended a “Friends of Impact” event – partially because our girls are planning a missions trip there this summer with their youth group.

To condense numerous emails and skype calls: Impact Ministries might be looking for a Communications Coordinator in February. Would I be at all interested in a part-time position doing much the same type of thing as I did for eMi?

Would I be?!?  A part-time, flexible job starting shortly after I would actually be available, doing what I love to do. I’d  get to keep telling “God Stories” about another amazing ministry – one whose newsletters I’ve been reading for years 🙂  God is so good!

I had my first day last week.  I feel a little bit like I’ve jumped in the deep end, but so far I’m swimming more than sinking 😉  I’m excited and exhausted, and my brain is full – I’ve met wonderful staff and volunteers in person, by skype and by email,  and I’ve immersed myself in all sorts of communications-type stuff.  We’ve got some priorities set and I definitely  won’t run out of things to do!

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At the Impact Ministries Office

I’m still in awe of how God put this all together, and I’d appreciate your prayers as I settle into this role.  And fair warning: between my new job and the girls’ upcoming mission trip, you’ll be hearing more about Impact Ministries around here 🙂

Transitions

After 9 1/2 years, our family is transitioning out of EMI and out of full-time ministry. We have felt God calling us to something else and have been earnestly trying to figure out the next season. This decision process has not been easy, since our passion for overseas development continues, and we still believe that EMI is a great organization.

After much prayer we have decided to move to the BC interior, where Kevin will take a position at an engineering company. He will be able to move back to consulting in BC much closer to extended family.

Everything has fallen into place much more quickly than we could have possibly imagined. We will be moving at the end of August.

We thank all of you for sticking with us for so many years as we pursued this adventure God had us on. We will sure miss Calgary, EMI, the development work, and all the stories we got to tell about what God is doing around the world.

And as we start a new season in a new place, we trust God has a vision for us there too. Please keep us in your prayers as we transition and keep moving in the direction God has called us to.

Kevin, Michele, Talia & Kaisa

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Perspectives

Engineering Ministries International project trips bring together so many people – the project leader, the volunteers, the interns – and that’s just the project team.  Then there’s the client ministry, the local design professionals, project managers and the like.  And even the people who are the ultimate benificiaries of the design (in this case, the students at the university).

I love hearing the different perspectives they share on the project.  Kevin shared his perspective in the previous blog post.  Here’s a couple more:

The Client’s Perspective: The Benson Idahosa University News wrote all about the University’s “consultative meeting with a team of engineers from both the local and international community.”

The Intern Perspective – in Photos:  Kevin’s intern, Mailys, is an accomplished photographer, and put together this blog post of Nigeria in Photos.

You can also check out the #eMiC10060 Project Profile, which also includes a collection of photos and links to these types of ministry reports.

 

The Presentation & Beyond . . .

Kevin’s team presentated the plan that they had developed to the University leadership on Friday afternoon . . . here’s what he had to say:

I think our team did a great job on the presentation. We worked very hard through the week to get some good recommendations. And then it was presented in a clear manner that was appropriate for the high level administrative audience. We had maybe 15 others from the university administration at the presentation. They were very appreciative for the expertise that our team brought.

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The technical people fully understood our recommendations and supported them. But the higher ups appeared to want us to perform a miracle and give them an American university without them having to make any hard decisions.  Hopefully the technical people can drive this project so it doesn’t get bogged down in politics. But that is the challenge with any large institution.

I had my hour long run this morning so I am feeling good and ready to go. Our Indian volunteer, Berlin, joined me for a couple laps in his flip flops. Last weekend one of the other volunteers, Ailene, joined me for the full 25 laps to make 10k. We stayed in the compound for our runs, so it wasn’t quite as interesting as hitting the streets but it was still fun surprising the geckos and squirrels on every lap. It has been a long time since I have sweated so much before 7:30. This humidity and heat even so early in the morning is incredible.

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And then . . . time to start the long journey home.  The team were heading back to Lagos for their debriefing and a bit of R&R:

We made it to Lagos after a few spurts and starts. The flight was 2 hours late and was almost cancelled due to the thunder showers. 10 more minutes of circling and the incoming airplane would have just gone back and not picked us up.

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Please pray for Kevin as he helps the team process what they experienced this week, pray for a good day of rest of them, and for safe travels as they all begin to journey home.

(More photos)

Into the home stretch

There wasn’t too much to report for Wednesday. Half the team went to the site to do percolation and water quality tests. Half stayed back to meet some more people and to work on the layout plan. We worked well into the evening, had some devotionals and went to bed a little later than the first few nights. Sleep has been a bit erratic but I finally had a solid long sleep. Now I need a couple more of these and I will be back to normal on the time change. This would be just in time for the flight back when I have to do it again.

That was Kevin’s email from yesterday.  This morning, he actually called (thanks, Skype).  It was 3 p.m. his time, and they were less than 24 hours away from thier final presentation – and the staff/student soccer match that was scheduled immediately after the presentation, so no leeway to go late 😉

The plans are coming together well, and the team feel like they are accomplishing lots.  They’ve had good communication with the local engineers and maintenance team to speak into the plans. They’ve got lots to finish up, but it’s coming along (and don’t they have a luxurious-looking makeshift office? )

The biggest challenge will be communicating something as technical as water/wastewater infrastructure to those higher up on the heirarchy scale so that they understand enough to fully buy-in (which ultimately will affect whether things get built as designed).  Keep praying for them as they put the finishing touches on their designs and as they present back to the ministry!