Monday, April 11, 2011

April: Training

The picture above indicates God's provision over the past few months! Why? Well... what I neglected to tell you in a previous post is that in order to leave for Scotland by mid-July (to be in Dundee for the start of the new academic year) we had to start some of our cross cultural training (at CIT) in April. But in order to go to this training, we (the Stadalsky's and I), respectively needed to be at 60% support by the end of March. So as you can from this picture, God provided!

I have spent 3 out of the past 4 weeks at CIT. I have learned a lot of things that I will continue to mull over as I transition across the pond! In addition, these weeks have also been very relaxing and a refreshing break from the past few months. I am getting some much needed rest. What a sweet gift. I am also grateful for my teammates! The Stadalky's and I have spent a lot of time together and I am encouraged by how easy it is to relate with them. I am part of their family. Here are some fun pics from our time at CIT!

John Spencer and Sophia make me laugh and think. One of our favorite things to do is nerf gun fight (which actually leads to a round of light saber dueling, karate fighting, "face to face" combat, and b-ball moves).
Sophia is the princess that moderates these activities from her bunk bed (similar to her royal throne here) and tells us when to move on to the next her british accent.

A local ice cream shop.

On a hike in the woods behind CIT.

So what's next? I go back to Boston for the month of May. Please pray for time with family and friends, as I say goodbye. Please also pray for continued support. Right now I'm around 80% monthly support, and I need to be at 100% in order to buy my plane ticket for July. Please pray for the funds to come in! Thanks for lifting me up thus far!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

February and March: Snapshots

What I neglected to tell you in "my story" is when I'll be leaving the US. We are aiming to leave for Scotland mid-July (2011) in order to be on the ground for the start of the new academic year. At the end of January it really hit home that this meant that I needed to be focusing on two big things.... 1) visiting and spending time with family and friends and 2) support raising. Here are some snapshots of this over the past two months!

The last week of January, I went to visit my sister, (Bridget), brother (Ben), sister-in-law (Cris), and their kids, Billy and Bella. There was a lot of snow, so we made a fort in the huge snow pile in the driveway. Billy really liked that!

I had a jam-packed February 12th/13th weekend visiting family and friends in Ohio. I had the opportunity to share what God was calling me to do with the church I consider my spiritual "cradle," St. John Mennonite Church. It was great to see folks I had not seen in years. A highlight of my Ohio visit was spending time with my extended family at my all-time favorite restaurant, New Riegel Cafe. Yes, the ribs are delicious (and I may have ordered two...Aunt Cindy would not have it any other wasy :) ), but this has been the location for extended family celebrations over the years. It is a place where we always laugh and leave very satisfied! This was another celebratory event... being together! Below are a few pictures of our gathering!

The following week February 16-19, my parents and sister, Bridget, came to Boston for my Birthday! While I was at work, they explored the city. Then we explored the eating establishments together at night. We had a GREAT time... laughing (as you can imagine!) and catching up on life. Here are a few photos.

That same weekend, after my family left, I headed to the Northeast CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) retreat at the Toah Nipi retreat center in Ringe, New Hampshire. I sat on a panel on "Discerning God's will for your life." It is always encouraging to remind myself how God has led me to the work in Scotland. And really, how he has used the 9 years in Charleston and the past 3 years in Boston to prepare me for this. During the retreat it was refreshing to hang out and catch up with friends who have recently graduated and come back for said event. It reminded me of why I'm going to invest in the lives of medical and dental students! It is easy to focus on the trees (logistics of getting there) instead of the forest (gospel going forth in the lives of students in Dundee). Here are a few pics from the weekend.

The Tufts Group

Apple Pie... my favorite!

The traveling continues... I went to the Global Mission Conference at East Cooper Baptist Church the last weekend in February. However, I almost didn't make it! My Friday night connecting flight out of DC was cancelled and some sweet friends picked me up at the Columbia airport at 2 am and drove me to Charleston! It was a great opportunity to be invited to share with the whole church during breakout sessions on Saturday morning. And we were interviewed in each Sunday morning worship service. Scott wanted to make sure that people remembered us and specifically WHERE we were headed, so he wore his kilt for all events! I also met up with some friends. A highlight was meeting up with three friends from my original dental school class (class of 2003). What a sweet time of fellowship. I am encouraged by what God is doing in their lives. I wish I had more time to meet with others, but there just wasn't enough time!

The team: Scott, Jennifer, John Spencer, Sophia, and Me

Friends from the class of 2003

I think I'm going to miss my niece and nephew A LOT. It has been such a blessing living so close for the past three years. I think I have taken that for granted. So, I have made an effort to see them about once a month before I go. I took another trip to Connecticut to see them mid March. Bri came as well. A highlight was taking Billy to McDonald's for a happy meal. As you can see, he thought it was cool. We also played a lot outside, the snow had finally melted! We set up a huge train village, for Billy loves trains! Bella too!

Then on March 18, I made another trip to Charleston for a friend's wedding and to visit with a few more friends. It was encouraging to meet some Campus Outreach folks at the wedding who have lived overseas and hear their stories. As usual it was a very busy trip. However, I did "veg" out at the beach on Sullivan's Island for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon. I can't remember the last time I just laid down and relaxed! That was a much needed little breather.

So that concludes the snapshots from February and March. What is amazing is that through out all of this traveling and visiting with family and friends, God sustained me! I remained healthy and still worked everyday in between! Also, I was encouraged by every visit! It is great to catch up with folks from the past and present, hearing what God is doing in their life and sharing what he's doing in mine. I am truly blessed by my family and friends.