Home again…at least for now.

We are currently staying in the basement apartment of very dear family friends.  They have graciously allowed us to invade their home with our 4 kids and all our worldly possessions as we aim to close the deal and get to Swaziland.

I have lots of things to share about MTI.

Initially, when we were told we needed to attend the program, we hemmed and hawed.  We were concerned about a handful of things, all of which evaporated as we began to anticipate this time.  By the time it rolled around, we were definitely excited.  It was a much needed break from the real-world and an opportunity to check the temperature of each other and the kids.  Much, much needed time to focus on what we are about to do.

Well, let me tell you….MTI offered so much more.

Like stunning views in the morning.  I missed the true colors of this early morning sunrise.  It was spectacular.

It amazes me still how this community of fellow sojourners embraced our children.  They loved on our kids, listened to them, played with them and accepted them at every level.

Sorry for the quality here…camera on the phone, but I couldn’t help taking the opportunity of snapping a shot of Matt leading worship with his guitar.

MTI was more than prepared to receive the kids.  Each of the kids attended class, and as we sat in the adult class exploring ideas on cross-cultural ministry, they too shared ideas at their level on the same topics.  We so, so needed to have the kids’ concerns addressed.  Thank you MTI…and thank you fellow missionaries who loved on them.

Some food for thought:  Conflict Styles, Managing Stress, Embracing Rest & Sabbath Keeping, Transition, Crossing Cultures, Grief and Loss, Third Culture Kids, and Goodbye’s and Hello’s.

To name a few.

Needless to say, we were challenged.  I think it is safe to say that all 45 adults shed tears at some point during the program.  We were all called to self-examination, repentance and redemption during this exercise of spiritual pressure-washing.  ( A Rob phrase, but an accurate description)

Of course, pressure-washing is not always comfortable…downright painful at times…but a necessary action.  Man…this stuff gets down into the crevasses of your soul.

So Jen…what challenged you?  Well, there are a couple of things.  Let me re-phrase that…everything challenged me, but there were a couple of things that really convicted me.  Managing Stress, Conflict Styles, Goodbye’s and Hello’s and Sabbath were the big ones for me.  If you want the run-down on my experience with Managing Stress and Conflict Styles, just ask.  I would love to share.  For the sake of space I will dive into Goodbye’s and Sabbath.

Allow me to begin with Goodbye’s

We began to share as a group the things that will be tough.  Friends, family, special things, special places and ideas.  Sitting in this giant circle gave space for some things, like feeling each other’s pain.  It took about 30 seconds for us all to experience the impact of goodbye.  It was a tough session.  The impact of goodbye.  I came away with something unexpected.  For sure I have anticipated difficult things when it comes to last moments at home, but I didn’t expect to realize that I don’t “go” well.  I learned a little something about myself; I am constantly looking forward…looking toward the thing I am going to.  Of course this works well for me, but what about the wake I leave behind?  I can see that not all my loved and cherished people say goodbye as the door is swinging shut behind like I do.  There are folks who need the time, the process, the assurance…. can I do that?  Can I leave my style and be present for the goodbyes of the people I love so much?

I stand convicted.

I am not (or have not been) one to “process” a goodbye.  I leave fast.  But which is the better way?  Keep on going or stay invested?  Like I said, I stand convicted.  It is good and right to give the time and space for others around me to do goodbye well.  After all, my deep desire is to go well.  I pray that in my new self-realization I can lessen the impact of goodbye as we go…may we go to the Glory of God.

And Sabbath….

Oh man…Sabbath.  How many times have I been convicted on Sabbath?

To "rest" in the Colorado sun was glorious!

Every Bible study I have attended over the last several years has brought me deep, inescapable conviction on how I horde my time.  Here we go again, I get it.  I understand the spiritual implications of withholding my time and yet still…yet still…

Is it no wonder I get overwhelmed with all that I have to do…so busy, busy, busy…yet never actually getting anything done?  Why is it that I think hoarding my time, never offering a day of rest for the Lord, will bear fruit?  Even the secular world recognizes the need for rest.  Here my God demands it and I struggle to make the sacrifice.  The bottom line truth is this:  It is counter intuitive, but to not do so is counter productive.

Honestly, I believe had I been honoring the command for rest, I would have felt more in control and would have been more effective.  I robbed myself of precious time by not being willing to give it.

What a gracious God we have… to expect us to take time for rest.  Why is it so hard to accept this precious gift?  One word:  Intentionality.  Time to plan for Sabbath.  Make time for Sabbath.

I guess I need the Lord’s help.

It is good and right to remember all that He has done for us.

Well, training at MTI was challenging for sure, but we did get some fun in…..

Game on.





We played everything.  





And of course there is always Rob…who keeps things in perspective for me.  Thanks Rob, for offering evidence of your dorky side.

We even had “delicious” meals.  Our “food” was prepared for us daily.  Hip, hip, hooray for not having to prepare our own “meals!!”  Our dining experience began cafeteria style, but always ended as a shared meal with good friends.

Goodbye my MTI friends….you are the best!

Now that training is checked off the list, time to hit the pavement again.  Still raising support, we only have the last bit to go.  Consider how you might participate in what God is doing in Swaziland.  Won’t you join us?

Love, Jennifer

PS.  More pictures of our time at MTI will soon be uploaded to Picasa.  (link to the left)


2 thoughts on “Trained

  1. Thank you for sharing with all of us! It is good to see your smiling faces. I’m glad to hear of your training, and your preparation. I struggle with rest too.


  2. So good to hear from you and much of what you are experiencing and learning. You expanded my thinking on the “good byes”. How DO we get beyond our self focus? Only by seeking to have the eyes and heart of Christ! Lord, change my heart, open my eyes and help me to get beyond myself!!! Now the rest issue… that is a BIG one. I love to be busy at good things and I also love to rest. I seem to be much better at doing than resting, but you can rest and not rest in the Lord. So, for me I will rest in the Lord, while busy or not and seek to maintain a healthy balance of physical rest which includes nine hours of sleep and a pretty regular nap on Sunday. I hope this is pleasing to my Lord and if not, that he will show me the improvement plan that is necessary. Loved you all and loved hearing from you. So cool to see Matt leading worship!!! Hugs!


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