28 and on the cusp of a new frontier!

28?!?!?!?!

I can’t believe it. I think I can see 30 from here.  =)

Jesse and I have been moving forward with WorldVenture on our application to work with Luminance in Uganda.  The application process has been challenging, but a lot of progress has been made in the last month and we are definitely moving forward.  We hope to be through the current stage of application in April…and maybe go before the board in June…?

Jesse and I got to have dinner with Thomas, who will be our “boss” in Uganda, as he was in town visiting family and investors (he usually lives in Uganda).  We were VERY encouraged by the visit and it sounds like our support-raising process may be substantially aided by the Luminance…which would mean we could leave earlier!  YAY!

If I have learned anything through the last…2 years of preparing for the idea of missions, it is that there is no “timetable”.  I still like having one…b/c I’m an engineer and need the structure, but I completely understand that things change daily, and it’s all in God’s hands.

We were able to learn more about how Luminance (“Lumi”) is doing…staff, sales, product development, etc. The more we learned about Lumi’s needs, the more Jesse seems like such a great fit for their immediate needs. Can’t wait to get there and start helping out!  =)

We ordered a dozen-plus books for our “training” stage of WorldVenture preparation to go.  Engineers are not typically the fastest readers…so prayers for super-human reading abilities would be great.  =)  Seriously, though, this material is all really great, and I just hope that I am retaining it so that I can be more effective on the field.

In non-missions news…
My (Rachel’s) grandmother had a hip replaced a couple weeks ago and is in the Denver area during recovery. Surgery went great and she’s healing smoothly.  =)

Jesse and I are the HOA Presidents for the building we live in and we have been experiencing serious issues with that. I am so excited to get things all cleared up and set up for a sustainable future for the building, but it has been a complicated process with diverse stakeholders. I love getting to know our neighbors more, though, and really do feel like this is an investment in the community we live in.

And for you ladies reading, I chopped all my hair off late last Summer and it is finally growing back in. I’m in the awkward bob stage, that isn’t my favorite (and I keep wanting to cut it all off again), but I think it will be easier to keep up with in Africa if I leave it longer (ponytails, etc), so I’m learning more patience their.  =)

Jesse and I have had a great roommate living with us for the last few months. He is a friend from church and he is a great guy. One of the best things about him (not really, but it’s an added bonus) is that he loves cats as much as I do!…and he and Trio (our cat) have formed a bond. This is great b/c we’ve been hoping to find someone to take Trio when we leave, but this is terribly sad b/c it makes it all the more real that we will be giving up our cat when we leave.  I know she’s just a pet, but she has been our first pet together and she’s brought so much joy into our lives.  We both feel SO much better knowing that she’ll be going to a loving home, and to someone she’s familiar with. We also found out that we will likely have a dog (as a guard dog) in Uganda, so it’s nice to know we might have a “pet” there too.  =)

Just some processing…
This whole application “journey”, as it has turned out, has been really interesting. It is amazing what has happened in my life, when I think back to two years ago. Back then, I had a list of furniture we needed to acquire at some point, a list of house projects to get to, a list of things I needed to buy and do…  Now, I’m constantly simplifying…giving away those old books I never read (after moving them around for 10 years), getting rid of those clothes I’m never going to fit into again, pushing our 120,000+ miles cars even further b/c they only need to last a little longer, skipping on anything winter-related since we’ll be leaving winters for a good while, trying to spend more time with family and really invest in the people in my life while I’m here, try to plant more gospel seeds with those I come in contact with while I can, I say “thank you” for all the things that I know I wont have soon…organized traffic (even if it’s totally congested), street lights, reliable wireless internet, pre-prepared dinners, grocery stores (with American stuff), restaurants that serve you quickly and have diverse menus, anything dairy, breads, berries, my car, cheap gas, clean water, hot showers, cold air, snow, American English, cultural understanding with those I work with, lack of smells (America has no smell, have you ever noticed that?), my smart phone’s apps, being in the same time zone as my family, direct communication, the Rocky Mountains, shorts, American police, gyms, home heating, Whole Foods, Target, gas stations…what would you do, if you thought you were about to have to get rid of almost everything you own in a year?…it’s actually quite freeing.
But I can’t help but think about everything I’m looking forward to, too…seeing Flavia again, and Brittany, and so many others, Ugandan bananas!, chicken-on-a-stick (oh man!!!!), consistent daylight through-out the year, red dirt, Ugandan English, jackfruit, skirts, flip-flops, dancing, holding hands with little kids everywhere I go, spending hours talking to people b/c it is a socially-oriented culture (as opposed to time, which I’ve never been good at anyways), seeing God through a new lens, pineapples, the time of year when Green Apples arrive from South Africa, the sound of Ibis birds (which I will then quickly despise again), posho (fo’sho!), chapatis (like Ugandan tortillas), the slowest walking pace on the planet (allows for longer conversations), meeting other ex-Patriots, the best Indian food ever, experiencing “real life”…

We talked about the term “real life” when I was in Uganda a few years ago. The interns in Kampala, Uganda kept finding ourselves saying, “this just doesn’t seem like ‘real life'”. Then we decided that to most people living in the world today, life in developing countries is “real life”. So maybe life in American wasn’t “real life”….then we got stuck.  Perhaps it is all “real life”. I still am stuck, honestly. Life in Africa does often feel more real to me. Something about life in America feels numb sometimes, or maybe it is that it is my home country, so I don’t see things as clearly.

I remember thinking once, that it seems much easier to love people when I’m somewhere new. I wondered why and realized that it was because no one knows me there. It is much harder to make a change in the world you start in. I have been formed by America, by my culture, by television, by microwaves, by public schooling, by automobiles. I believe in freedom and the importance of the individual and higher education. What I didn’t see about America, until I left, was that we isolate ourselves, we hide our hurting and needy, we are obsessed with “security” and “safety”. We are an unhappy country, but a smart, wealthy, powerful country.

The happiest people I’ve ever met, don’t own shoes…and I’m not sure they even want shoes…but I want to be happy.  So who is really the one in need?

I’m excited for this journey. God is changing so much in me…and I haven’t even gone anywhere.  =)

Upcoming:
– Jesse is the best man in Rachel’s brother’s (James) wedding in May, and they are doing a bachelor’s party in New Orleans in March.  Pray for survival of all involved.  😉
– James’ wedding in May, in Nashville.
– Rachel is doing double-duty at work while her boss is out on medical leave. Pray for added energy/focus/efficiency as Spring is the busiest season at her office, too.
– Jesse is having similar work-load issues at the office, so sames prayers for him too, please.
– Skiing trips!

Prayer Requests:
– Guidance
– Wisdom
– Patience

Thanks for reading up on us!
I will try to update about once a quarter.

Thank you,
~Rachel & Jesse

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