Failing Fast

Jesse and I attended an event last summer that was for people involved or interested in Social Entrepreneurship. I’ll never forget one of the speakers who got up front and said something like, “the only way to succeed in a social enterprise is to fail often and fail early.”

I remember it so clearly because I was genuinely frightened by the idea of going into something with the expectations of multiple failures. Engineers aren’t really designed for that. We do all our work to codes that have been “proven” and we have safety factors to make double-sure things will NOT fail. You can’t build a bridge with the mentality of “fail often and fail early”.

Since that event last summer, it seems like we have been told to “Fail often and fail early” a lot of times. We’ve also just had a lot of things fail.

However, I’m also learning to see the wisdom in “Fail often and fail early”. It’s basically the fastest way to learn.

We are at our month-long training now, and the first two weeks focus on language acquisition. It’s actually really fun, but just today, our instructor said, “when you learn a language, you have to make a million mistakes first…so get started!” After laughing, I realized how that statement seems to have been true about so much lately and how I better just embrace it!

So, as of today, I’m committing to embrace the wrestling, the effort, the falling down and getting back up, the starting over, and the failure…because it is the fastest way to get to success.

Here are some photos of our last few weeks! We traveled over 1,000 miles, driven more than 19 hours, and stayed in 7 different places over the last 2.5 weeks.

We visited petroglyphs in Crow Canyon!

We visited petroglyphs in Crow Canyon!

Mom took us to Chaco Canyon to learn about the ancestral Puebloan culture. It was SO cool!

Mom took us to Chaco Canyon to learn about the ancestral Puebloan culture. It was SO cool!

Tested a solar oven for Lumi. Just because we are on the road, doesn't mean we aren't working.  =)

Tested a solar oven for Lumi. Just because we are on the road, doesn’t mean we aren’t working. =)

After Farmington, NM, we hit the road for Rocky Ford, CO. Beautiful wide-open road.

After Farmington, NM, we hit the road for Rocky Ford, CO. Beautiful wide-open road.

Brian, one of my (Rachel's) previous co-workers, let us ride his horses during our visit! So fun!

Brian, one of my (Rachel’s) previous co-workers, let us ride his horses during our visit! So fun!

We got to learn a lot about drip irrigation systems. I bet this will be helpful in dry northern Uganda.

We got to learn a lot about drip irrigation systems. I bet this will be helpful in dry northern Uganda.

After Rocky Ford, it was time to head to training camp. Excited to be at MTI, but sort of bummed about 7 days of rain!

After Rocky Ford, it was time to head to training camp. Excited to be at MTI, but sort of bummed about 7 days of rain!

Still, it was a beautiful week. 1 week down, 3 more to go!

Still, it was a beautiful week. 1 week down, 3 more to go!

Prayer Requests:

– Praise:  We are under contract with a buyer for our house!

– Request:  This is actually the third buyer we have had a contract with, so pray that this buyer will work out.

– Praise:  Great time with family over the last several weeks.

– Request:  Safe travel as we drive to and from our training center to meetings, etc in Denver.

– Praise:  One month in the same place! So nice to unpack and get settled for a bit.

– Request:  We’ll receive Jesse’s Professional Engineer exam score in late-June. Please pray that passed his exam.

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is starting. Thomas is with WV also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

– Request:  Pray that we reach 100% of our monthly support before we leave MTI training at the end of May!

2 Corinthians 12:9:  “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Thank you SO much for reading up on our journey, and supporting the work we will be joining in Uganda!

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

Bittersweet

“Bittersweet” is pretty much the only word for this week.

“Goodbye”s

Saying goodbye to coworkers, who had become friends, and leaving the familiarity of the routine of the last several years (3.5 years for me, almost 7 years for Jesse), was sad. In many ways, it didn’t really hit us until Friday. We couldn’t really come up with a better word for Friday than “sad”. Jesse and I tried to celebrate his birthday that night, but we were both too bummed to really celebrate. We tried to remember all the things we are looking forward to now that we won’t have so much of our time tied-up, but I think we really needed to just grieve this loss before moving on to the next step.

The feeling on Friday reminded us of the day we each left for college. I still remember my dad and I pulling into the parking lot of my freshman dorm. I looked up at my dad and just suddenly panicked. I realized that he wouldn’t be there the next day…or any day, and I had to figure this out on my own. The irony of that feeling. You spend your last years of High School just wanting to get out from under your parents, and the second that happens, it’s actually scary (or at least it is for many of us). I remember at the end of that day, I was curled up in my dorm room bed and listening to my new roommate falling asleep near by, and I prayed “Here we go. Life will never be the same, but it will be good. I’m on the right track, and I’ll figure it out.” I was still scared, but I was a little bit excited by the potential of college and adulthood.

Sometimes I wonder, as I wondered back then at 18, what is the alternative? At 18 the alternative was to stay at home with my mom in New Mexico, but why would I do that if I could go to college and get an education? Now, again, the alternative would be to stay. Not just to stay, but to consciously turn down an opportunity that it so obviously a perfect fit for us. Or even more accurately, to reject the entire direction and call on my life for the last decade. Like training for the Olympics, qualifying, and then choosing not to go.

“Hello”s

While saying goodbyes are difficult, we’ve also been supported by the people who have come around us and supported us in so many ways. With all the “good-bye”s, we also get so many “hello”s. Saturday morning, we got to meet with someone to talk about the work in Uganda. After the meeting, I actually got tear-y when thinking about all the people (new and old friends) who seem to fit perfectly into this new season of our lives. Many of them, like us, have been on this trajectory for a long time and now our paths are crossing, while others are new to this whole thing and want to support it. All of them are blessings to us and are critical to our ability to keep going down this road despite our occasional fears and difficulties.

Looking Ahead

This week we’ll focus a lot on the house and preparing it for eventual sale. We’ll clean it out and start getting rid of everything we don’t want to store or move with us. We also have a friend visiting next week and some meetings scheduled. I’m really looking forward to organizing all of our stuff that’s been piling up, and having time to dig into more of the work with Lumi.

Prayer Requests

– Wisdom in selling the house, and in time management.

– Time with friends, family, new colleagues, and supporters.

– Patience and grace with each other, as we adjust to our new routine and transition into being co-workers AND spouses.

Photos

Thursday - My last drive to Leadville (for work, anyway). A beautiful drive.

Thursday – My last drive to Leadville (for work, anyway). A beautiful drive.

Birthday celebration for Jesse on Saturday!

Birthday celebration for Jesse on Saturday!