Thanks for the list of growing emails. I know it's just the beginning of my database that I am building. Later I will be asking for more information from all of you (postal mailing addresses etc).
So what's going on in my life? That's a good question, I wish I knew :-P Seriously, God is just leading step by step and I'm done trying to figure out the future.
What I do know:
In November 2011 I was debating starting the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course (http://www.perspectives.org). I was contemplating putting it off until the January or March start date. Well, two weeks before I needed to sign up I was approached after church with a check from our church treasurer for $500. That was $20 more than I needed for the course and my books. The cool thing it, it was from an anonymous donor that had earmarked that amount for me. GO GOD!!
Later that month I was at the UW Madison Hospital visiting a specialist. It was at that point I was given a definitive answer on the health problems that had been plaguing me since the beginning of the year. But the results of that didn't culminate until February of this year following some additional visits with my local specialist.
Over Christmas/New Years I had a chance to go down to Guatemala for the fourth time. This was more for relaxation and pleasure. But ultimately it was just great to get away from the craziness of life and focus on God. I went with my good friend, Heath, who also had friends down in Guatemala. The missionary couple we stayed with put together a couple sheets of questions to reflect on the previous year. Trials and triumphs and everything in between. It was a great exercise to purposefully take time to reflect on the previous year and through it see how God had been growing me through it all. We also had a chance to travel super light (most of my belongings fit in my back pack) so we were able to bring ~250 lbs of luggage with us for a missionary couple that was moving back to the States. Our bags were also filled on the way down with books, clothes, donations, food items etc for the many missionaries I have had the privileged of meeting down there.
February 10th I met with my Pulmonologist who wrote a letter indicating that my current health concerns could be greatly improved my no longer being exposed to my work environment. Fortunately he believes that I will suffer no permanent damage and time will heal. Which I am believing because in the past two months I haven't had to use my inhaler, I've stopped coughing and I don't feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest any more. Though now the worker's compensation insurance company and my private insurance company is battling over who is liable for my medical bills. I have retained a lawyer so I don't have to be the middle man. It's definitely been a great thing to not have this weighing on my mind. Hopefully it will come to a resolution sometime this summer. May 10th I go in for my three month check up and will have another set of lung function tests run to get the improvements in my lungs medically documented. Plus then I will have a better idea how long my recovery will take.
So in the mean time I completed my Perspectives course (including my 12 page paper- I can email it to you upon request), did my bi-annual Continuing Education requirements for my insurance license and have been working through our family summer project list to earn my keep (note it's only April!!). So far two of our outbuildings have had their roofing projects completed plus numerous other things. I have enjoyed being outside and breathing in all of the fresh air. It feels like my lungs are having a party as they celebrate the clean country air :-)
So what about the future? Well, what I do know. Next week I leave for a road trip to Virginia. I'm going through a training program that will equip me with the skills I need in working with large animals on the mission field. Plus I'm sure God has other things planned for me to learn down there.
June 17-23rd I'm planning on being out in Seattle for some additional training that CVM ( http://www.cvmusa.org ) requires all of their overseas staff to complete. It's called Training of Trainers and it's in the participatory teaching style. So we will be learning how those we will be teaching will be learning. It's not the classroom/instructor/student style learning that we are accustomed to here in the US. So please pray that I will be able to find a super cheap flight to get out there.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to have an hour long conversation with Dr. Brad from CVM. He was beginning the interview process and starting to formulate what the best fit for me will be. Also my references have been gathered and will be contacted shortly. What I did learn from him is there are some teams being developed in some more unreached areas in Africa (Uganda, Ethiopia, Senegal) right now. That is the direction we are leaning now. So I'm praying a ton and also anticipating a phone call from Dr. Fred later this week. He is the one who is in charge of the African region for CVM. Dr. Brad takes care of Latin America.
So that's about all I know. Taking one step at a time, taking slow deep breaths and leaning in to God. As a 30-something, jobless, single person with health uncertainties and living with my parents- He's definitely brought me to the place where I can't rely on myself. So I'm trusting Him as I face training and travel costs then leading in to need to raise full time support. Plus, there will probably be an initial several week vision trip/visit to whatever region in the world I will end up ultimately. But if He provided for my Perspectives course when I wasn't even in need.... the sky is the limit. Fortunately my trip to the F.A.R.M. is covered from the remainder funds I have received over time that are earmarked for missions. It seems people knew this was the direction God was leading me. Plus, He already provided a place to stay halfway on my trip to Virginia!! There's an awesome God story behind that too :-)
So, I think that is all for now. I appreciate your interest in this process and appreciate your words of encouragement and prayer support!! The prayer support is HUGE as I walk from the known into the VAST unknown.
Ps. I know that many of you have had the chance to have me tell you about CVM. Though I know some of you may not know about the organization. Here is a great video explaining who they are.