We interrupt the stalled memoirs of a late summer trip that apparently couldn’t find an end to bring you an exciting announcement:
We have switched mission organizations and are now a part of International Teams (ITeams)!
The decision to look for another mission did not come lightly, though we recognize that it was a long time in coming. It’s a challenging thing, discerning between the difficulties that arise within the center of God’s will, and those that occur when we’re not quite where God would have us.
Before going to our orientation with GEM, we were apprehensive, thinking we would probably not be a good fit with the same organization Jeremy’s parents went to France with.
During orientation, we were very surprised with how well we got along with the missionaries at GEM head-quarters. We felt hopeful.
Then we spoke with the team in GEM France, and shared how we felt called to serve in Paris. This is when things started getting a bit hairy. GEM has no team in Paris, and until they did or until we were considered seasoned missionaries, being in Paris wasn’t an option they were willing to consider. We were discouraged.
Then a team of missionaries from a couple different organizations, including a few other “green” missionaries with GEM, appeared to be converging on Paris, and the possibility gave us hope!
Then the seasoned leader of the would-be team had to drop out of the game, and we were once again discouraged.
Then there was talk of us working with missionaries from another organization, International Teams incidently, in Paris, and we were excited and energized again.
And then we had a conversation with GEM’s team in France again where they shared that we were about out of time getting to France and we would have to get to France in the next 9 months. Fine with us! We enjoy a good challenge! But then they shared their feelings on how Jessica and I operate in ministry together and how this was at odds with how they like to do ministry with the couples they work with. And so we felt we were being told that after 15 years of operating one way as a couple with beautiful results, we had to change to fit a mould that we rejected before we even got married – a mould that would tear us apart as a couple.
And that was when it became clear beyond a doubt that we could no longer consider going to France with GEM. There were other issues as well, such as differences in approach to ministry and level of leadership management that were not a great fit either.
And so, at long last, we took the bold step to look for other mission organizations, still feeling that the call that God placed on our lives had not diminished in the least.
Summer of 2011 led to us narrowing the options down to one: ITeams. We talked it over with the ITeams Paris leader thanks to the magic of Skype, he took some time to think and pray it over, and after confirming with us that we were on the same page with things like ministry approach and level of leadership management, he gave us the green light to apply to ITeams.
The application process took us the majority of the summer and a bit into the fall, and then we waited.
And we waited.
And the process that was supposed to take about 6 weeks lasted over twice as long. For the record, we hate limbo. And just as we were about to make plans for January and beyond, we got word that we were accepted with ITeams!
So here we are now, a day or so away from closing the door on 2011, and we are busy working on completing the required online course (4 books to read + articles, and 12 papers to write) before the January 16th deadline, and flying to Illinois two days later! This in the midst of Christmas, Cosette’s birthday party (she’s 2), New Year’s, Epiphany, and Evangeline’s birthday (turning 4), all just days apart from each other!
Rejoice with us! And please pray for us!