Sunday, August 24, 2008

FPO week 3

I've officially been in Virginia for four weeks now...time flies! FPO has been going strong for three weeks, with only five and half weeks to go, meaning I move to South Africa in just over seven weeks.

This week, we had sessions on Church Planting Movements (CPM) and the book of Acts...good stuff, although I do have a hard time staying focused at times. We also got our bank accounts set up and had our first round of immunizations. I only had two this week, polio and hep A. The shots and bank stuff gave us a couple of afternoons off which was much-needed.

I have just about everything ready for my Visa application after just finding out about it last week. I got a good report back on my chest x-ray (no TB) so that was definitely an answered prayer.

As I've said before, FPO gets a little crazy sometimes with all we have going on here but this last week, God has really opened my eyes and heart to an opportunity while I'm here. I've had some time to reflect on various roles in ministry over the years and of course, college and student ministry has been a staple in my life for a while now. I love discipling people and I feel like God is allowing me to do that here with some awesome people getting ready to go to the mission field. Just in the last couple of weeks, I've enjoyed getting to know some truly incredible guys who share my passion for reaching the nations. It's been a great blessing to hear their stories, how God brought them to this point and just hanging out. In the end, I'm confident I'll have learned much more from them than vise-versa and I'm grateful for these friendships God is building.

"Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause"

lyrics from "Hosanna"
Hillsong United

Saturday, August 16, 2008

FPO week 2

It's been a great week at FPO, lots going on, a bit overwhelming at times, but God is good. We started the week with Dr. Jerry Rankin, IMB President, who presented three days of sessions on spiritual warfare. Jerry and his wife, Bobbye, spent many years on the field and no doubt have countless stories of praise, hardships, and funny moments that only missionaries find themselves in. They are down-to-earth and just great people.
One night this week our regional leaders, Bob & Linda, had all 30 plus CESA members over for dinner. It was such a good night of fellowship with our extended family and I think we were all happy to get off campus to hang out and visit with each other.

Thursday night, I had my first official class meeting for my second seminary course, Principles and Practices of Missions. We had some good discussions but after being in sessions all day and then having class until 8 p.m., it's a bit tiring but good nonetheless.

Today, we had some short sessions and were done by 2 p.m. so it was really nice to have the afternoon off.

So a couple of months ago, I received my travel information to go to South Africa and didn't have any instructions about getting a Visa, other than it would all be taken care of once I arrive on the field. After talking to some other people going to South Africa, I discovered I had not received some additional information regarding some furthur medical documentation and state background checks needed to apply for my Visa. Needless to say, I've had a couple of stressful days sorting that out. I have to get a physical, a chest x-ray for tuberculosis and a criminal background check from the state of Arkansas.

One of the many great things here at ILC is the medical clinic. I stopped in this afternoon and found out what I need to do to get this stuff taken care of and hopefully, Lord willing, I'll be good to go soon. And thanks, Melissa, for helping me out with the background check, all the way back in Bryant! God is so good!

Last Saturday, me and some friends from FPO went to Washington, DC for the day (this was my second trip). My friend, Jeff, has a friend at the White House who gave us a little special treatment. Jeff's friend, Grant, gave us a nice tour on the grounds of the White House and gave us a little history about the place. Grant gives tours inside the White House but he can only take a few people and only had one spot open so Jeff got an awesome tour inside. The coolest part for him though was getting to walk the Bush's dog, Barney. So check out the picture below of Jeff and Barney Bush!
I also posted a picture of my bulletin board, which now has pictures on it thanks to my mom and some artwork by my niece, Beth.

Sarah, Jeff, Susan, Me & Josh in front of the White House

Jeff holding Barney Bush, the president's dog

My newly decorated bulletin board in my quad

Monday, August 4, 2008

DC trip & my quad

I rode the Amtrak up to DC this weekend and met up with my friend, Courtney McKeown, who just moved to Philadelphia to work for CityTeam Ministries. A cool part about being in the northeast is that all the big cities are fairly close to each other, DC was only about a two hour train ride.

We walked all over the city Saturday afternoon and saw most of the big stuff...Ford Theater, Capitol Hill, The White House, Washington & Lincoln Monuments, National Archives, etc. Saturday night, we scored some great tickets for only 25 bucks to a Washington Nationals/Cincinnati Reds baseball game. Our seats were by first base, just a few rows behind the dugout. Sunday, we ate lunch at Union Station and Courtney headed back to Philly and I took a train back down to Virginia (thanks, Heath, for getting me to/from the train station).

I was able to move into my quad this afternoon at ILC. This is where I'll be staying throughout FPO. I'm in quad 22, part of the "Africa Village." All the quads have four or five small "apartments" in them. Each apartment has a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, then we all share the greatroom.

I would appreciate your prayers this week as FPO begins Wednesday morning and I'll also be taking my final from my class last week, plus beginning my next seminary class in conjuction with FPO.

Here are some pics from DC and my quad:

Quad 22

Our greatroom

My kitchen

My back door

My laundry room

Ashland, VA train station

The National Archives - Washington, DC

Me and Courtney on the National Mall - Washington, DC

WWII Memorial - Washington, DC

Washington Monument - Washington, DC

Capitol Building/Capitol Hill - Washington, DC

Lincoln Memorial & Reflection Pool - Washington, DC

The White House - Washington, DC

Washington Nationals baseball park

Nationals/Reds game - Washington, DC

Nationals scoreboard

Courtney & I in our awesome seats - about four rows behind the first base dugout