Friday, September 28, 2012

OutBound Days 3, 4, & 5

Ok, apologies for not updating sooner, so I'll try to get in the last three days in this update.

On Wednesday, we went to Atlanta to take part in a "Life Experience" activity. The first part was basically a scavenger hunt that had us running around the Atlanta airport. It was a lot of fun, even though it was a little uncomfortable at first. I got to have a few really good conversations, including one with a former pharmaceutical rep who got hooked on prescription drugs and alcohol. During the course of the conversation, she asked, "Don't you think you have to be completely broken before God can really heal you?" I responded, yes, and shared a bit of my testimony. It was really awesome to be able to connect in such a God-ordained way.

CNN World Headquarters 
The second part of that activity was to go in our "tribes" and pray or serve someone that we saw around Centennial Park. We got to do a prayer walk through the CNN World Headquarters, pray for a homeless man on the street named Larry, and pray for Christie, the VP of a non-profit that works with young people in the Atlanta area who was setting up for an outdoor conference.
Tribu "Les Oliviers" - The Olive Tribe

OM USA Headquarters

Harmony House. We stayed in the apartment on the left.

Every Thursday, the OM USA office gathers for a time of worship and prayer for the countries around the world. When we walked into the room, there was a large map on the floor. People were able to stand on the country that they were serving in or that they had a burden for. It was amazing to hear from so many missionaries who are serving around the world. There is a strong focus on the Middle East and North Africa right now, so we were able to pray for our brothers and sisters in that region of the world. Please pray with us that the church will be strengthened in the midst of very oppressive situations.
Thursday Morning Prayer

Feet on France
Me, Michelle, and our newest sister, Vicki

Some members of our tribe, Emily, Olga, Patrice, Michelle and me.
We spent these last few days making some really great friends, and developing life-long partners. Tonight, we shared communion together and then prayed in our tribes, commissioning each other to carry the gospel to the country God has called us. It was a really beautiful time of worship and prayer together.

Michelle and I are coming away from this conference convinced more strongly than ever that God's call is on our lives. We can't wait to get back home and begin to share what God is doing. Thank you so much for your prayers over this week. Please pray for us as we travel back home tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

OutBound Day 2

Even as I write "day 2," I find it hard to believe. It feels like we've been here a week already. We have had so many meetings, training sessions, and one-on-one discussions, it feels like our brains are about to burst!

Hopefully that won't happen.

Today we covered a variety of topics, beginning with prayer for the region of MENA (Middle East & North Africa). We heard stories about how God is working among Muslims in the region, and it was both exciting and heart-breaking at the same time. God is doing a powerful work. Did you know that the church in Iran is the fastest, and largest-growing church in the Muslim world? I didn't either! God is doing an amazing work there, but the need is still so vast. Please keep praying that the truth of the gospel will penetrate the hearts of those in that area of the world.

We also talked a lot about transition; both to the field and returning home. It was really a good discussion/session. We were able to talk to several individuals who have already been on the field about how to best prepare our kids for this transition. Good stuff.

We ended the day a little earlier than the last two nights, so it gave us some time to answer some emails, and read a bit before the end of the day. I am more convinced that God is doing something throughout the world right now, and in this time. I am more stirred to pray for the lost and for workers who are making disciples than ever before.
Marsha and Marvin* two of our housemates here at OutBound. (*Names have been changed to protect the innocent!)

This is our room during the conference. That bed that Michelle is sitting on has been the bed that we're sharing during the conference. It is ok, we love each other, we don't mind being close.

I would like to end with this question: How are you answering the call to the Great Commission in your life?

Let's do this together!

Monday, September 24, 2012

OutBound - Day 1

Inside the central OM USA office. There are 6100 missionaries worldwide representing about 118 countries.
We traveled on the road for about 15.5 hours yesterday, leaving our house around 6 am and pulling into the OM property at about 9:30 pm. It was a long day, but Michelle and I really got a great opportunity to talk together and dream together. Since the kiddos are with Michelle's family this week (Thank you Mike, Donna, Meredith, and Nathan!), we actually had quiet time to process through all that God has done and is doing in this missionary process.

If this is all new to you, let me just explain a little about what is going on. Michelle and I are participating in a job interview/orientation/training conference with Operation Mobilization (OM) called OutBound. These conferences take place about twice a year. We were invited to be a part of this week because we have applied for their long-term missionary program. We have been praying about going back to Europe, and we really feel like this is the next step for us. So far we've had to fill out loads and loads of online forms and paperwork, take personality tests, get references, get physicals, and do phone and face to face interviews. This week is another part of the "getting to know you" process. We are exploring OM and they are doing the same with us to see if we would be a good match together.

Michelle in front of the OM USA Headquarters in Tyrone, GA
Without a doubt in our minds, God has lead us to this place, and we are simply taking the next step. We are still praying about where to go exactly (even though we have some idea in our minds), and we're praying about how we will integrate the kids into their roles on the mission field.

Today we had about a 2-hour interview with the Member Support team. They asked all sorts of questions from, "How do you fight?" to "How do you make decisions?" and "What is your greatest fear about this process?" Michelle and I both walked away feeling really good about their approach, and about how we will move ahead with OM. After this conference is over, they will get the sending committee together to review all of the interviews, applications, and notes from the week and come to a decision on whether or not they want to invite us to be part of the team. So even though we are a few weeks away from knowing what will happen, we feel more and more confident that this is right.

It may be a sign from God...
We can't thank you enough for your prayers and financial support that you've already given to us. We literally couldn't be here without it. Please just continue to pray that God makes things very clear to us and to OM this week on how to move ahead.

Feel free to check out the OM website for more info on their organization at

Thank you all!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Outreach Report from France!

This is the outreach report from our missions trip to Clermont-Ferrand, France. These pictures and quotes are from the team, including us!