Today we began SPLICE, Mission Training International‘s program aimed at “strengthening [our] skills for cross-cultural life and ministry.” So far, we’ve just met the facilitators and eaten dinner. But for the next three weeks, we’ll be here, getting equipped for the move to Europe.
We’ve spoken to a few people who wonder why Europe would be a difficult adjustment. Why would we need training? To a certain extent, we feel the same way. After all, Brandy and I have spent a lot of time in Europe. However, the truth is, Europe with a military base acting as an umbilical chord back to the States is fairly different from living on the economy with no easy way to get American goods and services. From the 35 hour work week, to the windows that open from the top, everything is just a little bit different. The Europeans don’t have the FDA regulating the production of cheese, and thanks to it, they have thousands of amazing cheeses, but they don’t have cheddar or nacho cheese. While life without tacos may not be the most difficult adjustment in the world, it all adds up. That’s why this program is important. It’s designed to help us integrate more effectively with the culture in Europe. We’ll be specifically tackling issues like maintaining your relationship with God and spiritual growth in a situation where you may have no opportunity to worship. Now, we’ll be plugged into a church, but it may be a few years before our linguistic skills are sufficient for that experience to be at all meaningful. This is important for us, but it is crucial for our children.
I know some of you are praying for us, and we appreciate that a great deal. We’re very excited to be here in part, because it will help to equip us, but even more so because it is another step closer to the ministry to which we’ve been called. Some days, it seems we’ve been talking and planning to go forever, and yet we’re still here. The fund-raising continues, with phone calls, and speaking engagements, and meetings, but we’re still here. Now, though, we’re crossing the threshold. No longer are we just building our support team, we’re making preparations to go. This course is the first step. The next will be upon our return home, when we begin packing our house, and making arrangements to move and put it on the market. These are big moments, and we’re excited to have you along with us.
God bless! I’ll try to provide more information as we go.