Moving to Colorado has been... difficult. In many ways. It has been a tremendous challenge to embrace my new "home" and thrive here. Everything is just so different.
So, when I was offered the opportunity to go to Portland to cook for CA's Engage event, it didn't take long for me to say "YES!!". And what a wonderful opportunity it was! For 4 days, I got to cook for 22 people, and serve in a capacity that brings me great joy. Being in Portland was amazing - the part of town we stayed in has a very European vibe to it. I walked everywhere I went, and got to shop at Trader Joe's!
But mostly it was a chance for me to give something to these sweet candidates who had come to learn more about CA and what we do. It was a chance for me to experience a little springtime for my soul, and recognize that things are not dead, but just have been dormant for a while.
Along with 10 Christian Associates staff, Megan and I walked 12 candidates through the process of assessing their Calling. Of these, we have added 9 new missionaries to our staff. They will now begin fundraising, training and working through the location-placement decision with CA, and will hopefully be on the field in 6-18 months. Please pray for these people. I have heard international church planting referred to as the "X-Games" of Ministry and I believe it. It takes any cracks an individual, couple or family has, and rips them wide open!
During Engage, we all stayed in a large hostel guest house together in a very urban setting, where we did lots of walking and getting to know this "new to us" neighborhood. We had room for many group exercises and many individual conversations, both casual and intense. Through trek and exegeses exercises, meals and late night chats, we were able to observe attitudes and character during "on" and "off" hours. It's really a great process CA has been honing for 44 years, and Jesus is at the center of it.
On Sunday morning, our sojourners are given a red, yellow or green light.
For some, we recommend a period of time to work through issues that we believe may be harmful to themselves and/or their team oversees. This can take from a number of months to a number of years. With others, we feel churchplanting with CA is not in their best interest at this time. Based on the work that we have done with each of these candidates over the past number of months, and the 5 days that we spent together (day and night), we feel these 9 candidates are ready for the X-Games!