I'm not even kidding.
6 weeks in Sydney, Australia.
Me, Marc, and Caroline.
(did I mention it is all free?)
I know. My jaw was on the floor, too.
For the past few years, RUF has partnered up with our denomination's missions organization, MTW (Mission to the World) to create a mentored summer internship for college students who are interested in being apart of short-term global missions. They call it their "Mentored Thrive" program, and MTW places a RUF minister & his family at each location to be a pastor and shepherd to the small team of American college students working at that location. Basically, he is the guy who debriefs with the team each day after they have served/worked/ministered to the nationals, he meets with each team member for one-on-one meetings, he calls team meetings to discuss any "drama" on the team, he is the "home-base" guy for the RUF students.
Currently, there are opportunities in Scotland, Ireland, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, and more. This year a Thrive program was opening up in Sydney, Australia, and some friends of ours (fellow RUF minister & fam) were slotted to go. Well, in God's usual crazy providences, their family had to back out a few weeks ago, but they were asking the RUF guys if anyone would be interested in stepping in their place.
In my frustration with the lack of ANYTHING happening adoption-wise in our life, I spontaneously blurted out to Marc, "What if we just GO? Maybe we should do it."
I must admit, my initial intentions probably had very little to do with Jesus. :)
Nevertheless, we decided to check into the opportunity. (of a lifetime, no doubt!)
And of course, it sounded right up our alley.
- A small church plant in Sydney with a huge explosion of college students.
- The students are from 4 different universities, and almost all from various places in Asia.
- The missionary/pastor is eager to get a team of RUF students to come and build relationships, share the Gospel, and help in outreach for their campus ministry & church.
The more the idea sunk into our heads, the more it excited us and seemed to be the perfect timing. Our possibility of having a new baby before July/August are highly unlikely, and so this may be the last summer for awhile in which we could do something like this! (each summer, we've turned down the opportunity to do one of these Thrive programs b/c I wanted Caroline to be old enough to handle all the travel...)
So it's looking like we're moving forward! We've got some paperwork & interviews to complete, but Lord willing, we're going Down Under!
I'm excited & nervous beyond belief, but overwhelmed with gratefulness to the Lord for this opportunity. I know the Lord will stretch us and grow us. Now I can't wait to get a much bigger, global perspective of His Kingdom! (and yes, I'm also very thankful they'll speak my language and we'll be able to navigate Marc's gluten free diet in such a big city...)
And if in God's providence, this opportunity doesn't work out, I know He is in perfect control. Nevertheless, we're excited!
Speaking of God's crazy providences, here's another one. Our niece, Callie, is currently IN Sydney this week for a grad-school conference she attended, and she actually WENT to the church plant & met the missionary on Sunday! Small world, eh?
So, yeah. I may have a few too many irons in my fire between adoption stuff and now THIS?! :) I know, I know. We live a crazy life. And we pretty much love it like that.
Here's a few specifics to pray for now:
- We need students to go! They're looking for a team of 10, with an even number of guys & gals. Oh how I'd LOOOOVE for some of our own RUF students to raise the money & come with us, so pray to that end! (we are announcing the trip tonight at RUF, though we don't have a $ amount yet for them.. but if any of you RUF students are reading this blog.... hint hint....) We will also get the word out with RUF's across the nation in the event that we don't have all 10 team members come from Lynchburg.
- Pray for all of the logistics to come together-- all of the applications, interviews, passport/visa stuff on this side of the world as well as all of the logistics on that side of the world as we continue communicating with the missionary there.
- Pray for God's will for us to be clear in this-- my heart feels torn at times thinking about leaving the country for 6 weeks with the "what if" potential of adoption hanging in the wings, but I also know that I don't need to sit around my house for 6 weeks just waiting by the phone and hoping, too.
- Pray in advance for our hearts in this endeavor, but especially for sweet Caroline! She is telling everyone she's going to Australia, and that you have to take a BIG plane there and fly ALL day. (oh, she has NO idea... and neither do I, for that matter!...) It's going to be a huge culture shock for us just to go from life in a small town to living in a downtown HUGE global city, taking public transportation everywhere, and lots of WALKING, I'd imagine. (not to mention we'll be transported across the world, to a different day & season...) I have no idea how life will look like with a 4 yr. old in a major metropolitan city, but we're up for the adventure!
If any of you have BEEN to Sydney before or have traveled overseas with small children, I would loooove to hear from you! The extent of our familiarity with Australia is going to Outback Steakhouse. ha!
Let the adventure begin! We'll keep you guys posted. G'day! :)