Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Stage 1 - ✔

Good morning

I'm writing to you today from the Miami International Airport. The possibilities for communication once I get on the airplane in 2 hours are a firm unknown but I wanted to take this opportunity to get some words out there.

I'm guessing that if you're reading this, you're also one of the people that has supported my long journey to this point. For that I thank you! If you have supported me financially then I would ask you to also pray for us. I've been with the team for less then 12 hours but it's gone smoothly to this point and I want it to continue to be that way. So pray for us, please!

There isn't a lot to say about the trip yet, because it's barely begun. Late in the flight last night I got a sudden onset nausea which I hope doesn't reoccur during either of the legs of today's flight. Once I landed I hoofed it to the baggage claim area and even though I wasn't the first off the plane, I was one of the first to the area and fortunately had one of the first bags onto the conveyor, after a long wait for the bags to come.

When I got to the hotel we had a meeting. Just kind of an ice breaker and important information time. After that, the 12 of us dispersed to our various hotel rooms. I was with the two other guys. I thought I might be getting the better end of it because the other two are friends and crashed in the other bed, leaving me the other. But one of the guys was a snorer the likes of which I can't remember ever hearing so sleep didn't last long after it came. So I'm starting to feel the drag a little bit but flying is pretty non taxing so I'll be fine for today. Hopefully tonight's rest is a little more fruitful.

It's still early but things have come together as well I thought they might - maybe even better. I'm not sure I can make the determination right now but maybe with a fresher mind I could say so.

In any case, I hope that I'll have at least a couple chances to share about the trip while still down South but if not, I'd just ask once again to think of us and pray for us. For health. For safety. For unity. Anything that the Lord brings to your mind!

Thank you!

Matt

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Theme

I usually wait until the end of a calendar year to know or be able to define a word or theme for that year. 2017's theme seems to already be coming into perspective. 2016 was a lot about transition for me. It wasn't overly smooth or turbulent but it was about transition nonetheless. Not unlike the space between one step on a staircase and the next. 365 days is a quite a bit of time for one step to be taken but I certainly wouldn't be the first to have an extended time between steps.
Last year I had a few different jobs that I found myself doing. My predominantly, & the main reason why I've been so long between posts on here, is that I started an actual website about sports in the great Fargo-Moorhead area and I've devoted myself to that pursuit. For most of 2016 I was just trying to get my bearings with my approach and my focuses. Now it's starting to show some signs of taking off and I've worked out many of the kinks.
But everything that's gone on has been in the aftermath of my college experience. Suffice it say that things have dragged out for much longer then I ever expected or would have wanted. There are things I've learned through the time that I wouldn't trade back but the headaches and open endedness of it sure do make that seem appealing sometimes. Live and learn though, as it were. I thought it may wrap up a couple years ago after I was able to travel and work in Turkey but every trip I've expressed interest in being a part of has gone the way of the toilet, until today that is.
Which brings me to the main point. The catalyst for me thinking that 2017 will be about resolution is that there's finally a team going out that I'm able to be apart of. Things will have to happen at an accelerated speed because the rest of the team has already gotten done many of the requirements but they will be going on the mission and I've been approved to join them, so whatever hurdles I have to jump - I will.
The plan is to go from Minneapolis to Miami to Paraguay in late June for a few weeks and return near the middle of July. The closest thing to a concern about the trip from my perspective is that I've recently started a job that I hope to do for a few years until the website has really taken off. Being new also means that informing them of the trip and that I'll be gone for those weeks is a little bit troubling. I've heard the summer is a slower time and there has already been evidences that it shouldn't be a problem but I hope that isn't!
As far as I'm concerned it's past time for my Bethany chapter to be completed so even if things go the worst possible way I think I have to do this and I want to...which certainly helps.
Getting to go to South America is it's an appealing piece of the puzzle. What's more, the work I'll be going will have tangible results both in the short term and for the people's future's. To be able to make both an immediate and a lasting difference is more of a motivator. The contingent of the team who's idea it was to go to Paraguay and some joiners of similar talent and knowledge will be the core of the group while I will be a support piece for their works. As I was told it, we'll be going by riverboat to different villages to primarily provide healthcare for the locals. A Paraguayan riverboat, I'm not sure I can even imagine what that will be like but isn't something I'd imagine will be more then a once in this lifetime opportunity.
Bugs and their diseases are a concern but I'm not one of those anti-vaccine types so that'll help if not complete take that risk off the board. The types of areas we'll be entering will likely be safe, or they won't allow the team to go but going out from behind the high walls means there's always risk. I wouldn't have it any other way though. If there's one concern I have about the trip, it's the group dynamic. With the way I've operated my life, being thrust into a group of 10 or so English speakers in another country will be an adjustment, even with my prior international experience. The life I lead is good for me and I don't have any desire for it change too much, but I guess I'll leave it up the Big Guy to work out. I've been told that one of the other guys is a rabid sports fan, so if nothing else, that should help!
Two months and I'll be on my way to the closure of my time at Bethany. It almost doesn't feel real and can't help but think that the rug will get pulled out from under me again but the fact that the team is 100% locked in to going does diminish my trepidation somewhat. Anyway, that's the deal, this wanderer gets to add another one to the list, and I'm already thanking God for it!