If we were to write a FAQ (which we probably should…) the first question on the list would be this:
When are you leaving?
That’s the most common question we get. Generally it’s asked with equal parts excitement and genuine curiosity on behalf of the inquisitor. And we love it—we know that many of you have invested your time, energy, prayers, and even your finances in this task to which God has called us.
We really want the answer to simple, short, and sweet. Unfortunately, we can only give you two of those three. The answer is:
First and foremost, it depends on God. He is the one who has called us to this task. He started this journey for both of us over 15 years ago. He carried us through so many opportunities for growth since then, and has delivered us to this point. He brought us to Wycliffe and He created service opportunities for both Miranda and me that specifically and uniquely call for the gifts He has given us. It’s His timing that has dictated our progress thus far, and His timing will determine when we will leave. Our faith in Him, and our belief in the calling He gave us has gotten us this far, and we trust Him to carry us forward along this path to the next season of our service to Him.
Additionally, it depends on us. This present season of Partnership Development requires that we do the frequently-rewarding and occasionally-tiring work of building the partner network God has already prepared for us. We have been and are currently working at this, while at the same time we have continued to raise our children and prepare our family of seven for the realities of all the changes that come along with our new life-season: a transcontinental move, a career change for Mom & Dad, a change in education process & philosophy, a change in climate, and a change in culture, just to name a few.
And, finally, it depends on you. If you’re reading our blog, chances are you’re in on this. Maybe you’re a prayer partner, going to your knees before our loving Father on our behalf. Maybe you’ve decided to partner with us financially, so that God can use your sacrificial gift to bring His life-giving word to those who don’t yet have it in their heart-language. Maybe you are advocating on our behalf, telling others about your crazy friends who are moving their insanely large family to Europe so that they can be part of the global missions explosion as God reconciles His creation to Himself.
So it depends—on God, on us, and on you. But that doesn’t mean that we’re without a plan, or a faith-goal. There are many factors which impact the specific day we leave, but here’s the basic list:
- We must get to 100% of the assignment-based Ministry Budget that Wycliffe developed for us before we will be cleared to leave for Germany.
- We get to 100% of our Ministry Budget through finding like-minded people who commit to partner with us financially on a regular basis.
- Before we go, we have to complete one final training session, a month-long class called ICC (Intercultural Communications Course), which is held three times a year in North Carolina.
- We have a commitment to Dale’s current employer to be in Houston through the late Summer/early Fall.
- For tax reasons, it would be beneficial for us to be in our assignment-country before the beginning of 2015.
Based on that, our faith-goal schedule looks something like this:
- Now-September 2014: Continue to live in Houston, finish out responsibilities to Dale’s current employer, and work like crazy on Partnership Development
- End of September 2014: Reach 100% of our Ministry Budget (to be cleared for training and departure)
- October 2014: Travel to North Carolina to participate in ICC
- November 2014: Visit family members, spend some quality time in the USA with our kids, and prepare for moving
- Late November-Early December 2014: Depart from Houston to Germany
So, the long, winding answer is this: If all goes according to the plan above, we will leave for Germany sometime shortly after Thanksgiving 2014—or about 5 months from now.
This schedule is our faith-goal—we know we can’t do this on our own, but we believe that God has given us this schedule and we’re trusting Him to do miraculous things through and in all of our lives to make these things possible.