Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Newsletter

Ah, back in the old days when I was wiser - or, at least, more constrained by policy - I sent my newsletters out nearly every month and always had them checked over by a couple people before they went out. (I also had to go to a print shop to have half-tones of my photos created, and relied heavily on the ancient folding machine on the first floor of our office building!)

Nowadays I spend a couple hours creating a letter and mail-merge it to go out through email. Sometimes the results are less worth reading. Usually I find at least a few odd mistakes within hours of pushing "send." Such was the case with this one. Here's the amended text of a newsletter I sent to 419 addresses just yesterday.

Dear friends,

Hey, it’s been quite a while since I’ve sent a regular newsletter! I’ve been to South Carolina, Washington, Florida (twice) and… yeah, I’m even starting to feel more at home in my new digs in Eugene, Oregon. No snow here, but plenty of rain. Sun even comes out from time to time. I love living amid trees and rivers and lakes, and, of course, being near my love.

The big news of course is that right before Thanksgiving (as anticipated) Chris officially asked me to marry him. Guess what? I said yes!

May 26 – the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend – is the big day. Want to come? I’m working on a guest list and hope to set up a website to help coordinate things and include folks who will have to cheer us on from afar.

We’ll have a ceremony and reception that afternoon in Eugene. It will be at the Bethesda Lutheran, the church where Chris grew up (outside, if weather permits!) Other details are falling into place.

In the next month or so I hope to settle the question of The Dress. Somehow, without noticing it, I crossed a threshold and started going to more funerals than weddings. So I didn’t notice that since the days when my friends got married, all brides started wearing strapless ball gowns that would look waaay better on my old Barbie than on me! For myself, I hope to find something with sleeves. That may be a vain hope (in more ways than one). I may still go with some fabulous colorful outfit from overseas. That might suit me better, but it would certainly bewilder others!

At any rate, who ever thought that this day would come? I am grateful and happy to be marrying Chris and starting a new life with him and the kids (who are, by the way, doing just fine with all this).

Current Challenges:

Travel. I’ll be making four more trips to the Southeast or Midwest before we get married. This helps the time pass more quickly, but being one time zone further West (and 2+ hours from the major airport) is taking more out of me than I had anticipated. And yes, I’ll stay put as much as I can after we tie the knot!

Wedding planning. I’m not an event planner, but a bride – unless she’s young, rich, and/or surrounded by hyper-involved family members – cannot get out of planning “her” big day. Stressful. Pray for peace and for things to come together at the right time.

Overcoming Oregon’s version of the Seattle Freeze. I’ve really felt it at church. Finally got up my courage to ask a nice Christian lady to have coffee with me; she got a deer-in-the-headlights look and scurried away. Sigh.

Time management. Never my strong suit, but now… How can I get a full-day’s work done, be there for Chris and the family, keep up with school, and still pursue other interests and relationships or just get some rest? I’m still trying to find what would feel like a healthy balance with these things!

– Preparing to become a wife. Many of you either have a wife or you are one. If that is the case – or even if it isn’t – perhaps you could pray for us as we lay the tracks for our new life together.

Much appreciated! 


Since I last wrote, I’ve finished my second Old Testament class – it was awesome! – and flown to South Carolina for two weeks of intensive courses there. I’m still finishing the coursework for classes on urban church planting and issues in contemporary Islam. This weekend I will try to knock out a 12-page paper: “In the war for the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world, what would it take to empower the moderates and open-minded and marginalize the fanatics?” When I solve that little problem and finish these two classes, I’ll be 25% done with my M.A.

--> Interested in what can we learn from the New Testament that might shape our perspective on Holy Land theology? See Gary Burge’s book slender but powerful book, Jesus and the Land.


February 20 – Next online class starts
February 27-28 – Perspectives, Indiana
March 5-6 – Perspectives, Louisiana
March 18-23 – Meetings in Florida

<-- Here we are all dressed up for the volunteer fire department’s annual awards banquet. Chris, an EMT and chaplain, was honored for being one of the department’s top responders. 


Remember that big research project I conducted to help Pioneers understand how our supporting churches see and do global outreach? If you’d like a copy of the summary report, send me an email and I’ll share it with you.

My next project for the Church Partnerships Team is a revision of the Missions Assessment Profile. This tool was first developed in the 1980s to help church leaders describe how they were doing in their mission programs. The world and the church have changed so much since then! Turning this into something that feels contemporary is pretty challenging – especially for someone like me who tends to be skeptical of multiple-choice or true/false evaluations of anything that seems very complex. I’d appreciate it if you’d join me in asking God for guidance on how to handle this project well. Thanks!

I’ll also be joining the Church Partnerships Team in Orlando for a week of meetings March 18-23, including a Church Partner Forum on the topic “Unleashing the Global Impact of Your Church.”

1 comment:

Marti said...

Seemed too snarky to say this out in a newsletter, but I wanted to point out something about the thermometer picture. Take a good look. May be a long time before you see a graphic like that NOT being used by a missionary or nonprofit as a way to describe how much money they need to raise!