This last August, I joined 14 participants from all over Eastern Europe – Uzbekistan, Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Georgia (the country not the U.S. state), Ukraine – and five other facilitators in Yerevan, Armenia for an Effective Communication Workshop.
I titled this update “A trip of superlatives” because Armenia is the most easterly European country I have been in, one of the oldest inhabited countries in the world and the capital city of Yerevan (where the workshop was held) is the world’s oldest city to have documented the exact date of its foundation, 782 BC (so about 2800 years old). And in AD 301, it was the first nation to officially become a Christian state.
The workshop itself was a success even though there were some challenges to overcome and some things we would do differently the next time. For one thing, if we give another such workshop in Armenia, we will try and give it at a time when the weather is cooler. The daytime temperatures hovered around 96F (35C) and there was no air-conditioning so the small classroom we were using got quite warm even with fans blowing on us the whole time. Thankfully, it is a dry climate so we didn’t have the added ordeal of high humidity as well.
I had the honor of starting off the week teaching on the Spiritual Side of Communication (i.e. what does the Bible say about the subject) and then later on in the week: Websites and Social Networking and Tips for Interpersonal Conflict Resolution. I also shared quickly on how to reduce your email inbox and some quick tips on email etiquette.
We offered the participants (mostly YWAM staff, but one was from a local Armenian church) teaching on interpersonal communication, writing, newsletters, photography, basics of design and layout, PowerPoint presentations, etc. We had to rearrange the schedule some since my roommate Rob and I were sick for a day-and-a-half.
It was good to be there and to meet the people who took the workshop and to be in a country with such a rich history. As usual it was good working again with the rest of the teachers. These are people that I only get to see once in a while, but there is always a click when we see each other again and a unity of spirit that makes it so much easier to give these kinds of workshops. We also have lots of fun!
Member Care Center
Missionaries often take great risks for their work, leave their familiar surroundings behind and live far away from friends and family. In addition, there is a (greater) pressure on them to set an example in their relationship with God and to bear fruit for His Kingdom. That’s why it is so important that we in our Member Care Center at Heidebeek provide the extra care and assistance that our staff need.
Jolanda has been working with the Heidebeek Pastoral and Staff Care and Development teams for nine years now. Working closely together with the Personnel and Member Care Departments, they exist to care for our (110) staff at Heidebeek.
We help our staff to continue developing personally and spiritually, through input, training and encouragement. It is for this reason that we held a two-day “new staff orientation” in early September for our eight new staff members. They are from India, Ireland, Indonesia, Rwanda and of course the Netherlands!
She also organized an afternoon and evening on “The Advantages and Challenges to working in Culturally Diverse Groups” for all our staff. This is exactly the kind of training our staff needs, with so many different nationalities, living and working together within our Heidebeek community. Sarah Lanier (USA) author of the book “Foreign to Familiar” taught on this subject.
Jolanda has also been conducting staff evaluation interviews on behalf of the Personnel Department. These “performance” interviews are intended as self-reflection regarding their work at Heidebeek.
As you can see, Jolanda tirelessly serves the missionaries here at Heidebeek! She enjoys this work, especially serving people who have a passion for Jesus and have chosen to dedicate themselves 100% to His work! It is her hope and prayer that the Lord will clearly show her in Colorado how she may continue to serve Him with her gifts, talents and experience.
Green Card Update
The process for Jolanda’s green card is advancing slowly. Thankfully, the police certificate from Bosnia arrived in October and I was able to send that in to the National Visa Center. It is now a matter of waiting until we hear something from them. Hopefully, the next thing we hear will be that we have an interview at the US Consulate in Amsterdam.
We had tentatively set a date of December 23rd to move to the US, and when we did that back in August, it seemed like we were giving ourselves plenty of time, but in reality, it doesn’t look like we are going to be able to leave on that date. We will simply have to wait until we have Jolanda’s visa before we can make any plans. We are hoping, though that it will be no later than January or February 2013.
Speaking of moving, we would like to ask you to consider helping us financially with the move. We will be leaving behind most of our stuff and, of course, we hope to sell some of it.
Would you like to help us out? Here are some examples of extra expenses:
- Shipping a 44-lb box to the US $130
- Checking a bike on the plane $56
- Jolanda’s visa application $900
- A car (mini-van) $3600
- A housewarming gift (either financial or the actual item).
We have started a wish list at Amazon.com just to give you an idea of the kinds of things we will need, but I’m sure you all can imagine the kinds of things that are necessary from starting a household from scratch. Click here for the list. (This doesn’t necessarily mean we will buy our things there, it’s just a handy way to start a wish list.)
Thanks & Prayer
Give thanks together with us:
- That the paperwork from Bosnia came through and we were able to send it in.
- For all the extra donations that have come in so far to help us with the move.
- It looks like we will be able to buy a very nice mini-van with low mileage for $3600.
Please be in prayer with us for:
- Jolanda’s visa, that everything would go in a timely fashion, especially in HIS timing. We’re fairly certain that we will get it, something would really have to go wrong for us not to, but we still want to be keeping the whole processed soaked in prayer.
- Grace and peace for us and the girls. Wisdom on how to handle the move, packing, etc and how to involve the girls so they will realize that it is as much their move as it is ours.