Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Our newest (and possibly most vital) member

We are a network. That is, our ministry works by bringing people together who have the same vision and enabling them to share resources, experiences, etc. Communication is the lifeblood of a network. Without communication, you're just a bunch of parts not helping each other. That's why it's been so great to have a communications guy serve with us full-time this year. Matt Sabo has pumped wonderful stories and videos across Twitter,, the TEN3 Moment, and Facebook. These stories and info connect people, whether inquiring about how they can use our services or praying for us and the Africans we serve. He's also writing grant applications and working on a fundraising campaign, which is amazing because of course everything takes money, and raising money is something none of the rest of us at TEN3 have ever been good at. Like me, Matt attended SIM's candidate orientation around 2010 and then began raising his funding to make TEN3 his full-time job. Like me, after several years he had raised enough to be supported for one year, and so quit his previous job to go active last year, in hopes that being able to devote his full time to the ministry would enable him to raise the rest of his regular support. Unlike me, he has a spouse and 13 kids (yes, thirteen!), so I have to give him major kudos for all the work it takes to take care of them and raise enough money to provide for them while working!

Please pray for Matt and Julie as he continues "pumping the lifeblood" of our network with stories and info across media, and for their full support to be pledged.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Looking over 2014

I tend to measure my life in lessons. That's why, near the beginning of the new year, I like to write things I've learned over the year. So, things I've learned in 2014:

  • Object-oriented programming. I think I've finally got my brain around it. I've been working in Python for a couple of years, but it took writing a book on it with Anthony and George to actually feel somewhat competent in it.
  • A little practice goes a long way. I didn't feel as if I had spent all that much time in Python; I certainly hadn't programmed anything fancier than tic-tac-toe from the ground up. But I was quite surprised when I would Skype with someone reviewing the course, almost every time he was puzzled by an error, I could quickly guess the problem, or see it when he sent the file to me.
  • I do best when I've got things competing for my time. The three years I was substitute teaching while serving as curriculum department head, I had my routine for work, but it would be interrupted at a moment's notice by a call to sub, which would require me shift my whole work plan, and I actually thrived on that. Once I got to be supported full-time for TEN3, I found that it was too easy to take time for granted unless I brought in things to compete for it. Fortunately, I can always bring in things that make me a better missionary, like new Scripture studies, language studies, and relationships I learn from.
  • I can lift 80 lbs! I learned that one when shipping two bins full of laptops to Chicago so they could be subsequently shipped to Nigeria. I ended up having to drive to Levelland because they were over the USPS allowance.
  • I'm still afraid of mistakes. That has long been my biggest fear, one I thought was over. And I'm not so afraid of mistakes that cause embarrassment or little setbacks, but I do still fear mistakes if I think they'll cost me the things I'm really hoping for in life.
You see,I'd struggled since a year ago when I first started dating Kenneth, wondering if I was pursuing mutually exclusive things – a career in Evangelical missions and a marriage to an Eastern Orthodox. What I love is part of me, and to lose either would be devastating. Yet I also need to remember the tagline of this blog, that I drink in life from Christ that I may pour it out in love, not hoard His gifts. Still, I have so much reason to thank the Lord, especially since time after time the Lord has shown me that He knows what He's doing.
  • My brother is so cute when he's in love.
  • So are Kenneth and I. And as many people who claim PDA is gross, even more tell us it's incredibly refreshing to see two people pursuing a godly, loving relationship.
  • Some very silly '20s dances, including "The Bear," "The Squirrel," and "The Duck."
  • Be very careful about picking a grammar fight with someone who knows old and middle English!
  • Superfight is one of the most fun social games ever invented. Thank you Jaclyn!
  • One good character can keep a book worth reading even when he doesn't show up through the entire middle portion. I read Light in August by William Faulkner, but would never have finished it if it weren't for Byron. He was the only character I enjoyed, and while Faulkner does some brilliant commentary on human thought and behavior with that book, it just wouldn't have felt worth reading without one really enjoyable character.