2 trainings down, 2 more to go. Ryan and I are continuing on our journey towards Australia. This past week in Atlanta was intense, encouraging, challenging and motivating. We met and reconnected with people going all over the world to work with college students, in theological training, church planting, mercy ministry, medical ministry, ESL and much much more. God is at work all over the globe.
We were all challenged this week to explain our hearts and further understand our own mission within this organization. Ryan and I both know that we desire to see the hope of Christ transform people and communities in Western Australia but even more than that we were reminded that we need to keep declaring the hope of Christ here in California and preaching the truth to ourselves as we continue this process.
And the process indeed continues. We are both still working our current jobs in Camarillo. We are also raising financial support (more on our official budget soon!) and continuing to stay connected with our friends and family on this side of the pond while looking forward to what is to come.
Suicide is the number one cause of death in Australia among people ages 15-44.*
There is more than one suicide attempt every 10 minutes in Australia.*
Suicide is a major concern in the communities in which Ryan and I hope to be working. If you didn’t read it, I wrote about how suicide was pivotal in Ryan’s calling to Australia: Why Australia? A Trip to the Bathroom.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with thoughts of suicide or has attempted suicide in the past, don’t hesitate to reach out. There are a lot of good resources. 1-800-273-TALK is the US national suicide prevention hotline.
More resources can be found on my previous post: A Conversation about Suicide, which also highlights Ryan’s trip to the bathroom but more importantly, there is information from June this year when Ryan and I attended a helpful seminar at our local church.
Ryan and I continue to pray for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and the family members who are impacted by suicide.
*lifeline.org.au **Post Secret
We’ve made it through two days and have three left to go. Thank you for praying us through. Here are a few pictures of this week so far:
The circle of chairs where we have worship and devotions each morning. Many families have kids with them through this process. Although they aren’t with us all day, they do make an appearance in the evening for dinner and toys, like this truck get scattered about. Children are a blessing.
The walls are being slowly covered with the discussions and topics we are covering this week. Although the content isn’t new to me, it is great to refresh and have new conversations from different perspectives.
These notebooks are our lifeline for the week and Ryan is dutifully taking notes. Snacks help keep us alert and this bag of crispy m&ms was a gift from our airplane seat mate. Thanks Sparkle!
And each evening we get to return home to our friend’s house and their two purring kitties. Instead of a hotel, they graciously offered for us to stay with them since they are also attending Launch this week.
So I’ve been to Atlanta a handful or so times now and have done a few touristy things but there is still a lot more to see. Being Ryan’s second time to the city, we decided to fly out one day earlier than necessary and play Saturday tourist with our friend Jenny. Atlanta is a great, tree-filled and beautiful city. Since we wanted a little exercise, we started our day at Stone Mountain.
The view from the top was wonderful and the weather cooperated so it wasn’t too terribly hot. It felt great to be outdoors and enjoy the non-drought-ness of Georgia. Look at all that green!
And we saw the caving on the side of the mountain (which is evidently bigger than the one at Mount Rushmore). This is where they have their famous Stone Mountain light show.
Then in the evening we visited the beautiful botanical gardens in Atlanta. We were impressed with the flowers and there were sections that smelled amazing. Ryan thought it smelled exactly like a Cherry Slush Puppie and although it smelled lovely, I am not familiar enough with Slush Puppies to confirm this statement.
And after dark, there was a beautiful light installation where the gardens were transformed. Some of the lights made it look like a fairy wonderland and this set of lights looked wonderful against the Atlanta skyline.
Yesterday was a fun transition day and now tomorrow we’re on to the real work. Thanks for your continued prayers!
Ryan and I fly back to Atlanta today in order to attend Launch, a week long introduction and orientation course. (Note: I may or may not be updating the blog during this week.) Launch is another exciting step towards Australia and it is the second of 4 trainings we need to complete before we leave for Australia. Last time I attended Launch, Ryan and I had just met and were not even officially dating. I was moving towards Australia and waiting to see what would happen with this new, tall, sweet, quirky man. He called me every night during my week in Atlanta but I kept pursuing Australia until Ryan was ready to propose. The rest is now our history together and this week of Launch is one more step in pursuing our future together in Australia. This is a picture of my old name tag. It gets replaced this week:-)
Please be praying for us this week.
For Ryan- This is almost all new information and a LOT of it. Please pray for good retention, alertness and the ability to get the most out of the training. Please pray also that he picks up on the new technology and other things that I have never fully taken advantage of.
For Joy- This is my third time through Launch (formerly I&O). Please pray that I can be attentive even when it seems repetitive and that I gain useful insights and information. Please also pray for patience with others while they are hearing everything for the first time.
For Us- Pray for the people we will be seeing and interacting with this week. It’s always exciting to meet other like-minded people and see how God is at work across the globe. Pray for good rest and adjustment while we are on east coast time (not so difficult for the early risers in us but still). And finally pray that we would continue to be united in heart and vision. We will be making some big decisions this week and we hope God continues to unify us through the process.
This past week was filled with challenges and laughter, tears and prayers, reunions and new friends. Because this week is designed to keep people on their toes I can’t divulge all the details but here are the only two pictures we have from this week and the 4 sentences we were told we could share.
We met refugees.
We learned about cross-cultural ministry.
We learned about ourselves and each other.
We LOVED the assessors and the assessment process!
Ryan and I passed with no major conditions so we are one step closer to Australia. Stay tuned and look for our next newsletter which will give details on how we’re beginning the support raising process and what’s next. Thank you for praying us through REV!
Note: There will be blog silence for the next week or so. We’re not going to have easy access to internet, social media or even our phones for most of the work week. I will try to post to instagram during our to and from travels (you can follow me at joycandee) but please forgive us if we don’t acknowledge emails or other social media. Thanks for praying us through REV! (See the previous post, 3rd Times a Charm!?, for more specific prayer requests.)
Now onto our regularly scheduled travel post:
It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows us, that we both have different ways to prepare ourselves for traveling. I clean the house and I pre-pack, pack and final-pack. Ryan checks the weather. I organize, make lists and keep track of what needs to be finished before we leave. Ryan checks the radar. I make sure I have enough clothes that mix and match to anticipate wardrobe needs and possibilities. In this case, because it will be so hot, Ryan just made sure all the shirts he brought could breath and wouldn’t show sweat as much:-)
In all fairness, Ryan’s work schedule is the same even though it’s summer so I’m the one with a bit of extra time. But even if I didn’t have a lot of extra time, I still would be cleaning, making lists and packing multiple times. It’s just what I do. And checking the weather is just what Ryan does. I also check the weather but in my mind all I need to know is, hot or cold? We’re heading to Atlanta in the summer which equals hot and humid. But thanks to my weather loving husband, I now know if and when there will be thunderstorms, the humidity index and much much more.
But at the end of the day, Ryan and I are learning about what each of us needs in order to feel ready to get on a plane or take a trip. Knowing the weather is important to him because then he can anticipate any weather related changes or turbulence. Having lists to check off is important to me because then I can walk out the door confident that we didn’t forget anything major. And each trip we take together, we learn more about each other and how to benefit from one another’s idiosyncrasies.
And that’s how we get prepared for travel married.