In my last post I talked about the flurry of practical preparation going on here and then sort of setting aside all that in favor of preparing my heart. By "setting aside" I mean that it needs to take a back seat, not that it isn't still happening. There is still quite a bit of it happening.
One of the questions a lot of our friends have asked is, "What will your day-to-day job and lives look like?" In a lot of respects, things really don't look very different from life back in Tampa when Kevin had a corporate job. Except take out the 20-mile commute and killer traffic and meetings left and right and a LOT of emails. As for Jenni, you just change out the view from our window while we homeschool. It used to be a miniature Everglades for a back yard. Now it's mule deer and aspen trees.
At the moment, Kevin has a few months of settling in and training to do. To explain, it helps to understand his role and how EMI's project terms work. The year is divided into three terms that roughly correspond to the college calendar (summer, spring, fall semesters). This is to accommodate our numerous interns, many of whom have just graduated and are on to grad school soon. Each staff member takes on one project trip per term, but they overlap, which is where it gets harder to explain.
As a Project Leader Kevin is responsible for communicating with the ministry his team will be serving, recruiting a team of volunteers for the trip, making travel arrangements, coordinating their efforts on the job site in country, then helping the team get their responsibilities wrapped up and finalized in the months after they return home. So during Term 2 (we are currently in Term 1) he will be making preparations for that term's project trip, while also finishing up the efforts from Term 1. He might also be in the very early planning stage of his Term 3 project.
Clear as mud? Yeah....me too. Here's his own take on "A Day in the Life."
8:00 a.m. - arrive at work, check emails from team members and ministries on different time zones
8:30 - morning devotions and prayer time as a group Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays; Wednesday staff meeting, Friday a time of worship and then a project leader will present on a recent project trip. We take turns leading the devotional.
Random daily tasks: preparing Trip Packages for our Kenya team (includes logistical info, flight schedules, contact info, itinerary, project goals, team member bios, developing world design guides and questionnaires, spiritual preparation homework to make sure we are in the right position to serve when we arrive). I might also speak with our ministry partners in Kenya and their US-based sponsors. It has been a blessing to be able to hear their voices and to know they are grateful for our help and praying for our team even now when we are weeks away from the visit.
We typically bring our lunches into the office and find someone to chat with over the meal instead of sitting in front of the computer. We are striving for a professional but friendly office environment here and taking the time to talk over lunch is really great!
I am also talking with my office mate, Andy, about our new endeavor to help ministries with their electrical and mechanical infrastructure needs. We have many ministries with infrastructure limitations and we have a lot of engineers that are interested in volunteering their expertise. We want to help match the need to the capability so that these ministries can be more effective. One possibility is a design/construction (aka design-build) approach where we send a small study team to a project site to ascertain the problem and recommended a solution. Then we would bring back a construction team to actually perform the necessary work. Since in the past we haven’t performed the construction, this new direction is giving us a chance to broaden our contact base with other ministries and professionals. It will take some time but we are eager to see if God will open the right doors for us to serve His Kingdom in this way! Each day something comes up concerning this work and we have a chance to continue to strategize.
Lately I am helping redesign the office interior space to prepare for 10 interns this summer! I see this as a learning opportunity and though, quite frankly, I am not highly qualified, I do have more time to help than most. So, I’ve been doing demolition, hanging drywall, taping and mudding the joints and some rewiring.
My workday either ends with a two block walk to my car and a 15 minute drive home or a 6 mile bike ride. It has been wonderful to find a home that is a short 20-25 minute flat/downhill ride to the office - almost completely on purpose-built trails. The bike ride home is more of a workout as about 1/3 of it is uphill but I arrive home knowing I have saved fuel, emissions and maintenance on the Honda (which has over 210k miles on it now) as well as having given myself a good bit of exercise.
It's okay if it does not make much sense. Just know that it boils down to planning, strategizing, recruitment, and communications. But even bigger is the heart preparation: the part where you just pray for the upcoming time, the people involved, and the ability to be open and available to whatever it is God has in mind for the experience.
-Kevin and Jenni
From the Keiters:
Here is where we share our daily experiences of how God is using our life in the US and abroad with EMI to draw us closer and to make Himself known.