We still very much love our former organization. It was quite bittersweet when we realized that to follow God’s next steps in our lives, we’d need to switch. We’ve had nothing short of a near-perfect experience with them, and we still wholeheartedly support the ministry involved there, both prayerfully and financially.
So why did we switch, you may wonder?
It was simply because of our roles. When God gave us confirmation that our next hats to wear in cross-cultural work were that of member care, and no longer “CP” work, we looked at every angle to see if we could do this sort of ministry through the organization. We prayed, we talked to people of authority in our lives, and we did lots of research. In all those possibilities, however, God closed the doors.
We swung one wide open, however, with Life Impact. Kyle bumped into Dave Grissen, the president of LI quite surprisingly this past September, when he attended PTM, a conference for those in the roles of encouraging cross-cultural workers. We stayed at his guest house a few years ago, and Kyle enjoyed catching up with him and his wife.
By the end of this conference, Dave had all but given Kyle a job offer. He encouraged Kyle to pray about taking on the role of Director of Operations and to relocate to Bend, Oregon. This was nothing we had even considered yet. Up to this point, we were searching high and low for a way to head back overseas.
He came back and we prayed together for quite awhile. Bend seemed really random and out of the way, geographically (though Kyle’s parents and one of our supporting churches would be nearby, in Eugene). But in many other ways, it seemed to be a good fit for this next season of life:
1. We could continue to get speech therapy in English for Reed. He’s not ready to move on yet.
2. We could get training as “life coaches,” learning how to debrief, encourage, and otherwise work with cross-cultural workers.
3. Kyle could learn, first-hand, how to manage and run guest houses.
4. We could get direct practice in coaching cross-cultural workers, as part of our job description would be sharing the workload of running the guest house in Bend with the other LI home base team members.
5. Our health insurance could be considerably cheaper, making that line item in our support budget smaller.
6. Staying in the States could buy us a little more time to make SLM a financially stable company. Even though the blessing of this type of online business is being able to run it from anywhere, it is, admittedly, a bit easier to do the business side of things from here in the States.
7. Life Impact’s independent-minded, flexible philosophy of doing ministry fits very well with us. For example, they are fully on-board with us running SLM as we work with them, so that it can one day fully-fund our ministry.
8. Moving on to our (hopeful) next stage of ministry — running a family-friendly guest house overseas — would be a seamless transition with LI. That’s what they do.
I could go on. But in essence, not loving our former organization never entered the list as a reason to leave. In fact, the thought of that was kinda hard.
But we knew it was the right move for us, and we’ve been really happy with our short experience with LI. It’s a smaller, younger organization, so it’s different than who we were with, that’s for sure. But it’s also fun to be on this end of an organization — helping it grow, establish itself, and figure out who she wants to be.