holidays, transitions

Wow, so much has happened since I last wrote... Apologies to all for the delay.

2316 Christmas Eve, 2014:
Left work at the Lancaster General Hospital Emergency Department for the last time as I terminated my employment of 2.5 years.  It was such an odd feeling walking out and being "unemployed"!  I felt a rush of excitement and a sense of accomplishment mixed with a bit of apprehension as I mentally reviewed my recent completion of school and work and looked toward an unknown future.  I have never before been in a position where so few future details are realized.  It's rather thrilling: makes me feel a bit young, crazy, and unconventional, but carries with it a great many unidentified challenges.

Holidays with family:
In early December, we spent a week with the Yoder/Kauffman family at a cabin in Port Royal Pennsylvania.  It was so fun being together with my siblings and their families from out of state, as well as my parents and extended family who live locally.  Christmas Day was spent in PA with my parents and sister and her family.  Two days later, we were en route to South Dakota to spend most of a week with Jason's family at a cabin.  (Jason has two sisters who live in SD with their families, and his parents and the rest of his siblings from PA all traveled west.)  The timing for this latter trip was perhaps not ideal, but we were so grateful for the chance to incorporate extended time with the entire Hurst and Yoder families into December prior to our planned departure January 9. 

Next week:
Tomorrow we plan to return to Lancaster from SD and begin the madness of the next week.  I'll admit it looks a bit overwhelming with packing for our travels, packing and moving out of our apartment, saying farewells, finishing up a multitude of last-minute details, and squeezing in time with friends and family in the few remaining days we have left before leaving for California.  We will miss our life and friends in the east!  Then we'll begin our train trek to San Francisco: a period of [hopefully] relaxation, reflection, and transition before beginning the next chapter of life.

I cannot believe this is all coming up so fast.  There are two components of these plans that I am particularly excited about: 1) gaining a broader perspective of the needs of the world, where/how God is moving, and how we fit in to all that, and 2) completing this in tandem with my best friend, Jason: studying together, learning new concepts, meeting people, discovering places and cultures, and serving together.  For the past few years, although we have stayed involved in each others worlds, we have had very different foci--Jason with business, me with school and nursing.  I am greatly anticipating the opportunity to do something like this together.  Yes, this upcoming phase is exciting, but certainly not glamorous.  We are well aware that it holds countless challenges and struggles that we cannot quite anticipate.  For this reason, we greatly appreciate your prayers and support as we plunge into these unknowns.  Thank you for caring and being involved!



in the meantime...

So, perhaps some of you are wondering what's going on presently, between now and our 2014/2015 travel plans. 

School: I completed coursework for my BSN the week before last (yay!!!), so I spent a great deal of time over the past months doing final school projects.  It is such a relief and feels like a great accomplishment to have that finished!  This past week I celebrated completing school by spending a week in north Florida with my Aunt Clara and extended family. 

Florida: I had an amazing time and very much enjoyed the change of pace as well as catching up with family.  Aunt Clara taught me much about the culinary art of southern-style cooking!  Jason drove down to FL to meet me and arrived Saturday afternoon in time for supper with aunts, uncles, and cousins.  He even got to benefit from my new cooking skills Sunday morning with southern biscuits!  After church we again had a meal with the extended family prior to traveling north.  We’re currently on our way home; we found a wonderful place to stay in Savannah, GA and took time to see a bit of the town last night and this morning before continuing our road trip.

House: Jason has continued slaving away at remodeling an apartment for us to move into this week.  Yes, for those of you who hadn't heard, we're moving across town to an upstairs apartment for a few months.  Our current residence is rented out for the duration of our travels to friends who are planning a November wedding, so we're moving to another location for several months until we leave so that they can move into the house.  That said, the evenings and weekends over the past few months have been filled with scraping, painting, renovating kitchen/bath, etc. at our “new” place.  Jason did the lion’s share of the work while I finished up school assignments. 

Theoretically, the craziness will diminish in the next few weeks with the house, move, and school behind us.  I’m hopeful that this will give us the needed time to focus on trip planning and preparation.  There are many details that must yet fall into place and much we hope to do prior to departure.  I expect our “free time” to be spent in the following ways: entertaining/hanging out with family and friends, fundraising activities (any great ideas? Let us know!), final training of staff for Jason at The Fence Experts, completing unfinished projects at the house, and eventually, shopping and packing.

We are extremely grateful for the amazing support of family and friends in this upcoming venture.  Thank you for being involved and interested in our lives. 


jason's perspective

My favorite season is fall, but I love all the seasons.  I love that the seasons change, and that with every season there is something unique and fun that I enjoy.  I have discovered that life is very much like the seasons, only in life you don’t necessarily know when the current season will end or what the next will begin.  And I’m learning that just because God has us doing one thing for a time or season of life doesn’t mean that he will have us doing that for the rest of our lives.  Maybe he will, but we need to be ready to move or change at any time.             

Season 1: The first few years after finding my lovely bride and making her my wife were spent building a solid foundation in our marriage, serving on short term mission trips, and being involved in urban outreach in Lancaster.  It was a fun season, full of necessary time spent doing everything we could together; fixing up a house or two sped the process of learning to work and communicate well with each other.  

Season 2: We then entered a different season of life which involved nursing school for Sara and business-building for me.  Life became very busy with what we sensed was preparation for whatever God had for us in the future.  Sara learned valuable nursing skills and professional workplace knowledge, while I learned more about being a leader and the world of business and people.  During this time we found out how important it was to make time for each other no matter how busy we were or what we both were involved in.  This continued for the past five years.  Within the last year we both felt God was telling us a change of seasons was approaching in 2014.
Season 3:  Without conferring with Sara, I felt God was calling us to take at least 1 year away from the “normal life” established in season 2, to spend time traveling the world and serving with various established missions.  While walking in downtown Lancaster one night, I told Sara what I felt God was telling me for our future.  To my amazement, she told me that she had the exact same sense from God as well.  God sure knows how to bring about a change of season!  With much excitement we began praying together about how, where, what, and with whom did God want us to spend the upcoming season.  He has lead and directed, and here we are, ready to experience this change in life.  Like the seasonal changes in nature, there will be things we will miss about the past phase of life, but we look forward to all the new things God has for us in this upcoming season!

On January 13th, we will begin our YWAM discipleship training school in San Francisco for 3 months of education and outreach focused on urban and justice ministries.  After completing the training in CA, we head to the Old Country and spend 3 months working with a mission in Rome in urban/justice outreach.  The biggest reason we feel like this will be valuable for us, is to learn from others practical ways to reach our cities in the United States.  We’ve always both been interested in urban ministry and want to learn to be more effective and intentional in the way we live and interact with those in our community.  Follow the link in the right margin to learn more about YWAM San Francisco.

September of 2014 (if God has not shown us differentlyJ) we’ll head off into the unknown of spending 11 months in 11 different countries serving alongside of an established mission or church.  We don’t know exactly what we will be doing, and I’m sure there will be a huge variety of places and things we’ll do to serve Christ through serving others.  Follow the link in the right margin to learn more about The World Race. 

A huge thanks to our family and friends for their support and encouragement to follow God and actually do this mission trip. An even bigger thanks to the great people at The Fence Experts for stepping up and making it possible for me to take off for so long and filling my role in the company while I am gone. You guys are awesome! All of you!


why global perspectives: 102?

In explanation of the title, I believe this adventure is simply a continuation of our life up to this point.  We’ve already had amazing opportunities to spend time in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central America, so traversing the globe isn’t a completely new concept.  However, this isn’t just about seeing the world and helping where needed.  This also seems to be the beginning of a new chapter of life for us in several ways.  For one thing, this is the first time we’re planning to travel without a definite plan to return.  (Don’t panic, we’ll be back, just not promising to stay back forever!)  

My view:
Somehow throughout the past months I’ve become more detached from my “need” for an American lifestyle.  Doubtless, I am extremely grateful for what I have and the opportunities that have been available to me.  And as yet we have no clear direction at this point to permanently move elsewhere.  However, before completely settling down in Lancaster indefinitely, we both [individually] determined that we would like to expose ourselves in a greater way to the happenings and needs in the world.  (And yes, reading Radical by David Pratt and later, Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker had something to do with it!) 
Regardless, I could get completely excited about coming back home after 20 months abroad and jumping back into life in Lancaster, PA or moving to a bigger US city and being involved in an urban setting (which happens to be one reason we chose an urban-focused YWAM training school).  If so, I anticipate having a greater capacity to understand cultural diversity and to use our travel connections to stay involved in cross-cultural missions at some level.  Additionally, I expect my exposure to world needs to continue to alter my values and the way I live my life.  How can I live selfishly while continually being exposed to the needs of those immediately around me as well as the world at large?  May God keep me from getting too comfortable and calloused! 
Alternately, if we are given both the opportunity and the calling to transplant long-term outside the country, I could get equally excited about that move.  In other words, I have NO IDEA what is happening after 2015, but I suppose that is part of the adventure!  Somehow in my personal experience God hasn’t often shown the final destination, just a step or two in a direction. 
That’s what global perspectives: 102 means for me:
Just a guy and a girl.  Together going where God leads.  Uncertain of the implications or destination, but enjoying and celebrating the process of discovery.