Friday, October 16, 2009

14 days to go

Hard to believe this trip is real. We've know about it and planning it for so long that in some ways it hasn't seemed real until recently. In this reality we realize that a lot of stuff will be hitting the fan for us in the next two weeks, especially finishing work for clients. Our prayer request is for the details in these final weeks.
  • First, and most importantly, we want to praise God for all the blessings He is pouring out on us. All the wonderful travel advice and suggestions from friends and family. And for making it possible to meet up with some friends of Anna's (the Renners) on our time between safari and leaving Nairobi. We now do not have to sit in an airport for hours but will be graciously picked up from one airport, taken to dinner and then dropped off at the other airport for our red-eye flight to London.
  • We pray that we can meet all reasonable client deadlines without going into a state of panic.
  • We praise God the presentations have come together thus far but need that last little boost of energy and organization to get all related materials together for the participants
  • We ask for all our packing to go smoothly and that we have everything we need.
Thank you everyone for thinking of us and praying for us.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Prayer request — medical

A more recent photo of the two of us taken in Chicago in July 2007. The Bean was very fingerprinted but who can resist taking a photo like this? Didn't feel like taking the big camera in the city but the little one did just fine.

One of our travel concerns is staying healthy. If you ever listened to Kathy and Judy on WGN radio they would have a segment at the holidays called "Merry Medical Christmas." This involved the listeners sending in actual holiday letters they had received which contained way too much detailed medical information (read that as disgusting bodily fluids and just TMI [too much information]). The hosts would change the names and read them on the air. You can't believe what folks felt free to tell each other in a semi-public forum. I suppose if you've ever overheard a cell phone conversation in the grocery store you know what I mean. But I digress ....

This will not be TMI.

Here are our two main medical concerns — I am allergic to three of the four major antibiotic groups. I have been registered with the Medic Alert organization since I was five years old because penicillin almost killed me then and probably still would. Now two other antibiotic groups have joined the list. This forces me to travel with my own antibiotic. I do not want to get sick where it would require medical staff to make a judgment call about giving me medicines.

Lisa has a manageable case of Chron's Disease. She cannot get certain infections as they would require hospitalization and would wreak havoc on her digestive system. Certain foods also create problems with her system and we don't know what we're going to be eating in Africa. You can research Chron's if you want to know more about it.

Those of you who know me, know that I travel with granola bars and sometimes with a jar of peanut butter. Yup, the PB is already purchased, has its own passport and is ready to go. Unfortunately, can't travel with chocolate :(

Please blanket us with prayer and specifically to stay healthy. We're going to Africa to teach as part of a training conference. The purpose of this trip is to glorify God through the talents which he has given us. We feel that God has set out a plan and we trust that he will continue to lead us.

Habakkuk 3:18-19 yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread up on the heights.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Doing Sentry Duty

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians about putting on the armor of God "so that you can stand against the devil's schemes," he knew that his audience would understand how the Roman army worked. The Roman army had two kinds of soldiers — their equivalent of our Marines, the guts and glory kind of guys and then the everyday foot soldiers. The everyday soldiers stood sentry duty at the guard houses along the wall. They were instructed to stand firm even as the enemy was advancing. They were to stay put and could be put to death if they abandoned post.

Dr. John Kleinig spoke at our church about spiritual warfare and he used Ephesians 6:10-18 to tell us that in our struggle against Satan that our way to stand firm was to pray! Prayer, prayer and more prayer, to stay firm in our faith. Satan wants nothing better than to divide God's people from God and to have us falter in our faith.

This photo of me was taken in September 2005 at Hadrian's wall in the north of England. I am standing in the sentry's gate.

I am posting this photo to remind you to stand firm in prayer, to remind myself to stand firm in prayer. Lisa and I are working hard on our presentations but we feel Satan tugging at us in various ways. Nit picking at our schedules, diverting our attention from the tasks at hand, even picking at each other, even doubt. Lisa and I are going to Africa to support folks who are actively spreading the Gospel. This is our part in Christ's kingdom.

Thank you for your partnership and thank you for your prayers.

Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Prayer request — 1

The photo is of Lisa and me when we were college roommates at SIU all those many years ago. It was taken at a Design Department Banquet otherwise we would never been this dressed up. We figured if we could room together then, we could survive a trip overseas without killing each other. This should be fun and I'm sure it will be. We always manage to laugh and enjoy whatever we're doing.

As we are preparing for this adventure, I ask for you to surround us in prayer. Below is the first specific prayer request but feel free to pray as you are led. I'll post another one in the next few days. But "presentations" is really what is on my mind right now and where I am focused.

Presentations — we are teaching two classes twice. Design 101 and Photography 101 to non-designers and non-photographers. I guess I'm teaching Photography and then both of us Design. Regardless, we have presentations to prepare. Handouts. PowerPoint presentations. Questions and answers. Much information to be swimming around our brains that we wish to impart to those eager to learn. Please pray that we are clear, concise, enthusiastic and not nervous! Oh my gosh. I am okay with teaching a very small group, let's say four people. But there will be 20 to 30 in each of our classes. We want so much for folks to drain of us information, for them to be sponges.

The design class is the basics — typography plus art elements (including photography) equal composition. The photography class is understanding the dials on your digital camera and how to improve the composition.

In case you don't know why we're going to Africa, go to Media Associates International is my client and they host an every-three-year international publishing conference "LittWorld." 2009 is in Africa. 2006 was in Brazil. Prior to that it was in the Philippines and England. And yes, a couple of times in Wheaton when it was in its infancy. John so graciously asked me if I wanted to come teach publishers, editors and writers about better communication with their designers and photographers. Or to teach basic classes in each of those subjects to publishers, editors and writers. Miles. I had enough miles to get myself there and then to ask Lisa to come along too with the rest of the miles. The adventure began.

I am a graphic designer, self-employed for 21 years, prior to that at World Relief for nearly six years. I am not a photographer, just a designer who knows how to use a camera. I always say that my brother and sister have better formal training at photography then I do. I think they're great photographers and yet, I'm the one who gets to go teach this subject.

Lisa's training is also graphic design. (Funny how we ended up as roommates!) She also furthered her training at the Art Institute of Chicago in faux finish painting. She's a fabulous artist and I am so fortunate to have her as a resource in many arenas (let alone that she's my friend).

It is humbling to be asked to do this. To hang out with Christians who are determined to spread the Gospel in difficult circumstances. I am honored to be part of this conference.

Philippians 4:4-7Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thank you for your partnership through your prayers. It means the world to both of us.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

4 weeks and counting

In four weeks, Anna and I will have already arrived in Kenya. Today we launch our blog to share our awesome adventure with family and friends. Although we are unsure of what kind of internet connection we will have while in Africa we will do our best to add updates and images daily.

So here's the game plan...
Anna will be leading two workshops at a conference, with me as her co-leader. Or co-conspirator or sidekick, which ever you prefer. All we know is this trip is a dream come true for the both of us. We consider ourselves truly blessed to be able to be doing this together.

The conference we will be at is call LittWorld. More info at . The workshops we will be leading are on Photography (Basically, this is ALL Anna, since I'm rather clueless about the taking photos. I can contribute when it comes to composition but thats about it.) The second workshop is Graphic Design for Non-Designers.

After the conference we will be off on safari. I love the way that sounds. So exotic! We will be visiting Masai Mara for 3 days. I'm so excited that I'm going to get to see Gees (giraffes) in their natural habitat.

After safari we leave Kenya and fly to London. Instead of just changing planes and coming home, we decided to stay in London for 5 days.

I can only imagine what this experience is going to be like, but I know its going to be awesome and a ton of fun because I get to be with Anna. And if there is one thing we do well together, it laugh and enjoy life.

So stay tuned, its going to be one heck of a ride!