NOTE: this is the continuation of
a shorter blog entry here

Q: Who is driving this thing?

A:  You know that game with sliding tiles where you try to order the pieces into a picture but you only have one empty space to work with? That’s how my life feels lately; I know what I want it to look like, but before one thing can be in place, something else has to be done.

For example, recruiting the right people for our first crop of students at the EJ Institutes for Youth Ministry is a top priority for our team and we have received 175 inquiries so the picture we’re trying to put together is clear: get those people information about the institutes so they can start making preparations if they are going to study with us starting April 4th of ‘09. But to do that optimally we need to do the data entry of those 175 fairly detailed forms, we need the web page with information to be ready, we need a system for processing their responses, etcetera.

To make a long, and not too interesting, story a bit shorter, almost two months after we received the inquiries, we had only done the data entry for thirty five people. (It had seemed like a good idea for all of the team members to chisel away at the pile as they could, but it was taking me about an hour to complete five entries and no one else was chiseling.) As a team we started looking for volunteers to help but nothing surfaced so I asked a friend who works in administration if she knew anyone we could pay to help. She gave me a name and contact information and I tried and tried to get in touch with her but couldn’t. The next day I get a note from a teammate saying there was a possibility of a volunteer to help us. Free is good!

However I feel kind of badly about the girl I was trying to contact because she apparently needed the money. I still hadn’t spoken with her but I wrote an email explaining the situation and said we would keep her in mind for next time.

We meet with the volunteer --he’s actually someone we know, a student from Mexico who lived with some of our close friends for a month when he first arrived—and in a day he entered the data for sixty more people.

But I really felt satisfied that evening when I finally got a response from the girl I had been trying to hire. She apologized that she hadn’t answered my calls or email and explained in great detail about the crazy, busy week she’d had and said that there was no way she could help us.

This all might seem like much ado about nothing to you but for me, as we are in over our heads with this project and are working in cultures that are largely still unknown to us, it has been a much needed reminder that this process is God’s and not ours. We don’t have to drive it or make it work. All we’re responsible for is faithfully doing our part. He knows what we need and he can work out the details so they are win/win for everyone involved.

Thanks for caring…

Annette, for us both

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