30 May 2013


"You have great handwriting."

"Yes, the nuns made sure of it."

These are the magical people I am working with. And I love them.

So, METE stand for Missionary Equipping and Training Event. There are 9 of us including Rory; all from different parts of the US, all going to different part of the world, all passionate for different areas of ministry. We have one girl who grew up as a mission kid and so she has a real heart for others "MKs" (missionary kids) and will be a dorm mom in Taiwan, a couple who fell in love with Thailand and will be doing "business as ministry" and probably some microfinancing there, another woman who has lived and breathed camp-life for over 10 years and will be taking all her talents to Thailand (though a different area), a young physical therapist who will be making the big move to China to work with Evergreen, and a couple who are fiercely passionate for mission work in general and currently serving in Ecuador (yayyy other Latin American cronies).

These first two days were primarily introductory. A lot of ice breakers and getting to know eachother, the staff within the ECC and Covenant World Mission, and the general overview of everything. There was even Geo-pardy (geography + jeopardy, don't worry, no one else got it either). Honestly? The game part was a little (very) cheesy, but the learning aspect was great. We got to travel around the building to various continents (conference rooms) where staff had set up pictures of the missionaries present in those continents by country and described the cultures and general overview of the work being done in each place. My team started in Asia and I immediately fell in love with the mats and the ridiculous shoe policies and fish farm ministries because our host was so in love with all of it. Then we moved to Africa and I decided immediately that I wanted - nay - needed a piece of fabric to tie Rory to myself  and use as a grocery sack and as a dress (also, agriculture and sustainable living within the CAR - my heart is still present there). From there, Europe - which I have already travelled, but we were able to Skype a couple in Belgium and I suddenly was passionate about Antwerp. Seriously, Antwerp. I'm not sure there was ever a place I cared less about, but today? I fell in love, because listening to someone else talk about their call moves me. And it should!

And then, oh and then!, just when I thought perhaps Marko and I had made the wrong choice, I went to Latin America. The amount of info I knew about everything happening within Central and South Americas, the potential, the fact that our picture was among the pictures of missionaries for Mexico - our picture, guys!!! We are faces of CWM and oh my sweet Lord it brought me joy!

And the blurry pictures of a happy baby abound.

We sat in Latin America and ate mango then sipped matte. Real, delicious, Argentine matte. Needless to say, I emailed my darling Jesús last night and told him I miss him (that would be my roommate from Peru, in case you're curious as to when I had the opportunity to sit down and share tea with our Lord and savior). Oh, Latin America, how in love with you I am! I had almost forgotten.

Everything is being set up so we can fundraise when we return home - so if you'd like to help us flee the country, please let me know - but honestly? The money is just money. What means more is the support and love we are so blessedly receiving all the time from everyone.

This is pretty representative of our night. See my foot? Rory decided around 6am that this is where he needed to sleep. So I have had the great privilege of blogging all morning because I was sitting upright when he placed himself there.

It's not hot so much as a sauna. Everything sticks to everything else and I am tired an heavy. I don't think it would be so bad except that Rory is the sweatiest, stickiest, hottest little one I have ever encountered. So he raises the temperature another several degrees. Currently, he is sleep-drunkenly rolling around between Mark and I on the bed, chatting to himself and headbutting us as he tries to sit up and fails. Just when you think you're going to disown your child for waking you at 6am and not being old enough to turn on the coffee, they do something precious like lie on your stomach calling you "mama" over and over again. The cuteness overwhelms.

And then?

Poopy diaper.


29 May 2013

Hit It

This is Rory the week before we left for Chicago, naked as he is allowed while over carpet and vastly happy slapping the window and trying to eat it.

Now? Now we are in Chicago. Mark is sleeping by my feet and Roranicus Rex is snuggled into my side - the jet lag is definitely lagging us.

We are in the Windy City for METE. What is METE? I don't actually remember. Essentially, it's missionary training. For 14 booked solid days we will be trained in the fabulous art of ECC missionary-ing. I will let you know a little bit more about what that means once I know...

Our travel to Ludlam Ave was a lot simpler than I had imagined (see: panicked excessively about). Rory had zero trouble on the flight and while he didn't get a nap (too much to see), he was such a pleasant little boy and everyone on the plane enjoyed his between the seat peek-a-boo and giggles. We lucked out with a social child. All of our bags were carry on, so being picked up from the airport was easy peasy and our very kind chauffeur, Curt made sure he already had a carseat all ready to go and we dropped him at his house and then drove ourselves to our newfound home for two blessed weeks (aka: the home of the generous Husby's).

We were so exhausted on night one that we fell asleep early and got most (but not all) of the jet lag out of our system. Day two began with a member-care interview and lots of plastic dinosaurs for Roranicus Rex. He felt quite at home. Rory will be the only kiddo at this conference, so he gets to just tag along any and everywhere we go! I'm praying for good behavior and premium naps, but we will see. Our care interview went well, Mark was his sassy self and I tried my best to deflect questions about myself and play with Rory. We have discussed how much I hate talking about me, yes?

But hey, "We're on a mission from God."

I have only seen two Starbucks establishments (sacrilege) and no other coffee stands... ergo, I'm not sure how I feel about this city all-in-all. Except, of course, the over abundance of Blues Brothers references (see above quote), that I quite enjoy. There is a Chicago version of a Whole Foods exactly one block away, so that is nice and we have gathered many snacks for the mini monster. The weather is: hot, muggy, sometimes pouring down rain, sometimes thunder and lightning, generally heavy. I don't really understand it, but I like the heat part.

This morning we met with the head of the missions department, Lana, which was great because we have been emailing back and forth for a year and its always good to put faces to people. We went over our (hypothetical) budget and made adjustments as we needed them, it will continue to be a process, but we felt a lot more comfortable with the numbers once every penny had been accounted for. Yay monies? Or something...

I have been reading Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker and it has been amazing. He and his wife are phenomenal authors and really stretch me in ways I need to be stretched. Brandon talks a lot about the flaws with our churches today and why people are leaving in ever greater numbers, but also how he and ANC (Austin New Church) have sought to repair the image of the church within his community by living out Jesus' commandment to love ones neighbor as themselves. It is a heartfelt challenge to not only churches, but individuals. To carry the banner of Christ and truly exemplify love and kindness.

I apologize if this is getting spotty - I am typing it on my phone while being head butted by my freshly awake 9 month old dinosaur of a son.

Tonight will be the first true day (evening) of METE and we will meet the other new short termers and get the low down on why we are missing two weeks of work. I am excited. It has been really nice to be in the home of such loving people who used to be missionaries and meet everyone we've been in contact with for so long. It has also been nice to kind of just get my traveling heart back out there on my sleeve.

"It's 106 miles to Chicago. We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses."

"Hit it."

16 May 2013


Sometimes things break your heart to build you up.

I am in the middle of writing our itinerary so I can staple it to Mark's jacket. We are leaving for Chicago for 16 days. 16 days of driving someone else's car, with Rory in someone else's car seat, sleeping in someone else's bed in someone else's house using someone else's kitchen... yikes. We are going to Chicago for "missionary training." I don't really know what that means, but apparently it's important in this process.

I wholeheartedly believe in the "drop your nets and follow me" version of mission work. But that isn't really the way things work anymore. Your heart isn't enough - the rest of you needs to be poked, prodded, and over analyzed in order to follow the Great Commission. Physicals, insurance, evaluations, "training" ... don't get me wrong, I understand the world we live in, I just wish we didn't - live this way, I mean. Always angling to get ahead so the church needs to protect against the very people it should be taking in. Deep sighs for days.

It isn't the fault of the ECC that we have all these hoops to jump through, it's just the reality of our broken world. We don't trust people because they've proven untrustworthy and we can't let just anyone represent us because sometimes they do it poorly. I mean, just think of the stigma being a Christian has. Anyone? Anyone? The second I use the word people shut down and shut off. The assumption is that I'm a judgmental bigot who believes my worth is superior to theirs due to my belief in God. And, to be perfectly honest? That is the same conclusion I jump to; as if I am some super breed of open-minded Christ follower that is above petty church hierarchy (which, I am, of course).

The truth is, I am just as judgmental toward the Westboro Baptists of the world as they are toward... well, everyone else. And you can make the argument that "they deserve it," but let's be fair, I don't get to make that call whether they "deserve it" or not. My job as a Christian is to love everyone and speak the truth in love. That means when someone makes a small minded belittlement on a friend that I'd like to berate them for or makes a comment on how I'm not "churchy enough" to effect my "churchiness," I'm supposed to love 'em like Jesus - yah, I pray a lot. I tend to embrace the coke-addicts and poor decision makers while soapboxing the gluttonous contented suburbanites. When Jesus said love everyone - did he actually mean everyone?


I'm getting off topic though. The point is: sometimes you jump through hoops. Other times? You set that hoop on fire and demand the ringmaster jump through his own damn hoop. Paperwork and missionary training? Are not flaming hoops. At least, not for me. Marko would burn each and every hoop then make the culprit snort the ashes, but that's why he married me.

Psalm 118 was all over everything today and it resonated.

"Oh! give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!" 118:1

I am ready for Mexico, but I don't know what it looks like. Being a missionary can sometimes be an excuse to live somewhere exotic on someone else's dime. I don't want that. Marko and I have thought extensively about going to do mission work abroad on our own, but we felt called to the ECC mission program. And we haven't agreed with every step, but it is important enough of a call to work through those issues (none of which were horrible cover-ups or scandals or anything).

Sometime people will ask why we don't just do mission work in Maple Valley or Hobart or close to home, don't those people need missionaries? The simple answer is yes. But Mark and I aren't those missionaries. There are churches on every block in our small suburbia and some of those people might be called to this area, but while we love our church and being involved in our community? This is not the place we are called to. And that is okay.

"I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation." 118:13-14

For a long time, I was told that I was only as "good" as I looked/sounded, and if I was ever struggling? I was to abide by the "fake it till you make it" rule. It makes me angry that such nonsense is permitted to be pushed onto the children of this area. But I have come to better understand that a "good" person rarely looks or sounds "good." Nice clothes and kept house might make your outside pretty, but it doesn't clean up what's under the surface. Using all the right "Christian language" might make you sound righteous, but it doesn't mean you know God. If you "fake it" ? You might come out of that, but you might just learn to have a surface level calm/love/hope/joy instead of one that penetrates.

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." 118:22-24

This is Emily.
Cute, right?

You can read more about her here. She was all ready and set to be adopted when her mama-to-be found out she has breast cancer - which means Emily's would-be-family cannot adopt her due to China's adoption laws. How heart breaking to believe you are going home, where people want you, only to have those dreams crushed. And how heart breaking to know that this sweet girl you called your own, would never be that. So, Emily needs a home again - maybe it's with you?

10 May 2013

Post Script

Blogging twice a week? Ha. Ha. Ha. Pretty sure I owe like 8 blogs...

But, the reason I have blogged less is that I have spent less time on the interwebs - which is good, I think. Well, and the Dullanty tribe has been busy painting our war paint and preparing for battle! Are you ready?

We leave for a two week trip to Chicago on the 27th of this month. Pray for us. Seriously. You've seen the Jurassic Park films, right? Dinosaurs in a closed space - not the brightest idea ever concocted. And yet, we are still attempting this feat by putting Roranicus Rex onto an airplane. And then we will be occupying the guest room of a stranger's home and toting our 9 month old around to missionary training... yah, nothing could go wrong in this scenario. Not.

Ergo, anxiety ad nauseum. No paychecks for two weeks, no space of our own to corral the destroyer, no kitchen for homemade baby food, no hammock, no 500sq ft apartment... deep breath. As I've said, Mark and I live (comfortably) below the poverty line and we make two part time jobs work so we can spend more time with baby and one another - two weeks off is basically financial suicide. Hello, trust in God, I've missed you.

Mark always says worrying isn't my strong suit and it's true. When I worry? It's like an Olympic sport where you just buckle down and make it to the end - even if it kills you. I do better when I'm happy, in the sunshine, laid back, traveling... or in crisis mode. General anxiety does not work on me; the colors are wrong, it drapes in funny places, it whelms.

But missionary training!

I am so excited to be commissioned and begin fundraising. SO EXCITED. Mostly because I feel like we are finally fulfilling our call - I cannot wait to be in the midst of the sunshine and Spanish. Cannotwait.

Our Lost Boy

Do you ever have one of those days where you just seem to be able to accomplish everything you set out to? Me neither. But today I came pretty close. There are still a couple dishes and the floors need mopping, I need to finish the Mother's Day gifts for Sunday and not all the compost is in the new bin, there are clothes to sew and garbage to take out... but those things can all wait until the adorable little bear cudded in my arms wakes. Because this? This is what it's all about.

Sleepy boy

Mark and I are moving towards our nonprocessed lives with our bee hive and hand tools, plans for homemade soap and a hand mill for wheat, sewing machine and natural dyes.

Life is sometimes slow and steady, but sometimes fast and full of rapids. This river moves and it is beautiful. Full of sleepless nights with a teething little boy and warm sun filled days of eating grass and other things. And I am blessed, so blessed.

09 May 2013

The Least of These

I have Syria on the mind. Look at these kids!


Look at their smiles, their laughter, their joy. Look at their hope. They are 6 out of 1.16 million refugees displaced from Syria, 1.16 million. And my chest has been pierced with guilt over them. Welled up in me is a pain that won't quit. I am broken over these children and their hope - what am I doing?

The truth is, I get lost in the things I think I should be doing. How organized is my house? Budgeting, grocery lists, new toys for baby, washing machines, dishes, internet speeds - wait. I get so distracted, so caught up in what is my life. I get all discombobulated over

"I think it must be really difficult to live in such crisis." Yes. But what faith. What remarkable love it instills in people, what remarkable action.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1-2

Want to know what else I have on my mind?

This kiddo. Precious, right? His name is Matthew and he is a 13 year old boy with absence of skull and dyskinesia of right limbs - but that doesn't effect his life much and he can still run and play like other boys his age.
In some countries you can "age out" of adoption, for Matthew? That happens in September (you can read more about him here, here, or here). I think that until I can adopt a sweet child, I should be an advocate for them. Because this handsome young man deserves a home and a family. Just look at that grin. Seriously, did you look? Maybe Matthew is your little boy and you didn't realize until right now. Maybe...

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
    is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
    he leads out the prisoners to prosperity
Psalm 58:5-6

All these darling children, all this need. I am so guilty of forgetting to care for "the least of these." Not because my problems or life are worth less than those of these - but because my problems and life are equally worth those of each of the kids photographed here and all over this world of ours. Because I know pain, I should reach out to help another in need. Because I've suffered, I should extend my love to someone I've never met somewhere I've never been.

This is the kingdom come.