Sunday, January 10, 2016

Settling into Atlanta!

On Tuesday, my mom and two sisters and I flew out to Atlanta, GA for my training program. It just so happened that two other friends were also leaving from the same airport about the same time that we were! It was great getting to see them before we left. I was disappointed, however, that I was only able to get a picture with one of them. =)

 (This is one of my very best friends, Lydia!)

We girls spent Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning together in Atlanta exploring and hanging out. This was a great time, and I'm very thankful for it. Wednesday morning, we visited the various Martin Luther King Jr. exhibits in Atlanta, which I really enjoyed. Places like these always get me in a thoughtful mood...

However, our time together was rather short. They dropped me off Wednesday afternoon at the house where I will be staying for the next five weeks. I enjoyed getting to have them there for that so they could also meet the people who I would be spending time with! Almost our entire "trainee team"  was there except for one couple who would be joining us late the next night. It was a little hard having to say goodbye again, but I am very thankful for the ease of communication that the internet and texting has provided.

There are seven people in the program, including myself. Once again, I am the youngest in the group! But it has been incredibly easy to get to know everyone and feel comfortable around them. There are two couples, one single gal, and another single guy, and myself. There has already been much fun and laughter. I've already been given the nickname "Sparky". We'll see how long that lasts... =) The Encompass staff has been wonderful as well. They are very knowledgeable about the subject of cross-cultural ministry and it's been great learning from them. They also have great senses of humor, and have lost no time in finding certain people to "pick on". ;) Which makes it very fun.

The night we all arrived at the house, some of the Encompass staff joined us for dinner and it was so wonderful getting to know all of these awesome people.

One highlight for me has been my sleeping arrangement. I actually have a room to myself for the first time in forever, and it's downstairs in the basement in their home theater. With 11 electrical sockets. No worries about not being to charge everything at the same time! That's been a fun room to stay in. For some reason, I have had visits in my room from four ladybugs.... Preferable to spiders, though!

On Thursday, we had a briefing at the Encompass office about what the next few weeks would be looking like and we got to meet even more of the amazing Encompass staff. We joined them for their daily prayer time that morning which was wonderful. After that, we joined the leaders of an organization called Reach the Nations for lunch. This is the organization that we will be working with over the next few weeks. Their ministry is with the refugees in the area. It was great getting to meet them and hear more about their ministry! I'm looking forward to working with them more.

Friday was a light day. We had our first official class at the Encompass office and talked about church planting and the various aspects of that. Learning lots of things over here! That afternoon, we just did some shopping and then spent the night hanging out! I intended to go to bed early due to tiredness from lots of new experiences, but ended up staying up pretty late playing games. It seems that sometimes a little bit less sleep is worth it in exchange for good memories every now and then. ;)

Saturday was our first outreach with Reach the Nations. We headed over to the Clarkston Station refugee community and spent a few hours handing out socks, school supplies, and hot chocolate. Our hope was to use it to connect with people in the community and be able to follow up with them later. Not all of us were able to connect with people like we had hoped, but there will be many more opportunities! We were able to hand out lots of supplies though, which was great! That night one of the gals from our team and I had dinner at the house of two former missionaries with Encompass. This was my first time meeting them and it was wonderful getting to know them! We had some great fellowship and overall it was a very encouraging evening.

Today we joined the RTN church for their service. Apparently it runs on Eastern culture time and doesn't always start right when it says it "should" which is about 10:30am. =) It's a small congregation with a variety of cultures represented. My favorite aspect of the service was the worship. They sing lots of songs, and most of them are in languages other than English. For instance, several were in Nepali and Swahili. It was challenging to pick up the proper pronunciation, but it was really neat to worship in a different language. They had English translations for all of the songs so that we could understand what they were saying.

 So far, it's been a great experience! But one challenge is the lack of routine...still working on trying to figure that one out so I can maximize my time here, both task-wise and "relationally" since both are important. =) SO much has happened in the past few days and I'm still working on processing everything. It's been tough so far to pull the words out that are floating around in my head so I can share them! Hopefully that will become easier...Hoping to get more pictures too. =)


  1. So glad you got the picture of you and Liddie together(:

  2. Miss you already Sparky!!!!! Glad you're having fun though!

  3. I just am so excited for you and how things are working out and how God just keeps moving you forward . . . in His timing. We miss you here at home, but every time I think about why you aren't here, I'm just filled with a peaceful contentment. That's a really good thing! Love you, Ems!
    ~ Mom

  4. Thanks for the update. Very exciting! Praying for you that the Lord will be your joy and song. Love, Linda J.

  5. Haha, I didn't know you wanted a picture with me - you didn't ask! :P
    Sounds amazing! I'm so happy for you! And you are so right. It is so often worth it to lose sleep to gain great memories and build relationships. :)

    1. Yeah..I didn't remember to ask until you had already left to catch your plane! It was my fault. =)Haha