Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Next steps...

Thanks to all of you who have responded to my blog or sent me email messages about my recent decision to go to West Africa Theological Seminary. Your words of encouragement mean a lot to me!

Many of you have asked important questions, so I decided that this post would be dedicated to answering some of them.

1. When will you leave the U.S. to go there?

The short answer is that as soon as my preparation has been completed and all my support has been raised, I can go.

Preparation: I need to do the following--Complete the course entitled "Perspectives." This is in progress. I go to class every Tuesday night (when I am not traveling for my job). I need to complete two separate weeks of training at WGM headquarters in Marion, Indiana. One of those weeks will be in July, the other one will be later on. Finally, I need to complete 5 weeks of special training in Colorado Springs right before I go. I will talk more about this special training in a future post. I also need to get all immunizations and paperwork completed for my visa.

Another thing I plan to do (but it is not required) is to visit WATS in April. I plan to leave on April 20 to visit for a week. This will help me to know better how to prepare for my departure later on. I have gotten all my immunizations (started Hep A & B) and my paper work is in order for my visitor's visa. The visa to live and work there is another matter, one to be tackled closer to that time.

Raising Support: Even though I have not yet departed the U.S., I am considered a "Missionary Disciple" by WGM now, and my initial three-year appointment has begun. I am incurring expenses for the work (all the training, visa, etc.). I am in a transition period of leaving my job and becoming a full-time missionary. My boss has kindly allowed me to stay on in my current job until a major portion of my support is raised so that I can go to Africa. (Thanks, Ken!!)

2. When should I start contributing to your support?

The sooner the better! I can assure you the support you provide will be used only for this ministry and will assist me with those things I need to do to make the transition to WATS, such as the training costs.

3. Does WATS have female students?

Yes! I hope to work closely with them and to to promote the opportunity for women to receive spiritual development and educational experiences to prepare them as leaders for their villages and churches.

4. What all will you do at WATS?

Besides helping the Provost, who is actually like a president, I will be able to teach courses in the graduate programs, help with program development, and assist in coordinating visiting professors. Occasionally, I may speak in chapel. I am really looking forward to working directly with the students.

5. What will happen to your dog, Selah, when you go?

Many of you know that Selah, my Sheltie, has been my constant companion for most of the past 12 years. She is quite the old lady now--totally deaf and quite arthritic. I will be sad to separate from her, but knowing that Shelties typically live between 12-14 years, I understand she does not have much longer before she will "go over the rainbow bridge" as they say about dogs. My daughter Lynn, who picked Selah out among the litter of puppies that many years ago, will be the one to care for her in her last days. (Thanks, Lynn!)

This post is long enough! Let me know what other questions you have. This is helpful for me because I want my blog posts to be useful and meaningful.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments. If you have not subscribed to this blog, I would like to invite you do so below.

Blessings upon you,
Shelley