Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Actively Waiting Update

HI all. We are still actively waiting on the embassy for our visa notification. When they received our documents on August 3, they informed us this step would take 30 days plus or minus. We are in the “minus” portion of that time frame right now and we’re praying we will hear from them any day now.

As we wait on this end, we are still preparing to leave. Most of our time is spent going through what we will take with us and what we will store, hunting for deals on suitcases, and connecting with friends and supporters before we leave. This past week, we enjoyed awesome evenings of good food and fellowship with the Alix’s/Watson’s and with the Lindsay’s. That’s one of the hard parts of being so close to leaving – catching up with people close to you when you know your time is limited.

We’ve also been working through a process called RAFT. It’s something another missionary from New Zealand suggested to us. RAFT stands for Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewell, and Think Destination. She suggested we think through the process as we prepare to leave. For each of us, is there anyone we need to reconcile with so that relationships are left in a healthy state? Who do we want to affirm or thank – not just for this process but for their role in our lives? What and who do we need to say farewell to – people, places, favorite restaurants, pets, possessions, etc? What will life be like when we arrive in New Zealand (Think Destination)?

I love this process because it keeps this transition relational – we could get so focused on all the tasks in front of us that they end up overshadowing the important relationships we have. This has been a process we’ve begun to discuss and work through as a family. We were able to reconnect with my brother after not seeing each other for over seven years – what an awesome visit! We’ve savored the time we’ve had with both DaNae’s and my family. We’ve already said farewell to Chuck E. Cheese (on Aedan’s list) and have begun the process with friends as well. Unfortunately, the farewell list is huge – I don’t think we’ll complete that one.

So, thanks for waiting with us. We know God called us to this and love having each of you on our team.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August is Here - What has been happening with the Reynolds?

This summer has been a whirlwind of activity so we can leave for New Zealand. DaNae and I feel so close to getting on the field, however, God has us here “just a bit” longer. We expect to hear back from the New Zealand Embassy regarding our visas any day now. Woohoo!

Our plan was to leave this month but that was stalled by the FBI. Let me explain. New Zealand requires a criminal background check for their visa. This is a fingerprint check by the FBI and takes 8-12 weeks to process. Both of us visited the police department for fingerprinting and sent in our forms back in February (This gave us two months of extra time to process our visas). In May, we both received our results from the FBI – my prints were fine, however, DaNae’s prints were too dark to read and had to be resubmitted. We had to wait another 10 weeks to get the results back before we could send our visa applications in. This meant that instead of submitting our visa applications to the New Zealand embassy in May, we had to wait until August when the FBI check for DaNae came back. We received her FBI report on July 31 and had our packet at the embassy by August 3. We’re not sure why God built this delay into our plan but we trust that He knows what He’s doing and will have us on a plane on His timetable. I find myself living in verses like Ephesians 3:20 - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. There’s no doubt that God is able to get us to New Zealand at any time so I can trust that this delay is intentional and serves a purpose from His perspective. It makes it easier for me to live in the unknown when I remember I serve the God who knows!

So, right now, the embassy is processing our travel (visa) application. Because of DaNae’s medical history, a medical assessor in New Zealand is reviewing the records and should report back to the New Zealand embassy in early September. Will you take a minute right now and pray that this will be sooner than later and that he/she will see how her records testify to God’s healing?

Where are we at with this? Well, I’ll be honest; we’ve had our challenging moments when we want to ask God, “Why the delay when we’re so close?” At the same time, though, we are reminded that we are right at the brink of leaving. We are doing everything we can to live out Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” We’ve been able to use this time to reconnect with family (we visited my brother and his family – the last time we saw them was in 2001) to close up our life here in NH so we are ready to go when we get the clearance, and to prepare for life in a new culture. We’ve seen our boys go from leaving with reluctance (“I don’t want to leave my friends”) to being excited about the experience and wanting to see more of the world. Caleb has gone from being a child going with us to seeing a role He can play in God’s call for our family. A friend at Global Partners reminds us that we are “actively waiting on God.” That’s true – we are actively and eagerly waiting for what is so close. We’ll continue to update you as we hear more!

Tweet, tweet, tweet…

Hi all. You’ll notice a new button on the side of our blog. If you’re on Twitter, add us as a feed you follow (click on the button to go to our twitter page or search for us on twitter - littlebigisland). We’ll tweet about what’s going on while we’re in New Zealand and use it to notify everyone of blog updates. Kudos to Wilma Harrington as our 1st US follower and Reuben Dunn as our 1st New Zealand follower !!