Thursday, June 26, 2014

How long for this time?

If you haven't head that I'm home, I am.

If you haven't heard that I'm leaving, I am.

So, let's start this story back a little bit. Back at the end of February/beginning of March I had decided that I wouldn't be staying on the ship. I though that God had something else planned for me. I wasn't quite sure, but I knew that God had a plan so I didn't worry about it. Slowly over a few weeks I started looking around to see what kind of positions were open. I had really enjoyed working in retail on the ship and doing a lot of logistic/ supply management, but I was also open to going back to the kitchen because that's where I have training. I began looking at different conference centers and camps because I had always been interested in working in that type of setting. That the kind of work I was looking for when God opened the doors for me to go to the ship. I even went to the big organizations Christian Camp and Conference Association & American Camp Association. They have many postings of jobs that open periodically through the year, but especially for the summer months when the camping year is at it's peak.

I kept looking and looking then one night I was reminded of my time at Ridgecrest in North Carolina. For some reason it popped into my mind that there was another conference center run by Lifeway in New Mexico. I went to the Lifeway website and couldn't find any information about Glorieta so I looked it up directly on Google. I was lead to several news articles and the website of the new Glorieta. A new group of investors had purchased the conference center from Lifeway at the low cost of $1. They would be updating the aged facilities and breathing new life into a campus that has been forming over the past 60 years in Northeast New Mexico.

It really inspired me to see this group that wanted to get this place running efficiently and reach others for Christ. There was no doubt in my mind that it would take a lot of work and since they already had a successful camp running in Texas they knew all the work that it would take to make it happen. I started the application process almost instantaneously. What's the worst they could tell me? "We don't want crazy people like you on staff here!" Well after about 3 levels of the application process being opened to me and the huge help from my friend Ruben to get a video made that gave me the opportunity to tell them about my strengths and weaknesses I had a phone interview with Glorieta.

During the interview I said that I wouldn't be available to start working till July because I had been away for 2 solid years, and I wanted to spend some time at home before rushing off to my next assignment. That was back during the last week of April I believe. To say that I didn't think about going to New Mexico after the interview would be wrong. Things were very busy on the ship. Wrapping things up on the ship, my home of over two years. Saying goodbye to Congo, friends and what had become normal to me. So I waited. I knew God had a plan and it was all up to Him. I knew that Glorieta had an answer but I didn't even really need it till some time in June after I would be traveling and getting home. My two weeks of traveling finished, I made it home and I even waited another week before contacting them. The morning I called Garrison (my interviewer and potential boss) he said that he was actually writing me an e-mail at that exact moment. Up to that point I didn't have a cell phone so he didn't have any way to contact me besides e-mail. Well, I said. God has perfect timing and at that point he offered me a position at Glorieta. That was June 11th.

The last two weeks flew by. I began going through my things again. They hadn't even been put away from moving home so it was actually much easier. All of my conversations when meeting up with people for the first time since being home went like this:

Friend     "Well, how's it going being home?"
Me          "Pretty normal, I hate to compare the two worlds. They're nothing alike, so for me it has been pretty easy."
Friend     "Well what are you going to do now?"
Me          "Actually I'm leaving in less than two weeks to start a new job in New Mexico"
Friend     "Are you serious?"
Me          "Yup"
Friend     "How long for this time?"
Me          "Till they fire me."
Friend     blank stare
Me          "Well, this one is actually a paying job and I'm MOVING down there."

So yes, I am leaving. In the morning to me exact. What will I be doing? I'm not sure exactly yet. Since the summer is in full swing on campus I will be doing what ever is needed till August. That's when the Summer Staff leave and my team will get their assignments. It's most likely that I will either be working in the kitchen or in their retail area. They have three coffee shops on campus and sell a good variety of souvenirs.

I have a few personal goals.
Show people at home that New Mexico is more than desert. Glorieta is actually at about 7,000 ft. in the base of the Rocky Mountains.
Go on a lot of hikes.
Meet exciting new friends.
Enjoy life on land.
Embrace fall. I've missed the last three.
Get into a good church.
Do lots of reading.

I'm so excited that my car isn't just loaded with clothes and essentials. I was able to pack books, personal items, crafting supplies, a bunch of my cooking equipment, and even my orchids. WOW! It's going to be great. Keep posted for pictures of my road trip to see friends before getting to New Mexico and a new look to the blog.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Do you know it's summer?
That's the question I got Sunday night as I sat in a living room with some friends and wearing a hoodie. Yeah, I know it's summer, unfortunately for me if it's under 80 I'm probably slightly chilled.
Is anybody starving?
As we drove down the road to find something to eat. No, I've seen starving. I look nothing like that.
Sorry friend. I don't mean to be offensive, but I've seen kids that are starving. That word has a meaning. I think you meant how hungry are you.

You visited all those countries since you left the U.S.?
Yes, Customs Officer, I have visited the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya & Tanzania since I left the U.S. 11 months ago. Who would have thought that quitting your job would make you a world traveler?

The last three weeks have been filled with many strange things. I should go ahead and add the last week on the ship. It seems to be a blur of goodbyes now. The last month has taken my world and flipped over. Now I'm trying to figure out what goes where.

May 17th, it's still marked on my calendar. Departure. I thought it fitting that the day I left the ship was the same day that I graduated High School, just 11 years later. I'm still trying to figure out which day will have a bigger impact on my life. Graduation from High School is a day that you prepare for over a 13 year period from the very first day of Kindergarden. Leaving the ship, my home of 2.5 years, living with my friends from around the world is a day that I never could have prepared for. Yeah, I did start packing a week before. Sold all the things that couldn't fit into my 1 piece of luggage weighing 30 Kg (66 lb.). My departure from the ship was known since the end of February but nothing could have prepared me for  the hole that would be left in my heart as we pulled out of the port. It was just minutes after I gave hugs to my amazing ship family. They even managed to spell my name out like cheerleaders as I made my way around the circle. I guess I should have expected the tears to come. After saying goodbye to people like a revolving door since the day I arrived on the ship I thought saying goodbye had gotten easier, but that day was different I was the one leaving this time. You wouldn't find me singing another one bites the dust as everyone walked back up the gangway.

After that tragic event there was a two week intermission in my transition time. I had heard that it's nice to do some traveling between the ship and home so when I decided my time on the ship would be over I started planning an unforgettable two week trek from Nairobi to Zanzibar. As I sat in a hotel lobby using a public computer to tell a few friends that I had made it safely to my destination big tears started swelling in my eyes and I decided to not be the crying guy on the trip. Instead I decided to enjoy where God had me and look out upon the beauty that He created. Fortunately I was able to see some amazing things. Camping two nights in the Serengeti and scuba diving in Zanzibar to name just two things. Unfortunately I think it caused me to push down some of those emotions that need to come out sooner or later. 

This is just a glimpse of some of the things that are rolling around my head at any given point in the day. Combined in the other half of the story, getting home. I'll post about that later.