Coming Home

January 27, 2010

How do I start and where should I begin?  First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who has expressed their concern for us and committment to pray for us!

No doubt many of you have heard by now that Kate, Jude, baby girl and I will be leaving Holland in the next week (probably Wednesday).  If its a shock to you, perhaps it is good for you to know you are not alone in that sentiment; our church’s board informed us of our dismissal only 48 hours ago.

The short story–in a very long story of both many ups and downs, twists and turns–is that Monday evening the leadership of Cross Culture (the church we’ve been serving) has expressed their satisfaction with the job we were invited here to do.  Specifically the task we were charged with included freeing the lead pastor up and raising up a new youth pastor.

Over the course of the last fifteen months I have been able to assist the lead pastor here in handful of ways, from leading the youth and teaching on Sundays and during the week, to working with him to c0-create the current expression of our church’s mission and means for engaging that mission (displayed in the church’s mid-week meeting area).

On the other side, though we have perhaps had less time than we’d have liked to disciple the youth leader who will taking our place, we are very excited to see how the Lord will work through him.  God is just beginning to do some exciting things here in Holland (see here and here), and I hope you will join me praying for the growth and continuation of these new ways in which Christ is being named where he has not been so before!

Looking Back

Looking back this year has been as much about learning as it has been about ministering.  Personally I feel my love for and relationship with Jesus has deepened as he has lifted our eyes from the what of his church’s doing (Acts 2:42-47) to the why (Acts 1:8).  He is the God who sends, and because he has come himself, I know that he is also going before us now.

Looking Forward

So where is he going before us?  To be completely honest, I’m not sure.  Of course our primary focus right now, aside from packing, is in looking forward to the arrival of baby girl in early March.  Beyond This we’re not really sure where the Lord is leading us.  You can be sure we will keep you posted as things become clear and the Lord paves the way forward–whether that path leads us to Vancouver or beyond.

Again, a huge thank you to those who have so faithfully supported us through email, Skype or Facebook, or in prayer or finances this past year!  You have carried us many times!

As to specifics, the four of us plan on leaving Holland in seven days–just two days before Kate is no longer allowed to fly!

Lastly, for those of you who know the Youngers, keep an eye on their blog or Facebook accounts for more information on their plans to return to Vancouver. (also, a huge thank you to Nathan and Anna for taking care of things here so that Kate, Jude and I are able to return all together!)

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Yes, We’re Still in Holland

November 24, 2008

Six days ago officially marked the longest time we have yet spent at once in Holland–and it may finally be sinking in that we’re not on a short term mission trip this time.  Over the past couple of days there have been a number of times where Kate or I extricate ourselves from some task, only to be confronted by the realization that, “Hey, we’re in Holland right now!”  

Its amazing what a transition it has been and continues to be moving here.  This week we’re hoping to get just a little more in to life here as we set up meetings with the youth and others in the church.  Slowly we’re becoming better friends with Stan and Marnie (the pastor and his wife), Tom and Zilka (our hosts).  It may not seem like a big deal, but its really been helping us to see Holland as home as we begin to know and be known in this new place. 

I can only watch with anticipation as the seeds of friendship planted so long ago begin to sprout and take root, with only God knows what end waiting in store for us.  For now, as we slowly make our way in this brave new world, we’ll keep on marveling at the faithfulness of God to make this mission possible as we are daily caught at unawares by the reality that we’re still in Holland.

Morning Number Two in Holland

November 10, 2008

First off, I can’t believe that we’ve only been here for two mornings.  Already it seems like we’ve been here for much longer.  Secondly, I’m pretty pleased with how we’re making the time zone transition so far.  Let me bring you up to speed.

Though we we’re sad to say our goodbyes at the airport on Friday (thanks for the note Ethan, Krista and parentals!), we had an awesome flight over.  The whole ten hours I think Jude probably slept for at least six hours and hardly cried once! (just one single yelp while waiting to eat!)  Thanks for your prayers for us there, they made a huge difference!
Our Current Home

The second story just above the guy next to the windows on the right is just below the apartment where we are staying on the second story.

Our first day here was a lot better than years past, but still a pretty miserable feeling day, with the time change and all.  Following an alright night of sleep, that started at eight and was interupted at 3:30 am when Jude decided it was morning, we had a great time at Cross Culture Calvary Chapel, our new church home, where we also spoke.  Yesterday, we mostly spent hanging with Tom and Zilka our hosts, just hanging and resting for the journey. 

You can be praying for us today as we begin the visa process (and discover what all we’ve forgotten to bring…).  Please be praying for us through this process as we go through what I’m anticipating will an agonizingly slow of transitioning into making Holland home–and this all with the three of us all having colds!  

Thanks for praying for us!  We lean on your prayers daily and look forward to the great things God has planned here in Holland!

The chaos has set in.  With just a week left until our intended departure date, the goodbyes and “Oh, but I’ll see you again right?”-s have begun.  The calendar has filled up with farewell parties, family dinners and prayer send-offs as more and more of our thoughts turn toward the life God has called us to overseas.

Every conversation, every place, and experience has become twinged with Holland and next week’s plane ride.  “I wonder if this is the last time” has turned to “That was the last time I…”, while “How do we fit all this into this room?” at my parents house has turned to “How do we fit all this into six pieces of luggage?”  Each change brings its own dilemma I suppose, and we’ll just keep taking it one step at a time.

We need your prayers now more than ever as our requests turn to the particulars of transition and travel.

Reflection From Colorado

October 1, 2008

As our training continues here in Littleton Colorado, I wanted to pass on one of the topics I thought really describes the experience we have been in and will continue to walk through.  If you’ve ever wondered, “What is it like for a missionary to leave?”  I think these five areas sum up our current experience pretty well: 

DSCN0775

Kate listening to one of our instructors.

Phase I – Involvement:

At this point you are still known by people around you.  You are comfortable and you know where things are and belong.  

Phase II – Leaving:

Moving out of regular life, the phase of Leaving includes eerythign that happens around and to you in preparation of leaving.  This that period when you begin to unplug, when life “at home” starts going on without you.  As you continue to prepare to leave, your experience of people, events and surroundings changes as recognition of “lasts” (“This may be my last Christmas in Vancouver,” “This may be the last time I see ______”, etc.) begins to color your thinking, further heightening your awareness that you no longer fit your surroundings.   Slowly (or not so slowly), you and those around you seem to unplug, in preparation for the coming goodbye.  (This phase is probably where we are right now)

Phase III – Chaos:

Split down the middle, this phase lives up to its name in different ways on both sides of the ocean.  Before you leave Chaos sets in as the people around you realize that you’re leaving and suddenly find the drive to say goodbye, have lunch, dinner, brunch, afternoon tea, elvensies, and any other thing they can think of to try to get some together time before you say the big Goodbye.  At the same time life stateside becomes even more hectic as those final holdouts of familiarity are forced to die in the mad dash towards the airplane.  

On the other side of the ocean the Chaos continues as you remain totally unsettled, having forfeited all of the customary familiarities of your former home.  Not only do you not know how to get around in your new surroundings (culturally and directionally), but you are also just beginning the process of discovering where your own things are.  What’s more, you find yourself to be totally unknown in your new environment.  They don’t know you, your giftings, your personality, your tastes, your passions–nothing.  

Phase IV – Entering:

This is when you begin to be known again.  The people you live with are slowly discovering–with a little unabashed self-promotion–who you are and what you can do.  Concurrently you are being relationally investigated (just as you too are investigating people) for their potential as friends, partners and contacts. Dive too deep, with too little discernment and you’ve just buried yourself in over-commitment.  To be too conservative in this period feels like being damned to continue in the uncertainty of Phase III.  

Phase V – Reengagement:

Finally, as your transition to your new culture begins to normalize (a process which will probably take no less than a year), you have come to be known and to know.  You feel settled again.  You know where things are, and though you will always continue learning about the culture and language, you at least know some of how to get around in this once foreign place.  

What a journey, huh?  Nonetheless it is the journey we find ourselves on with God.  

I think this all speaks pretty well for itself, but the one thing I would like to highlight, is the importance of knowing and being known.  Over and over it comes up.  Where do things belong?  Where do I belong?  Who knows that’s where I belong?  Amazing how important it is to know and be known–even when it means knowing where to buy bread or where to put my keys.  What I’m wondering is, What does that desire say about us as people?

Joey

“You want to go to the mission field right? Then why aren’t you working with Ralph?”-and the rest is history. Since that transition from middle school ministry to missions happened some two years ago, we have been working to ensnare the hearts of a generation in the overwhelming vision of God to reach out to his broken world. We have held events, spoken in front of groups, given students a global perspective and sent some 80+ students around the world bringing the Gospel of Christ to those who have not heard. This month alone will see three teams headed to Seattle, Amsterdam, Adelboden Switzerland and Millstadt Austria doing everything from caring for missionaries and feeding the homeless to proclaiming Christ in the middle of the largest gay pride event in all of Europe. It is amazing where the Lord has led these last two years! We can only imagine the good things that lie in store!

Celebrate with us! Following an hour long interview on Monday Kate and I have been officially accepted as World Venture missionaries! While our approval is a huge emotional and mental leap forward, it also clears the way for a lot of other things to move forward: establishing an official budget, hammering out the ongoing division of labor between us, World Venture and our senders, beginning to learn the World Venture infrastructure, etc. What’s more, this last step also clears the way for our financial supporters to begin sending money in to Worldventure!

If you feel called to financially partner with us, you may send checks payable to WorldVenture, writing our name and the account number on an attached note – not on the check memo line. (i.e. Wulf / #6154-883). We are enclosing a donation/commitment form and blue envelope if you would like to donate by check.

You can also give donations or commitments online (www.WorldVenture.com). For donations click on GIVE. Click on DONATE. Scroll down to our name in the missionary directory, enter the monetary amount, and click on ADD. You would then scroll down further and follow the prompts. For commitments click on MAKE A COMMITMENT, scroll down to my name in the directory, enter the monetary amount, and click on ADD. You would then scroll down and follow the prompts. Thank you for your support!www.WorldVenture.com). For donations click on GIVE. Click on DONATE. Scroll down to our name in the missionary directory, enter the monetary amount, and click on ADD. You would then scroll down further and follow the prompts. For commitments click on MAKE A COMMITMENT, scroll down to my name in the directory, enter the monetary amount, and click on ADD. You would then scroll down and follow the prompts. Thank you for your support!

As we continue to transition, please join us in prayer for these requests:
JUDE: Two weeks left! Pray for patience as we wait!
FINANCES: Firming our budget up with WV, continuing to fundraise (we’re still at $3000/month committed)
SWITZERLAND/AUSTRIA MISSION: traveling mercies, energy and heart for service, funds to come in.

Thank you for your support through these years and as we continue to move forward into the good things God has ahead for us!

Joey, Kate and Jude Wulf

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