Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Plan B

Plan B. What the heck are these vagabonds doing now? Read the post, then decide for yourself.
Well, OUR plans certainly didn't work out as we had them designed. The idea was to slowly acclimate to a community. Jana would work full time for a little while, then she'd go back to part time once I found a teaching job. While teaching we'd find a good church where I'd eventually become a staff member.
Here's what went well. We found some good churches and began attaching to one in particular...that met in a school - of course. That's what we do. I found a great mentor, Pastor Jody Mayes, who came alongside me in my search for employment and significance. We found great friends in a short time: Matt and Maya next door; Meagan and Chase who've also adopted a great "Elias"; plus others I won't have time to mention who quickly embraced us. Our house is big and beautiful. My beloved running trail, mountain biking parks, and the gym we joined provided great opportunities to relieve stress. Places like Caffe Medici, Mozart's, Chavelo's, and Sonic became family favorites.
But one month after arriving, it was announced that a hiring freeze in local school districts were being instituted - even for substitute teachers! The economy in TX wasn't immune to the rest of the country's woes. It just came a year later. Teachers who had lost their retirement on Wall Street decided to work an extra year or two.
So I handed out tons of resumes - sometimes to jobs that I'd never have considered...and nothing came. Meanwhile Jana's job proved to be extremely difficult - for more details you can ask her to blog. You know when your spouse is filled with anxiety before a 12 hour shift that it's time to do something. So I did. I began applying for jobs out of state simultaneously with Austin jobs. We realized we loved Austin, but something had to change.
So I applied to jobs in a few places - big PNW cities, a few big CA cities, and Denver. I had a couple of interviews here and there, but along came an interview in a beautiful Seattle suburb - read "National Park" called Sammamish. After 2 phone interviews, one being in a non-air conditioned 100+ degree car - we were invited for an "in person" 3rd interview...which led to an all family 4th interview weekend.
If you remember the movie, The Firm, we became suspicious of this church's motives. We were given airline tickets, two beautiful hotels - the second with a 3 room suite, great meals, babysitters to watch the kids, and super friendly people. Hold on a minute - I couldn't get the time of day for other jobs that I was qualified for. Now, I find myself with a great job prospect in a beautiful location with generous people. Something's wrong, right?
It seems that four months wandering in the desert (Austin is pretty darn hot in the summer) enabled us to refresh, refocus, and submit to God's will. He placed neat people in our path - whom we could be friends with for life - and reminded us that no matter how hard we try (multiple applications, testing fees, drivers' licenses, etc.), it's always best to enjoy the crazy path we're on and to seek him first.
So in a few weeks, I'll be the Children's Pastor (get to hang out with my own kids!) with an emphasis on families and parenting at Pine Lake Covenant Church. It's 20 minutes from downtown Seattle. There are many Ethiopians in Seattle - one I met at the airport yesterday - and with Microsoft just around the corner, there's quite an international community. They're doing some great things at Pine Lake and with a huge population of kids in the area (the highest density in the state) there is tremendous opportunity. Thanks for your thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and patience as we slowly found our spot...and come on up for a visit!!

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