Thursday, May 20, 2010

And so the story goes...

Hi all,

Well, many of you know that something is up but are not sure just what it is. With the Chittenden's, you can never really tell! LOL! Below is the story...

Let me back track a little. The nights after hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, I was sitting in my living room thinking, “Man, Tim and I are not working. I can’t send money but I want to DO something. I wish we could “GO” there.” I went to bed, woke up and read my daily devotion which was entitled “GO For It!” I was struck by this:

“You are endowed with a unique purpose and in order to fulfill that purpose you will need to press toward the desires God has given you. They may seem trivial, or they may seem unattainable, but don’t neglect to reach for them as He leads you. One step in the right direction could catapult you into the next level of the calling on your life. Take a risk and you’ll realize it’s no risk at all – because all of heaven backs you when you reach for God’s desires.”

Whoa! Okay God, I’m listening. I shared this with Tim on the way to church. He thought it would be pretty cool to go but how. Who would watch the boys? We had JUST moved to NC. Once we arrived at church our pastor said that they were going to send teams to Mississippi to help with disaster relief. We looked at each other. Let’s head down this path and see what happens. So as you know we went and I cannot even begin to put in words the blessings we received in helping others. We were hooked and while we were down there decided to do mission work someday. We’re not the type to retire and go to the country club etc.

Last year I was challenged instead of having a New Year’s Resolution to pray about a word that could be my focus for the year. Something to meditate on, pray about etc. After a week or so of praying about this the word “Go!” came to mind and then proceeded to proliferate my life.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith, Abraham, when called to go to the place he would later receive his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

John 15:16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

Just about a month ago Tim and I were in a meeting for the church plant we are teaming up with in Raleigh. A gentleman stood up to speak. His name is Ken and he will be the church’s “Send” pastor which basically means he will the missions pastor. Anyway, he stood up and began like this “My wife and I went on our first mission trip to Mississippi to help with Katrina disaster relief in October 2005.” I nudged Tim, “That’s like us!” Ken went on to talk about how this trip impacted their life and plans for the future. Same for us. We talked with Ken and his wife Karen immediately after the meeting and they shared what all they were doing living in the Dominican Republic. They shared about an English speaking Christian School in Santiago that they have friends whose children go there, friends who work there, etc. Tim sort of looked at me. “That sounds awesome!” we said. Ken says “Check out G.O. Ministries online. And they let’s get together and chat some more.” Really? G.O. Ministries??? Tim and I laughed.

No sooner then we hit the car did we both say “What do you think about that? I mean, we didn’t think missions would work until the kids were gone because of bills and financial obligations here, but we don’t have those anymore. And we are constantly talking about wanting to experience life outside of the bubble of suburbia. We talked to the kids about the possibility and the next day Adam was searching real estate online and Noah brought home a book about the DR from the school library. Tim and I got to praying. Our prayer has been this:

“God, we are trying so hard to make our will be done in this crazy life that we’re leaving no room for Your Will to be done. We don’t want to decide this simply because it sounds like an adventure, but because it truly is Your calling for our life. We ask you open or close doors as you see fit. Your Word says, “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” We will accept the path you will lay out for us because we know all of heaven backs us when we reach for your desires.

I received an email from a friend with this quote the very next day:

Revelation 3:8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Now, to FINALLY get to the point, Santiago Christian School offered me a position for the 2010-2011. The position would be a permanent substitute which is a full time position. I would sub where needed and have projects to work on the days I was not needed specifically to sub. This would be a great position as it would not involve planning, grading etc and would allow me to get the kids settled, work on my Espanol, etc. It would be for one year (at least…one day at a time), the kids would go to school for free. I receive a livable salary, insurance, airfare and various other odds and ends. The school helps us find housing and they deal with securing whatever we choose and our rent is then deducted from my pay. That way we know we are safe in the dealings from people trying to take advantage of foreigners. Tim would continue to work remotely for IBM until whenever. 90% of his team lives in Mexico and Brazil so this should pose no problem although would likely result in a decrease in his salary because the cost of living is so much less there. We plan to sock away his paycheck in the US and live off mine. We would be home for Christmas for two weeks. We’d then be back in June until the end of July to visit, regroup, etc…

Our wonderful friend,Robin, has been working with us in JumpBunch since January and she will be taking over the stateside dealings with the business here. This is awesome as it will allow her to be back in the workforce, allow her children to go to the schools she and her husband desire and she's an unbelievable asset to our company (and life!:D)

Regarding Soul Fusion, I will basically be on sabbatical. Amazingly, Leah and I have another photography friend with whom she will likely collaborate for the year, supporting one another with both businesses! How good is God for introducing these two ladies through the art auction we coordinated for the Hope for Haiti Foundation??? Blessings abound!

My sister and brother in-law were planning a move to this area sometime this summer and will likely be staying in our house until they figure out where they would like specifically live!

When we step back and look at all that has fallen into place, we feel so much confidence that this is where we are to be. We will spend this first year acclimating tot he area, working at the school and praying to see where God will have us in other ministries as that is our ultimate desire, the one He put on our hearts 5 years ago.

So that's the story...we are excited, nervous, happy, sad, and every range of emotion you could imagine going into this next stage of our life. But with all of that we have peace.

Philippians 4:7 (New International Version)
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thank you Lord.


kari said...

We are SOOOOOOO excited for you. I was sharing with the kids yesterday and they think it is really cool as well. Will definitely be praying for you all - I love when the pieces fall into place in a way that can be NONE OTHER than OUR GOD. Confirmation after confirmation,......what an awesome testimony to those around you who don't know HIM. Will miss you guys so much but am looking forward to REGULAR updates here on the blog and lots of pics of the boys! Good luck and let us know if we can do ANYTHING!!!

Shannon said...

That is so awesome!!! We will pray for you guys and help out in any way that we can. Your family illuminates the way we should all live!!!This could not have happened to a more deserving family...We will miss you guys but we still have 60+ days to see you...

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