Our meeting last night went very well. I have both praises and information to share. Thanks to everyone who kept us in your thoughts and prayers.
First, I am happy to say that we have a new friend. Our consultant, Ken, is a very nice man who is both knowledgeable and helpful. He's also very genuine.
We arrived at the hotel in Tyler about 40 minutes early and started the meeting 30 minutes early. It lasted for 2 hours. He learned a lot about us and many of our questions were answered as well.
We reviewed necessary qualifications, the mission & vision statements of the IMB, expectations of missionaries, our calling, our plan for elimination of debt, details of all the steps in the process of becoming long-term missionaries, schooling options for our children, and the first 3-4 years of service in which we will be apprentices. Toward the end of our meeting we tentatively calendered out the rest of the process.
I know the most sought after information from loved ones at this point is the timeline. Let me remind first that it is tentative.
We are in phase 2 of the process which will begin today with medical questionnaires (somewhere between 400-500 questions each). This will be followed by dental clearances, personality inventories and then educational & developmental evaluations of our children. After medical clearance (which takes 6-8 weeks), Robert and I will each have several writing projects to complete: a life sketch, statement of beliefs, and autobiography. Background checks are done and we will submit names for references (of which we will need 12 detailed references each.) After this we will submit college and seminary transcripts, have an in-depth interview with our consultant and reserve a specific job assignment (at which time we'll know where we are going). Phase 2 is the most time intensive.
Phase 3, which is set for March 4-9 will be when we attend Candidate Conference. This will take place in Richmond, VA. Here we will meet a lot of IMB staff, undergo detailed medical examinations, meet in small groups with others, have personal interviews, do detailed researching of our job assignment, attend a wellness workshop and home schooling seminar. We will not be able to have our children with us.
Phase 4, which is set for March 25, will consist of finalizing written materials, getting reference questionnaires in the hands of those who will make references for us, and final medical clearance for the entire family. Then on May 20 our candidate consultant will go before the Personnel Subcommittee of the Trustees on our behalf to seek their approval.
Phase 5, which is set for June 21-25, will be our Appointment Week. At this time we will meet with trustees and other staff, and attend a number of meetings briefing us on our particular missionary service and orientation. Again, we will not be able to have our children with us. Our actual Appointment Service will be very shortly thereafter and will most likely be held in Oklahoma. Our children will certainly be with us for this and anyone reading this is invited to come as well!
Phase 6, which is August 4-October 2, will be our Orientation at the Learning Center in Rockville, VA. Our children will live with us in a quad in a village and will be schooled in their regular studies as well as cultural training for the area that we will be going to. We've done extensive checking on this and are so pleased by all we've found.
Phase 7 is our deployment. We don't have a date on this as yet. There are variables depending on where we are going. It will be 2 weeks or less following the end of orientation as spending more time in the U.S. culture can be a detriment.
We do covet your prayers . . . that God will be glorified through this process and that all things will point to Him, that our children flourish through all the changes, that we make wise choices in the elimination of our debt and the selling of our assets, and that God would very clearly show us where in the world He wants us to go!