Monday, August 23, 2010

Life in Salem.

Wow! Things here have been chugging along at a fast pace and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you, before so much happens that I can't. So, here goes:

Crater Lake: Two days after we arrived in Salem we met up with our good friends Ric and Jannie Halloman and their daughter Fiona. Before they knew we were moving out west they had already made plans to visit Crater Lake, OR. When they found out that we were moving, we all decided that we had to meet up during their trip. We spent a beautiful day together at Crater Lake with warm weather around 65 degrees which was contrasted by leftover snowbanks that were easily 13 feet high in some places. It was really good seeing friends from the mid-west upon touching down in the Pacific NW.

House: We spent the next week settling in to the house that we are renting. It has a cozy feel and is the perfect size for the family. The girls instantly fell in love with the tree house that was already in the back yard.

Job Search: The Monday after we moved into our house I hit the ground running on my job search. I had been networking for several months and I began to follow every lead to find a job that was a good fit for our family. I talked to some design and marketing firms, some local businesses and made connections with some non-profit agencies in the area. During this time I took on a small project for a local design firm setting up a website for a non-profit group that is selling SOMO Beads to raise money for school children in Uganda.

Coffeehouse: During the time that I was looking for work, one of our new friends in the neighborhood introduced us to someone involved in the local CMA church. They mentioned to us that they were looking for someone who understood both running a cafe and had some experience in ministry. This church is setting up a community center five blocks from our house with many programs serving the neighborhood including a free medical clinic and a cafe. Lori and I spent some time prayerfully considering this and felt like we should move forward with the interview process. The more I discussed the vision with the church leadership for the Coffeehouse, the more we became excited about what they are doing in the neighborhood.

On July 27, I accepted the position and went from being one of the interviewees to one of the interviewers as we had to immediately hire a staff of ten baristas. The coffeehouse is currently under construction and is an entirely new project that will be launched a couple of weeks from now. Since I was hired I have been working closely with the Assistant Manager as we order cafe supplies, attending barista training, and doing everything possible to make sure that we are as prepared as possible for our Grand Opening on September 13.

Life in General: In our free time we have been soaking up the life and culture of the Pacific NW. We have enjoyed various expeditions to state and national parks, the mountains, and the ocean. Lori has been taking care of a garden plot in a local community garden. Also, we have taken advantage of a program in Salem called Neighborhood Harvest. If you follow the link you can see Lori interviewed by Oregon Public Broadcasting (She talks around minute 3). Local farmers donate portions of their fields for the general public to come and harvest for free. Half of what you pick is donated to the local food pantry and you get to take the rest home.

Overall, we are settling in here in Salem. We want to say thank you to all of you have been such an encouragement to us and have lifted us up in prayer throughout this entire transition. We are constantly amazed by our God and thankful for the ways that he works, even when it is beyond our own understanding.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
       neither are your ways my ways,"
       declares the LORD.
  "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
       so are my ways higher than your ways
       and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  As the rain and the snow
       come down from heaven,
       and do not return to it
       without watering the earth
       and making it bud and flourish,
       so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

  so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
       It will not return to me empty,
       but will accomplish what I desire
       and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
  You will go out in joy
       and be led forth in peace;
       the mountains and hills
       will burst into song before you,
       and all the trees of the field
       will clap their hands.
  Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
       and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
       This will be for the LORD's renown,
       for an everlasting sign,
       which will not be destroyed."