As I was thinking about what to write, I realized that these are pretty much all some variation of the same thing. Now, on the other hand, the months I don’t write you could hear about the regular monotony of my life, which still is too busy to accommodate things like cooking or grocery shopping at regular intervals.
So get ready some more stories about my job, day trips, further travels and the Lord’s faithfulness (not particularly in that order). Sorry, no pictures – just 1000 words.
Next week I’m going to Bulgaria. Do you know anything about Bulgaria? I didn’t but now I know that it’s between Greece and Romania and there are at least 5 ways (according to YouTube) to say “hi,” two of them starting with the “zd” sound. So I’ll be saying “bye” more than “hi” because for that I can say “ciao.”
So why Bulgaria, this country I can’t find on a map and am already prepared to say bye to? For years our church has supported this organization Mission Possible (mp.org) that serves in Eastern Europe. They’re really cool. Back in the day (when it was needed) they used to do a lot of Bible smuggling, then when communism fell they helped translate the Bible into modern Bulgarian and now their mission comes from Ephesians 4:12, equipping the local believers for God’s service.
The organization is pretty much ran by Eastern Europeans but a few times a year they’ll have small groups from other places come visit too. In February the directors, Ivo & Mirjami, were visiting and invited me to go with a group from a church near Chicago. I contacted the coordinator, prayed about it a few days, and now, here I am, staring at a suitcase that isn’t packing itself.
Ten of us are going, I don’t know any of them but I’ll get to know them on the 18th at the Bulgarian airport (I don’t think it’s too big). We’ll be spending a few days hosting a retreat at the MP retreat center in Dobromirka (I just put that in there because it sounds so Bulgarian). I hear my role will be just chatting with people about what they’re learning and how it can play out in their daily lives, plus we may play Bunco. I don’t speak Bulgarian but I’m pretty sure my charm breaks down language barriers (and there will be translators). The rest of the time we’ll be visiting the Roma (gypsy) villages and doing kids activities and helping with the feeding program, and getting to see the MP Baby Box program for new moms. We’ll be there until the 25th. On the 25th we’re going to Rome for 2 days, I don’t know why but…when in Rome… eat gelato, visit old places, whatever. Side note I have been studying Romans in BSF this year so that’s a cool tie in. I fly home from there on the 27th. And sometime after the 27th I’ll let you know how closely my expectations matched my experiences.
Now you may be thinking, “But Joy, can you take 2 weeks off of your job?” And you’d be right to question that because currently I can’t even take 1 day off. So…I QUIT! Or at least I tried to L. My job has never been a good fit for my skills, personality or, more recently, priorities, but God told me I needed to put my hope in Him and be happy about it. But also, “Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it.” (1 Corinthians 7:21NLT). This Bulgaria trip was a push, with a firm deadline, to get free my job so I let my boss know. I was quite proud of my grown up decision, but all that started being challenged about an hour and a half later when my boss responded. He wanted to let me know that he understands that this is the Bay Area and I’m looking for an exciting career path(not really), and I don’t have one (that’s true) but he thinks he can find something in the company that would be a better fit for me (I’m skeptical) and asked to have until the end of May to come up with a proposal. I told him I’d wait it out, but no matter what I’m not staying with my current job. He has some ideas and I’m continuing to pray that I won’t be tempted, on either side, to step out of God’s perfect will. Unfortunately, since I didn’t quit, I’ve been spending all my time training a temp and delegating. I did tell the bosses that by the time I get back they should have my replacement ready for me to start training. This will be like the time I came back from a different trip and my desk was relocated.
When I switched into my current position I really liked my boss (a different one, the one who always sang Joy to the World to me) and assumed he had my best interest in mind and would make decisions that were good for me, recently I realized he didn’t. So I was angry and felt cheated and overwhelmed that my new boss also wasn’t going to be looking out for me, that I have to figure it out all on my own. Then it hit me…God does have my best interest in mind and He’s ultimately in control. He knew exactly what I needed these past three years and He knows exactly what I need going forward and will make sure I am provided for. This may seem like some obvious trite Christianeese, but NO it hit me practically and applied to this situation in my life directly, like a lightning bolt. I need to stay under His protection and not be concerned about whether or not my replacement is going to get paid substantially more than me, or all these other thoughts of discontentment. He knows what I need and I’ll get it, no regrets.
Enough about work, Friday I’m going to New York. I, I justified the trip because it will make the flight to Bulgaria shorter. Also my sister, Julie, is coming with me, with none of her kids. So we’ll do New York things, or sleep and drink coffee. If you’re in town we should hang out.
Other trips this season include going down HWY 1 when my friend Heather came to visit and Yosemite when my friends from Albuquerque came. I’ve been really appreciating getting to spend time in Northern California; it’s really pretty and diverse. And visitors are great. But obviously I’m OK with leaving too, actually I just got my hotel confirmation for Hong Kong, I’m going there and Taiwan in July for 10 days. See why the job is cramping my style.
Maybe on one of these journeys I’ll see you, or you can visit me.