Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tennessee for TEAM Missionary Orientation & a Quick Vacay

Last week, we took a week off of work and hopped an airplane to Tennessee. The first part of the week was  spent in TEAM missionary orientation, and the weekend was set aside as a quick vacation for us before we headed back home.

As we posted earlier, Kam & I have been called by God to a year long stint as missionaries in Zimbabwe Africa. We are going through a missions agency called TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission). TEAM works along side its missionaries and the sending churches of those missionaries to establish churches all over the world. During this weeklong orientation, we (along with about 20 other missionaries) sat in "class" most of the week to learn missionary "nuts & bolts." There were sessions on the core values of TEAM, sharing our story & vision with others, and FUNDRAISING! {be aware: there will be many upcoming posts with the opportunity for ya'll to help with this fundraising process. We will need a team of prayer partners & a team of financial supporters. We are not alone in our call to Zimbabwe. We need YOU! If you are interested in supporting us with a financial gift right now, click here. If you are interested in more information contact us. We want to have conversations with you about the importance of your involvement.

There was of course, some down time during the week. One night we were out walking around and heard some jazz music, so we ventured to find where it was coming from & discovered a swing dance club was having a dance outside on a big patio area (just earlier that day I had mentioned to Kam that the patio would be the perfect spot for a Southern dance!). After watching people, young & old, dance to classy, jazzy music, Kam asked me to dance the last song with him. One of the other members of our orientation group snapped this picture of us.
One of my favorite parts of the week was meeting other missionaries who have just been appointed by TEAM. Although none of them are coming to Zimbabwe with us (many are going to Japan, as well as Peru, Spain, Germany, and other countries that are not safe to mention), we still bonded over a shared vision. I hope we stay in touch with those extraordinary people.

Our brains got so so so stuffed with valuable information, that we needed a little break before coming back home, so we spent the weekend at a B&B. It was our first experience at a B&B, and we were sure impressed! The place we chose is called Sweet Berries B&B in Maryville, TN. Darrell & Louise are the hosts. They are a Christian couple who love to show hospitality to all who enter their beautiful home. Louise makes the BEST and BIGGEST breakfast you ever did eat! & Darrell is a humble & helpful partner who gave us many ideas on how to spend the days sightseeing around the Smokies. {I think I might have to dedicate a whole post to this B&B & the beautiful couple who own it, so I won't share too much.}

My girl friend Jenna & her new husband were in Marville, TN as well on their HONEYMOON. So we met up one evening to catch up. Jenna was a bridesmaid in our wedding. & I had to miss her walking down the aisle because of this orientation trip. But how random was it that she was honeymooning in the same place as where we were?!

There were two chances we got to go hiking in the Smoky Mountains. What a beautiful place! Wow.  We could not stop exclaiming about the scenery & proclaiming the awesomeness of God's creation! Everything was so GREEN!

This is a little black bear eating blackberries along our hiking trail.
We took a drive on the "Tail of the Dragon" - a stretch of US 129 with 318 curves in 11 miles.
A great opportunity to clamp our GoPro to the rear-view mirror & document!

We fell in love with this part of the country -- although we were drowning in the humidity. Perhaps you will found us back in the South one day. You can probably count on it!

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