I’ll just cut to the chase, and then fill in behind that.
Yesterday, Katherine and I officially accepted an invitation from Wycliffe Europe to begin working with them next year. We will leave Dallas, and I will join their small IT staff – Martijn de Vries and Ken Haugh – who are working on expanding their operations.
There are 20 Wycliffe organizations in Europe. Each of these is smaller than Wycliffe USA but no less active in recruiting people for Bible translation. Some of the countries also have active translation projects. Presently, Martijn and Ken support the smaller Wycliffe offices, such as Wycliffe Hungary and Wycliffe Romania. A few of the larger ones have been able to recruit their own IT staff, but some have as few as 2-3 members in the main office. Rather than go to the effort and expense of establishing on-site IT services, Wycliffe Europe will develop a central point for such services at its office in Holzhausen, Germany (see map).
With Wycliffe’s efforts growing at a rapid pace in Africa as well, there are also increasing needs for computer help across the continent. The people and offices in Africa face the same challenges in Europe – it’s often difficult to recruit or fund staff to provide services locally. It’s also hard for these people to schedule help from the U.S. or the major centers in Asia because of time zone differences. Therefore, Wycliffe Europe has been asked to increase their capability to provide timely help to these people, too.
Ken Haugh and I have known each other for a few years. We worked very closely together on choosing and setting up an online help desk system for Wycliffe members to use around the world. At the time, he was assigned to JAARS and living in Waxhaw, North Carolina. After the project became well-established, he and his wife took up their present assignments with Wycliffe Europe.
Toward the end of June, Ken approached me with the question, “Have you ever given thought to returning overseas?” He had no idea that the thought had been developing in our minds and hearts for quite a while!
It didn’t take much prayer, conversation, and deliberation for Katherine and me to be convinced that God was the author of this invitation. We’re both very excited at the prospect of getting more closely involved in meeting the needs of Bible translation. And I’m thrilled to finally be making use of my college major … German!
Our hope – if it is the Lord’s will – is to be situated in Germany in time for the boys to begin the 2010-11 school year there. If we live in the same area as the Wycliffe offices, then Jonathan and Caleb will attend a local German grundschule. If they are not able to learn German quickly enough to do that, then we may move to southwest Germany so that the boys can attend the Black Forest Academy as day students. In that case, I would periodically make the four-hour trip to the office to take care of matters that cannot be resolved remotely.
There’s going to be a lot more to share with you over the weeks and months to come, and we have a lot of work to do to get ready. Please start praying now that we’ll find a buyer for our house when the time is right – that’s probably the biggest item on the list!