Category Archives: cross-cultural living


We made it to Vancouver! We are settling in and getting adjusted to big city life. We are still struggling with the time difference so everyone is tired, but we are slowly getting adjusted.Here are some pictures in and around our apartment.

Just outside our building
The view from one of our bedrooms


Living Area


Boys’ bedroom


Zack & Jenn’s room

Saying Good-bye

Many songs have been written about it.

We are in the heart of a season of goodbyes. The songs are right. It’s not easy. In some most cases, it’s just plain hard. There have been tears already. And with just two weeks until we leave the states, there will surely be more.

It has been interesting to see how each of us handles the sadness of goodbyes. It has been a good lesson in facing and dealing honestly with our emotions. It has been an important lesson in leaving well.

But as we get towards the end of of our goodbyes, we remember that it’s not really goodbye, it’s only see you later… and until we meet again!    Happy Trails to You

Not the Same

God spoke to me this morning through my washer and dryer.
Okay, before you think I’ve gone crazy, read on.
As I was thinking about our current living situation here at the training center, I was reminded of cultural differences.
Everyone here lives in a quad: four apartments with a shared living room. My assumption then, and apparently the assumption of many, was that all the apartments were the same.
I was talking to one family about the frequency of laundry because of the almost doll-sized washer and dryer. They looked at me oddly and we discovered that their W&D are full sized.
On another occasion, a couple couldn’t figure out why our boys were sharing a room – that is, until we realized that their apartment is three bedroom, while ours is two.
And as I thought over those interactions this morning, it hit me: what a powerful lesson for us as we prepare cross cultures and learn to live with another peoplegroup. Just because we do things a certain way does NOT mean others do the same. We must be careful to not make assumptions. We need to seek to understand the practices, habits, and cultural norms of those with which we want to meet. In fact, we may need to give up some of our preferences in order to really gain an understanding of their values and mindset.
It’s easy to think our way is the best way. It’s easy to just assume that others do things like we do them. But I have a feeling that over time our minds will be broadened to some of our habits daily practices that are extremely Western, and maybe even extremely unnecessary.
(And as I try to start wrapping my brain and heart around all of this, I am, appropriately, starting on this helpful book!)

An Interview with a Gremlin

For those that are new to our blog, Daniel is our younger son and is affectionately referred to as the Gremlin.
If you’ve ever met him, you get it it.
(If not, you’re missing out!)
Today, I thought it would be fun to interview Daniel and let you know how his summer is going and what he has coming up. So here we go…


Jenn: Hi, Daniel.
Daniel: Hi.
J: How are you?
D: Good.
J: How old are you?
D: Seven.
J: What grade did you just finish?
D: Kindergarten.
J: So that means you are…
D: In first grade!
J: What are your favorite things to do?
D: Make a tent, and eat hot dogs, and peanut butter jelly.
J: Is there anything else you like to do?
D: Play. Have fun with my brother. My brother’s named William. And I have a family. I have fun with my family outside.
J: So, tell me about your summer so far.
D: My dad went to ski. I have fun with my Mommy. I watch TV and my hair is spiky. But not right now. I want to have snow so I could go skiing and make a snowman, but it’s hot outside. I don’t know what temperature it is in Norway. I think that’s all.
J: Are there any places you like to go in the summer?
D: Yeah. On my brother’s birthday, we went to Graceland.
J: What is Graceland?
D: It has food. And Elvis used to live there. And it’s very fun to go there. And one time I went to Tennessee.
J: What did you do there?
D: Just run. I run and the sun was hot there. My grandparents took me to the zoo. I loved it. Now we are just talking about it.
J: What else will you do this summer?
D: Go running. And walking. And go to Stone Mountains and have a away party [going away party], and go on a big ship, the cruise ship.
J: Are you going anywhere else this summer?
D: First we’re moving to Virginia.
J: What will you do there?
D: Just run and some walking and kid’s classes.
J: What will you learn?
D: I don’t know. About Jesus. About how to be a MK, a mission kid. About how to be a good friend.
J: Are you excited?
D: Yes.
J: Are you scared?
D: Yes.
J: What will you miss?
D: Adie [our dog]. And Zoe and Dande [in-law’s dogs], and I miss my old house.
J: What are you excited about?
D: To be a MK. And to make new friends. And to tell them about Jesus.
J: Anything else you want to say?
D: No. That’s all. The end.


Ok, so Jennifer has been trying to get me to do a blog post for a while.  So I am working on this one and might publish this one once I am happy with it, or it may sit here and collect cyber dust for years and years until we decide to delete it one day.

Why Norway?  I have no idea except to say it’s a God thing.  I can remember my dad taking a business trip to Norway back when I was a kid.  He didn’t say too much about it other than it was cold, he liked the food, the people were nice and it was a beautiful country.

About 2 weeks after he got home from his trip, my mom took the film to be developed (kids, google film developing).  She brought back a photo he had taken of a fjord with some colorful wooden houses on the shore and some awesome wooden boats.  In the background there were snow capped mountains and a rainbow.  Even on 110 film (again, google this), this could have won a  photo contest any day of the week.  I was captivated by this photo and showed it to all of my friends at one time or another.  It is still hanging around my parents house to this day.  I may try to find it with all of my spare time (sense sarcasm)  and post it online one day soon.  God put Norway and the beauty of the land in my heart.

In 2009, a good friend told me he was leading a vision trip to Norway and wanted to know if I’d be interested.  Sure!  I’ll go to Norway.  I went and fell in love with the country.  The people were amazing, the land was beautiful, and although it was awesome, I felt sad.  I wanted to share what I was experiencing with Jennifer.  I couldn’t wait to get home and share photos and videos and story after story of God ordained meetings with person after person.

I got home and we went right back into adoption paperwork and preparation mode.  July of 2010, we came home with Daniel.  As soon as we got home, God began really speaking to me about full time ministry.  I had thought about it earlier in life, but didn’t know exactly where  I fit.  Turns out, I didn’t really fit anywhere around home.  On a Saturday morning in October (I think) I went to Rexall Grille in Duluth for breakfast with some guys for accountability.  While I was there, I felt like someone was squeezing my insides.  The guys encouraged me to listen and obey.  I went home and told Jennifer that I was feeling like God was calling us to missions overseas.  Her only response was “I know”.

We began looking into different organizations and after weeks of interviews etc, we decided on one.  We have been in process since October of 2010 and it was been an intense time of interviews, doctrinal statements, background checks, references, medical exams and having the boys tested for everything under the sun.

We went to a “ministry fair” for lack of a better term in Memphis in July of 2011 in Memphis.  We had times when we could meet with the different groups that work with people around the world according to the areas and people groups they were affiliated with.  We chose to separate on the first meeting and then hooked back up for Europe since that is where we really felt God leading us.  We were given a list of positions around the world.  We looked and saw several that looked interesting, but none were exactly where  God was leading us.  We went and sat down on a couch to pray and spend some time talking together.  I opened the job list back up and noticed that we had missed one section of the European jobs.  The first one was in Oslo.  We knew that this one was for us.

Fast forward then until now, we are job matched with this position, have been appointed as apprentices and will begin training on July 23rd.  We have roughly 5-6 months of training and then should be in Oslo by January.

We are scared.  We don’t know where we will live.  We don’t know what to take with us.  We don’t know how we’ll handle the cold.  We don’t know where the boys will go to school.  We only know a little Norwegian.  BUT- we know God has chosen this position for us at this particular point in time and regardless of our disobedience in the past, He has called and we are now being obedient.  We (mostly all Jennifer) will post our thoughts, fears and adventures on here when we have time.

Please stay tuned as we share what God is doing and what we are learning from the people in Norway.  Please pray for our adventure and for our kids.  They have known lots of transition in their young lives, but what better way to spend your childhood years than serving the Living God and working to make a difference in His kingdom.

to be continued. . . . .