Sunday, August 30, 2009

Beginning to feel at home...

Ah, transitions. It's amazing the things that you know will happen from a distance but when the reality of them sets it they can still be a surprise. I can hardly believe that we have been in Chicago for a month now. It has been a month of excitement (sometimes more than necessary) of challenges and of new beginnings.

Before we left Pella I told several of you that I knew when we moved to Chicago there would be some tear filled days, and they came. About a week and a half ago life became overwhelming. Dear friends that aren't across town or an hour a way, a new schedule and adjusting to life with
Matt as a student, stress over the teacher license, and culture shock of city life. I am really grateful to my study abroad experiences that helped me to be able to identify some
of the stress and emotional reaction for what it was an to give me tools to start moving past it. I am blessed with an amazing husband who has been incredibly supportive every step of the way. When studying abroad they suggest that if you can avoid it to not call home in the middle of culture shock or if you do to make sure you call back later to let your family know you really are okay. That's why this entry is coming now, on the other side.

This week has been incredible. Last weekend we consulted our dear friend, Google,
to help us find a new church to visit and ended up at New Life Pilsen. This was the third church that we have visited in the city, and will be the last in
the search for a church home. When we arrived we were greeted by nearly every person that was there and had a good long conversation with one of the deacons and one of the elders. We laughed as half of the congregation made sure we really did intend to be there for the Spanish service. From the moment we walked in we were home. Yesterday I was able to be a part of the Back to School Bash that our church held at my High School (it is about 3 minutes from my school). The community came out for a celebration of the beginning of the school year. Children received school supplies, free dental screenings and cleanings, vaccinations, and haircuts to be ready for the first day of school. We are incredibly excited by the community focus and service hearts of the church and are blessed with the opportunity to join this body of Christ.

The back to school bash was put on by our church and hosted at my High School. It was a great way to reconnect with the administration and start meeting some of my students. On the school front, an update on the license: I spoke with my principal on Friday and let him know of the situation. He has put calls in to two contacts that he has with the Illinois Board of Education (ISBE) and will be following up on Monday. He was not concerned and told me that every year that have had one teacher that has a license crisis and this year I'm the lucky one!

Greek is over! Matt took his Greek final on Friday morning and we have been enjoying the break from studying. He worked very hard at the class and we will find out next week how it went. Friday night started orientation for McCormick and we have been blessed to meet new friends within the seminary community. Now that Greek is over we look forward to being intentional about building relationships within the community. Matt signs up for classes on Tuesday.

God is so good and we are excited to see where the next steps of this journey take us. I'm sure the tearful days are not over, but Chicago is beginning to feel like home. We miss you and love you all! Hope to hear from you soon.

Jenny and Matt

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's in the mail...

Who knew that this blog would end up being the story of my Illinois license? My application for the Chemistry endorsement has been submitted and a letter from Central College has been sent. It is all in the mail and now we just pray that the people at the Board of Education say "Yes". The process could take up to 60 days. However, I am okay to teach until we hear back one way or the other (I think, I'm starting to doubt the things that the tell me so I will be double checking that). Thanks again for all of the prayers and support!

It seems that this license fiasco has been the center of our week but life has continued on. Matt is officially 1/2 way through his 3 week intensive Greek course and did well on the midterm on Wednesday. After this afternoon he has 1 week left! We have been meeting folks through Greek class and others in the seminary community which has been very good. Tonight we are off to another grill out to continue to build relationships.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Next Chapter


Thank you for all of your words of encouragement and your continued prayers. Here is the update: We found out this morning that the avenue we thought would work for me to get my endorsement doesn't exist. However, with a couple of documents from Central and the Illinois Board accepting those documents I should meet the Chemistry requirements and be okay.

Please pray:
  • That Central would find the appropriate documentation and be able to send it out in a timely fashion.
  • The people at IBE would be compassionate and understanding.
  • The documentation would be sufficient and I would be found to have the proper certification.
  • If it is God's will other doors would open.
  • God would be glorified and that we would have open hearts throughout this situation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Keep praying!


Thank you all for your prayers over the last 24 hours and your notes of encouragement. We have had several calls and emails asking for updates on the teaching license situation, so here it is. I called the main office in Springfield, IL this morning and due to the volume of calls they receive I was asked to leave a message and they will look into the matter and call be back within three days. What is posted on the website is promising, but it contradicts what the lady told me yesterday in person. I am going to go in person back to the Chicago office tomorrow to reapply for my Chem license and we will go from there. Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers. We are hopeful but it is stressful.

We are blessed by your continued support and prayers.

Jenny and Matt

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's why they call it faith...

As I lay here this evening the overwhelming feeling I have is: I am blessed. I am blessed to have an incredible husband that loves for and cares for me unconditionally. I am incredibly blessed by family and friends that come around us, support us and pray for us in our hour of need. I am blessed to have a Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ that will never leave or forsake me.

It has been a day. In case you have read the previous entry from today, I learned this afternoon that the Illinois Board of Education did not certify me to teach chemistry. If nothing changes, I will lose my job and not be able to teach in my current position this fall. I was a mess earlier tonight. I have been broken. Shed tears and sobbed into Matt's arms, but tonight I have a blessed peace.

"I will never leave or forsake you". "I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you and to give you hope and a future". I feel God's presence and an unexplicable peace inspite of the situation. I know that God is in this. I have no idea what he is up to. Why it is happening, what good will come from it or what the verdict will be when I make phone calls, but I know that despite what happens God is good. That's why they call it faith, believing when you can't see. Trusting when you simply don't know. God is good, and in his hands we will be just fine...

Need Prayers

Friends and family, we are in need of your prayers!  For some unknown reason the Illinois State Board of Education has decided not to license Jenny in Chemistry.  They are saying she doesn't have enough credits in Chemistry and general science classes.  As you know she was licensed in Iowa and we were told their requirements are similar enough that this wouldn't happen.  As you also know she already has a job as a chemistry teacher and if she doesn't get certified she won't be able to keep this job.  So we are asking you to pray for this and that tomorrow morning when Jenny calls the Springfield office they will have a much better answer than the Chicago office did today.  We will keep you up to date as things develop.  Feel free to call or email with any questions or if you want more specifics.  In the mean time please pray!

Matt and Jenny

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hitting the Ground

Matt has inspired me to sit down and write a post as well. I've discovered that blogging really intimidates me. I read other's blogs that are very eloquent and profound and I start stressing and never write. So a little grace is greatly appreciated, who knew this could be so stressful?

It's hard to believe we are almost half way through the month of August. The summer has flown. Since my last (first and only until this point) post we have been to Minnesota, Alaska, and moved to Chicago. I have spent a week at Angel Tree Middle Schoo
l/High School Camp. I have eaten on a cruise ship for a week and have sat and chatted with young women that don't have three meals to eat a day. I have sat and talked with young ladies about abstinence, drugs and abuse. I've also sat with some of those same ladies and laughed so hard I cried. I have sat with dear, close friend and moved hours away from them. I have loved Chicago and been lonely, and I am continually amazed by the incredible love and support of my husband. It's been a crazy summer! But, it is good, very good.

We have officially been in Chic
ago two weeks and I headed to school yesterday for the first time. I don't officially start professional development until September 2nd and kids don't come until the 8th, however, the science teachers are going to a week long professional development all next week. I am actually excited to be back in the swing of school. As Matt wrote he is in an intensive Greek class, the boxes are unpacked and the apartment is mostly decorated so I was beginning to run out of things to do. This fall I will be teaching Chemistry at a Latino High School (Benito Juarez in the Pilsen neighborhood) for Chicago
Public Schools. I will have 4 sections of regular Chem and one section of honors. I'm excited for the new school. Nervous and anxious.

So far we have been exploring the new neighborhood and getting settled are starting to long for community and connections.

Prayer Requests:
  • Friendships
  • Connecting to the community that already exists at McCormick and being able to contribute with our gifts and talents.
  • That Matt's study of Greek will be fruitful and positive.
  • Finding a church home/community to be a part of
Thanks for reading... we are blessed to have you all in our lives!


In Chicago and studying like it's my job!

We've been in Chicago for over two weeks and it's starting to feel like home.  We live in an awesome neighborhood which is full of great restaurants, has easy access to public transit and is within walking distance of Lake Michigan!  When I haven't been too busy studying we have been going for walks or roller blading on the path by the lake.  
Today is the last day of my first week of class.  I'm in an intensive study of Greek that is three weeks long.  I was in an intro. to Greek class last fall for eight weeks and I've already learned more in one week than I did during those eight weeks, because I've studied that hard and the class has moved that fast!  It has been pretty stressful yet rewarding to see how far we've come!  
I'll let Jenny talk about what she has coming up, but she does start a week of professional development on Monday.  I can't wait to meet some more people and to immerse ourselves in the McCormick and Chicago communities!  Please write or call as we miss all of you and want to stay in touch!

Matt and Jenny