Monday, August 30, 2010

Part II

So fast forward to a few months ago. We still had no ideas for a new job for Monte, and he was just sending out his resume to random places hoping for a lead. He was even considering going into a trade just because it seemed to be the only possible option left (and for those of you who don't know, Monte has many talents and natural abilities but working with tools is not one of them!).

Then, out of the blue, we got an email from Monte's cousins Tim & Sharon wondering if we were free to get together for coffee. Turned out they were in the process of securing a Wired Monk franchise, set to open in Abbotsford (about a 5 minute drive from our house) and wanted Monte to come on board to handle the food/menu. We met and talked coffee for hours, excited to hear about their business plans and how Monte could potentially be involved. They left us with a business plan, lots to think about, and the question of "how much would Monte need to earn?" Monte had been really wrestling with the idea of leaving a career in the food industry as it seemed as though God had gifted him with this talent and ability, and provided him with a year of training completely paid for (a $20,000 tuition covered by the government... when does that ever happen?). So to have this opportunity come along, with the ability to state your pay, was unbelievable. And for the first couple months, while all these plans were in limbo waiting for final approval and such, we were sure this was too good to be true. But Tim called at the end of July confirming that the lease had been signed and everything was a go, including Monte's position. And ever since we've been immersed in coffee bistro plans with them; they've been so great to get our opinions and ask our thoughts on so many aspects in the planning process even though this is entirely their business venture.

We're really excited about the future and can't wait to witness the coffee shop's success. It's going to be a lot of hard work and also a lot of fun! We don't know where this opportunity is going to lead us, but we're reminded that God can work outside the box. We often forget that He is bound to no limits. We never would have seen this opportunity coming, and yet it's probably one of the best-suited jobs out there for Monte and his set of skills.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grab a cup of coffee...

...and get comfy. We've got something to share.

Over two years ago we decided it was time for a job change for Monte. He was miserable at work, not treated very properly, and was paid terribly - a low enough wage that he had to pick up a second job just to cover the bills. We didn't know at first if this change meant simply a new environment, or a complete switch of professions. We didn't even really know where to start. But we knew it was time for a change. So, we started dreaming, trying to tap into the "pre-marriage/pre-kids Monte" to figure out what his true passions were, outside of the pressure of providing for his family. And we landed at the opportunity for him to get into some form of law enforcement. Before applying to culinary school in 2003, he had a real interest in becoming a police officer, but at the time they were only hiring applicants with a degree related to law. And the RCMP were only looking for those who were of ethnic minority.

Looking into law enforcement over five years later, the requirements were totally different and it looked as though should he be accepted into almost any law inforcement program, not only would his training be paid for, but he would be paid a reasonable hourly wage as well while being trained. Seemed like an answer dropped right onto our laps from the heavens! But four months into the intensely in-depth (and quite costly!) application process, the door closed. Monte's application had ended. And our dreams were shattered. We were so sure this was where God wanted us... Now what? Back to square one, but quite shaken and unsure of the future.

Months and months of truly seeking what God's purpose was in that discouraging process (so that we wouldn't experience that kind of disappointment again) and praying for His direction in whatever new pursuit came our way, and we felt stuck. No realistic options; no opportunity that Monte could get excited about. Little did we know that we were being taught priceless lessons and experiencing God in ways we never could have had we not felt so weak and vulnerable. One experience, for instance, was being a part of our church life group. The support, prayer and encouragement was unlike anything we had experienced in our lives and we learned a lot about our own faith, and the importance of letting others carry us through tough times. It was a safe place to ask questions we were too scared to even acknowledge... Not knowing what kind of void the answers could create. Another experience of God's provision and faithfulness was not being able to afford groceries and having grocery store gift cards snuck into my purse or being given a huge bag of food essentials out of the blue, by people who didn't know there was a real need and at just the right time.

But having gone through it all, I would do it again in an instant because of the more intimate relationship it has brought our family with our Saviour. After all, when life is all said and done, what is leftover? What happens when the life we cling to, so desperately at times, is over? These situations and experiences, while instrumental to our faith, are only for a moment. It's the end that we're truly living for. And at that, I'll think I'll leave the rest for another day. To be continued...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer Update

The last of July, and into August, was a busy time for us. Too busy to blog much, I guess. We hosted our very first exchange student - a 15 yr old boy from Japan - for just under three weeks. It didn't go as planned, and I think both Monte and I were a bit deflated after that experience. But we had already signed up with a different organization to host another student, starting yesterday, and so we hoped and prayed that this one would work out better. So far, so good!

Much of our family was flying in and out of the country and since Monte loves airports more than anything (that's not sarcasm, he really does) he and Nate chauffeured members of our family to and from the airport several times. Monte's grandma passed away this month, as well. She lived 102 years! She lived out in Winnipeg, so Monte and his family flew out there for five days to attend the funeral and spend time with their relatives. It was really great that he could go back to visit his grandma's home and honour the fond memories he has of her from his childhood. I only met her once - she came to our wedding - but from the stories Monte had for me, she sounded like a wonderful, well-respected woman who loved God and her family with all her heart. The kind of woman I'd love to be someday.

And lastly, but not least, there's been a job change in the works for Monte over the last few months. It's still a bit early to get into all the details, but we're really excited about the future and can't wait to get this new challenge underway. We are truly, truly blessed... The stories God has made out our lives is a genuine testimony of how we have no idea what we're doing or what we want but He makes it right anyways, in His own time and in a way we'd never expect. And sometimes we get angry, bitter and resentful as it seems to take forever to get to that place, and we forget the purpose in it all, but He never seems to hold that against us. Thank goodness.