September 2008

Here at work, we have several buzz-words that get thrown around quite a bit.  They are usually started by one person and then adopted by the community as a whole.  Let me give you a few examples, with definitions (and their origins, as best as I know them):

“relational equity”:  This is basically how much buy-in you have with someone, i.e., how much trust you have built up with someone based on your interactions with them.  You can “cash-in” relational equity by asking people to do hard things, or having tough conversations with them.  I believe this one originated from our president.  He uses it a lot during team training seminars.


“soft-edge”: This one comes from a John Graham book on outdoor leadership.  It describes the nuances of a particular issue or task, as opposed to the pragmatic (or hard-egde) aspects of said task.


“bandwidth”: This one refers to the mental capacity that one may or may not have to deal with certain issues at a given time.  It is drawn from the technological aspect of internet usage, and I believe this originated with one of Chris‘ former bosses.  

“debriefing”: This one is the inspiration for this post and, contrary to what might be your intial thoughts about the word, has nothing to do with the removal of anyone’s undergarments.  It is actually the process of processing…experiences.  We have all of our short-term missions teams debrief all of their experiences.  We believe that God can use this process of mentally evaluating the aspects of an experience to teach us and grow us.  

And that’s what I am going to be doing in a few days.  The fulltimers will all be overseas and I will finally have time to process the last month of my life (training, training tour, overseas training week, and overseas departure).  Hopefully you all will be a part of that through this blog.  

Anybody have any specific questions you’d love to hear my thoughts about?  It might help get the ball rolling for me mentally!


Hurricane Ike took a toll on our country that not many are aware of.  Most of us have gone back to “normal life” since the news cycle surrounding the hurricane ended.  Check out this blog by my friend, Jeff.  He writes about our role in all of this, and tries to explain some of the questions we all have regarding this.  

Here’s an excerpt:

“How do you change the world? First of all, you have to believe it needs to be changed. Take what happened in Galveston, TX almost two weeks ago. Was that right? Did those people ‘get what was coming to them’? At this point, does that even matter? Some people are content (or maybe complacent) with the way things are.  For some depraved reason, they believe that our current state of affairs (suffering, disaster, hunger, poverty) is as good as it gets. I don’t know exactly how all that works out in the end, but I can’t shake this feeling that things just aren’t how they should be.”

Read the rest here.

…is starting to wear me down!  But, this is the type of thing that I live for, so in a weird way, I am really energized right now too.  

Allow me to recap:

  • I just returned from two plus weeks on the road with Team 14:21 as a part of their training tour.  We had a blast, and we learned a lot, which are both great things.  BUT, I think the most important thing is that we had some great encounters with God and with people that He was placing into our paths for specific reasons.  
  • After returning from the road we launched into overseas training/preparations.
  • My boss is in South Africa, attending YFC’s General Assembly, so I am flying mostly solo this week…which is why it is a bit of a whirlwind.  The good news is that my boss is super prepared and had done most of the work ahead of time, now all I have to do is pass it all along to the appropriate people.  I hate to imagine my stress level if he hadn’t done all that prep work.
  • Team 14:21 leaves Friday for Taiwan
  • Team 14:22 leaves Tuesday for the Philippines
  • I am still house/apartment hunting (even though I don’t have time to do it) so if anyone in the Willmar area knows of someplace reasonable to rent, please let me know!
  • Check out this blog by my friend, Jeff.  All I can say is amen!  
To any of my supporters reading this…thanks so much for all you do!  I will getting in touch with you soon about how things are going with my support-raising.  
My highlight of fulltime training thus far…when one of the fulltimers asked me if I would baptize her.  Wow.

I am chilling right now at my hometown coffee shop with CTI 14:21.  It is hard to believe that I am back in Jacksonville.  I am so blessed everytime I come home by my family.

I finally got to meet my nephew Toby Norman DeGroot, and he is cuter than I could have imagined.  I also got to spend time with my favorite niece, Sophie.  She is getting so big and I cannot believe the fact that she is turning into a little person now.  She has personality and mannerisms and everything.

So the bottom line is: never forget how great it is to enjoy some good ole’ home cookin.

I am traveling with a CTI Fulltime Team right now, as a road trainer for their two-week training tour.  We will be spending a lot of time in Iowa, and currently we are in the great state of Illinois!

The majority of my updating is going to be done on the team’s blog, as I can upload to it from my phone.  So do be sure to check it out.

In other news…We played a concert for a youth group kick-off event, and they had inflatables.  There are some sweet pics and videos over on the team’s blog.

…and for that I apologize, but life has just been crazy!

We are in the midst of fulltime training, and we are all putting in 12-14 hour days.  BUT, that doesn’t mean that we are not having a blast doing it!  Tonight the fulltime teams each have their first “concert.”  It will be a practice concert, in which they will be performing largely for their host families and some close CTI supporters.  Nevertheless, it should be a great time!

And then…drumroll please…the teams leave this weekend for their two week training tours.  I will be going on the road with one of the teams as a road trainer, which will be a great opportunity for me to spend some time traveling again, as well as a great chance to invest in the team members on a deeper level.

In non-CTI news…I have the cutest new nephew ever!  Toby Norman DeGroot was born on August 20th at 9:11pm.  He is healthy and the family is doing great!  Here is proof that he gets his good looks from his uncle!

Toby Norman DeGroot

Toby Norman DeGroot