Monthly blogging…

Perhaps I should be lowering the bar… My intention to update this blog in three quick spurts EACH WEEK seems to be exceedingly beyond what I can accomplish! It made sense, at some point, that I would provide a personal update, a ministry update, and a prayer/support-raising update. These three areas of my ministry here seem the natural dividing lines but alas, I’ve barely been able to make time for one update in a month! Gasp!!!

Hmmm, only one person has brought this dearth of details to my attention. Is anybody else reading this?

I guess that should be the first prayer request: that I find time more faithfully to communicate what’s going on here. And there is a LOT going on, hence my full days have prevented me from taking time to reflect on, er, my full days. 🙂

We have moved into our new offices in Minnetonka (we will be hosting some open house events in the not-too-distant future, which I will be sure you hear about; click here for photos of the new place) even if we are still unpacking boxes and deciding what goes where. Those who know me well will have anticipated that my boxes will undoubtedly be among the last to be unpacked. I felt good about getting some of the archives filed away in the warehouse (twelve boxes worth!) but have yet to complete my office space.

Speaking of which, here are a couple of snapshots of what I’m talking about. The good news is that because of the nature of my work, I have been given the largest office. The bad news is that, because of the nature of my work, I have two desks, two computers, two bookcases and two work tables filling that office. There’s not room to dance, but once I get all the boxes off the floor, it should work nicely for most occasions.

Rick's Office

My Desks

Most of my production work is done on the iMac® (left) using Adobe Creative Suite CS5. The Windows machine (on the right-hand desk) is used for E-mail, Microsoft® Office collaboration, and back office applications that require XP. (Yes, we’re two full generations behind the current OS! Don’t even ask me about the server–it’s beyond the support horizon and seems to be only limping along, and that barely.)

My Work Tables

Although I don’t do much mechanical work (paste-up) the drafting table and light table do come in handy several times each year, and I’m glad to have them. (Click the images to see the full size, in case you really want to see what a mess this office is…)

Part of the challenge of getting everything done is that I have picked up some new operational responsibilities which I am having to discover and learn on the fly, without much orientation or preparation. Namely, network administration, server administration, back office administration, and managing the associated vendors. Not that it’s beyond my comfort zone, but jumping in after a “ready, fire, aim” lead-in takes a bit of adjustment. I have only “broken” a couple of things, and the network is still running, so I feel pretty good about it. But it’s challenging and stressful, in that it would be pretty much full time just to keep up with it, without my director of communications and publications job lurking in the background.

Oh, and did I mention support raising? That too is still wanting attention, which brings me to prayer request number three: (Did you really need me to spell out number two? Okay, that I learn and understand and contribute to the ministry’s effectiveness by keeping the infrastructure running and not breaking it–or myself in the process of stressing over it.) Okay, prayer request number three: My September 30 intermediate goal target date for personal support came and went without having been reached. I’m still under 30% of my goal. That means I will have to redouble my efforts to reach out to people, to find those who will faithfully join me in this ministry through their prayer and financial support. That also means that I set aside the time to be on the phone and meeting with people to tell them about this ministry and why I’m excited to be called to work here.

One of our recent successes was getting the ministry’s September prayer update/financial appeal letter edited, produced and mailed. As I love to say, “I only have a hand in things around here that involve words and/or pictures.” That is to say, I touch just about everything (and I say that quite humbly because I know that everybody else around here is just as busy as I am). That mailing was actually quite an accomplishment. Having received the draft letter, I worked quickly with Dr. Bierle to edit it and then to customize it for several different audiences. Then I created the layout, printed the necessary quantities on the Bizhub printer, and got them ready for the volunteers to prepare (fold, stuff, seal, and label) for mailing. In the mean time, we had been scrambling to get the back office updates installed on the server, which the only person who had ever done such a thing before was no longer here. Learn, learn, learn. But we got it installed, updated and as a result were able to run address labels, and to qualify the addresses for the US Postal Service, and to get it into the mail.

Our wonderful volunteers (who donate hours and hours of time and labor, thereby saving the ministry literally tens of thousands of dollars) showed themselves to be faithful and flexible: finding the new building, adapting to the different environment (nothing is where it was and pretty much everything must be done differently now) and blessing us with their pleasant hearts even as they labored to assemble the mailing. If you received a copy of the letter, you have these volunteers to thank. (If you didn’t, you can click here to read it; let me know, too, because you probably should be receiving it.)

Well, I’m done with promises about the next update. But I’m also motivated again about the importance of letting you know what I’m doing and how you can pray for me. And for all that is yet to be done, and about all the wonderful things happening through this ministry. Until next time (may it not be so long), I remain,

Your faithful servant.