The landing, the long lay-over, and the pending departure; transition has become our new normal.

Greetings to all from Fayetteville, Georgia. We have finally landed back in the US of A and for that we are extremely thankful. A huge thank-you to Duane P. for helping to make our return trips cheaper and less stressful. As I anticipated in the last update, our final days in Norway were very busy and emotionally draining.

Our last day in the Norwegian office was Sep 7, the next day was our farewell party, and the next week we started packing out of our apartment. The following weekend, we traveled to Ireland for meetings with our new team. We also used that flight to transport approximately 700 pounds of extra luggage which is being stored for us at the Ireland office. Trying to decide what to send to Ireland and what to keep with us for the US was a major challenge because we knew we would have about 3 months and two different seasons in the U.S., but we could only check 2 bags each. After Ireland, we returned to Norway to finish cleaning the apartment and getting rid of the stuff we weren’t able to sell.

On Sep 23, we boarded our final flight from Norway and headed to Belgium for Jo’s People Care II course. This course was part of her preparation for one of her roles in Ireland, People Care. We stayed at the OM base near Brussels and while Jo was in class, I (Dave) explored the city. On Sep 27, I departed Brussels for Malaysia where I attended the second week of the Senior Leaders’ course. This was part of my preparation for joining the leadership team in Ireland. While I was in Malaysia, Jo travelled back to the US. With much appreciated help from Tia S., our son-in-law’s mom, she moved into our temporary home, picked up our loaner van, and started adjusting to the land of bigger and faster. I was finally able to join her on Oct 10 after being awake for 2 consecutive days and travelling through 12 time zones in one day.

Our first order of business was completing the application for the Irish visas. This required finger printing, FBI background checks, remembering every address we have ever lived at, and completing 3 versions of the application because the Irish government is still in the process of revising their procedures. Our applications were finally submitted on Nov 5 and our anticipated approval date is Dec 17-31. More on how this will affect our travel plans later…

Long lay-over
Even though we have physically landed and are semi-permanent for the next several weeks, we still feel like we’re in “lay-over” mode, wandering around an airport awaiting our next departure. There are several factors contributing to these feelings and I’ll try to convey them:
1. Saying good-bye with your mouth is easy, saying good-bye with your heart can be very difficult. Even though it wasn’t our own culture, we felt at home in Norway and we had become accustomed to their way of life. We also left behind some dear friends, with no idea if we’ll ever have the opportunity to see them again (at least in this lifetime).
2. Not having a clear purpose leads to a sense of wandering. I currently have no full-time responsibilities involving OM because I had a clear hand-over to my Norwegian successor. I will have a few meetings with some US leaders regarding partnerships in Ireland, but those haven’t happened yet. Jo, however, had an unclear hand-over. This is because her replacement didn’t arrive on the team until shortly before we departed and they didn’t have much time for overlap. Additionally, because of Jo’s continuing role as European Area Personnel Officer, she is assisting Norway (and other European offices) when they have questions. This means she still gets emails from the Norwegian team which makes it more difficult to completely unplug. Additionally, we are still several months from fully engaging with our Irish roles so this all leads to a sense of “what do I do today…?”
3. We know we are temporary. Therefore, we’re not buying large quantities of pantry items or warm weather clothes or anything else. In fact, we even joke about buying green bananas.
4. Engaging with a new church and developing new relationships is also challenging because we know we might only see the people a few times and then we’re off again.

All of this leads to a sense of long lay-over.

Two very positive things during this time: we have a nice home that is sponsored by a local church to live in while we’re in the US and we have a low-cost vehicle to drive. These are wonderful blessings.

Pending departure
Our anticipated arrival date in Ireland is Jan 27. That is when we will join the next group of new team members in their on-boarding training. As I mentioned above, our visas might not be approved until mid to late December which means we won’t be able to purchase tickets very far in advance. Additionally, because of Jo’s role, she must attend the bi-annual intake conference for new OMers in Germany Jan 14-26.

In the meantime, we are reconnecting with our immediate family, our local supporters, and recharging as much as possible. I am taking advantage of a local walking track and trying to get in a few miles each day.

Jo is still engaged with her role as European Personnel Officer. This means she continues to work several days a week and she just returned from Romania for meetings with the other European leaders.

That brings you up to date on our situation.

Connecting the dots from Norway to Ireland
In the spring of 2018, I invited a pastor from our Norwegian church to visit Ireland with me to see if the work there was something the church would want to be involved in. Three days before we left Norway, Jo and I had a final meeting with him and the senior pastor from our church and they were very interested in following up on that visit. After many emails between the team in Ireland and the church, the church has decided to send a vision team to Ireland in the spring. Hopefully, this will lead to many teams of Norwegians coming to Ireland to join the work. This will be especially significant for us because it will be two groups of people that we care about working together. It is also a validation for me that even though I often felt that my efforts in Norway were not producing the results I wanted to see, Father was indeed working behind the scenes.

An invitation
To all in the Atlanta area, we are planning a meet-and-greet at Southside church in Peachtree City, 777 Robinson Rd, Peachtree City, GA 30269, Monday, December 10, from 6:00-9:00 pm. We will provide coffee and cake. We will have a time of open fellowship and then some Q & A. We would love to see everyone who can join us.

If you are unable to join us on December 10, please let us know if you are able to meet us at another time. We would love to tell you the stories of Norway and share what we know about Ireland.

Prayer requests:
1. Visa process: that the visas would be approved in a timely manner so we can purchase our tickets and plan our travel.
2. Ministry partners: that we would have enough partners to support us prayerfully, as well as financially for our season in Ireland. A few people have dropped off of our financial support team for various reasons, so if you know of anyone who might like to join our team, we would appreciate any recommendations you have for us.
3. Using this time wisely: that we would be refreshed and prepared for Ireland when we depart the US.

Dave (423) 381-5161
Jo (423) 381-5974
Face Book Dave Jo McKissick

Thank you for your continued support and we hope you will continue the journey with us in Ireland.