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Work on the members site begins

This post is part of a series about the work I’m doing in the office of Ethnos Canada. Check out the first post for an intro to the series.


Last week I began work on Ethnos Canada’s new members site which I mentioned last week. It’s longer than most of my projects and my hope is that by doing enough up-front research and planning we’ll end up with something that serves the team well and is built efficiently. We’ll probably be using WordPress and a few key plugins; possibly BuddyPress. I have a new whiteboard in my office and have loved brainstorming and mind-mapping on it. It works really well with how I think; it’s often the best way to find a solution to a problem or to be creative.

This week I’ll be pausing that project and building a new system for onboarding Volunteer Reps. Volunteer Reps are people who are excited about the work that Ethnos Canada is doing and would like to represent us in their community by speaking at events, going to missions conferences, etc. It’s a great way to get people involved who can’t train and join full-time but still want to give some of their time to be a part of seeing a thriving church for every people group.

Alongside my bigger projects I’ll be keeping up with regular system maintenance, keeping data clean and providing our reps who represent Ethnos Canada with the info they need before an event.

Thank you all for your part in allowing me to be here doing what I do! We appreciate your support!

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FirstStory and a Members’ Site

This post is part of a series about the work I’m doing in the office of Ethnos Canada. Check out the first post for an intro to the series.


It’s been a few weeks so my last post about the work going on in the office of Ethnos Canada – that probably means we’ve been quite busy! Last week my main project was an application system for missionaries wanting to work with a new ministry we’ve started in Canada called FirstStory. In case you’re not familiar with it, FirstStory is our ministry to the First Peoples of Canada. FirstStory has been excitedly received by many and is growing quickly! Part of that growth means increasing the size of our team. Missionaries from Ethnos Canada partners around the world are interesting in coming to Canada to join the team.

My job was to put together a way for the FirstStory team to interact with those applicants, screen them, provide them with the right information at the right time and when applicable make sure they have the documentation necessary to come to Canada.

This week I’m beginning a large project – rejuvenating and updating our members’ website. This will be a place for us to provide Ethnos Canada missionaries with the resources they need to communicate their ministry and also find finance related resources (taxes, financial statements, etc). This project will take place of the coming month. Please be praying as this week I been laying out a framework for the site and also defining the scope of the project. Thank you for your interest in our ministry as we serve as part of a team dedicated to seeing a thriving church for every people!

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Board reports and quarterly meetings

This post is part of a series about the work I’m doing in the office of Ethnos Canada. Check out the first post for an intro to the series.


I always love starting a new quarter. It’s a fresh season with updated goals and plans – much like a new year. At the end of every quarter the PR team meets together to review how the last quarter when and what our goals will be over the coming quarter. I was encouraged by how well we were able to stick to our plan set for Q1.

I’m excited about my projects for Q2, they involve board reports, updating our donor account system, setting up an application system for FirstStory (our new ministry in Northern Canada), updating our members website and more!

Last week I began my first project: running reports for an upcoming board meeting. Once a year or so I run a number of reports to give to our leadership team to use in our board meetings. The majority of the reports I’m generating this year involve personnel statistics related to age, ministry, field of service, retirements, etc. Pray with me that the information I provide the leadership team with will be actionable and will help them make decisions.

Thanks again for your part in our ministry with Ethnos Canada! We’re excited to be a part of seeing a thriving church for every people!

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This post is part of a series about the work I’m doing in the office of Ethnos Canada. Check out the first post for an intro to the series.


Last week was shorter than most, a four day work week following family day! Family day is a statutory holiday in Ontario and one that we usually use to enjoy some geocaching. This year the weather was a bit rainy so we decided to take on an indoor project. For ages the kids have wanted to make a stop-motion movie together, so we did! Here’s the result:

My main work project for the week went much faster than anticipated. Last year we rebranded to Ethnos Canada from NTM Canada, it was a huge undertaking with many moving parts. One loose string was our online bookstore. Until last week it was still branded NTM Canada and resided at ntmbooks.ca. I took time to rebrand the site and update the URLs. I also had to make sure that the old URL and any old links out there would go to the right location. The new bookstore is at resources.ethnos.ca but resource.ethnos.ca, books.ethnos.ca, store.ethnos.ca and ntmbooks.ca also work.

We recently held our first 2018 Gracia event and out of that came many filled out slips from attendees asking to be signed up for various mailings. I made sure that all of those people are now signed up to the appropriate mailings and receiving exactly what they want from Ethnos Canada.

I also set up a new landing page at ethnos.ca/pray-give-go. I built it using bootstrap, it was a lot of fun to put together. This page will be the destination for those clicking on the ad below, it gives an overview of who we are and gives ways to pray, give and go – the three actions we encourage people to take.

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions about the work we do with Ethnos Canada, let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Tax receipts, Facebook ads and Gracia Burnham

This post is part of a series about the work I’m doing in the office of Ethnos Canada. Check out the first post for an intro to the series.


Last week was busy and saw me working on a number of projects – more than I typically like working on at one time. One big one was our 2017 tax receipts. Every year we send out thousands of tax receipts by mail to donors or Ethnos Canada and its missionaries. Last year we offered digital tax receipts (PDFs) for the first time. It required donors to create an account and login to access it. Many people asked that it simply be emailed to them so that is what we did this year. In December I sent an email out to everyone in our system who donated in 2017, offering them the opportunity to sign up to have their receipt emailed to them. We had about 500 responses which was very encouraging. This past Monday I used a tool called SDOCS to generate the emails and attached tax receipt PDFs and then mailed them out in batches. It went well and only a small number of people wrote in with issues opening their receipt (most due to issues on their own computer).

Alongside that I worked on Facebook ad campaigns for Ethnos Canada as a whole as well as a number of ministries such as FirstStory and Emanate. We want to raise awareness and give people the opportunity to pray, give and go!

Last week was also the lead-up to our first weekend of Gracia Burnham events. For these events we ran Facebook email campaigns, sent out email invites to donors in the area and put up event listings on our own site, Eventbrite and other local event listings. On Friday night Gracia spoke in Steinbach Manitoba. For that event we had just over 100 people registered. But late Friday evening I received a text message that around 360 people showed up!

It was an exciting week and I look forward to what God has for the team this week! Thank you for being a part of the team through supporting our ministry in prayer, words of encouragement and financial gifts – we couldn’t do it without you!

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From Darkness to Light

A week ago I started a new series of posts about the work I’m doing in the office of Ethnos Canada. Check out the last post for an intro to the series.


The Public Relations team, of which I’m a part, is working on a book that we can provide our missionary reps with at events. The reps can give away the book in return for an email address. Our prayer is that the person is encouraged by the book they receive as well as the follow-up email series they’ll get in the inbox. The email series features our core values like Bible Translation, New Testament church planting, teaching in the heart language and more.

The book is called ‘From Darkness to Light’ and features the story of how the Gospel reached and transformed the lives of the Inapang people in Papua New Guinea. My coworker Jason is focusing on the print version of the book while I’m working on the eBook version. I do most of my reading on an eReader and know that there’s a big difference between an eBook that’s just a quick conversion or one that’s built for an eReader. Amazon has put out a lot of resources related to creating an eBook and I really enjoyed learning the ins and outs of the process. If you’re curious about it, another helpful resource was this post.

Along with the eBook I put together a landing page where people can sign up to receive the eBook. It’s not officially launched yet but should be sometime this week. We’ll also be advertising on Facebook in hopes of getting this book into as many hands as possible.

If you’re interested in trying out the eBook on your Kindle, Kobo or any other eReader, send me an email or leave a comment. I think you’ll enjoy and be encouraged by the story and I would appreciate any feedback on the formatting.

This week I’ll be fine-tuning the landing page and the follow-up email series that people will receive after requesting the book. Along side that I’ll continue my routine work of our various system and databases as well as monitoring Facebook and Google advertising campaigns we’re doing for upcoming speaking events for Gracia Burnham.

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My Cuber

This is my speed cuber! About a year and a half ago Canaan became interested in Rubik’s Cubes. I personally have never solved one! But he seemed pretty interested in it. So after a while we went ahead and bought him a 2×2 cube. He mastered that right away. So after little while we went ahead and got him a 3×3 cube. And so began his obsession.

This Saturday he will be competing in his third speed cubing competition. He solves a lot of different cubes. He lives for a new cube to figure out. For a while has been teaching his friends at school how to solve them as well. Starting tomorrow, they are beginning a more official class. He is over the moon! We love his school! They are really fabulous at encouraging each person in their passions and strengths.Each time he competes, his competition times are listed on his World Cubing Association page. Check his scores out here: WCA   At his last competition his personal record for the 3×3 was 32 seconds.

Canaan made a video of himself solving some cubes. Check it out: Canaan solving some cubes

 

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“What exactly is it that you do?”

Every morning at 8am I head in to the main office of Ethnos Canada to do something I love – be a part of the team working to see a thriving church for every people group.

Being ‘behind the scenes’ as we are, it can sometimes be difficult to answer the question “What exactly is it that you do?”. I typically spend half of each week focused on a particular project and the remaining half maintaining and updating Ethonos Canada websites, database, mailing lists, promotions etc. Along with family and adoption updates, I want to use this blog to share more about the specific projects I’m working on each week at the home office of Ethnos Canada. I hope that this gives you a better idea of the type of work it takes to keep our church planting missionaries focused on what they’re there to do.


 

As many of you know, the income we live on is supported by individual donors; churches, family and friends. It’s up to us to raise that support and communicate with our supporters. So how is the home office funded? Well, much the same way that we are. Churches and individuals support the various projects and operating costs of the home office. Over the last year around 1000 people supported the home office or gave to various projects such as Bible Translation, FirstStory, Aviation or many others. It’s important to take time to thank those donors. Over the last week I’ve been developing a system for making sure that the Public Relations department stays on top of thanking those donors and communicating our appreciation for their gifts.

Another project I’ve worked on, off and on, over the last few weeks is a display for our office breakroom. It provides staff news, updates and stats about our work. My hope is that it encourages, informs and inspires my coworkers and I as we work together. It was a fun project!

Thanks for your part in our ministry with Ethnos Canada! We love what we do and are incredibly grateful for the role you play in making it possible to do so!

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Growth

Its January. January 2018! Sometimes the new year makes us think about the passing of time. Last month we snapped a family photo. I was really struck with how tall our kids are getting. They are growing up. Growing too fast! It made me realize how long we have been on this endless adoption journey! When we announced we were adoption Berea was 11 months old. She is currently 4 1/2. She turns 5 in May! 

As I watchmy children grow, as we wait to be matched with our kids from Haiti, there is much growth. The kids are growing in height and character. Canaan turns 12 in March. He was 7 almost 8 when we started this. He has grown so much during this journey. Our children have walked this journey with us, every step of the way. They have experienced the amazing miracles and the grief and loss that we have suffered. All of us have grown in our faith. The time waiting has not been a loss.


We have grown so much through the ups and downs. We desperately want to get our match so that we can find out who our children are and so that we can touch the for the first time. But we wouldn’t change a single thing in God’s plan because is his ways are better than ours. His ways are perfect. Easy? NO! The best in light of eternity? Yes! 

Its 2018! We have been waiting for a match since July of 2015. We started the paperwork in April of 2014! Thats almost 4 years from the beginning and 2 1/2 years waiting for a match. We have heard that there is a big push to get families matched who have been waiting as long as us. We are feeling incredibly hopeful that we will get a match soon! We are praising God, knowing that he knows the exact day we will touch our kids for the first time.

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Globetrotters

May 30th marks 5 years at our home. FIVE! In our first 8 year of marriage we moved many many times. The longest we lived in one home was 1 year. Now we have been in our home for 5 times that. We have truly grown to love and appreciate the stability of being in one place for so long. It has shown us the toll moving so often was taking on us. We have had SO many memories in some really great and some not so great places. But no matter how nice or yucky our home was, we made so many memories. Here is a very BRIEF overview of our past homes:

1. 2004/2005 Our first home! Our honeymoon house.

We sure loved this place. We were the first to live in the fully renovated granny flat on a beautiful beef farm in the Orangeville area. It was our first home. There was a steep learning curve for me learning how to cook, keep up a home and be a wife. But this was our honeymoon year and we have so many incredible memories in this wonderful 1 bedroom home.

2. 2005 Allergy basement
Just before we started the missionary training in Durham, we had a summer where we needed a place to stay. We had to move out of our honeymoon house but couldn’t move into our student housing in Durham yet. A friend of ours graciously let us stay in her basement. They had been using it for storage and had also previously been lived in by a heavy smoker. We were so blessed to live here. This is the home where we discovered we were pregnant with our first, Canaan! But we quickly realized it wasn’t going to work out. My allergies were TOTALLY out of control here with all of the stored antique furniture and the smoke scum all over everything. We ended up staying in this place for about a month before I could no longer control my allergies. So we quickly moved in with Norm’s parents for the remainder of the summer.

3. 2005 Mom and Dad Copeland’s House

While we were living with Norm’s parents I had my first encounter with serious morning sickness. I couldn’t keep anything down at all. It was so awful. I was so grateful for Norm’s parents taking us in last minute like that and I felt so bad that I was such a terrible house mate with the constant puking.

4. 2005 Lakeside Waterless Shoebox

Our first student housing apartment in Durham was right next to our beautiful pond. It was incredibly tiny and had zero running water. We had two tiny bedrooms. Our queen size bed went wall to wall on three of the bedroom walls. We had a tiny fridge, a mini stove and almost no counter space. Our “living room” was big enough for our small kitchen table and our make shift sink. It was super crowded. We had to haul water into the apartment to wash our dishes and had to haul out the dirty water. We also had to use a community bathroom. This was not easy while being pregnant!
 

5. 2006 Waterless Chalet
After a semester in our lakeside apartment we moved up the hill a tiny bit to a slightly bigger apartment. It also had zero running water. But it did have space for a couch and a pack n play for Canaan for when he was born. This was Canaan’s first home! While pregnant it was always such a chore going down the hill to use the bathroom or take a shower. I was usually up several times a night, during winter I might add, to use the bathroom.

6. 2006/2007 New Student Housing with plumbing!
We were SO SO SO excited when the brand new student housing was completed and we were selected to move into one of them. We were beyond thrilled to have running water and our very own bathroom! It sure made bathing Canaan much easier, much less washing dishes and everything else. We lived here for about one year.
  

6b. Jungle Camp
This one doesn’t fully count as a move. But we did build our own home with no power tools and lived in it for a month. We carried our belongings in and we were not allowed to leave during the one month period. We had no power, other than a car battery we charged using solar power. This battery powered a few little lights. We had water plumbed into our kitchen sink only. We warmed water for our showers in the stove we built. Canaan was 3 months old while we lived in the “jungles of Durham.” We had a great time. It was a wonderful component of our missionary training.

7. 2007/2008 Quebec City house sitting

Once we completed the missionary training in Durham we moved to Quebec City to begin our French studies. We were so lucky to find a wonderful couple who were taking a sabbatical year. We rented their fully furnished house and cared for the house and property while they were away. We were always very nervous that we would break one of the many delicate things in the house. But we very much enjoyed our time at this home. This is the home we discovered I was expecting Emmaus! We were also very excited to have a washer and dryer right in the house with us! No hauling laundry out of the house! While we lived here in Quebec City they had a record year of snow fall with over 17 ft. We felt like we lived in a snow globe!

8. 2008 Ancient Mount Forest House

Once we were finished with our year of French studies we moved to Mount Forest. I was pregnant with Emmaus and we wanted to stay in Canada so that we could have our midwives deliver Emmaus. Mount Forest is about 15 minutes away from Durham. We were having trouble finding an affordable place to live in the area for a short period of time. We needed to be somewhat flexible with the number of months to rent and it was less than 12 months. Most places had a minimum of 12 months. We were very excited to find out that the parents of our friends had a house sitting empty in Mount Forest. They said we could rent it for a very minimal amount and pay for the utilities. We were overjoyed to hear this wonderful news. But we were very disappointed when we arrived and found it in very poor shape. It was full of stuff and very dirty. It was NOT good for my allergies. Our church blew us away and came up for a work day to clean it out, wash it thoroughly and give the bedrooms a coat of paint. It was still rough on my allergies but was doable after that. I have to say though… every single time I got in the old cast iron tub to take a shower with my ever growing belly, I was CERTAIN that the floor would give way and I would fall clear through to the kitchen below. Thank God that never happened. But we did have troubles with the heat. The furnace was too outdated to get refilled with oil. So it had to be completely replaced in order to heat the house. Let me tell you… we were SO cold. It was nearly December before the heat was turned on. This was Emmaus’ first home!

9. 2009 Camarillo Apartment

When Emmaus was about 6 weeks old we moved down to California to commence our partnership development. While we were in California we prepared for our move to Guinea, worked hard to find people who would partner with us in our ministry, worked on our French and loved living in the same town as my family. We sure loved this great apartment and we were so blessed by many people donating furniture and housewares.


10. 2009 Guinean House

We only lived in this house for 3 months. But we had SO much happen during these three months. We completely outfitted it with DC power that would charge whenever the city power was on, which was hardly ever. We also had a generator to top it up when there was no city power to charge our system. One great thing about this house was that it always had water. Emmaus, Canaan and I all had malaria at the same time. Norm was our super hero and kept us all alive… to this day I am not sure how we made it though those two weeks… But God got us through. For about half of the time we lived in this house we were under “house arrest.” Guinea was on the brink of civil war and the embassy wanted all foreigners to stay in their homes for safety. We were eventually evacuated and had to leave on short notice. It was a very difficult three months, but we also had some amazing times experiencing life overseas, making life long friends, and seeing many new things. This house was one of the worst ones when it comes to germ factor. I especially had a hard time with the bathrooms and always felt dirty. Our house had NO kitchen! Before we arrived they plumbed in a sink. After we arrived we had the local wood workers build some “cabinets” for us. They were essentially large shelves.

11. 2009 Mom and Dad Rutledge’s House

After being evacuated from Guinea, we stayed with my parents for the next 6 months. It was a good time to recover from the traumatic few months in Guinea. I was a mess emotionally and needed time to get myself back together again before heading back overseas. The boys loved their time living with Grandma and Grandpa. We made many fun memories here. Lots of playing outside and family time. During this time at my parents house we found out we would not be going back to Guinea. So Norm headed back to Guinea to pack up our house and sell off as many things as we could before shipping the rest up to Senegal.

12. 2010 4th Story Dakar Apartment

After discovering we would not be able to return to Guinea we decided to move one country north to Senegal. We lived in the capital city, Dakar. We were once again very blessed to be the first to live in this apartment. It was so nice not having old germs and grime. We did however live in an incredibly dusty neighbourhood. We also lived on the fourth floor… with no elevator. There was very little running water. It usually only ran well at night. Our Senegalese host family lived in the apartment right next to us. Our building was in a little valley and every single time we got a good rain it completely flooded our road. We often times had to wade through sewage water to get in or out of our building. Across the street from us was a mosque. The speakers for the call to prayer were at the exact level of our apartment. So many many times a day starting early in the morning we had extremely loud calls to prayer being blast right into our apartment. It was often too loud to hear the person next to you. It was a very busy building with people coming and going all the time. Once we had thieves trying to knock our door down. We celebrated our first African Christmas in this house. We didn’t have a bath tub, which is normal for West African apartments, so the boys took their baths in plastic tubs.

 

13. 2011 Giant Dakar Apartment

After about 9 months in our first Senegalese apartment, it was becoming very clear that my allergies were getting very bad and could not stand the dusty neighbourhood and smoke from charcoal cookers blowing in our house all the time. Friends of ours were moving out of their wonderful apartment so we decided to move in there. This was our favourite African home. We had near constant water, except for when we had city wide water outages, that would last a week or two. We had three large bedrooms, a giant living room and actual kitchen which I loved after having two houses with no real kitchen in them. And the boys were THRILLED to have a bath tub! We also had a large balcony which provided a wonderful place to play and hang our laundry. The main door to the apartment building was locked so we had nearly no traffic coming and going. And we only had to go up one flight of stairs. This apartment was dearly loved. We were so sad to leave it when we finally decided my health was not tolerating Dakar and we had to return to Canada.

14. 2012 Student Housing Temp Apartment

Once we returned from Senegal we needed a temporary place to stay while we hunted for a more permanent house. We were so blessed to have a student apartment become available for us. We found that immediately my health began to improve. We had a wonderful few months living in an awesome place with hardly any belongings and tons of space. It was a great time of healing physically and emotionally. Canaan lost his very first tooth in this home.

15. 2012-present! HOME SWEET HOME!

Once we decided to stay on permanently at the home office here in Durham, we needed to find a place to stay in town. We checked out the costs of renting vs buying and decided that it made most sense for us to buy a house. We were so excited and a little bewildered as we never pictured ourselves owning a place. After house hunting for a few weeks we finally picked a place. We were so blessed to be house hunting during a time with lots of houses available. God truly blessed us with a gorgeous home. It is beautiful on the outside but needed a LOT of updating on the inside. We ripped out a lot of carpet, scraped endless amounts of wallpaper, tiled the floors, took out a wall, painted all the trim, doors, walls etc. After moving constantly it was so refreshing to stay put! The boys were so accustomed to moving frequently. But this is the house Berea was born in and has never lived elsewhere. She was literally born in our bedroom. We fall in love with our home more and more. Today is our 5 year anniversary of getting the keys. Five years of wonderful memories. And hopefully many many more years to come. When we purchased this home we were a family of four, with no intentions of changing that. Now we are a family of five going on seven (adoption). God knew all of that and provided us with the perfect home even for a larger family than originally planned. 2017 has been a year of renovations. We are currently working on our laundry room/bathroom renovation. We moved the laundry out of our downstairs half bathroom and added a tub/shower. The large entry way is now our mud room/laundry room. It is a much better use of space. We hope to finish this reno in the coming months.

 

Thank you God for keeping us safe through each move, for giving us the strength emotionally and physically to get through each one, and for bringing us all together more and more with each new place.

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