Antarctica, Book, Ministry Update

Antarctica Update

I am officially home for the spring and summer. I had my New Zealand Special Invitation Visa approved and was hopeful of getting the call to join the team with Cohort 5 in early January, but it was not meant to be for this season. My supervisor has been great throughout the process, even recommending me to other divisions, but in the end, I was not able to deploy for the 2021-2022 season. So now I set my sights on the fall. Lord willing, I will join the team for the 2022-2023 season, which begins around the beginning of October. I have re-applied for eight different positions from janitorial to administrative assistant. Next season, interviews for positions start in April, so I should know more this spring. I will keep you posted!

Book Update

Editing of Sitting on the Lap of God is complete. At this time, the focus is cover design and interior layout. Everything is on track to launch the book on June 13, 2022, the week before Father’s Day in the United States. By launch day, I plan to have three different versions of the book available – paperback, ebook, audiobook, and possibly a large-print version. I will be recording the audiobook myself. Production of the audiobook will likely take place next month. Lots to do!

I hope to get a lot of exposure for the book through interviews and podcasts coinciding with the launch. Early feedback on the content has been encouraging. Often I overthink things, strategizing, planning, and scheming ways to market and raise awareness. But in the end, God controls all things. I rest in his complete control.

Save the Date

The 24-hour Giving Challenge is April 26-27, 2022. During this unique 24-hour campaign, your gifts to the ministry up to $100 are DOUBLED by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with funding from the Paterson Foundation. I’ll share more details in the coming months.

Ministry Moment

The final cohort for the 2021-2022 summer season in Antarctica departed on January 4 for San Francisco for several days of Covid testing before flying to New Zealand and on to McMurdo. In the days leading up to the 4th, I had repacked my gear, ready to depart at a moment’s notice, still on standby, waiting for word to deploy. Two large duffels and a carry-on bag sat bulging on my office floor. For weeks, when the phone rang, a shot of adrenaline spiked as I looked at the incoming number to see if it was from the United States Antarctica Program. I checked email throughout the day, hoping for news. But as the day arrived, and still no word, it became clear I was not going to Antarctica this season.

When the finality of it hit me, for a moment, a cloud of disappointment settled on me. I gave myself a few moments to accept the reality. But almost immediately, I began to look forward to exciting days ahead. I am in an unusual situation where I have so many positive experiences going on in my life at the same time. The 2022 Giving Challenge is in April. The new book launches in June. In the fall, I will most likely be on a flight headed to Antarctica. How could I possibly dwell on not getting to go now? It makes no sense.

It took me a few days to shift gears, to realign my daily schedule with projects in the ministry and around the house I can focus on now. I gave myself a few days to unpack, storing the duffle bags in the back of the closet, putting away winter gear, filling the pantry with coffee supplies intended for an extended stay in a hostile, cold place. Yet, through every moment, a single thought saturated my thinking – the Father is so kind. It is the kindness of the Father that mystifies me so. That he is all-powerful yet kind is striking.

The Father reveals his kindness to us in a multitude of ways. Most notable is the gift of forgiveness he lavishes upon us. He gave us his Son to pay the penalty for our sin “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7, ESV). The Father’s kindness to us is displayed at the cross, but it doesn’t end there. It is manifested a thousand times a day in our lives.

I am aware of the Father’s kindness in the smallest details in my life. A thrift-store find of the perfect item makes me think of his kindness to me. The sun streaming through the window, warming me to the core, draws me to contemplate his kindness to me. A text from a friend initiating a laugh reminds me of his kindness. The way the morning sun strikes the bloom of an orchid in my garden prompts thoughts of his kindness to me. Making my bed, conscious that I have a home and a place to sleep while many go without, fills me with an awareness of his kindness. Over and again, a thousand insignificant moments are elevated to moments of gratitude through the mindfulness of his kindness to me.

This is why I feel it would be criminal to pout over not going to Antarctica this season. I have too much to be grateful for, too many reminders of the Father’s kindness in the past, and too much to look forward to in the days ahead.

We often struggle because we forget to factor in the kindness of the Father in the situations we face. Lost expectations are sure to occur. Disappointments will surely come. It is a natural part of life. Our nature is to focus on the negative, what we have lost in the trial. Often anxiety consumes us, filling every waking thought until our lives come to a halt, paralyzed by the challenge at hand.

It is in these moments that it is helpful to pause, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves of the kindness of the Father. Yes, my friends, he is kind. He shows his kindness to us a multitude of times a day. Look for those moments. Relish his kindness to you.

So I look forward to the year ahead with great anticipation. And if the Antarctica adventure is postponed for a time, I choose to focus on the face of the Father.

He is so kind.