All those celebrations (see previous blog post) make it sound like life is all hunky dory, huh? Well, I don't want you to think that everything is coming up roses. Yes, we are extremely grateful for many things in our life and work right now and we want to give praise for those. But we also have situations and circumstances that are hard and that we are struggling through. Please join us in praying through these:
What do a wedding, a dissertation, an anniversary, and a job have in common?
They are all celebrations we have enjoyed in the past few weeks!!! Those and more!
At the beginning of September, we were honored to participate in the Spain wedding of Nathaniel Foster (son of Judy and Tim Foster, College Station, TX) as he married his lovely bride, Ana. Nate and Ana are both serving in the United States Navy and are stationed in Rota, Spain. They contacted Billy to see if he could officiate their wedding in Spain. With a marriage certificate flown in from the Brazos Valley and a wedding celebration comprised almost entirely of naval officers and shipmates, we celebrated a beautiful wedding at sundown in the Spanish countryside outside of Ronda. We were so blessed to be a part of their big day, and to see Tim and Judy, Dottie and Nathaniel, and several other Brazos Valley folks who traveled to Spain for the occasion!
September 20 was a big day in the Drum household - it was the day that Billy finally hit "SEND" on the final copy of his dissertation!!! Trust me, the entire family and our Spain team breathed a huge sigh of relief as the final words were written and final touches were placed on that baby! It has been several years in the making, but it's now complete! His research was titled "Burnout Among Cross-Cultural Workers: An Analysis of Systemic Issues that Lead to Burnout Within Medium-Sized American Mission Organizations". Everybody, all together now, breathe and smile... *sigh* :)
In June, we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. Our intention was to take a special vacation cruise in September to celebrate (we did the same thing for our 25th). However, thanks to Covid and travel issues and crazy port restrictions for cruise ships, our anniversary trip was cancelled. Boo!!! But we did go ahead and take a few days after Billy's dissertation was turned in and go up to Belgium to meet up with friends Ron and Amanda Phillips (formerly College Station, now living in Austin) for a short break and retreat. Not just anyone will fly across the ocean to celebrate with you! Ron and Amanda are troopers and we loved getting to spend a few days together wandering around with absolutely zero schedule. It was marvelous!
While we were in Belgium, Billy received an email with an awesome opportunity. He was asked to be on the Refugee Highway Partnership leadership team and to help develop a care program for cross-cultural workers who serve in refugee camps and outreaches throughout Europe. The timing was awesome (just after his dissertation was complete) and this fits perfectly with his strengths and gifts and his vision for building up care and training for CCWs. He now has his hands full! Developing a comprehensive care program for hundreds of CCWs working with refugees, plus working to build up La Posada Training and Care in Spain, plus leading the team in Antequera... he has plenty on his plate!
Our other big celebration revolves around Sarah. She completed her certification for Equine Sports Tech (trainer/coach specializing in equine Olympic Disciplines). In September, the center hired her to work as a trainer and coach in their riding school. She is working hard 6 days a week, training people from 4 years old through 50+. And because of her level of certification, she is also now working with a local physical therapist and together they are offering Equine Assisted Therapy for people with a variety of special needs (physical and emotional). Somewhere, in her non-work hours, she continues training her newest competition horse and they made their debut in the show jumping ring at the end of September. Watch out, World... this kid is on FIRE! PS - Sarah turns 18 this month!!!!!
In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a soccer mom, a horsewoman, and the neighborhood hospitality queen. I did "Joanna Gaines farmhouse style" before Chip and JoJo were even a thing - we restored an 1884 Victorian farmhouse in small town Texas and did shiplap walls until I thought I'd go crazy. I taught at NASA, scuba dived with astronauts in training, and studied animals at Sea World for educational purposes. I've tried just about everything, because I have an insatiable need to know if I can do it! Never underestimate a Texas girl in cowboy boots!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers via teaching and training and care, and helping displaced people to navigate their new reality in Europe.
I'm passionate about fostering personal growth, growth in community, and growth in The Kingdom. Walking alongside others and helping them to use their unique design, their gifts and strengths and maximize their abilities to fulfill their God-given purpose - that's what makes my heart sing!