first things first


A blog about whatever crosses my mind, ordered by importance.


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My journal for the 2017 project is up! photo by Lauren Dean End of the road All good things come to an end, and my STINT in Albania is no different. On 7 August I fly back to Dallas to spend at least 1 year there, with the hope that I’ll return to live in Albania sooner rather than later. At this point I’m holding all my plans loosely.

Big Decision

So, I’ve got an announcement to make. These past several months I’ve been exploring two options for my time after my STINT is up. One area I was exploring was with the Digital Strategies team in Albania, working for Afrim Karoshi. I went to a conference with the Digital Strategies team here in May as part of that exploration. The second area was an open position at Watermark Community Church as a programmer.

Digital Leadership

April was a fairly slow month. We had our normal schedule of a professional meeting and a social time. This month we had fewer people than normal, but we had a lot of new people which was very interesting. I’ve had several opportunities to follow up with contacts, though this appears to be a busy time of year for most of the professionals. We are trying more to model the follow-up process for our partners, inviting them into these meetings and giving them opportunities to lead.

Modern Static Sites

Today in 2017, there are a thousand and one different ways to build a website. As always there’s good old fashioned Wordpress, and of course there’s drag-n-drop website builders like Wix. One thing these have in common is that they need a traditional hosting environment, and for that you gotta pay. If you can manage it, the cheapest way to host a website nowadays is to create a static HTML site.

March Project

We love momentum March 13-17 was a big week for us. We invited a group from Louisville, TX To join us for a week-long momentum building project. This group had an amazing impact, we drew in well over 100 people for the seminar, and our social time was a big success as well. We got a lot of new contacts and, as was our goal, we will be following up with them over the coming weeks.

Automating more work

So I took a look at my blog recently to make sure everything is working, and got a big fat “Your connection is not secure” message. Uh oh! Fortunately I just need to request a new certificate from Let’s Encrypt and install it. I’ve done this before, it’s a 10 minute job. Buuuuuttt… what if I could automate it? If I spend all afternoon on this I’ll save myself 15 minutes of work every 3 months!

TraNet 2017

What a great weekend! This past weekend we went to Cyprus for a conference about reaching leaders and influencers for Christ. The group was about 28 people, including 10 professionals, 4 teachers, two businesswomen and a government worker. It was a great time of learning and inspiring our partners to reach their peers for Christ. One speaker was a bible teacher who took us through the book of Mark, highlighting the disciples’ stories and their leadership journeys.

Continuing Resolve

Lots of stuff has happened this past month! Last I posted I was in the middle of a 2-week break in Dallas. That was a great and relaxing time for me, helped me to prepare mentally and spiritually for these next 7 months in Albania. I saw friends and family and enjoyed plenty of tacos. When I got back it was right back into the swing of things with a seminar the next day.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everybody! I love Christmas time, spending time with family, listening to the Advent messages at church, and especially the Christmas hymns. My favorite is ‘O Holy Night’. It’s my favorite because it speaks of the hope that came into the world when Jesus Christ was born. Hope is an elusive thing. Lots of people lose hope when what they desire becomes impossible, or even worse, when they get exactly what they wanted.

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