the past year
Author: Emma Jones
Well, a lot has happened since my last post!
Last year we really grew into our community. We found good support systems and friendships and made even deeper connections at our church. We also got all settled into our house and got it decorated enough to truly feel like a home.
In 2020, Covid only changed things slightly for us. We both still went into work everyday and carried on our jobs as normal. We got to spend time with family and had two gorgeous sibling's weddings last year.
Brandon's spring semester at GCU was cut short in person, but he finished it online. He took two classes online over summer and then returned to school part time on campus and part time online for the fall semester. In December, Brandon graduated from GCU with his bachelor's in Christian Studies with an emphasis in Global Ministry, not to mention he did it Magna Cum Laude! (My degree is in Educational Studies)
It feels so good to be able to say that we both completed our bachelor's degrees. It's something we initially saw as a burden or a roadblock to our path to PNG, that God has shown us was the right thing to pursue.
In regards to training, we officially started training twice a week beginning in January. The first thing we are studying is Melanesian Pidgin/Tok Pisin. We are currently working our way to the first language check which deems you 25% fluent and takes roughly 80 hours of work to get there. As of today, we are about 25% of the way to the first check, so don't ask us to say anything beyond basic sentences! (Though we can tell you the story of the Three Little Pigs entirely in Pidgin)
Learning Pidgin has been both fun and confusing. It's a simple language, but learning any language takes lots of time and practice. We both still work full time, so we try our best to squeeze thirty minutes to an hour of training into our evenings after we get home from work and in between Bible studies and other commitments. It feels like homework and isn't always the most exciting thing, but seeing progress being made and knowing how valuable this knowledge is has been a reward in itself.
In what feels like the biggest news... we're having a baby!!!
Our ideal plan was always to try to have one baby before we go to PNG and after Brandon had graduated. And God has blessed us and heard our desire! I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and due in July with a baby BOY! It feels surreal and we are so excited for this new phase of our lives. God's design for life is so intricate and awe inspiring.
As we continue on this exciting journey, we ask for prayer regarding the health and safety of our baby boy, the progress of our training, and the process of beginning to fundraise and get church support.
What's Happening now
Author: Emma Carpenter
As January ends and February begins, our lives continue to change. Brandon dove head first into a new semester at GCU full of great Bible classes, new friends, and awesome learning opportunities. During this time I'm continuing to get through my education classes and learning things I never expected about the educational process. It has been so exciting for both of us to be able to take the information we are learning in class and directly apply it to our future. Brandon has also been taking very organized notes and is excited that he will be able to use them in PNG.
Brandon also just passed his commercial drone licensing test! He found a way to take his extensive knowledge of drones, photography, and videography and use them as a way to make money. With his commercial license, he can now legally fly his drone for profit instead of just for fun. So far he has been able to use this for real-estate purposes, business marketing, and 3D landscape mapping. We can't wait to see where this new opportunity takes him. (check out his business website below)
This week I just moved into an apartment in Tempe. As much as I love being at home with my parents and dogs, I am so excited to be able to experience the responsibility of living away from home and with a roommate. I will also end up saving lots of gas due to the mere 6.5 mile distance from my apartment to Brandon's house instead of the 20 mile distance house-to-house that we've driven hundreds of times.
Wedding planning has also started! It's so great to be able to plan the day that we get to start our life together with our friends and family. Even though it is still many months away, I can't help but look at Pinterest in my spare time! Brandon and I know exactly how many days it is until we get married and are counting down everyday. (287 today)
We are excited to continue down the road of positive change and are glad that we have so many wonderful people to share it with.
The start of something great
Author: Emma Carpenter
As of December 2nd... WE ARE ENGAGED!!!
Brandon and I (Emma-the author of probably all of our future blog posts) can officially talk about our future without saying boyfriend/girlfriend. We have known that we would eventually get married since very early in our relationship. Brandon likes to make fun of the fact that about one month into our relationship I made him promise to a marriage pact- that if both of us were single when we were 30, we would marry each other. That sounds a little crazy now, but neither of us thought it was weird then!
I have never been as comfortable with someone as I am with Brandon. We always were able to openly talk about the future for ourselves and eventually those talks shifted into our future together. It was just about 6 months into our relationship that we decided that we were going to commit ten years of our lives together to live in a tribe in Papua New Guinea. Again, this didn't seem that crazy at the time!
A little bit about our engagement:
Brandon had given me a two month time frame of when we might get engaged. Little did I know that two days into that time frame I would wake up to Brandon in my room at 6am! (Luckily I had happened to clean my room the night before) As I was half asleep in bed, Brandon told me to put on something nice and then walked out of my room. Apparently the fact that I wasn't confused or freaking out as to why he was in my room was weird.
Fast forward to 6:30am and we arrived at Denny's and sat at a table with roses on it and I ate my heart-shaped pancake. Afterwards, we got in the car and he started driving. And he kept driving. For 2 hours!! At this point I knew what was happening but was still kind of confused and excited. Eventually, we stopped in Sedona at the church on the hill and all of the sudden Brandon was down on one knee! He handed his phone to strangers and had them record it too! Of course I said yes and cried and I still smile every time I look down.
We are so excited to take this step because it means that people can now see that our goals are concrete plans and not just dreams. Follow us on Instagram and follow our blog for updates on training, personal matters, and eventually our ministry abroad!
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