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We are YOUR ambassadors

Alisha works on a mural at Jeremy and Siwan's house -- perhaps one of Alisha's favorite fundraising activities!
Camping, music, and food with John (and Julie) near
Sedona, AZ. It was their second time camping ever!
Time has flown by for us.

The last several weeks have been filled with meals, miles and miles of driving, fantastic conversations, and live music -- all things we encounter in Lithuania but find in surplus in the Valley of the Sun.

Josh going for a post-dinner stroll with roommate Sam.
The longer we serve abroad, the more we realize the degree to which we've been shaped and formed by this place. And the importance of staying connected grows all the more evident. Life, understandably, moves forward whether you are present or not. When we left for Lithuania three years ago, we weren't running away from our lives here -- we were running toward something new as ambassadors of all who have played a role in forming our lives.

So when we see changes -- good and bad -- we recognize almost a parallel life that we gave up when we moved abroad. As Alisha often describes it, "Whole children happen while we are away. Relationships start and, unexpectedly, end. People we expect to see when we come back are gone and there are new people we've never seen before."

To be an effective ambassador, however, you can't just be connected to those who sent you in the past -- you must also be connected to those who presently send you.
Standing against injustice with Jesse.

All this is to say that we cherish those of you we have (and have not) been able to visit this summer. This time we have in the U.S. fundraising is an incredible gift and it fuels us for the work we have ahead of us next year.

We've done our best to connect with as many individuals and families while in the Valley as we could, but we recognize logistics make it impossible for us to see everyone. Bellow is a video we made to give a glimpse of what we, your ambassadors, have been able to do thanks to you all.

(The clips of the orphans were intentionally blurred for their protection)

There are too many people to thank individually who help us out while we're stateside. To be embraced and supported by friends, loved ones, and even total strangers is overwhelming and humbling.



Hello, Arizona!

We're in the Valley of the Sun for the next several weeks and that means The Garber Dining Room Tour continues. Basically, you invite us for lunch or dinner and we can catch up. We're excited to share about different ways we've been able to serve this past year, answer your questions, and also hear what's new in your life.

Plus, if you're nice, we might even make you a legit Lithuanian meal!

We'll be around until June 25 just so we can spend some time with you. We made a Google calendar below so you can see which days are available and which are already occupied. You can check as we'll be updating it throughout the summer.

Contact us via phone (765-606-5955) or e-mail (, and let us know when you are free to kick it.

As of today, we do not have a vehicle, so our ability to come to you is limited. If you know of anyone who can loan us a vehicle, please let us know!

It would be fair to say we are also viewing this as an opportunity to raise funds, but please do not feel like that is a requirement. For planning reasons, please give us a few dates that would work for you.

Check back regularly as we will be posting about our other fundraising events as soon as we are able to confirm the dates.

Josh & Alisha

We could really use a vehicle -- we're running out of lawns!



Coming full circle

I write this as I sit in a train car with 20 LCC students, rumbling towards Vilnius. Graduation was yesterday and now our sights are set upon our next objective -- the Vilnius English Camp mission trip.

It's my first time going but, if you look back, this blog actually began when Alisha and I first traveled to the Czech Republic for an English Camp mission trip. Except this time I'm responsible and I think I have a better sense of what I'm getting into.

We'll know for sure in a week.

I had posted a new update a bit ago detailing all that we've been doing this past semester, but Blogger lost it before Google cached it. The two things from that post you should know is a) Alisha and I will be returning to LCC for next school year and b) we'll both be in the U.S. for a bit to reconnect and fundraise.

Alisha arrives in Indiana Wednesday, May 6, and I will arrive Sunday, May 10. After some family time, we'll head to Arizona May 18-June 25.

Needless to say, we want to see as many people as we can. We need it.

Please pray for safe travels. --J



A Thousand Points of Light

Alisha encapsulates this year's Summer Language Institute theme, "There's a Hero in You." Ironically, students learned superpowers and capes aren't what makes a hero.
Having exited our third Summer Language Institute (SLI) at the end of last month, sometimes I find myself challenged by the notion that three weeks is enough time to have any meaningful impact on the lives of students who, not so long ago, were total strangers.
I consider myself a pretty rational thinker and I know that, from the moment a person wakes to the time they go to bed, they are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of messages.
"You want more."
"You're just a few purchases away from happiness."
"Life is a ladder that must be climbed -- if you're not advancing, then you're not doing it right."
"Everyone is confident (except you)."
How do I, a mission worker on a modest budget, compete with advertising machines that pay millions to convince our students they aren't "good enough?"

By spreading a different message.

"Beautifully broken things can be made from the dust."
"Maybe life (and faith) are less about who's 'in' and 'out' and more about what you do to make things better for others while you're here."
"Let's consider the journey."
"You can experience freedom now, in this moment, if you want."
"You are a child of God. So is every person you meet. Consider that before you dehumanize them."
An OCD nightmare.
I know someone well who has many OCD qualities and she'll tell you it's the thing that's different than the rest that gets noticed the most. So, while none of the ideas in the second group of messages are original, they certainly stand out. 

If these can be the ideas that I both articulate and live out at both SLI and during the regular school year, then maybe that idea will plant itself in the mind of one of our students. And over time that idea grows and sets its roots deep in the essence of that person. And the person will bear new fruit with seeds that can be planted in others.

I feel confident this can be possible upon reflecting on my own life. The seeds planted in my mind and heart that have allowed me to grow into a Jesus radical today have come from the most unexpected people and times.

And the great thing about young, fruit-bearing trees is they can produce fruit while they keep growing and changing. Like us. Like me. I recognize I am still developing but I pray my fruit is finding itself as a blessing to others.

So back to the original thought: "Is three weeks enough time to have a meaningful impact on the lives of who were strangers not long ago and will become strangers again?"

My hope is that, by the grace of God, the answer can be "yes."