...:::and we're off ...AGAIN!:::...

Where to begin...

The last few months have been crazy! 

For starters, in case you weren't aware, we're home!

In our last post, we mentioned an awesome prophetic experience regarding Daniel's visa that came true! And although it took another month of dealing with immigration, we eventually touched down on US soil, after two month of separation, on Thursday Nov 6th! 

Being home, and having our whole family back together has been wonderful, but as you could imagine, it's also been a crazy transition. Now that we've got our feet back under us, we'd like to catch you up on what's happened and happening with the Kissling family.

For starters, we came home and moved into a new house with an incredible family, "The Fennigs".
Our New Family
Our New Family
As crazy as it sounds, living in direct community with another family is something we've wanted to do for a long time and started dreaming about with the Fennig's before we went back to Uganda. They (Thaddeus, Kristen, and their two kids) are an awesome family, and so far, living together has been amazing experience!

Coryn is still working at Beckman High School as well as being a stellar wife and momma! She's incredibly busy with work, but I can tell that she truly loves being back and having a whole new group of students to teach and pour into. I really got lucky snatching up this girl!

Daniel has also had some cool new stuff Going on! Not only did the boys get some new siblings with us combining homes, but, Daniel also started Kindergarten! If you know Daniel, you'd expect him to be a ton of fun in the class room, and you'd be right! His teacher said he's acclimated quickly and is making a ton of friends (I kind of think he's her favorite)!

Nemo, who was really struggling with all the transition before I got back, really seems to have settled in with Dad back in the picture. It's been great being back home with him and the rest of the family! Two months of our family being separated was WAY TOO LONG!

As for myself, being home has been interesting! I've jumped right back into serving at Rockharbor as a Worship Leader and Apprentice while at the same time, playing a part time stay at home dad. It took awhile, but I think we've finally figured out the rhythms of this new/old life hybrid thing that we're in.

Now that we've gotten you all caught up to speed, there's a few things I'd like to tell you about.

For Starters; "Align Support"

I've just got to start this section of with a big fat THANK YOU for the way that so many of you cared for, and supported us over the last 1 1/2 year!!! We've had a few friends and supporters ask us weather or not we're still raising/in-need-of support through Align Ministries. We are still continuing to work alongside Align and absolutely love the work God is doing through them, but we're no longer taking our salary from them (read below). We would like to ask anyone who supported us to consider sponsoring a child or helping fund one of Align's great ministries.

Secondly; "The Apprenticeship"

Rockharbor is a church committed to equipping and empowering men and women to be effective ministers of the gospel of Jesus. One of the ways they do this is through a one year apprentice program. Before we left for Uganda, I was asked to join this program and am excited to finally get to jump in and be further developed as a leader within and outside the body of Christ. 

As an apprentice, I'm considered an "un-payed staff member" at Rockharbor and then encouraged to raise funds for my salary. This is an invaluable opportunity, and Coryn and I are already seeing so much fruit and opportunity come out of this season of development. As you might imagine, spending 30+ hours away from our family on a single income makes this a bit of a challenge. We'd love to ask all of you who truly believe in this form of leadership development to prayerfully consider financially contributing to my salary through 2015. Our goal is to raise $1000 a month for the next 12 months to help offset our single income and childcare necessary while in the office. Go ahead and click HERE now if you'd like to support us! We look forward to updating you all next month on how the apprenticeship, and our fundraising is going.

Lastly; "Pray!"

We'd like to ask you to pray for a few things! Obviously, we'd love for you to lift up The RH Apprenticeship and our continued transition back into life stateside, but there's one big area we'd love to ask for a covering of prayer.
...:::Charlotte, NC:::...
Over the last year, we've been in a constant dialogue with the aforementioned Fennigs (our current housemates) about joining them in a church plant through Rockharbor, to Charlotte, NC. The prospect of being sent out once again comes with a myriad of feelings, both excitement and fear. We just ask that you join us in asking God for discernment and clarity regarding this decision. 
We'd also love for you to pray for our upcoming trip to Charlotte at the end of February. Please pray both for provision for that trip, and that we'd get a sense for how God might be planning to use us there.

So for now, that's pretty much it! We're both excited to share what God does with and through us in the following weeks!

If you’d like to unite with us in this undertaking you may send your financial blessings to: Rockharbor C/O Jamesdon Kissling, 3095 Red Hill Ave. Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Please make checks payable to "Rockharbor" and include a memo indicating that payment is towards "Jamesdon Kissling|Apprentice"
...or Click HERE to give online.
 All your support is TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!!

...:::When God Speaks; CLEARLY:::...

God still works and the Spirit still moves! 

So, as some of you may have noticed, our blog has been a bit quiet for the last few months. Honestly the reason for our silence has been a lack of something to write about. There's been a lot going on, but we haven't really wanted to write about it because none of it had to do with us getting home! But, before I get into that, let me give you a breakdown of the last few months…

Coryn and I have both been on personal leave from our jobs in the US the whole time (1 year+) that we’ve been here! Since my job is, let’s say, a bit undefined, it’s been easy to take time away. That, unfortunately, wasn’t the case for Coryn. She was blessed with a one year leave of absence from her teaching job, and that year ended in September. That meant that Coryn was on a plane in mid-August, with Nemo in tow, so that she could prep for the coming school year AND keep her job! That was a bummer, but at the time, we thought we’d have Daniel’s visa sorted, and follow in a week or so. That didn’t quite play out as we had hoped though.

We got our appointment for Daniel’s visa at the end of August, which meant a trip to the Nairobi Embassy for me and “D”! We had an amazing time there with our new friends, the Magruders, as we awaited the approval of his visa. Unfortunately, we learned that or case had been sent for an “administrative investigation” for reasons the Embassy would not divulge. They also couldn’t give us ANY type of time-frame. They only told us it could be days or months! GREAT!!! :/

Daniel and I have since been back in Uganda; couch surfing in the homes of our closest friends, dearly missing our wife, son, mom, and brother. All the meanwhile, Coryn has been single parenting Nehemiah, moving into a new home, working a full-time job, and missing the snot out of us! It’s been absolutely miserable!

…and then a prophecy?!

One and a half weeks ago at church, a woman named Nicola was teaching on Philippians and how God is in EVERYTHING, even our times of trials and suffering. As she spoke, she kept getting various spirit inspired words, although she wasn’t quite sure what they meant or who they were for. First she said she felt there was someone there who was dealing with some tough family stuff. That definitely resonated with me, but it seemed like it could with anyone. Then, a bit later, she said that she felt the person was a father who felt alone but God was in this with him. Now I was really listening, but still, it could have been for anyone. As she was finishing up, she paused during her closing prayer. She said “it might be weird” but she felt the Spirit saying, “There’s a visa issue and God is going to bring a breakthrough in the coming week.” Bingo! She hit the trifecta! I was completely wrecked and the whole church prayed over our family and the word we had received!

Throughout the following week, we had a ton of support from our friends and family as we awaited God’s big breakthrough! People were praying for us and even fasting with us and we really felt the love of God tremendously! Each day passed, but still we remained confident in the work and will of God.

As Friday came and went, I started to feel a bit down. At one point, I even swore that I had gotten an email notification from the Nairobi Embassy but when I checked it, nothing was there. I was obviously disappointed that nothing had happened, but more than that, I was disappointed that the opportunity had passed for God to show our church and community that GOD STILL MOVES.

This week, out of pure desperation and frustration, I kept trying to call the embassy to see if there had been any progress on our case. Monday must have been some sort of Kenyan holiday or something because I tried the whole day and couldn’t get a call through. Today (Tues) started out the same way but I finally got through! The lady one the phone told me she had emailed me on Friday (phantom email above) asking me for Daniels passport so they can issue his visa. She forwarded the original email, and sure enough, God came through on Friday morning, just as He said he would!!! OH MY GOD has never felt more right to say than at this very moment!!!

“So now what?” you may ask. Now we come home!
It should take a week or so to get the visa issued, but after that, we’re on a plane, and into the arms of the ones we love!!! We’re excited to get home and begin the next chapter (church plant?) of our lives, but I’m suddenly a bit sad at the thought of having to say goodbye to all the amazing friends here who have fed us, housed us, encouraged us, and just plain loved us through this rollercoaster! But right now, the thought of a big ol’ family hug has me grinning from ear to ear!!! GOD IS SO GOOD

If you’d like to unite with us in this undertaking you may send your financial blessings to: C/O Andrew Galbreath 354 Avocado Street #16 Costa Mesa, CA 92627 Please make checks payable to "Jamesdon and/or Coryn Kissling"

..:: The Count Down Begins ::..

We officially have a week and a half left in Uganda, and when I say we, I am speaking hopefully about our entire family. I am trusting that coming home as a family, which is looking less and less likely, is still a huge possibility because we serve a God of impossibilities. With that being said, we also know that our God is not a genie and He does not just grant us everything we wish, and that He has a plan way bigger than the one we have for ourselves. So while we continue to pray in faith that we will ALL be on an airplane heading to the US on August 23rd, we are also praying for God's will to be done and if His will is for us to not come home all at once, then we know He has a good reason for it! I just look back and think of all the ways God blessed us this year by "trapping" us in Uganda. We were praying for a quick trip from the start, but would have missed out on ridiculous blessings, awesome spiritual growth, and family time that we would never had the chance to experience in our crazy busy lives in the US.

A quick update…Daniel’s visa application has been expedited to the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya! We are just waiting for the Embassy to receive Daniel’s file and then will make an appointment for the visa interview in Nairobi, but like all things on this journey, we have no idea how long this will take (it has already been 2 weeks). Once we schedule the visa appointment we can schedule his medical exam, which needs to be completed at least 3 days before the visa interview, and then book plane tickets for Daniel and Jamesdon to fly to Nairobi for these appointments. Once the visa interview is done, Daniel could have his visa within 3 days! The remaining process could be finished by the time we need to leave in a week and a half or it could take another month, but we are super thankful for progress. Here is to God working an awesome miracle for the Kissling’s!

So, just in case our God does have a different plan than ours, we have to face the reality that I may be coming home with my 3 year old son only and will be starting work 4 days later (August 28th). This would put me in a VERY similar situation to our coming home in 2011, only then Nemo was 2 months old, not 3 years old, which will hopefully make things a little bit easier. Similar to 2011, we will not have a permanent place to live, and without having a permanent place to live it is hard to prepare for child care among many other things! But child care was literally one of the most stressful things about returning to work last time when Jamesdon was not here and I am trying to learn from past mistakes. So here is my plea…to all of our friends in Orange County who work evening shifts, stay at home with their kids, are retired, or any other reason why your days might be free…would you please consider taking a day to add babysitting my little Nemo to your To Do List for a day or two! If you want to volunteer your time please contact Emily Van Herk via email evanherk@rockharbor.org and let her know what day(s) you are available to help out! We truly appreciate all the help we can get! 

..::Down to the Wire::..

Wow, it is almost August…and the end of August marks a year of being here in Uganda. Good news is we are seeing movement in Daniel’s paperwork. Our I-130 was approved in the beginning of June by immigration (USCIS) and we got notice a little over a week ago from the National Visa Center (NVC) that they are beginning to process his Visa, which is the final, though still tedious, part of the process!

This next process involves the NVC giving our case a final looking over, a bit more paperwork, and then they'll send it to the nearest embassy (Nairobi) for final processing which includes an interview and medical exam. After all that's done, we get his green card and come home. Once he's on US soil, he's a citizen. Easy cheesy, right?

All that said, we're getting down to the wire for our time as a family here. We have plane tickets to fly home on August 23rd for the whole family, but processing Daniel’s visa is not so simple and to be honest, Jamesdon and I are starting to lose hope that we will get it in time, but are trusting in God’s perfect timing no matter what the outcome.

As we await review of our paperwork and an appointment with the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, life here remains to be ever busy!

As if dealing with Daniel's US immigration process wasn't enough fun, Jamesdon also has been hard at work trying to keep our status here in Uganda legal. This requires LONG days at the Ugandan Ministry of Internal Affairs, which makes time at the DMV look like a vacation! He's managed to get all of us on some form of legal visa here... except for HIM! Although we're still hopeful that something will happen soon, it does make me a little nervous knowing that I may be leaving him and Daniel soon with out either of their respective visas!!!

For me, life here has also been crazy busy! As I watch my remaining days dwindle, the work ahead of me seems to grow ever bigger! There's a handful of new initiatives and protocols that we'd like to get in place for Align before I go, to help ease my transition out. I'm also spending my days doing a final run of updates on all of our Life With Hope clients (180 clients + prospective clients). Trying to balance all of this with our everyday family life, the emotions of leaving this wonderful country, and the prospect of leaving 2 of my guys here, all while planning for our move home and jumping back into a new year of teaching is really starting to overwhelm me! Just typing it here raises my anxiety level a notch!

Amidst all this chaos, God still has His way of comforting and carrying us in ways we never would have fathomed! We've made friendships here that are so dear to us, that will carry through a lifetime! We've also continued to be so blessed by the time we've had as a family here, that we can't imagine we'll ever repeat with the demands of western living!

One of the more surprising and encouraging things that we've experienced is our heart towards church ministry. God has continued to stretch us, especially Jamesdon, in this capacity. Jamesdon's been regularly leading worship at our church here in Uganda, which was challenging at first since he's not used to such a "bare bones" worship team.  Our home church, Rockharbor HB, is very worship focused, and Jamesdon said, "it is easier there to hide his inabilities behind a good band!" He's had to instead, step up his preparation and practice since that environment doesn't exist here. He was further stretched recently when he was asked to give his first sermon a few weeks ago! Although I don't necessarily agree with it, Jamesdon would be the first person to say that he's not a "preacher". So what?!?! He's a lover and follower of Christ, and he did an amazing job! With all of this growth, we can't help but wonder what God's preparing us for when we get back to the states!

Wow! Such a long blog post!!!

To keep from writing anymore, I'll just end with a few prayer requests...

Pray for Daniel's Visa to come before Aug 23rd!

Pray for Jamesdon's Ugandan Visa to get sorted out

Pray for our transition out of Uganda (work and friendships)

Pray for our transition to the US (new home/finances/childcare/jobs/culture shock)



A window into our adventure that is UGANDA