Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Clems in Sisters, Oregon

Christmas, 2015 in snowy Sisters, Oregon
Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas!  What a special time of year as we spend time with loved ones and celebrate the birth of Jesus!  We hope that you are seeing the hand of the Lord on your lives and in your hearts.
It has been a couple of years since we’ve sent out an update so I will try to fill you in on what we’ve been up to since returning to the States in 2014!
In February of 2014 we said many sad goodbyes to dear friends, pets, and our home sweet home of nearly six years in Costa Rica.  It was a bittersweet time.  We were all very sad to leave Costa Rica and at the same time very excited to return to the States.
When we returned to our home state of Oregon, Tim had a job, but we did not have a home.   We had tried to secure rental housing from Costa Rica, but could not do so from such a distance.  Well, God had better plans and we were invited, as returning missionaries, to be long term guests on a working ranch near Tumalo, Oregon, just 20 minutes from Tim’s job!   While there Laura raised a market lamb for 4-H and we all learned how to feed and care for a herd of sheep as well as help with the other farm animals on the ranch; a llama, a goat, horses, and cows.  We also experienced our first spring in 7 years and our fist snow in several years.   We lived on the ranch from March to November of 2014 while we searched for and purchased a home of our own.  It was a special time and made transition back to the States so much easier!
It was exactly a year ago, during Thanksgiving break, that we moved into our own home near the picturesque mountain town of Sisters, Oregon, where I went to grade school and Jr. High!.  We were able to buy an acre of land in a neighborhood two miles outside of Sisters.  It feels like we are living in a campground with forest all around us and deer, squirrels, and birds as our regular visitors.   Living in a retro 70’s/80’s manufactured home while we save up to build a house, our home fits the old adage “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home!” It is very cozy and homey and we quite like its vintage character.  It was also just about a year ago that we adopted a sweet 8 year old dog named “Lexi” who is part Beagle and part Chihuahua of all things.   She has been a great addition to our family!
We continued to home school the kids last year and joined a local home school co-op called “Classical Conversations”.  After following their curriculum for 2 years on our own in Costa Rica, it was great to be part of a larger community.  School was quite cozy at home, spread out on the living room floor in front of the wood stove.  Laura studied classical guitar and was part of a children’s choir and both kids were Bible quizzing champs!   As a family we were involved with Spanish ministries at our church and the kids were in a bilingual play last summer.
Last January we had the privilege of returning to Costa Rica with a team from our home church in Hillsboro, Oregon where Tim was part of a Work and Witness team to build a church foundation in San Jose.  It was something out of a dream to be with some of our closest Oregon friends in Costa Rica!  The kids and I traveled by taxi and bus to Atenas and after the Work and Witness team returned to Oregon, Tim joined us to visit friends and our church in Atenas, our pets in their new homes, and we even got to have dinner in our home of nearly six years since some good friends are now renting it and making it their home.  It was surreal to be in Costa Rica again, but also helped with closure to see our pets well cared for and our home lived in and well cared for as well.  The friends we have there are for keeps and we hope to return again for another visit in a couple of years!
Tim commuted daily to his job in Bend, where he didn’t feel he fit in.  Based on his interview it had sounded like it would be similar to his eMi office in Costa Rica, but it ended up being a lonely place to spend his days.  It was therefore a relief to us when he was laid off last June after the firm missed getting a couple of big projects.   Because he was laid off at the beginning of summer, we got to enjoy a lot of family time during the kids summer break.
In fulfillment of a longtime dream, we took classes last April to become foster parents!  We were almost through with our home study when we were asked to take in two boys on an emergency basis while their grandparents were getting certified to take them.    Over the month of July, 2 year old Grayson stayed with us and each day one of us visited his baby brother Isaiah at the NICU to learn about his care as he is medically fragile.  It was a busy, but a rich time and our kids were a great help!  The foster boys are now with their grandparents and we provide respite care for them one weekend per month.  The boys are growing and doing really well!   We hope to finish our home study soon so we are officially certified to be foster parents.
While laid off, Tim applied to several firms in Bend, all the while wishing that he could work for Steve, a previous employer and mentor, and that Steve would let him work remotely from the Portland area.  Steve is someone Tim really respects and the two have a great report.  Well, when Steve found out that Tim got laid off he offered Tim a job, but it did involve a move to the Portland area.  With my urging, Tim accepted the dream position and in August we left our dear little home and headed back to the city, where Tim grew up.  We spent six weeks in Beaverton and learned that the city life is just not for us.  We also learned that we can live on much less in Sisters so we decided to move back.   When Tim shared this with Steve he was offered a position to work remotely from Sisters!  So we moved back to Sisters and Tim is working remotely out of a nice office space just 10 minutes from home.  It was a bit circuitous, but now Tim has his dream job in our dream location!
Once again we were moving to Central Oregon with a job, but without a home.  We had rented our Sisters home, furnished, for the month of September.   Once again God provided and we got to stay at the Tumalo ranch for the last week of September!    The kids had a blast at the ranch, revisiting their forts and all their farm friends.  They also spent lots of time at the barn with the new barn kittens.  It felt like we were in a delightful time warp!
As part of moving back to Sisters, we decided that it would be good for the kids to experience going to school and it was time that I do something about getting in nursing hours to keep my license.   I had been trying to get set up to be a contracted nurse through the State of Oregon to care for medically fragile children in their homes, something I had done before and really enjoyed.  Just after we learned that we were moving back to Sisters I got a call from a caseworker through the State asking if I was available to start working.   So in early October the kids started attending Sisters Christian Academy (SCA) and I started my new job!
The kids are doing well at their new school.   It is a classical school so the subjects are very similar to what they’ve been studying at home and through Classical Conversations.   They are together most of the day since grades 6-8 are in the same classroom.  Tanner is in grade 6 and Laura is in grade 8.  Laura’s favorite subject is art and Tanner’s favorite subject is Science plus both are enjoying P.E.  Both kids are taking private music lessons from their music teacher; voice for Laura and cello for Tanner.   We are still looking to sign the kids up for a sport in our area.  Laura likes to dance and Tanner likes the martial arts.  Tanner loves going to school, but Laura is not sold on it and often says how she misses home school.  Still, she has made some great friends already.  We are praying about next year as Laura will enter high school!!  The local high school has great programs for art and music that she would enjoy and they also offer alternative options such as attending part time and doing homes school as well.  That sounds like a good fit for Laura and maybe Tanner will continue on at SCA through Jr. High.  We’ll see!
Well, I usually try to make our newsletters short, but I hope you don’t mind a longer one since it does cover two yearsJ  We would love to hear from you!
God bless you and yours!
The Clem Family ~ Tim, Cindy, Laura, Tanner, and Lexi McDoggie

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

God is Good!

Wow!  God is moving in our lives; your prayers have been effective in calling the Lord’s blessings on our lives!

While we waited on the Lord over these past few months we’ve gone through many emotions.  Waiting refines your faith, let me tell you.  God seemed to be telling us, “just hold on, I’m working on that.  You can do your own thing now or wait for Me to move.”  We knew God would move and we struggled against our impatience.

May He be praised, as we waited we began to see more and more how much He wanted to bless us.

God gave us a home for Hershey the cat.  Tanner’s good friend Noel adopted him and we’ve already visited to see that Hershey is adjusting (he comes out from hiding under the bed when we’re there).

God gave a good home for our beloved Cindy the Dog with a loving Costa Rican family; somewhere she can spend the rest of her life since they won’t move away.
China the street dog, Tanner, Cindy the Dog, and Laura on our last day together

God brought a buyer for our car that paid full price and is letting us use the car until our last week here.
1996 Hyundai Santamo - we bought it two days after we arrived in Costa Rica

God provided a great job for Tim at Pinnacle Architecture in Bend with good pay and good benefits!  It feels like the culture of this office will be a good match for Tim as he transitions from EMI back to the professional environment in the States.

We’ve found a good homeschooling community in Redmond, Oregon that will help Cindy and the kids excel in homeschooling as well!

We’re so excited by how God has blessed us!

After this week, the kids get a homeschool break as we spend all next week finalizing packing, closing accounts, and etc. to prepare to fly away from Costa Rica on Friday the 21st.

We’ll spend two weeks in Colorado Springs in debrief and preparation to transition back to US culture.

On March 8, we’ll arrive in Portland, visit family, attend our home church and gather our belongings to move to our new home the week of March 10 so that Tim can start work on Monday March 17!

Please praise the Lord with us!  He has been faithful!

Please pray with us for the Lord’s provision (and our patienceJ) for a home in Sisters, Oregon, the right car, and cell phone.

We’re looking to find a rental in Sisters so we have time to sell our house in Beaverton and find something to buy in Sisters.

We aren’t sure what we will do for a car and need the Lord’s wisdom and provision.

We know we will need cell phones in the States and would like a pair of iPhones.  If any of you have recently upgraded and have one or two old iPhone 4 or 4S stuffed in a drawer that you’d be interested in selling to us, let us know!  We hope to purchase at least one and have it sent to Colorado where we can begin using it when we arrive late next week.

Thank you so much for your prayers!  Thank you so much for your financial support!  You all have been a part of this ministry through how you have enabled us to serve.  We cannot tell you how much we appreciate each of you and we are excited to know that even though we cannot repay you, your reward is waiting in Heaven!

Monday, January 20, 2014

"How's the job search going?"

We cannot express how grateful we are for your prayers during these last few weeks.  God has answered them and I am excited to share that my week of interviews went so well.  I never expected that a week of interviews would be so much fun.

When Cindy and I talked about how I might need to return to the States for interviews, I said I felt like I needed at least three interviews to make it worth the expense of the trip.  God amazed me and not only did He provide round-trip tickets for 1/3 of the price, He arranged TEN interviews and get-togethers.  WOW!

I’m afraid I cannot be too specific, but here’s a summary of my whirlwind interview week:

Fri, 3 Jan:
Beaverton company:  I had a good interview with the head of operations (the principles were out of the country).  The office has recently expanded their space in anticipation of growth.  I enjoyed the office environment.  They sounded interested but are not willing to commit until March, when I am available.  They’ve asked me for a date in March when we can get back together.

Mon, 6 Jan.
Portland architect firm:  I had a good interview with one of the Directors.  I am familiar with this firm from past experience working there temporarily.  I enjoyed the office space and feel of the office.  The Director said he was meeting with the other Directors later in the day and would discuss how I fit into 2014.  The firm is all Revit and my lack of experience in that program was detrimental.  Apparently, the Director I met with emailed me already but has had difficulty with his email and since learning I never received his email, I have not heard from him.  I will follow up again this week.

Tigard architectural firm:  I had a good visit with the principle and a senior staff.  I am familiar with this firm from past experience working there on contract.  They expressed interest in me long-term but clarified they do not have something for me at this time.  I asked for their help how to respond to questions from interviewer about how much money I am seeking.  The principle handed me a copy of the 2013 AIA Compensation Guidelines that he had just received and said I could review it and copy the appropriate pages.

Tue, 7 Jan.
State of Oregon:  I had a good visit with the director.  They work in a beautiful office.  She stressed that she had just hired all the positions I was looking for.  She mentioned there is a possibility that she could hire me for a special project such as comparing the existing Oregon Administrative Rules that govern medical design to the new AIA Federal Guidelines for Healthcare Facilities.  She is interested in an analysis of the financial and operational impact on Oregon facilities if it is adopted.  While visiting with the director, she mentioned several firms she thought may be hiring including Salem firm 2, below.

Salem architectural firm 1:  I had a good interview with two partners and enjoyed discussing my interest in the firm based on the culture I perceived from the spiritual involvements indicated on their website for their staff.  They were more thorough in the interview than any other firm.  The office space was nice and the location was great.  There was no question about Revit in the interview.  They have followed up via email with questions including compensation.  I replied with my range in the Compensation Guidelines.  They are expecting to learn if they have been awarded a new contract in early February and will only be able to hire if they get the contract.

Salem architectural firm 2:  Since this was my only opportunity for a face-to-face, and since I was already in Salem, I braved the awkwardness of being a “walk-in” and drove to this firm’s office and asked for the partners.  Only one was in the office at the time.  He said they had suddenly lost their existing Project Manager just a few weeks earlier and had been planning to post the position.  He interviewed me and was interested in my desire to work into ownership since the two other partners will retire soon.  The office space and location was uncomfortable.  I showed him the AIA Compensation Guidelines for my range and he felt fine with it.  The office is in a transition to Revit and I could train with them.  One of the other partners recently reviewed my Linked-In page, something I suggest on my resume.

Salem architectural firm 3:  I had a good interview with two of the five partners.  I met an additional partner in passing.  Because I had already had a phone interview with one of the two, this meeting was very casual.  They have a great office space and are willing to train me on Revit.  I expected to receive an offer from them, but last week received an email to contact them when I’m in the States to see if they have work for me.

McMinnville company:  I had a good interview with the director of Facilities.  I met the CEO, CFO, and the other project manager.  The office was nice although they plan to move to a larger space in mid-2014.  He seemed fine with the Compensation Guidelines.

Wed, 8 Jan
Bend architectural firm 1:  I had a good interview with the principle.  He said he was “intrigued” with me but gave unclear messages about whether or not he was interested in hiring.  He asked me to keep in touch which may mean he wants to hire me later or simply that he wants to network.  The office is beautiful.  He was ok with the Compensation Guidelines.  They work in Revit and AutoCAD.

Bend architectural firm 2:  I had a good interview with the newest principle and met both the other two partners.  They seemed very interested and felt comfortable with the March time-frame.  Their office space was ok.  Revit and Compensation Guidelines were not discussed.  She was interested in my technical aptitude and my interest in partnership since one of the existing partners is retiring soon.  I got an offer today.  It is low pay and benefits so please join us in prayer as we seek the Lord's guidance how to respond.

We need your continued prayers as we wait on the Lord to provide the right job.  Pray with us that He would make His will clear and that we would be patient as we wait on His provision.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Update and Prayer Requests

Yikes!  Has it really been almost 2 months since we've written a post?  We haven't felt that we have had much to share since we still don't know where we will go or what we will do after February.  Time seems to have been going so slowly as we've been in the "waiting room".   I keep getting this image of our family sitting in a small waiting room, waiting for God to open the door and say "Come this way".  While in this room we are learning ever more to trust and have patience.  There really isn't more we can do.

In speaking with a good friend back home last week and also to my in-laws last night I am realizing that even though we don't know the future, a lot of progress has been made in getting us to the next steps in our journey...

Tim has been in contact with several possible employers in Oregon.  He is in communication with possible jobs in Portland, McMinnville, Salem, and Bend.  Thanks to my mom who is a flight attendant, she is able to help us send Tim to Oregon in early January for job interviews with these various jobs.  Once he has a job secured then we can look into housing and schooling options in the area.

Projects are wrapping up at the EMI office and I am quite impressed with how much has been accomplished!  Nearly 13 projects have been completed in the last 2 months!  Now the focus is shifting to clearing out the office.  Last week several tubs were sent back to the States with a couple who were visiting from the EMI office there.  Garage sales are planned for the first two weekends in December. 

We have another month before big changes happen at home.  For now we are keeping things as normal as possible.  Routines are the same and if you came to our house you wouldn't know that we are about to make an international move .  We will wait until after Christmas before we start closing down our personal lives.  We'll then send our belongings and pets off to new homes, pack, and say our last good byes to friends and favorite places.  We'll have 6 weeks to do this and it will be a busy time of transition!

So far even without advertising, most of our furniture is already spoken for and we have a waiting list for some items!   It's comforting to know that a local pastor friend is buying our trampoline as a Christmas present for his 4 kids and that most of our furniture is being purchased to furnish a local children's home.  We plan to have a couple garage sales in January to sell all the other odds and ends aside from furniture.

We have also made some progress with finding homes for our pets.  Tanner's best buddy would like to adopt our Hershey kitty and got the "ok" from his parent to do so.  We are pretty sure that our neighbor will want our little China dog (named "Cheena" by Laura).  That just leaves Cindy the dog, our aged Golden Retriever who needs a good home.  We have two families who are thinking about it.   

We have secured temporary housing for our last 1-2 weeks in Costa Rica since our current home will be empty by then except for what we are taking back with us.  We will stay in a cabin at Hogar de Vida, where I worked as a nurse for 2 years.  It is also where we stayed for our first week in Costa Rica so it feels like we will have come full circle with bookend stays at a place that has been an important part of our lives here. 

We don't have return tickets to the States for February just yet (we'll get those in January), but we are registered for a debrief program in Colorado Springs for February 23-28.  We'll spend an additional week in Colorado meeting with EMI member care to finish our time out with EMI. 

After that....Only God knows.  Because He knows we can rest easy.  Our lives are in good hands.  That is easy to say, but hard to grasp at times.  It is easy to get anxious and to try to figure it all out on our own. 

For now our greatest prayer requests are:

A job for Tim preferably in the NW
A home for all of our pets here in Costa Rica
That we'll finish well here
Finances for an expensive international move
Peace, unity, clarity, direction

Thank you so much for reading our blog and for your prayers!



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Many people have asked us how the changes happening with the eMi AL office will affect our family personally.  At the moment we really don't know aside from the fact that big changes are coming which include at least one international move.  We are still trying to catch up and process everything and there are so many details to work out and consider.  We are seeking God for His will and peace.  Things will run normally here in Costa Rica until January so we have some time to make decisions about our next steps.  We hope to have some clear direction for our personal future by December at the latest.  We would greatly appreciate prayers for:

*clarity and direction
*emotional health
*smooth transition to the next phase

Thank you so much for joining us in prayer, for your love and support which mean so much!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Into the future

"Greetings Friends of eMi-AL,

With your support, eMi’s Latin America office has served over 120 different ministries during the past 12 years, providing critical support for building and other infrastructure projects throughout the region.  Each project has brought its unique challenges, and through them we have witnessed God work in miraculous ways.  We have also learned many lessons.  This year, our office staff has sifted through the experiences and wisdom gained over the past 12 years to discern how we can best position ourselves to walk most effectively alongside ministries in the future.  It has been an illuminating process, and we are already employing new methods to use our volunteers and other resources more effectively.  We are also partnering with ministries in a more personalized way, responding to their specific needs as they develop over time.  This year, we have initiated 15 projects to support ministries in six different countries. 

While we see God’s hand building momentum and refining our strategies, He is also doing something larger that has brought us to our knees in prayer, as we seek to understand His plan.

 As we enter a busy season of ministry this term, we look forward to strategically serving partner ministries throughout Latin America.  At the same time, we have been forced to reflect on several unexpected personnel changes currently taking place in our office.  This reduction in staff has required us to fervently pray as we let go of our own plans and understanding, allowing God to guide our steps.  Looking ahead, our team has become convinced that we will no longer have the resources to continue operating an effective office in Costa Rica beyond early 2014.  As a result, eMi’s Latin America office will enter a new phase next year, temporarily closing the office to focus on regrouping and recruiting new resources.  This will allow us to continue forward in a sustainable manner, making a larger impact as we strive to help remove physical barriers that hinder the gospel throughout Latin America.  We ask for your prayers in the coming year as we focus on the following: 
  • Recruiting additional staff for the Latin American team
  • Allowing for revitalization and refreshing of existing staff
  • Continuing to engage in projects in Latin America from our US and Canadian Offices
  • Re-launching a Latin American Office
Thank you for your continued support and prayers as we work diligently in the coming months to prepare for the path that the Lord is laying before us.

 Although our decision to temporarily close our office next year was not an easy one, and it will be disruptive in the short-term, we have grown convinced through prayer that this is the wisest path to return to a vibrant and sustainable office to support our long-term efforts in Latin America.  I have attached a letter from eMi’s CEO, John Dallmann, explaining this decision in more detail.

 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21"