Life has been happening fast. Days are a blur. It's hard to believe I've been here in Europe for ten months now. I wish I could hang out with you one on one over a hot cup of coffee, share my defeats and victories from the past months with you, and hear yours as well. For now, this inanimate blog will have to do.
About one month ago, I joined the rest of my department (Fund Development and Communication) in hosting the Fund Development Exchange conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Our speakers, social media and fund development experts, were from the UK, and the attendees were from all over Europe and the US. Here's a pic of most of the people that were at FDE 2012.
It was really cool getting to meet some of the people working with TWR and their partner organizations! I even had a chance to share some of what I've learned from working with social media.
One thing I've been doing outside of TWR is planning and hosting short film discussion nights. Taken from an idea I got at CEVMA (a Christian visual media conference) a couple months ago and with the help of some people from my church, we've had two events now.
We reserve a building with plenty of room, give it a coffee-shop feel, provide drinks and snacks, hang out, and watch really interesting short films (usually around 3 to 8 minutes long). After each film, groups of four to five are led in discussion through a series of questions that begin at general observations and end with personal application.
It's ingenious, and the people who have attended loved it! If you're interested in doing something like this, feel free to contact me for suggestions. I got the idea from Global Short Film Network. Here's an example of a couple of the films we showed. Some are serious. Some are funny. The key is that they evoke meaningful discussions through thought-provoking content.
A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Global Partners Training in Sofia, Bulgaria, with 114 other attendees from various countries (primarily in the Balkans). The media and leadership trainers were from Moody Radio (a couple of whom taught me when I attended Moody Bible Institute), In Touch Ministries, and National Religious Broadcasters. The primary purpose of this training is to assist Balkan believers involved in media ministry to effectively reach their audience.
I really enjoyed my time in Bulgaria! It was my first time in a country that uses a Cyrillic alphabet. Also, shaking your head means "yes" and nodding your head means "no". Ha! The food was great and very cheap. The coolest part was the connections made with people passionate about what they do.
In more TWR-related news, my job is being modified. Up until now my primary responsibilities have revolved around social media. However, I've been really getting into graphic design and desiring to improve. Since TWR Europe had a need for a part-time graphic designer, it worked out for me to take that position! Starting next year, about half of my role will revolve around graphic design, which I'm really excited about.
I had fun designing TWR-E's 2012 Christmas card. They asked for it to have a reconciliation theme with a Christmas feel. Many of you will be receiving this in the mail so I won't show the entire thing, but here's a low-resolution image of a portion of the card to give you an idea of what it looks like. :) An artist named Charlie Mackesy let us use his awesome sketch of the prodigal son, which was perfect for the topic of reconciliation.
Well, it's late, so I will end this blog update. Hopefully it gives you a little more insight into my life over here. I wouldn't have the privilege of working with TWR Europe if it weren't for friends and family like you backing me with your love, support, and prayers. Thank you!