Last night, as I was running around a Phoenix park, trying to hunt down my brother-in-law to hit him with a paintball out of a blowgun, I came across one of my teammates. In the darkness and with some distance between us, we were calling back and forth to determine if we were indeed on the same side. After stating our names, my teammate called out, “If you are Jonathan, then who is your favorite author?”
I laughed and responded, “It’s Dante, but you think it’s Wendell Berry.”
“There we go.” He said.
If you have read the Divine Comedy, you are probably familiar with Dore’s woodcut illustrations. You may or may not also be aware that he created many illustrations for the Holy Scriptures. The above image is one of them. Earlier in the week, with some extra time on my hands, I took a scrap piece of wood and attempted to burn a version. The grain of the wood caused some difficulty, but overall I am pleased with the result.
Happy Easter! Our Easter weekend here was full but delightful. My parents were in town, and although Jessica was very busy with playing for the services, we had some wonderful time together. The highlight was Easter itself, as we went to an outdoor service in the morning, came back to Montecito for brunch, opened our Easter gift bags afterward, and then went to my in-laws for a wonderful Easter feast.
Day to day life continues, as does our work toward our move. We are currently 85% funded.
Let me say that again.
I was looking back in my journal and notes from the beginning of March and remember that we only had barely 15% of what we needed at that time. Now, we have received so much of what we need, and it may even be that we will have extra to cover some of our moving expenses and visa fees.
On my mind:
Visas, students, living situation (or as Keith would say it, “sit’iation”), and the upcoming Montecito cooking challenge.
Visas: I had planned to have our application in by now, but things are delayed a bit. In order to apply, we need a “sponsor number” from the King Alfred School. This number provides a reference for the UK government to show that we will be supported by someone once we arrive and will not become a dependent of the government. A few weeks ago, Hayley applied to receive sponsor status. Once they hear back from the government, they can give that number to us. Until we receive it, we cannot apply.
Students: We continue to pray that God will bring more families to the King Alfred School. While there are indeed financial motivations (for the school) to have additional students, I personally pray for additional families for two other reasons. The first is that I want this first year to be as strong as possible for the school, and the larger the student body is, the more solid the start. The second, and more important, reason is that I so firmly believe that this school has a great opportunity to benefit the lives of the students and the families involved. I hope that we can share this education with as many people as possible.
Living Situation: We found out on Monday that we will be able to afford the bungalow in Wombourne. We still are waiting on pictures, and as soon as I have them, I will be sharing them with all my friends and family. We are very excited both about living in this area, which looks really nice, and about having a place to move into right when we arrive. I was prepared to move to the area, get an AirBnB for a few weeks, and then apartment shop. But to have a place to move into right away (that Tom and Hayley are going to work to have ready for us with basic furnishings) will be such a blessing.
Montecito Cooking Challenge: On April 24th, I am hosting the first Montecito cooking challenge. In the early afternoon, I will be providing 6-7 different apartments with bags of ingredients (which will remain a secret). They will then have three hours to cook up whatever they want. At the end of that time, whatever they have made will be judged by a panel of our friends (two of whom have extensive cooking knowledge). First prize will receive wine, oil, and a gift card. This will also coincide nicely with our own Montecito Cookbook, which Jessica is editing and compiling.
Last thing is that other than all these preparations for our move, I think the only other thing I am good for right now is information and stories about the decline and fall of the Roman Republic (this is what I am teaching my 7th graders currently). Most recently, I created a game for the classroom to help my student understand and act out the Catiline Conspiracy. As I teach these last six weeks of 7th grade (perhaps for a long time), I am doing my best to enjoy it.