My Monday Morning Cup

“What do you do?” he asked.

“I’m a Destination Services Consultant.” I watched his eyes glaze over followed by a blank befuddled stare. Having seen the look before, I recognized it as being all too familiar. I have tried to offset the awkwardness by stating that I do contract work. Unfortunately, people get confused, thinking I’m some sort of Texas Mafia hit man. It’s similar to the gaze I get when I tell people about my recently completed graduate studies focused on managerial sciences.

Managerial Science sounds like management science-a quantitive discipline dealing with formulas, algorithms, data analysis, and mathematical modeling. Managerial Sciences focuses on leadership, management, communication, and human behavior. In class we examined how people make decisions and solve problems and how those processes are influenced by their culture, generational cohort, and belief system. I mastered persuasion and negotiation and learned how to use technology in virtual team environments. Oddly enough, all of these things I learned are perfectly suited for the work I do as a professional Destination Services Consultant.

Three plus years ago, when I first became a Destination Services Consultant, it was a foreign concept to me too.  I had no idea—ZERO—that such work even existed. As you may have heard, people are moving to the DFW in droves–some 400,000 folks moved to the area in 2017. Apparently, as I’ve learned, many of those people need help adjusting and settling into their new community.

This is a far cry from back in the day when my parents and I immigrated to the States. There wasn’t any official relocation assistance to help you get acclimated to your new home. Culture and language lessons were taught by neighbors, some of whom may have had previous experience relocating to a new country.

Not all my clients are from foreign soil. Many come from North America and from within the United States itself. Assignees are moving at the behest of their employer, either for a project or possibly a promotion, or a myriad of other reasons. My clients are from different generational cohorts and come from diverse intercultural backgrounds. I’ve helped South Africans moving from Canada to Dallas. I’ve worked with clients from Ghana, Eastern Mongolia, the European Union, and the Land Down Under. I’ve had the privilege of working with individuals and families moving from Cupertino, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Shanghai, Moscow, Madrid, New York City and Paris.

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In the three years since I began doing this work, I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people from all over the world. It’s been a great experience overall, although contract work isn’t for everybody. If you don’t have multiple vendors requesting your services, you will weather dry periods and lows when business isn’t booming. Other times, you may wish you had more hours in the day and a transporter to get you from point A to point B. My own business took a downturn when I took time out to help my Mom recover from a bad fall she had last Summer. It’s taken awhile, but business is picking up again. This is a true answer to prayer as I’ve tried to ascertain what God’s will for my life is now that I’ve earned my Master’s degree and as sweet T and I continue to work in different aspects of ministry, including serving the men at Union Gospel Mission through our monthly chapel service and chairing our church’s participation in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child initiative.

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So what exactly does a destination services consultant do? In essence, I offer boots-on-the-ground expertise and a menu of concierge services including finding a home, providing an area tour, identifying school options for those with kids, opening a bank account, and applying for a myriad of things like a social security card, driver license, car registration, and you-name-it. Working as a DSC has also served as a good avenue for employing the skills I received through my Certified Tourism Ambassador training in 2015. This training increased my knowledge of the area and DFW’s history. While some of these things may seem like simple everyday tasks, in the context of packing up the family and moving halfway around the world, they become big things. It’s comforting to have someone you can trust welcome you to the area, show you around, and help you get different ducks in a row.

This type of work requires being friendly and flexible, being able to think and plan strategically, providing superior customer service, and being knowledgeable about a plethora of things critical to making a relocation experience a smooth success. To be successful, you have to be the resident expert on how things work where you live. You have to be able to demonstrate empathy, putting yourself in your assignee’s shoes.

I return my attention to the man asking me questions.

“That sounds like really interesting work,” he replies. “I bet it’s fun too.”

“It is. At least it can be. There are challenging moments for sure. But overall, it’s great to make a real difference in people’s lives, helping them call DFW home, and easing the stress inherently involved in making a big move. “

It allows me to serve others, ministering to their needs in an authentic, tangible way, during a very big moment in their life. The return on my investment features the rewards of meeting new people from fascinating places, recognizing that while we have our unique cultural differences, we also share many human experiences.

Before I got into this line of work, I asked the Lord for work that would allow me to help people and shower others with love and joy. Sometimes, the Lord answers prayers in ways we really don’t expect. This work is one blessing I have learned to be truly grateful to receive.

Shine: Dare to be Different

It can be easy to get down on yourself. Most of us experience highs and lows during our journey. What God values is different than what society holds in high regard. Not always, but usually. Looking around, we get caught up in the comparison trap. We yearn for yesterday or hunger for tomorrow while missing out on today. We may come to believe our lives aren’t worth living. Yet, God thought we were worth dying for.

What a humbling thought.

God’s grace redeemed us. Christ’s blood bought us. The Spirit sustains us. Our lives have value. We matter. We shouldn’t squander the life God redeemed. Yes, we have a past. But that past is gone. We shouldn’t continue defining ourselves by our old baggage. After all, you can’t put spilled milk back in the bottle. At least not easily. We need to get comfortable wearing our new suit, reflecting the joy we have in our Lord and Savior.

Because of Christ in us, we are no longer who we once were long ago yesterday. Today, because of God’s infinite, unfathomable love for us, we are different. We are not the same. So as a new work week begins, let us shine like the new creations in Christ we are. Show the world the difference God makes in your life. Blessings.

2 Corinthians 517

Finding Joy Worshipping in the Presence of the Lord

As we continue to look at prayer in the Book of Psalms, we turn to Psalm 84.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Psalm 84:10-12

Psalm 84 is a well-known psalm in which we hear the psalmist expressing the desire to be in God’s presence in the Jerusalem temple because the Lord is the protector of his people. The psalmist recognizes the Lord’s sovereignty and yearns to be in the safe rest of His sanctuary. It is recognized as a song sung by the Israelites as they traveled to the Temple to worship the Lord, our God. It is believed that the Sons of Korah arranged the song and that it was played during worship, similar to how we sing songs of praise in worship today.

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Setting our sights on God leads to blessing. As we draw closer and nearer to God, we become stronger and stronger. When we anticipate and look forward to joyfully worshipping the Lord, we rind spiritual refreshment, even in the direst circumstances

Genuine joy comes through a deep intimacy with God. Worship should draw us nearer to the throne, not keep us at bay, or push us away. We can choose to walk closely with God or keep our distance. If we lack belief, then we fall short of having any relationship with God at all. In our unbelief, we miss out on the blessings offered by the Lord, our God.

We experience the true definition of joy when we remain fully committed to worshipping God and are totally satisfied simply being in His presence. There is no safer place, no better day, than experiencing the presence of God.

God delights in us. He wants us to walk in joy with Him. Will you walk with Him today?

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Psalm 84

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.

8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!

10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!