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.

Psalm Saturday: Praise the Lord!

Good morning. I hope your Saturday is off to a fantastic start. For this week’s edition of Psalm Saturday, we will focus on the beautiful Psalm 146. Last night, during our monthly chapel service at Union Gospel Mission Dallas, Ann Bailey, recited this psalm from memory. What a blessing! Ann and her husband Bill have been faithfully ministering to the homeless men at the Mission for about 15 years. They are an incredible couple who model godliness and a humble servant’s heart. Terri and I have had the privilege of serving with them since 2011.

 

We have a fantastic 4th Friday outreach team, of which the Bailey’s are a huge part. There’s Ed Czarnecki and Matt and Laurie Newby, and Michael Garrett (CEO of Trusted World), and our newest member Kurt Doty. Terri and I are richer for having them in our lives. And then there are the chaplains and the clients at UGM. They are incredible blessings as well. They remind us of how much we have to be grateful for each time we visit.

In our time there, I’ve had the privilege of preaching numerous messages, presenting the Gospel and God’s truth, in an unabated, unapologetic way. We’re not shy about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with the men. But perhaps the greatest privilege has been the opportunity to pray with hundreds of men, many of whom have placed their faith and trust in Jesus for their salvation.

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It is these moments that remind me of the words the psalmist wrote in Psalm 146. I will praise the Lords as long as I live.

Psalm 146 reminds us that God is good–all the time–and all the time–God is good!!!

Blessings.

Psalm 146 (NLT)

1 Praise the Lord!

Let all that I am praise the Lord.
2     I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
    I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
    there is no help for you there.
4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
    and all their plans die with them.
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them.
    He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
    and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
8     The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
    The Lord loves the godly.
9 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
    He cares for the orphans and widows,
    but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

10 The Lord will reign forever.
    He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations.

Praise the Lord!

Speak truth. Breathe life. Give You.

There exists, in the human experience, a certain unity. Most of us are recovering from something or someone. Addicts are recovering from the train wreck that is our life. Our loved ones are recovering from us. We can be a hurricane, tornado, typhoon, and monsoon all rolled into one. The storm of us leaves a wake of destruction reeling in its path. Trust violated. Broken promises. Lies told, sold, and delivered. Check.

You recognize there is a problem. You look in the mirror and realize it’s you. You decide to stop. But…try as you might, you can’t. Not alone. Not without help. You continue using despite the consequences and although you want to STOP. How crazy is that? You keep doing what you no longer want to do but what you’ve been doing controls your thinking and your decision-making. You’re no longer the boss of your own life. You are no longer the master of your domain. Your addiction is.

Animated Infographic: Monitoring the Future 2017 Survey Results

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You want to die because living hurts too much and causes too much pain. You cry for help. No one hears you. You cry louder. Still, no one. You are broken. Shattered. Your life is in pieces. You’re in shambles, shackled to your addiction. You look up to see bottom. Finally. Help comes.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

 

Slowly, minute by minute at first, you start the process of recovery. You are powerless over your addiction. Your life has become unmanageable. You come to believe a Power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, you decide to turn your will over to the care of God as you understand him. You begin searching and taking a fearless inventory of yourself. All the hurts. All the hang-ups. All the heartaches. All the habits. You take a big step forward that requires courage. You admit to God, to yourself, and to another human being the nature and extent of your wrongs. The list is long. That’s how we all begin. Going forward, we will strive to keep our list short. Live simpler lives. You ask God to remove all your defects of character. You humbly ask the Lord to remove your shortcomings.

This doesn’t happen overnight.

Some of our dents are easier to fix. Others are more difficult and need further work. You sit down, write a list of all the people you have hurt and harmed. You determine to make amends to all of them, except where doing so would further injure them or others. Some will receive your apology and forgive. Others will shut, even slam, the door in your face. You determine to no longer be a source of hurt and pain. You decide to treat others like you want to be treated. You begin to live your life in a way that does not cause injury or harm to others. Undoubtedly, you will fall short. So, you keep taking a personal inventory, promptly admitting when you do wrong and immediately making amends. You keep the list short.

Through continuous prayer and daily meditation, being mindful of others, you improve your conscious contact with God as you understand him, asking for the knowledge of his will for your life and the power to carry it out. Having had a spiritual awakening, you live a life modeling servant leadership, carrying the message to others who, like you once were, are struggling and fighting for their lives to overcome their demons of addiction. Today, you are no longer just a taker. No. You have become a giver.

Speak truth. Breathe life. Give You.

Praying UGMD

Greg Butler testimony: From Addiction to Jesus

Need help? Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).