Whelp, there is no looking back now. The cutting and milling has begun. Some of these trees are amazing. Some of them are lacking. BUT… I have not hit anyone or gotten in any fights with local suppliers (your prayers are paying off). When the supply falls short, sometimes we have to return to sender, but often we come up with new ideas.
The point is we are stunned by this new next beautiful step of getting our wood cut in country. We have been highly stressed at points, but we have not gotten down. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING. Praise the Father.
Check out me and Bradley posing with the factory owner after they finally figured out how to cut our wood the way we like it!
And check out some of these shots! We see some beautiful coffee tables, end tables, wallboard and the likes coming from these beauties.
Please keep praying!
I’m realizing I will need to eventually start a blog series to document this crazy journey we have been on. It has been surprisingly good but just as crazy as we imagined.
This week has been full of crazy. I almost had to punch some guys. Not really, but kind of really.
The most encouraging thing has been these pictures that just came in from the guys bringing us our first olive logs. These logs represent much prayer. Keep them coming 👍👌🙌🙏🏾👊
My brother recently had a conversation with Dan Lewis. Dan asked him questions such as, “who’s lifting up your warehouse regularly?” “Who do you have lifting up all your projects,” etc?
It has got me and Nathan realizing more and more that we want to put each business step in the Fathers hands just like we would put the financial stuff in the hands of an accountant.
We are in the process of getting our first container of olive wood. We are at the stage of signing contracts with local business guys who we are buying from and who will be doing some milling. Each step is a leap of faith. May the Father guide and lead us through. We believe all our “thoughts” are how this spiritual transaction is accomplished.
Here’s the contract. Of course it’s officially in Arabic even though we have our own English copy. May the Father see this through. Please lift this up to Him!
There is a twilight-zone-like phenomenon in developing countries that my brother has always referred to as “The X-Factor”. It can’t always be exactly identified, it never ceases to surprise but it exists deep within the fabric of society. Being a lover of culture, I would not dare suggest that it is something all together broken about the developing world, but it is such a foreign reality for outsiders that we are left to simply submit to it’s mystery and call it “The X-Factor.”
One example of “The X-Factor” would be this. A friend of mine was renting a van to take friends around. It broke down. They were going to have to return it late because of a malfunction on the rental company’s vehicle. The rental company was at fault. But instead of working with my friend, the rental guy said they were going to be charged 150dinars extra for being late. My buddy tried to explain to this rental guy that if he would just help them out he will certainly continue to do business with this guy for a long time and he will make thousands of dinar from him over the years. But this rental guy simply chose to demand the 150dinar late charge and never see my friend again for business. That’s “The X-Factor.” It doesn’t make any logical sense to us, but it’s apart of life around here.
I think I might begin a blog series with the title “The X-Factor” just to try to keep a record of these twilight-zone moments.
When it has come to CrossFit coming to this country, I have moved forward with “The X-Factor” in sight, not trying to get my hopes too high. Since I now have my CrossFit Certification I believe that makes me the only person in country actually qualified to teach CrossFit. This puts me in a unique place to be able to work and train for this new CrossFit box and help make it official. The gym owner had emailed me in the States to tell me he was excited to see this dream come true together. Then I arrive in country to find this:
It’s a CrossFit box that feels straight out of an upscale American city. It has more machines that nearly every other CF gym I visited in the US. It is extremely nice. Top notch.
Now, enter “The X-Factor.” They were going to open three months ago, so I was going to miss the grand opening by two months. Then they were going to wait until after Ramadan. Then they decided they would open at the end of August and I would be here for the grand opening. Well, the gym is basically complete, it looks amazing, and it’s not open for business. The owner has still yet to meet with me, but he lets me go workout whenever I want. He has spent many many thousands of dollars to get to this point, and still doesn’t have a date selected. All I can say is, it’s “The X-Factor.”
So, CrossFit has come to this country. Kind of. And I am excited to play a part. Eventually.
I’ll keep you posted.
The day is approaching quickly when we will pay for our first container load of wood, pay for a local mill guy to cut the whole container into slabs and pay to send it all to the port.
We don’t take any of this lightly. We are walking through uncharted territory for the Brown family and we recognize we are out of our league.
However, we strongly believe God has brought me and my local partner, Bradley, together for such a project as this. Bradley has a very unique heart. He is extremely hard working but he has a soft heart and is very coachable. He loves our Lord and he has a natural ability to work and deal with people.
All this being said, we remain desperate for the Father to do His part or we fail. He must continue to open and shut doors, continue to give us wisdom and favor, continue to lead us through his Spirit. We must continue to get up early and pray, then work hard. BUT WE DON’T WANT TO SUCCEED OR FAIL ALONE. WE WANT YOU TO JOIN US. FIRST IN PRAYER, THEN IN MORE PRAYER, AND MAYBE SOME PRAYER IN BETWEEN!
Today through next week we will be signing pre-contracts on our first container and watching and paying as wood comes and gets milled. Please pray.
Here’s me and Bradley at the cafe getting ready for a great day.
In between meeting with the mill guy and the accountant we are having a Chat Group. 2 local guys, 2 American guys, the 4 of us meeting to do accountability together. The Father is good. Your prayers are immeasurable. Blessed be His name!
We are a little behind in posting this one, but our friends, Kerry and Sarah (his daughter), were here for over a week! These two have both been here before and came back for more!
They were here at the perfect time in our landing period. It was the week before we started school, so Sarah was able to help me set my classroom up and also help watch Max and Ella while I was at teacher meetings. Kerry was able to attend some interesting beginning meetings for Old World Timber! And, of course, we did fun touristy things too. Including- eating at our new favorite restaurant, Chili’s! (Thanks Big Steve- we will send you the bill)
Always a blast to do life with this clan and we were blessed by their time here! From laundry folding to music session jams- Kerry and Sarah- thank you for loving us so well.
Immediately upon arriving back in country we were quickly reminded of the more than millennium long ritual that people in this culture celebrate every year. Check out this wikipedia info for more on this fascinating holiday. It is the holiest of holidays for its followers and more than 100 million sheep worldwide are sacrificed. Everywhere we have driven over the past few days we have found sheep; in the back of trucks, on a mo-ped (didn’t snap that pic, shucks), on the rack of a car, in a taxi-van, in yards, in the streets, on the sides of the roads… everywhere. Sometimes families raise their own sheep and kids will play with them for a couple years only to have the family slaughter their pet once it has grown to maturity. Some of my local buddies have said they have often not been able to eat the meat of the sacrifice because they couldn’t stomach eating their pet.
So, tomorrow is the day for the “Festival of the Sacrifice” as it is commonly called. The day where our friends remember the familiar story of Abraham and Isaac.
Almost all businesses, schools, etc. will be closed. We have joined the festival in the past and experienced culture alongside local friends, but this year we will stay inside our own home.
We might rent a few movies- is Finding Dory out on AppleTV yet?!
It is starting to blow my mind how God keeps stearing this ship. I say ship because the size of boat we are looking to need keeps growing.
It shouldn’t be this fun to start a new supply center in a developing country, but the excitement keeps growing.
This short blog is a teaser while I sit at a hole in the wall fish joint for lunch after a successful rendezvous at a wood factory.
Here is what we just found to help us with our project:
More to come 😁😝😜
Lord, may Your will be done!