We just returned from a wonderful, relaxing Christmas break in Budapest, Hungary, where we stayed with Cassie’s parents (Pat and Tina Curby) and got to sleep, rest, eat (a lot!), spend time in the beautiful city, and catch up with friends from Cassie’s high school days. It was a great time with the perfect mixture of relaxing at home and going out to spend time with others. We appreciate so much the supporters and other friends and family who gave us gifts at Christmastime and helped us be able to enjoy our break so much more. We are so thankful for all of you!
As we return to our work schedules (Cassie at school and Nate with his job at home), we wanted to share with everyone some of our plans for the future. We spent most of last semester thinking about different options and praying about what God would have us do next. We were starting to feel more and more sure that we needed to step away from Kiev and the overseas missionary life, at least for a little while. Our college loans are a burden on us, and we felt that we needed to take some steps to get all of those financial concerns more under control before we commit to a longer-term life overseas. After much prayer and discussion with our families and friends, we have decided….
At the end of this school year, we will be leaving Kiev and moving to North Carolina, specifically the Raleigh-Cary-Durham area. We plan to live with a close friend down there and our goal is that we will both have full-time jobs. That stability will give us the job experience we will need to further our careers in our areas of interest, as well as provide us with the financial means to get a better grasp on our college debts. We hope to do all of that while building a community of relationships with new friends, getting involved in a local church, and finding ministries to be involved with that we feel called to pursue.
This was not a quick or simple decision, but it is one that we feel confident that God led us to make. Here is some more information for anyone who’s curious:
1. Why North Carolina? We have gotten this question quite a bit recently, as we’ve announced our decision to family and some close friends, and it’s a valid question– Nate’s family is almost all in New York state, and most of Cassie’s family lives in Ohio. Why wouldn’t we go to one of those places? Well, we chose NC for a few reasons: we already have a few close friends (and many other acquaintances) who live there, the job market for both of us seems more promising than the locations where our families live, and it’s a beautiful state where neither of us has spent much time before! We are looking forward to the challenge of adapting to a new place again, but with some of the comforts of America and friendships that will help us feel that we have a good foundation to start with.
2. What kinds of jobs will you have? Another excellent question. Our goal is that we both will be working full-time. Cassie is hoping to get a teaching job, probably in a public school. Thankfully, her Ohio teaching license should transfer pretty easily to NC, so we are optimistic that she will soon be qualified to apply for jobs there. Nate is hoping to find a job in graphic design in some capacity. His “best-case” scenario would be to work in a design firm, but he will be looking also at other companies, freelance work, and even working with churches or ministries in the area who need design work done.
3. How will you pay for your move and settling in? Assuming that we are able to get the jobs we want, we won’t be beginning them until the summer. This means that we will be continuing to rely on our supporters at least through the end of this school year. Of course, with moving come many extra expenses. We are putting aside money right now as we can, but we will need to spend at least $800-900 total for our flights back to the U.S., as well as the expenses of traveling down to NC and possibly shipping some of our belongings. We are so incredibly thankful for the financial support we have received the last 2 years since we began talking about moving to Ukraine, and especially how God has continued to provide for us this year for all of the different trips and needs we have had. If you are interested in helping us specifically with our move, please visit our GoFundMe page (gofundme.com/60bua8). We will be contacting our supporters individually to discuss the duration of your support as we near our last months in Kiev.
Please read for some prayer requests we would be thankful for you to lift up:
- Pray for our final months in Kiev, that we would be present here and faithful to finish well the work that God has us here doing this semester
- Pray for our job searches, that we would both be diligent and not get discouraged when it seems like a daunting process
- Pray for KCA as they work to recruit teachers to replace Cassie and several other teachers who are leaving at the end of this year (please contact us if you know anyone who would be interested!)
- Pray continually for Ukraine and Ukrainian people as they suffer the effects of the Russian war in the east. There are continuous attacks, and many are being killed and injured daily. Though we don’t feel in immediate danger in Kiev, the conflict has caused an upheaval in the Ukrainian economy, making it harder than usual for people to survive on their regular salaries. Pray for peace and for Ukrainians to trust and hope in God’s faithfulness
Thank you to all of you who have followed us in this journey and especially to those who have generously supported us, both through financial support and faithful prayer. We could not have been here at all without each of you doing your part.
To donate: gofundme.com/60bua8
To contact us: email@example.com (Cassie) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Nate)
Happy New Year. May God bless all of you abundantly in 2015,
Nathan and Cassie Baird