The changing course

Robb managed plants. Not like a horticultural kind of guy. In fact, Anna is the plant person that way. No, Robb managed plants and parts of plants that made parts. Car parts. The plastic kind of car parts.

He ended up with tough projects at times. He was the guy who would go in to manage the closing that someone else decided would happen. Because of his style, which values people and minimizes ego, the closing process could take awhile because, well, because productivity ended up improving. He was good at financial analysis and listening and suggesting.

A couple of years ago, however, he knew that changing the way production lines work wasn’t what he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing. He wanted to teach. More specifically, he wanted to teach junior high math. Or that’s what he thought he wanted.

We met one day to look at the results of some testing we were doing at the church. We were trying to help people find the thing that they were made for, the way to serve best. Robb and I talked, and he talked about this idea of going back to school on weekends to get a teaching certificate. We decided to get together that Friday at 6:30 am to talk to each other and to God about the decisions.

That one time became almost weekly. When I changed jobs, we moved our time from early Friday to noon on Monday. And two and half years later we met for the last time, last Wednesday. On Monday, tomorrow, Robb and Anna and their three children fly out of Chicago heading for Cascais, Portugal. Robb will be teaching math and science and maybe Bible in an international school in that town near Lisbon. Anna will spend part of the day taking care of their son, and part of the day teaching art. She’s also finishing her degree, online. Their two daughters will energize the school.

When we last talked, they weren’t sure exactly where they would be living….the school has people looking. They don’t have all of their salary raised (part of the salary is from the school, part of it is from supporters). They haven’t had more than six weeks from the official invitation to the time they leave.

They are, by the way some people measure, nuts. Great career. Gone. House. Left. New house. Unknown. Exact courses to teach. Unknown. Salary. Uncertain.


Robb and Anna trust God. They trust each other. They have survived challenges that make this seem small. They will learn and grow and thrive. They will change lives. They will change the world. Of this I am confident.

However. I’m going to miss our times together, Robb. You changed me, too. See you next summer.


To follow Robb and Anna (rawbanana) visit their blog.

and you may recognize Anna from twitter (alenardson) or from Lent2008.


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