In honor of Valentine’s Day and the 2011 mascot, we wanted to send a special message from our staff to you:
Every year, iGosia hosts a Christmas party for it’s staff and family. This year we made a few changes to the celebration - including an ugly Christmas sweater contest and a white elephant gift exchange. Thanks to Penny Rodgers, we have some great photos of the event! (If you haven’t ever seen her blog, go check it out! Need a photographer? We definitely recommend her! Penny Rodgers Photography)
Shu led out in the festivities, sporting a sweet Christmas sweater:
Crystal was decked out for the occasion:
The best ever white elephant gift made its rounds, finally ending with the Kent Jones family. Jami Lee is posing with it below:
Second and Third place in the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest went to Allison Aycock and Kent Jones, respectively. Their prize was a $10 Facebook card. Those are some nice sweaters:
First place went to yours truly. A stocking, teddy bear, poinsettias, bells and more are attached to this awesome sweater. The prize for this - a Dallas coupon book worth over $15,000 in savings. So if you ever want to go out to eat anywhere in Dallas, be sure to call Ky and me. We’ve got the hook up on savings!
Although the picture quality isn’t as good, you can see Ky worked really hard on this creation - it even has working lights.
Finally, wishing you a Merry Christmas from the iGo staff!
2003 began with us doubling the size of our staff. We went from one to two full time staff members. Brad Cardwell joined the team after a series of meetings. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted Brad to join us, but that was only because I didn’t want to be held responsible for messing up his life. We still didn’t know if this whole idea was actually going to work. However, we both came to an agreement that God was calling him to do this, and we stepped out on faith once again. Kent Jones was around as well that year, but he was technically working for The Go Foundation, a ministry partner. He spent the majority of that year on a bus with Mercy Me with The Go Show tour calling students to go global.
We also left our office at Lake Point Church that year and moved into an office building in Rockwall, Texas. Brad and I shared one small office in that building for half of the year, which was perfect for us since we only had one computer and two small desks. We didn’t even have a printer. One of my favorite memories of that year was checking Brad’s new iWitness email account since we only had the one computer. Sometimes I would answer his email for him when I knew the answer and it was quick. I would sign it Bradster and let him proof it before I sent it. I watched his eyes and when I saw him read his name, I would click send before he could do anything about it. I am still waiting for him to see the humor in that.
God also began rewarding our efforts that summer by sending us more students. When it was over, we had mobilized 60 students that year, almost double the number from our first two summers combined. But He didn’t make it easy. He had more lessons for us to learn and challenges for us to watch Him overcome.
When our staff thinks about 2003, we think about SARS. Maybe you remember something about that, maybe you don’t. It was basically the Swine Flu of 2003, but it was almost exclusively isolated in Asia. While no big deal to most of the Western world, it became a huge factor for a young ministry preparing to send teams to Asia. As the summer drew close, we began to realize that our team headed to East Asia needed to be relocated. With about a month before departure, we were introduced to some M’s in Thessaloniki, Greece that were willing and able to host our team on such short notice. Looking back at the end of that summer, it was interesting to see all the similarities in that team and the small team Paul led in Acts 16 and 17. Some of those similarities are better left unwritten, and I’m sure that team would agree.
After finally getting the college team settled, SARS showed up in Taiwan, where one of our high school teams was scheduled to serve. (This team, was actually first recruited to serve in Russia, but were moved when authorities in that area of Russia closed some doors.) With a little over three weeks left, we made the call to move this team as well. Once again, God connected us with an M who was just crazy enough to say yes to hosting this team in Cologne, Germany. And when I say crazy, what I mean is he was in the process of moving his family to Cologne. He moved to Cologne the same week that our team showed up.
This was such a huge lesson for us regarding the sovereignty of God. Russian authorities and respiratory viruses are all at His disposal to accomplish His purposes. He used all of that and more to connect us with a new friend in Germany. In fact, our JSI program was named after this M partner, and we still work closely with him today. But that part of the story will come in the next few weeks, as the countdown to our 10th Anniversary Celebration continues. I hope you will tune in next week as we continue to demonstrate this clear and constant theme: God has faithfully sustained, grown, and developed this ministry every step of the way.
At some point during this decade it seems that most of our pictures from 2003 were misplaced. We do have a good selection from our Japan high school team (Japan was not affected significantly by SARS). You can view those pics right here.
In addition, we thought it might be fun to show you some of the logos and artwork we have used over the past 10 years as well. Feel free to comment on these gems as you view them here.
An estimated 18,000 people proved their warrior status at the two day event this weekend in Forney, TX. Among these were six of our staff and several friends.
“It was the craziest freaking day of my life,” said Shu. “We all looked like new born giraffes out in that mud. You could NOT stand up. The coolest part was how every part of my body was hurting until I stopped running and then I felt fine.”
Ky said, “The coolest part was the mud slide - you get cooking on that thing. It was just like going down a water slide. Another fun part was when you swam over the logs and got out of the water and felt refreshed - ready to go again.”
“Hopefully we’ll make this an annual tradition and more friends and staff can join us next yaer,” said Allison.
Below are some of the pics Allison took during the event:
Wikipedia cites the Random House Dictionary to define the term warrior, saying a warrior is “a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.”
Tomorrow, May 1, many of the iGo staff will go where no iGosian has gone before; we will become WARRIORS! We will face a 3.51-mile course with 14 obstacles standing in the way of VICTORY. Some of these obstacles include running through gale force winds, running down a river, climbing up a muddy incline, climbing over a giant mountain of hay bales, climbing up and over cargo nets, crawling through the mud under barbed wire, and jumping over fire. That’s right - I said FIRE.
Why, you might ask? Well that response would be different for everyone competing. My reasons:
Letter 1 – Have you ever met the people I work with? I decided to participate mostly for the opportunity to see some of them participate (sadly I am signed up in a different wave and will not get to do the challenge with them). There are some positives to not being in the same heat as everyone else - I can get some really good/embarrassing pictures of the rest of them competing.
Number e – I like a good challenge and it is going to be crazy, ridiculous, fun, and if the Lord wills it we might just make it through the craziness.
So I decided to ask everyone participating to give me their reasons on why they want to become a warrior.
Ky – “I have a (what’s the word I’m looking for) a great need for affirmation, what could be more affirming than achieving the status of warrior, and having a fuzzy helmet with horns to prove it.”
Crystal – “I want to be a Warrior because I shouldn’t be able to do this. 2 years ago I would have never even attempted anything that involved running or obstacles. But with God’s grace I plan to enjoy every minute of the challenge.”
Lance – “I am a warrior and I have been looking for an opportunity to make that information public. I’m also looking forward to using all of my knowledge from The Unit and putting that into action.”
Brad – “I’m a warrior because I’m not going to be a part of your system. I will throw the Warrior Dash on the ground.”
Kent – “I already am a warrior, I just have to prove it to a few of you.”
Elizabeth – “Why not?”
Look for a future post with pictures of us all becoming WARRIORS!
We decided to record one of our staff meetings for the three people that read our blog and who might wonder what a day in the iGo office is like. None of this is planned, staged, scripted or any other synonym you can think of. We tried to filter through the boring stuff. Hope you enjoy the ridiculousness that is our staff:
The day Allison edited this video was the SAME day we found our new office! Praise the Lord! Be praying for us as we transition to the new location in Wylie.
My name is Elizabeth Junell and I’m the Business Manager at iGo Global. I feel the need to introduce myself because many of you don’t know me and probably have never even seen me.
I’m the one that processes your application when they come to our office. I’m the one that enters your application once you’ve been accepted, and most importantly, I’m the one who processes your payments. I may not ever get to meet you or get to travel with you overseas but I feel I know each and every one of you because I have seen your pictures and I deal with your files on a daily basis.
To fill you in, I’ve been with iGo for 4 years this summer. Before working at iGo, I taught for 9 years. I’ve coached volleyball, basketball, track, and even was a cheerleading coach for 6 years. My husband Clint and I have one son, Brock. He will be two in March and he is the source of a lot of fun and plenty of entertainment. I love to sew and read. Right now I spend a lot of time playing trains with Brock. Clint and I love to ski and would love to live in Colorado some day.
Working at iGo has never felt like a job. Other than the 45-minute drive, I always look forward to going to work. We all like each other, we enjoy working together and we get to be part of God’s awesome plan of sending students to the nations. I am so grateful that God has given me this incredible group of people to work with.
Because I’m around these guys on a regular basis, I feel I know them very well. They all have some quirky tendencies and I thought you might find them interesting:
Ky is almost always chewing on a straw. You may have noticed this and thought it was gum. Nope. If he recently drank with a straw, chances are it is now folded up very small and he’s chewing on it.
Brad NEVER EVER EVER puts the toilet seat down. I feel this will change pretty soon as he and his wonderful wife add a second daughter to their family. The girls will out number the boys 3 to 2. I often wonder if he just does this to annoy me.
Lance has an unhealthy obsession with the Republic of Texas. Ask him one day how he feels about his oldest son Austin being born in the state of Indiana.
Kent loves to drink tea. This isn’t a surprise to anyone. What I find weird is that he reuses his Styrofoam cups over and over and over and as you can image, this distorts the natural color of the Styrofoam. Until I started working with Kent, I didn’t know Styrofoam could be the color of cooked hamburger meat.
Chassidy or as Brock likes to call her “Chassy” is uncharacteristically strong and she has some unknown issues with mail. Chassy is gracious enough to open the mail for me most days and to speed things up she uses my letter opener. Since May, she has broken 4 letter openers. The letter openers are pretty tough so obviously Chassy uses too much muscle and must be mad that she’s opening the mail so she takes it out on the envelopes.
Crystal loves to bake and she is very good at it. She is very talented and she makes some of the most creative flavors of cupcakes I have ever seen. Here’s the quirky fact—she doesn’t eat them. She spends all the time and effort to make them look absolutely beautiful and taste amazing and she won’t even eat them. Something else that’s kind of crazy about Crystal—she can’t tell time unless it’s on a digital clock!
Jami Lee hates onions. When we go out to eat she always asks the waiter if anything has onions in it and if it does, she wants that on the side. When she eats salsa, her bowl will be completely empty except for a pile of onions. She also loves ketchup and she always uses a copious amount.
Allison is very quiet and I haven’t been around her enough to find out all her quirks. What I do know though is that she is quick to defend everyone. Anytime someone is being made fun of in the office she is quick to come to their defense. If you know our office, you know someone is always being picked on.
Aaron can walk and talk, exactly like the alien from Men In Black. For the most part I consider Aaron to be pretty reserved, but give him some music and a camera and he comes to life.
Emily might just be quirk-free. She did, however, marry Ky so I guess she’s a little quirky.
James’s nickname is Rowdy but as long as I’ve known him I’ve NEVER EVER seen him be rowdy.
Jonathan is quirky defined.
Sarah is the only person I know who goes to the Ellen show around Christmas and wins about 25 prizes worth over $2,000 and gives them ALL away.
I haven’t listed any of my quirks but after reading this blog I’m sure my fellow co-workers will draw up a list of their own.
Life in the iGo office can sometimes be a little crazy…to give you a taste, here are a few quotes from our staff. See if you can guess who said what (Post your answers for us in the comments)! We’ll post the correct answers on Friday.
Note - Staff members include: Shu, Brad, Kent, Ky, AC, J, Elizabeth, Crystal, Jami, Chassidy, Allison, Emily, Sarah & Rowdy
1. “You put power in their hands and they’re going to want more.” (Brad)
2. “85% of your body heat escapes right out the top of your head. Mine is 95%.” (Shu)
3. “You still have time, you’re still a young buck.” (Crystal)
4. “When I woke up this morning I had no idea it would be this exciting!” (Kent)
5. “Maybe you’re allergic to your vitamins.” (Chassidy)
6a. “Hey dude, you’re the most creative person I know.” (AC) 6b. “You don’t know very many people do you?” (Ky)
7. “Ky, do you feel more Asian some days than others?” (Crystal)
At iGosia we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Check out this sweet video!
In case you can’t understand us due to all the laughter, here’s the list:
1. Suitcase full of T-shirts and Jeans
2. Fake Bus Passes
3. iGo Dollars
4. Flying Footballs
6. Payment Deadlines
7. Different Accents
8. Busy Jimmys
9. iGosian apples
10. Awesome T-shirts
11. Mustard Bottles
From iGosia to you - “We hope you have top of sweet celebration with families this season of holiday!”
As many of you know, iGosia brings with it many interesting features - most notably, its people. Below we’ve highlighted four of our favorites (check out the bios underneath the pictures) and we want you to vote for YOUR favorite iGosian! You may very well have encountered this very iGosian at Base Camp this summer. If so, be sure to leave a comment about your experience.
1. The Fake Bus Pass Salesperson If you’re looking for the “bus to iGosia” you’ve come to the wrong place. Despite any promises she may make, her ticket will only grant you access to a “bus tour iGosia” As if selling you a worthless bus pass was not enough, she refuses to negotiate pricing with anyone. Offering anything less than 5 iGo will result in a verbal reprimanding with such intensity that it may bring you to tears.
2. Almost a Security Guard After being rejected as a real security guard and being denied the official black shirt, she has made it her ambition to prove herself by enforcing food laws during the culture meal. Note the baggy clothes and intense facial expression as she tries to look bigger and tougher than she actually is. She doesn’t necessarily enjoy inflicting pain on American thieves and stooges, but she is willing to do whatever it takes to prove herself in order to become a real iGosian security guard.
3. The Non-Salesman Most iGosians at the market will go to great lengths to get you to buy their products, but not him. He has made it his sole priority to remind foreign customers at the market that certain products are “No for Sale.” Regardless of whether or not you try to purchase an item from him, you will certainly know before the closing of the market that his items cannot be purchased.
4. Silent Salesperson This mysterious woman is known for the unexplainable swings in her pricing of certain items and the fact that she never talks…ever. Several theories have arisen as to why nobody as ever heard her speak. It could be: 1. The result of a physical condition. 2 Insecurity due to her inadequate English. 3. An attempt to make herself seem even more mysterious. 4. An extra means of evasiveness to prevent people from trying to negotiate pricing.