Podcast Episode 2

Subscribe to “Shop Talk” a podcast with Brandi and James and listen to their second episode. Available on Apple Podcast and Android and GooglePlay

What is Burnout?

“an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.” “In those situations, the demands being placed on you exceed the resources you have available to deal with the stressors.”- David Ballard.

Certain amounts of stress can be positive resulting in peak performance. However, eventually more stress does not result in more productivity. There is a point where excess stress results in a decrease in productive resulting in fatigue, discouragement and Burnout.

Symptoms of Burnout 

  • Social 
    • Withdrawing from others
    • Cynicism about self, others, work
    • Lowered frustration tolerance
    • Interpersonal Problems 
  • Cognitive 
    • difficulty concentrating 
    • forgetfulness (long term and short term memories)
  • Physical 
    • Health; blood pressure, tight muscles, 
    • Exhaustion, Loss of energy
    • Getting sick more often and easier 
  • Work 
    • Withdrawing from responsibilities
    • Lack of Motivation
    • Feeling of failure vocationally
    • Reduced sense of satisfaction or reward for hard work
    • Sense of helplessness
    • Belief you are no longer effective
    • Generally Decreased Satisfaction
    • Falling behind with an inability to catch back up, resulting in being more behind
    • Sense of Shame (feeling of failure) 
    • Feeling helpless, trapped and defeated

What to do

  • Recognize – Watch for the warning signs of burnout
  • Reverse – Undo the damage by seeking support and managing stress
  • Resilience – Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health

Some Things to help reverse symptoms of burnout. If you can’t imagine having the energy to do any of these things seek help from a counselor, coach or friend. 

  • Take rest/relaxation seriously- do the things that rest our body, mind or soul
  • Margin/Boundaries – say no to things. The challenge with this is sometimes saying ‘no’ results in feelings of shame “I’m not good enough”. Don’t buy in, burnout happens from overextending one’s abilities 
  • Cultivate a rich non work life – church, friends, family, community 
  • Sleep– good, restful sleep. It might even be helpful to monitor your sleep for a week and see how many hours of quality sleep you are getting. 
  • Organization – it may be worth not doing other things in order to plan out a day, week or month in a way that seems more sustainable 
  • Physical health; eating right, sleeping enough and well, getting exercise 
  • Social Awareness – Know when its you, and when its them
  • Find new friends.– Perhaps your networks is small, unavailable or negative

6 Tips For Working From Home

I normally work from home so the rest of the world is joining my normal reality. The nice part is you get to dress like a mullet business half and fun half. Here are some tips for working from home, especially during the current crisis.

  1. Create an office space. If you work from home or even a shared space, developing some physical boundaries for work will help you maintain life boundaries from work. That way when it’s time to ‘work’ you do it from the ‘work’ space and when work is over you leave it in the physical office space. It will help prioritize work staying at ‘work’ and home life not being interrupted. It will require practice in not allowing work things to infiltrate other parts of your house and life. An example will be if it’s an work email, only answer it from the ‘office’ location.
  2. Find opportunities for “virtual” connecting. Working so far apart means its worthwhile to try and find unique opportunities to connect in-person with teammates or like-minded workers whenever possible. Because of social distancing it means using things like: facetime, whastapp, zoom, skype, Marco polo. Use these virtual means to connect with work and non-work people. You may have to initiate but its worth it.
  3. Maintaining Margin or Work/Life Balance. Even the most structured among us may have difficulty keeping all of our daily tasks in the right category. Margin means having extra time in the week that isn’t planned but open. That way when things do come up they can take ‘work’ time in the ‘office’ and not disrupt the rest of one’s life. It may be worth recording how many actual hours are worked in a week (remember anytime answering emails is work time). Schedule in breaks from work – espcially if your families are all at home too. Play a game, do family exercise time, read a book or follow #2 and call someone.
  4. Time on Computers. This is more of a warning. Since computers are intrinsically linked to working remotely it important to be careful about the overall time spent on one. It would be a worthwhile activity to measure the time on a computer/tablet/phone over the course of a week. This would include any non-work activities on these devices. Then figure out a healthy amount of time in a day or week and limit your usage to those times.
  5. Fast/Retreat. Take time away technology and work. This means a break from all technology for certain amounts of time. This could be connected to quiet time, personal retreat or silent retreat. Regardless, replace that time with something that is good for you mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally. As a community, lets hold each other accountable to being healthy individuals.
  6. Take Care of your health. One of the best ways to avoid illness or be prepared if you get sick is to be as healthy as possible. Increase immune boosting nutrient dense foods. Use time at home to try new recipes or swap ideas. Exercise either going outside or in your home. Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. Other things like vitamins or supplements can be helpful.


We are not descended from fearful men…

Ellie posing for an article I wrote on depression

I am riveted to the news much like most people all over the globe. So much of my life in the last decade has been connected to life as a global citizen as I have lived and traveled across 5 continents. I can empathize with friends and colleagues in many parts of the world trapped by decisions made by themselves and others. I happen to be in the USA right now am torn by a sense of belonging in other places with being with my friends and family here. Today Ellie and I picked up our passports with Spanish residency stamped, preparing a way for another move. Yet, life is stopped for so many people in so many places and our plans are on hold as our contingencies have contingencies. At the core of it all is a pervasive, overwhelming, controlling and rational sense of fear.
“remember that we are not descended from fearful men” Edward Murrow. Although it was a speech targeted at one individuals misuse of power it reminds me that in a time of crisis and panic that we ought not be defined as a fearful generation. This isn’t a political statement but a challenge to the fabric of what is causing panic. At the core of it all is each individual dealing with their own sense of fear (or stability) in the light of a constant changing landscape of a pandemic (panicdemic?).
This week I spoke on teens and trauma looking at unique characteristics of recent Generations, what defines them and what traumatizes them. I hope that when we look back at the current health crisis we are not ashamed at being driven by fear, letting our fear cause more damage than sickness. Children and teens will absorb the fear of adults in this time of global panic (which may be more damaging to them than the current sickness). I am suggesting that this isn’t a health crisis and I am not suggesting that we do not do the things we should to care for ourselves and our communities. Only that we take actions based out of the rational thinking part of our brains.
Panic, anxiety and fear are originated in our lower, (fight, flight or freeze) part of our brain. But we must not allow fear to continuously override the upper, thinking part of our brain when it comes to how we interact with the Covid-19 crisis. This system of our brain can become maladaptive when it has free reign to flood our body with stress hormones. What is our fear based in… Sickness? Absence of toilet paper? Lack of antibacterial wipes? Loss of Control? Death? So what should we do to manage the fear?
Take a deep breath, don’t panic buy more than you need, or make hasty financial decisions. Instead, Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Phil 4:8)

Taste of Home

In case there was any doubt in your minds, Ellie is the cook of the house. She has worked in restaurants and most recently at Hurly House, a bakery. It is her outlet for creativity and a stress reliever. Probably a contributing factor to my post marriage weight gain. Over the past week I decided to test the outer limits of my kitchen prowess by making a pumpkin spice latte. Before the mocking begins I should clarify that I needed to buy a whole pumpkin, roast it, blend it, create a spice mix, before even making the coffee. Secondly, I love the pumpkin spice flavor any time of year – even if that puts me in a camp with all of the American suburbian mothers  (My only living experience in the suburbs was less than a year with one of my best friends Andrew and his cousin. They can attest to my lack of domestic qualities and love for holiday food i.e. Little Debbie Christmas trees. Fortunately, they were both neat freaks and often cleaned up my messes. One time Terrence (the cousin) started washing my dishes before I was done cooking). Also, my dad used to make pumpkin pancakes during the holidays (to be fair he still does, I’m just never around) which also contributed to my nostalgia for the flavor. SO, I loosely followed the recipe on attempt one and wound up with a decent starbucks knockoff in taste but with the consistency my dad would call ‘too thick to drink, too thin to plow”. Ellie suggested as strainer for round 2. A few mornings later I went through the process and mashed the pumpkin up more with an immersion blender, strained the mix (loosing most of the seasoning) and put the milky pumpkin combo in my mug. I looked at it with the hunger of Esau but wanted it to be fluffy (frothy) and knew that the fancy blender on a stick could totally do that. 2 seconds later there is pumpkin milk all over the kitchen (and my clothes). Ellie was upstairs in our roof room with her language tutor and my former roommates are nearly a decade in to keeping their own houses clean. The kitchen got a good cleaning and I waited a few more days before making a successful 3rd try Pumpkin Spice Latte. Moral of the story: Worth it. 

The Holiday season (for American’s it includes Thanksgiving the end of November up to New years) is certainly a time of year I love. Especially Christmas. When living in Kenya I spent 5 straight Christmases creating many traditions. The first one was fairly lonely but with my friends Chris and Abigail (and eventually their cat, then dog, then son, then daughter) we created some amazing Christmastime traditions. The highlights were leading our church through a Arnold/Covey spectacular spontaneous drama, huge breakfast and dinner, and of course a slip and slide. Last year Ellie and I were in our home culture for our first holiday in the states, together. We got to navigate family and friends and felt loved, supported and included (and surrounded by pumpkin spice flavors).


the stocking were hung…

This year is certainly different than all those. Living in a country that the 25th of December is simply ‘Wednedsay’
and not having people around with whom we have shared Christmas connections is different. As I enter my 7th holiday season being away from home I’m finding the value in doing the little things that give me a sense of joy. On some of my international trips in the last few months I’ve been collecting ornaments, lights and some Christmas decorations (star and lights from Germany, ornaments and stockings from Malta). We have learned through our three years of marriage, living in three different countries, that a feeling of ‘home’ is worth creating. Sometimes its buying butter in Malta because of a potential shortage so you can make the Christmas cookies your family makes every year (Ellie). Or its gathering all the trimmings of a tree around the world so that your house feels right (James). It certainly draws us closer together and we have been able to create a space that feels warm, inviting, safe and yes- Christmasy. So much of this time of year in the states tends to be organized chaos as people run from one party to another (re-gifting the gift exchange item at each one). We have an abundance of calm since Christmas is not celebrated here and some new perspective. For us its prioritizing the things that bring joy. In the absence of the cultural pressures of Christmas traditions we can focus more on the whole point of Christmas and are doing this advent reading together. Don’t forget to reach out to people who matter but aren’t with you – it really makes a difference. We are hosting Christmas movies, possibly a carol sing, skyping friends and family and hopefully will find some people to celebrate with on the day….


…And making Pumpkin Spice Latte’s


Counseling +10

James circa 2011

I graduated with my Masters in Counseling in 2009 and recently have been considering all that has happened professionally over the last 10 years. I remember one of my first clients during my practicum (about a year into my graduate program) and as he poured out his life story, thinking that I was in WAY over my head. There was a moment in one of our first sessions together, when he shared his childhood abuse for the first time in his life. I was wondering what class I was supposed to have, but hadn’t had yet, so I could know what to do. In a loss of words I just nodded and listened, which in hindsight, was the most powerful thing I could have done – and a significant lesson. In someways that is the most important aspect of counseling, listening well and being patient.

When I was counseling the homeless in Fort Worth I didn’t always have time to patient because so many of my clients I might only see once or twice. Sometimes things went well enough that they would greet me across the shelter and introduce me as ‘their counselor’ to all their buddies. Other times they would find out I didn’t have food, clothes or shelter and leave in a storm of curse words. I learned that each opportunity to interact, even if it was the only time, could be positive and impactful.

In 2011, I began looking into counseling cross cultural workers joining an organization that provided an avenue to do that. I spent a year working in the states and then five years in Kenya. Now I am based and working out of the MENA region (Middle East / North Africa). Since 2011, I have counseled people from at least 28 different countries. For many people it was the first time they experienced counseling and sometimes my first time counseling someone from their home country. Often our differences far outweighed our similarities. I learned that listening is ‘spoken’ the same across cultures.  Healing comes in many different ways, times and places. I have the privilege of being a part of my healing stories.

I write this from Jordan, one of my many stops with Healing the Wounds of Trauma. This week is about training adults in how to work with children who have experienced trauma. It is sometimes seeing the suffering at its worst but getting the joy of helping others be a part of the healing process. The children learn what to do with their pain and the adults guiding them often learn more about healing than the children. I continue to learn that anyone, regardless of background, can both be a part of a therapeutic process and find healing through one.


Jordan, 2019


There is always an internal hummmm for the first day of school. As I woke on my first day of language school, February 4th 2019, I hoped we would arrive early! After all, we were leaving our house with an hour and a half to travel to class. We hustled 15 minutes to the nearest metro stop, more because of the crisp air than worry about time. The sky was growing from grey, to pink, to golden, as we turned the corner within view of where we’d wait for the train.

Kajjunk Kajjunk Kajunk, passed us. We woefully hurried behind a metro we knew we wouldn’t catch. It stopped momentarily, just out of reach, and continued downtown. There are no train times or schedules. Friends advised us before our first metro ride, “you never know when the next train will come, so hop on the first one you see…no matter how full.” I shifted my weight in the chill, wondering if we’d missed our best chance.

Some 20 minutes passed…under an hour til class begins. Kajjunk Kajjunkjunk. The metro stops before us. Its doors creek open and reveal people packed like new toothpaste in its tube…no room for any more. James and I nod at each other with understanding, go to separate doors, and wiggle our way in to the mess of body odor. A woman deep inside the tangle of limbs squeezes my elbow, sucking me in, so that I am not closed in the door.

I can not see anything but bodies. The lights flicker. The wheels groan. The train struggles to move again. The air is still; unmoving scents hang around my head, barely a whisper cuts the quiet of the crowd. James has been swallowed by the mass.

20 minutes later our train arrives at a central station. Our second train, which will take us to our final destination, is no where to be found. Without discussion, James and I fight the current of people to set off along the metro tracks, hoping to meet up with our train along the way. I nibble my egg sandwich with pesto and spicy sauce as we wonder what our first day of language will be like…only 30 minutes before class begins and 2 miles to go.



Where do I pick up from my last post…..

SO much has happened since our first night in that hotel! We haven’t lived here for 2 months, yet I feel more established here than I did during our recent 10 month stay in the USA.

What makes this so?

Possibly our purpose in this place? I am invested in language study. 4 hours a day I study with a tutor. I practice around town. James and I try to replace our English words with the new vocabulary in our own conversations. I study for hours at home. James, now finished with language study, has clients queuing up to utilize his services. Different groups are booking him for conferences months in advance!

Quite possibly, our waiting in the States? The anticipation of what was waiting for us in this new city made it easy to grow restless in the USA. Now we are finally building a life in this place, realizing the thing we were waiting for.

Ultimately, I know we were meant to be here. That is the deepest reason we are so settled, established, and at Peace. There has been, and continues to be, such an affirmation in our start here. From the convenience of finding a mattress on our first day in country, to the friendship we’ve found with a local massage therapist, I am amazed at how all things have come together.

I feel like something in me has been waiting to start this chapter all of my life. I feel like this is a place/lifestyle I’ve not only been growing toward, but been desiring for longer than I can pinpoint.

As I reflect on this feeling of being home here, James is at a conference in America. It is a marvelous thing to me, that these feelings of being established, safe and at Peace are with me even while James is far. That is a True testimony (to me) that we were brought to thrive here in this season….

A place to stay

“The first word that comes to mind?” James asked, as we stepped from the airplane into the crisp breeze. “Pleasant,” I said.

It was certainly pleasant to be out if that tightly packed “patchwork” airplane. It was a deeper pleasant feeling to look out at the mountains in the distance as we walked along the tarmac.

After dropping our bags at our bare apartment, we set out to reach the hotel where we would stay, at least until we purchased a mattress…

It was dark outside and after a long, but successful day we were ready for rest. Thankfully, our driver was a gracious, English speaking friend. We plugged in the hotel address into GoogleMaps. Great, it is 600 meters away. We’ll soon be resting and hopefully find dinner.

In the darkness the neighborhood surrounding our new apartment did not look like one that would house a hotel, especially not the one pictured on our map. What do us new foreigners know anyway…. we slowly circled the block.

The first time around the block we found no sign of any type of lodging. We checked the address and tried again. In the darkness, it was difficult to see road signs. Did any of these intersections have signs?

We checked the address again. This time we slowly drove looking for people to ask about the hotel. Doorways were locked up for the night. Not inviting. At a corner in the distance, a light shone with a few men standing around, dressed in warm hats and thick coats. We parked and our friend stepped out to speak with the men.

On this illuminated corner I could see a handful of cats jumping in and out of the light, a few cats munching bones in the gutter. Small dusty store doors were closed all along the street. A mural painted on a wall was barely touched by the light. Cars trundled by on occasion. The men huddled around the light at a street side grill, inhaling cigarettes and chatting. When our friend broke the circle to inquire about our hotel, I could see spices, sauces, dough and meet piled beside the hot grill.

Our friend got back into the car. “I don’t speak Arabic,” he offered. We sat, thinking, hungry…kind of floating. At least I though we all were floating, but in a few moments, “I’ve found another location!” James called.

Keeping our hope in check, we drove across town to investigate the potential sight of our hotel booking. The new pin drop took us outside a hotel….We stepped inside…

“You must be Mr. Covey” the receptionist welcomed us.

On the Move

It just doesn’t feel permanent.

We wrangled each of the five 50 pound bags onto the baggage scale to be tagged….Check. We hugged goodbye to our parents at the security line….Check. We managed the middle seats, in the middle row of the plane, without much sleep…Check. We looked at each other after we landed in Germany. “It just feels like a little trip”, we said.

Now at a Service Leaders Conference in Germany, it still hasn’t sunk in. I know the mingling with colleagues and engaging in conversations on strategy are keeping us occupied.

At the moment it’s around 3am Germany time. It’s 8pm Texas time…jet lag. I am typing these thoughts from my perch on the closed toilet lid. James is blissfully asleep and I don’t want two Coveys to be dead tired tomorrow, so type in the bathroom it is!I have plenty of time to reflect in this sleepless night, and I wonder when the weight of 250 pounds of luggage will sink in; We moved.

Answering Questions

People ask: “What is it like to be back in the USA?” “How has your time in the States been?” “What do you miss most from US when you are away?”

Often times I resort to a 30 second, surface answer. Although that quick answer is true, I avoid the deep tension I feel. I think either: people don’t want to listen to that story, or friends/family don’t want to take the time to understand the complexities.

My excuses are selling both parties short.

In a conversation with a friend, and in another conversation with my sister, I was reminded that the tension in transition is universal…At the very least, Millennial:)

So here are some wrestlings with transition. In hopes that sharing them will be unifying, and honest, and cathartic:

  1. How do I fully engage in relationships when we both know I’m leaving? Diving deep into relationships is a JOYFUL thing! I thrive where I am, mostly because of the connections I have, or am developing, with people. However, the deeper we get into each other’s lives, the more painful the leaving; the more painful to move on without you.
  2. Being Present. What a double-edged sward! I am habitually engrossed in the place where I am…in this moment. Yes, it can be a gift, wielded to easily establish new roots and norms! It also leaves people and places behind. Those I am not with, can feel forgotten.
  3. Each time I give of myself, to a place/people, there is a cost. When transitions(leaving) occurs, the weight of that cost is grieving. Although I “pay for the cost” in grieving, I ultimately gain a treasure. The treasure is: a new friend, a deeper foundation, a better friend, a million memories. I’ve counted up the cost, and giving myself to relationships, no matter how long or short, is worth it.
  4. I am made of: dozens of countries, a few languages, hundreds of ethnic foods, a global community of friends, at least 3 homes, and other things
  5. I must grieve my losses well. If I do not, how will there be room to receive the next wave of blessings, friendships, experiences?

BEST part of my week


Cinnamon Roll Delivery Day!

I (ellie) have been working at Hurley House since we settled in Fort Worth. The bakery gives me sooooo many good things:

  • Purpose
  • Hilarious coworkers and friends
  • Nurturing work environment
  • New skills

In addition to ^ALL THAT^, I get to make the cinnamon rolls….

Yes, I love the process of making those buns. It feels especially therapeutic. It reminds me of making cinnamon rolls in a Kenyan village over a charcoal fire. It is James’s favorite sweet thing.

After forming and cutting the rolls, there are always little end pieces that don’t fit into the pans to be sold at Hurley House.

I get to shape them.

I get to take them.

AND I get to deliver them to friends and family all over DFW!!


This is the BEST part…cinnamon roll delivery day!



our new house!!

It is hard to believe that February 28 we left our home in Kenya to live a life that feels like ragamuffins. In the last 140 days we have been in 19 different states driven over 9000 miles and easily stayed 50 different places (with many back and forth between some of the same places). The first week of July we moved into a house in Fort Worth and for the first time have a sense of stability to our transitory lives.

I often talk with my clients about transition. It is a guarantee in our line of work that there will be lots of transition and with it comes consequences and challenges. With all transition comes change, all change has loss and with loss comes grief. So our transition has been full of the beautiful grief of saying goodbye to good things and reticent joy as we entered a stage of endless motion and reacquainting with relationships. It was hard to connect with new and old friends when we have felt like unanchored ships floating in the ocean. Still, we have truly loved getting to know the people in each others lives that were mostly unknown to the spouse that hasn’t lived life with them yet. We each have met friends and family for the first time since most of our lives together has occurred in Kenya.

Transition has been challenging for several reasons.

  1. Everything is different (nothing is as it was). We have been transported back into the busy lives of our former communities reconnecting on the points we last experienced. Which would be fine except for 5 years of life has happened in our absence. This is true for our lives as well. Just the other day we was with some of my really dear friends and after they put their kids to bed I realized that since the last time we casually hung out they had added two kids and I added a wife. Even thought they are some of my best friends we have to reacquaint ourselves.
  2. No one knows what we have been through. We are missing out on the shared experiences with friends. SO MUCH has happened to Ellie and I over the last half a decade and no one in our current communities shared it with us. Often people don’t even know how to ask about this fairly significant part of our lives because there isn’t even a frame of reference for connecting to it. I have had a few people ask how my ‘trip’ to Africa was. This seems like a shallow understanding of the last 5 years of my life condensed into a ‘trip’. But also shows the difficulty for others in knowing how to even relate to it. Many times it is left unaddressed and we talk about other things.
  3. Grieving our losses. We had great communities, church, work and so many things that we said goodbye to in Kenya. Also right before leaving Ellie lost a dear friend, mentor and founder of BlueSky, Kim Pace. The week before her tragic death they had an afternoon just the two of them where they talked about life, relationships and transitions. A sweet memory for Ellie but she grieves Kim and all of BlueSky (especially missing out on summer camp right now).
  4. The Roots are deep but not broad. As we rebuild relationships and introduce each other to friendships many of them are very deep to have withstood the test of time and distance. But there is lots of connecting and rebuilding to do, to bring the spouse into the depth of a relationship with someone who is new to them. Where do you start with decade long friendships for one when the other has only met them once.


Ellie, Laura and Luke (connecting/reconnecting)

Transition has been Beautiful too.

  1. We are so loved.  We crave connecting with figuring out where our friends are in their lives. We feel so loved and cared for by many, many people. Trinity Chapel in Fort Worth has made us feel welcomed and accepted in many ways. Ellie and I both have friends and family who leap at opportunities to connect with us. There are so many friends who are bringing us right back into their lives. If you are reading this, feel free to reach out and invite us over – we are extraverts and connecting is relaxing for us. Help us by initiating which is hard when we have to do most of it as people aren’t sure what we need.
  2. We have a house. Finally settling into a constant place has been amazing. Ellie is nesting which is a thing I wasn’t aware was a thing. It involves throw pillows, picture frames and things on the walls. I’m happy that she’s happy.
  3. Our wide net is full. We have covered so much ground and found such a great many people that we are excited about reconnecting with. All across the USA we realize how blessed we are.

We look forward to being reliable and consistent with our communities for the next 6 months. We hope you reach out to us, because its helpful if you do. Ellie has started a very part time job at the Hurley House in Fort Worth. Pay her a visit or treat yourself  to some of the best baked goods and take away meals in Fort Worth. I am doing a counseling course to become a licensed supervisor and working from Trinity Chapel Bible Church if you want to distract me for a lunch or to hang out (PLEASE) get in touch james_covey@wycliffe.org. Next week we will be attending a conference for our new assignment (the conference is in Germany) and can’t wait to meet all of our new co-workers. It feels strange for it to have been a months since I was on a plane so in someways its home to be traveling again.

Thanks for reading- James


working VBS


Putting the miles in (a 60mile ride last Saturday) follow us on Strava


If you follow us on Instagram, @eleanor.rice and @jcovey84, you’ve seen our Epic Road Trip, #thecoveyway, unfold. As part of our new assignment with Wycliffe, we were allowed time to road trip! We connected with people we care about, shared our story, and developed partners for Wycliffe’s ministry. What an incredible journey it was!



The Journey:

4 Weeks on the road*excluding Orlando

7,000 Miles

16 States

20 Locations for Over-Night stays

2 Nights camping




The People We Saw:

22 Family Members

45 Friends

9 Dogs

2 Babies!


The Things We Did, with our people:


10 Walks

8 Bike Rides

5 Work Meetings

2/3 Beach Trips

2 Farm Tours

2 Museums

1 Midnight showing of “Infinity War”

1 Concerts

1 Strawberry Festival

1 Bible Reading Marathon

We would love to connect with you, too:

james_covey@wycliffe.org, ellie_covey@wycliffe.org

 Partner with our work through Wycliffe


Stephen’s Farm Breakfast!


Home is….

From February 28 up to our arrival in Orlando, April 7, we did not spend more than 4 consecutive nights in the same bed. In that time, we actually slept in 12 different locations….not counting repeats! James recognized, ” our car is our home”.

Since arriving at Wycliffe Headquarters in Orlando, we have had the luxury of spending 3 whole weeks in the same apartment, the same BED! We took advantage of the momentary settlement and MOVED IN, found a place for everything, bought groceries.

Now, nearing the end of our stay, I’m reflecting on the little joys that make this apartment home:

Pour over coffee

A windowsill to brew pour-over coffee

A place to pop popcorn!


An address to mail: prescription contacts, the chords we forgot, and surprises

A living room to host movie nights with new friends

bike ride

A starting and ending for a bike ride


A “rack” to air out our sleeping bag


James and I are redefining home.

We are soon to leave Orlando and make home with many dear, generous friends and family as we drive north! We are thrilled to add you into our home and be a part of yours! Road Tripping relaunches April 28…


Partner with our work through Wycliffe!

Follow us!

We are an a road trip across the USA and currently in new member orientation at Wycliffe Bible Translators. Now that both of us are Wycliffe members, Ellie is no longer working for BlueSky, we need new people to partner with us through prayer and finances. Currently, we are living off of the partnership that James had as a single, which has us a bit short. One of our main purposes of being back in the USA is so that we can connect with people who have been caring for each of us as individuals and to invite new people to partner with us as a couple. Before we can return overseas to continue our ministry, we need 100% of the monthly financial budget that Wycliffe has set for us. Please pray for us while on this trip to connect with friends and family. We are excited to meet each others family and friends since all of our dating, engaged and married life has been in Kenya!

April 5; Austin, TX

April 6; Somewhere in east Texas

April 7; Mobile, Alabama

April 7-April 27; Orlando, FL- New Member Orientation as Ellie becomes apart of Wycliffe too!

April 28; Jacksonville; FL

April 29-31; Georgia

May 1; South Carolina

May 2-8; North Carolina and Virginia

May 8-?; Virginia, DC, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee

Mid May back to Texas




We are coming home! We have yet to experience is furlough, intentional time living back at home, which is a normal season for most cross-cultural workers. This allows us to get some time away from the challenges of life overseas and to reconnect with our families, friends and supporters. After 5 years of living in Kenya it will be needed. In our case, we will come back around the beginning of March and stay for the rest of 2018. Through this time Ellie will look at joining Wycliffe and we will be planning for what life serving together will look like. We will continue to depend on financial support and be working from the states in roles yet to be determined by Wycliffe.

We hope to be based around the Fort Worth area and are looking for a place to live for 9 months. If you or anyone in your circle knows of a place we could stay, that would be incredible. We have very little to our name in the USA which is freeing in many ways but will present a challenge when trying to set up a home for a short time. We will need to figure out transportation and hope to purchase one car, however life would be easier if someone had one we could use for a time.

How you can help

We are both living off of a fully supported budget, based on individual need, since we work for two different organizations. Ellie currently is well below her financial need and can be supported with monetary gifts through BlueSky by clicking here. James can be supported through Wycliffe by clicking here. One of the goals of furlough is for both of us to raise support together through Wycliffe, but we need to make it until that happens! We also would greatly appreciate anyone who can help us with our practical furlough needs too. Email james_covey@wycliffe.org or ellie.covey@blueskykenya.org if you have any questions.

Its Happening



She Said YES!

(James’ Story) I was in the USA for a few weeks returning to Kenya on May 16. During my visit to Texas I was able to meet with Ellie’s parents and Skype with her siblings. They were very supportive of us and of me asking Ellie to be my wife! So I planned that on the 19th for her birthday I would gather some of her colleagues in Nairobi and surprise her. I told everyone that we would meet in Karura forrest in town and surprise Ellie for her birthday. I had her convinced that I didn’t have any kind of ring the night before (even though I had my great grandmothers ring in my pocket during the conversation).  They were well hidden when we reached the waterfall. Waterfalls in Kenya have played a fun part of our story together as we have had such great adventures at many of them. I told Ellie that I wanted to take a couple photo and put my camera on the bench. When she turned around I had the ring hidden in a compass, representing our future adventures together, and got down on one knee. She was surprised and after I couldn’t wait any longer for a response after popping the question I suggested she say ‘yes’. Which she quickly did. Then her friends jumped out of the forrest to join in the celebration. We are looking forward to getting married in November in Texas and starting our lives together living in Nairobi and continuing our ministries.