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North to Alaska!

Three weeks into our invitation to candidacy with MARC as I carefully watched airline tickets and worked closely on budgeting every penny coming in via paychecks I texted my dear friend and our pastor’s wife… “Pray for me please, for trust! I know God’s timing is perfect but the price on tickets went up $40 per person today and it will continue to climb… Haven’t heard feedback on any money coming in yet…” She encouraged me to remember what amazing things have been accomplished in our lives when we invested our part and waited for God to move on our behalf. To hang on to His promises.

The following day, after Sunday service brought our immediate church family surrounding us in prayer and a check from near and far contributions that brought us to well over half of our need for this trip. Just enough. Just in time; our Father is always on time.

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So here we are…

We arrived in Soldotna on Monday afternoon after a series of near misses and what we like to call “God hugs.” (Chat with us soon because we’d love to share our humorous stories with you!) And our days have been packed full of incredible, intentional moments. Much of the time that hasn’t been spent directly connecting with the wonderful staff and committee members here has been spent in prayer and reflection and earnestly searching out the heart of God. Can I tell you how funny it feels to experience joy knowing that there is just as great of a ‘chance’ that we would be moved on from here as there is that we would be accepted? Because it means that decisions won’t be made out of earthly need, but out of godly wisdom that doesn’t always look how we think.

It makes me think of Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” And we are grateful to be seeking God’s will alongside these incredibly authentic people we have the privilege of building relationship with during our time here this April.

We know God has moved our mountains to put us here for these three weeks. And for now what we have the opportunity to do is to shout from the rooftops how incredibly blessed we’ve been to see what an organization looks like when it stewards well the gifts and resources the Lord has granted it! What a powerful tool Missionary Aviation Repair Center is in the hand of a magnificent Father!

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So what now?

Nathan and I were talking about a portion of scripture in Esther recently…

 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”                                                                                                                             Esther 4:14

Relief and deliverance from somewhere else. It sure puts what we have to offer in perspective. The story of Esther is powerful, riveting, inspiring. But it would have been written without her had she chosen fear and disobedience instead. What marked her was her willingness to obedience, despite her fears and lack of confidence.

When we look at where we can serve and what we have to offer, yes, our giftings matter (1 Corinthians 12) but how often do we forget that our service is not based only on our strengths, but also our weaknesses and what the power of Christ can do through and in spite of them?

This is true even in our homes, friend!

This is God’s beautiful love story with His creation, and we are each offered the opportunity to be part of His movement in the world until eternity. Don’t miss out. Take part in what He’s doing. You will never regret it!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
                                                                                                       2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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As we explore the exciting possibility of being part of what God is doing through MARC for Alaska and for His glory. We pray for the humility to ask the Lord to use our strengths and our weaknesses to His glory, wherever and however He decides that should look!

Please continue to pray for our ears and hearts to be open to the leading of the Lord, and pray this for the staff and committee at MARC as well. We could offer ourselves in many places and ways to be used to spread the gospel, but we want to give our most. We desire His best for MARC and their incredible ministry here and of course His best for our family too!

If you ask us if we’re having fun my kids will yell “YES!” but you’ll probably get a slow and deliberate answer from Nathan and I… because yes, any new adventure contains elements of fun for our family, but for us and this moment in time, we aren’t looking for an experience, we’re looking for where we can serve. For a long time. And that is so much more than fun.

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We cannot express how grateful we are for the interest you take in the writing of our story, and for the way you partner with us in prayer and in action. We can’t do what we do without the body of Christ in our corner, and we don’t take what you offer of yourselves lightly.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the very bottom of our hearts. Know that we pray so frequently for those of you who are supporting us in so many ways, and we thank Him for His faithfulness to His promises for you as you obey Him!

In His time and grace…

Nathan, Kellyn, Elisha, Zechariah, Eden & Avram

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Living in Between

The apartment sat empty for the first time in months. A little pause between the yesterdays and the tomorrows. Between the I needs and I haves.

Our dear housemate packed boxes and bags full of memories, of life, in preparation for her new journey, the mysterious every day exhilarating unknowns of marriage.

And then empty.

Our little family.

This big house.

In the middle of a deep breath. A question. What now?

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We’ve always known that God would call us on. Spokane has come to feel like home because our love was built here. Our home. Our family. Our education. Our growing up into our immediate church family. All the preparation.

Fertile ground.

Rocky paths.

Cultivating.

Growing.

And then about six months ago we began to feel a strong direction, one that surprised us both, despite its obvious connections. I can’t stand being cold, and Nathan always pictured his future flight in the scorching heat of a jungle somewhere.

But, Alaska.

Beautiful, strong, broken, wild, isolated, resilient Alaska. Many roadless spaces where North Americans live in third-world conditions and the rich native culture is all too often shadowed by alcoholism, teen suicide, joblessness, and spiritual darkness.

Ever since our internship there ended I’d known that I’d left a piece of my heart behind. But that’s normal, right? You always leave love where you serve, where you give, and where you grow into the lives of people. It didn’t really mean anything, necessarily. But here God pursued our hearts. And as we gave ourselves time to heal from the demands and strains of blending college life with family life for so long, and continued to prepare for the future, this grew quietly in us. We read and researched and considered… separately.

And then it was time.

In the fall we dropped off our application with the director of MARC: Missionary Aviation Repair Center in Alaska, whose mission is to expand the reach of the Gospel in Alaska by flying people and supplies where there are no roads, supporting other missionaries & their aircraft, and training missionary-minded pilots & mechanics.

And we waited.

And in the waiting God worked.

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As our peaceful contentment grew, so did our resolve. Alaska it was. No doubts now.

As the craze of the holiday season came to a close, our application was processed and we heard news two weeks ago that our background checks and references had cleared us to move on to phase two. A candidacy evaluation to determine if us in this organization is a God-fit. We assumed the process of finding a mutually suitable date for our candidacy eval between the military’s schedule and MARC’s schedule would be long and involved; instead it was resolved in the course of about an hour once we made the calls early this week. Talk about miraculous intervention! April 4th-22nd. Another reminder that the Lord’s timeline is rarely our own! It wasn’t until afterward that it hit me that these dates were a mere 7 weeks away! Whenever my confidence starts to waiver, this one photo seems to surface again and again…

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Ran across this little encouraging note from the very beginning of flight training… I’d written it to my husband across the top of a very intimidating list of tuition and expenses for the years ahead. Beautiful to see how far we’ve come, and exciting to think about where we’ve yet to go! So grateful for God’s grace and favor and so proud of my man!!!

We are so incredibly excited about what God is doing through MARC in Alaska, and we look forward to this time of working alongside them and determining for certain if this is the niche the Lord has carved out for us in Alaska.

Our hopes for York house will still be very much the same. We already see the hand of God at work preparing hearts and minds for this transition in the future, that this home may remain a source of comfort and refuge for many! It is important to us that His fingerprints be seen throughout each of these aspects of the coming year!

While we are in Alaska this April, the kids and I will spend time checking out the area and getting acquainted with the rental market to be as prepared as possible. Our calling as a family to minister through hospitality, the “knock & walk” lifestyle, remains the same, and we envision being available to continue in this gifting as we have opportunity once we are truly settled in the next space God has for us.

We have been gifted with our doTERRA business in so many ways, chiefly that we can work from wherever we go. This continues to grow steadily toward being a substantial source of income for us as we gain more and more opportunities to help other families create a holistic freedom to whatever it is that God has called them to with their lives! With healthy hearts, souls, minds, bodies and finances! We are humbled by the avenue which God has given us to bless much and to in turn be so blessed! Thank YOU to the many of you who continue to take the time investment to learn about and use the natural wellness alternatives we offer for the incredible benefit of yourself and your families, and in so doing support our ministries and family as well! God gave us a heart for seeing people restored, first to Him for eternity, and second to the abundant life He designed us for of spreading the Gospel. When we are walking this road, the holistic details of our lives matter. We are so grateful to be part of your journey and to hear the stories of how God has used this to impact you!

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For this short trip in April we’ve estimated costs of travel, rent, food, and flight evaluation to come to a total of $4,300, possibly more if we don’t have the money up front to purchase airline tickets within the next week or two. That’s a big goal for a 7-week timeline, but He has done bigger things in our history, and I’m certain this won’t be His last! We do strongly covet your prayers in this area!

All these details have come about in the past several days only, and I got a message on my phone this morning, detailing a $200 commitment to our monthly support as well as coverage of the cost of our cell phones. All before word has really broken out to very many people! God is so able!

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Sign as we left the church building…

Let me leave you with this last thought… your calling to the “mission field” doesn’t begin elsewhere. It starts here. It starts now. Don’t squander the days you’ve been given, steward them well! Time is a commodity that doesn’t ever return to us.

Our ministry doesn’t end here in Spokane. Nor does it wait to start until we arrive in Alaska permanently. But as we go.

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…” Colossians 4:3

With Love~ Nathan, Kellyn, Elisha, Zechariah, Eden & Avram

You can reach us at: thislivingministry@gmail.com
Or
Nathan Cell: 509-850-2744
Kellyn Cell: 509-389-5449

 

Upon request, our immediate church family in Spokane has made a tax-deductible donation option available for those who are excited to partner with us financially in this way. 
You can give online here! (Note Missions Fund/Swifts in the “comment/memo” section)
Or checks can be made out to House Church Ministries (Missions Fund/Swifts in the “For/Memo” section)
And mailed to:
House Church Ministries
P.O. Box 48242
Spokane, WA 99228
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When My Spirit Grumbles…

fireI knew the end of August and beginning of September would be filled with lovely chaos. Sometimes in the middle of our important life, it seems like everything gets turned upside down.

God interrupts us. 

The fires in Washington have spiraled out of control this week; as men and women fight tirelessly and provide support around the clock to protect our homes, our livelihoods and most importantly our people. Nate works with communications equipment and has been called out, near daily this week in support. Right in the middle of my need, in the middle of my living, something more important came up. How inconvenient. How inconsiderate.  Here I was waking up six steps behind every morning, effectively learning how to waste my motherhood, holding my loosely and inefficiently made plans so tightly; and life had the audacity to throw me a curve ball.

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Pretty clear, eh? Now this isn’t to say that the Creator who saw fit to mold us in His image desires us to never dream or hope or plan. Contrary- His word has plenty to say about His expectations of planning, wisdom and stewardship. He created that piece of us, just as He created every other intricate thread of our existence. With purpose and precision.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Prov 21:5

Believe me when I say, as a recovered obsessive, complusive, organizing list maker turned flexible, unstructured, unschooling, overrun chaos sort of Mom, Jesus has been drawing me back (I’ll tell you about my Jonah year some other day) ever so gently to a balance; teaching me the value of His order in the fullness of every day, while I commit my way to Him.

“But all things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40IMG_1956

But this always must be won through the lens, the filter of the Holy Spirit.

I wish to say that with the swirling uncertainty of this week, heck, the uncertainty of the month to come, that the grace flowed instantly from a compassionate soul, but it didn’t. I’d love to tell you that it took a few hours or even a day to adjust my heart attitude. Yet no. Ugly frustration simmered for several days, and had I been paying attention I’d have noticed time slipping silently like sand through my tightly gripped fists. Laid to waste. There I was, but I wasn’t present. There I was, but I wasn’t grateful or graceful or joy-filled.

For a detail and goal oriented, type A personality, the reality of being out of control is unreasonable. I want answers. I want dates and times and promises and reassurance. But sometimes those things don’t come. And its usually then, in my raging tantrum that His quiet calm speaks loudest to me. Gently. Sweetly. Never condemning, but persistently convicting. 

I was reminded of this song by Lauren Daigle. The lyrics chilled me. Please. Pause right now and go listen to it. Trust me.

“Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see

……………………………………
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust… in you.”

See?

This morning as I rushed around picking up toys, washing down tables and picking up carrot nubs from on the stairs, under chairs and behind the sofa, I listened to a group mentoring call by two people who are incredibly dear to our family. More conviction (Man I detest that word!). I glaringly see myself not taking responsibility of the things I can control, but willingly excusing my thoughts, behaviors, actions and attitude based on the things I cannot.  Tears. Tears from a self-stained heart.

Jesus make me gentle. My humbled heart speaks.

matthew25This plaque hung on our wall for two years. Apparently not long enough to remember. But in my broken imperfection He loved me first, and He promises He always will.

Selfless is hard. Its difficult for a culture, a time, a movement that prides itself on independent arrogance with the end goal of whatever makes me happy.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Only this year has this passage from John 15 struck me in this powerful way; I’ve realized that the laying down of a life doesn’t happen nearly so often in the literal sense as it does in the sacrifice of entitlements, of rights, of gifts, of the life we believe we were created for.   

Let me leave you with this from  Phillipians 2:1-18 (emphasis mine)

“Unity Through Humility
2 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

The Humbled and Exalted Christ
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Light Bearers
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 91618 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. “

So as I continue striving for presence, I crave and pray for a gentle, disciplined, trusting, grateful, giving soul. One that I’ve known only to pour out of me when I’m immersed in the Word. The written, the conversed, and the living and active, Word. I can only get there by taking responsibility of what I can control, my choice to let Him work in me, and to put my action where I say my heart is.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

By nature of this world I am selfish, but thank God, He has overcome the world. 

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Getting To Know Their Hearts, In This Together, Loving Jesus, Mama, Wife

My Soul Speaks At Midnight.

Well, really its nearly 3am. But who’s counting.

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At Grandma’s On The Washington Coast. Our First Truly Present Vacation.

Nearly every moonlit night as I sneak my way around the squeaky floorboards toward my bedroom, I glance at the computer. Its always in the quiets of my mind, the stillness that comes when the Fantastic Four are tucked in bed and my hard-working, battle-weary husband is taking a nap somewhere between the couch and the floor in their room, there as my eyes slip heavily and my garage-saled down blanket calls sweetly, my thoughts begin to pour.

Here my plans, dreams, to-do lists and whatever emotions my minimalist, type A personality can conjure, collide. My heart feels weighted with words; I feel the stirring. The draw to pour my heart out onto an empty page pulls nearly as great as my soft bed and the nearby sounds of my precious, peaceful sleepers.

Usually my logic wins as I tell myself I have to be up in six hours and my children, as well as myself, and my to-do list, will appreciate me having had that full six hours; so I fumble for a piece of paper to scribble out my thoughts on tomorrows “to accomplish”. If I’m feeling particularly writey, I’ll start a few sentences in hopes that they will carry me through a full blog post or journal entry the next day. Alas. Not once yet has that happened. Experience-driven motivation is a fickle thing, and I’m being reminded every day with a sense of urgency that faithfulness and dedication are the true fine line, the marathon determining factor.

So tonight I write.

Its impossible to sum up all the things I haven’t written these past months; perhaps just take my word for it that they have been an incredible adventure thus far.

This past week marked Nathan’s return from a twenty-one day work trip to Michigan, and the moving out of our Congolese family of 9 whose presence graced our apartment the past three and a half weeks. Somewhere in there I drove with my sweet Mother-In-Law and four kiddos to Salt Lake City for a doTERRA summit (a 14-hour drive from home, which we all know means around 18-20 with children), back to our growing-up hometown for rodeo and lake time, attended a 3-day workshop on tutoring for our home education community this fall, and struggled often to keep up with all that is important. Plainly, life refuses to stand still; requiring a very active participation.

So much being present. My big re-learning curve this month.

Oh I know. I know you know it. I know I do too. But how much more challenging to live it than simply to know it?

Its funny because as this underlining of fully present has been settling in my heart over the past month I took it to the Bible… while I didn’t yet find much help in direct passage, no instructions to ‘be present’ or such; I see it so carefully woven into the life of Jesus. He was focused, efficient, effective and present with the time he was given on this earth.

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Our Delight. Soaking In The Moment.

Being present grows gratefulness. Encourages contentment. Breathes worship. Intensifies our witness. And gives birth to more love.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

How can I give thanks in all, if I don’t take time to really see my all?

  • Philippians 4:11-12 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

My contentment comes from learning to thrive where I am planted.

  • Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

My sacrifice, my worship, happens in the living of my day. How can I live my best life today?

  • Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

How will I know what to say if I don’t learn to truly hear?

  • John 15:13 “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Daily, in the less literal sense, the act of laying down my life requires me to hold my plans, my life, with open hands. To be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and present for the needs at hand, with lesser regard for the things I had planned to accomplish.

I find that most of my struggle currently lies in the puzzle pieces of a full and vibrant life aka busy. It’s only as we learn to fit those pieces together that we begin to see the bigger picture, the incredible artistic masterpiece, take shape. I also find that I struggle with feeling like I wake up a half dozen steps behind. I dream of pressing pause on life to get caught up on wishful lists of projects, both necessary and simply desired. But we all know this isn’t reality.

And so I pray grace. 

And just enough wisdom to use the time and talents I’ve been given- wildly, passionately, and with respectful conservation.

And as my sleeping eyes turn to bed, for the hour or two I have left, I pray the same for you. For your tomorrow. Your today.

Stay tuned as I put those puzzle pieces together… And I’d love to hear how as husbands, wives, moms, dads, friends, daughters, sons, students, workers, and, you get the picture, you find grace and peace in being present and crafting your unique puzzle.

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Long Overdue…

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The beginnings of spring makeover…

A still house again as I write tonight. I enjoy these quiet, drinkable moments. The warm silence is much like a blanket to my soul as I reflect. I think I write as much for myself as for anyone else. I write because words communicate value. And we have so much to value here.

Its already been three months since we moved into this house; and yet only three months. I intended to write much more often, and I still do, but parenting, homeschooling, friendship-building, house-keeping, business running, husband-loving beauty has kept my heart and hands busy.

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E-man helping our home owner and friend put the floor in baby G’s room!

You likely won’t be surprised to hear that God indeed showed up in January, and again in February and March. Many of you won’t be surprised because you were His hands and feet. From toilet paper delivery, to tearing out walls, to a new printer, washer & dryer and most importantly loving on our refugee neighbors- we, and this ministry, have been blessed by you.

We have a full house at the moment, besides always having room for visitors! Some dear friends from our time at Moody moved in with their sweet eight-month-old two weeks ago! They will be heading to Bolivia in June for an internship to explore the possibilities of using their hard won skill sets in overseas missions! We also gained a new friend, Kelly, back in February! She recently returned from a two-year commitment with World Concern in Africa and will be gone for a month on another short term missions trip to use her skills of photography and words to spread awareness and touch lives. God connections everywhere. We’ve been so incredibly blessed by the people that God has chosen for this house, time and again. I know without a doubt looking back these will be some of the sweetest memories we have made to date!

The apartment is being put to very good use by a beautiful little family who joined us last week! The language barrier exists, but laughter together eases that pain and breaks the silence. We were able to have a house-wide shared dinner last week which was a rich experience- especially in learning what not to cook! I adore pictures because they speak even when words cannot- therefore many pictures were shared in the after dinner quiet until the little man of two-years couldn’t keep his eyes open a moment longer!

We are really looking forward to the joys of spring that push into summer… Our yard will really need some work to become the refuge that we would love for it to be to our visitors, but we definitely have high hopes and the willingness to work on it! We are also excited about the opportunity to sow into the large garden out back. Kelly is our lead researcher for this project!

We’ve had victories and challenges a plenty these past weeks. Real life is beautiful, messy and sometimes rough. The enemy seems to know right where to hit us when we least expect it, which evidences why we should always expect it. But real life, Jesus-given, soul-growing life, is worth it. 

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Our friend Kelly’s massive amount of Thank You’s from her time in Africa. Because she’s awesome like that.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” Psalm 91:14

With all our love!

As per continued request, here is our current house needs list:

  • Funds for remodeling the basement bathroom and bedrooms to meet safety standards. Our goal is to provide two bedrooms that will be available longer-term for single refugee mothers! We are $1000 dollars toward our first goal of $3500! Our official fundraiser will be announced next week after a bit more planning!

Material needs:

  • 2 pack & play Cribs
  • Decorations for the apartment- global theme
  • Cozy rugs and bean bag chairs for the shared attic playspace
  • A comfortable sofabed or futon for the apartment
  • Bowls for the apartment kitchen
  • Knives for the apartment kitchen

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    I love when the sun shines in the kitchen.

  • 2 good condition carseats with a decent height/weight range (we have been loaning our personal carseats to refugees when necessary which isn’t always available.)
  • 9 Volt Batteries for smoke alarms which seem to keep going out
  • Light bulbs
  • Hand soap, shampoo and conditioner for the apartment
  • 2 or three good condition dressers (for apartment and then downstairs rooms)
  • As we move into summer we will also be looking for heavy duty fans and one or two more window air conditioners!

 

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In This Together

Don’t Hold So Tightly…

A Christmas letter from a friend. The reminder to release control, or the illusion of it. Impeccable timing, but then His timing always is. It’s funny how our little world gets so cozy sometimes. How we have enough and more than enough and then maybe we don’t really need our savior quite as much; so it seems. Sometimes those most carefully laid plans don’t make the cut. Sometimes obedience looks… frightening. Today anxious things creep in. We were supposed to have two IMG_2457exchange students, but they changed their dates. Now there are none. This was our fall back plan while we sorted out what it would take to make this ministry self-sustaining.

9 days. At the outset. That’s how many days God has to show up. I say that with a smirk, because obviously His timeline is not ours. But from where I stand, that’s when our rent is due; that’s what keeps this ministry running and ready to reach more desperately needing people.

This isn’t new territory for us. Feels like we’re just getting our toes wet. Here we stand yet again, choosing to dive into something that may not look wise by the world’s standards…

1 Corinthians 3:18-20 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”a; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”b

As I was reading this in context earlier after searching out the reference from the faint whispers of our years of learning flexibility and trust, I was reminded of yet another aspect… I spoke before about this being our torch to carry forward. We didn’t begin this and we have no glory in it, this has since the beginning been a story of God’s calling for this home and this ministry and we’re the second in an anticipated longer line of builders privileged with this task.

10-15 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”

IMG_2459So what are we building with? That’s our reflective questioning tonight. It’s freeing to know that our responsibility is what we do with what we are given. May our work be shown to be of value, not through our own strength, but His as we relinquish control.

If you pray, please pray with us as we nightly walk this home, covering its purpose and protection in Jesus’ name. Pray for the right renters to find us, and be hungry to be here with us(we are hoping for perhaps a married student couple or two single students interested in room sharing). Pray for financial covering as the first house payment and utilities become due the 1st of this year. And pray for our family, that we would be aware and ready, that we would be equipped with what we need to run this ministry, while providing for and discipling our beautiful little family who remain always our first calling.

And of course, share this, because you never know what will be accomplished through whom!

In closing we would love the opportunity to pray for you and yours. Send us questions and prayer requests @ buildingstrongbeginnings@gmail.com

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In This Together

Filling A Need…

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Legos In Their Bedroom

(Update: Notice a few of our previously listed one-time items are off the list! A printer was donated, along with a broom and dustpan, some other consumables and some well-timed financial gifts that enabled us to get a new modem when the one that was here crashed, among other things! We’ve also added a few things we are finding necessary! Thank you for journeying with us!)

We’ve been in this house 10 short days and I find myself both surprised, and reveling in, just how comfortable this transition has been. It just fits. As of this past Friday this large space has seen each of the people that were gracing these rooms move forward to their next steps. We don’t know how long we have until we’re gifted more beautiful people to love on, so these days are a flurry of activity as we rush around making assessments and inventories, noting necessary repairs, and generally figuring out the flow of living this way.

How grateful I am for our community here in Spokane; I have not been lacking hands nor hearts as we try to move a house, plan a ministry, savor advent & somehow still just live. In this week we’ve been loaned a vacuum and a crockpot, had several sets of helping hands for cleaning, sorting, organizing, enjoyed a wonderful Christmas celebration mixing a few new neighbors, and our friends and family, all of whom made our special visitor from the East feel right at home at our “American Party.” We were also given a Costco size bag of coffee, which we are finding is much expected and essential in this home, as well as a few other incredible gifts.

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Bedroom 1- Main House

We’ve had several people ask what we need here as we launch into this new adventure so we’ve been putting together a little list as we go… this will absolutely shift and change in the coming days and I will keep this list updated as we gather items and gain further support; to become a living, breathing list of sorts!

There are many, many ways you can partner with us!

Time:

  • Once a month Deep Clean of “The Mansion” including the apartment. This house is incredibly huge which is perfect for this ministry, but a lot of upkeep for a Mommy-of-four who is homeschooling, running a business AND running a ministry. I foresee needing this monthly focused cleaning time to get past the daily quick cleans!
  • Painting! We have two small rooms that already need to be painted, and probably will have more to do in the summer.
  • Work Day Hands- As our fundraising becomes successful there will be workdays planned for some repairs to the basement & kitchen counters. (Update: We were SO grateful for a very successful first work day this past weekend!)
  • Visiting our refugee families when they come to stay, perhaps bringing small gifts or a baked good to share and just taking a little time to listen to their stories. Contact me for more info.
  • Prayer- this is VITAL to this home!

One Time Items:

  • 2 Large Slow Cookers
  • 1 Vacuum
  • Baby Monitor (Would be ideal if it were 2-way communication)
  • Good condition Queen & Twin sheet & Comforter sets
  • Decorative Items in the “Global” Theme (Maps, Globes, Cultural Paintings, Etc.)
  • A Futon that would be comfortable for a couch as well as to sleep on
  • Large Floor Pillows- for the community play room

Recurring Needs:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Printer Ink & Paper
  • Gift Cards for Costco, Winco, Etc. (For things such as food for the “Welcome” meals, ingredients to make laundry & hand soap ~I typically make these things instead of purchasing it outright because it is more cost effective and less chemicals)
  • Good Condition Toys & Art Supplies- Especially baby dolls, legos, cars, stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, paper, etc. So many children come to this country with nothing and we’d love to send them on from here to their new homes with some toys when they leave our transitional space! (We’ve already seen quite a few of our toys leave for good, and while we don’t mind sharing our personal things, soon we would run out of toys for our visitors as well as our children! To protect that all around I hope to start a collection to have on hand)

Financial (All monetary donations can be made tax deductible if check is written to House Church Ministries! Please note “Refugee Ministry” in the memo! Mailing address is 733 W York Spokane, WA 99205)

  • $500/mo. for all utilities. We are paying rent personally here, as well as supplementing some extra from our steadily growing doTERRA business, but the cost of renting and running a home this size is a little bigger than we are at this point! We are still just new graduates working to pay back loans and feed our family! We are confident that our Father who has proven Himself faithful over and over again in our lives has directed us here and has a plan to facilitate and sustain what He’s asking us to do! We are looking and praying to find several people who want to join us in keeping this house going year-round!

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    Cabinet Room- #2 Main House

  • Finally, we are currently brainstorming fundraisers to help with some necessary fixes to the basement in order to make the rooms usable for this ministry! We will also be looking for quality tile to replace kitchen counter tops (some refugees don’t understand the reason we can’t place a hot pan on a plastic counter!) The incredible owners of this home are only charging rent that covers their mortgage because their heart is to help this house reach its full potential in ministering to local & global needs. However, this means there is no “extra” to put in to making these repairs. We’d love to be part of making that possible! Please don’t hesitate to offer ideas!

Thank you so much for taking an interest in our life and what God is doing through this home. In your prayer time please ask what piece you can contribute to. Grateful for you!

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of
your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.” Phillipians 1:3-11

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