To my readers,
I’m very sorry for my lack of writing lately… It has been a crazy, wild ride that we’ve begun and I’m finally settled enough to share it with all of you. For those of you who are not on Facebook and didn’t hear the news, here’s what’s up with our family:
We are taking a huge step of faith that has been many, many years coming. On June 25th, after 4 days of sweet goodbyes, we moved away from Raleigh, NC. I knew it would be hard, but never could I have imagined how hard it would be. The Lord has called us to start a church in Bozeman, Montana. While it is heartbreaking to leave somewhere you have invested your life so much, we know that The Lord will do great things if we follow Him! On June 25th, we moved to Tennessee where we will live in missionary housing while we raise support before heading to Montana. Please pray for this as we are definitely stepping out on faith!
So why Bozeman, Montana?
To answer this question, I think we need to start at the very beginning of our married life and detail some of the major events that led us to this place (a place that is more than a 30 hour drive away from family and close friends and is cold- In case you didn’t know, I am a native Floridian 😉
Before Michael and I got married, the Lord began stirring in our hearts a love for church planting through several classes we were taking at Liberty University. We never said to each other “Hey, let’s plant a church”, but we were both beginning to think about it. Michael grew up with his dad as a pastor and some of that experience led him to believe in the importance of church planting.
After we were married, we got involved at Bedrock Community Church in Bedford, VA. Our first Sunday was their 8th week of existence so we saw a church plant in its early days (though we now know there are much, much earlier days then this).
In 2010, through the Lord’s major blessing, Michael began the mentorship program under Johnny Hunt at First Baptist Woodstock in Georgia. It was a wonderful experience in which we both learned so much and developed friendships that will last a lifetime.
During the summer of that year (he was mentored from January-December), Michael began to look for a church that was needing a pastor and preferably one close to Raleigh, NC as he was planning on attending Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to finish his seminary degree. In the fall, he spoke with one of his mentors (a pastor from Bedrock Community Church) about his search to find a church and this mentor told him: if you want to plant a church one day, why not work with one now to get more experience?
Michael came up with many excuses, but in the end, it was because we wanted him to have a salary where he could take care of his family and we wanted him to have an “easier” ministry job where he could more easily finish school without having another job on top of it.
After this conversation, Nathan Miller came to his mind. Nathan and his wife Jenny were planning to start a church in Raleigh, NC (the exact area we wanted to move to for Michael to finish seminary). He had a few conversations with Nathan about it, we all prayed about it, and we decided this is where the Lord would have us to go. It was a whirlwind journey as we made that decision in October and moved to Raleigh in December.
During the year we were in Woodstock, before moving to Raleigh, Michael had heard of the need for a church in Bozeman, Montana. The church planting pastor at the church in Woodstock had been contacted about the need for a pastor to go to Bozeman and start a church. At that point, we were both not ready to start a church with Michael as the lead pastor, but we have not been able to get it out of our minds since…
…. it’s been 3 years.
We have been blessed with the amazing people we have seen come to know the Lord and/or grow drastically in their faith in the Lord while in Raleigh. However, last July, God began stirring in our hearts again a need to go elsewhere to serve Him. At the time, we did not know where (although, I admit, Bozeman had come to our minds more than a few times over the past 3 years).
In the spring, Michael again spoke with that church planting pastor at First Baptist Woodstock about our thoughts. After many conversations and prayers, that church decided to help us get out to Bozeman for a visit to see if we received confirmation one way or the other. Within the first 2 days of being there, I cried…..
…. we both knew, with such certainty, that this was where God had called us… but it was so so far from everything we’ve ever known.
I am so deeply grateful for the 100% certainty we received from the Lord because it makes this difficult journey so much sweeter.
We are now here in Tennessee and will begin fundraising this coming week. Please pray for this and that the Lord would bless us in this area as we are ready to jump in with ministry again!
I will keep you updated on this journey and the rest of our lives as we take this leap of faith…
… into the UNKNOWN.
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We welcome the ends of the earth.
Some pics from our sweet time in Raleigh: