The Giant Leap Has Been Taken

Hi Friends!

Sorry it’s been a bit since I have updated the blog. We have experienced a whirlwind of events over the past couple of weeks and we are, honestly, loving every minute of it! We had some crazy things happen during our trip out here to Bozeman, but if we weren’t having to battle through, I’d wonder if we were following the Lord’s will…

… And one thing we know for certain, we are definitely right in the middle of God’s will. 

First, while packing up our moving truck, we discovered mold on several pieces of furniture, our mattresses, and some clothing due to a leak at our storage unit where we had been keeping everything this summer. This storage unit knew about this leak, but never told its customers. We also found out it wouldn’t be covered by insurance :/ 

… But then, the Lord came through again! My mother-in-law called a company called Bed in a Box and they ended up donating a brand new high quality mattress to us! Something we’ve never been able to sleep on before 🙂 We’re still working to buy some of the furniture needed, but overall, we’ve been well taken care of!

Also, when we arrived, there were a few issues with the water, washer and dryer, etc. at our apartment, but we had some great help and everything was figured out eventually!

But what has been the most amazing thing of all is that everyone here is so accommodating and willing to help. And when I say everyone, I mean the people in this area as a whole will stop and talk to you in the middle of the store, welcome you into their homes, help you find what you need, and just help this new family of ours adjust to Montana life with ease.

Lastly, we’ve really gotten involved with the people here already! So far, we’ve joined an athletic center with a fabulous children’s play place that the boys love, I’ve been asked to join a moms club, we’ve been on play dates, we’ve been to an open gym and the library’s story time, and the children’s museum, among other events. 

We’ve also had people over for dinner and have been involved in a home group at the church we are attending who are supporting us on this journey towards reaching the people of Bozeman and eventually developing a church.

We’re also preparing for this newest little man to join our family in about 8 weeks and have begun sorting and putting away newborn clothes in the boys’ room.

Also, one funny side note is that this is the fittest city I have ever lived in. I mean, even the older people, are so in shape and can do the Cardio party class I’ve been going to even better than me! It’s pretty unbelievable. 

Here’s some pics to give you an idea of our past few weeks in the beautiful Gallatin Valley! Please come visit!

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Being pulled in the wagon by the boys’ new friend Park!

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The boys’ new bedding and their soon to be finished bunks!

 

 

 

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Just 5 minutes into our first real snow here!

 

 

 

 

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Cale asked Gabe to sit on his lap so he could read to him.

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Getting itty bitty newborn clothes into the boys’ closet.

 

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Family date night at a restaurant here.

 

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The boys were amazed at the hibachi chef!

 

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Early morning story time with daddy and our makeshift fireplace/kerosene heater.

 

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Playing outside while mommy works.

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Our first week in Montana, playing on mommy and daddy’s bed

 

 

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Gorgeous views most every day

 

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My two little firemen when we went downtown for Halloween.

 

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Oh yeah, getting ready for snowboarding season 😉

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Taken right beside our apartment

 

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Our family room with our borrowed couch while we search for one of our own.

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Our new donated king size bed and quilt!

 

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Our kitchen

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First Sunday at church

 

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With my little man at church

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Working hard while Cale is still napping

 

 

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Working hard while Gabe is napping

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A morning at the park with new friends!

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With our sweet new friend Korbin

 

Hope you enjoyed it and have a great weekend!

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Homesick for Heaven Yet Loving Where We’re Going

The array of emotions I have felt lately have been overwhelming for this already burdened heart…

… The questions I’ve asked God, the questions I’ve asked myself, the questions I’ve asked Michael…

For a couple that is very family oriented, this is hard.

I very distinctly remember sitting in a communications class in college and, for the first time, truly realizing what cognitive dissonance is and how it relates to my life, but really, this still couldn’t have prepared me for the immense amount of cognitive dissonance I’ve experienced in the past few months and, even more so, in the past few days.

As I was driving down the road today as my two sick and very tired boys fell asleep, I let my mind go there.

Honestly, I’ve been holding it back for quite some time.

I let my mind go to the fact that we have permanently given our lives to the cause of Christ. This means so many things for so many people. I’ve questioned why, for us, that means going over 2,000 miles away from our closest family and very much loved friends. Why this means that we’re called to Bozeman, Montana permanently, unless God calls us elsewhere. We’re not committing for 2 years or 5, but for life, unless God has other plans. Wrapping my mind around the thought that my sweet babies won’t grow up with grandparents close by has been a hard one, but then the cognitive dissonance sets in…

… And God ever so gently reminds me that He hasn’t even called us to the ends of the earth or to sacrifice our very breath for Him at this time. We even get to stay in America and still have access to family via airplane, internet, Skype, and even simple phone calls.

So yes, while our children may miss the opportunity to go on extended family vacations, go camping with grandparents, spend time with cousins on a regular basis, or grow up in the South 😉

… In the grand scheme of things, our sacrifice is incredibly small compared to the martyrs who have given up their very lives as well as the missionaries who have committed their lives to some very difficult people groups in nations where they are very much hated.

The Lord has even blessed Michael and I so much with some very special little people that we get to take on this new adventure with us. How lonely it would be to be alone on this journey for the Lord.

But through all of this, the cognitive dissonance rings out even more..

I’m excited, we’re excited, we can’t wait! We have so many hopes and dreams for our ministry in Montana, for the people there, and we already love the place, and more importantly, the people the Lord has for us to serve there.

Please be praying with us…

… For our emotions..

… For my worries (Admittedly, I am a struggling worry wart in the area of finances and the Lord has convicted me on this many times)…

And most importantly… For our ministry.

And I pray that I can encourage you in some way to follow the Lord in what He wants for your life whatever that may be…

The sacrifice, however big or small, is so worth it!

This life is not about us and how we can be served and how we want to live…

It is about winning people to the Lord…

So that, even though I may leave some of what society tells me should be a good life behind and my babies may not have the extended family around I wish they could, it’s not about me, and heaven will be so much sweeter because the Lord has chosen this insignificant family to sacrifice very little for the cause of Christ. Oh heaven will be a beautiful place where we can rest and love on all who love Him.

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Why Bozeman, Montana?

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:

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