If I could use one word to define 2016 it would be EXTRAORDINARY!
July of 2015, Amie and I took an online course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. The 13 week course created a spark which rocked our worldview and ruined us for the ordinary. By January of 2016, it became apparent that God was getting us ready for something BIG! As we followed the proverbial “bread crumb trail”, Amie and I sold everything we own to finance training for a career of service in the mission field. For those who have been following our journey so far knows the rest is history.
As I look back through 2016, I am reminded that 100% of our experiences (good & bad) are all directly related to discipleship and missionary training of one form or another. From the challenges at Boot Camp in July and August to paying $5.18 for a gallon of milk here in Hawaii; it’s ALL a part of the cultivation process. We have learned so much in 2016 and it all began when God changed the way we view and perceive His heart for all nations as the Apostles did in the 1st century.
2016 has been a wild ride, especially the last 6 months! We have partnered with some truly amazing people who have shown love and support for our vision to reach the unreached. As we take another trip around the sun at over 66,000 mph, it is our prayer that we continue to build loving relationships and grow new ones to further God’s kingdom on Earth.
If I can choose one thing that I have learned during 2016 that stands out above the rest then that is simply how to define the word “disciple”. According to Oxford Dictionaries, a “disciple” is a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher. Oxford’s definition is very accurate but a more personable definition of the word “disciple” for me is a Life Long Learner of Jesus. This means that I will never truly arrive at a place where I stop learning about God’s kingdom on Earth. Paul addresses how to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” in his letter to the Roman Church by simply explaining transformation will happen “by the renewal of your mind“. The developmental process of discipleship will never cease because transformation is always continuous. The byproduct of discipleship is it’s natural ability to reproduce itself through community. It’s not a performance based zeal, it’s more like learning to become comfortable with being uncomfortable through submission.
The second most important thing that I have learned in 2016 is being intentional about rest and taking time to contemplate what God is saying and where He is leading me. There are a great many things that are out of my control but I will make time for what is important to me. Less is more when it comes to spending deliberate time away from the daunting day to day activities that require my attention. So much is gained by simply laying in my hammock reading a book, or meditating on Scripture, or soul searching for any unforgiveness that I may be harboring. The stomach isn’t the only thing that requires feeding.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 Message
The last thing I’d like to footnote about our learning experiences of 2016 is our recent experiences in Hawaii. Foundation school for Skyllar, Cadyn, Brynlee at YWAM has reminded us that we are a family ministry. Of the 5 children Amie and I have, the 3 youngest have received fundamental training of what it looks like to be a part of the ministry and not just missionary kids. It has always fascinated me of so many individuals in the bible whose story began when they were children. God speaks to (and through) children with less resistance then He does with adults. It would be an answer to my prayers if Nicholas and Natalie was to join us someday on our journey but until then our 3 youngest children are just as much a part of the ministry as Amie and I are. We are all being sent, not just mom and dad.
Amie and I are super excited for some new plans that God is directing us towards after we get back home in March of 2017. Please continue to pray as we are working out the details before we broadcast them here on our blog page. Getting through the next 3 months of training is where our focus needs to be. Stay tuned in for the details.
In regards to 2017, Amie and I would like to formally invite you to become a part of our journey. You can begin by simply subscribing to this blog page and you will automatically receive an email every time we upload an update. Another way to join our journey is by becoming a part the prayer team that the support group at Grace Bible Church has set up. If you are interested in joining the prayer team then ask me how you can get plugged in. A third way for you to get involved is financially.
This is a list containing expenses through March of 2017 for training tuition and traveling back home (with the exception of living costs):
YWAM Foundation Training (for the girls): $900
YWAM Sustainability Courses (for Nate): $500
Shipping the van to the mainland: $1,100
Shipping personal possessions: $500
Plane tickets home: $2,000
2016 has a few days left if you would like to contribute this year, or if you would like to donate your frequent flyer miles then that would be totally awesome! This journey is a collective effort and all provisions have been met so far by faithful people like you. We love and appreciate every single one of you!
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