To maintain a home, a family, and a ministry requires total dependence on God. So many days it feels impossible. How do I give when I feel empty? How do I encourage when I am broken? How do I get up and care for my family when my heart and body don’t follow? This season of life has been ever changing, and very difficult. I am not able to comprehend the way God works, but I am learning that God uses my disappointment and pain to grow my faith. How much do I really believe He will work all things for His glory? How willing am I to let go of my pride and desire to control?
A little over a year ago now, we lost a baby. Every day felt like a mountain I had to climb. Slowly but surely God began to heal my broken heart. The process seemed even harder as I faced ministry head on. I still was going and preaching and sharing God’s word, when my own heart was questioning it at times. When we received the news that we were expecting again, I longed to be happy and enjoy it, but I wasn’t. I found myself in a position that I hadn’t been many times before: paralyzed by fear. As time passed, my belly grew, the baby began to move, we found out she was a girl, and peace finally started to rule in my life again. Then we moved.
I wasn’t prepared for how physically taxing it would be to move across town at 6 months pregnant. I wasn’t prepared for how it would negatively affect my children to leave the only home they knew. For 3 years we had discussed the option of moving and presented our desire before the Lord. For 3 years we heard Him say “not now,” then when life was full and chaotic, He said, “Now!” It is so easy to lose sight of a blessing when you are exhausted! But man has it been a blessing. Since moving, Kevin has been able to bring many people into our home for training and discipling. We have hosted, not only family birthday parties, but ministry luncheons and gatherings. Our children have enjoyed the space to run and play, and we have stopped and thanked God numerous times for saying yes at just the right time, with just the right house.
It has felt like a year of trial after trial, but God continues to guide, pull, and push me through each day. As we move into another time of change, we anticipate great joy. It has stormed all around us for longer than we had expected, but as the storm ceases, I can testify to all He did while it was raging. The arrival of new life is like a breath of fresh air for all of us.
So, how is ministry going?
In these years, learning and working for the Lord, we have experienced so many things. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most difficult seasons we have experienced in ministry.
I have laughed. I have cried. I have been joyful, but I also have been crushed.
Around 2 months ago, I lost a young girl I was discipling to cancer. I was crushed. I wish I could have done more. I wish she could have enjoyed her life a little more. I remember telling Ashley, “I see now, how important it is to speak the Word; to tell the world about Jesus. I don’t know how much time I have. All I know is that I am here to sow the seed in these people’s hearts.” God has given me peace in this situation. I want to say whaever He wants me to say. I want to give whatever He wants me to give. Only He gives and takes away.
We have seen pain due to violence in the lives of those we lead. We have seen children in pain due to the decisions their parents make. We have seen 14-15-year-old girls pregnant and running away from home. We have seen hopelessness in the eyes of the youth and children. We have seen many, who used to come to the events, now suffering addictions.
This is the reality. This is the broken world we are facing every day.
For a time, we saw the material and intellectual needs in these villages, but God has opened our eyes to see that above all they need Him. They need a savior.
God has shown his love and grace to many. God has allowed me to work with leaders who are passionate for their communities, and with young leaders trying to reach out to their friends. He has shown us the tough reality of what we are facing, but He has also shown us that it isn’t about us. It isn’t about what we can do, what we can say, or how good we think we are doing. He loves these people more than I do! He wants them to turn to Him more than I do. He knows the pain and joy in all our hearts. He is the only one who can make something beautiful out of what’s broken. He is the only one who changes hearts.
Our desire is always to promote what God is doing in Guatemala and bring glory to His name. This time around, we felt the Lord pushing us to be transparent. It’s not always cute pictures of kids playing together, youth at a bonfire, or mom’s coming together to cook. Some days are downright hard, but God is good no matter which side of the tracks we are on! We are hopeful for what is to come. We are eager to keep up the good fight! As we share with you, we ask you to pray. Pray for our family. Pray for our marriage and relationship with our kids. Pray for His Hands and Feet: the people receiving and the ones giving.
For the last couple of months we have been fundraising. We had to raise money to move and raise money to cover the upcoming birth. We have been blessed by many that made extra donations the month we moved. We have been blessed by people that bought items for the baby. We have received donations above and beyond to help cover the hospital bills. But as of now, we are walking forward in faith. We are weeks (possibly days) away from bringing our baby home and we still do not have enough raised to pay the hospital the day we walk out. Will you please consider being a part of this new season of our lives? Will you help us finish fundraising for the birth of our precious, rainbow baby?