Getting Real

What a whirlwind of a week it has been, both figuratively and literally. We had a two-day garage sale this past weekend, so much of the week was spent in preparation for that.  Going through closets and drawers. Boxing things up and taking them to storage etc. I have to brag on our family a bit here because they have gone above and beyond in helping us especially this week. Briana’s mom and brother were at our house for countless hours doing everything they could to help with the garage sale. We could not have done it without them. I know they don’t want any recognition, but from the bottom of our hearts, we are so grateful. Your time and presence means more than you know.

The garage sale went very well and we were able to sell most of the things we are not going to keep in storage. Our house is much more empty and things are starting to get real. We are just over 2 weeks away from moving into our travel trailer and heading to Community First Village.

Needless to say, the stress level is high around here. Each day is filled with preparation for Austin, working on getting The Field’s Edge up and running, showing our house, and more. We got rear ended on Saturday night. Nobody got hurt but the timing couldn’t be much worse. We have found that in chasing after the Lord, the enemy has been trying to throw all kinds of things at us to frustrate us and make us stumble, but the good thing is, God is bigger and has given us peace that passes all understanding in order to fulfill His will for our lives. We hardly have a chance to sit still and take it all in but God has given us much grace and we have felt His presence in the midst of all of these changes. We are so thankful for His peace and for the people he has put in our lives to encourage and support us.

Speaking of support, our church, First Baptist Midland, has been amazing. They have done everything imaginable to send us out as the Lord has called us. On Sunday, we were interviewed in front of the congregation about what we are doing. Our pastor asked us questions to help people in our church to understand our mission. He ended the interview by asking the whole sanctuary to join hands and pray for us. What a wonderful example of Christian community and love.

After service we went to our beloved Sunday school class. We hadn’t realized that it would be our last one until we return to Midland in May. We got a little emotional when class gathered around us, placed their hands on us, and prayed. Wow! What a way to be sent out. This class has been such a blessing to us and we have developed very deep friendships. It is truly humbling to be involved with a group of young couples who are fully committed to serving the Lord. We have a very special class and we are excited to see how the Lord continues to use us to fulfill His Great Commission. We are blessed to be a part of a church that takes the task of following Christ seriously and loves people so well.

Our relationships with family, friends, and our church continually strengthen us and also burden our hearts to provide this kind of Christ centered community for our friends on the streets. Saturday night, Midland experienced some of the wildest weather I have ever seen. In the period of several hours, our temperature dropped by over 60 degrees. The front was brought in by a tremendous windstorm, gusting over 60 mph, and our hearts were aching for those left out exposed to these dangerous elements. December 17, 2016 now holds the record for the high temperature and is one degree shy of the record low temperature, all in the same day. We went on a night strike with some friends on Sunday and the temperatures were in the teens; I was cold just getting in and out of the truck and can’t imagine what it must feel like to have nowhere to go get warm. We so desperately want to lift our friends off the streets and into community like we have been so blessed to be a part of.

Christmas has snuck up on us this year and though we had planned on doing a lot to prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of our Savior, the chaos has gotten the best of us. It makes me wonder what it was like for Mary and Joseph, knowing that they would play a role to usher in the Messiah, travelling all those miles while extremely pregnant, riding into a town with no room for them; the anxiety, and the stress they must have felt. I’m sure they would have liked to have time to prepare their hearts and minds for the coming King, not to mention a place for Him to be born, but God had other plans and His glory shined brighter than anyone could have ever imagined.

Second Corinthians 12:9 says, “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.” The Christmas story is the most miraculous display of God’s power being made perfect in weakness. Our encouragement and hope stem from this characteristic of our Heavenly Father. We know that what He is calling us to do is far beyond our capability, but well within His. Because of this, we can lay it all on the line and when God comes through, it will be apparent to everyone that what was impossible for us is possible for Him. To God be the glory!

Specific prayer requests this week:

·      Our homeless friends out in the cold.

·      Continued peace in this season of stress.

·      That God would bring the right person to see our house and make an offer.

·      Preparation of our hearts for Christmas and for the transition to Community First Village.

 

Merry Christmas!

-John-Mark