“Are you insane?” is what you may be thinking, and I do have to confess that we’ve felt that ourselves as we look to the future. To give a little background, our last three years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding times of our lives. We’ve walked through joy, grief, hopelessness, and anticipation. After serving two years in Jordan, we returned to America in May 2015
Since then, I've worked at Home Depot for a small season, an Audio-visual company for a longer season, and then for the past two years, I have been the worship pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Longview, Texas. During this time, we have added two new children to our once easily mobile family. My wife also worked at the church, running the children’s ministry for about a year then had to quit after the birth of our youngest. Then to top it all off, we decided to homeschool last fall! I warned you our story seems insane. Through it all, we've truly experienced the provision of the Lord beyond our comprehension from His ridiculously generous church body, learning He can do impossible things.
Recently, we once again find ourselves facing a familiar old question, “What now, Lord?” Surprisingly, we weren't scared asking this because we had felt the Lord stirring something in us since this past January when He spoke to me through the story of Peter stepping out on the water (Matthew 14:22- 33). “Lord, if it’s you, command me to come to you on the water.” We had been listening for the Lord to say ‘Come,’ but we had not seen anything which really looked like the impossible risk we imagined it would be.
Why does faith and wisdom always seem to pit themselves against each other?
One late morning, we decided to drive, as a family, to the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base in Tyler, Texas, about an hour from our house. We had no idea why we were there, so after a few hours of wandering around we decided to leave. As we backed out of the parking space, Sophia chimed in that she had to use the restroom. So we pulled back into the parking spot, and Chelsi ran her into the nearest building.
Inside, Chelsi met a young man who had just moved back from living in Amman, Jordan, and he offered to eat lunch with us. We had 30 minutes before lunch, so we were once again wandering the unfamiliar roads of the YWAM base. We soon ran into a young guy, who I had met a few hours earlier, and he pointed us towards a building directly in front of us and said, “That’s the building I was telling you to go to earlier. Go in through that door.”
So Chelsi and I, with our 5 kids in tow, wandered in through the door of a small building and found a man sitting at a computer. “Hi, we don’t know why we’re here.” I said abruptly. Richard, didn’t miss a beat and introduced himself, and we quickly became friends. While we talked, I told the Lord, “If only he would have said, ‘You’ve come to the right place,’ then I would have known You were calling us here.” Not two minutes later, after sharing our current state of confusion, our new friend Richard said to us, “I just want to say, you’ve come to the right place!”
We ended up eating lunch with Richard and the kid from Amman and met many other YWAM staff who told us stories of incredible faith and provision. Little did we know that the Lord was yet again building our faith for the road that lay ahead. We learned about the DTS (Discipleship Training School) that is available for families, and met the lady who leads the program for kids. Then, at the end of lunch, Richard turned to us and said, “I know this sounds crazy, but would you guys consider doing the summer DTS this year?”
“When does it start?” I asked.
“July 1st,” was the terrifying response, as that only gave us 30 days to make this huge life decision.
We left dazed, but as we drove the hour long drive back to Longview, we felt like it was too impossible not to consider. The fear of looking silly and possibly sinking seemed to pale in comparison to the possibility of walking on water.
After talking with our parents, pastor, and a few friends, we found more excitement than hesitation. We were so excited to announce, we were officially jumping overboard. Jesus, here we come!
The training school consists of two phases, the first being a lecture phase that focuses on learning more about God and His world through classroom teaching, community living, and practical training in and around Tyler, Texas. In phase two, we get to apply what we learned in the classroom through an intense two month cross-cultural experience. One of our favorite parts of this program is that our kids attend similar training (Family Sync) during the lecture phase, and then we all will go on the outreach together as a family!
After our first month now, we continue to see God's hand leading and guiding us. It's amazing to see how God provided for us to start our DTS with such short notice. We continue to trust Him as we embark on outreach with our family very soon. Who knows, maybe God will call you and your family too out on the water to follow Him into a great adventure.