What A Difference A Year Can Make

Tonight, I was called to be the Youth and Education Director at Sharon Baptist Church in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  The people there have been so very friendly and welcoming, and we feel our hearts already connected to theirs.  We feel very privileged, and very humbled, to have been called to serve them.

One year ago today, Nola and I drove back to Austin, after being in Oklahoma City for 3 weeks over the holidays.  It was not like going home for us; those days in Austin were over.  We knew that we would, at some point, be saying good-bye to very dear friends we had known for nearly 8 years, and that it would be very hard.  It was, and we still miss them every day.  We did not know what the future held.  There was so much that, from our perspective, was uncertain.

This has, without question, been the most difficult year we’ve ever experienced.  We’ve learned valuable lessons, about the danger of putting too much trust in man, and of not putting all of our hope in God alone.  Yet, during the last 13 months, God has proven Himself faithful over and over again.  We’ve been abundantly showered with His grace and goodness, and are thankful for each lesson learned.  We consider them preparation for the trials that He has ahead for us, which are part of His conforming us into the image of Christ, for our good and His glory.

Please continue to pray for Nola and me as we look for a place to live, and for a job for Nola.  Our desire is that she will be able to find employment that would be Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, unlike the retail hours she has been working.  This would “free up” her evenings and weekends, making it possible for her to be more involved and available in the life of the church.

And please pray that our work there would strengthen the church, and that many would come to know Christ through the ministry of Sharon Baptist Church.

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What’s Going On * 08.01.09

Most of you already know that Nola and I moved back to Oklahoma City the first week in June.  Since then, we have been looking for jobs and rejoining Graceway Baptist Church, where we met, and where I served in the Youth Ministry for 11 years before moving to Georgia.  Nola has joined the choir, I’m teaching the Middle School Guy’s Sunday School class and playing bass in the services.  God was gracious and allowed me to go to camp with the youth group 2 weeks ago, back to Camp Buckner near Marble Falls, Texas.  My nephew Taylor led the worship music, and I played guitar and sang backup, as well as being the official camp videographer/photographer.  This is the same campground we did 2 Spring Break Retreats at when I was at High Pointe in Austin,

Nola worked part-time for a few weeks at Chico’s, a women’s clothing boutique, before being offered a full-time position to be trained as an Assistant Manager at Dress Barn (for all you Tim Hawkins fans: yes, THAT Dress Barn!)  She started there on July 27th, and is doing an incredible job.  The next day, I started with Lifetouch Church Directories.  I’ll be traveling with a team to various churches in Oklahoma, doing the church directory photography and selling portraits.

I am continuing to send out my resume to churches, and have been in contact with a few.  But, that is typically a slow process, and some churches take resumes for as long as 2 to 3 months before beginning their search in earnest.  So, while I wait, I’m serving where I can and really enjoying it, and resting in the knowledge that God will move me where He wants, when He wants, and that it will bring Him the most glory and us the most joy.

What’s Going On * 05.09.09

I want to thank all of you that have prayed for us as we’ve started our new ministry.  Our training was intense, to say the very least.  Lots of good information, all of it very helpful and necessary; but having it all crammed into 2-1/2 weeks, along with our time “shadowing” in the 2 cottages we will be serving in, made it very physically and emotionally draining.  But, we’ve also had our first 10-day break, which has been wonderful.  We visited family in Oklahoma City last weekend, and have had several days back in here Austin to get more settled into our apartment and just relax.

When asked how we like it so far, I’ve answered that we don’t really know, because we haven’t done it “for real” yet.  Our time last month was full of training, classes, videos, getting to know the houseparents and kids in each house, and trying to learn how each house is run.  This next time will be very different, and Nola and I are really looking forward to going back on duty tomorrow at 2 p.m. and just doing the job.  We are literally surrounded by ministry opportunities, and are excited and eager to be used by God.  So again, thank you for praying for us, and for the encouraging emails, texts, and “tweets”, and please pray for us this month as the Lord brings us to mind.

Our New Crib

Nola and I went over today and got the keys to the house we’ll be living in on the TBCH campus.  We looked around in more detail, measured some rooms, and started making plans and trying to “see” our stuff there.  We’ve got a LOT to do, and are hoping to get most, if not all, of it done before we go to work on the 13th.


Here are a couple of pictures:



front

This is the front of the house.  Attached to it, out of the picture to the right, is another residential living area used by another part of the organization.



playground

This is the playground, directly behind our house.  Scooter and Sparky (aka Gabe and Carson) are gonna LOVE this!

We’re hoping to move some furniture over this Saturday; if you can help, please let me know!

WorshipTogether.com LIVE

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Saturday, March 28th

Emmaus Baptist Church

Oklahoma City, OK

Go here for more information

It’s Official

Today we received the official letter from Children at Heart Ministries, offering us the position of relief houseparents at the Texas Baptist Children’s Home in Round Rock.  The first few weeks we will going through training, getting CPR and First Aid certifications, along with assorted other classes and “hoops” to jump through.  Our start date is Sunday, April 12th – Easter Sunday.  At first we’ll be spending the nights in the cottages, with the kids and the houseparents, while we go through the training during the day.

So now we can finally make some real plans about moving.  But before we do move, we’re going to Oklahoma City on Monday, to spend a week with the family before we start the new gig.  Once we get back, we’ll start moving in to the apartment at the TBCH campus where we will live 10 days of the month (the other 20 or so we will be in cottages while the regular houseparents are on their leave).

We still need our house to sell, which we know will happen in God’s perfect time.  There is much to do, and many adjustments and changed that will come over the next month or two.  But, we have no doubt that this is what God has for us next, and we are very excited about it.

What’s Going On * 03.12.09

We heard from the Texas Baptist Children’s Home today; it appears that it’s going to be a “go”.  The Director is out until next Tuesday, but after he gets back he will draft and send our letter of offer, and only then will it be official.  Our start date will likely be March 29th, though it could come sooner; the letter will give the specific date, along with other details.


Now that we have a more definite time frame, we are starting to make plans about when to move (we’ll be living on the campus in Round Rock), and what to move.  Our house still has not sold, despite the “above and beyond” effort of our realtor, Otis Fields.  We plan to sell some of our furniture, since we will not need all that we have at our new location.  We may leave some of it in our house until it sells, since homes usually show better with furniture in them.


Our duties will involve relieving the regular houseparents during their 10-day respite each month.  During that time, we will live in the cottages with the kids, 24/7.  We will do this for 2 different cottages each month, spending 10 days in each one.  The other 10 days of the month (or so), we are off-duty.


We are very excited at the possibilities for ministry that this position holds, and at the same time we have many questions because this is so different and unknown.  The training we will receive will answer many of those questions, but we both realize that we are about to be “stretched” like never before.  But the bottom line is we are very excited, and looking forward to what God will do in and through us, in this new chapter of life.