Wednesday, October 28, 2015
For some that have been reading and believing that I am radical, I am! I am radically in love with Jesus!
I have been this way since Jesus first found me! I have been on fire, baked, steamed, fried even for what I believe. But I have been in ministry and had been hired because I love Jesus and I love kids and I love watching Kids fall head over heals in love with Jesus.
God has given me a great gift. I started two Awana clubs. One in the Azores and one in a Lutheran Church in Omaha NE. Both clubs had a Multi-Gen group. How? Oh Man, have you ever been so excited about anything? It's contagious and it's wonderful and it's POWerful! In the Azores, I had leaders that did not have children come and listen to verses! I had AF Commanders come and listen to verses. I had them as Game Guys- 4 of them at once did games because of their jobs they needed to be able to be efficient without me being the game person.
We always started our nights off with worship and prayer. I love seeing kids worship. When those 2 and 3 yr olds step into the Spirit, it's awesome! We would then send the kids back to groups/games/big group time. Sometimes God put leaders that did not know the Word of God in the teaching position and they would study and study until they got the lesson just right. God was guiding them. I would listen and be in awe of what God had done.
In the Lutheran Church- I spent a year going over different Wed. night programs, knowing in my soul that Awana was what we needed to do, but I went to their different groups and listened, asked why they were not learning scriptures only to be told, "we don't really do that". I said, YES we do and left the class. Not in a huff but so discouraged that they just didn't see the importance of learning scriptures. When I told the Associate Pastor this, he said "yeah, we don't place a lot of value on knowing scriptures". I shook my head and left his office.
I was determined to grow something great! I presented my findings to the Sr. Pastor who was on board with it but wanted me to go and meet this one gal who was so against Awana coming in. So, I read through the Lutheran Handbook with the scriptures and we met. I told her my passion, what I wanted to see, how I wanted to grow these kids so they would stick with their faith and grow up knowing Jesus as their friend. She gave the Okay to the Sr. Pastor and I began to pray in earnest. He began with Alpha and I began Awana. The journey to get to where we were was a road long sought, but as a "newbie" outsider- not Lutheran, just an Awesome God follower, we began. I began by talking to others, then began to tag people, then we started with 25 leaders and 75 kids. 3 sets of grandparents, a few of their friends and parents and singles. Every week, I would pray in kids and new leaders and every week we began to grow by 5 or 10 kids.
We started out our night with check in and worship. I will always believe worship gets to the heart where words can not go alone. The kids began to know the songs and it would get so loud. I attended another Awana in town and it was so quiet that you could not even tell if the kids were having fun or not. I, myself, love it when the kids are excited about being there and they are having fun.
So, then we did the same, Puggles would go to games first for 5 min. Then Cubbies, T&T and Sparks or depending on what we decided that year.
How did I get gramma's and grampas to be one with us? I asked, I invited, and I would go to the early 8 a.m. service before and after and they always asked about it and I always invited them to dinner and stay and listen to verses.
You see, we were a church of age. It had been around since the late 1800's and had 6 generations attending. The church had a fire once and rebuilt. A tornado once hit it and it rebuilt down the block. People attended on horse, in wagons, from far and wide. It was a German community of farmers. Then the schools brought in Danish teachers and their were Danes who the Germans did not like well. The church spoke Latin for many years but soon became English. They had done Sunday school in small rooms and in the attic. They had been a Spirit filled church for a time and some still were, they were my prayer warriors and in the secret they spoke as to not be known. They were the ones that came to hear the children, they were the ones who prayed. They were the studiers and the doers of the Word. They understood my passion.
What is your passion? What is it that God has called you too? What do you desire in ministry? In Life? What do you want to be remembered for?
I have returned to that church to do a check up and many of my leaders hug and bless me so. God was up to something awesome for a time. After I left, Awana lasted one more year and faded away. The passion and excitement were gone, the kids I started with were growing up and the next generation of parents did not have the zeal. The Older Generation, they hopefully have planted great seeds and they will be fruitful and multiply. We did a training with the Seeds and it was awesome because it helped us understand why we were doing what we were doing.
I love Awana and would love to teach that passion to others. To grow disciples and to grow a generation that can deal with our current crisis in our country.
What does missions mean to you? Does it mean going overseas to preach the Gospel? Maybe it's the Mormon faith how the teens go on missions all over the world including the U.S.?
When the Lord chose us to go on this mission minded life, it was not an easy thing for us. We owned 2 cars - owned them- they were paid off. We owned our truck, we owned our trailer but it wasn't built for what God was calling us for. So we traded that in for one that would work. We were told to go after the one. We were not sure or even for certain what that meant except we knew the person. I had not seen that person in over 20 years. I had only met him 5 times in my entire life. He chose to leave our lives when I was 5. He came back into my life much later, but he was not the person I thought he was. I always saw him as a knight in shining armor. I always thought he would come and save the day. Little did I realize that self-centeredness really took over and we had been left. We put in a resume to work camp in the campgrounds and our first call was Rhonda from OKC East KOA. She said they would train us and we could leave after 5 mo. We sold everything, I mean everything! We sold two cars, a house full of furniture, gave stuff away, took 6 huge tubs of material for quilting to the ladies at church so they could continue making mission quilts. I left "my church kids", all 160 of them. I had had over 100 leaders as well. It was so tough to leave them. I had had opposition with some members the year before for doing an alter call, they were so angry, but God was repairing those wounds and they were all my leaders. God was working all things together for His Glory. I let one older gentleman know before I let the whole team know, he was one that had been causing difficulties but he was so awesome. Even when we have returned to check up on everyone, he has been quick to give hugs. during that time we worked 50 hours a week and never did not fill up but just on our own. But in ministry you don't, you have to seek the Lord out and Get filled with HIM when you can and have to otherwise you don't have the fuel for the fires. Love the Lord, Love what He does in us.
So we took off and found God in the midst of all things and healed from ministry So we watched TBN and healed and soaked in before we pushed into the next phase. So, God had a plan. We were on missions and we were enjoying the love of others.
We have found a church in every campground we have been in. In OKC we found a small little church that met on Sunday nights, we worked Sunday Mornings. It was powerful, spirit-filled and awesome.
We moved on to FL and found one small Vineyard Churches. They really concentrated on serving one another on the inside and outside. They embraced newcomers and taught well. During both these times, I was finishing my Bachelors Degree in Theology. I became ordained in 2011. It was the most powerful time for us. We were completing the mission that He sent us on, that man in my life gave his life to Jesus, was baptized and worked hard on changing the mind, but the heart was elsewhere. Along his journey, he attended Bible Studies, but the heart was not really changing, his past kept creeping back in. He lost a long-term relationship and other things crept in. I was so dishearted at what was happening, not sure how I was feeling other than let down. This man says he is changed and he truly is, but not in the way I had hoped for. Learning what a walk away from the heart is has been difficult. The mind wants Jesus, but the heart fights for the Lord's rights to it. How many of us deal with this everyday? How many are struggling with the old stuff and can't get to the new yet? Many. My hope is one day, when the heart is ready, Jesus will say "Man I have missed you!"
It began it's own teaching in how missions work and how to really learn to lean on Jesus even in the hardest of hearts. Well, we are all on missions. If you are a follower of Jesus, wherever you go you touch lives for Jesus. You don't have to preach but you have to live a life that is worthy of your call. But you do need to live your life that follows Jesus. You are a disciple, which means that you are still learning discipline and that's not always easy.
My advice, in church ministry or in life ministry, Believe in Jesus, the power of prayer, the belief in others, the strength within and the outlook to reach higher and better and lastly to serve the Lord with Honor and Valor.
Over the years, we have worked 5 seasons in different parks, taking a 3 1/2 year break because we didn't trust the Lord like we should have. We got really scared after one of our jobs fell through because of a terrible boss. We left in the night and ran like mad to safety or so we thought. It wasn't necessarily "safety" but it was time to think and try to figure out why we faced what we did. It was a huge Giant in the Land and it was difficult at best. We worked 8-5, 5 days a week for less than $8 an hour, which was so dumb. We moved to a local campground and got better jobs that paid better and when the campground decided to change out their power system, well our trailer felt the change. We had a 2 yr. warranty on it and thought we needed to put it in the shop. That began a spiral out of control for us. Fear took over and we ended up purchasing a house on a retirement pay and 2 min. wage jobs. We were fixing to be over our heads again. I felt like we were to start a daycare, which took us into further debts, we had none when we started this journey. That lasted a year. Loved it and didn't love it. It was 70 hours of work a week and not much time off. I had done some trainings through a gal from TX A&M and when they were hiring, I applied and got the job. I was able to start the Monday after we closed the Daycare. The job was hard, but loved meeting all the countries that came through the doors. Steve got a job back at the Power Plant where he retired from and began his journey on shift work yet again. The days were long, the nights when he was working were longer. I worked on receiving my CDA and got it in 4 mo., finished the class and waited for the NAEYC group to issue it. I was able to get my own class of kids and loved it.
Life wasn't what we had planned, but understanding how family dynamics work, how parents see things now, and what I could potentially learn for ministry later was huge.
All the while, the trailer sat out on the pad, begging to be used. We had become weekend warriors again.
In Dec. 2014, some things had shifted and we were missing our ministry, the road and the freedom. During this 3.5 years of stick and brick living, I obtained my CDA (Child Development Associate Degree) and learned a valuable lesson. We prayed about what we were to do, the house was eating our paychecks, bit by bit. The taxes were increasing as were the house bills. Desperation set in. It was time to sell. I loved the house, but hated the money going out every single month for a place that we just lived in. For some reading this, you may understand but for many, paying for a house is the American dream. Not ours. Ours is living on the road. Meeting new people with great stories and like minded. So, we put our house on the market at the end of January and it sold in 6 weeks. We didn't walk away with much but we walked away not owing. We traded our paid for truck and trailer for a motorhome and a tow trailer to haul my truck and the Harley. The Harley was Steve's Christmas present in 2013 and it was also paid for. The motorhome and tow trailer are also paid for.
We never did really find a church home in that 3.5 yrs. We found a lot of them, but nothing that met our needs and hopes.
During our first gig out for the 2nd time, we drove through the Panhandle of TX, New Mexico, and Arizona. We stopped much along the way, and Steve attended an RV Tech school in Mesa AZ so he would be familiar with rigs and trailers. Our bucket list had the Grand Canyon on it, ck. We drove through Vegas, but at 65 ft. long, kinda hard to stop. We headed to Beaver UT.
God sent us to what was for some a "Promised Land", for us it was an opportunity. We met so many wonderful people. Some full time and some weekend/vacation warriors. We are on the road again. We got involved again in a church. We saw Zion and Bryce and my family came down from Montana.
And this we need to remember always...
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