Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2013 Year Update

Well I was hoping to write to you back at Christmas to give an end of 2013 update, but the black plague of death known as the stomach bug went like a whirlwind through our family throughout pretty much the entire Christmas Break.  We unfortunately had to cut our yearly trip to Ohio short hoping we might outrun this years bag of fun, but again were wrong.  Anyway we are all back to health and going about things as normal. 

The kids this year continue to grow and Connie and I are amazed that we now have 2 of the 4 kids in Elementary School.  Ryley started 2nd Grade this year and is enjoying trying for the first time cheer-leading; Connie is stretching herself by helping coach the girls.  Let's just say it's not Connie's thing, but Ry loves it.  We had to do some testing with Ryley's ability to focus on things and she was diagnosed with ADHD.  We are glad we caught it early and are currently working with a specialist to see if Ryley can be taught to focus without anytime of medication.  So far she is doing well and I tell her she is a lot like Daddy was when I was her age.  Malachi entered Kindergarten this year and really likes school.  He is trying basketball for the first time and enjoys that I am helping coach his team.  Caydyn is 2 1/2 and goes to preschool one day a week and loves it.  She is in one of my favorite phases of life.  At her age she just says and does some of the funniest things.  As I've told Connie she is "one of the most obstinate and polite kids" that I know.  Silas turned one this past year and is clearly the baby in the family as he decided to not walk until after his first birthday.  Now he's running through the house with his fiery red hair, bowls on his head, ready to conquer the world or just his sisters if they get in the way.

In addition to our family of 4 kids Connie is also watching a friend's infant and toddler during the week.  Connie and I are continually surprised at how busy this season in life is with kids, kid's activities, leading in Awaken, and finding time for each other.  We know one day we will look back and wonder how God gave us the energy to do all that we are doing.  

With Awaken now approaching it's fourth year we are starting to see some stability within the ministry.  When we came we said we wanted to see God develop a church where health was measured more by it's sending capacity than it's seating capacity in what is an extremely transient area.  This has become true, even though we are about a hundred people on a Sunday, we have counted some 20-25 families that have transitioned through the ministry because of moves or military re-assignments.  The past year we have seen God allow Awaken to be at the tip of the spear for church planting in our area.  I have been hired on in a consulting role as a Church Planting Strategist at a minimal amount for a local network of churches that wants to better engage church planting in this area.  This is allowing myself and Awaken to help see other churches planted in our area.  Right now there are approximately about 5-7 other churches being planted.  We also may have the unique opportunity to start engaging a specific area called Portsmouth for a second church plant through Awaken in the next couple of years.

As we finished out 2013 it is hard for Connie and I to believe that we were finishing up 5 years ago that we had moved to Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area.  We remember the fear of the early days very clearly.  The fear of not knowing anybody here, not knowing the area, and honestly being very green in Church Planting and the Pastorate.  Our family was young and in a lot of ways just beginning as 3 of our 4 children have only known Virginia Beach as their home.  Through this our faith has been tested and our perseverance has been tried.  We have tasted struggle in many ways since being here and drank up more fully the faithfulness of God we have seen along the way.  Wrapping up 2013 we have witnessed the enemy is real, we have watched God's provision come through, and have seen our family and many others changed because of the work He has called us to in this area of the world.

Thank you for your prayers and investment in us and in the people God has called us to invest in both military and non-military alike.

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