It has been a good month. I do miss the peace and stillness, but there has been incredible blessing from God in this season.
I am balancing four things right now:
1. Completing my training under Brenda for the position I will begin full-time in September as JV Intern Coordinator. Next up is updating the website information for next year’s internship. We have almost seen an entire intern year through…hard to believe!
2. Reorganizing/ streamlining the intern process and writing procedures for both my position and for the intern point people overseas. These are the full-time missionaries that direct the intern program in their country. These procedures need to be done ASAP before the next intern season swings into gear in September.
3. Raising the last bit of my support. Brenda will be moving to Canada in September and I need to be at 100% of my monthly support to begin this position full-time. I still need about $1300 in monthly pledges to cover both my salary and my ministry expenses.
4. Saying goodbye to the home I grew up in and helping dad prepare to move to Florida. Dad has a serious offer on his house and he wants Stephanie and I to go down to Florida with him soon to look at homes and put an offer in on one. Moving is so much work- physically and emotionally. This is dad’s 1st move in 42 years and the logistics of it are exhausting to just think about.
God is at work in each of these areas. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed I remind myself that this is a season and God is IN IT. In all parts of it. Just the same, please pray specifically for these things? Someday, dad will live in Florida, all support will be raised, the job will be learned and the procedures written. I will be able to look back and see more clearly how God’s timing is perfect.
The past 10 days have been laser-focused on support raising. It feels like I have invited everyone I know in Indiana and Michigan to join my support team. (If you are reading this and I haven’t, tell me and I will!!!) God has put it into so many hearts to join me, and I’m so thankful!! At JV’s suggestion, I planned a trip out east to connect with friends from my past to either ask them to join my support team or to thank them for already being a part of it!
It was SO much fun! Here are some photos of friends that are so dear to me that I can’t stop smiling at these pictures of our time together.
My 1st day out, I stopped at North Olmstead Evangelical Friends Church in Ohio. My dear friend from Junior High, Geoff, is the pastor there and they are one of my supporting churches. I had a chance to share a short update on the interns and camp ministry and enjoyed lunch with Geoff and his wife Mary.
That afternoon I met with my friend Quint, who pastors a Friend’s church in Sebring, OH. He was the pastor who first connected me with Rough Rock. His church has an old cemetery and Friend’s Meeting house on it’s property. He gave me a mini tour of the Meeting House, with a different side for men and women. I grew up in a Friends church, and it was fascinating to hear him tell the history.
Quint is the director of a Friends Church camp in southern Ohio, and I’d asked him for a tour since I was passing through the area. One of the things I’d asked God to do on this trip was to open up doors to share about JV in unexpected places. This was one of those places. We just “happened” to arrive when all the parents were dropping their kids off for camp. As Quint worked his way down the line of parents checking kids in, and introduced himself, he introduced me as a missionary with Josiah Venture, which triggered all sorts of fun questions. I added a lot of new people to my email update list and even met a professor from Malone College who wants to get JV out to share with the students there about internships.
Day two found me in eastern Pennsylvania with my friend Megan, who I met several years ago in Russia. We went to lunch at Bethann’s house (and had three blue VW Bug owners under one roof….). Bethann and I were in a wedding together several years ago and stayed connected on Facebook. She and her husband Tom have a ministry in counseling and encouraging missionaries. We spent the entire afternoon with them, sharing about our ministries with each other.
Megan introduced me to her small group- Cornerstone Young Adults- and I was able to share with them about Josiah Venture. Since they are sending a team over, they had lots of questions about opportunities for serving.
Megan is a baker and blogger like me, so we took a morning and went into New Jersey to Carlo’s Bakery. (The Cake Boss TV show?) I’d never seen the show, but the cannoli were fabulous. I thought I could stay on my low calorie diet this week but the cake boss and Megan’s mom Wendy (incredible cook!) changed my mind. After leaving Megan’s house I made a stop in Baltimore to see my friend Deb. We have been friends since we were two, and we have travelled to so many fun places together. I didn’t even take a picture of us- but that is the kind of friendship we have- we just caught up over popcorn (it’s a long-standing tradition started by her dad) and enjoyed being friends.
Next up was Washington DC! God surprised me again here. I got a text from my mom’s oncologist! She has been one of my biggest Josiah Venture cheerleaders ever since I met her at the hospital during those hard, hard days of losing mom. She told me she’d seen in my newsletter that I’d be in DC and she was there for a conference! We met for lunch and it was a time of so much laughter and encouragement and excitement (she is leaving her position to become a full-time oncologist in Africa!). Such a GREAT and unexpected blessing.
My evening in DC was spent with James at the best Cuban restaurant ever. James spent a year in Fort Wayne doing an internship as an attorney. We both commented that it felt like he was there longer than a year, because we made the best memories together. It was so interesting to hear about life as a Christ follower in the politics of DC. It was a joy to introduce him to the ministry of Josiah Venture. James has such a passion for missions and reaching people for Christ- it was really fun to catch up—and the coffee was literally the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Ever. It kept me up all night and I didn’t even care…it was that good.
Chantilly, VA is just outside of DC and that is where my friends Bill and Lauren live with their 5 amazing kids! Bill and I became friends when I first moved to Fort Wayne and then Lauren became a friend when they started dating and got married. Such a fun and energetic family- I even got to meet the chickens! We spread old pictures out over the table and reminisced about all of our years together as friends. I loved it so much.
Bill and Lauren arranged for me to share about Josiah Venture at their church, Christ Church. Wow- such a welcoming church! I loved meeting so many people who are passionate about missions. The pastor, Becki+, leads an organization that teaches English in Ghana and we connected right away. It was such a great morning- isn’t it fun to meet people you will someday spend eternity with in heaven? We truly have a bond with other believers that is so special.
After lunch, I had a group hug with Bill and Lauren’s family to say goodbye- and the kids wanted a “selfeet” picture 🙂 I love it!
Just south of DC in Palmyra, VA, my friends from high school, Craig and Cheryl live with their two daughters (and a dog that is Casper’s twin). I stopped by for dinner and LOVED catching up with them. We were in youth group together at Battle Creek Friends and have a ton of fun memories of those days. Cheryl and I sat by a campfire and chatted long after dinner and my drive afterwards into a big storm in West Virginia was full of smiles remembering our talks of God’s provision and grace.
I finished my trip up by stopping in Lebanon, Ohio to see the Colberts! Monica was in my Medical Technology class when I was in college. We bonded over failing lab math together… Monica and I worked together in the lab for years, and when her husband Chad was transferred to Ohio for work I was SO sad. Her girls were so little when she left, and now they are all grown up! We had a great dinner, a tooth was lost, and I used a selfie stick for the very 1st time!
I was SO close to Xenia OH that I had to stop and see my dear friend Amanda. She was in my college group for years and went on many mission trips with me. We still see each other fairly often because her family is still in Fort Wayne, but laughing til our faces hurt was a perfect end to my trip!
Well. That was a lot of pictures and stories. I have one more.
I spent a good portion of my driving time (1,710 miles!) telling God about how much I need Him to provide in this whole support raising part of my job. Asking people to join you only is asking unless God puts it into hearts to give….
I was driving very late through terrible storms in West Virginia on my way back to Ohio, and I thought- this is how my life feels. No calm, no peace, just going, and worrying, and wondering. Trying to get through the storm of busy to the peace on the other side. I turned on the radio and hit scan.
Banjos….static….banjos…..static….static…..banjos…..gospel quartet. I hit stop on the quartet. My dad loves gospel quartets. They were singing:
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Leave to thy God to order and provide…he undertakes to guide the future as he has the past…don’t let anything shake your hope and confidence- because all that’s mysterious and dark and stormy now, will be bright someday.
Order and provision. He will bring these things – to each of us when we trust Him to lead.
And that makes me smile.
Thanks for riding along with me on this journey. If you want to join my monthly support team the online link is here. You can also use that link to email me if you have questions or if you have a small group or church that might want to hear about what Josiah Venture is doing in Eastern and Central Europe!
Have a great week dear friends!!!