Family Update #5

Author | Steve

It’s been about five months since I did a family update, so here goes…

We’ve been in Tomball, Texas right at four months. It’s been an adjustment from tromping around in the Suburban and trailer for the previous six. For one thing, north Houston is nothing like the mountain west of the United States (sigh).

We moved into one of the quirkiest little places you can imagine. Sometime in the 1960s, a guy parked a traveler trailer next to a tiny one-bedroom house. Over time, the house has enveloped the trailer. The week before we moved in there were no floors, no AC, no water, and a lot of open gaps to the outside world. In exchange for living in this house, we have put a lot of work into it. It’s a warm little place, full of love (and fights) that we call “Close Enough.” We love it’s location in Old Town Tomball, and we are learning to love the size (550 square feet) and the gifts and the character God is giving to us in this place.

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Our quirky home when we first arrived.

 

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1960s trailer: half of the tiny house.

 

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The whole gang in front of “Close Enough.”

So here’s a little of what’s going on in our lives:

ELLIE | “I like that we get to live close to family (Ellie’s cousins, aunt & uncle, and grandparents all live less than a mile away) and that I’ve made lots of new friends! God’s teaching me to live closer to my family by living in a smaller place. I like being close. I’m really having fun painting the house. I’m looking forward to Christmas – it’s going to be different, and I want to know what it will be like.”

“I like being close.” ~ Ellie

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Ellie with one of her new friends on our Thanksgiving camping trip.

If you have time to pray for Ellie, she definitely has times where she misses her friends spread out across the country. Pray for Jesus to surround her with new friends and to stay connected with some of the old ones. If you are one of those old friends, don’t hesitate to send her a letter, too. She would love to be your pen pal.

JOSIAH | “I can kinda see more how God is working in our family than I used to. Before, when we fought we would just keep on and on until we got punished. Now, God helps us notice when we’re fighting and helps us stop quicker.” No truer words have been spoken! God continues to shape us more and more through prayer and regularly confessing our sins and offenses to each other so we can forgive each other (when I say “regular,” I mean “a lot!”). Josiah has been blessed with a number of boys in our neighborhood his age to play with. Plus, we have old-fashioned ditches in our neighborhood – a 10yr-old boy’s dream!

“I can kinda see more how God is working in our family than I used to.” ~ Josiah

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Muscles! Building the “Chicken Mansion” at his aunt and uncle’s.

As you pray for Josiah, would you please pray for the Spirit of Jesus to continue to form his heart by grace, focusing his boundless energy through love.

GABBY | “God has given me really good friends really fast who are always inviting me into their lives.” Our little entrepreneur has started her own baking business with her best friend (who lives in Michigan – yes, a business in two states!). She started a Bible study for junior high girls that meets in our home. She loves the little old house because it “always has a project to work on!” Currently, she’s really pumped about baking lots of goodies for Christmas Eve with the family.

“God has given me really good friends really fast” (including her sister) ~ Gabby

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The girls at play…anything but slow!

Adjusting to how different the Christmas season is this year has been difficult at times for Gabby, and really, for everyone. If you find time to pray for Gabby and our whole family, join us in praying that Jesus would show Himself to her (and all of us) in our new experiences this Christmas.

AUSTIN | “Life’s just kind of normal…and that’s o.k.” Austin has quietly enjoyed settling down in one place again. Trying to find work as a 15yr-old has proved a little challenging, though God seems to have dropped a job in his lap working with his Dad (me – yeah!) right next door to our house! He really enjoyed helping set up all the electronics and alarm system at his grandparents new house, and he is looking forward to learning how to drive soon. He has stealthily been consuming books and making copious notes on how to write in the fantasy genre. I think he’s getting close to beginning to develop characters for his first book!

“Life’s just kind of normal…and that’s o.k.” ~ Austin

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Austin’s birthday basketball team.

As you pray for Austin, pray for Jesus to fill him with security in Him, resulting in courage and perseverance in the face of an ever-changing world.

JAMIE & STEVE | Jamie applied and has been accepted to the Master of Arts in Counseling program at Huntington University. She will learn from Dr. John Townsend. This is a tremendous step of faith for her and for our family. I’m so proud of her! More than that, I see Jesus enlarging her faith in Him through this. On top of this, Jamie and Steve will be heading to Uganda with Women of the Pearl ministry (here’s their FaceBook page) in conjunction with the opening of a new seminary in that country.

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Steve building some walls and shelving.

 

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Jamie and Ellie near Red River, NM.

Day-to-day, Jesus continues to call us to do what he sets before us without a big, overall plan. We are continuing to follow Him into a life of ministry that doesn’t make all of our living from that ministry. We don’t really have a road map as much as a faithful Companion for this journey. Steve has continued to have opportunities to share the good news of Jesus in a number of places. Jamie has joined him on a few of those occasions as well. Both Steve and Jamie have had the opportunity to use their training with PrayerCare to spend focused, substantial time leading individuals into honest conversations with our heavenly Father. This has been a deeply rewarding time for us.

“We don’t really have a road map as much as a faithful Companion for this journey”

An Unfolding Dream

Finally, we have a dream that God has put on our hearts that we are just starting to talk and pray about with a handful of close friends. It’s a dream of a community of families united in Jesus that share all of life together in Him, overflowing in service to church-ministry families and anyone who is broken by the darkness of this world. It’s a dream of a place where people could linger in God’s Word, His presence, and His peace giving precious time for Him to do heart and mind work in His people. It’s a dream of a place of deep prayer, refreshment in God’s creation, physical labor, heart healing, and regular worship of God. We don’t know what God will do with this dream. For now, we are doing what He puts in front of us each week with what He supplies, growing in trust of His timing and His providing. Please join us in praying about this dream, that Jesus would help us stay in step with His Spirit – not dragging our feet, nor running ahead. Pray that He would give us eyes to see Him and ears to hear Him. Pray that we would have discerning hearts to know where Jesus is inviting us. And pray that we, being filled with His grace, would also be filled with courage to follow Him wherever He leads us!

Thanks for sticking with us, caring about us and the story Jesus is writing in and through our lives, and praying for us.

P.S. – We’ve been amazed by how God has used our story, and particularly this blog, to open conversations and doors for His good purposes! We don’t publicize this blog or promote it other than through conversations and our own social media. If you have found our blog helpful, would you be willing to SHARE US with a few of your friends? Pick a favorite post and send it to someone you think would appreciate it.

Thanks! Drop your nets…there’s something better with Jesus.

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