Raeni- quick update

I need to better at blogging forgive me for not being. So its out – Did you hear, WE ARE MOVING TO PARIS! Crazy! It is just crazy what God will call us to do. A few updates.

Currently we are raising support. Things to note about raising funds. It is very difficult for me to ask for help. First, I don’t like to ask for help even in my daily life. I will do it myself. I can take care of me. Funny how those are things that sound like things my kids say. I am always saying if you only asked for help. God seems to be teaching me the same lesson. So when its difficult to ask for help in the small things it is really difficult to ask people in the big things, like raising support. However, I have an ever present God who continues to shape and mold me.

Next update, a totally unrelated subject, I walk around sighing all the time. This is new to me. I don’t recall ever having a time where I remember doing so much sighing. I think its just the magnitude of all of this. Even simple things seem complicated. With that being said when you walk by and I am sighing just ignore it. My head is a 3 ring circus of ideas and thoughts. I really am Ok.

Another update – we had our first family cry about the move. It was a few weeks ago when the girls realized that we wouldn’t be bringing our family dog, Holly, with us. I like our dog enough, but knew she wouldn’t be coming with us and it didn’t really bother me. When the girls realized it they were heartbroken. Tony and I just sat and cried with them. With that being said we are looking for a home for our dog. She is a 12 year old black lab. Sweet as can be but has arthritis. She doesn’t bark but can be a bit of a whiner. Let us know if you are interested in adding a new pet to your family. Hey we will even throw in a few month supply of her arthritis medication.

Next on my list of random thoughts. PAC (Plymouth Alliance Church) youth will be selling fireworks in the WalMart parking lot starting June 24th. Pray with us that this fund raiser would be successful. Funds will be going to us (ENvision Paris), youth or young adults who will be going to Taipei or El Salvador with ENvision, or kids who will be attending other trips related to PAC youth ministries. Pray that we would sell out of fireworks!
Lastly in honor of Father’s Day. I must say how blessed I am to have amazing parents. As well as an amazing family as a whole. But this is spefically about my amazing parent. They gave me a very strong foundation on which to build my faith. They gave me a solid family and a solid church where I could learn and grow in my faith. Now as an adult they listen to my craziness. Give advice when I need it. They let me be my own person. When I tell them crazy things like – I think that Tony and I are being called to Paris and we are bringing your beautiful granddaughters across the ocean with us, they get on board and support us, whole – heartedly. I am truely blessed to have them. So to my Dad , Happy Belated Father’s Day. To my Mom, consider this a Happy Mother’s Day, almost a whole year early.

Anyway that’s enough for now – I must get ready for the Paris party the girls are having tonight to tell and celebrate with the friends about our move. Thank goodness 7 and 9 year olds won’t notice if I wash the kitchen floor or not.

Raeni- quick update

I need to better at blogging forgive me for not being. So its out – Did you hear, WE ARE MOVING TO PARIS! Crazy! It is just crazy what God will call us to do. A few updates.

Currently we are raising support. Things to note about raising funds. It is very difficult for me to ask for help. First, I don’t like to ask for help even in my daily life. I will do it myself. I can take care of me. Funny how those are things that sound like things my kids say. I am always saying if you only asked for help. God seems to be teaching me the same lesson. So when its difficult to ask for help in the small things it is really difficult to ask people in the big things, like raising support. However, I have an ever present God who continues to shape and mold me.

Next update, a totally unrelated subject, I walk around sighing all the time. This is new to me. I don’t recall ever having a time where I remember doing so much sighing. I think its just the magnitude of all of this. Even simple things seem complicated. With that being said when you walk by and I am sighing just ignore it. My head is a 3 ring circus of ideas and thoughts. I really am Ok.

Another update – we had our first family cry about the move. It was a few weeks ago when the girls realized that we wouldn’t be bringing our family dog, Holly, with us. I like our dog enough, but knew she wouldn’t be coming with us and it didn’t really bother me. When the girls realized it they were heartbroken. Tony and I just sat and cried with them. With that being said we are looking for a home for our dog. She is a 12 year old black lab. Sweet as can be but has arthritis. She doesn’t bark but can be a bit of a whiner. Let us know if you are interested in adding a new pet to your family. Hey we will even throw in a few month supply of her arthritis medication.

Next on my list of random thoughts. PAC (Plymouth Alliance Church) youth will be selling fireworks in the WalMart parking lot starting June 24th. Pray with us that this fund raiser would be successful. Funds will be going to us (ENvision Paris), youth or young adults who will be going to Taipei or El Salvador with ENvision, or kids who will be attending other trips related to PAC youth ministries. Pray that we would sell out of fireworks!
Lastly in honor of Father’s Day. I must say how blessed I am to have amazing parents. As well as an amazing family as a whole. But this is spefically about my amazing parent. They gave me a very strong foundation on which to build my faith. They gave me a solid family and a solid church where I could learn and grow in my faith. Now as an adult they listen to my craziness. Give advice when I need it. They let me be my own person. When I tell them crazy things like – I think that Tony and I are being called to Paris and we are bringing your beautiful granddaughters across the ocean with us, they get on board and support us, whole – heartedly. I am truely blessed to have them. So to my Dad , Happy Belated Father’s Day. To my Mom, consider this a Happy Mother’s Day, almost a whole year early.

Anyway that’s enough for now – I must get ready for the Paris party the girls are having tonight to tell and celebrate with the friends about our move. Thank goodness 7 and 9 year olds won’t notice if I wash the kitchen floor or not.

Tony- Biggest fear

There are a numbers of concerns I have in regards to this crazy thing I have led my family into. Money, being one of the biggest concerns. I mean I am supposed to be the provider for my family aren’t I? Am I crazy to leave a great job, honestly a great ministry, a great family of God; to take them to a self funded ministry that hasn’t even started yet. That seems so uncertain and so contrary to what I am supposed to do as the provider for my family. Stability, security, closeness to family, all that ripped from my hands given up. The reality is, I have never provided those things for my family. We have had those things, but I have not been the provider. Those things have been given to us by the Jehovah Jireah the God who provides. I feel confident that He will continue to provide those things to us according to His great mercy. So money and provision, while it probably should be, is not the biggest fear I have.

Okay so maybe biggest fear is the wrong word, or maybe it’s the right one. Maybe fear is the right word. I hate to admit that I have fear. Doesn’t perfect love cast out all fears? So shouldn’t I have better faith to overcome fear? I think the thing that worries me, (worry isn’t the right word either) the biggest fear I have is, (i am rambling because if I write it down the fear will come true stupid) Okay. Rug pulling. That is my biggest fear. We had that happen in the past. Heart set on a ministry, ready to move across the state…bam rug pulled. One vote, one person, one decision and someone else decides that we were not the right family or the right skill set. Rug pulled out. That’s my biggest fear, we put our heart into this and somewhere, somehow the rug is pulled, we are left laying broken and bruised wondering what the stink happened. Why was it pulled? Why did we get onto the rug in the first place?
So honestly while totally wanting to move forward, and totally excited there is a piece of me that needs to go all in. To place myself square in the middle of the rug with open arms, open heart, open hands and let the rug puller come or go, or not. I must answer only to God and whether I walked the path He wanted me to walk, as husband, father, pastor, friend and child of His.
So to mix in another metaphor. I am going to go all in. Here is the song that has been hitting me over the last few weeks.

Come away with me, Come away with me

It’s never too late, it’s not too late

It’s not too late for you

I have a plan for you

I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of me

Open up your heart and let me in




Probably couldn’t be much simpler than that. Too bad I get in the way and worry and fear and the like. Until next tie

3/21/11 Raeni – Meeting with Mequon and so much information

So as I sit in the dark at our computer it is 1:54 A.M actually the 22nd of March. For those that know me the timing of this post is not a surprise when overwhelmed I tend to be plagued by insomnia. So I shouldn’t be surprised with the fact that I am awake. Yesterday was a whirlwind. My mind is overflowing with all the details and things that happened yesterday. What an amazing and overwhelming day. Probably one of many that will fill my life for the next two years.
To chronical the events – yesterday Matt and Kyle came to Wisconsin to see us. The intent of this visit was to meet with the Missions Team in Mequon about the upcoming benefit concert in September and then also start dialoging about what the next few years of our life will look like. For me – these were the first conversations about Envision and the direction of where we are going that I have been present for. It was nice to not have to hear the conversations second handed. Such a big thank you to my Dad and Mom who were here visiting and took the girls shopping which  made it possible for me to go to Mequon this morning.
So the meeting in Mequon. AMAZING! It was truely amazing to see just a glimpse of how God is weaving this all together. I wish I remembered all the details of what was said but I can’t. In many ways seeing how God is pulling this all  together was just too overwhelming. I probably just sat there with my mouth hanging open. It was so exciting to see their passion for the field in Paris. So exciting to gather from their wisdom and knowledge of where we are going to be making our home. So exciting to perhaps meet future teammates?
Anyway things gained from this meeting. Confirmation that we are headed in the right direction. I so needed that from God right now. Meeting people who are excited about the field and excited for us. This was beneficial because they are just plain excited to see where this is going without having the baggage of relationships and friendships. Although we are excited to take this journey with PAC in so many ways it will be harder because though exciting – its also loss. Another potential door this opened is an opportunity for me to perhaps start learning French. If not learning it, then, at least hearing it spoken. Apparently there is a significant French community in the Milwaukee area and I met people today who are making relationships in that community. Those relationship may possibly allow me to start learning French now. A total answer to prayer since learning the language is one of my biggest fears. The other benefit to this meeting was finding people that we can ask questions. The people we met today not only now “stuff” about France but some of them know “stuff” about taking kids into cross cultural experiences. My first question for them to be sent in an e-mail later today when hopefully my words aren’t slurred with lack of sleep – “what questions should we be asking?”
So the rest of the afternoon was spent with Matt and Kyle talking details making preliminary plans. The big date our estimated date to step foot on French soil. Drumroll – that date is January of 2012. Nine short months from now.  This is the date we are shooting for. This is the date we will be praying about. That God would be putting all the details in line so that in January of 2012 we will be ready to go. With that said – we are starting to try to figure out what we need to do. First on the list passports for the girls. Fayth has the perfect pose for this planned. Goofy grin  and arms spread as if to say look at me. They will both be disappointed to realize that these are not funny pics but actually quite boring.
My prayers continue to be that God will lead us in a way we can clearly see. That there will be no questions about whether we should go or not. A prayer that I have prayed and continue to pray (with some hesitaiton and fear) is that God will teach me to be totally dependent on Him. I believe this journey will teach me that in many ways. As I say that, my human nature reacts with much fear. To learn this total dependence I am going to have most things I find familiar and comfortably taken away. I am going to have to learn to rest in Him. So if you read this post will you pray for me and my family – that no matter our location or our comfort level we would rest peacefully in the arms of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. That we would rest comfortably in our Daddy’s hands. On that note I am getting sleepy and am going to rest. I confidently know that my Heavenly Father has the details and knowing that – I can find rest.

3/5/11 – Raeni – and the wait goes on

So -when I started blogging I thought this process would be much faster and I would have a lot more to say – a lot more to get on paper. Well actually it seems to be going very slow. Tony and I agreed to pursue Paris 4 months ago. In my mind a lifetime ago really its only about 120 days. We want to get their but there are tests, interviews, and boards that have to meet. So although Paris is still thought about everyday I have to say some of the excitement is wanning and we are going through our lives. When we leave is to far away, there is no definite yes. With all that said – I am learning about patience and God’s timing – AGAIN!
So what has happened since my last blog – more tests. We took another battery of psych tests. I think its good that when the test asked “do you fall frequently when walking” I could reply with false. We have had another get to know you interview. We are looking forward to Matt’s visit in a couple of weeks. I am hoping to get some definites out of this meeting.
So I guess the main reason that I am writing this blog is what happened at church last night. It was about the lost and the hurting and how the church looks away when we are really called to look for the lost and hurting. Anyway we sang Send Me Out by Fee. If you aren’t familiar with the lyrics here they are.

 Jesus, Lord of my salvation, Savior of my soul
Send me out to the world to make You known, Jesus
King of every nation, this world’s only hope
Send me out to the world to make You known

Send me out to the world

I wanna be Your hands and feet
I wanna be Your voice every time I speak
I wanna run to the ones in need
In the name of Jesus
I wanna give my life away
All for Your kingdoms sake
Shine a light in the darkest place
In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus

Carry to the broken hearted mercy You have shown
Send me out to the world to make You known
And to the ones in need of rescue
Lead me I will go
Send me out to the world to make You known
Send me out to the world

I wanna be Your hands and feet
I wanna be Your voice every time I speak
I wanna run to the ones in need
In the name of Jesus
I wanna give my life away
All for Your kingdoms sake
Shine a light in the darkest place
In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus

Here am I, I will go
Send me out to make You known
There is hope for every soul
Send me out, send me out
Here am, I will go
Send me out to make You known
There is hope for every soul, so send me out

I wanna be Your hands and feet
Be Your voice every time I speak
I wanna run to the ones in need
In the name of Jesus
I wanna give my life away
All for Your kingdoms sake
Shine a light in the darkest place
In the name of Jesus

I wanna be Your hands and feet
I wanna be Your voice every time I speak
I wanna run to the ones in need
In the name of Jesus
I wanna give my life away
All for Your kingdoms sake
Shine a light in the darkest place
In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus

As we sang this song I was reminded of something Tony said recently – it was about the idea of really meaning what you sing to God. As I stood there singing this song, I thought do I really mean this? Do I really want to be his hands and feet? Do I really want to be his voice? Do I want to give my life away? Do I want to run to the ones in need? If you really think about it, these are big things. These are scary and uncomfortable. Right now I am far to comfortable. Life is easy. In Plymouth – people in need – you have to really go looking for them. One of the things I love about Plymouth that as I walk to work, I wave and know the name of at least 6 people. How many of those people are really hurting? Who do I need to be hands and feet to? So with all that said – no matter where I am I need to be better and being His hands and feet. I need to better at seeing people as Jesus would have seen them. I need to run to those in need.  For however long we are here I need to look as Plymouth as my mission field. Maybe, probably my mission field will change in the next year. No matter where it is – how can I be hands and feet?

1/28/11 – Raeni

So – I am writing today because 1) alot has happened in the last week and 2) Fayth is home sick and things are unusually quiet.
So alot has happened since I bloged a month ago. Most of it this week.
Monday Tony had an interesting phone call about possibly plugging us into a stateside Envision sight until we are ready to leave for Paris. This phone call has tossed us up into the air. It would mean leaving Plymouth sooner. It would be an urban area. While I know that Paris is Urban it scares me far less than going into an Urban American site. Weird right. So last night we had dinner with some trusted men of God to discuss this option. Surprisingly enough, I would be the person that the site needed. Someone with my education is what this site is looking for. It would potentially even be a paid position that I could have while we continued to raise our support. Finished our meeting and Tony and I got in the car and were speachless. We literally sat in silence most of the way home (of course I was sleeping during part of it). So we are praying and processing through this.
Second our 16PF results were found. Yeah! They had been lost for a few weeks, very frustrating. I did not come up as crazy! Yeah Me! Anyway we had an interview regarding those results. Nothing earthshaking or ground breaking but it is crossed off the list. Next we need to take the MLAT and the IDI. The MLAT assesses our apptitude to learn another language. I am just hoping to come up with a score higher than 20. The IDI is for our ability to adapt to another culture. Both are my areas of weakness and Tony’s areas of strength. YUCK! I do not like to lose to him.

 On a side note I was thinking that we should go to different language schools. I don’t think I want him in the same class as me. It will be like economics all over again.
The first boxes have been packed. Two boxes of Christmas stuff. The rest of the Christmas stuff is separated garage sale or storage. My current project is sorting through and getting all the pictures that are randomly in boxes organized and neatly stored. This should be done more than once every 13 years.

The girls are asking questions like will we celebrate my brithday at the Eiffel Tower. Can we speak English at home. Fayth’s persons of the week poster says My dream is to go to Paris. It continues to amaze me how the so openly embrace this change.
On just a quick family note yesterday Fayth was taken off all of her allergy medicine. After 6 1/2 year of being on at least one medication and up to 4 medications daily its amazing that she is done. She only needs to take them as needed. WOW! God has been faithful in leading us to DR.’s that can help her.

12/30/10 – looking ahead-Raeni

So – 2011 is around the corner and at this point I am wondering, will we be ringing in 2012 in Paris? Seems like right now God is pointing us to leaving late this summer. When this started in November I thought I had 18 months to prep and get ready for this idea. Early December we started thinking January 2012 and now the end of December we are thinking late summer of 2011. Yet even with all of that I am still not at all scared off by this process. I am ready to move but know that God’s timing is critical.
Things I am concerned about – stuff. I know its silly and it is just stuff. But what do you do with all of it. Do we save it, do we sell it, do we get rid of it all and move in two suitcases. Aahhh – it has taken 13 years to accumulate all of this and now I need to get rid of most of it. I guess it forces me to take stock of what is really important to us. What things are critically to traditions or the identity of our family. Well, come to our garage sales this summer. I am sure you will find a bargain. Plus I have an amazing couch that will be up for sale.

School – what should we do for school for the girls. This morning I was checking into the international schools in Paris. Tuition is 30,000 dollars a year times 2. We don’t have 60,000 dollars to our name let alone use it to educate our children. This is extremely overwhelming. I need to be patient I know that we will be walked through these stages and decisions. Fayth keeps reminding me she would like to be home schooled. Home-schooling was on my list of things I would never do. Perhaps God is sitting in heaven laughing at me saying, Raeni, my silly daughter, you keep holding onto that list but eventually you will give it all to me.

Did I mention we took our PF 16. No results yet but I didn’t stress too much over it and I did not write a dissertation on why my results were that they were.
Finally, I want to talk about how amazing Fayth and Hannah are handling all of this. We told the girls before we left for Minnesota at Thanksgiving. We didn’t want them to overhear any discussions that would be confusing to them. We are trying to keep them involved in the process to what level we think is appropriate. Even though tears are to be expected as this is an overwhelming and scarey process. Both Fayth and Hannah have embraced this whole heartedly. They are working on their French using a program we bought. They are asking questions. I hope they understand that God is not just calling Tony and I to this ministry but God is calling our whole family. I am confident that God has a role in this for them as well.
To my girls – I am beyond proud of both of you. Your hearts are beautiful, you are princesses. You are beautiful set apart daughters of the King of Kings.

Paris – How it came to be.-raeni

So I guess as an intro to why write this blog I am writing to remember the process and how we got to here and how eventually we will get to Paris. Just so we record the process. The happy, the sad, the frustrating, the emotion that will go into all of this. The second, and probably most important reason is I want Fayth and Hannah to hopefully find the answers that they are looking for when they hate their parents for uprooting them from Plymouth, which we all love so much. I want them to see the process that their Dad and I took to get us here. At 9 and 6 they can’t grasp this yet but when they are older I want them to know how we journeyed with God to this destination.
So if I really look back to where this journey began for me it began in the fall of 2009. At this time I really greived the loss of my career. A dream that I had held tight to, I thought it was just timing. I was thinking once the girls are both in school all day I will get my career back. I will start my licensing process and then start actaully working as a Christian counselor after that. In the fall of 2009 it seemed like I was going to get just that. An opportunity to work with a Christian counselor had presented itself Hannah had just started kindergarten. Tony and I asked people to pray that the door would be swung wide open or slammed shut. Truthfully, it was slammed shut. No question at all, this opportunity was over. At that point I really greived. Over the course of time and tears I really came to realize that this plan that I had was not God’s plan. So now what?
Through that journey I realized I had some places that I wouldn’t let God touch. Mostly it was the idea of what I would or wouldn’t do. I said I would never be a Sr. Pastor’s wife. The idea to me was one of safety. If your husband is “just” the youth pastor you aren’t on the front lines with people. In most things people don’t get too upset with youth pastor. He isn’t the one making changes that affect their lives. Teens are much more flexible they roll with things. I didn’t want the stress of people or the attack that I thought would come with being a Sr. Pastor’s wife. So, I let that idea go. I have a big God. He will take care of us and I don’t want to hold Tony back from what God is calling him to. So I told Tony if you need to be a Senior Pastor I am good with that. I thought we would go to a church maybe church plant those ideas were good with me.
In the spring of 2010 things were restless at our house. Tony was truely tossing around the idea of what is next and then he read Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I can’t say that any book, besides the Bible of course, has affected Tony so profoundly. A brief synopsis is that we play a role in writing our story. Tony and I started talking about the story we were writing. Were we good with the story we were writing for our family? Was there something more? One of the things in the book that stood out in a profound way was for our daughters, I should look up the exact quote but it went something like this. If your daughter is the hero in her own story she won’t date losers. We had seen plenty of girls date losers and seen the paths that their lives had taken and wanted to feircely fight against that. We need to give Fayth and Hannah the opportunity to be the hero in their own stories. How could we write a better story for our family – what was God calling us to?
Then some moments of prophecy. Tony had posted a video of Hannah sing I’m in the Lords Army on facebook. A women from church came up to me on Sunday and told me when she saw that video she prayed that Hannah would sing that song in many languages. From anyone else I probably would have thought oh that’s a nice statement. From this women I took that very seriously, was Hannah meant to be a missionary.  I had already known that Fayth was called for a great purpose. For the first time I started praying that God would allow me to let both my girls go wherever God called them.
Then LIFE 2010 – more prophecy. Standing in the audience one night I had a random thought. I would go oversees and serve. Now this thought was not like me, this was my 2nd trip to life and I had been going to missions conference as long as I remember. We went to Thailand and God confirmed that Asia was not for me. For the first time I was like I would go if that’s where God is calling me. I hadn’t even told Tony that – I was thinking ahhh, the LIFE Conference high when one of our adult sponsors came up to me and said you are going to go to the Mission Field. Again anyone else, I would have been like whatever, that’s nice. This person I know hears things from God, so it made me think.
We get home the restlessness continues but what? We know Tony has a trip to Asia in the fall maybe that will be the answer. We start pursuing some of own ideas.
Then, we hear of a location that is looking for a family to come in learn and then take over a short term missions sight. We investigate. Talk with the people. Pray. During this time I asked the girls if you could anywhere to serve God where would it be. No kidding Hannah come up with Paris. This wasn’t on our list. Who goes to Paris? Right now people are going to Asia, Africa, the Middle East not Paris. Paris wasn’t on our radar. Long story short the place we were investigating isn’t for us. Now what?
Tony goes on his trip to Asia, as he leaves I am ready to say lets go. Whatever you find there. Lets go. Tony goes and the opportunity to go to Paris to work with students comes up. We talk over skype and neither of us have any hesitation. God knew we would go to Asia; but he created us and knew I wasn’t Asia material.
He gave us something else. Something perfect for us. So here it is – we are continuing to pray and we have people praying. We want to go where God calls – right now that’s Paris. We want to write an amazing story for our family, a story where we are centered in God’s will. So right now the door is open and we will go. A new chapter in our stories. We are so excited to see how God leads us. 

Paris – How it came to be.-raeni

So I guess as an intro to why write this blog I am writing to remember the process and how we got to here and how eventually we will get to Paris. Just so we record the process. The happy, the sad, the frustrating, the emotion that will go into all of this. The second, and probably most important reason is I want Fayth and Hannah to hopefully find the answers that they are looking for when they hate their parents for uprooting them from Plymouth, which we all love so much. I want them to see the process that their Dad and I took to get us here. At 9 and 6 they can’t grasp this yet but when they are older I want them to know how we journeyed with God to this destination.
So if I really look back to where this journey began for me it began in the fall of 2009. At this time I really greived the loss of my career. A dream that I had held tight to, I thought it was just timing. I was thinking once the girls are both in school all day I will get my career back. I will start my licensing process and then start actaully working as a Christian counselor after that. In the fall of 2009 it seemed like I was going to get just that. An opportunity to work with a Christian counselor had presented itself Hannah had just started kindergarten. Tony and I asked people to pray that the door would be swung wide open or slammed shut. Truthfully, it was slammed shut. No question at all, this opportunity was over. At that point I really greived. Over the course of time and tears I really came to realize that this plan that I had was not God’s plan. So now what?
Through that journey I realized I had some places that I wouldn’t let God touch. Mostly it was the idea of what I would or wouldn’t do. I said I would never be a Sr. Pastor’s wife. The idea to me was one of safety. If your husband is “just” the youth pastor you aren’t on the front lines with people. In most things people don’t get too upset with youth pastor. He isn’t the one making changes that affect their lives. Teens are much more flexible they roll with things. I didn’t want the stress of people or the attack that I thought would come with being a Sr. Pastor’s wife. So, I let that idea go. I have a big God. He will take care of us and I don’t want to hold Tony back from what God is calling him to. So I told Tony if you need to be a Senior Pastor I am good with that. I thought we would go to a church maybe church plant those ideas were good with me.
In the spring of 2010 things were restless at our house. Tony was truely tossing around the idea of what is next and then he read Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I can’t say that any book, besides the Bible of course, has affected Tony so profoundly. A brief synopsis is that we play a role in writing our story. Tony and I started talking about the story we were writing. Were we good with the story we were writing for our family? Was there something more? One of the things in the book that stood out in a profound way was for our daughters, I should look up the exact quote but it went something like this. If your daughter is the hero in her own story she won’t date losers. We had seen plenty of girls date losers and seen the paths that their lives had taken and wanted to feircely fight against that. We need to give Fayth and Hannah the opportunity to be the hero in their own stories. How could we write a better story for our family – what was God calling us to?
Then some moments of prophecy. Tony had posted a video of Hannah sing I’m in the Lords Army on facebook. A women from church came up to me on Sunday and told me when she saw that video she prayed that Hannah would sing that song in many languages. From anyone else I probably would have thought oh that’s a nice statement. From this women I took that very seriously, was Hannah meant to be a missionary.  I had already known that Fayth was called for a great purpose. For the first time I started praying that God would allow me to let both my girls go wherever God called them.
Then LIFE 2010 – more prophecy. Standing in the audience one night I had a random thought. I would go oversees and serve. Now this thought was not like me, this was my 2nd trip to life and I had been going to missions conference as long as I remember. We went to Thailand and God confirmed that Asia was not for me. For the first time I was like I would go if that’s where God is calling me. I hadn’t even told Tony that – I was thinking ahhh, the LIFE Conference high when one of our adult sponsors came up to me and said you are going to go to the Mission Field. Again anyone else, I would have been like whatever, that’s nice. This person I know hears things from God, so it made me think.
We get home the restlessness continues but what? We know Tony has a trip to Asia in the fall maybe that will be the answer. We start pursuing some of own ideas.
Then, we hear of a location that is looking for a family to come in learn and then take over a short term missions sight. We investigate. Talk with the people. Pray. During this time I asked the girls if you could anywhere to serve God where would it be. No kidding Hannah come up with Paris. This wasn’t on our list. Who goes to Paris? Right now people are going to Asia, Africa, the Middle East not Paris. Paris wasn’t on our radar. Long story short the place we were investigating isn’t for us. Now what?
Tony goes on his trip to Asia, as he leaves I am ready to say lets go. Whatever you find there. Lets go. Tony goes and the opportunity to go to Paris to work with students comes up. We talk over skype and neither of us have any hesitation. God knew we would go to Asia; but he created us and knew I wasn’t Asia material.
He gave us something else. Something perfect for us. So here it is – we are continuing to pray and we have people praying. We want to go where God calls – right now that’s Paris. We want to write an amazing story for our family, a story where we are centered in God’s will. So right now the door is open and we will go. A new chapter in our stories. We are so excited to see how God leads us. 

The Beginning-tony

When did it all start?
Honestly I probably can’t pinpoint a date or a time. I know it had something to do with reading Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. But that was probably more of a culmination than the starting point. You see, God has been stirring in my heart for a while now. Sort of a unsettled spirit, an uneasy feeling and a in quenchable desire all wrapped up in one. Nothing exactly wrong but then again nothing exactly right either…
So I prayed, or more correctly we, Raeni and I, prayed. We prayed for the future. Our future, our children’s future, the future of the church we serve, but more importantly we prayed for the future God wanted us to follow.  We prayed. I kept hoping for an easy out, for a light to shine clearly without the need to uproot my family from their comfort and their friends. Deep inside I knew that was not going to happen but I prayed and hoped and planned that it would, it didn’t.
There were a few fleeces that I had in my mind to reveal God’s plan for me. You know where you say God if you want me to do this you should do this. I have never really been sure if Gideon should have tested God by fleeces but he did, I did also.  The fleeces came back and confirmed that itch, that which I feared. Time to go. But I love what I do, I love the students I serve, I love the people I serve with. My kids love their school, their church, their friends. Our life is established here. Why would we go?
I guess to follow God would be the only answer that makes sense. We have what could be considered everything we need. We have a great home, a great job, a great ministry, great friends, and many great things; yet we still feel uneasy, unsettled and waiting for God to reveal.
Early August 2010 an email came in on a Wednesday, where a short term mission site with Envision/CM&A was looking for someone to come alongside and work with them. I responded back asking questions sensing that this is what God had put before me. There were a few things that held me back from going all in with this opportunity. So we backed out with graciousness and understanding that this is the way we were heading but not in that way or that time.
More prayer, more seeking, more conversations.
A trip to Asia, a conversation with Matt Peace, an opportunity that stirred my heart and fit. More prayers, more seeking, more conversations and we commit to follow God to Paris.
I’ll flesh that out later,
Stay tuned.