Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Roller Coaster Month.

I know it's been over a month since my last update, but I haven't had an internet connection at home.  We made it to Florida.  It was a day later than I originally thought, but we arrived in one piece.  We have had great days and not-so-great days.  We have had emotional breakdowns, and emotional triumphs.  We have had good family experiences and crummy ones.  All in all, it's been one heck of a roller coaster month.

We started our journey to Florida on 8/12.  We left our home of 4 years and loaded up the 22' Penske truck (that we only filled 2/3 of the way full, so didn't need a truck that huge anyway, but I'm a bonehead and wouldn't listen when people told me otherwise, but I digress) with the car on a dolly, and, after crying with my parents, hit the road.  Let me start by saying our kids were amazing during the entire trip.  Sure there was some fighting over who would ride with Daddy in the truck with the a/c (the a/c broke in our van shortly before we left.  Stupid Devil trying to discourage us from moving.), but they never asked if we were there yet.  We got to the border of Wisconsin and Illinois and got stopped for more than 2 hours due to an accident about 5 miles in front of us.  I literally had the truck parked in the middle of I39.  This caused us to miss out on hanging out with some friends in IL that night and later down the road near Nashville.  This was the least of our concerns.

The next day I got a call from 1-800-FLOWERS saying they think someone stole my identity.  I looked up my checking account and, sure enough, someone got ahold of my check card and tried to buy flowers and some stuff from Bed Bath and Beyond.  It was a big pain in the butt.  I couldn't use my check card to buy diesel for the rest of the trip.  

After an extra hotel night we arrived at our home in Clearwater, Florida.  We started moving our stuff in to our place and discovered COCKROACHES...a lot of cockroaches.  For the first few nights we were killing 6-10 per night.  This is where the breakdowns started.  I was ticked off that people weren't clean enough next to us to keep them away.  After a couple spraying and baiting treatments we have them under control.  We're only seeing 1 or 2 every couple of days.

Now for the good news... Jolene's family has been awesome.  These are cousins that we don't really know.  Jolene hadn't seen them in close to 20 years, but they welcomed us with open arms.  They have had us over for barbecues, fixed our van's a/c, taken us out for dinner and taken us out to do some touristy-type things. Thanks to you all for welcoming me in to the family.

After the breakdowns of the first couple days we took a drive to Clearwater Beach and Pier 60.  That is my new favorite place on Earth.  The beach is awesome.  There are shops everywhere and cool restaurants. (Hulk) Hogan's Beach Shop is there.  One of the cool things is every Friday and Saturday night they play a family movie in the park by the beach.  It's awesome.

Sometimes God brings you through the roaches so he can show you how awesome paradise is.

Monday, July 1, 2013

His Will and Timing are Perfect...

I thought I'd give an update since it's been a couple weeks.  A few days ago I felt challenged by God to read through the Bible in 90 days.  If I am honest, I'll admit that reading the Bible has always been a challenge for me.  I love the Word of God, but reading it has always been hard.  Anywho, when you are going through it so quickly, you get right to the good stories.  I have already read about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and today I just read about Joseph.  Abraham was called to leave everything he had known and go to a strange land with strange people that lived in a strange culture.  I sort of feel like that right now.  We are completely in the dark.

Hopefully after today the job situation for one of us will look a little less bleak.  Jolene has a phone interview today with a hospital in Tampa.  It isn't her dream position, but it's something.  As we've been planning our move we have said continually, "We can do anything for 6 months to a year."  We are praying for His will and timing to be perfect.

We are still praying for a place to live too.  Jolene's cousin has a friend that may have a house for us, but we are playing the waiting game for that too.  Thank God the weather is warm in Florida because we might have to live in our car for a bit.  I'm only kidding, but not really.  Again, we're praying for His will and timing to be perfect.

We are also still praying for some people to support us monetarily.  It's hard because we aren't the pastors of the new church, and we don't have any leadership title, but we are treating this as not so much a missions trip, but a missions life.  We need people to believe in what we are doing and pray and give to help us get there.  Once there, we will have the means to live, but getting there is the hardest part.  Moving is expensive. It will cost a couple grand just for the moving truck and gas to get there.  Not to mention the deposit/first and last month's rent that we need for a house or apartment in St. Pete.  If anyone feels led to help us they can donate at www.youcaring.com/blizzards_to_beaches .  All we know is that His will and timing are perfect.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Praying For Wisdom

According to the Bible, Solomon was the wisest person to ever live.  He was told by God to ask for anything and it would be granted.  He could have asked for money, power, or anything else, but he asked for wisdom.  That says a couple things about him: 1) he was already wise enough to know that if he was truly wise he'd get the other things, 2) he understood that God doesn't want us to go after things, but rather after His mindset.  It's always a good idea to model behaviors after those that have been successful, so I'm asking for wisdom like Solomon.

We have a little over 60 days until we are moving, and I'm starting to freak out.  At the risk of looking tacky I set up a web site for people to see our mission and donate to help support us in God's call on our life (youcaring.com/blizzards_to_beaches).  That is fine and good, but with so many people going on missions trips asking for the same, I don't want to make people annoyed with another person seemingly begging for money.  At the same time, if I was in a position to give, I'd want someone to tell me how I could do so.  It's a catch 22 for me.  The question becomes, "How do I ask people to support us without sounding like I'm trying to guilt them in to it?"

This is why I'm praying for wisdom.  We know that God has called us to go to St. Pete.  We know that he will provide.  We need the wisdom in knowing how.  Should we get a big truck and pack it all in, or should we be selling everything and starting over?  What size truck or trailer do we need?  Where are we going to live?  Where are we going to work?  Should I go down early and find work, or keep applying online and hope something breaks?

Listening and obeying God's call on your life is amazing.  It's exciting, and I think about it constantly.  As we make our decisions about what to do, we are asking God for his direction.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Welcome to the Beginning

Hey friends, family, and other random people that happened to stumble across my page.  I want to introduce myself.  My name is Aaron.  I'm a married father of 2 amazing kids.  I started this blog to keep people posted about what is going on in my life, in my family's life, and to share my journey of faith that God is leading us on

About 2 months ago my wife and I felt God leading us from the frozen (at least 6 mo. out of the year) tundra to greener pastures, St. Petersburg, Florida.  Holy moley!  That's a big change.  Really God?  1600 miles is a long way away.  Are you sure?  We hate winter, but this is a big move.  What started as a bout with cabin fever which we likely would have never acted on, has morphed into a calling by God to help plant a church in Saint Petersburg.

My wife, Jolene, has family in St. Pete (as it is affectionately called by the locals), and we visited there 2 years ago.  As soon as we got on the plane to go home to Minnesota we said to each other, "When are we moving?"  We didn't move, but every time we'd get a blast of cold air, or a winter storm we would look at each other and ask when we were going to move to Florida.

This happened a lot during this past spring, as we had blizzards in the forecast during the first week of April.  I was trying to satisfy some cabin fever and my own curiosity by looking at rent prices there.  Wouldn't you know it, if we found similar jobs we could easily afford to live in Florida.  Like I said before, we probably wouldn't have acted on it, but I soon got the nudge from God that I needed.

Literally 2 days after I started looking at homes/apartments in the area, a good friend of mine, who I was in youth group with, and had been in a school for church planters posted a link to his blog saying that he and his wife decided where they were going to plant their church: Saint Petersburg, Florida.  I told this to Jolene and her response was priceless, "SHUT UP!"  I don't believe in coincidence.  I believe that God has a purpose for everything we do, and all of our desires, but I wanted to do what the Bible says and put God to the test.

My son has suffered from anxiety from the day he was born.  He hates any type of change in routine, so much so that he wore the same pair of shoes, curling his toes to fit in them because he didn't want the stress of shoe shopping.  When he came upstairs to 6" of snow on the ground 2 days after I saw my friend's post about their decision to plant their church in St. Pete and declared, "That's it.  I've had it.  When are we moving to Florida?" I knew that God was doing something.

Little by little God has answered every question I've had in a favorable manor.  I'm going to school for teaching elementary school and Florida is ranked in the top 5 for teachers in the nation.  Good for my future. Jolene is in hospital administration.  The #1 industry in St. Pete is medical research.  Good for her future.  My daughter is on board, OK with leaving her friends and excited to make new ones.  God's will is becoming very clear.  It's amazing what happens when you take a step of faith. The pastor I had growing up always said, "Walk in His ways, and He will give you ways to walk in."