So I am letting go of my pride and asking for help.

Tony wrote:

I have not really wanted to ask for money because I guess I have not seen myself as being on a mission but just moving.

At first I guess I thought I could do this (well, the move part) with my little, tiny job, but God has shown me that none of this is me.

So I am letting go of my pride and asking for help.

I have come to the realization I am on a mission.

This whole trip has been a mission and I can’t do this on my own.

Kerri has asked for and gotten support from a few people and my brother-in-law set up a GoFundMe account and donations were brought that way.

We are very thankful for all the support we have received including prayer support because that’s where my help comes from.

I am not sure why but it seems God does not want us driving through Canada. We have been in three times, and each time we have been stopped for different reasons. It seems we are supposed to take a ferry or ship everything.

Any way I look at it it’s going to cost between 8 and 9 thousand dollars. I have spent every dime I had saved, every dime we made selling our stuff, and all the donations to get us to this point.

We are fine with the everyday living expenses because this great job God blessed me with where I can work from home (wherever home may be at the moment) takes care of that. And we can save some money, but it would take me a long time to save 8 to 9 thousand dollars.

The homeless place itself will cost way more than that but one step at a time is good.

I think my pride is the reason we have not made it there so far.

The more people we talk to from that area the more confirmation that there is a big need for what we are going to do. We are moving there to set up a shelter for homeless teens.

So I’m begging for help.

Please share this with your church and friends.

People can donate on this blog if they would like. (PayPal only takes a 3% fee but it looks like the GoFundMe people take out a fee closer to 10%.)

And more about what God’s been doing with our family is on this blog on the Alaska Homeless Teen Center Stuff page here.

Thank you. Tony Stites

And more of our walk of faith is here.

Donate via PayPal here.

Advertisements

Her Dreams

Some people know what they want to be when they’re kids.

When I was a little girl the only 2 things I knew in my heart I wanted to be were a mommy and a wife.  (I’ve been a wife twice.  I guess I was an overachiever with that dream.)

As my oldest child and I were talking today we remembered all her friends who came to her giant slumber party several years ago called me “Mommy” because I asked them all to use sippy cups because I didn’t have water bottles with lids for 20 kids but I had enough sippy cups.  We didn’t want to spill on the carpet.  Some of her friends still call me Mommy because of that.  (I told them their moms may not appreciate them calling someone else by the Mommy name.  It’s cute though and they were just being silly and being the awesome, cute kids that they are.)

~
The thing I can’t stop thinking about is this:

What if there’s a child who needs a mother’s love and care in Alaska and God knew this was His plan for my life a long time ago?  Maybe the reason I didn’t know yet was because I wasn’t asking Him what HIS plans are for my life.  I was just doing what I wanted to do.  Maybe also it’s that He just reveals each next step to us in His timing whether we ask or not.  My husband and I can look back over 35 years and see how God’s been preparing us both for this very thing.

What if there are a hundred kids who need care?

I know there are.  And this is everywhere.  Every city.  Every place.  God leads people and uses us where He wants us.  Our family specifically feels called to move to Alaska for this work.

 

When someone tells you her dreams in life, although they may seem smaller than others’ dreams, her dreams may just prove to be bigger than they looked at that time.  (Being a mommy and wife are AMAZING things to be even if some don’t realize this.  Being one or the other is amazing, too.  And no, I’m not saying to purposefully be a single mom.  I’ve been there (though not purposefully) and it’s TOUGH!  My heart goes out to single moms and dads.  You guys are doing a very important job.)

Just sayin’ when people share what is most important to them, even if you think they’re not the super most important “career” choices many others are working toward, pray with them and help them see how God will use these dreams in their lives.  He’s got a plan for each of us.

The talents and dreams put in our hearts are there for a reason even if we can’t see the whole picture when we’re young.

Prayers for the Alaska homeless teen center are always welcome here.  We don’t know everything about how to do this work but we can look back and see how He’s been preparing us for this over 35 years.  We will keep following as He keeps leading.  We know He’s preparing the way even when we can’t see all of it yet.  We are excited to see who else He’s calling to this mission work.

 

[Note:  Yes, God hates divorce.  But God does NOT disown you if you’ve been divorced.  God uses EVERY part of our story for His Glory.  You don’t have to believe me.  Ask Him to do this with your story.  He will.]

[Another Note:  When people laugh at your God-sized dreams, be kind. Sometimes we all forget to dream big. Sometimes we forget that there is a big God over all this and it’s not actually random at all.]

Stayin’ Alive

I’m stuck.  I mean I’m not really stuck.  We’re just waiting on God.  Actively waiting on Him – but we’re waiting on His timing all the same.

We know waiting goes against life in 2015;  GET it NOW.  DO it NOW.  BE it NOW.  We COULD try to MAKE it happen but we’ve lived and walked with Jesus long enough to know that when we try to make something happen on our own, especially something like this, things just don’t go well.  And we could fail.  That’s okay.  We’re not afraid of failing.  If we fail, then at least we tried to do what we feel led to do to help kids.  (What is worse?  Failing?  Or not trying at all?)  Our goal is to help homeless teens by giving them a safe place to live for a while, teaching job and life skills, and leading them to have closer relationships with Jesus.  If we are trying to do God’s Will, He will go before us and make a way when we can’t see a way.

Some people are laughing at our faith. (That’s okay.  If people laughing at us was gonna stop us, we’d have had to stop as soon as we started telling people about all this that God’s put on our hearts.)

Some know this is for real and are praying with us. (Thank you!  This means SO much to us. Thank you!)

Some HOPE all this is real. (Guess people will have to watch and see what God’s doing. Fly or fall, we’re in this and there’s no going back.  God opens doors no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.  We’ll keep walking in faith toward this homeless teen shelter work He’s been leading us to unless He shuts the doors and steers us another direction.)

We know it’s real.

I keep thinking about people wandering in the desert for 40 years and can’t help but think, “Isn’t that what so many of us do all our lives? We wander.”

I mean, sure we make plans and do stuff. We go to school and to work. We’re part of a church. We have a family – or not. Some stay single. Some get married (some, a few times.)

 

But we wander.

 

I wonder if our wandering isn’t so far from the stories about people wandering in the Bible:

“Hey, believe God is doing this.”

“Nope.”

“Okay, then. Have a good life – or at least as good as YOU think YOU can make it as you wander around aimlessly.”

Then – after all the doubters are gone from this generation, God will do great works that you’ll always wish you’d have gotten to see.

Today I prayed something like, “God, I’m feeling afraid; a little discouraged and intimidated by this homeless teen center quest You’ve got us on. I mean, we can’t quit and don’t even want to because this is the most amazing work You’ve ever done with our lives, but at the same time, the magnitude of this work seems so far beyond us and our abilities – and it is, FOR SURE – and the heartaches we’ll hear about are already breaking our hearts. Would you please send some encouragement?”

I was walking through a thrift store looking for fleece shirts for my family while I prayed this when I hear a song I’ve never heard before in my life.

Not joking. The song sings, “Baby, you got what it takes.”

That made me smile.

Then I was on an aisle all by myself when a woman walked just 2 steps past me and we spoke a moment about finding the right sizes. I said something about colors I hoped to find. She said colors don’t really matter as much. I agreed and said I know warmth is what matters most and told her that we’re moving to Alaska. She told me she goes fishing there sometimes. I said we feel God’s moving us there to take care of homeless teens.

THEN she told me they’ve made friends with a family in Alaska who also felt called by God to do work there (and have been now for a couple years) and they have 2 sons who homeschool and she’d like me to call her to have another family to talk with.  ((Thinking out loud about grammar stuff… Yes, I end sentences with prepositions sometimes.  I don’t even mean to.  The important thing is that it won’t keep me out of Heaven.))

(Coincidence? I think not.)

Ummm… so this brought another smile.  And some much needed comfort to my heart.

A little while later I’m thinking of dangerous situations we may encounter with people and animals in Alaska.

Not even joking.  The song Stayin’ Alive played over the speakers.

This made me laugh!

God is good and He hears our prayers. (And the even cooler part is that He answers.)

 

~~~

We are asking for prayers for finances, houses, buildings, donations (including desks, beds, clothes, money, vehicles, food, books, and everything else I’m not thinking to mention,) volunteers, and for God to keep leading us as we keep walking through the doors He opens.

Thank you and may God bless you so big that you can’t help but see Him.

 

When God Puts A Fire In Your Heart

I’m 45 years old and was never online before just over a year ago. I didn’t want people who hurt me to be able to find me. Yep. I was a coward. My life has been threatened. My body’s been used.

You know how it is when someone hurts you; sometimes fear chokes out good things.

I was afraid.  For YEARS, I was afraid. But God repeats so many times, “Do not be afraid.”  But I did not know HOW to NOT be afraid.

[This is about an Alaska Homeless Teen Center not yet in existence. God’s put this fire in our hearts and we can’t (and don’t want to) ignore it.]

About 5 years ago my kids were at school and my husband was at work and I was putting laundry away, minding my own business, and loving being a mommy and a wife.

That’s when this thought hits my head so strong and I couldn’t ignore it (but I kinda wanted to at the time.) “YOU ARE MOVING.” No.  No. I didn’t hear that. I don’t want to move. Nope. LaLaLaLa. Can’t hear You. Don’t wanna hear that.

[You know? Sometimes I think about this moment and that if God had shown us THEN that this was to help homeless kids, we’d have been packing that day – but in my experience He doesn’t reveal everything all at once.

My guess is that He wants to know if we’ll follow Him and obey.  Also it would probably be too overwhelming for us and our little human emotions to know everything at once.  AND then there is the fact that… well… He’s GOD and doesn’t HAVE to do anything to let us understand stuff.]

Ummmm… yeah that happened. I knew God was tugging on my heart and did not want to hear it. So I told God, The Creator of the Universe and you and me, “No, thanks.”

Right. I know. Dumb thing to do.

I even told one of the elders at church that I didn’t want to move because I loved that church so much and there’s not another one like it so I could never move.

Boy, did that ever change! Some people who had heard about us asking for prayers for things (about 9 years before this) started spreading rumors about our family.  (Why they waited til this time – Dunno.)  The rumors got so bad that people we’d talked with many times literally turned their backs on us as we walked down the halls at church. My children eventually were not comfortable at youth activities and we weren’t able to worship there in peace any longer.

[To the gossipers, you’re welcome that I didn’t include your names.  There wasn’t a reason to do this.  You know what you did.  We know it.  And God knows it.  We forgive you.  This story isn’t so much about you if you notice; it’s about my lack of obedience to God’s Calling.  But your part in it IS important.  I even thought about writing you a Thank You note but wasn’t sure it would be received well.  Anyway, for what it’s worth, Thanks for helping me see that I wasn’t where God was leading me. (But it may not be the best idea to treat people this way in the future.)]

God let me know we’re going to move. I said, “Nope. No, thanks. And one reason why is –> this church is too great!”

He removed that out of my path.

We’re not mad at the people who spread untruths about us.  We know they must hurt pretty badly inside and feel insecure to spread rumors and hurt others the way they do.

A most important part to notice is that I loved a place too much and God redirected me.  [I’ve read that we shouldn’t have any idol that comes before God and –> the very thing I said I couldn’t leave <– was the very thing God took away.]

Since then we’ve been led to different churches and heard the very perfect words at the perfect times for the Walk of Faith we’re on. We’ve met people we may not have otherwise met and heard others who have similar experiences with God moving in their lives. One Sunday it was about stepping out of the boat and trusting God. We are. One was about faith to move mountains. Yep. One time it was about how God can use us to do amazing work and moves us out of our comfort zones and interrupts our lives to do His Work instead of stuff I think I want to do every day.

We know God’s moving our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center. The thing is; I did not even LIKE teenagers until my kids reached the teen ages. I never dreamed of going to Alaska when I was younger. It’s not like I know exactly how to do this work or HOW God’s going to provide (although we can look back through our lives and see that He’s been training us for this very work for over 35 years -even way before my husband and I were married He has been training us for this.)

I don’t know all the answers.

But I’m not afraid.

I’m not sure where we’ll live.

But I’m not afraid.

I don’t know how He’s moving us there.

But I’m not afraid.

~~> I did not make myself not afraid. God did this. <~~

He gave me my confidence back.  This is my miracle.  Who is able to give the gift of confidence? I only know of One.  (Mine had been stolen when I was a little girl along with my innocence when I was 9 years old.)  God gave me my confidence back and then showed me He has a job for me to do. It involves stepping out of my comfort zone and lookin’ like a fool to some people – but I’d MUCH rather be looking like a fool to people instead of looking like a fool to Him.

We don’t know how God’s doing this work but we know He is. It’s too big for just the 4 of us to do. This involves land, buildings, money, paid employees, volunteers, police, counselors, lawyers, desks, beds, supplies to teach job skills, and so much more.

Think about all of it.

Really.

I couldn’t do this by myself even if I’d known the moment I was born that this was my Calling in life.

The cool part is that we don’t HAVE to know all the details.

He’s got this.

It’s about our family being obedient to His Calling.

And when people doubt He’s doing this work in us and with us, that just doesn’t make sense. WHY WOULD I (a scared girl who has never been online on social media or had my pictures online) all of a sudden choose to go online on social media sites, share my life, story, pictures, faith, and all that we believe God’s doing in our lives?

I can think of about 2 billion other things that sound more fun than having our faith mocked and being laughed at (but Jesus said we’ll be mocked for our faith and ridiculed for following Him. So we’re on the right track.)

What if I didn’t go online to share this story even though I feel with every part of me that I’m supposed to? (If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17)

I already told God I didn’t want to move and He removed something (a church) that was in my way of fully trusting Him. I’m not really wanting to test Him again (though I didn’t realize I was testing Him then.)

It’s funny when people talk about their “own plans” because it makes me think of this verse:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. -James 4:13-17

People often talk about what THEY are going to do (i.e. college, marry someone, job, move…) and never mention if they’ve prayed about it or asked God if this was even His Will for them. (I’m not saying people haven’t prayed but I am saying most of the time people don’t SAY they have and many times we all tend to do our OWN things and forget that God is alive and working in our lives ALL the time.)

We have enough courage to share what we feel God is doing in our lives and some are supportive and are praying and waiting on His timing with us. THANK YOU for prayers and words of support and financial support. We’ll keep following as He opens doors.

In all your ways submit to Him,
    and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

~~> To those who doubt God’s doing this, I pray He moves in such mighty ways in this ministry that everyone watching cannot help but see Him. <~~

I can think of a lot of things I could have done instead of being here telling you all this and being mocked for my faith …but when God puts a fire in your heart, it’s not easy to ignore. God’s just done something in me and there’s no going back.

I was blind and now I see. (It’s real stuff. Ask around. The more people we talk with about our Walk of Faith, the more we hear others saying they’ll never go back to another way of living either.)

Prayers, good thoughts, and support are always welcome here.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  -Proverbs 3:6

 

God did this! Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.

Heroes don’t always wear capes.

Sometimes heroes look like everyday people; just like you and me.

Yesterday a woman and her son (people we barely know) loaned us a vehicle for an indefinite amount of time.

Why?

God did this! Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.

~

About 6 months ago our car broke (It’s an older car. Head gasket broke. Too costly to repair everything.)

We’ve been walking almost everywhere we need to go. A few friends have taken us places when we asked and sometimes have let us use their cars when we asked.   (And sometimes people just offered.)

But most of the time over the past 6 months we’ve been walking.

We always wanted to walk more but much of the time we just didn’t. Not living with a car has been a blessing in several ways. We’re getting in better shape, eating less, eating at home more, feel better, we’re NOT in a hurry, and we spend many hours just walking and talking as a family.

Don’t get me wrong. We could have chosen to buy a car on our own timing and our own terms but instead we chose to ask God to show us the right one and the right timing.

Many choices in life we’ve made on our own. We’re tired of that. Now we try to include God and ask Him to lead our schedule and our choices every day.

He does lead.

We just missed hearing about 2 vehicles in the past few months by about ONE day each time. Both vehicles sold for only $500 each.

I could have been upset. But the thing is that we’re praying and we know that God answers prayers. So since both vehicles passed us by we knew neither was the right one for us or the right timing for whatever reasons.

God’s timing is amazing.

When we wait on Him, trusting Him, and following Him, life is just better.

2 days ago (JUST before Thanksgiving) our daughter wasn’t feeling well. We ended up going to the Emergency Room, being transported by ambulance, and surgery done – all within about 7 hours.

It was unexpected and a pretty crazy week. It was appendicitis.

Friends gave us a ride to the hospital. Usually they don’t hear the phone but did this time and were at our door in less than 10 minutes. Thank you, Danny and Meredith.

Another friend brought my husband and oldest daughter to the hospital and stayed with us during the surgery. He wasn’t in a rush. God sent him to help us and just to love on us right when we needed a friend. Thank you, Mike.

Two of our daughter’s Bible class teachers came to visit her the next morning.  This was pretty cool because about 24 hours earlier they’d been in Israel.  They took the time after their long trip to visit her after surgery.  Thank you, David and Kari.  This was very sweet of you.

A friend and her mom also showed up at the hospital and were there just in time to hang out for a while in the hospital room and give our daughter someone to spend time with which put a much needed smile on her face. Then we were released (earlier than expected) to go home and they were able to drive us home. No hurry. No pressure. Just love. Thank you, (you know who you are.)

After we got home another friend and her dad came by our house. We talked while the girls played. We told him about the calling we feel to move to Alaska to open and take care of a homeless teen center and we talked about our car situation.

We had no idea what was going to happen next.

He made a phone call to his mom who is not needing to use her truck and he took us to get the truck right then. No strings attached. Thank you, Elizabeth, and Leland, and Rachel.

It may be a little while before our daughter can walk like she used to. Receiving a vehicle right now is quite amazing timing. It’s not coincidence.

God’s timing is perfect.

I do not have to be able to explain it.

I do not have to defend it.

I do not have to know HOW God is going to do something.

That’s not my job.

It’s my job to ASK Him.

It’s my job to believe that He will.

It’s my job to tell others about everything God has done in my life.

Yesterday a woman and her son (people we barely know) loaned us a vehicle for an indefinite amount of time.

God did this! (Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.)

 

She said, “You mean today?”

She said her family may as well be as far away as Mars. I asked what she was doing for Christmas dinner. If she didn’t have any plans she could hang out with us, play board games, eat dinner, and watch a movie.

We saw her a couple more times before Christmas.

We asked her once more and gave her our phone number. We didn’t want her to feel like she HAD to come to dinner so we didn’t bug her about it again.

~
Dinner was almost done and it was around 5pm. We hadn’t heard from her yet. I whispered something like, “Okay, God, I’m not sure what to do. If You want her here, please show us. If not, then okay.”

I called her number. No answer. I left a quick message; something like, “Hey, we’d love for you to still come to dinner if you want to. It’s almost ready to eat. Please let us know. We can come pick you up if you need a ride.”

Within minutes she called saying she was at a nearby store (which was closed for Christmas) and would love to hang out.

She was only a few minutes away from our house. After she was in the car, I told her I could have driven to her house to pick her up. I didn’t mind at all. “Where do you live?”

She said, “You mean today?”

~
Our family has known for a long time that we are to help take care of homeless people.

Knowing this, we’ve tried to get involved in local homeless shelters and every year we’re told they have enough help.

~~> What we’ve learned is that people don’t have to ask other people how they can help. Ask God how He wants you to help. He’ll show the way. <~~

He brought a homeless woman to our door for Christmas dinner.

God will make a way when there looks like there is none.

That tug on your heart is there for a reason. Ask God what He wants you to do. He’ll lead you – even in the little things.

~
He also leads in the bigger God-sized things.

God put it on our hearts (about one year ago) that He’s moving us to Alaska to open and care for homeless teen center. He makes a way where we cannot see a way.

Prayers always welcome here.

We don’t know everything about how to do this God-sized job but we can look back and see how God has been preparing us for this for over 35 years.  We’ll keep following as He opens doors.

This is all about God and His Power. We are just His hands and feet.

Questions I have when living by faith

(Our personal situation and the Alaska homeless teen place)

It’s frustrating to know something but to be waiting and not know when or how God is doing something. I am learning that HOW we wait -while we wait- is very important. He’s teaching and leading us every day which is something I wasn’t as aware of in the past.

When our car broke down I thought, “Oh well. Since we’ll be moving soon maybe we won’t need another car for now.” (That’s been about two -update- five months which has been okay, really.)

We’d like to ask for prayers about the car situation.
And also prayers for when and how for the Alaska homeless teen place.

As for the car, we’re asking God if we’re to buy (used of course) or lease or wait… We have been okay for a couple months without one because we’ve walked many places and also a sweet friend has loaned us her van for grocery store visits etc. If we bought one, would we sell it when we move?

All these questions! It can be frustrating living by faith!

About 14 years ago, my husband and I talked about knowing we would help teens at some place like a camp type of place. I said it seems to have a game room and shade and rocks or benches (or both.) And kids can learn skills there and study Bible lessons they are interested in and maybe they can earn a way to paint a brick or something like that if their homework is done… and now 14 years later we know it’s Alaska and that it looks like it’s a homeless teen place.

We tried to get involved at the different churches we’ve been over the past years but it’s only been minimal that we’ve been able to help and we know there is more we are supposed to do.

To know it ~but to be waiting~ is a tough place to be.

Some people have known us for years and know we’re for real. Some have just met us and still know this is really happening. Some think we’re silly and don’t know what we’re talking about. That’s okay. Some people secretly hope God moves in big ways because they know there is something bigger to believe in but would like to see some kind of proof or something. The people who doubt will see sooner or later whenever God moves in the God-sized ways. As for now, we wait. I hope it’s not another 14 years before He shows us the next part.

It took about five months for me to be tired of living out of boxes and the inconvenience of not knowing what’s next – but the thing is… we will wait – and do the next thing in front of us each day.  (At this point I’m not sad or caring about the few skeptics asking why we’re not in Alaska YET.)

The truth is we are going to obey Him. And if that looks weird to people, that’s okay. We’ve looked weird before and we’re used to being different. God calls us to be different. I never thought I’d be living out my faith in front of so many people but that’s okay also. (Writing the blog -or writing a book- is not something I ever thought I’d be doing.)

I read something once that said when a toddler learns to walk, we don’t tell him go away and be ashamed until he can learn to walk (or even run) and then he can be seen again. No. That would not be helpful. We encourage him until he learns to walk. We help him up. We don’t laugh at him. “What a silly baby! What does he think he’s doing; trying to walk?! Sit down and stay there, baby! You should be embarrassed.”

If you have room on your prayer list, I am asking for prayers specifically about the car situation. If we bought one, then would we sell it? What if we’re to fly to Alaska? What if we’re driving an RV like we think it may be and we pull a trailer behind it so we’d have no room for a car?

We’ve met some other people who ask God what He wants them to do every day and they also say the same thing; they will never go back to another way of living.

Deciding “my own schedule” gets some things done but I think I missed a million moments of what God had in mind for me because I wasn’t looking for that.

Just thinking out loud.

Prayers appreciated.

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser

To donate please click the link below

Donate Button

Please share?

This is bigger than just our family.  This is more than 4 people moving to Alaska.

This is huge!  This will take much more than money.  This will need volunteers, paid employees, land, buildings, donations, beds, food, chairs, computers, desks, clothing, sewing machines, counselors, police, lawyers, cooks, janitors, financial guys, etc.

Prayers please?

The same God Who gave Power to David’s sling and stones is able to lift us to do His Work when we obey & look to Him & give Him the Glory.

 

 

The Ark In My Front Yard by Tony Stites

The Ark In My Front Yard by Tony Stites

Here’s the short version:

God is calling our family to move to Wasilla, Alaska.  We will be helping to take care of teens at a homeless teen center that is not even in existence yet and I need financial, prayer, and other support in completing the mission.  Please share our story.

The long and interesting version is below:

The Journey.

I started on a journey and never knew it.  If it was not for my wife I don’t know if I would have opened my eyes to see it.

Growing up I wanted to live off the land. I saw a movie about a kid who moved out in to the wild and lived off the land with a hawk. As time went by and life wore me down, I forgot about that dream.

Prison.

I was 21. I got myself in trouble for armed robbery and spent eight years in prison in Oklahoma. Toward the end of my time there I was at a work release job. That’s where I met a man who helped change my life. He started studying the bible with me and after a while he arranged it so I could go to church with him on Sundays. Right before I was getting out they were having a youth rally close by and he asked me if I would speak.  I don’t know if the speech was any good, but it inspired me to want to keep speaking.

From that point on I knew I was to work with teens.

My Wife.

I made parole and part of my parole was to get out of Oklahoma. This is the part of my life where I met my old crush from Oklahoma and got married. Between then and now we went to church in McKinney, Texas, much of the time. Different things happened here and there that led us to different churches.

Looking back on all of it I can see God’s hand guiding us, and growing us for this specific thing.

Youth Group.

When my oldest daughter got to the age of being in the church youth group I tried to get involved.  But it seemed that my prison background and openness about struggling and overcoming pornography addiction kept me from being able to be involved.

At least that’s what I thought the problem was at the time.

There came a point I decided, “Well maybe God does not want me working with a youth group.” So I started asking God what He DOES want me to do.

Giving It All Over To God.

After praying and searching I talked to Kerri and we decided the first step was to find out if God wanted me still working where I’ve worked for over 16 years. So we prayed and then wrote a letter asking for a raise.  If the raise was this amount or higher we knew to stay and if it was this or lower, we would take this as a sign that God has something else for us to do.

Guess what? No raise.

For a while I thought this is where the journey began but I can now see that the journey started the day I saw that movie and probably even before that.

Everything in my life has directed me to this point.

I don’t know if God removed my dreams from my mind so He could take me through other things, or if it was satan trying to destroy God’s plan for my life.

Working From Home.

The company I had been working with for over 16 years had just moved to another building. Up to this point they would never let me work from home. Well I could every now and then but for a regular thing is was out of the question. There was a mess up with the ethernet connection and the PRI. We still had everything connected at the old building but we had to be out, so the company asked us to work from home for the next week or two. Well three or four weeks went by and my boss asked me when was I coming back IN to the office to work. I told him, “I’m not. Unless you make me.” From that point on I have been working from home.  That was 2 years ago.

Alaska.

I wrote to my boss and said, “Hey we are moving to Alaska. Can I work from home in Alaska?” About fifteen minutes later he calls me up and asks if we’re serious and I say yes. Then he tells me that it would be great and it would really help him out. It would leave Tech Support open for an extra three hours because of the time difference.

I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing but hey, God works His own way. So I am moving to Alaska but with the same job I thought God was moving me away from.

The Mission.

So now Kerri tells me, “Well don’t just get excited. You need to pray and ask God what he wants you to do.” So I start praying. And start looking at how much it’s going to cost to move.

A few years ago if God would have said, “Move to Alaska,” I’d have had the money. I spent our entire savings on opening our photography business, PhotoSentimental. So we cannot make this move on our own.

His Power.

We believe the timing was because God wants to show His power and show me and everyone else that it’s not up to us to do His will on our own. He is in control.

Advice About Alaska.

Kerri sent emails to several churches asking about advice on moving to Alaska. She got several emails back. One of the preachers and I talked about why I thought I was being called to move to Alaska. I told him I had been doing research and I had found that a lot of the small villages did not have churches. My idea was to pick a village and go help them with doing every day chores on the weekend and to tell them about Jesus.

The preacher explained not only had this been tried before but that they had not had success with it.

Well I believe that’s why God is sending me.

I know.

What an idiot.

Like God needs me there to do something He could have done with all the other people who tried.

The preacher told me if I was really set on doing this he could get me in contact with a pilot when I got there and it will cost us a lot of money for the pilot to fly me out and back.

God Leads.

God led us back one Sunday to a church we’ve been part of on and off for 15 years. To our surprise they were talking about having a Harvest Sunday the next week. They said this amount was how much money they needed for the ministries they already decided to support. And then they said if they go over they will just have to find new ministries to fund.

Kerri turned to me after church and said, “Follow me.”  She felt we were supposed to talk with two of the church leaders and told them that we were moving to Alaska to minister there. They told us to write up our plan and give it to them.  We said that if more money came in than their budget would they pray about our ministry we’re doing and help move our family to Alaska.

The Plan.

I did not have a plan.

We did not know what to write.

We just felt God was calling us to move to Alaska and to minister to the native Alaskans but we had no idea what the ministry looked like so I sent a message to my new preacher friend in Alaska and said I might be able to get funding for my ministry but I really don’t know what it looks like and I asked if he could help me figure it out.

He said it was so strange that I asked when I did. He had just opened an email about this year’s Alaska lectureship and it’s going to be about evangelism.

He said there are three preachers who sent this message and that I should contact them. So I sent a letter to all three.

After a few days I decided to call.

The Same Old Story.

This preacher told me the same thing the other one did. Working with the villages takes like 15 years just to gain trust.

And he told me his church was full of military families and other people who moved there to climb the corporate ladder and after they got their next promotion they would be out of there.

He told me he would love to have me at his church and that he could use someone who would help make a strong backbone for the church.

I told him that sounded great but I did not feel God was moving me there just to be a part of a local church.

The Next Guy.

The next guy I called started to give me the same story, but then he started telling me ways they were trying to get into the villages, like through prison ministry and working with an adoption agency.

He said there were more kids than families.

He then said something like, “What we really need is a homeless teen shelter.”

We’re your guys. (And now we believe God has shown us a bookkeeper, a gardener, a physical education coach, a history teacher, and a home school teacher.  All of these have been in our thoughts and prayers.  And we believe God’s shown us who they all are.  So we’ll be moving to Alaska with our army of servants ready to help.)

The Empty Church Building.

This preacher said they are trying to build a new church building but had to stop until they could sell the old building. It is a big building and is on eight acres of land.  They thought it was sold before but it fell through and maybe this is the reason why.

My Dad.

My dad’s a preacher.

I called my dad up and was telling him how building the Ark was going.

It was funny because his first words were something I had forgotten about. He said, “Wow! That is exactly what you and Kerri said you wanted to do when you first got married.”

The Ark.

This is the ark that is in my yard.

Why is the ark there?

Well I believe God put the ark there.  Not so I would have something to write about but so God can show people He does work in our lives.

Open your eyes and trust Him and he will send you on great adventures. Some will be sad, some scary, some wild and some will leave you asking “Why?” like in Habakkuk.

But one thing’s for sure. If you have faith in God and trust in Him, He will get you through all of it.

He will turn your pain in to a healing tool.

He will turn your scary moment into comforting.

And He will take your wild adventures and turn it in to an ark in your yard.

His Money.

I was not always broke financially.

I think God designed it this way for His story and to show His power.

I have no clue how any of this is going to happen. What I am doing is what I feel God leading me to do.

I hate asking for help. That is one reason I went to prison in the first place. But like with all God’s adventures, they are designed to make you grow.

Financial Help.

If you want to donate, please email itisallaboutfaithdonate@gmail.com

We are also in the process of making a donate button online and we’ll be glad to send the link when we get this part figured out.  If you know you are to be part of making this happen, email us and we’ll figure out how to get you a receipt for your donation.  The name of the teen place is in the process as is the non profit work we need to do.  He leads. It’s been a long journey. And we haven’t even really started the work yet.

Please Share Our Story.

If you do not feel called to help financially or have no idea how to help please just share this story.

I know God has other people who are supposed to be a part of this because I know nothing about building a homeless teen center and I know I am not capable of doing everything it takes to make it happen.

Why A Teen Center?

I know this has been long but for those who are interested this is why a teen center.

Back in the 1800s when people first started moving to this area, different religions decided to divide Alaska up into sections.

Instead of bringing the Native Alaskans to God they made them not trust people.

Our first goal will be to get the teens to a safe place and make sure they are healthy.

The next thing is to help educate them in skills that will help them survive on their own and make a living.

The most important thing is to let our light shine so that they can see God and are led to Jesus.

There are state run places. The state can house them and feed them, but what they are not doing is showing them God.

Where does an Alaska teen go after he is given the tools to survive and has been given the Light?

He goes where we have had no luck.

He goes where we are not trusted.

He goes back and shows his village how well he is doing, and he shows His Light.

 

~

One of the preachers in Alaska responded quickly after our Ark letter.  He has given us permission to share this.

Great story! Has the church in Texas offered any help? Even if they could do a one-time offer just to help 5you make the move to Alaska there are always employment opportunities here for those who are willing to work. So keep that option in the back of your mind. There is also a tremendous need in Alaska for foster care especially in the Anchorage area. They simply can’t find enough families who are willing to take on that responsibility. So that’s another option to consider. If our congregation were more financially stable we could consider helping families like yours who want to move here to do the Lord’s work. But we’re like so many other congregations in the area. We are plagued with what churches in Alaska typically call “transfer growth” – where families transfer in but stay briefly before leaving again. We have a very transient membership of Air Force and Army families who are here for only three years at most. They’re here just long enough for us to get to know and really love them and then they’re reassigned elsewhere. Then there are others who move to Alaska thinking this is the land of opportunity only to face a harsh winter or two before deciding they can’t handle the cold dark winters. I get really frustrated by all this but it’s just a fact of life about trying to do the Lord’s work in Alaska. But every now and then there are those who move to Alaska and never leave. But they are a rare breed. If you can find the support you need to make the move I think you would never lack for opportunities to fulfill your dreams of making your dreams a reality. Please keep me posted about your progress.