If God planted a ministry in your heart…

God can move the mountains that are in the way.

There are so many ministries that God planted in people – but that haven’t begun – because we (members of church) put our faith for financing, encouragement, prayers, and other support in leaders of a church.

Please read that again.

If God has laid a ministry on your heart and you don’t find the leaders of a certain congregation to be in prayer with you, encouraging your God-given talents, believing with you that God is calling you and that He calls each of us in His timing to do work He’s prepared in advance for each of us to do,

I pray you prayerfully consider that it’s (probably way past) time to look  UP  instead of looking for support all around.

 

Sometimes leaders of a church or organization will not share (and I cannot understand why) the dream God’s given you with the rest of the congregation and a reason I think this is sad is because God only knows who else shares your passion but since the elders, preachers, pastors, teachers, deacons, or select committees won’t share what you’re feeling God doing in you with the rest of the church, others with the same message on their hearts are not even aware of the ministry God’s growing inside your spirit.

 Please don’t let that steal your joy or your faith. You know the opposition wants to kill ministries before they’re even born. What a horrible trick to use churches to extinguish God-ignited passion! We’ve all been tricked.

(Maybe your hope has been in the wrong place.) Stay in prayer.

If God has given you the dream of a ministry, you KNOW that He is MORE than capable to provide everything that is needed to carry that job out; including bringing you to the very contacts He knows you need, providing the money you need, and the land, buildings, and supplies. HE is The God of the impossible and all HIS resources are overflowing! You can have a body of believers praying for you from all over the world!

You can trust God to lead and provide better than anyone else.

Trust HIS timing even when (you or) others seem to think something is not happening fast enough. Trust Him to align your steps, asking Him to guide you every day.

If church leaders tell you that the money is already budgeted for the next year – or ten years… maybe their faith isn’t what it needs to be. It’s possible that the leaders’ lack of faith that God will provide for ANY ministry He plants in someone is something He will make them aware of eventually. Maybe right now they aren’t able to see beyond what they can see. (It is also possible that God is not using a certain group to provide financial support  – but even if they truly believe the money donated at that location is to be used in other ways, the leaders can STILL provide much support including sharing what the ministry is about and actively praying with you and for you.)

Sometimes everyone seems to struggle with having little faith. (God’s been reminding me to be kind about this always no matter who I’m talking with because some days the struggle of little faith is within me.)

God works with us all at different times and in different ways.

 

If God is calling you to begin a certain ministry, keep trusting God, asking Him for confirmation, provision, wisdom, and guidance.

Maybe God wants you looking to HIM for support that ONLY HE can give.

It’s just a thought – and it’s one He’s brought me to after seeking, asking, and knocking for answers.

This letter is to encourage you to look beyond what you can see (and who you can see) and to keep praying for God to lead in ways and open doors that ONLY He can open anyway.

Your friends cannot open doors God has closed and your enemies cannot close doors that God opens for you.

You can know that I’m already praying about the ministry He’s planted in your heart (maybe it was planted a long, long time ago) and it will be exciting to hear what He does in your life! It’s not too late.

It doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. A tiny, baby step of faith is a great beginning.

 

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 3:5-6

 

We are UNhurried schoolers.

We are UNhurried schoolers. It’s a beautiful way to learn!

Yes, we’re homeschoolers.

Yes, we’re unschoolers.

Yes, we’re interest-led schoolers.

Yes, we’ve been public schoolers (many years.)

Yes, we’ve attended private schools (a couple years.)

Yes, we’re teaching our kids about survival, writing, reading, math, history, science, home economics, Bible, financial peace (with Dave Ramsey,) and much more.

But not all at the same time.

The best part about learning with my Homeschool Homies is that we are absolutely NOT in a hurry anymore.

We are learning. We are learning every day (even in the summer and on holidays.) And my kids LIKE it!

Today as I was teaching my 12 year old daughter how to use the sewing machine, I heard one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my whole life.

As we were not rushed… (because I do not believe true learning happens as quickly as many teachers are being told they must move…)

As we were not frustrated… (because several projects aren’t due for several classes where each one has a deadline…)

We are not worried about if the teachers would say she did the job “right” enough to pass a standardized test…

We are not focused on 10 different subjects every day.  We focus on 2 or 3 subjects each day.

We are learning to sew. Right now my kids are learning to sew with a sewing machine.

And it’s great!

Some of the most beautiful words I could ever hear came straight from my daughter’s heart today.

“I really like doing this stuff with you, Mommy.”

Praise God for UNhurried learning (and moments) like this.

Praise God for beautiful UNhurried words.

Lord, please UNhurry each of us and show us Your amazing plan for our lives. Amen.

 

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.