People keep saying God doesn’t lead today.

Maybe the reason so many people say God doesn’t lead them today is because people keep saying, “He can’t.”

Think about it.

If someone kept saying (or believing) that He doesn’t or won’t or can’t do something today in 2016, then why would He?

He has nothing to prove to anyone.

God says

 My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:  – John 10:27

My prayer is that God moves in people’s lives so big that they cannot help but see Him work in their lives (and then share it.)

I get it.

I was 40 something before I ever “felt called” by God to do something. I remember vaguely what life was like before that but life is WAY more satisfying after finally beginning to walk in faith.

The truth is that I have heard about Jesus my whole life but I never realized I wasn’t giving Him my time (which is something I believe He wants from everyone.)

My time was my god and God wants NO OTHER gods before Him.

You know how I know this?

Because He says

You shall have no other gods before Me. – Exodus 20:3

I mostly lived every day -for years- without a thought or prayer asking God what He may want me to do with the time He gifted to me.

 

It’s funny when you tell people you feel God tugging on your heart to do something.

Many will probably tell you it’s not true or it can’t be done.

The thing I can’t figure out is…

Do Christians really not believe God -The Creator of everything- is big enough to put a dream in someone’s heart?

Or is it that He just wouldn’t choose a certain person to give a God-sized dream to?

WE (humans) mostly decide stuff by how someone looks or their credentials or status or bank account or whatever. (By the way, I can’t find it in The Bible where God is actually impressed by all that.)

Something I do read about God says this:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

 

Over the past couple years I’ve learned that when you share that you feel called by God to do something, lots of people are quick to tell you how wrong you’re doing it.

Or they’ll tell you how they would do it.

Or they’ll even be upset that you’re not doing it how they SEE you should be doing it.

Some people tell us “THIS is how it works” and continue on to tell us how they would be doing it. “Do this thing. Then this. Then this. And there you go. That’s gotta work.”

Okay.

Thank you. (Sincerely.)

But

Then

Where is faith in that?

Where does faith come in?

How would faith work into this if I try to accomplish this on my own?

God says

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

 

I’ve heard of people who kick the doors down and don’t wait for God to open them and I’m CERTAIN I do NOT want to do it that way though I’ve tried my way and my timing for many other things in the past. (And it didn’t work out well then, either.)

It’s no secret that I feel April 1st is a very important date and I had felt like God may be moving us April 1, 2014, but maybe the April 1st thing is truly God letting me know He’s calling us to live out our faith even when it looks foolish to others. And we’ll keep on doing it as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to do this work.

Someone came to tell me (a couple years ago) that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that “God doesn’t work that way anymore.”

But

Hebrews 13:8 says

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I’m glad that happened (though I wasn’t at the moment) because I realized something important. God didn’t put a year on my heart.

There are a lot of Aprils in the world.

There’s an April every year.

And we can look back more than 15 years ago to see how God was already doing this work in us. (We just didn’t know how or when or where or that it was for homeless people at that time. We did know it was a church camp kinda place and it was for teenagers.)

What I do know is that after God put it on my heart and began opening doors to this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place, I was pacing, excitedly, back and forth one day in our house in Texas, “God, Okay. Got it! Alaska Homeless Teen Center! Now how can I make this happen? HOW do I do this?”

That’s the day He put it on my heart that HE is the ONE DOING this and our family is just to be obedient to what we feel He’s calling us to do.

Whew! Okay. That sounds a lot easier than me trying to figure all this out!

God says

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

So if God tells us to help orphans and we feel He’s literally calling us to go do that, don’t you think He’s big enough to provide the way?

People tell us to use our best logic. (Logic is not found in The Bible, by the way. I checked recently.)

But God says

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

So we’re going to choose to believe Him.

God is The Author of time and if He’s put a dream in your heart, He will be faithful to complete it. He knows what we need to do the work and He is not limited to a budget of people or supplies or money. (Thankfully!)

People may begin to tell you that it’s not possible or other silly things. (The truth is that if we were ALL doing what God is calling us to do then there wouldn’t be time left for people to critique what He’s calling YOU to do.)

 

We don’t have to grow up, get a degree, have a billion in savings, gather a committee, find supporters, or anything like that. If we follow Him, He’s got the rest.

Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I WILL MAKE YOU fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

 

When you share a dream He’s given you, it may really take you by surprise who is not supportive.

God may ALSO surprise you by giving you peace and confirming that support will come from where HE wants it to come from (and that’s pretty cool.)

All I can figure about that is that He will provide how HE wants to provide. (Perhaps He’s not wanting a certain person’s name or church’s name on it “so that none can boast.”)

Pray for peace confirmation when someone is not supportive. He’s got this. And He’s bigger than people realize.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

People may tell you that you’re not doing it fast enough. (For who? For them?)

So many people want everything faster in 2016.

But what about waiting on The Lord?

Waiting on God in 2016 looks… well, foolish. (April 1st kinda foolish, maybe.)

Some people tell us our family is not doing enough because we’re waiting on Him. Some people think we should be doing MORE as we wait on Him. More what? Planning my way? Saving my way? I couldn’t make this happen His way if I’d known about it my whole life.

Waiting on God is a form of worship in itself.

(God says you’ll be persecuted for your faith so I’m not surprised to be persecuted. It was just a little surprising that it comes mostly from other Christians.)

But

We’re doing what we feel we’re supposed to be doing as we wait on Him, which actually is enough.

We’re not going back and we’re not giving up as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to this work.

We’re asking, seeking, and knocking, and He WILL open doors in His timing and in His ways.

I can’t find it in The Bible that we’re to figure it out on our own and gather the resources on our own.

Besides, if we did this ourselves, then how would that be giving glory to Him? How would that show His Power and not mine?

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. – Luke 11:9-10

He’s got this.

 

[More about this Alaska homeless teen place here.  Prayers are always welcome here.]

 

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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.

What many SAY vs. What many actually seem to believe about God.

Many in Church: Lord, lead us.

Many Preachers: Go where God calls you.

Many Pastors: Walk in faith. Die to self. LIVE for Him.

Many Teachers: The Bible says to go into all the world and make disciples. Care for the orphans and widows.

Many Song Leaders: Lord, let us hear Your Voice. Speak to us.

 

Our Family: Hey, the coolest thing happened! We started praying a couple years ago and asking God where He wants to use us and He’s revealed something to us. We feel called to Alaska to open a homeless teen place! Isn’t that amazing that He really leads like we talk about and sing about and read about in The Bible?!

 

Church: I’m not sure about that.

Many Preachers: My advice is that you go check Alaska out first to be sure you like it. (Me: I’m VERY sure that is NOT how God calls anyone.)

Many Pastors: God doesn’t do that anymore.

Many Teachers: No He didn’t.

Many Song Leaders: We don’t really think we’ll “hear” His Voice. We just sing that.

Parents/Family: That’s nice.

Many Acquaintances: That’s weird.

Many Friends: That’s interesting.

 

Many Atheists and Agnostics:

THAT’S the coolest thing I’ve EVER heard! Tell me more.

 

Make no mistake.

God is alive and well.

He uses people and stories to touch hearts and lives all the time. And He does this in a billion different ways and it doesn’t matter what our past looks like.

He’s using this story He’s writing with us to restore people’s faith in Him.

We are going in faith that God is leading and is providing and He will go before us and make a way where we can’t SEE a way just like The Bible says He does. We’re going to make disciples and care for orphans. This is a dream He’s put on our hearts and it aligns very much with Scripture. We’ve witnessed miracles along this journey already; stuff beyond our power or income or capability or explanation.

It’s called living out our faith.

We’re laying down our lives and what WE want to do (dying to self like The Bible says to do) and asking God what HE wants us to do. We’re LIVING for HIM.

If we could SEE how He’s doing this homeless teen place thing in Alaska or if WE could do it on our own with our own resources that wouldn’t be called faith. It’s all about His Power and our obedience to what He’s put on our hearts. It’s way bigger than we are and our income and God knows this. If we worshiped money or put our faith in money instead of God we’d have quit before we started. And if we’d known our whole lives that this was His plan for us or saved our whole lives for this we STILL couldn’t make it happen at all like He can.

And we pray everyone chooses to experience this real life most fulfilling way to live.

Some doors can ONLY be unlocked with prayer.

God doesn’t say use good judgment without ceasing.

Or make intelligent choices without ceasing.

Or use wisdom without ceasing. (He does say to pray for wisdom and He will give it.)

He doesn’t say to read The Bible without ceasing.

 

He says to PRAY without ceasing. Try this.

 

He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He led before The Bible was written or else The Bible couldn’t be God-led (which it is,) and He led during Bible times, and He still leads and works in our lives every day still now even in 2015.

Immanuel = God with us. He means it. He REALLY is with us and provides and leads.

Pray without ceasing. Try it. Give Him your TIME and just watch what He can do!

All eyes are on You, Lord.  Do what only You can do.

[Note: A common daily prayer in our home goes something like this. (Try it.)

God, please lead us today. Please show us who You want us to talk to and what to say and who not to talk to and what not to say. Please guide our day and let us not take control back. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.]

 

Today is moving day and I am not afraid.

(Check out what we’ve shared since June here

https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog )

 

Today (tonight) we begin a drive from Texas to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center.

God is not in a hurry and He’s been patient with me as I finally accepted what He’s doing with our family.  I will praise Him.

HE has made me brave.

For probably 35 years I was afraid and hid my talents because of childhood sexual abuse and being raped 4 times later in life.

Ministry is NOT a pretty thing because it involves real life and in real life we have been given free will and when we have free will, we make a lot of not so great choices and the choices we make every day affect others around us.  I forgive the people who have hurt me and God is using that pain and turning it into something altogether beautiful and has given me a passion for people and to be able to see deeper than the surface.

Genesis 50:20 is my life verse.  It says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

 

YOU matter.

Period.

Just because God made you, you matter.

 

Tonight we move out of a house we’ve lived in for eight years ~ and I am not afraid.

THIS is God working in me and not me by myself.  There is a peace covering my family that can ONLY come from Him.

We don’t know what The Home Place looks like yet (or if that’s the name for certain) but we DO know that God is doing this and so far it’s like He’s shown us that no church or organization will have its name on this work.  It’s God’s work and His Name is to be praised for all of it.

At first we were a little sad when church after church turned us down saying they want no part of this but very soon God showed me that it is okay and He will keep providing through individuals He calls to give.

For The Home Place we are praying God provides jobs for each person He leads to us so that people may earn money to make a living while God reveals each person’s talents He’s given.  We will love on people and celebrate people who may not have felt much like celebrating lately.  We will be Jesus’ Hands and Feet to hurting people.  We will give people a safe place to stay for a while, teach interview and job skills, and just live life with them, reminding them Jesus is very real and God moved mountains to move our family from Texas to Alaska in 2015.

I didn’t choose this ministry.  God revealed this to us over time.  When you follow Him, He directs your steps.  This stuff is real.  And hard.  And fun.  And exciting.  And exhausting.  And He provides all the tools needed to do the job He’s prepared in advance for us to do.

First, I needed my confidence back because mine had been stolen along with my innocence when I was a little girl.

I did not know to even ASK Him to restore what had been stolen because I did not know it was missing.   I just lived life without my confidence.

ONLY God can give the gift of confidence.

Then, He pushed me online.

Online is a strange place where people seem to think that they can hide behind a screen and mock and be unkind in more ways than imaginable.  But it’s a lie.  We have ONE life and we are to find this life in Jesus Christ.  The things people do and say to others and about others matters.  Always.

I can’t even begin to list the ways spiritual warfare happens when we follow Jesus.  It’s exhausting and the Bible talks about Christians being persecuted.  It’s been interesting to see that many other Christians have been the ones doing the persecuting.  I would never have believed it if you’d have told me this would happen.

When you tell someone you’re feeling called by God to do a job, MANY begin to tell you how “You’re doing it wrong.”

But the truth God revealed to me is that if we were ALL doing the jobs He’s planned in advance for us to do, then there would be NO time to hate on each other.  (Heaven is gonna be so wonderful!)

We didn’t know for a year and a half if He was moving us by airplane or ground and this past April He provided a truck (which made us know He would provide a camper to pull behind it.)

The very day after He provided this truck, my pinky toe went numb, my ear started to have trouble hearing and both eyes began to have more vision trouble.

God sent a prayer warrior to my house to pray with me.  She said something that blew my mind and I had not thought of yet, “No, satan, will NOT stop this woman’s steps!”

It had not occurred to me that the spiritual warfare was beginning to take on a physical form.

After she prayed over me I could see, hear, and walk easier again.  Then God sent another friend to pray the very next day.

He is just so good.

We will keep walking in faith as God keeps opening doors.

He will keep providing all the tools we need to do the job He’s calling us to do and right now the main tool needed is money.  We know He will provide through His people.

If you feel called to help with this ministry He’s doing with our family, please check out this donation site.  Contact email for donations is itisallaboutfaithdonate@gmail.com

What little we offer to God matters. He can do MORE than enough with our little offering. We just have to bring it to Him and ask Him to bless it.

Not sure how much is enough to give?  Check out John 6:5-13 and see what He did with a few loaves of bread and fish.

Donate Button

 

Missed Birthdays and Broken Holidays (Faith)

Some kids don’t get birthday parties.  Some kids get forgotten.

Some families don’t feel the “Holiday Spirit” and don’t have hope that anything will ever get any better than it looks right now.

Our family is going to go bring hope and Light to some kids and families.

We know this isn’t just with our power (and we also know God is calling more people to do this work with us.)  God renews us every day.  We trust that He will keep doing this so that we can help others and then they can help others, too (and so on.)

When God first put it on my heart that He was using our family in this way, of course I wanted to know more.  Who wouldn’t?!  This is the most amazing experience of my life; knowing He’s working in us and through us.

God has always led people and since He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can know He still leads people today.

Think about this.  How do you “know” something?  I mean, some women “know” they’ll have 2 kids.  Some “know” they’ll have 10.  Some people “know” they’ll never be married and some “know” they will be.  I’ve heard some people, after a young person died, say, “He always ‘knew’ he was going to die young.”  How did he “know?”

Sometimes we take our knowledge, gifts, and talents for granted.  We just “know” how to draw or how to invent things.  Sometimes we don’t even give credit to God because we have the ability to easily remember things or to do math in our heads, and we forget or don’t think about where this comes from.

Sometimes you just “know” stuff.  God put that in us.

We “know” He’s moving our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center (not yet in existence.)

~~~~>  The funny thing is that when we started packing boxes last year, waiting on His timing to move, the very first box I packed was full of mismatched tea party pieces.

I was blessed to have a roommate from college helping me pack.  I asked out loud, “WHY am I packing a tea set to move to Alaska?!  What a SILLY thing to pack!”

She looked right into my eyes and smiled, “I can’t WAIT to see how God manifests this tea set!”  <~~

Some kids are forgotten and some never had a birthday party.  Some got a black eye instead of a present.

Since that time after packing the tea party stuff, we’ve collected many sewing patterns (new and on sale.)  I wondered “WHY?”  “WHY am I collecting this many patterns and different kinds, too?  I mean, I do like to sew but haven’t really taken the time to so why would I be gathering this many patterns?”

Then God put this on my heart.

Some kids are homeless and have only the clothes they are wearing.

Oh, wow.  I hadn’t thought of that.  Not only will WE sew, but we will teach teens how to sew their own clothes and teach them job skills and share Jesus’ Love with them.

Then there’s this:  20 years ago I started collecting art supplies.  WHY?  I never really got time to paint, stamp, sew, or create like I wanted to so WHY have I had these supplies?

WHY did we pack decorations, hair cutting supplies, make up, and photography equipment?

It’s simple.

Homeless people aren’t trying to decorate for parties (or even go to any,) or visit the salon, or get family portraits done.

We are going to do this for them.

We believe God is moving us to Alaska to bring hope and Light and to celebrate missed birthdays and broken holidays with teens and families who haven’t had much light or hope in their lives.

We’re going to paint fingernails, cut hair, and donate our photography skills to people who otherwise would not have these luxuries.

At first I was like, “God, this may sound kinda silly to people.”

So I didn’t tell anyone that I believed He was doing this with us.

But it’s really not so silly when you think about it.

Celebrating someone’s birth and existence is a pretty routine thing for many people.  I know I was blessed to celebrate many birthdays with parties and friends.  You probably were, too.  Getting hair cuts, nails painted, family pictures, and going to the salon are things many people take for granted.

But when you have been neglected or overlooked or forgotten, moving our family to give hope and just to love on people is actually not such a silly mission at all.

So…  I said it.  Finally.  We’re going to Alaska to celebrate people who haven’t been celebrated much in their lives and who haven’t seen reasons to celebrate.

Prayers, donations, and support are always welcome here.

It’s all about God’s Power.

It’s up to us to obey His Calling (even if it looks silly to some.)

Cool fact to think about:  We don’t have to have all the answers right now or know how God’s doing this with us.  We will just have faith that He can and He is.

God opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.  We have faith and will keep asking, seeking, and knocking since He’s put this dream in our hearts.  Your prayers, good thoughts, well wishes, support, and donations are welcome as we step out in faith to do this work in His Name.

 

[Note:  There are many stories about how God led people – and it looked kinda silly to others when you think about it.

– There was a guy, Naaman, and God showed him he was to go dip in the Jordan river 7 times and his leprosy would be healed.  Silly?  He was even mad that there wasn’t some amazing, grand thing that would cure his skin.

But it was simple.

Obedience.

Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.  2 Kings 5:10-14

– And what about that whole “March around Jericho and the walls will fall down” thing?!  Um, okay.  That would have been something to see!  (And God spared a prostitute and her family.)  What?!  But it happened.  Joshua 6:3-17

– And Noah?!  Are you kidding?  There had never been rain and He built a what?  A boat?  Um… yeah… right.  Can you imagine the jokes he endured?  What did the neighbors say?  Certainly he was mocked for his faith.  Genesis 6:9-22

We know.  We know.  It may sound silly to some.  Take this mismatched tea party set and have parties with people.  We are okay if it sounds silly.  We will still follow as God opens doors.

We expect that some people will mock us for believing God is doing this but the thing I didn’t expect was for so many who call themselves Christians to be among the ones laughing.

Maybe if we all focused on the jobs God’s planned for each of us we wouldn’t have time to make fun of each other.

~~>  Got courage?  Aren’t you a little bit curious to know God’s amazing plan for your life?  He has one.  Ask God what He wants you to do.  And KEEP doing this every day.  Follow the tugs on your heart and He will reveal to you what it is that He wants for your life.  <~~

By faith…  Check out Hebrews 11.

Check out the last 2 verses in Hebrews 11.  (I’ve thought about this verse and how it may relate to my life, too. ~~>)  39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

So….. IF I get to the end of my life on Earth and the Alaska homeless teen center does not exist yet, then He can STILL bring it to happen and I will STILL know and have peace that my life meant something as I walked in faith, trusting Him to lead my family.

I will share my faith in God and I will share what He’s doing in us and through us.

By faith, I will follow Him.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:15]

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.

She bought an extra ticket on faith that God would show her who to take to the next conference.

He led her to me.

Her name is Jennifer Drake Johnston.

We met because a mutual friend, Dalana Squires, invited me to join Ten For Him. I’ve just got to tell you about this real quick. Ten women get together 10 times; once a month over a period of 10 months. We each bring $10 each time and we draw a name of someone in the group. This person takes the $100 and gives it as God leads her for that month. Then we meet again and she gives her testimony about how God led her to give. Check out Ten For Him here. http://tenforhim.com/about/ [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]  Praise God for Sara Atchley Wierman, the Founder of Ten for Him! God is working in powerful ways with this great ministry.

Jennifer told me she bought an extra ticket in faith a year ago that God would show her the right person to take to a conference. She asked a few people. Then she asked me if I’d like to go with her for the weekend.  I couldn’t have known how great this pink conference would impact my life.

Prayer is powerful.

I almost never go out of town (and I’m really fine with that.) I love being home with my family. I told her I’d pray about it. I remember wondering how my kids and husband would be while I’m gone for a couple days. Would they miss me? Would they notice I was gone? Would they like a break from me? (More about this later.)

I went with her to the Pink Impact conference at a church building. WOW! The energy, smiling faces, lights, beautiful food and Frappuccinos were all wonderful. The speakers spoke God’s message to me in a way I hadn’t heard before. I’ve been raised in church and it’s been a long time since I heard scriptures in a new way.

At lunch she led me to a room that had been prepared just for her church group and I was invited since I was her guest. This was a kids’ worship area that had been transformed into a girlified, fun, ladies’ luncheon room complete with flowers, dim lighting, pretty centerpieces, gum, tissues, perfumes, chocolates, and more.

I couldn’t help but think about how Jesus has gone to prepare a place – just for us – and how amazing that will be! We are ALL invited.

It was such a blessing to hear from these great speakers; Lisa Bevere, Elaine Fisher, Charlotte Gambill, Blynda Lane, Debbie Morris, Tim Ross, and Lindsay Huckins was the Emcee for the weekend.

Thank you ALL for God’s message through you guys! Please DO tell me if I’ve missed anyone because every one of you matters and I thank each of you for the messages you shared!

EVERY speaker brought the Bible scriptures to life in a way I’d never heard them. I’ve been in church for 45 years. I haven’t heard scriptures brought to life in this practical way in many years.

We got to hear a message from Christine Caine (via video.) She founded the A21 Campaign, an anti-human trafficking organization that fights slavery around the globe, doing amazing work rescuing girls who have been trapped in the dark world of sex trafficking. This work is especially dear to my heart for many reasons and I believe God will be using my family to help with this same type of work in Wasilla, Alaska, as God leads us to open and care for a homeless teen place. So knowing the work God is leading us to start, it was absolutely incredible to get to hear from someone God’s already put in place doing this same healing work. I needed to mention this because it reminds me how God is a detail God and this was the first time I’d ever heard about Christine Caine.

We heard from Roma Downey (via video.) We listened to Patricia Heaton (via video) and worshipped with Gateway Worship and Kari Jobe. There were many talented musicians and singers (and if I knew all the names I’d be glad to add them here.) You guys made the weekend even more powerful. Thank you so much!

We got to see performances by Dance Revolution, Founded by Michelle Brogan. (OH how I’d LOVE to dance with them some time! Probably Hip Hop would be my preference!) And we were blessed to listen to Amick and Cassie Byram and their beautifully blended voices.

~If I have left out names, please email me and I’m glad to add them. This was a life-touching, relaxing, lovely weekend and I was honored to get to be a part of it. I know there are hundreds more who invested time, money, sweat, tears, and prayers to put this weekend together. Thank you to ALL of you!~

We were lifted, empowered, prayed over, loved on, and had time to just breathe and enjoy being women.

Jennifer had reserved a room at a nearby hotel for us. Cozy beds, great food, fun conversation, and getting to learn more about each other’s pasts just added to this amazing weekend. There were many other Pink Impact ladies staying in the hotel also.

When we had checked in when we first arrived at the church building we had been given a folder with a fun ice breaker game and the instructions said to get a signature from a woman who matched the description and she was to sign next to it.  There were many hundreds of women so we had to talk and meet new people a lot to get all 50 thousand (not really) questions answered.  There would be prizes for the first several people who turned these papers in.  Fun!

The game said things like:

Find someone who has a dog with a human name. _____

You’ve attended 3 or more Pink Impact conferences. _____

You can wiggle your ears. ____

Find someone who has taken tap or ballet dance lessons. ____

(…and so on…)

On the 2nd morning of the conference one young lady and I were the only two people in the hotel elevator. The elevator conversation was quick and unusual. I broke the silence, “I can wiggle my ears. Can you tap dance?” She replied, “No.” This totally broke the never-speak-in-elevators-to-people-you-don’t-know-because-it’s-awkward rule. (It may remain my favorite elevator conversation ever.)  [I always wondered why I could wiggle my ears.  Question answered.]

At the end of the conference they announced they were giving each woman a gift. This beautiful gift was a white, soft, cozy, thick, terry cloth robe.

A detail I didn’t mention yet: My oldest daughter had been asking for a terry cloth robe for a few months. (I kept not putting this in the budget for whatever reasons so I hadn’t bought her one yet.) We don’t try to make things “even” at our house (i.e. if one child gets a gift, the other child usually does too, but we decide based upon their individual desires and not on money amounts) but I secretly and deeply wished I could get a second robe for my youngest daughter.

THIS is another way that God shows me He is a detail God.

Jennifer and I had each received a Frappuccino the night before and she really enjoyed hers. I still had mine and I didn’t want to waste it and somehow a natural conversation led to me saying I really didn’t care for Frappuccinos that much and she was delighted to take mine! She admitted while the white robe was very beautiful she probably wouldn’t wear it and she gave it to me for my youngest daughter!

Talk about God being in the details! He just IS!

 

God uses people to connect with others every day on purpose and for a purpose. Someone may be praying a prayer over you today and you may not even know it for a year.

Maybe all you need to do today is pray about life, get up, and show up.

~

Thank you, Jennifer Drake Johnston, for leading our Ten For Him group, for praying about me when you didn’t even know me yet, and thank you for the life-changing weekend at a conference I knew nothing about before I went. I pray God’s blessings follow you and that you are blessed many times more for blessing others the way you do! MUCH love in Him, Kerri

Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me to this:  https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo9gEgyhUX2AA.oT7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTB2aXRwZjhkBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjE3NgRncG9zAzM-?p=pink+impact+2014+gateway+church&vid=d655647c910acc9e5d3c8e11d78b04b4&l=1%3A37&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608020644744004799%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F96726986&tit=%3Cb%3EPink+Impact+2014+%3C%2Fb%3E-+Conference+B+Highlights&c=2&sigr=10p9137pd&sigt=11hlpbrnb&age=0&fr=mcafee&tt=b [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]

~

Want to hear about the icing (as if the weekend, itself, wasn’t sweet enough already?)

When I returned home I was the blessed mom and wife of 3 love notes. SWEET!! They DID miss me! (That is, they missed me until it was back to regular life the next week. lol. Oh, well. I have some notes so I can read them again and remember they actually DO like my help as a mom and wife.) They gave me permission to share these great notes. It is easy to look past spelling errors. (I’d much rather have love notes from their hearts than for them not to want to write to me because I correct their grammar and spelling when they give me sweet notes.)  [Too sweet and amazing NOT to mention;  Today I found out the love notes were actually my husband’s idea!  How cool is that?  God is surely alive and prayer is powerful!]

Letter 1 2 Letter 3 2 Letter 2 2Letter 2 b 2 2

God bless you and thank you for reading.

 

 

[Please Note: We don’t try to make things “even” at our house when it comes to gifts (and that’s okay.  We love our girls and they both feel loved by us.)  Every family has different opinions on gift giving. Please do not send me yucky notes about it. This is how OUR family gives gifts. This doesn’t mean if you do things a different way that it’s wrong or right. I’d love to talk about it but I won’t read or respond to hate mail. I’d love to hear how your family chooses the gift giving process and what that looks like at your house.]

 

 

 

Hey teenagers and pre-teens, we are proud of you.

Teens, and pre-teens, since I know there are a few of you guys here online, I just wanted to tell you I am SO proud of how you stand up and share your faith!  This is a REALLY tough time to be a kid. I am proud of your modesty and how you stand up and speak out when friends are talking you into and making not great choices. It’s really tough. You have GREAT courage!! I just wanted to be a voice thanking you for standing out instead of trying to fit in. You guys are making a difference.

That being said, PLEASE Please talk to us (parents and grown ups) when you do mess up. We will love you through mistakes. Yes, we may be sad and a little disappointed just as you may be when we mess up as grown ups, but we ARE here for you and we DO get that life is really tough as a teenager in 2014. We do not expect you to be perfect and I apologize to anyone who feels like you are held to a “perfect” standard. We mess up as parents and we know you guys mess up as kids, too. I love you. And I just wanted to tell you that you DO have people to talk to when life gets you down.

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.

If I were doing things MY way…

I would NOT be online. Period.

I was afraid. It’s as simple as that. I was afraid because now the rapists, molester, and others who have hurt me can now find me easier.

It was not a mistake that I wasn’t online. It wasn’t like I didn’t know HOW to use the internet or computer.

Of course I knew how.

I didn’t want to be online with pictures, video, writing, on social media, or anything else.

EVER.

If I were doing things MY way I would not have put myself “out there” in the great, wide space of the internet suddenly deciding at age 44 to be ridiculed and mocked for my faith in doing what we know God is calling us to do; opening and caring for a homeless teen center in Alaska.

I certainly wouldn’t have intentionally invited hate mail or wanted to hear the poisonous passive aggressive voices from people who do not see why we are doing what we are doing and at the same time do not have courage to ask us “Why?” personally.

If I were doing things MY way, I wouldn’t advertise that we were selling, giving, packing, and now waiting on the Lord to provide what He’s shown us He will provide if we do this work He’s given us to do.

No. I could have been a little more secretive about it… IF I were doing things MY way.

But I’m not. I am listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads our family to do amazing things.

I could have said, “No, God, that’s too uncomfortable. You KNOW me. And I just CAN’T be online. I love You but that is just too far out of my comfort zone. Maybe You have the wrong person for this job.”

RIGHT. I COULD have said that.

UMMM, NO.

One day I will be face to face with God and I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So… we will do what He’s calling us to do ~ EVEN though we face people laughing at our faith in Him.

God says He has a job for us and has given me the main tool I need to do this job.

Confidence.

Not just confidence in myself but confidence in Him AND that He’s got this and will show His Power through our work if we obey this calling and follow Him.

The Holy Spirit leads.

Have YOU been called?

Are you listening to what He’s called you to do?

Somebody needs YOU and YOUR life’s story. Have courage and do not be afraid.

Will some laugh? Probably.

Will some support? Hopefully.

Will some walk away from your life. Yes.

But with God’s Power and Support you cannot go wrong.

Step up into your position God’s calling you to.

I believe in you.

Listen to Him.

Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

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.

 

 

To Move A Mountain

Prayers?

If we’re not on your prayer list and you have room for us, please add us to your list?

The reality of HOW extremely big this Alaska homeless teen place is can be kinda overwhelming.

We’re asking the same God who spoke and created the world to move us to Alaska, provide the money, show us where, and help us physically prepare the building and licenses for residential and non profit and to help us with everything else we don’t know how to do.

We’re asking Him to make sure we have all we need to care for the kids He is planning to bring our way.

We’re asking Him to help us teach these kids the skills they need to survive and to teach them faith and that Jesus is real and loves them very much.

We’re asking for Him to provide money to pay all the people needed to serve in this place.

If we had known about this and had tried our WHOLE lives to get all this stuff in order and take care of it all, I don’t think we could do it on our own ever.

This is bigger than my family, bigger than maybe 10 families… maybe even 20 families and several churches.

But it’s not bigger than God.

We don’t know exactly how to do what God is calling us to do but we can look back and see how God has been preparing us for this for over 35 years.

He knows how and we will trust Him.

God is bigger.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We’re asking Him to move a mountain.

Thank you for your prayers.

The only part we are playing in this homeless teen center
is obedience to do what He’s calling us to do.

Period.

This is ALL about God’s Power.

I can’t wait to see what He does next.

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.

Entertainment? (Celebrities and Fame)

When we celebrate when celebrities fail or fall, WE are part of the problem.  When we mock, tease, spread gossip, and laugh when celebrities mess up (or when anyone messes up, for that matter) we are hurting them; not helping them.

If we were 15 (or whatever age) and we had no privacy because of fame (which we may or may not have wanted) all our lives are on display; mistakes included.

Think about how a kid answers questions…

“Want your own show?”  “Sure!”

“Want a puppy?”  “Sure!”

I’m certain that most kids who get into show business do not understand the world they’re now part of and how damaging it can be.

And if we had Hollywood with its lack of any moral compass telling us that this really NOT good stuff IS “right” or “fun” or that we “should” or whatever… how would WE react?

This lifestyle these kids are in just breaks my heart. I cannot IMAGINE.

~~~>  And the adults who promote it and stuff… There aren’t enough words in any vocabulary to say how angry and sad that makes me. Oh, how the adults are going to be held accountable for leading kids away from Jesus!  <~~~

I’m just REALLY not sure anyone could say that these famous kids understand all they’re doing. (Probably no kids understand all the stuff they do.)

I’m NOT saying they’re not accountable. They ARE accountable.
We ALL are accountable for stuff we do and say. (Ours is mostly not in the public eye and THAT would make a huge difference.)

I AM saying that I remember in my 20s thinking that I knew some stuff when I was younger.
That’s funny.

Then I remember in my 30s thinking I knew some stuff in my 20s. That’s even funnier.

But now in my 40s I thought I knew stuff when I was in my 30s… Just wow!

–>  What I know is that God keeps teaching me.  <–  I have gray hair and I’m still learning all the time.

I’m praying for these young “stars” who are made to dance and act and say lines from someone’s script for “entertainment purposes” because I just REALLY don’t think they understand all of it.

If we were in the same situation, I’m not sure we would either.

(Grace and forgiveness. Yes. But we are accountable for all the moments of our lives. All that being said… I’m NOT okay AT ALL with what many young “stars” are doing. I am NOT excusing it.)

I AM praying over celebrities lives instead of spreading the rumors and pictures and I’m asking YOU to do the same.

Because if people stopped calling it “entertainment” and paying for it as “entertainment” maybe stuff would change.  Please be part of the solution.

Not right. Not wrong. Just thinking.

What if I poisoned you?

I didn’t poison you. But what if I did? You’d probably be pretty mad at me, huh?

No. Wait. What if I tricked YOU into poisoning yourself? What if I tricked you into poisoning yourself and inviting your friends to do it, too? And what if I tricked you into celebrating as you did this?

What if I made poisoning yourself legal? And what if I tricked you into paying your very own money for it that you spent so many hours working to earn? What if you worked all week hating your job and then on the weekend you were poisoned so that you could forget about the very job you’re working at to earn your money?

What if I made movies where most of the “fun” looking parties and dates had red cups full of soda or spiked with whatever poison you chose? What if, instead, I made movies and shows letting you see people enjoying life without “the cup” in their hands? What if I showed you movies about groups of friends who went around and did good stuff for their neighbors? Would you believe that’s a pretty cool way to have fun? I think you would. If you have the courage to retrain your own mind you will see this is fun.

Movie and television guys have spent hours and years and millions of dollars to trick us. Why do you think it’s called “programming?” The culture and world have programmed you to think a certain way. Think not? What about a couple on their anniversary date in a movie? What do you see? A bottle of wine in the middle of the table? What if it was a pitcher of water instead?

And before you go write 1,000 words to me about Christians and drinking, let me tell you this:

I’ve been drinking alcohol since I was 21 so do not think I don’t know what I’m speaking about. I do. (And though I really like Dr. Pepper I’m not quite sure it’s that good to drink, either.)

And I’m NOT telling you it’s right.

And I’m NOT telling you it’s wrong.

Jesus turned water to wine.  Not sure when soda was made.

I’m not going to debate this with you. And I’m not sure that I will quit either completely or if I still will occasionally. After realizing this stuff I think I’m leaning a lot more toward the not any more side.

There are MANY stages in between being a soda or alcohol prude and sodaholic or alcoholic so please remember this when speaking to someone who does drink these drinks. Are you wanting them to listen to you as you ask them if it’s poison, or are you pushing them away from you as you speak? Usually it’s our own choice to or not to poison ourselves.

And as for water connoisseurs, yeah, some water may be better than others. I’m not writing this to argue with anyone.

I’m writing this because God’s put it on my heart. But I know that if you’re in the mood, there are many other people who will enjoy debating whatever good points you have.

And you absolutely DO have good points and opinions. (I’m just not going to debate them with you.)

Have a party without soda or alcohol. Ask God to show you how to have real fun. Teenagers have fun all the time WITHOUT these things. I’ve been in groups of 15 year old kids and they talk and laugh and enjoy each others’ company for HOURS and DON’T end the evening throwing up or with a hangover the next morning.

Ask God to lead you to a job you really like where you can use the talents He’s given you. In my opinion most people in the world are not laughing enough or enjoying their jobs in life. Ask God to show you and to open doors for you. God can open a door that nobody can shut. And God can close a door that nobody can open.

All I am asking you to do is to simply think about this with every sip of your favorite soda or alcoholic drink:

What if YOU poisoned YOU?