There comes a point in our relationship with the Lord that we must decide if we truly believe what is written in the Bible. When challenges and hard times come, they test whether or not we will stand on the word of God or not. There is not one word in the Bible that we cannot depend on. The Bible is the one thing that will always be true, right, and faithful. I mention this because it has been something that has been very real in our lives lately. I have sat with the Bible in front of me on multiple occasions and questioned myself by saying, “Either I believe what this book says, or I don’t”. I have chosen to believe what it says, though it’s been challenging, God has come through every time. Like God asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” I can hear God asking me, “Do you trust me”? “Do you trust me no matter what it looks like, no matter how big the waves are, no matter how deep the valley, no matter how mighty the enemy……. Do you trust me?”
It was a whirlwind of a decision to move to Portland, Oregon. There have been many ups and downs as we have tried to, once again, detach ourselves from one place and plug into a new one. As we began to explore housing in Portland, we quickly realized it wasn’t as inexpensive as we thought. We took a weeklong exploratory trip up to Portland during the beginning of March to talk and pray with our friends at the church that we’ll be serving at, explore the area and look for houses. We retuned back to California empty handed and feeling a little scared. Scared for a few different reasons, one of those being the cost of living. As you can imagine, Mexico isn’t as expensive to live!
After spying out the land and returning to California, we continued to pray and ask God for a house and direction. We looked and looked for a house but, found nothing. Additionally, it was very hard to try and find a house in Oregon while we were in California. Different obstacles stood before us as we looked for a house such as needing to make 3 times the amount of the rent to rent through a property management company, providing pay check stubs, and committing to a one-year lease. More than one time we began to lose heart, wondering, questioning, praying if we were doing the right thing. We knew that we needed God to do a miracle for us.
Even with the discouragement we continued to feel that the Lord was pushing us to go forward and head up to Portland even though we didn’t have a house. Were we going to trust the Lord that He called us to Oregon, even if it meant sleeping in a tent? We decided we would and trusted the Lord to provide. Once again we packed up the van with all of our earthly possessions and April 3rd, (Penelope’s birthday) we left not knowing where we were going. That night we stayed with Jackie’s family in Shady Cove, Oregon. The same night we received a text message asking if we were still interested in seeing a house. When I saw the picture of the house, I didn’t remember the house or sending a message inquiring about it. I showed Jackie the picture and asked if she remembered sending a message about the house and she told me she had not. Nonetheless we arranged to see the house the next day.
We left Shady Cove the morning of April 4thwith no house, no hotel secured, nowhere set up to stay that very night. During the drive the six of us took turns praying. The kids asked God for a house that very day, which seemed impossible as many of you can understand, especially knowing the process of renting a house. We arrived in the Milwaukie (Southeast area of Portland) and met with the owner of the house on Angel Ln! As I prepared to see the house I questioned if I should even look at it due to the cost and not wanting to get my hopes up. I was actually going to cancel the meeting but Jackie suggested I at least meet with him and see the house, so I did. The house was more than I would have ever expected or hoped for. As I began talking to the owner, I observed very quickly he was a very gentle, easy going, and friendly guy. As we walked through the house he randomly mentioned he would be fine with a month to month rental agreement, which is something both Jackie and I hoped for as we are still seeking God’s direction on how long we will be here in Portland. Long story short, he ended up letting us move in that very night with a 3-month “lease”. We were in awe of God’s goodness and how He answered our prayers! It was pretty awesome because Isaiah made the comment on his own that God had answered his prayer for a house the same day!
After settling in for a few days, I jumped in and started working at the Faith on Hill Church. It has been nice to get familiarized with the operation of the church and start doing some needed projects around the building. I was able to install my first deadbolt lock. I had to cut the holes out and everything. For many of you that is probably no big deal but for me that was pretty huge! I did get a bit excited with the chisel and had to use a fancy wood marker to cover up my excitement! I was also able to sit in on a Pastor’s meeting that was very informative and gave me some good tools about sharing the Gospel! The focus on the meeting was evangelizing both inside and outside the church. Our goal over the next few weeks is to really start building relationships with folks at the church and in the community.
During our time in Napa, my friend, John and I started a First Responders group that seeks to strengthen, support, and love the believers within that community. There is a lot interest and excitement in a Christ Centered group where we can gather together and sharpen one another. I believe God is looking for Christian leaders within the First Responder agencies. Leaders who will stand for God first, not compromise, and shine brightly for God’s glory. We have committed to meet once a month and I will be flying down to California to meet with this group. John and I have begun recording weekly videos encouraging the Napa First Responder group in their relationship with the Lord. The videos are intended to prepare everyone for the coming monthly meeting. I do not have space to write about everything that is going on with this but I am really excited about it.
I have begun trying to reach out to First Responders in the Portland area as well. I have also been speaking with the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Agency in this area in hopes of building a relationship with more First Responders. They invited me to their monthly Chaplin meetings as well as meeting one on one with them. My hope and prayer to start another First Responder group here in Portland! After talking to other Brothers and Sisters in the Law Enforcement community, I have discovered that there is a hunger to meet together with other Christians working in this industry. The job our First Responders do on a daily basis is so crucial and important. They see things, hear things, and experience things on a daily basis that many would not be able to handle mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. This environment can also be a stumbling block in one’s relationship with God which is why it’s important to be meeting together and encouraging each other in Christ.
We always appreciate your prayers and here are a few things we are asking you to join us in prayer about this month:
- Please pray that doors would be opened for ministry to the First Responder community here in Portland.
- Pray that God would provide us many opportunities to serve in this area and share his love in new, bold, and creative ways.
- Pray also that God would help us know the best way to serve Faith on Hill and Pastor Adam and his family.
As always we want to thank you for your support and prayers for us. It is exciting to see new ministries starting to sprout. We are looking forward to what God will do in the coming months!