why Portland?

At this point, many or most of you know we are planning to move to Portland, OR in January 2012, but what you may not know (even if you read Church Plant Media's blog post) is why.

The last time our family made a decision this big was when Kevin joined the Army, which was seven years ago.  I remember everyone looking at me as if I were crazy and Kevin was insane for not realizing a war was going on, and there was a 99.9% chance he would end up fighting it.  

The growth and maturity we experienced as a result of moving, enduring 34 months (training and deployments) apart, and moving back to our hometown was incredible.  Most poignant is this: God is sovereign and He is absolutely worthy of our trust.

A few months ago, Kevin mentioned to me an opportunity to serve at an Acts29 church plant.  We have been interested in serving in this way for several years, so I perked up.  The church plant is out of Mars Hill, and plans to officially launch in January, but held their first meeting last Sunday (click the link to read an interesting article).  Kevin and I began to pray.  

We found ourselves literally on our knees in prayer, seeking to be submissive to God.  After a lot of discussion, Kevin began to explore the option further.  He first talked to our pastor, then to his boss, then to the church planter in Portland, and had conversations with all of them again.  

Each conversation seemed to take us closer and closer to making the move to Portland, one of the final deciding factors actually was Kevin's mom; she was diagnosed with colon cancer just a few weeks ago.  We needed to know the result of her surgery and what stage the cancer was.  The surgery removed the cancerous tumor, the labs showed it was Stage 1 and she would not need chemo.  Everything has confirmed our decision to move.

As a result, this month Kevin will launch a new website called, Tools for the Sower, a vision we believe is totally from God.  It will be a resource for church planters and ministry leaders everywhere, providing a place where they can receive quality information on a number of resources (i.e. websites, bookkeeping, furnishings, etc.).  In this way, Kevin is still connected to his friends at Church Plant Media.  

The goal is not for Kevin to be on staff, but is very similar to the goal we had when he joined the Army: to live intentionally for Jesus in a difficult place.  Some people seem to think Portland will simply be awesome, and that is why we want to go there.  While there are wonderful things about Portland, it is not the Bible Belt, and we're aware.  

So, I write to inform and I write to plead with you for your prayers (again) as we take our first steps on this new journey: for wisdom, for reliance on the Holy Spirit, and for the truth of the gospel to be constantly evident in our hearts, words, and actions.  We now stand firmly in the truth we became so grounded in during the time in the Army, God is sovereign and He is absolutely worthy of our trust. 

the big ONE (12 months)

Reflecting on the past year has been so overwhelming, I haven't been able to put words to it until now.  Evan and Eli are constant visual reminders of God's grace and miraculous power.  They endured so much before even entering the world, and then fought their way right out of the NICU into our home at the end of last October. Just as much as the little guys (and the older ones too) are reminders of God's grace and power, they are reminders to me of how much I need His grace and power.

The comments I receive from people are generally the same, "You've got your hands full!" "Double trouble, huh?", "Are they twins?", "All boys?", and the all-inclusive, "Wow."  Because the comments are usually the same, so are my responses, "They are wonderful!", "It's great!", "I wouldn't trade 'em for anything.", and some others.   People often look at me and they feel overwhelmed.
 However, there are some extra-ordinary comments.  The best of the year came from a little girl when we were at the park; she saw the twins, and asked, "Woh...are they connected?"  And another from an older lady at a grocery store (when I was there with all four boys), as we approached her, "What a gorgeous family! Really!"
 But, there's also the worst, which I didn't hear until just a week ago when I was telling a lady I had twin, one-year-old, boys, she said, "What a nightmare!"  In case you were wondering, you should never say this out loud, even if you are thinking it.  For us, it is quite the opposite: it is extremely entertaining, and sometimes just like a dream.
For all of you who have been on this journey with us, thank you for your consistent prayers for each person in our family, we have all been in need of His faithful grace, and we have no doubt the prayers of the saints on our behalf have been a means of keeping us sane and even joyful.