September 6, 2011 1 Comment
The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind and super busy, all culminating with a long awaited Labor Day weekend at the beach. I’m sunburned, I smell like fish and squid guts, and I’m more full on pulled pork, collard greens, and bacon wrapped/jalapeno stuffed tator tots than I have been in a long, long time.
We said goodbye to what has been our home for the past year at four in the morning on Monday, August 22nd. We will, no doubt, miss it. Our experience in Canada has been, for lack of a stronger word, invaluable. I say that for several reasons. First, the growth that Rachel and I both experienced was unreal. On a spiritual level I feel that we have both grown tremendously. The Lord has shown me things over the past year that I don’t think would have been revealed had we not been obedient and ventured out on this journey of faith. I have learned to become all the more reliant on Him for everything; provision, direction, guidance. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “trust in the Lord with all our your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” I’ve learned through many experiences this past year how true that really is. Aside from our spiritual growth on an individual level, I feel we have grown in maturity. We have had to leave all we know and every bit of comfort that we can cling to in turn cling to the Author and Finisher of our faith. We have moved to a different country, had a baby there, raised our family there for a year, adapted and fit in. I believe that one of the reasons, if not the main reason, the Lord had us do this was the unbelievable growth that would occur through Him. On top of all this our marriage has grown so strong. What a beautifully orchestrated plan by our Maker to have us in a situation where we would have to cling so tightly to Him and to each other. He knew what He was doing. Secondly, the friendships. The Lord led us away from our family and friends in Florida and filled the gap with some of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of being able to call friends. We have developed irreplaceable friendships that will last for eternity. And lastly is experience. God has given me some ministry opportunity and experience that have developed who and where I am now and will continue to act as a mold for who the Lord will have me be. I’ve always been a big believer in on the job experience as greater than any classroom you may sit in. You may know what your textbook says about a three point turn but that knowledge is pretty useless if you don’t intend drive. I have been given a ton of opportunity for “on the job training” over the past year and I am so thankful for it. Thankful to God, to Rachel, Andy, Brett, Jon Ruby, and many others. If I had the chance to go back and talk to myself before I made the decision to move our family to Canada I would have said to do it exactly like we did.
So we left Canada at 4am on the morning of the 22nd. As soon as we got on the Queensway I noticed that my tail lights were out. Turns out the trailer blew a fuse. After driving for three hours with the hazards on so as not to lose time, we found an open wal-mart and fixed the fuse. We drove for 17 hours on the first day. I couldn’t sleep until we were south of the Mason Dixon Line. The second day we drove for nine hours from Roanoke VA to Atlanta. We stayed the night with our brother, Chris Robinson. We had an amazing dinner with Chris and our good friend Drew. The next day we left early and trucked it home. Crossing the Florida/Georgia border was such a sweet thing.
As we were finishing out the last leg of the trip my excitement started to mix with knowing that I was going to have a few days of tough, solid moving ahead of me as we get situated at our new place in Palm Harbor. My mom and Rachel’s mom called and wanted us to meet them there so they could show it to us, we hadn’t seen it yet. I was exhausted and the plan was to stay at my parents the first night and to move stuff over the next day. Our mom’s were excited, though, so we went to the house. As we pulled up I saw a bunch of cars out front. Turns out that a bunch of the dudes got together and moved our stuff for us and the girls cleaned the house for us! We are so blessed by our friends and family. I can’t explain how big a relief it was to have that stuff done.
Since we’ve been back we’ve been busy. We are settling into our house and a new routine. I am getting used to my schedule at the church and have found a part time job that will be starting soon to supplement my income a little bit. It’s really been crazy and awesome so far. I’ve only run a couple times as I’m trying to nurse my foot. I think it may be back though, we’ll test it with a good long run in the morning. A few weeks before I got here, Andrew Chung came to join us at the church as he leads worship. Andrew is super talented and I am pumped for the chance to serve with him. He lives right down the street from me and is Korean, meaning that he is a good cook. I’ve already walked to his house. And the answer to what everyone is wondering, yes, I’ve been to Taco Bus. I’ve been to Brady’s. I’ve already eaten conch fritters and alligator nuggets. I’ve had pulled pork, collard greens, biscuits and gravy, Ted Peter’s smoked fish spread, cole slaw, bacon wrapped/jalapeno stuffed tator tots, sweet tea, and a few burritos as big as my head. I’ve already caught a few fish and lost a few more. We’ve been to a Ray’s game. We are back in Florida.
A few ministry updates. I am starting a men’s discipleship group that begins tonight and Rachel has a woman’s group that is also starting tonight. Please be praying for those. I am still beginning to settle into my role here at CCPH. Although mine and Rachel’s location has changed, our hearts haven’t. We are both seeking the Lord and looking to Him for guidance. We just want to serve Him in whatever area and capacity He has planned for us. Over the past year my heart has really grown for men and women in addiction recovery. I, along with some men at church, are praying for God to equip us and give us the resources to pursue some longer term, more full time recovery ministry. Please be praying for that as well.
I think I covered a lot and I don’t want this to get too long. If anyone, Canadian or other, has any questions for Rachel and I please feel free to ask or tell me if I have left anything out.
We miss Canada and our family there. We are happy to be home and are so thankful for our family here. We are excited to see what the Lord has planned in this new season that we are in.
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9
Grace and peace,