People have asked us many times how exactly we decided to move to Utah. The truth is, we didn’t. God did. The only decision we had to make was whether to obey Him or not. We are no different from you. We all decide every day, in many ways, if we will obey God or not. Sometimes the decision to follow His instruction is an easy one. Sometimes it isn’t. Still, it is always our decision to make.
The decision to follow God’s direction to move to Utah has been a difficult one. Our two older children (The Bigs) are attending college…in Florida. We have a large & very close family…in Florida. We have an amazing church that we love & belong to…in Florida. We have friends that mean the world to us…in Florida. What did we have in Utah? Nothing.
Today marks 3 weeks since arriving in Ogden after 5 days on the road. What do we have in Utah? So much more than we deserve.
We have the East Family; Russ, Tammy, Allie, Katelyn & Jack. They have become fast friends to both Barry & I and The Littles (our two younger children). They are supportive & uplifting. They seem to know just when to invite us over & just what we need to hear. They have been the most loving welcoming committee we could’ve ever asked for. It feels like we’ve known them forever. We are so blessed by them & already love this precious family.
We have each other. Barry & I have always had a close marriage. He is my best friend & I miss him when he is away. That has only gotten stronger in these past 4 weeks since we left Orlando. He is the only adult I see on a daily basis so he is my main source of communication & friendship. I can’t think of a better one.
In addition to my husband, I have more time to spend with The Littles. Moving to a heavily populated LDS area meant that we preferred to either homeschool the kids or put them in a private school. Private school on a missionary’s budget is kind of out of the question. One week into homeschooling has already given me the chance to spend time teaching them the Bible, watching their minds work on math & seeing their excitement over a growing lima bean. Who could ask for more than that?
We have work to do & lots of it! There are lost people everywhere. Being a missionary doesn’t mean you have to leave your home. You can share the gospel at work, school, the grocery store, etc. God did, however, give Barry & me a heart for Mormon people. There is no place more LDS populated than Utah. Mormons outnumber Evangelical Christians 9 to 1 here. The opportunities for us to share our faith are numerous.
- Barry went with a mission team from Idaho to a Mormon ward to attend Sunday services. They invited several LDS to join us for dinner at the mission house the following evening. A few of them came. I’d love to tell you that all of them accepted Christ that evening & turned away from the Mormon church but that did not happen. However, one of the gentlemen that came from the ward spoke to a member of the team from Idaho. They reviewed Romans 3 together. After they were done reading it, the Mormon gentleman said that for the first time he understood why Christians believe what we do. That is good stuff! It is our desire to perhaps have this same person back to the house for dinner with future mission teams and allow God to work through us.
- Barry has also had the opportunity to meet with another LDS fellow named Justin. Justin is a very bright guy. He is bold & knowledgeable about his faith. Sadly, he is not very educated on what God’s word really says. Barry & Justin have spoken & now are emailing back & forth on a regular basis. They are having in depth conversations about very serious spiritual matters. The truth is, I see the Holy Spirit working in Justin’s heart. He doesn’t yet see that, but in time, we pray that his eyes will be open. We are praying that Justin will come to know & worship the God of the Bible; the True & Living God. What a day that will be!
- We have had a work/cleaning day at the blue house. We are scheduling future days of working around the mission house with a pair of interns that are coming into town the beginning of September. It may not seem like much, but we want to please God with all that we have & do. Keeping the mission house clean & working on repairs that are needed is just another way to worship God through our time & talents.
- There are other day to day tasks that we are doing as well. Mail, bank runs, paying mission expenses, writing letters, recruiting churches for mission trips, raising support…all of these things take time. They are all equally important to keep the ministry flowing.
We have a place to live & a part time job! Praise Jesus! We were approved to rent a townhouse that is only about a mile from Russ and Tammy’s house. It is a small little place, with gorgeous views & we love it. Barry also heard back today that he got a part time job with Hampton Inn. It is a job he interviewed for over a week ago. He also interviewed for another job this week. He feels he might be offered that job as well but it doesn’t start until 09/26. We are praying that somehow he can work both jobs. We will need them until we are able to recruit enough mission teams & garner enough financial support that Barry can work full time for the ministry.
(View from our new backyard)
We have our Savior! (I saved the best for last) It has been a learning experience for me to just trust in God. Saying you are leaving things in His hands & actually doing it are two very different things. I am still working on that. Here, in this beautiful place, I am in awe that the God of all creation loves me. I see the grandeur of the mountains all around. It literally takes my breath away. Still, the God who spoke those mountains into existence knows me. He really knows me, and He loves me anyway. How is that even possible? With my God, all things are possible.
So, as we are learning to let go, here is what I know…I miss The Bigs. I miss our family. I miss our church. I miss our friends. I’m not sure if that is going to change, but I do know that unless I let go of my own desires, I can never take a hold of His. Oh how I long to be more of Him and less of me.