Finally Home

It’s been well over a month since we have sent out an update on all things Project Henderson.  For that we are truly sorry. Life started moving quickly almost from the moment we arrived.

We had an amazingly easy journey across the desert of Nevada and into Utah.  The kids and Gil (our 100 lb lab) could not have behaved any better!  It took us around 11 hours and about 1,000 stops but we all arrived in good spirits and still loving each other.

This picture was taken just as we arrived at SMCCImage

Our daughter Rachelle and her pup Dodger as many of you know have decided to stay in California.  She was able to get a job and a place to live in Grass Valley!  She lives and works at a dog rescue and rehabilitation center where she gets to help rehabilitate aggressive dogs.  SHE LOVES IT!  She also has another job at some local stables working with and exercising horses. She will be returning to Sierra College in January.  We are very proud.

For the first two weeks we lived with our Pastor Paul and his wife Jini.  They were amazing hosts.  We even had a nice arrangement worked out where she would do our laundry and Heather would cook. We decided that Polygamy is probably not all that bad as long as we each have our own spouses ;0).

We moved into our own place the last weekend of October and have been settling in ever since.  We live on top of South Mountain in Draper, UT. It is a beautiful place to be with endless hiking trails and majestic mountain views.

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The kids LOVE their new school and are quickly making new friends; Mormon and non-Mormon.  So far they have not had any negative experiences with making new friends of a different faith.  We feel pretty blessed by that since we have heard several stories of other children in our church having difficult experiences with making Mormon friends. Caroline has made fast friends with a little girl in our neighborhood and Jack has yet to really get out there and meet some new kids. He is happy tagging along with his sister for now.

Rick has been hard at work at SMCC.  His job responsibilities have just about tripled and he loves every minute of it. He is managing some of the staff and oversees several ministries.  He is growing in so many ways. This week will be the third Sunday he has spoken since we have been here.  That number will increase as the new year progresses and he settles in to the new work load.  The staff here have been amazing and welcoming.

Heather keeps herself busy with the kids.  Jack is in half day kindergarten which prevents her from really pursuing a job of any kind. She really looks forward to the new year when she can sink her teeth into Women’s ministry and also signing up for the worship team.  She has started mentoring a group of young ladies, newly married or engaged.  They are studying the book of 1 Corinthians on Saturday mornings, twice a month at 7am.

We are all adjusting well and resting securely in God’s providence over our family.  We can’t believe how much we love this church and the people in the community and vision for the lost they have. We could not have picked a more perfect landing place for our passions. As ministry experiences unfold we will keep you posted.  Thank you for praying for us.  We love you all!

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The Waiting Is Over and The Adventure Begins

Almost 15 months ago Heather and I resolved together,

“God, we will say goodbye to the known and follow you into the unknown.”

The only thing we were certain of, was a deep sense that God was leading us to step away from Twin Cities Church and into a ministry adventure that we could not yet imagine, much less describe to others.  We didn’t know where following God would lead us, but we were sure we wanted to go there.

Over the next year we prayed.  We fasted.  We sent out resumes.  We waited.  We got multiple doses of rejection.  We waited.  We wondered. We did some more waiting.  We began to notice that God was using this time to work good in us before he would take us somewhere good.  And for that we are deeply thankful.

Every night, when tucking the kids into bed, we ended our prayers the same way.

“God, make us ready for where you want us to go to tell people about Jesus.”

The weekend of September 30th, Heather and I visited South Mountain Community Church in Draper, Utah.  We knew almost immediately, this is the place we prayed for each night.  This is the place for which God has been preparing us.  We excitedly accepted an offer to the be the Pastor of Adult Ministries.  For those of you who are curious, I will get to do a lot of teaching on Sunday mornings.

I am energized by what I will get to do.  I am equally anxious for what I will get to learn.  This is a church that has had much success in sharing Jesus Christ with many people, especially those who were raised in Mormonism.

During this journey we were sustained by the ceaseless encouragement, prayers and gifts of friends and family.  We are amazed that we could be so loved by so many.  That reality made today especially difficult.  Walking through the lobby at Twin Cities Church, there were many hugs, tears and heart stirring goodbyes.  Our hearts are full.

Tomorrow mornig Heather, Caroline, Jack, Gil the dog and I will set out for Draper.  We are looking forward to the journey across the desert.  We are looking forward to the adventure of faith that awaits us in Utah.  If you noticed that the manifest is lacking one name, you are right.  Our oldest, Rachelle, has sprouted her wings and is launching herself into an adventure of her own.  Over the next month or so you may see her around Twin Cities Church.  Very soon she will be moving to Truckee, where she will be working with a company to serve foster youth across the nation.  We are so very proud of her.

If you happen to think of us tomorrow, we would be grateful for one more prayer.  Ten hours across the desert with two kids and a dog may cultivate moments in which divine intervention is needed.  We love you all we leave knowing that we are launched with much love.

The waiting is over and the adventure begins.

 

The Low Down…

When we arrived on Saturday, one of the first things we did was visit the Temple downtown. The architecture is stunning. We took a tour and spoke with a couple Mormon missionaries.

They were sweet girls who were eager to share their testimonies and answer our questions. As it turned out, they were less eager to answer our questions than we would have liked. After talking a while, we finally landed on a big question. I was asked if I had read the Book of Mormon and if I had prayed about it. I have read it, but I confessed that I hadn’t prayed about because I couldn’t get passed all the erroneous historical claims.

I was told, “Oh, you’re the kind of person who needs reasons to believe something.” I was further told, “in the Bible Jesus said that we should just believe without reasons.” I responded, “can you show me that verse?” It was at this point that we were thanked for visiting and told goodbye.

Sunday was simply amazing. It started with a service at the main campus. As soon as I finished the message, we raced out the back door, to high tail it to a second campus.

When we arrived, I made it on stage just in time to give the message. As soon as I was done, we were off again, speeding back to the main campus for the final service. It was a whirlwind, but exciting and fun.

We met so many great people. For those of you who have read the book, UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, we met people from Colorado City and others who escaped polygamy. What has stood out to Heather and me most is the maturity, devotion and delight of the believers here. They live in hostile territory. Their sense of freedom in Christ and boldness is intoxicating. We are in awe of what God is doing here.

I look forward to sharing more soon. In the meantime please continue to pray for our wisdom in this process.

Today Is The Day…

Later this morning, Heather and I will board a flight bound for Salt Lake City.  We are excited to spend this weekend with the people of South Mountain Community Church, in Draper, Utah. This is an adventurous and hopeful time for our family.  We feel blessed without measure, and eagerly look forward to what God is doing.

On Sunday I will be speaking in three services.  The message is on BOLDNESS.  Does that mean that I’m hypocrite if I feel a little nervous?  Heather and I will post pictures and updates throughout our trip on our Facebook pages.  You can find Heather’s page here and mine here.

We are indebted to so many of you for your encouragement, prayers and innumerable acts of kindness and generosity.  Our hearts are bursting with deep thankfulness.

This Is Going To Be Good

This has been an exciting week. It’s a difficult thing to display joy in a blog. But we are bursting at the seems with it. He is a quick recap of the last several days:

  • We have put things on an indefinite pause with Grace Church, in Henderson, NV. (We are hopeful for them and celebrate their recent launch. This just doesn’t appear to be where God is leading.)
  • We have begun talking with a church in the Salt Lake City (SLC) area, South Mountain Community Church.
  • We will fly to SLC on September 29th to speak and interview.

This is a church that has had great success in bringing the joy of the Gospel to Mormons. Few others have seen this kind of success. There is much about this church and opportunity that energizes us. But an opportunity like this one is especially meaningful.

The Hendersons come from a long line of devout Mormons. Some of them were quite serious about it. My grandfather, however, couldn’t quite live up to family expectations. The oldest son in a proud LDS family, he disappointed his father by rarely attending Mormon church services. So, when he was 18, my great grandfather decided to teach him a lesson.

Being friends with the local sheriff, my great grandfather had my grandfather put in jail overnight. Imagine being so bad at a religion that you’re thrown in jail for it! Lesson learned? Not exactly. The next day my grandfather joined the Army. With that choice he became the black sheep and started his own little flock of black sheep, of which I’m happy to be a part.

Over the years he lived like an atheist and raised my dad to live like one as well. My dad discovered Jesus Christ because of two high school classmates who relentlessly pursued him and prayed for him. Eventually my grandfather would also chose to follow Jesus through the influence of my dad.

Standing on the doorstep of this opportunity, I can’t help but think of Joseph saying to his brothers, “What you meant for evil, God intended for good.” I’m no Joseph, but I feel a kindred spirit with him. It’s way to early to speculate on whether or not this is our final destination. Yet, on the final Sunday in September I get to share the amazing, religion-destroying, life-giving, grace-filled, joy-rich Gospel of Jesus Christ in the heart of Mormonism.

This is going to be good.

Holding Faith Not Our Breath

For those of you eager to celebrate an announcement with us, today is not that day. We have learned that this is a marathon and not a sprint.

Along the way we have rediscovered the constant presence and blessing of God, as well as the deep riches of friendships. So many of you are sustaining us with prayer and filling us with encouragement. We know of no way to express our sincere gratitude.

Currently things are slowly moving forward with Grace Church in Henderson. We will return on September 23rd. In the meantime, we are being met with other opportunities to explore.

Yesterday, Ron Thompson delivered a stirring message that Heather I believed God crafted especially for us. Today we are delighting in the waiting. We are eager to learn what God wants to teach us. Our desire is to do well by walking with wisdom, purpose and faith.

Thank you for your continued friendship, support and prayer. I’m confident that something exciting is on the horizon. So for now, we are holding faith and not our breath.

Pitching Our Tent

From the moment I woke up this morning I was feeling sorry for myself.  Here we are packing up the the first home we have ever purchased ready to move to the unknown.  Tears flowed as I remembered those memories of our first moments in this house.  We were so excited to have a piece of land with our names on it! 

As I continued my study on Abraham and Sarah this morning I stumbled upon a verse that I had never really given any consideration before: 

 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

Genesis 13:18

There is something so transient about tents.  Not a permanent dwelling by any means.  In fact they are meant to be picked up and moved. Abraham knew that in this promised land of God he was not at home here. 

 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

2 Corinthians 5:1

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Abraham didn’t choose just any spot to pitch his tent.  He went to a place where he could replenish his parched family and gain some relief from the sun.  The trees of Mamre – what a glorious sounding place! Although he may have taken a break from the heat of the desert I’m sure he was busy growing the influence and fame of God. 

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I have been ever so slowly going through the study on the Patriarchs by Beth Moore and I love what she had to say about this stage of Abram and Sarah’s life”

No, this world is not our home.  We, too, are looking for a better country (Heb 11:16), but while we’re here, we have some living to do. As the spiritual seed of Abraham, we Christians are called to be a blessing to this world.  Take your tent and live today as if the earth  has no tomorrow.  Find a little shade under a big tree for respite from the heat, but sow spiritual seeds on this planet with everything you have…for this is God’s will.

~ Beth Moore, The Patriarchs

So with our house all packed up, tomorrow we will move our tent to the respite shade of some dear friends and sow spiritual seeds of faithfulness with everything we have. From there we will wait patiently for God to show us our next steps – even if it means walking through a desert to get there. 

Thank you for your prayer and friendship.  Keep it coming!  Specifically we need God to provide a renter for our home, and a temporary job for Rick. I have enough elderly clients to keep me very busy.  Also pray for my two youngest as they will start a new school in couple of weeks.

With love and appreciation,

Heather