1st week in Cali...

We are here in CA, and it’s a balmy 65 degrees outside while the snow flies in Lancaster, PA! It’s hard to believe we have been here for over a week already, but we are quickly falling in love with this city, our fellow YWAM’ers, and the people on the streets. We have begun building relationships and investing in those around us while getting a solid stream of amazing teaching and practical hands on experience in the short time we have been here. We know this is where God wants us and look forward to all the stuff we will learn and more importantly what God will do in our hearts over this time. We are living on base here at the YWAM base with the rest of the crew and have a delightful little room with our own bathroom and mini kitchen all to ourselves (thankfully we were not separated to the men and women’s dorms as Sara kept telling me might happen)! We eat all our meals together, minister together, learn together, pray together, and have fun together, etc., so there is a big emphasis on community which we have really been enjoying.

Probably the biggest lesson God is getting through to me so far is this and I quote Will Strickland who taught on worship last week; “Don’t let fear define you, don’t let others define you, don’t even let yourself define who you are, let God define who you are as a person.” For me that means not saying “God you can use me for this, but you can’t use me for this over here”. Or “yes, I can do that, but no way, I don’t have what it takes to do this.” When I can learn to walk in the confidence of who he is calling me to be, I am no longer confined or controlled by my fear or who I think I am, but am set free to be who God calls me and wants me to be! And then God can do whatever he wants through me and call out talents and things in me I didn’t even know he placed within me. Only then can I be truly who God made me to be. So exciting, and I’m look forward to living life out of that reality!

Thanks for your continued prayers and support! We love you all!

We are loving life in the Tenderloin (aka homeless district) in San Francisco.  This past week has been chocked full with lectures, ministry opportunities, book studies, getting to know the rest of the group (formally and informally), and exploring the city together.  It has already proven to be a stretching and sometimes exhausting schedule, but we are SO excited for the opportunity we have to be here!
During one of our exploratory walks this week, I was really impressed with the beauty and potential that exists here.  Sometimes it's easy to overlook with all the overwhelming needs, but I just got an image of God wanting to bring restoration to this place.  Back story: I love old houses, old vehicles, old furniture, etc., and like to think I have an imaginative eye for what things could potentially look like if they were restored.  I had to think, what about people?  How often do I see past the obvious and realize there is unique potential and beauty within every human being.  As we heard in class last week, each person reflects an aspect of God's character in a way that nobody else does.  Hmm, food for thought.
Speaking of which, it's dinner time so I must sign off.  Love and blessings to all!


leaving town


Ever have the feeling that your feelings in a given moment are not quite equal to what the moment demands? As if reality has not really set in?  That happened to me the other day.  It felt much too easy to leave everything behind on Thursday to board the 1:52pm westbound train from the Lancaster Amtrak station platform with plans not to return for a good long while. I left my house, my job, my family, my friends, and my comfortable little life behind without feeling like it was a big deal. Someday, a few days, weeks, or months from now it'll hit me, but right now, it hasn’t. I know there are challenges ahead; I know that my comfort zone will most likely be blown to smithereens, but I don’t think I have realized that yet. I’m just happy to be on my way west, and am looking forward to what God has in store for us, despite leaving the little town of Lancaster with all of its comforts J.

Just Thursday while sitting at a train station in Pittsburgh while waiting on our next train to Chicago, my lovely wife and I decided to reconcile the credit card transactions from this past year to redeem the time (yes, it literally has been that bad with me in charge of the books for the last while). If you don’t know me, you might find it surprising that I don’t sit around twiddling my oversize thumbs, wondering what to do with 24 hours in a day, but instead always seem to have 101 things going on at once and with that, understandably of course (in my defense), not everything gets done. There was a certain purchase that was unclear what it had been for and what it should be categorized under. I was the offending party in the matter and try as I might, I couldn’t remember what it was I had purchased. So using my very large brain, I decided if I could remember what I did that day, then I might be able to remember what it was I purchased as well. Wow Jason, smart idea. Try as I might, even aiding myself with calendars, thinking out loud (this really helps if you haven’t ever tried it), and head banging (not very useful), I couldn’t even remember what I did on that day. I then started to wonder, how much of what I do in life is so trivial that a half a year from tomorrow it’ll just be water over the dam, a distant lost memory with no lasting importance to the human race and of no eternal consequence?  How much of my life is so unintentional, so mundane that it becomes a blur along with every other wasted day in life? I don’t want to live a life of normalcy, but rather to live on the cutting edge and in fulfillment of God’s call on my life!

So did I get all my responsibilities at home and with The Fence Experts all wrapped up in a small neat little package and hand it over to John Esh with the sound of a full orchestra playing behind me like I had hoped to? No, I’m pretty sure it looked more like a box the size of a small car with everything thrown in there haphazardly, needing hours of sorting by the receiver and dropped off with a wheezing old tow truck to the ceremonious sounds of the impatient drivers’ horns lining up behind me as I unloaded my precariously huge box by the side of the road…. L The end of our time at home came upon me like a posse of wild horses overtaking an overweight lumbering bull:, I knew it would happen, but it still caught me by surprise. So here is a shout out to John Esh and all the wonderful people at The Fence Experts who are sorting through the large box! You guys are amazing!

I will miss being part of a company that is full of amazing and talented, energetic young men. I like that they care about more than just the almighty dollar and take time to focus on the important and long lasting eternal things like each other, and changing the people around them. I’m proud of the amazing people at The Fence Experts who are on their way to China in February to carry Bibles into a place where people don’t have a Bible to call their own. So leaving and not being a part of that anymore is a bit hard. But God has called Sara and I to invest in his kingdom in a different way right now, and so here we go, to learn all we can, and to invest as much as we can during this time.


family, friends, farewells...and we're off!

Wow, an amazing and busy past few days!!!  Thanks to all our friends and family who offered their support and encouragement over the past week.  We felt incredibly blessed to spend a intensive weekend with friends in our home and then were honored with a farewell party hosted by friends and family.  It was such a privilege to see so many of you before leaving the area!  Thank you for your interest and involvement in our journey.

Here's the breakdown of the week:

Monday: We moved out of the apartment that had been our home for the past few months.  It was an odd feeling to pack up all our possessions and put everything in storage except our packed luggage!  We almost felt homeless for a bit...but Jason's parents graciously welcomed us into their home for a few days while we completed last-minute preparations for the trip.

Tuesday: Jason spent the day wrapping up responsibilities at The Fence Experts while I did some shopping and spent the afternoon at Mom's.  Jason joined us in the evening and, together with my parents, we had dinner with my sister and her family.

Wednesday ("Travel Day 0"): Left just before midday to drive to OH to spend an evening and night with my brother, his wife, and their family (kids and guinea pigs).  It was a flying trip, but worth every moment to catch up with them a bit before heading west.  As always, the food and accommodations were amazing, and the conversations delightful.  We will greatly miss you, John, Rachal, and kiddos!

Thursday ("Travel Day 1"): Travelled from Ohio to PA from Ohio in time to get the 1:52pm train from Lancaster to Pittsburg for the first leg of our Amtrak journey west.  Our dear parents surprised us by meeting us at the train station when we arrived!  The train pulled up as we walked down to the platform, so with some quick waves and goodbyes, we were on our way...to California (several days hence).

And so it is.  It's still rather hard to believe, even aboard this train, that we're abandoning life as we know it and venturing into the great unknown.  But it's incredible, really, that we have the opportunity to dedicate a period of our lives to study, learn, grow, and serve.  We are ready to be changed by our experiences, to network with others, and to develop an understanding of ways in which to remain involved in ministry on a greater level (whether we are at home or abroad).