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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Aleni--the photographer

I was going through my camera the other night... re-living the past weeks and deleting unwanted photos. Aleni loves it when I let her use the camera, and she had quite a few shots on there. I started to delete them, and then stopped. It's fun to look at the last month or so through the lens--and angle--of a 2 1/2 year old!


Her takes on our overnighter in Indy:








 Her glimpses into moving/new house:





(She said: "Say cheese Noah!")


(Then: "Oh, wow, Noah! Good job!")





  :)


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

movin', movin'...!

Whew. A whirlwind. That's what these last few weeks have been.

But, I feel like the story started towards the beginning of this year.

Rey got permission to work in the US at the end of December 2011, and at that point began a rather discouraging look for a job. He applied time after time at place after place, but nothing happened. We were SO grateful that God always kept Rey employed--using all of his talents in mechanics and construction in the meantime. It was a hard time... Rey working all hours. No known schedule. Never knowing how much was coming in each week. But, God always provided abundantly.

As we sought God during these months, we asked questions: Are we on the right track? Should Rey be looking for work in the "professional arena"? And, if he does get a good job--should we stay where we are? Should we move? Should we buy or rent? We knew if we stayed where we were--we'd definitely be able to save up money quickly and then get back on the mission's field. We also loved the school district we were in--so good for Noah. So, did God want us to stay? However, if we moved into town--we'd be so much closer to everyone else. Closer to our church and be able to serve more there.

The weeks marched by. We weren't hearing any clear direction, and the job situation wasn't changing.

Palm Sunday, we were in church and the pastor was speaking about God calling us to minister, step outside our comfort zones. To be sensitive to His promptings. As we stood to pray, I felt God saying to me, "This time you have had since you have been back from Mexico has been a time of rest and renewal. People have been pouring into your lives and you have been able to rest. Now, I am calling to back into ministry." I felt Him prompting us to move into a neighborhood with more Hispanic presence to begin ministering there.

I have to tell you, the image that immediately flashed into my head was, "Ghetto". I wondered what this new place would look like; would it be safe for my kids?

At that point, a woman stood and shared that she felt the Lord was calling someone to move. To do something new, something they didn't know what the outcome would be. She said not to be afraid because God promised to be with that person.

Do I have to tell you that I cried before the Lord? I just love it when He speaks so directly.

I shared these things with Rey after the service, and he was like, "Yeah! Let's do it!"

But, of course. He didn't have a job. But, we felt excited. At least we knew what direction we'd need to go once he did get a job.

Guess what? By the end of that week, Rey had a job! I definitely felt that God's mind was: "Until you know what to do, I don't want you distracted by a job."

So, a couple months into Rey's job, we decided to start looking for a house in some neighborhoods with larger Hispanic populations. We started off in the areas that were not "so nice", seeking out if this was where God was leading. We looked through house after house and didn't find anything. We also did not like the schools these neighborhoods had. We looked at rental houses and houses for sale. Nothing.

We then found a neighborhood we loved, with a highly recommended school. The neighborhood borders with some of the more "iffy" neighborhoods, but is still quiet and family-oriented. Again, we looked at houses and houses and houses. And kept hitting road blocks.

Finally, towards the end of July, we decided that doors were not opening. We decided that maybe we should wait another 6 months and then see where we were. I felt conflicted--maybe I hadn't heard from God like I thought I had? We decided to re-prioritize things. Rey re-scheduled his weeks to consolidate his work-days and be able to spend more time at home and in ministry. I was able to begin helping out in a ministry that I'd been wanting to help out in for months. We just felt like, "We are in a good place here, let's just put God and family first, and try to keep work and busyness in it's proper place."

Also, when we'd been looking for a house, we'd been looking for houses thinking that my younger sister would live with us. That meant looking for houses with bigger square footage. Soon after we decided to wait, my sister was able to find a good living situation with a friend, so that changed what we needed in housing.

We also have been feeling God leading us into fostering (a whole other blog post), and began taking steps in that direction. We weren't frantically looking for a house any more--so now we had time! God also opened the door for me to help out in another ministry nearby.

And then.

About 3 weeks ago, I thought, "Hmm. I haven't looked at houses for a couple months. I wonder if anything new might have come up?" I was bored, and when I mentioned it to Rey, he said, "Yeah! Let's check, and then we can write down some likely candidates for December."

As we were scrolling through houses and jotting down addresses, we clicked  over to Craigslist. We found listed there a 3-bedroom rental home. As we looked at it, we realized it was right.across.the.street. from a house we'd tried to buy during the summer. We'd loved the street and the neighborhood then and had been somewhat disappointed when the deal fell through.

We saw the listing on a Tuesday. Went to see it on a Thursday. And had the keys 10 days later.

Can you believe it?

Seriously.

God loves to shake things up, doesn't He?

I really feel like God wanted to get us to a place where we weren't frantically searching... and where we had re-prioritized things. He wanted us to be stable, directed and peaceful before He moved us.

So, therein followed a flurry of all-over-the-place running...It was the last week of August and I had to find a preschool for Noah. Can I tell you that God had this all figured out, too? Weeks earlier, I had been whining and complaining about how the preschool Noah was going to attend started 2 weeks after many other schools... and then it turns out, that was perfect because then Noah didn't get confused by having one week at his old school, and then jumping over to a new one! God's love for us and tender shaping of the small details brings tears to my eyes. We found an amazing preschool at an affordable price that had an opening... and didn't start classes until after Labor Day! Noah didn't miss a day at his new school and has loved it from the moment he walked through the doors. And, it's about 4 minutes from our house. Thanks, God!

The day after we got the keys (Sunday), we ran over to Indianapolis for an overnight meet up with some beloved family members. We got home Monday, and Noah's school started on Tuesday. For that week, we were bringing a load to the new house each time we brought Noah into town for school. While he was in Pre-K for the morning, Aleni and I would be at the new house. I would unpack and scrub my little heart out, then run for Noah, head back to the old house... and then re-load the van and scrub the old house. A revolving door, it seemed.

That weekend, was a family reunion for my dad's side of the family. After that, a bunch of the guys went out to the old house to bring the last of the "big items" over to the new house--and we were officially moved!

We have been in our new house now for 10 days, and it is feeling like home. We are so blessed by how God has brought us to this place and are happy to be in His will! I feel as though God is telling us to fasten our seat belts, because the ride is about to start! :)