Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hello Wisconsin!

 Early this year Rob and I both had a sense that this would be a year of hope for our family. Of course, we had no idea what it would look like and how it would unfold, but we were trusting that 2016 was going to be a year of change--in a good way!

This picture doesn't even begin to do justice to some of the
beautiful countrysides we saw in Wisconsin!
We never could have imagined just how much change it would bring!

Late winter brought the sale of our condo, leaving us without any property ties to our current city.

Early spring brought a very surprising positive pregnancy test!

Mid spring brought a strong feeling that with a new little one on the horizon, we really wanted to pursue a return to full time ministry. Simply put, after a long season of waiting, it was time. Our whole family felt an itch to diligently look for full time ministry opportunities.

I distinctly remember a night in mid May that we set aside some time to look for jobs. Rob was absolutely convinced that he needed to put out at least one application that night. He had some school work to do so while he was working on one of his assignments I sat next to him and went to all of our normal job search places and started pulling up job postings. By the time he was finished with his school work, I had 15+ tabs open on my computer.

One by one I showed him what I had found and one by one he seemed to say, "They're not looking for someone like me, they want someone who is really good at..." In all fairness, it seems like nearly every church truly wanted to hire Super Man who can be all things to all people at all times.

But, there was one that really stood out to us. The job description specifically said they preferred someone who had some work experience outside of Christian ministry and they also wanted someone with a heart for small groups. Of course, they were hoping for some other specific things as well, namely a man with a gift for teaching and preaching, but they weren't looking for Super Man. In fact, it appeared that they might very well be looking for a man like Rob. As we read through the job posting again and again we finally stopped to ask, "Where exactly is this church?"


Isn't that somewhere over by the Great Lakes? Or is it more Mid West? Further East? Wait, where exactly is Wisconsin?

So, Rob sent out his cover letter and resume that evening, and as we've often done in the past, we waited to see if we would hear anything back from this church. Eventually we did hear from back from them. They had gotten Rob's application and they kept us in the loop as to where they were at in the hiring process. Then we started hearing from them with increasing frequency. Eventually we heard Rob was one of four they were seriously considering.
Obligatory PDX carpet picture as we set out to WI

Then we got the call one Thursday night.

They were down to one, and it was him. When Rob sat the kids down to tell them, Leeann who had recently read Lord of the Rings excitedly asked, "Are you the chosen one?!?!" Of course, we all burst out laughing.

Long story short, we flew to Wisconsin last Thursday. And we loved it! We loved the people. We loved the church. We loved the community. I woke up Saturday morning and asked Rob, "Do you get the sneaky suspicion that we are home?" He agreed that every step of the way so far, it seemed like God may very well be leading us in this direction.

We spent the long weekend with various groups of people. They asked us lots of questions and we asked many questions in return. One by one, the answers were what we had hoped to hear. Each step of the way we asked our kids how they were feeling and they both consistently said, "I hope they ask you to come!"

Rob got to preach on Sunday and we enjoyed a potluck after church. Then there was some Q&A time. After that we jumped straight into another meeting and then had dinner with some new friends at their farm. Our kids had already made fast friends with their kids and we all enjoyed our evening together.

Monday morning came around and we finally had a little bit of room to breathe and explore the town. The church would be voting that evening on whether or not they wanted to call Rob as their Lead Pastor. As we talked about whether or not we should take a few days to respond if they should offer the job, we came to the conclusion that there would be no need for further discussion. If they offered the job, we would accept.

We got a phone call after the meeting had concluded, and indeed, they did offer the job, and we accepted on the spot. The kids jumped up and down in nearly uncontainable excitement, and we sat down to start sketching out plans for a move across the country!

So, here goes nothing.

Our new church home
In just over two weeks we intend to load all of our worldly possessions into a UHaul and make our way across the country to Whitehall, Wisconsin. It sounds a little crazy to up and move that quickly, but I need to get settled in with a new doctor as soon as possible. Besides that, we are anxious and excited to start our new adventure!

Here are some pictures from our time in Wisconsin this past weekend:
Mall of America Sugar Shoppe
The most epic slip n' slide ever!
Mall of America Lego Store

Hearing a knife parable from one
of the most engaging gentleman I've ever
had the privilege of speaking with! 
Petting the animals
A little ride through the country side and story time time
Backseat drivers
Farm tour

Return trip


This picture pretty well sums up how we felt by the time we
returned to Portland night. Exhausted, but excited about
the future! 

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