Wow, what a month it has been! I hate posting a June update while July is well underway, but so much has happened already. So buckle in. I’ve got a ton of updates coming your way!
REACHING THE NEXT: PREACHING AT LIFESPRING CHURCH
I had the opportunity to preach at my home church, LifeSpring Church, over memorial weekend at the end of May. I attended this church since the day I was born, and is like a second home to me. When the Lead Pastor, Steve Bray, invited me to preach to cast vision for our church planting efforts, I immediately jumped on the opportunity.
And oh my word, it was an incredible weekend.
Seeing this church family pray over us, encourage us, and surround us in prayer was so powerful for Kasey and I. I cried quite a bit, from the overwhelming amount of support we felt. We had nearly 40 people sign up to join our support team, committing to pray for us, join our Facebook group, and/or give financially.
If you have an interest in watching the sermon to get a glimpse of what our church plant will be about, head over to this link! https://youtu.be/PHDpn5biWfg?t=2139
MOVING TO VERMILLION
Literally, the next day on Memorial Day, we packed the UHAULl! Kasey’s mom and dad drove out from South Dakota to help us with the packing and moving process, and my mom came out to help us, as well. Thank goodness Roger is a professional truck driver. Lord knows I’d be petrified trying to drive a UHAUL with a car-trailer. (I think he was little insulted that he had to be downgraded from an 18-wheeler to a moving truck).
We also had a couple of students from IWU stop over to help us load the truck, which was a God send. We were able to get our entire house cleared out and the truck loaded in just under 2 hours. They were incredible! And of course celebrated with Little Caesar’s afterwards.
After running a couple of final errands, Kasey’s mom and dad and my mom started the first half of their journey. Then, Kasey and I waited for Amelia’s bedtime to roll around, and took off around 9:00pm. We drove straight through the night, and Amelia slept the whole drive! We arrived in Vermillion by 9:00am the next day, and got all of our stuff unloaded (even while sleep deprived 😊)
We literally could not have asked for a smoother moving process. God’s hand was in it the entire time!
BACK TO INDIANA: FAIRMOUNT CAMP & EXAMEN
After having a full 4 days to get settled in South Dakota (and catch up from our all-nighter), I flew back out to Indiana to preach at a teen camp in Fairmount, Indiana. This was the first camp I’ve ever preached at. But oh my goodness. The Lord showed up in mighty ways. Not just to the campers, but to myself.
The theme for the week was titled “ASCEND,” illustrating how the Christian life to climbing mountains. We dug deeply into the transfiguration story, comparing each step of that mountaintop experience to our own lives. During the whole week, the Lord was reminding me how this is the kind of work he has called me to do. He has brought me through a valley season of descending, but now we’re turning the corner and beginning a new ascension journey. And he was very clear that this upcoming journey would be very hard. Like, very, very hard. But it’s going to be incredibly rewarding, as long as I depend on him as my climbing guide and my strength. It was humbling.
After that week, I came back home to South Dakota for 5 days…. and then I left for Indiana again! But this time, it was to help with the opening weekend of a program I played a part in during my previous role at Indiana Wesleyan University, called Examen. Examen is a summer camp for high school students exploring a vocational call to ministry. It was so great to see these kids together after interacting with them for months leading up to Examen, hunting down information and forms and waivers. It was a great weekend.
SETTLING DOWN & GETTING STARTED
Needless to say, it was a very crazy start to our first month in South Dakota, between moving, two trips back to Indiana, and District Conference at the end of the month. However, lots of cool things have happened since moving to town and getting settled.
First, Kasey landed two jobs: one as a part-time pediatrics phone nurse at a medical clinic in Yankton, South Dakota for the summer, and as a school nurse for the Vermillion school district! We couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity, as it’s going to be an incredible way to meet kids and families and invest in the community. Kasey starts at the school midway through August.
Meanwhile, I’m able to continue doing some contract work for Indiana Wesleyan University, as well as teach an online New Testament course, through the summer. Additionally, I started back up with The Ransom Church as a resident in their Awaken Church Planting Network. I did a 2-year residency and worked on staff with The Ransom, and it was also where I met my wife, Kasey. This church is very near and dear to both of us—so the fact we get to back with them, and have Ransom “mother” our church plant for the first stage of its life, is such a blessing. It’ll be through their church planting training that I’ll learn a bunch of techniques, models, and ministry philosophies, as well as start putting together a blueprint for what God wants this church to be.
But, I’ve saved the best for last. We’ve already had several conversations with people in the community of Vermillion and USD this month, and the amount of support and excitement around a new church coming to town has actually been pretty astonishing. It’s been a common theme: People are excited about a life-giving church, and sense a need for it. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that we’ve only interacted with people who know what church is. But even people who I’d classify as “de-churched” are excited by the prospect of a new church.
The Holy Spirit is up to something. And there are so many things already in the works and connections being made that are only possible because of the work he’s doing before we even got here. I pray daily that God will unleash a fresh wind of the Spirit here in Vermillion, and that we can be on the frontlines of this movement. We are so excited for what’s in store.