Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hope for the hopeless: A blog for the Newtown tragedy

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:13)

I had every intention tonight to sit down and write a Christmas greeting blog to all our partners in ministry but due to the events of the day surrounding the shootings at the elementary school in Connecticut I am not feeling very festive at the moment. Today has been emotional for me, being the parent of a kindergartner my heart is breaking for the families of these children. I am sure many of you experienced the same gut wrenching emotion that came with picking up a child from school today. It may have just been me but I felt the thickness of grief yet relief in the eyes of all the parents and teachers as we held our children a little tighter. 
What posses a person to act out in such evil violence? This is the question that has plagued me today. Now I am no psychologist,  not even close, but in my understanding there is no way that this person had any HOPE. 
A fellow friend in the ministry posted on my Facebook page today "You and Brandon will never know how many other tragedies will be stopped because of your dedication to the youth of our country"  Wow! The feeling of responsibility in that statement is almost overwhelming to me, yet how amazing is our calling that we have the opportunity to offer hope to college students. I share this with you because I want to encourage you; everyone that claims to be a Christ follower is called to share the hope we have found in Jesus. Before my friend made that comment I was terrified, I wanted to wallow in the evil that plagues this world and all I cared about was protecting my children, but sometimes it takes the reminder of our calling to pull us out of ourselves and stay the course. 
Due to the events of today I think we will go into our ministry with Chi Alpha with a different perspective. Perhaps we will have the chance to share with a troubled student the only hope he or she may ever know. 
I pulled up a few of my favorite verses on the Hope that is found in Jesus may they comfort you today and give you the strength to fulfill your calling. 

John 16:33 
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Isaiah 40:30-31 
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Questions About Support-Raising


**NOTE** I borrowed much of this from our Chi Alpha mentor Glen Davis. A few of the links take you to other articles on his blog.
Assemblies of God missionaries are not allowed to begin their mission until they have assembled a team of churches and individuals willing to fund their ministry. This often confuses people, so I thought I’d answer what I perceive to be the common questions.
Can You Just Give Me a Quick Explanation?
There is a consistent principle taught in the Scriptures: ministers should be paid by the people of God. In this regard, there are two broad categories of ministers: pastors, who are paid by the local congregations they serve, and missionaries, who are paid by others than the ones they are ministering to.
Chi Alpha campus workers are missionaries. The reason for this is very simple: college students don’t have any money! In addition, the college scene in American is as pagan as any place on earth, so there are few who would be willing to pay Christian workers even if they did have the resources to do so.
For this reason, then, Chi Alpha campus workers are required to build a support team to aid them in their ministry. Part of that support is prayer, part of it is emotional support, and part of it is financial support.
Is this Biblical?
Yes! For more detail, read our essay on The Biblical Basis for Support-Raising.
Why doesn’t the church pay you?
The church is paying us. The church is not a building; the church is people!
Ha, ha. So why doesn’t your denomination pay you a salary?
  • If the denomination salaries missionaries, the money has to come from somewhere–and that somewhere is the churches. Effectively, it becomes a tax on churches.
  • Historically, denominations that tax churches this way have very few missionaries–nobody likes to pay taxes, not even churches. Raising support by contacting friends and family is a far more effective strategy. Plus, it’s the Biblical method!
  • It’s a scalable system. Every new missionary is required to go and generate the funds necessary for their own ministry. No matter how many missionaries we have, we can always have more because there’s no fixed allotment that all the missionaries have to compete for scraps of.
  • Raising support requires that a minster build a network of relationships which keep him accountable and motivate him to work diligently. If you know that your best friend is paying part of your salary, you’re much less inclined to goof off.
  • Missionaries beget missionaries! Most missionaries become missionaries through contact with another missionary. Support-raising forces missionaries to develop relationships that ultimately result in the production of new missionaries.
Why do you have to raise your full budget first?
Because the Assemblies of God wants long-term successes, not one-shot wonders. If missionaries reach their fields before they raise their full support, they are much more likely to fail their task. They become consumed with their work, and they eventually reach a point where they must either quit, get a part-time job, or live in unhealthy conditions. None of these things is conducive to long-term ministry. By forcing missionaries to raise their budget in full, the A/G contributes greatly to their longevity in ministry. By contributing to longevity they contribute to effectiveness.
Longevity aside, insufficient funding has immediate implications. Without a full budget our ability to minister is literally compromised. Our missionary budget is not just our salary! It’s actually the full organizational budget for our ministry. Out of that budget, a certain amount goes to our salary and the rest goes toward work expenses: without those funds ministry opportunities have to be passed up. Like everything else, ministry requires money.
Who oversees the finances?
We are accountable to Assemblies of God US Missions. All funds are routed through them in order to provide financial oversight for the missionaries.
How do I begin supporting your ministry?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Network or Perish? The Story of Antioch Church

The second biggest reason I hear that people can't or don't want to meet with us as I make phone calls asking to share the vision of our ministry with people is that they don't have money to support us right now and so it would be a waste of our time.  I completely understand that it might feel awkward to meeting with someone who is going to ask you for money at some point (especially if you haven't seen them for a few years). I also completely understand that tight finances are an extreme reality for a large number of families in our world today due to the economy and job market.

We always tell people straight up when we call that part of why we want to meet is that we are looking for prayer and financial partners for our ministry and we would love for them to pray/consider partnering with us financially. We do this because we don't want to be deceptive and just spring asking for money on someone and also because it is simply the reality of our lives right now. You always hope that it won't deter people. You also always hope that people will know your hearts. That you genuinely consider them friends and partners and want to get together with them regardless of money.

I can safely say that some of our greatest meetings have been with people that have never supported us financially and we know going in they most likely wouldn't do so. Some great, encouraging prayer and relationship building has happened during these times. For this reason we try to encourage  people to meet with us whether they feel they will support us financially or not.

Beyond the encouragement aspect, you never know the new relationships or networks that will come out of that relationship and that meeting. Last weekend I met with a friend who felt they would not be able to support us but was kind enough to meet with us anyway. She invited us to her church, Antioch, on Sunday and then out to lunch with a bunch of folk afterward for their bimonthly after church lunch at Rubios.

First, I was so encouraged by the church gathering. This was a young, vibrant, yet intimate gathering of mostly young people though there was certainly diversity on every level. They worshiped passionately and they cared for the lost and the broken. For instance, they were focusing all this month on conversing about how they can better serve orphans and foster children in our world and their community.

Second, after the gathering, I was able to share with a number of people the ministry we would be doing as well hear about the amazing ministries the different people in this community were a part of, many of which would fit perfectly on a college campus! We were able to encourage one another and even make plans about how we might support one another's ministries in the future. A whole new network was opened up to us by this one person who was willing to introduce us to her friends. Who knows if any financial partnerships will come out of it, but one thing I hope people realize, the finances are just step one to get us there, the partnership really comes as we do ministry together that furthers the Kingdom of God in our world.


Want to make an appointment? Email us @ brandon.servant@gmail.com or comment below


Interested in supporting us financially? Click on the giving tab on our blog.

Can't right now? Maybe you would pray about whether or not you have a network that would be sympathetic to the cause of Chi Alpha Campus ministries. Maybe you would consider helping us to broaden our network of prayer, financial, and ministry support as we seek to further God's dream for University campuses.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

least dramatic stomach flu ever!

I knew it! All Mommies out there know what I am talking about...that sick mommy instinct when you just know that something is about to go down, and you are usually right! I have proof from my last blog post that I felt deep in my soul that my kids were about to get sick! In fact, I spent three days in prayer over my children pleading, begging God to keep my kids healthy. It's funny how my prayers began to change as the days went on. The first day was pleading for God's mercy to keep us all healthy. The 2nd night I was wrestling with God as I felt He was saying, "Do you trust me?" I full on said, "No God! In fact, I don't trust you because I know my kids are about to get sick!" (For reals I said that...is that bad?) By the third night I was praying, "God help my lack of faith." And that night God said, "Just trust me!"

 I was freaking out about all of us getting sick because we are about to leave for Santa Cruz tomorrow for a support raising trip. I have soooo been looking forward to this, because I have missed Santa Cruz and its people so much! I just knew that we were all going to get sick and we wouldn't be able to go, or worse we would get there and all be sick and not be able to meet with people. Oh the scenarios that went through my head (I won't tell you about the one that involved the grapevine and kids throwing up in the back seat). Sure enough, I barley put down my prayer journal and dosed off to sleep last night when a little voice gently woke me up saying, "Mommy, I threw up." It was funny because I was not even surprised. I think I said something ...in my still half asleep state....like "I know you did." and we walked to the bathroom to clean up. Now Peyton is my easy going child, my mom has appropriately nick named her "Pollyanna" because she is always finding the good in every situation. For example, I suggested we make her a bed on the bathroom floor because I figured she would need to be there for the night and you would have thought I said, "lets have a camp out in the back yard!" She began jumping up and down with excitement and we were both laughing as we set it up.  I left her there on the floor with her comforter, blanket, stuffed bunny and pillow with a smile on her face. Even though she threw up all night long, every time I checked on her she had a smile for me and by morning she was back to her normal, happy go lucky self!

Two words "Only God" right?

As I reflected today on...the least dramatic stomach flu episode ever... I realized that God and I have been playing this same game a lot lately.

"God I DON'T want to move from Santa Cruz!"
"Trust Me."
"But God I DON'T want Peyton to have to switch schools half way through the year."
"Trust Me."
"But God where will we live and how will my family function with out our own place?"
"Trust me."
"God I DON'T want my family to get sick."
 "Just trust me."

As I went through my day today I noticed that much like the peace I have received in every situation since our move, today was no different  Yes, there are still family members that could catch this bug, but I am no longer worried about it. The anxiety is gone and God is still faithful.
I have been doing this exercise every night before I go to sleep where I simply write out my "acknowledgments" of who God has proven to be to me. Here is a sneak peak at one of my writings:

"I acknowledge that you are my teacher, my leader, my provider and my guide, praise you father because you are good. I praise you because you are all knowing, all wisdom, all grace and all love and I acknowledge that nothing can happen in this World that will ever change that. I acknowledge that you are president over this world, that you and only you can save us and bring us peace!"

On this night that can be stricken with anxiety over what is to come of our nation, I encourage you to take a moment to write down your "acknowledgments" of who God is to you. Please use this blog or the facebook page to jot them down. Nothing would bless me more than to see your praises to our God!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

unpacked suitcases



When Brandon and I were planning our wedding we felt it was important to have a time set aside during our ceremony to invite our mentors up to pray over us and our future ministry together. I remember in the order of service this section was called "The Commissioning." By far, that moment was my favorite part of the whole day because God showed up. It was powerful and extremely meaningful to our future together. I still remember very specifically what each person prayed over us, for example I remember Archie, one of Brandon's mentors, got a vision while he was praying about what our life and ministry together would look like and he said he saw our house with mess everywhere, full of happy children and unpacked suitcases. I remember in the moment thinking that sounded odd and not something that I would ever wish for my life because it sounded...well... chaotic! Well I have to say his vision must have been prophetic (although I won't own up to the mess part) since leaving our church job in August and starting this journey with Chi Alpha I cannot begin to tell you how many suitcases I have packed and unpacked. In fact, right now as I eat my freshly baked pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins we carved tonight, I am staring at a pile of suitcases that have not been unpacked from last weekend and in just three short days they will need to be repacked for yet again another weekend trip!

 God is good! Isn't he? 

I would say our life right now is a bit chaotic but I can tell you that we have happy children and a God who is faithful to supply our every need; In the midst of the chaos he has given us peace.

Just for a quick update, we are in full-swing support raising mode! We plan to be gone every weekend from now until the end of December meeting with potential supporters. I have to say, for two extreme introverts we are holding up rather well under the circumstances. I wouldn't say meeting with five different groups of people in one day is our favorite or most comfortable thing to do, but God never said serving him would be comfortable, yet he is always faithful to equip us for the task at hand. I love this quote from one of my mentors “God does not call the equipped, he equips the called” So true, right? Not speaking for Brandon but for me personally, I leave each meeting feeling humbled, blessed and more positive than ever before that we are right were God wants us to be.

Our kids are holding up well too. This has been a special season for them of spending lots of time with both sets of grandparents and I trust that they will always hold these memories they are making with them close to their hearts. Both Peyton and Amber are doing well in their schools here in San Diego. In true "Peyton/Amber" fashion they are doing well in very different ways. Amber is flourishing socially at her school, making lots of friends and learning the meaning of being a good friend in terms of sharing and caring. Numbers and letters are not the least bit important to her at this time but I figure in preschool getting your social game in order may be just as important. Peyton, on the other hand, is flourishing academically and could care less about her social game. Just today I had a meeting with her teacher and she was telling me that they gave her a third grade reading comprehension test and she got 100% on it! They also gave her a STAR test (a test that includes all areas of learning, math, writing, reading, etc.) and she tested at a 2nd grade level. As I was telling Brandon this news I watched as his eyes welled up with tears and he choked, “She is just so precious…I am so proud of her.” As I caught him wiping a tear from his eye I knew that he was feeling emotional because his little girl is excelling in something that he cares greatly about…education. I had a thought in the midst of that cute little moment with my husband that God is just like that, looking down on us and saying "aren't they precious” unpacked suitcases and all I know he must be proud...how do I know this? Because we are embarking on an adventure that he cares greatly about.

A huge thank you to all of you that have said "yes" to being on our support team! A prayer request that you can join with me on is health for my family. There is a lot of sickness going around in my kid's school and I worry about the kids and us getting sick with our busy traveling schedule. Thank you for partnering with us in prayer! Love to you all!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Giants of Faith


Since our adventure to be missionaries with Chi Alpha has begun we have been studying a lot of different materials on how to successfully raise funds to support our ministry. We have learned so much but most importantly, our studying has caused us to have a healthy view on asking for support. We have learned supporting missionaries is a biblical practice and something we should not be ashamed of. It has also caused us to use our faith muscles and allow God to show himself to be faithful. We have learned to look vertically to God for our finical support and not horizontally to humans. There is nothing better than being in the center of God's will and allowing him to show himself faithful. 

       One book we read on support raising gave the advice to start with the people in our lives who we feel the most comfortable with and who we know already support us in all that we do. We began to make a list of such people in our lives and we were overwhelmed with the quality of people we already feel supported by. So last weekend we went on a road trip to meet with each of these "giants of faith" to talk to them about our call to Chi Alpha and see what advice we could get from them. We would like to share a few of their stories. 

The first people that we chose to share our presentation with were Becky and Larry Lang. Becky and Larry were Brandon's jr high and senior high youth pastors. They were the ones who taught Brandon how to lead worship and encouraged him to follow in his gifting’s towards being in full time ministry. Becky has some interesting stories of Brandon as a kid, and let’s just say that Brandon was not an easy teenager, but Becky saw something in him and never gave up. Becky and Larry also did our premarital counseling and I remember Becky looking at Brandon during one of our meetings and saying “I always knew God was preparing you for a partner in ministry and it is so good to finally meet her.” Becky and Larry live in San Diego so it has been a major blessing to reconnect with them since moving here and continue to glean from their wisdom. They still work as youth pastors in San Diego and continue to raise up worship and ministry leaders. A few Sundays ago we went to church with them and as we were introducing ourselves to their pastor, Brandon shared that we knew Becky and Larry because they were his youth pastors, the pastor said "It seems like almost everyone I meet had  Becky and Larry as their youth pastors" Just goes to show how many kids lives they have touched over the years. How blessed we are to be among the many who have been changed because of them.

Our next stop was to Indio to meet with Ed and Julie Tyler. Ed and Julie were the pastors who hired us to be the youth and worship pastors at Christian Life Center in Santa Cruz. Brandon will tell you that working with Ed in the church office for three years he grew under Ed's leadership in the area of prayer. Whenever he would go to Ed with concerns for his ministry at CLC, Ed would always tell him to go to prayer first. Brandon and Ed would often meet in the mornings to pray together and this made a huge impact on Brandon and how he does ministry today. Over the last year Ed and Julie have been through some tough times as they have transitioned from Santa Cruz to Indio and are looking at starting a church in a very tough area, but their faith has never wavered.  We had such a wonderful time with them (as we always do) as they glow with the Love of Jesus. No one would ever know the trials they have endured because their faith goes before them. They are a true testimony of what a beautiful life can look like when putting God first.

From Indio we drove to Highland to meet with Dave and Sue Robson. Dave and Sue were the pastors who hired us for our first full-time ministry job as worship and youth directors. We will be forever grateful for them for taking a chance on us because at the time we had very little experience and we were very young and immature. We grew so much under their leadership and still to this day view them as mentors. Our time at Highland Hills church will forever be monumental to our ministry as our faith, our marriage and our relationships grew stronger under their leadership. We learned from them that being a pastor means being a servant as they have dedicated their lives to serving others and desire to see people in a healthy place. I will never forget talking with Sue one morning during one of her surprise pop in visits to my living room (oh how I miss those visits) She said to me with tears in her eyes that she believes that Brandon and I are destined to do BIG things in our lifetime for the kingdom of God and our time at Highland Hills is training ground for the future. How thankful we are to this couple for seeing something in us and being willing to train us for our future in ministry.

 Our last stop, among the 10 others we made that busy weekend was with Rick and Sue Clark. Rick and Sue have over 30 years of experience as missionaries. Over the years we have learned from this couple to dream big when it comes to reaching people for the kingdom of God. They currently run their own mission organization called TEAM international whose purpose is to train up leaders to start churches in unreached people groups around the world. Their mission is to start 100 churches in 100 different cities and they are well on their way to achieving their goal. Needless to say they know a lot about raising support. Brandon actually lived in a room in their garage during his college years as he was helping Rick with the beginnings of TEAM. This couple is the ultimate in hospitality their home is truly a sanctuary to so many. They always have at least two or more people living with them from all over the World. They have adopted so many international students and call them family. We are just one of many who have benefited from their love and wisdom. We were excited to meet with them to tell them about Chi Alpha and we left with a page full of notes to guide us through our first steps in this ministry.

We are humbled that ALL of these“giants of faith”have committed to be on our prayer and financial team with Chi Alpha. With these mentors behind us we feel equipped to be successful in all that we do. As we met with each of them we were beyond blessed by their excitement for us and our ministry and we came away with great ideas of how to make it even better. God has been so good to us that as we continue to say“yes”to him he continues to surround us with people who encourage and uplift us to be all that we can be. 

Just for a quick update on our support raising we are humbled and amazed at what God is doing. Currently EVERY person we have met with has committed to partnering with us financially. We are currently 25% to our monthly goal and we have only just begun. Continue to pray for favor in this area. We feel so encouraged that we are exactly were God wants us to be. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The secret is in surrender

SURRENDER
I always knew that one day I would be a missionary. It has always been in my heart...my calling. I used to love to read missionary memoirs when I was younger. Some of my favorites include Nate Saint, Elizabeth Elliot, Marilyn Laszlo and my all time favorite "Bruchko" about a missionary by the name of Bruce Olson who did some CRAZY stuff (seriously if you are looking for a good read check this book out! ) Call me weird but to me these stories almost seemed glamours. I was one of those crazy, on fire, sold out christian teenagers and I could think of nothing cooler or more fulfilling than putting it all out there for the sake of the cross. I wanted what they had... A CALLING...A MISSION...A DIVINE APPOINTMENT... A DESTINY and I did not care if it meant being poor, dirty, far from home, challenged to the point of breaking or even death... I was ready!
Now...fast forward 15 years later and guess what? I am officially a missionary! but, things have changed a bit. I have lived some life, seen some stuff, become a wife and a mom, learned the value of family and friends and somewhere along the way I became scared! I used to pride myself on being fearless and care free, spontaneous and tough, living life on the edge seemed attractive to me but something happened one night as I lay in a hospital bed next to my first born child. I remember not being able to sleep as I rest my hand on her tiny chest fighting the raging anxiety in me that feared she may stop breathing and I knew in that moment that my life would never be the same. 
Now that I am a missionary I have some reservations, I am concerned about being able to provide for my family, I worry about being able to guide my children through the multiple transitions that still lay ahead of us, I am afraid about not having health insurance. I have dreams of my kids taking dance lessons, playing sports, mastering a special craft and now I fear we won't be able to afford lessons. I know its silly but I am sad we can't get a dog. 
Tonight I found myself almost laughing at the irony! Why did God not call me into the mission field when I was younger, ready and unafraid? Wouldn't that have made more sense? Wouldn't I have been more effective when I was less afraid? But as I was questioning I felt God gently whisper "yes but now you know you have to rely on me and me alone! Before... you would have tried to do it on your own, but now you know you are nothing without me and that...my child... is the secret to being a successful missionary.... SURRENDER."
If you have yet to check out our ChiAlpha facebook page please do so and make sure to click "like" to get all our updates in this next exciting chapter of our lives. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lessons on the Mission Field: Flexibility!

After going on any mission trip, you quickly learn that the motto of any missionary is, “Be flexible!” I used to think I was as flexible as rubber, moving with any environment; having the ability to snap back into place after. I don’t know if it is having kids, being so busy it dictates a closely kept schedule, or simply better self-awareness, but now I think my flexibility is a little more akin to steel. Steel is still flexible mind you, but only after being subjected to intense heat (a whopping 2700° F according to my friend Cha Cha). This flexibility and our mettle was tested on our very first assignment as new missionaries: move to San Diego.

The Plan: Pack stuff we didn’t need during the weeks before Sunday August 5, our moving date. Then have a garage sale on Saturday morning, August 4. Pack everything we weren’t taking into the storage pod except for beds and what we were taking to San Diego. Then Sunday morning we’d go get the trailer my Dad had brought his truck to tow and pack it with everything we were taking to San Diego. We’d also pack up the beds and couches into the pod and then hopefully leave around noon at the latest.

Come Saturday, I was so ready to get it all done that I decided we should go get the trailer and pack that day so we could make sure it all fit and leave earlier on Sunday. My dad and I left at about 1 p.m. to go pick up it up about 15 minutes away. When we got to the U-Haul store we filled out all of the paper work, pulled the trailer over and hooked it all up. Then we checked the lights. Tail lights…check. Brake lights…check. Left turn signal…nothing. Right turn signal…nothing. Not good. We spent about 20 minutes trouble shooting only to find out something was probably wrong with the electric connections from my Dad’s truck. They wouldn’t rent us the trailer unless it was working meaning we’d have to find a way to get it fixed if we wanted to get our things to San Diego with us.

By this time, it was almost 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. We called three different auto electric places only to find out most of them all close on the weekends. I called the place we usually take our cars to find out they do electric, but were closing at 2:00 and couldn’t do it until Monday either. We then decided it probably wouldn’t happen today and if we wanted to leave by tomorrow morning we’d have to fix it ourselves. So, we headed over to Autozone, Kragen or whatever we could find to try to get parts and tools neither of us had. While there, we were telling the worker our problem and he mentioned an RV repair shop down the street that might be open. I looked it up on my trustee YP app only to find it was closed. However, I did see one other option on the other side of town and decided to give them a call. They were open until 3:00!
Now being about 2:20, we told them we’d be there in 10 minutes (really 15, but they didn’t need to know that). We ran out of the store and rushed across town through the normal Santa Cruz summer traffic. We got to the shop at about 2:35. They looked at the connections and found they were tattered and shot. By the grace of God, we were able to get it fixed. I say by the grace of God not only because it was the last place open and we would have had to either try to fix it ourselves or wait until Monday. It turns out that they don’t even usually do repairs on Saturdays, but they had a special project that day so that they just “happened” to have brought someone in from Los Banos (an hour and half away) that day!  He wasn’t even supposed to be there! So we went back, got the trailer, went home and packed it all up. 

All this to say, my Dad and I had quite the conversation about what it meant to be flexible and just to put circumstances into God’s hands. I was pretty upset and frustrated through the process showing me again that I am more like steel than rubber. I hope that I’ll learn to keep my cool a little more next time and trust God that he is in control. I’m sure I’ll have many more opportunities to practice this spiritual discipline in this next season with Chi Alpha.

When was a time when you had to change plans and lost your cool only to find out later it all worked out? Maybe even better than you had planned on your own? Were you able to trust God? Why or why not?
The rest of the story? To be continued…

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It all started on a college campus...


It all started on a college campus... before we even met each other we knew that we were called… Both with similar upbringings, both with a heart for missions and evangelism, both with a story to tell about a radical moment in our young teen lives when we knew we were called...but called to do what?

When you are 18 years old it is hard to see past your 21st birthday let alone try to decipher what a lifetime of fulltime ministry might look like, but even in our immaturity, we knew that our future started on a college campus. College is where we began to form our true identity in Christ, where we discovered the beauty and the hardships of living in the real world, where we came to understand that relationships are hard but so very important. It’s where we truly began to grasp the heart of God, the meaning of the great commission, and the importance of growing in the knowledge and understanding of the Bible. Yes, college is also where we fell in love. We weren't even finished with our studies yet when we decided to commit our lives to each other and get married, knowing full well that our future together would be in ministry. In fact, our wedding was more a commissioning service then a mere exchanging of nuptials. Now, in our almost nine years of marriage, we have served in three different churches, birthed three children, led 10 mission trips, gone to 8 youth winter camps, rocked many a worship band, put on VBSs, led small groups and bible studies, put on outreach events and preached countless sermons. We can honestly say, without hesitation, that serving God is FUN! 

At this time in our lives, we find ourselves at a crossroads. We have spent most of 2012 seeking God's will about a possible job change. The church we were currently serving under, Christian Life Center, was going through a pastoral leadership change which left us feeling uncertain about our future. We spent many sleepless nights and late hours tossing, turning and discussing what our future might hold. During this restless time I went to a conference, heard a missionary speak from a college campus ministry called Chi Alpha and was immediately drawn to it. I had already had a heart for higher education and speaking into the lives of students and that moment was the first inkling of the possible answer to our restless prayers. Over the next few months, we decided to check into the Chi Alpha ministry in our area that happened to be on the Stanford campus. STANDFORD?! We went to one of their meetings and undeniably felt the Holy Spirit while we sat in a room full of college students who were sincerely worshiping and seeking God with abandon. We drove home that night feeling as if we had just witnessed something supernatural and decided to seek God about being a part of this amazing ministry. A few months passed and we remained uncertain with our current church situation. We got word that the board had found their new pastor and our uneasiness increased. We tossed and turned all that night and in the morning I shared with Kendra that I had heard God speak to me during a wakeful hour. God said "I am telling you what to do." I didn't even have to ask, "What is it Lord?" I already knew what is was, God was calling us to Chi Alpha. A few weeks later CLC’s new pastor and the board affirmed our calling and released us into our new ministry. We now find ourselves on this journey back to where it all began...a college campus! This time we will be returning to college as campus missionaries to Stanford University!!! 

I heard a sermon last Sunday that reminded me of something I already knew but may have forgotten along the way and that is, we don't always have to understand what God is doing we just have to know that God is in it! We believe God is in this and we are so excited to continue on our journey of serving him in this new endeavor! 

We are currently living in San Diego with our gracious family and friends. Our goal is to take these next four months to raise enough of our funding to be able to start with Chi Alpha in January. We are excited about the opportunity and flexibility we will have in this next season to reconnect with many of you, to not only share what God is doing in our lives but to also catch up on what God is doing in yours. 

We would love to keep you updated through our facebook page (www.facebook.com/BrandonKendrasChiAlphaPage) and blog (www.bkchialpha.com/). So please make sure to like our page and leave us a comment anytime about what God is doing in your life! We would love to hear it! Let’s walk through this faith journey together. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Much love to you all!