Whew! It's a lot going on! In this last week we were commissioned by Providence, we put our home on the market (any takers?!), and we're headed into Spring Break. Somehow, we're actually hanging together as a family and we're looking forward to celebrating Easter in Alabama. Here's a little about the lot that is going on - and of course a few ways that you can pray with us in the week ahead.
Sent From Providence
Last week (April 7) we were commissioned from our home church of Providence to London to plant this new church. We are so grateful for Providence and the work that God did in our hearts over the last seven years of ministry.
We joined the Providence family soon after we landed in the Raleigh area. Thomas was working on his Masters degree at Southeastern and we connected with Providence through, ironically enough, a college student at NC State (we'll share this story another time). Thomas joined the Providence staff team in the fall semester of 2011 as he started his PhD at Southeastern. He served as Pastor of College and Equipping ministries. This was a good, stretching, and growing season for both of us. We learned how to apply the training of seminary to the everyday practicalities of life and ministries. Two years ago, Thomas transitioned to a new role on staff overseeing all of Discipleship (Children, Student, College, Adult, and Care ministries) at Providence while continuing to give oversight to College Ministry and teach every week. It was during this season that God began guiding our hearts to our next assignment of planting in London.
We are headed to London in large part because of the shaping that has taken place in, around, and through ministry at Providence over the last seven years. In so many ways, we have lost ourselves in pursuit of Jesus and making disciples and in the end found ourselves with a new desire - of planting a new church in London - rising in our hearts. Psalm 37:4 really is the banner that hangs over this last season.
On Sunday morning Providence showed a video of the West and Evans families talking through our call to London, Thomas shared a few words, and the pastors and elders prayed over our launch team. We are so grateful for the Providence family.
Selling Our Home
With the big weekend behind us we then shifted our attention to preparing our home for sale. We say "we" but let's be honest: Elizabeth is the one doing all of the heavy lifting on this front. After replacing our master bathroom (remember that leaky shower pan situation?) and fixing up the house in a number of ways, we just put the house on the market this last weekend.
This is BITTERsweet. So much has happened in this space: marriage counseling the college students and young adults we love so much, developing small group leaders, watching every sport you can think of with the guys, Bible studies, breakdowns, breakthroughs, highs, lows, stints of stubbornness and seasons of surrender, laughs, and cries. We have brought our children home from the hospital and figured out new normals within these walls. We have had our hearts saddened by grief and enlarged by grace all within this space.
Now, this "home" is for sale.
Headed Into Spring Break
We just returned from a few days away in Pinehurst. One of our good friends was gracious to loan us their family home for a couple of nights so we could slip away, not bother the home while we had showings on Saturday, and connect as a family. We had the best time in Pinehurst. We bought the kiddos their first golf club, watched the Masters, at a few good meals, and overall caught up as a family.
We're headed to Alabama on Tuesday to spend Easter with family. We will spend the week in Montgomery and are looking forward to some good cooking, time with our parents, and some time to continue resting as a family. It's weird to think that this is the last American "Spring Break" we will have for a while (or ever?). We are looking forward to learning the new normals of "term breaks" in London and all that will entail. Yet, anticipated rhythms like "Spring Break" are something that we probably all take for granted. We are looking forward to some good times in Alabama.
In addition to these things, Shepherd has his Eastern performance at Little Lambs and was so much fun to watch - also, his Easter egg hunting skills are a force to be reckoned with. Thomas Finished up the formal part of residency training with Summit Network and is still keeping up with a few more meetings and preparations before commissioning at Summit later in the month. Perry continues to be the sweetest little girl and we are hanging in when it comes to life in general.
Pray With Us
Would you join us in praying with us? By now some of you are anticipating our needs better than we are able to write them out. Would you pray specifically for the sale of our home? Along with this, would you join us in praying that we would set all of our hope on God in this season of transition? It feels weird to now want someone to come along to purchase the home we - for so long - have not wanted to part with (and still don't!). This is an emotionally complex time. Please join us in also praying for safe travels to and from Alabama and good rest/connection as a family. Things will be busy for the three weeks after this Spring Break and we really need some good time together.
As always, thank you for being on this journey with us. Your friendship, prayers, and support go further than we will all ever know in the establishment of this new church in northwest London.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear...