Saturday, March 20, 2021

Joy, Redemption and Beauty

 I'm gonna try to keep this entry short and sweet with lots of pictures. If you haven't had a chance to read the March 17th post, you should do that - it won't disappoint Click Here. A brief overview of the last two weeks: got to go snowboarding for the first time since covid started with a Door of Hope friend, traveled across the country to visit friends in Hayesville NC before a wedding in Virginia. Drove 1500 miles in a week which is something I haven't done since 2015(ish). From there we discovered our windshield was smashed (not sure if it was random or we were targeted. It seems targeted as no one else in the complex experienced it) and a package was stolen off of our front porch which just so happened to be a BIBLE! We will see what God does there. Pray for the thief and car assailant. Without further ado... 

Running slides for Pastor Tim Smith's last Sunday at Door of Hope. He was the Mars Hill Portland Pastor which became Redeemer, which then merged with Door of Hope

Bible Study buddy and snowboard partner, Tucker at Mt. Hood Meadows. First time shredding since covid started. 

We experienced an epic sunrise at about 3am (our time) heading from Portland to Charlotte 

Great time in Hayesville, North Carolina with great friends we love

You might be a redneck... if you use a leaf blower to get your fire pit rockin

Salem Chapel, Rice Virginia 

Anna Davidson's wedding: I didn't cry too much

Andy had us all laughing. Having known Anna for over half her life, this moment didn't seem real. 

Mr. and Mrs. Julius. We got to have lunch with the couple, Kyle's a good dude. 

Explored Liberty University... place is huge

Our car was singled out for a random(?), possibly targeted(?), attack. It's actually worse than it looks, the camera couldn't catch all the ripples etc. Check out the March 17th blog

After writing letters to all of our neighbors we posted this up near the car. Our prayer is that our neighbors would see Christian forgiveness modeled. 

Restoration. Thank you Lord. We know that God is our defender and we prayed a prayer of safety over our car, but not at the expense of our neighbors salvation through our ongoing testimony in this area. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Provision Past and Present

    On March 6th I discovered a strange $420 auto-renewal charge that occurred on March 3rd 2021 to my Visa card. This lead me to discover that this wasn’t the first time this auto-renewal had happened! Another $360 charge had taken place the previous year on 3/2/20. After some sleuthing, it was determined that I had been paying for something I wasn’t using at all. Quick spoiler in the story: I was completely reimbursed and all is well. While I definitely noticed the $420 missing from this year (2021), I completely missed the $360 charge last year (2020) that came around a time when everything was being canceled (namely our church youth trip to Guatemala) and I was heading towards a sabbatical at a place with no wifi and little reception. Lauren and I were living on dual incomes and it’s clear now that the money wasn’t missed in the moment because I completely missed the charge. It happened without our knowledge and didn’t impact our lives. 

    Fast forward to today as a student on zero incomes. I quickly reached out to the company on March 6th after discovering what had happened and they immediately sent me a check a week later to cover both years of auto-renewals. The 2021 renewal charge was very much noticed while the money coming from the 2020 renewal seemingly came back to us as a free gift out of nowhere.

    On Sunday March 14th between 10:30 and 11pm in Portland, someone took a baseball bat(?) to our parked car windshield we had owned for almost a month; this was the car that replaced our totaled Prius after a person ran into me on 82nd Street in Portland. We don’t understand why someone would damage our car like this? We got the email and pictures from property management about our car while we were at a former Dungeness Community Church students wedding in Virginia. After checking windshield costs on Google from Lynchburg, we discovered that the replacement would be $350+. On Tuesday night (March 16th) when flying back from the Virginia wedding to Portland, I watched a confusing movie about time travel. In the movie people from the past and the future were working together to impact the present… at least that’s what I think happened. This got me reflecting about how God is actively inside our historic human time and outside of it, simultaneously working to achieve his goals. He had known that the year before in 2020 we wouldn’t miss that $360, but now it would definitely mean something to us… it was like balm on a discouraged heart. 

It's actually worse than it looks. 

    When we got home to Portland from the airport we saw for ourselves the devastated windshield, but also had a check in the mailbox to cover it. The check and smashed window converged at the same time perfectly. Again, God has blown my mind and concept of provision on his timeline. It will take me weeks to unpack what fully happened here… Lauren even said “a lifetime,” to barely understand God’s work in human events which is much more accurate. Before watching “the confusing movie” on the flight home, I was reading a commentary on Hosea/Amos/Micah; three prophets who wrote across different time periods. Hosea initially lived in a time where Israel was still prosperous… but he could see this wouldn’t be the case much longer as he looked back in time (so to speak) upon what God had required of his people through the written Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy). His calls to the people to ditch the false gods they were worshipping and the true God at the same time, went completely unheard. As Hosea read back into the past at what God required of his people, God supernaturally revealed to him what was coming shortly to this disobedient people, in the future. I could go on and on about Hosea’s story… all of this to say, we’re living under a God who is simultaneously working from our past and future to affect the present in ways we can’t even begin to understand. Lauren and I are praying that God would use our broken windshield for good in the lives of our surrounding neighbors as we have a chance to model Christian forgiveness, fully trusting that God ALREADY HAS used this moment from the beautiful future he’s creating. I’m going to stop talking now about time and other things I don’t fully understand, but I’m just in awe of the God we serve who is LORD over time which should give us greater confidence to live our lives faithfully trusting him in the present. God has provided for us in every way today, most graciously seen in his sending of Jesus to die in our place 2,000 years ago for bad things we haven’t even done yet. A faithful man named Glenn Brown from DCC (who has since gone to be with Jesus) once said, “God takes our past and creates our future.” That is true on more levels than we can even comprehend. God does this for his glory and our immense joy. Be encouraged today friend. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Spectacular, Unreal Month.

 My apologies for the missed post on the 20th. Since we last talked we moved all of our earthly possessions (February 6th) from a 400 square foot apartment, into a 17 foot U-Haul truck to a nearly 1100 square foot apartment just 18 minutes from school. The entire move from start to finish (including the 20 minute drive to the new place) took less than three hours with our spectacular crew. Truly amazing. The move proved to be just in the nick of time looking back. We were slated to fully checkout of our tiny apartment on February 15th. Looking at the weather report, we knew it would need to happen on Feb 11th or wouldn't happen at all. On that Thursday, Lauren and I furiously scrubbed the apartment down while simultaneously checking both the snow report and sky. We were about ready to get hit by a BIG ONE. We actually had no idea how big. We wrapped up cleaning by 1pm, gave the keys back to management and booked it to our new home as freezing rain fell which eventually turned to snow. It felt like something out of a James Bond movie about weather (if there was such a thing) as we escaped from the apartment and storm. Little did we know we wouldn't be going anywhere for a week. The storm coming would put 200,000 people out of power in the Portland area alone. We experienced an inch of freezing rain, followed by a legitimate blizzard that brought a foot+ of snow. After this we experienced an 'ice-storm', something I'd never heard of, with two inches of liquid black ice. It went from being too dangerous to drive, to being too dangerous to walk outside. Covering the snow was a sheet of pure ice. Completely unreal. During this crazy week, we were so thankful to be stuck inside our new two bedroom palace. We baked cookies for neighbors and helped dig people out of the snow. The storm was a huge catalyst for meeting tons of neighbors for which I'm grateful. On February 19th we were able to break free of the snow and head to Lake Sutherland to celebrate my 35th Birthday (on the 22nd) which was wonderful. We got to attend both IBC + DCC and see beloved friends and family. We then celebrated it again the next day in Portland at BBQ with our small group. Then again at In-N-Out Burger that Saturday with Seminary friends. It was a great week. On March 2nd I was able to work off some of the food with a 15mi bike ride with a friend from Bible Study. It was 60 degrees, a massive 54 degrees swing from the historic meteorological event we had just two weeks prior. We're really loving our new place.

Getting ready to move out of the City

The dream moving team on Feb 6th

Less than one week later in the burbs...

Roughed the 'Oregon Trail' to Target - just like the original settlers

The tree in our front yard nearly buckled from the weight of ice.

The thaw begins


Our new place is mere feet from two spectacular ponds... pretty amazing

Ice storm covered the world in two inches of ice

Super dangerous

Our neighbors carport collapsed under the weight of ice

Insane Ice Storm

Chill bday weekend

Sunset paddle boarding session on Lake Sutherland


West Coast Beaches

Podnah's Pit BBQ in Portland w/ Homegroup (camera distorted everyones faces)

The 'Vista House' is only a 15 minute drive from our new place