LONG time no talk.
I realized today I haven't given a thorough update since September...whoops.
That's what happens when life, travel, morning sickness, and more life exist.
We have officially been living in Moose Factory 2 years (and 3 days shy of 1 month)
Today I'm going to, as quickly as possible, give you 10 updates and some prayer requests...here we go!!!
1) We originally committed to staying in Moose Factory 2 years, but we certainly don't think it's time to leave yet. The church had a meeting about this last week and asked us to stay longer and gave Josh a lot more responsibilities, so he's now basically the full time pastor. We really don't know how long we will be here, we are just trusting the Lord's leading and timing.
2) I am 26 weeks pregnant. Everything is going great, I update every couple of weeks about my pregnancy at www.lovedonesimply.blogspot.com . We will be having baby boy here in Moose Factory. My estimated due date is July 9.
3) We are going home for a visit in May. We are getting a much needed trip to the beach for JUST Joshua and me. This thrills me to no end. Then we will spend a week in Atlanta, then a week in Philly. It has been a LONG winter, so we are excited for some warmth. (Philly...Atlanta...don't fail me!!!!)
4) I find it very hard to update on our ministry, because it truly is every day life for us. An average day (we don't have an average day!!!) for us looks like:
Long quiet times in the morning (one of the biggest blessings during this time)
Josh studies to preach
I do homemaker things, cook..clean...laundry..prepare for baby.
Sometimes Josh and I will go visit, sometimes we'll get visitors, sometimes the youth will stop by after school, sometimes we will have a counseling session, sometimes we will get phone calls from people needing guidance, to tell us a praise, or just to talk, sometimes I bake cookies all day long so trips like the one in May can happen, a LOT of "popping in" happens here...totally spontaneous, I love it. (see...not very average) Just today I had a woman from the church come by for 3 hours to chat, another friend popped in, and a man from the church in Moosonee came to visit Josh! So fun!
Almost every night at 7 PM we have something, Ladies Fellowship, Love & Respect (we are going through it with our friends who are engaged), Church, Youth Group, more Church.
We have people over for dinner regularly.
We play sports with the kids on Saturday's.
Monday is usually our Sabbath, when we take time to rest and spend time together after several busy days of studying and a very busy Sunday.
So there isn't really an average day, our life is living, loving and serving the people in Moose Factory, so that looks different every single day. It is often challenging, but even more often rewarding. The Lord continually encourages us, and we are blessed to see fruit on a regular basis.
5) Josh has been asked to preach in Moosonee every Sunday morning at 9 AM. We go over there every week, then afterward jet to our 11 AM service in Moose Factory, where I teach Sunday School. The river is on the brink of breaking up, so he will go over by chopper for a few weeks, then boat taxi, eventually. He's been doing this for a few months now, and I think they will use him as long as he can continue to go! He of course LOVES this, and gets a real THRILL when he gets to preach 3 x in one Sunday! :)
6) For those wondering, Josh's eyes are doing okay! Nothing drastic changed after the surgery. The surgery stopped the disease in its tracks, which is great, but no vision change which is what we were hoping for. His next step is to get a hard contact, which turns out to be a very complicating thing when you live on an isolated island. It will take 7 trips to the eye doctor in Timmins to complete the process (which means 2 things that we don't have spare of...time & money). It could be done in 3 or 4 visits if we could go back to Toronto, but again...time & money. Sooooo, I suppose we'll cross that bridge one day???
7) We got OHIP! Ontario Health Insurance Plan. This is the BIGGEST blessing! We had to pay for a few months worth of hospital bills...prenatal appointments, ER visits, etc...and those bills were NOT fun. So thankfully we no longer have to pay for my prenatal visits or trips to the ER or having a BABY. Huggeeeee blessing!
8) After 2 years of being here and spending time with the youth I wouldn't say that we've had what the world would say is "success". We don't have a lot of kids coming to youth group, we don't have any kids truly living for the Lord, many of our kids that we have grown to love dearly have fallen into the sex, drugs and alcohol life style. From the outside it would look like we've failed. It has never been about what Joshua and I could do though. We didn't come in with unfair expectations and certainly didn't think WE would be the ones making tons of changes. The little successes we have had or witnessed are by the grace of God and we are so thankful for those things:
1) Kids getting in touch with us when they are hurting.
2) Consistency from a few that come to youth group
3) Beaming smiles when some of the kids see us in public
4) Last week 3 BOYS (ages 13, 14 & 17) stopped by our house, came in, had cookies, and chatted with us for 30 minutes, then shook Josh's hand and left (and my jaw is still on the floor...so thankful!!!)
5) A 15 year old girl dropping in after school and staying for dinner
6) The youth's parents showing their appreciation for us
7) Seeing that *some* of the things that we've said over the years are starting to resonate with some of them.
8) More and more respect toward Josh and I when we pray or share from the Bible (huge growth from when we first came)
9) No youth suicides (or any, for that matter) in 2 years in June. (this is such an answer to prayer!!!)
10) Kids excited year after year to go to Project George (the week we spend in the bush). We are so thankful they love it so much!
Nothing is our doing, never has been, never will be, but we are grateful that the Lord can use us in some way. We are encouraged by the fruit and growth we have seen, heart broken for those who have heard of the hope and freedom found in Jesus and been encouraged by us yet are choosing a different road, and hopeful with all the sowing of the Word that it would not return and that some day they will surrender their lives to the Lord.
9) We have a busy Summer ahead, baby boy will be here in July, my family will come up and Josh's will come too, then Josh will have to go to Project George in August (nooooo, donnn'ttttt leavveee meeee...JK, soooo important he goes), there are several teams coming up from the States and Canada who we would regularly host, but obviously won't be this Summer (I'll be a LITTLE preoccupied), and they are starting (and finishing by September) the Pastor's house which we will live in once it's done.
10) Huge PRAISE! I've been wanting to write this out and hopefully really encourage someone by this. In early November our van died, so we went without a vehicle for about 2 weeks, then went on our trip to Atlanta for Thanksgiving. On this trip Josh's dad let us use his big white work van for us to drive to Georgia, fill with a bunch of our stuff, and then drive ALL THE WAY to Moose Factory (well, to Cochrane, to be put on the train). So we were VERY blessed and thankful to use his dad's van from December until the end of January. His dad came and picked up his van, so we were again carless. While Josh's dad was in Moose Factory, him and Josh worked on fixing our old van, but realized it was donezo...and so they stopped and prayed, and asked the Lord to provide a car. Our friends let us use their skidoo, which was a HUGEEE blessing, and we did this for several weeks. Then one day we got a knock on our door from our next door neighbor. He walks in and says, "I posted my SUV for sale on facebook and someone messaged me and asked if I knew you guys. I told him I did, and he asked if I could bring the car to you, have you test drive it, and if you like it, they would buy it for you, anonymously." SAYYY WHHATTTT. So Josh test drove it, OF COURSE we liked it, and a person, who is STILL anonymous, bought it for us! Wow.
My favorite part of this whole situation is that I was THANKFUL for the vehicle, but not one bit surprised. The Lord has not stopped providing for us since we've been here. When we announced it to the church we had at least 10 people tell us they were praying for a vehicle for us. We have truly learned about faith living in Moose Factory, and have been tried, and withOUT fail, the Lord provides abundantly more than we could imagine every single time.
Every time, before we leave for a trip, people will bless us with a monetary gift.
The other day, I prayed that the Lord would provide veggies in my prenatal meal bag, because there were no good veggies at the store for me to buy, but there were no veggies in my meal bag. I said to the Lord, "that's okay, if you want me to have veggies, I'll get veggies." Not 2 hours later my friend knocked on my door with a bag full of veggies that she wanted to give me because she was going out of town.
Is a bag of veggies life changing? I guess you could say no, but I think it kinda sorta is. We have truly taken on a life of faith, and it is all thanks and glory to God. He provides, with the big and with the small.
One week we got a $600 bill from the hospital, a few days later Josh was handed a check from the church in Moosonee for $600.
Last week we had to pay $748 for a car repair (who even cares, we are just THANKFUL!!! :) ) That same day Josh was given a check for $750 from the church in Moosonee.
He provides, time after time after time. It is THRILLING living life by faith. It's almost impossible to worry! He's got us. & it is always BETTER than we could have imagined.
I hope this really encourages someone, because my life has truly been changed, and I've been so encouraged experiencing God in this way.
1) Please pray for the remainder of my pregnancy, for baby boy, for a healthy and safe delivery.
2) Pray for Joshua and me as we step into a bigger role in the church, for wisdom and guidance.
3) Please always pray for our marriage, as it is such an important asset in our ministry. The Lord has really used our marriage for His glory while being in Moose Factory.
4) That, if the Lord's will, He would send someone (or a couple) here to solely focus on youth ministry. Our ministry is so vast, and neither one of us necessarily feel gifted in the area of youth ministry, it is a GREAT struggle for us, though we love the youth. We would never want to cut ties with the youth, but to have someone here who feels called to Youth Ministry would be amazing.
5) It is still our hearts desire and prayer (please pray with us) that the Lord would be gracious and move here in a mighty way; that we could see an Acts 19 revival. Acts 19:17-20: "The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled 50,000 pieces of silver. So the Word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed."
For those who made it through this whole thing...wooooo!
Thank you for listening, loving us, supporting us, and praying for us!!!
Josh + Kristen