Friday, December 26, 2008

Celebrating the Season....



We had a wonderful time together as a family celebrating this Christmas season.  It was a very relaxing time together filled with our family traditions.  Christmas Eve morning we started with making our traditional Christmas cookies for santa... The kids had fun decorating and eating them!  We went to the 4:00pm Christmas Eve service at Port City together and then came home and had our traditional Cheese Fondue and Chocolate Fountain along with other appetizers.  The kids were all sugared up and ready for bed..ha!  The kids got into their Christmas pajamas and opened up one present before bed.  

On Christmas morning the kids awoke EARLY!!!  Chris read the Christmas story before the opening of gifts.  Talking to the kids throughout the day that today is Jesus' birthday and celebrating that with them. Reminding them of the TRUE meaning of the season.
We had a great time watching the kids open their gifts one by one so we could all enjoy the moment.  After the opening of gifts we had our Christmas breakfast of monkey bread and breakfast casserole.  This is always a favorite!  The kids loved playing with their gifts while I started preparing for Christmas dinner...turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, collard greens......We then enjoyed an evening of watching movies with the kids and just relaxing!  It was GREAT!  

After the hustle and bustle of the two days and as I sit and reflect on the season, I am reminded of the many blessings in our life and how thankful I am for what God has done and is doing in our lives.  We have SO much to be thankful for!  It is taking each day and realizing it is a true gift and one that is not to be taken for granted.  God is stretching me and molding me and teaching me HOW to be the woman of God he intends for me to be.  Teaching me what that looks like and how I am to be His hands and feet to those I encounter every day.  Even to my own family...which I tend to forget often.....

We hope that each of you have had a truly blessed Christmas season with your families and that you remember what this season is all about...JESUS!!  

Here are a few pics of our Christmas for you to enjoy.....



  

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The kids are excited that their last day of school is tomorrow and then off for a few weeks for Christmas! We are looking forward to my mom coming into town two days after Christmas to spend a few weeks with us.

It is so hard to believe that one year ago from now we were processing this whole idea of moving here to Wilmington. And here we are HERE! Time sure has flown by. To think we have now been here for 6 months is so surreal at times. This journey has been one FULL of ups and downs..moments of doubts, fear, insecurities,etc etc....I could go on and on....but one thing that has remained constant is our trust in the Lord that HE IS GOOD and that He HAS definitely called us here to do His will. We truly feel this is such an insurmountable task at times and we fall on our knees DAILY asking Him for His wisdom and guidance. We are just SO inadequate to plant this church.....
This Christmas we have SO much to be thankful for and we are truly blessed and humbled to be at this place in our lives. I am focusing on what is important and keeping my eyes on Him and praising Him for who He is in my life.


We hope each and every one of you have a truly blessed Christmas and a wonderfully blessed 2009! Our prayer is that we strive daily to keep Christ first in our lives and that we live each day growing closer to Him and fulfilling His calling on our lives.



MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Ashley for Chris, Ally, Caleb, and Anna Kate

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Prayers Answered....

Prayers are being answered...thank you to all of you who have called,emailed and facebooked us to tell us you are praying for Caleb. We have been so taken back by all of the people who have told us you were praying for him....we are truly humbled and forever grateful to each of you. God is answering prayers! Today is the first day in 12 days that Caleb has not run ANY fever...PTL! His fever was actually BELOW normal all day today... :) He is still very tired and coughing, but we saw glimpses of his normal self today and for that we are encouraged. We are keeping him home from school tomorrow to let him rest up. He complained today of his "side hurting" when he was up for a long period of time and he pointed to his right lower area where the pneumonia was. I am sure he will be sore for awhile and we really want him to rest to get his strength back. We also don't want to send him with his immune system not 100% and risk him picking something else up at school. He will try going back to school on Tuesday but no PE or recess until after Thanksgiving break. His lungs need to heal 100% before he can start doing lots of vigorous activities.
He is ready to get back to a normal routine. He is tired of being in the house for the past 2 weeks.
We have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. God has had his hand of protection over his little body and we are praising Him for that! Thanks again to all of you, our faithful prayer partners....we love you all....
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week and may we all remember to thank Him for His goodness in all of our lives......
Forever Grateful,
Ashley for Chris, Ally, Caleb and Anna Kate

Friday, November 21, 2008

Second Update on Caleb

Thank you for all your prayers for Caleb. When he went yesterday for the injections it went much better for him. "They didn't hurt as bad"..he said. I KNOW that is because all of you were praying for him....Today his fever hasn't gotten over 100 so that is great. He isn't sleeping at all at night because of all the coughing which has increased since it is all breaking up and he is having to cough it out. He is one exhausted little boy. He goes back today for the last 2 injections at 4pm. He has now been out of school for 6 days. He has LOTS to make up and we have been working on a little everyday but he is just so tired. I am praying he makes a huge turn around after today's shots. He just isn't his active self... :)
Thanks again for lifting him up in prayer....we will keep you posted........

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Update on Caleb

As of yesterday Caleb wasn't responding to the antibiotics that they had put him on orally for the pneumonia. Yesterday marked day 7 of high fevers up to 104. We took him in to the doctor yesterday at 4pm and they gave him two injections of Rocephin. He has to go back today for 3 injections and tomorrow for 2 more. PLEASE pray for him. He is a scared little boy. The injections are very painful and he is dreading today and tomorrow. He isn't sleeping well because of the coughing and fever. He is a very sick little boy and as a mom, my heart is breaking watching him have to struggle like this. If it could only be me instead of him.....Thank you for keeping him in your prayers.....it is SO much appreciated....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank you for your prayers....

I wanted to write to say thank you to all of you who have been praying for our son Caleb. I do believe he is better and God's protection has been over him and your prayers played a big part in that. Caleb was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday after running high fevers of 103-104.7 for 6 days. I had taken him into the doctor on Friday and they said it was viral. He started with the cough into day 3 of the fevers. I was listening to his lungs all weekend but never heard anything. He did not display the classic signs of pneumonia. The doctor saw him again on Monday, yesterday, and she didn't hear anything either, but I had asked her when I called that morning to please send him for bloodwork and a chest x-ray. They did...the chest x-ray picked up on the pneumonia. His white count was teetering on the edge of him needing to be hospitalized for treatment. We have him at home on oral antibiotics and lots of fluids and rest. He is to be out of school the rest of the week with hopes to go back on Friday. I am SO thankful that he is on the mend. He is a sick little boy, but he realizes the power of prayer and is SO appreciative of all the prayers going up on his behalf. Last night Mark Pratt came to pray with us and over him, and that spoke volumes into that little boy's life. He said to me after Mark was finished that that was "so nice" of him to do and for me to tell him thank you for him. (caleb had been asleep when Mark walked in, but woke up during the praying so he realized what was going on). Caleb said to me, "mom, am I really really sick? Am I going to die from this pneumonia?" I told him that God was protecting him and allowed us to get him the help he needed before it got too bad. It has been a life's lesson in teaching him about the power of prayer and healing in his life. God is SO good!

We SO appreciate all of you who have called and emailed us with your prayers, love and concern. We are SO very grateful for each one of you.

We are pressing on in this journey...through the many ups and downs and trials that come our way....praising the Lord in the midst of every one....For HE IS GOOD ALL the time!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Season of Brokenness in the making of Something Beautiful

A season of brokenness can feel like our undoing. One thing leads to another and soon, like a worn blanket, we start to unravel one thread at at time. God has reminded me during this season in Deuteronomy 7:9 that He IS merciful. He IS "the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands." He has been with me through trials and victories through defeats and resolutions. He has made a way for me through the difficulties. When I felt like I had to figure things out on my own, He quickly reminded me that I did not have to do that on my own. When I worried about everything, He QUICKLY reminded me not to worry and to give Him my burden. God's grace has sustained me as I have walked through this season of brokenness...this adjustment to our new life in Wilmington. A season of God breaking me and molding me into the person He desires me to be. A season of continually having to die to self and surrender to Him......I pray for peace and comfort daily as I face my brokenness and lean on Him for wisdom. Realizing that He makes ALL things beautiful and NEW in HIS TIME..... I am beginning to come out of this season and realize that God can use it to make something beautiful from it...as ugly as it was....God is SO good to me and I am truly humbled at what He is doing and will do. I believe that I had allowed satan to rob me of my JOY during this transition. God has restored my JOY and I feel like I am beginning to live with JOY again. Realizing the importance of His calling on our lives and coming back to why we are here in the first place....to reach this community for Christ. Less of me and MORE OF HIM.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God's Endless Faithfulness......

I realized I am behind on updating on what has been happening in our lives since the last time I posted.
Ally turned 10 on the 15th and I am still having trouble believing she is already 10. Double digits now....wow...time sure has flown by. She wanted to ride a horse for her birthday so we were able to get her an hour lesson in High Point this past Saturday. She loved it! By the end of the lesson she was riding the horse all by herself and even trotting with it. I think this has sparked an even greater interest in horses. She is having better days at school and for that we are very thankful. God is teaching her alot and really growing her faith and dependence on Him. It is so neat as her mom and dad to see her reading the Bible on her own and really developing her relationship with the Lord on her own. She is learning and growing and we are very proud of her.
Ally started doing gymnastics on Saturdays and is loving it. She is in a great gymnastics academy that is very well organized and has taught her alot already.

Caleb is doing well, although he is really missing not being involved in some kind of sport this fall. We are hoping to find something for him to get involved with. He really misses being able to go outside and run and play for periods of time. He misses our neighborhood in NY and his best friend Fuller. He talks about him ALL the time. We are all looking forward to Fuller and his family coming for a visit in February. He talks often of missing his old school, but is really thankful to be in the same class with his friend John. I am sure he would be doing much worse had John not been with him. That has been a huge blessing to have him here during this transition. God really did know what He was doing when he called us all down here together. God is SO good!!

Anna Kate is doing great. She loves her school and her class. She has adjusted better then any of us have. She will say every now and then how she misses NY and that when she gets married one day she will move back there.... ha....too cute...but for the most part she is our ray of sunshine that is just happy most of the time in whatever situation she is in.... :) She is in a dance class on Saturdays that she loves being in so that gives her something to look forward to every week.

Chris, is plugging right along with plans for the Crosswinds Church. He is flying to NY this Thursday to update Victory on where we are as a church and also to meet with our supporters. He is SO looking forward to seeing everyone again. He seemed to time this trip just perfectly so he could attend the East/West football game on Friday night... :) The kids and I are so wishing we could be going too......
We went to Thomasville, NC this past Sunday and Chris spoke at Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church and shared the vision for Crosswinds with them and asked people for their support prayerfully and financially. We are very blessed that Mt. Zion has signed on to partner with us and we are SO very thankful for that. We are in need of more finances for Crosswinds to take shape and kickoff in Feb and we are believing that God has BIG things in store and that He WILL PROVIDE all that we need at just the right time. Please pray for us that God will place on the hearts of His people to help us with this financial need. Things are happening and we are seeing God's faithfulness every day. We have several events planned the end of Oct and into November and we are getting excited as we are seeing things taking shape. God is SO good!

As for me....I am enjoying my job and loving the people I work with. This job has been a huge blessing for us and I am SO thankful for it. I see this job as a ministry opportunity for me as well. Just to be able to share God's love to people I encounter everyday whether it be through a smile, a word of encouragement, a listening ear......He is using me and I am humbled! As a team we are all reading Bill Hybles book entitled Just Walk Across the Room and I have been challenged by it. The book says that if taking ten steps across a room could point someone toward faith it might just change the way you walk.....It has challenged me in my everyday encounters with people. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about reaching out to others for Christ.

As a family we are growing and learning together on this journey and we are closer together as a unit as a result of this move. We treasure our times together and I am learning to let things go that used to drive me crazy.... valuing our time and not taking even one minute for granted.....we only have this one life and we can't go back and change things but we can treasure every minute and make the best of what the Lord has blessed us with and that is each other.

God is so faithful and I am truly humbled and honored to be on this journey He has called us to. There have been days I have wanted to pack up and go back to NY because this just wasn't what I signed on for....but in the midst of the hardships and emotions, my God has proved to be faithful and He has lifted me out of the miry pit and set my feet on a ROCK.....My dad said through his fight with cancer that it was in the hard times that we truly experience who God is and we truly KNOW HIM....I experienced that to be true during my grief in losing my dad to cancer and I am experiencing it now in this move to Wilmington. I think of dad everyday and his words of wisdom and oh how I wish he were here to give me more advice now.... it is now that I run to my Heavenly Father for His words of encouragement, wisdom, love, mercy..... He is FOREVER FAITHFUL.....my Abba Father......

It has been since July that we have truly experienced God's incredible faithfulness to us and it is endless......we are eternally grateful.....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Life of Sacrifice....

Another week has passed.... God is molding us and teaching us through this process.  He is stripping us of our selfishness and we are surrendering and desiring to be more like Him.  This move to Wilmington has had its challenges.  I knew things were going to be hard with starting a new church, but what I didn't realize was all the lessons I needed to learn about myself and what I needed to be stripped of in order to be used by Him.  My relationship with the Lord is being redefined and He is showing me all of the areas in my life that I need to turn over to Him in TOTAL surrender.  I am reading a book entitled, "My husband wants to be a church planter, so what will that make me?" It is confirming in me that my first and foremost responsibility is to be a wife and mom and to support my husband through these difficult days.  I need to remember that I set the tone for our home and I need to have a positive attitude regardless of my circumstances.  It asks a question that I think about often..am I willing to sacrifice so that people in my community can experience new life in Christ?  We knew that by moving here we were sacrificing, but really it is a continual day by day life of sacrifice and it just doesn't stop with the physical move to Wilmington.  God is testing and teaching me through sacrifice.  We have been asked to give up living in our comfort zone, better schools for our children, proximity to great friends and neighbors, peace, time, a great church home....etc etc.... just to name a few....the journey before us is one that is requiring much sacrifice and TOTAL dependence on our Heavenly Father.  
Our faith is growing and deepening and being stretched to new heights.  We are truly blessed and excited at what God is going to do in the days ahead..... 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

God is good even in the difficult times....

Hey Friends and Family....
Thought I would take a minute and update on the past few weeks. This week has been a rough week for us physically. Chris came down with the stomach flu on Tuesday and then I came down with it on Wednesday. Ugh...I have had to miss two days of work and I don't have sick time built up yet. The kids didn't know what to do with BOTH of us sick. I am feeling so tired and so attacked. I realize that Satan is trying everything he can to rob me of my JOY and to make me feel like my life is spinning out of control. It is in these times I find myself running to the Lord and crying out to Him to PLEASE make things better. All the while, understanding that this is part of the journey and we knew things were going to be hard, but knowing it would come and actually experiencing it are two different things. I am trying to daily remind myself of why we are here and that Satan does want to put a stop to what we are trying to do here.

The kids are still trying to adjust to school here. Ally seems to be doing better. Thank you to all of you who have read this blog and have emailed me to say you were praying for her. That means SO much to us. It is because of your prayers she is doing better. Please keep it up... :) A few of you have emailed your prayer concerns as well and I am praying for you too! Keep them coming so we can lift your concerns to the throne!

As far as Crosswinds Church goes, we have set dates for our first community event which will be a donation center for Hurricane Ike relief for those affected in Galveston, TX. That will be in October. Please continue to pray for us as we are all venturing into unknown territory with this church plant. Please pray for unity among us. Satan wants nothing more then to destroy our unity we have fought so hard to build and maintain together. We are still trying to adjust to this new life and new routine. God is good EVEN in the midst of the tears, struggles, pain, and stress we are feeling right now. I daily try to keep in front of me His calling on our lives and I am daily having to surrender to Him and to His will for our life.

Our verse for our family this week has been "Walk by faith and not by sight."......2 Cor. 3:7
We are truly learning what walking by faith looks like and not relying on what we see..which at times looks VERY dismal and not very promising....BUT....God IS FAITHFUL AND SO GOOD TO US!!!!

We love you all and so appreciate your support and prayers.

Trusting Him,
Ashley for Chris, Ally, Caleb and Anna Kate

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weeks of Adjustments....

Last week was a week FULL of adjustments for all of us. We are all still trying to adjust to this new school and work routine. We had a few days of tears and the kids didn't want to go to school. Caleb and Anna Kate for the most part are adjusting very well to school. Ally is having a hard time in her class. Some of the kids are teasing and picking on her and she is just having a hard time. We would SO appreciate your prayers for her specifically. I spoke with the principal and the school counselor today and they are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make her year a positive experience for her. I am SO thankful for that. Ally met with the school counselor today and she loved that time with her. I know that God has a BIG plan for Ally and that this time will only strengthen and build her character. We keep telling her that God loves her SO much and that He has a plan for her but that this transition for her is not easy and that God doesn't always allow it to be easy for us. It is sometimes through the most difficult times that God shows us more of Himself. I am praying that during these trials for her that she will run to Him and learn to rely on the Lord even at her age of almost 10 yrs old. She said to me the other day when I asked her if she had asked the Lord to go with her through her day and be SO near to her, she said, "it doesn't help mom".....after further talking with her she hadn't asked Him to be with her.....She is learning.....We are asking the Lord to tell us what He wants her to learn through these circumstances and to draw her SO close to Him in her relationship with Him. So, for that, I am grateful for these teachable moments on how we can teach our daughter with real life events on what it looks like to trust God and to depend on Him for everything.

For me, Ash, the Lord is teaching me about what is really important and how I need to take each day and treasure the time I have and be thankful for the many blessings He gives me. With starting this job and having such limited time with Chris and the kids, I have truly learned what is important and what is just not and I have to find a balance. One day last week I had a severe allergic reaction to a med I was taking along with an antibiotic for a sinus infection. I truly believe that God intervened and protected me from what could have been a heart attack. I won't go into the details, but I am SO grateful and SO blessed. Since that night I am truly trying to live each day with more passion and love for my Lord and my family. It is amazing how I just took that for granted so many days. God is good and I am truly thankful to Him and SO excited to see what He has in store for us here in Wilmington.

It certainly has not been easy and there are days that I am just so tired and just SO overwhelmed with all that has to take place for this church plant that I just want to go back to the life of comfortable living in Painted Post, NY...but it is in those times that the Lord reminds me of His presence and His calling on our life....and I am overwhelmed with emotion as I think back at all the signs of His goodness and His blessings on us as we have taken the steps of obedience to seek after His will for Crosswinds Church and our lives as a family.

Thank you, our family and friends, for your faithful prayers that we feel on a day to day basis. We certainly treasure them and love you all!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Week of Firsts....


This week has been a week of firsts for all of us..... The kids started school last Tuesday, the 26th. They all had a great first week.  Ally started 4th grade, Caleb 3rd, and Anna Kate started Kindergarten.  We have attached a few photos of them on their first day in their school uniforms. I started my job as a Public Health Nurse with the New Hanover County Health Department.  I have alot to learn, but I know that I will love it once I get oriented and feel comfortable.  I will be in training and orientation for 6 months so I have plenty of time to feel comfortable.  It will be a great opportunity to BE Jesus to my coworkers and the patients I come in contact with.  The people I work with are very friendly and have accepted me in and made me feel welcome so that was great.  I am now trying to manage working full-time and still managing my roles as wife and mom.  God is good!

Chris had a guy from headquarters come down this past week and do some one-on-one training with him for church planting.  He gave great insight and words of wisdom. We had a launch team meeting on Sunday and were able to set core values and next steps for Crosswinds Church.   God has made clear to us that we are to plant in N Brunswick County in a town called Leland where there is LOTS of growth happening.   We are now in the process of trying to find a location to rent.  Please pray that God will bring in the finances for us so that we will be able to afford a place to rent for our meeting place.  We have learned to be patient and wait and God WILL reveal to us His perfect plan in His perfect timing.   Over the next few weeks we will be doing community surveys and assessments and outreach events in the Leland area.  Please pray for us that God will use us and that we will be in the center of His will at all times.  
We covet your prayers and your support. 
Until next time......
Ashley for Chris, Ally, Caleb and Anna Kate





Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eyes Wide Opened.....

Today started out like all of our other Sundays here in Wilmington.... we went to church and then we all met as a launch team to share together and pray together as a team..except this day we didn't meet in a home..we met at Greenfield Park here in Wilmington.  Paul and Noele had reserved the pavilion for us to meet and eat in while the kids played on the playground beside us. When we arrived we noticed there were people in the pavilion and me (ash) being the imperfect human I am thought to myself, "well, they need to get out because WE have reserved it"...I found the Lord quickly speaking to me about my initial thoughts and so we proceeded to unpack our coolers and "set up camp" so to speak.  I quickly realized that these just weren't people like us picnicking in the park, but they were homeless.  They soon realized we were there with an agenda  so they left and moved to the pavilion right across the sidewalk from us.  As we all sat around talking I sensed in my spirit the Lord nudging me to do something.  I wasn't sure what.  But the thought came to me...here we are a new "church" and we have people observing us from a distance with REAL obvious needs.  So, what were we going to do to meet those needs today.  I wrestled in my thought processes....thinking, how do we do this.  I quickly found my judgmental attitude rising up within me saying, "but they are smoking, one has a cell phone, there is probably alcohol in those cups"..ugh...I hated I was thinking those thoughts.  I found myself thinking well they can afford those things, why not food?  I found the Lord quickly speaking to me and saying, "Ashley, it is not for you to judge them...just be ME to them".... As I was wrestling with what to do, I said to Noele, "I think we need to do something...maybe feed them...it is so obvious they are watching us..what are we going to do?" She then mentioned to Paul that maybe we should cook up all we had and have the 15 or so homeless people come through the line and have what we had leftover.  I agreed.  It was amazing what happened after that as I sat back and watched our launch team slowly make our way out of our comfort zones to minister to these people.  It was like watching a slow motion movie take place.  Paul, being the outgoing talkative one that he is..announced to them all to make their way over and help themselves.  It was interesting to watch these people make there way over and introduce themselves and say thank you.  We had a chance to talk with a few of them and hear a little of their stories and as I sat there I found my judgmental attitude slowly fading away and I was moved to tears for these people.  Our hearts were breaking for them.  God was there today and he taught us something that even as we sit here and write this we are checked in our  spirits once again about something that has bothered us since our time today with the homeless people.  Why did we give them our leftovers?  Looking back on that today, we should have cooked everything and given it to them FIRST and WE should have gone without if we had run out.  It was like giving God our leftovers. It was a learning experience and yes, we know that we did what God was asking us to do, but realizing now that our human selfishness got in the way and we did it all backwards.  God help us as we strive daily to be YOU in the flesh.  We so realize that we will mess up, but thank you that you see past our faults and our sometimes backwards thinking.  
Today our eyes were wide opened to the SO many needs in our community.  Our prayer is that we never become "used to" the needs of those who have less then us.  We were quickly reminded today of the scripture that says, "The King will reply I tell you the truth whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me" Matthew 25:40
It all goes back to LOVING GOD, LOVING PEOPLE, and IMPACTING THE WORLD..  This is a process and an eye opener for all of us.  

Chris and Ashley

Friday, August 22, 2008

Being still and waiting....

Hey Friends,
I (Ash) decided it was time to update this blog on what God is teaching us in these early days of this church planting adventure. We just recently hung a chalkboard in our home that we call our "Scripture Board" where we post a verse that the Lord gives us to memorize for the week. The kids are enjoying memorizing and then placing a star on their "scripture charts" daily when they are able to recite it to us. Through this, God has given us a verse this week that is before us EVERY day so that we cannot forget what He is requiring us to do...The verse is Psalm 37:7a which says..."Be still in the presence of the Lord and WAIT PATIENTLY for Him to act..." (NLT). The Lord is teaching us to wait on Him....in all areas of our lives...to Ally, this is waiting for God to reveal to her the purpose of this move in her life..she questions how she is going to find a friend here...for her this journey has been a little more difficult in that she didn't have a friend that moved with her like Caleb and Anna Kate did. It seems that each move we have made it always is the most difficult for her. I keep telling her that God has an AWESOME plan for her here in Wilmington and God called her just as he did each of us to step out in faith. To Caleb and Anna Kate this verse is teaching them to wait patiently in their daily lives and in their eyes their interpretation is that God is teaching them to be patient... to them they say "patient with each other and when we tell them as their parents they need to WAIT". I chuckle when I think of each of their interpretations but nonetheless each one is a lesson God is teaching them....For Chris and I..it is learning to BE STILL in His Presence and wait for HIM to show us what direction HE would have Crosswinds to go....We only want God's fingerprints all over this new church and there is SO much planning and preparation ahead of us....we don't want it to be us at ALL....we only want God's leading and His direction. Please pray for us that we will continually be in constant prayer for His leading and for us to be able to have much wisdom and discernment in the days ahead. God is SO good and we have been in awe at what He is teaching each of us who are a part of this launch team. God is up to something BIG and we are humbled to be on this journey with Him. Thank you to our friends and family for your love and for your prayers. We so appreciate each of you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Recent Photo


Hey everybody, just wanted to share a recent photo we took of our family out near the battleship here in wilmington. I can't believe how quick the kids are growing up. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting Settled

We are beginning to settle into our new Wilmington lifestyle and are enjoying it more and more each day.  We love being near the beach and having access to a pool whenever we want. More than that we are being amazed by God's faithfulness everyday. A couple of things that God has done over the past few weeks is to work out the details with the kids schooling and also provided Ash with a great job. I can't say it enough how awesome it has been to see God working through all the details. 
As far as church planting goes we are loving more and more everyday that God called us with such wonderful people to plant Crosswinds Church. They are such good friends and I look forward to what God has in store for all of us as we journey together. We have just recently started meeting every Sunday after attending a local church. We have had two meetings that we have been able to get to know each other a little more but more importantly pray together as a team.  We have been praying for each other and praying for what God wants to do through Crosswinds in the days ahead.  Please keep praying for us that God will continue to use us to make a difference for the kingdom.

Chris

Saturday, July 19, 2008

District Conference

Our family along with the Pratts attended our first official district conference of the NC East District on Thursday in Thomasville NC.  This was my first district conference not being a youth pastor.  What a different feeling that was now that i am the lead pastor of Crosswinds Church.  It was good to be back in NC and get to see a lot of good friends that I had not seen in a few years. The highlight for me was the Evangelism and Church Growth portion of conference. They highlighted the 4 church plants in the district and shared what God had been doing through the other church plants over the last 4 years. What excited me the most was the fact that a large portion of the salvation's had come from church plants. May God help us as we do life with unchurched people and grant us favor with them. I really look forward to what God has for the future of our family and the future of Crosswinds Church. Thanks for your prayers!!

Here is the NEW Blog for Crosswinds Church. We will be posting periodical updates on how things are going.

www.crosswindschurch.blogspot.com

Friday, July 11, 2008

Families doing the Journey with us




Trying out this "blog thing"!

Hi Friends.....I (Ash) decided to give this blogging a try...I love to journal and do that often on paper so I am sure I will come to love this journaling on the blog... :)  
We are finally out of boxes here in the apartment and are able to sit and enjoy our new home.  I actually think I am going to like living in this smaller space on ONE level.... simple living...that's what I am all about these days.  The kids are adjusting well so far.  The only difficulty has been not being able to go outside and play when they want to.  We have to go out with them and that has been a challenge in the midst of  unpacking.  We really miss our neighborhood and the friends we made there.  
I got a call yesterday for a job interview on Monday at 4.  It is for a Public Health Nurse and it would be an 8-5 job M-F.  We are praying for God to go before me in this and that if this job is the one for our family, then He will allow it.  If not,  then He will make it very clear His will for us.  I am learning daily to surrender my fears and concerns to Him and I do know that He has gone before us on this journey and He will provide for our every need.  It is a daily and sometimes  minute by minute surrender for me.  I am one that likes to have everything planned out and God is teaching me that this living by faith is not always going to work out in MY timeline.  I have learned from the past that God's timing is perfect and He will work out ALL things for our good.  This journey for us is exciting.  
We had the core team over to our home the other night for dinner and we were all able to share our stories of how God has called us here.  It was so humbling to sit and hear how God is moving in all of our lives. We were able to see how He has already answered prayer and to also share requests for people we already know the Lord has placed in our path to reach for Him.  Thank you all for your love and prayers.  We will keep you updated!  
(Today is Chris' birthday, the big 36!!! :)  The kids are excited to celebrate!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Arrived, the beginning of a NEW JOURNEY

I cannot believe it. We have actually arrived in Wilmington. We left on Sunday, our last Sunday at Victory. What an emotional day, finally having to say SEE YA LATER to everyone. It seems so surreal. Like a dream. I cannot believe we are actually living in Wilmington. I sat in the parking lot last night at food lion while Ashley ran in to get some food for the apartment and I sat there for about 10 - 15 min.  trying to convince myself that i was finally living in Wilmington.  So here I am and the Journey into church planting really begins.  Ready or not here we go. 

Until next time!!  

Monday, June 16, 2008

Caleb the baseball star


Caleb is in his second year playing baseball. Last year he played t-ball this year the big AAA minors. He is our little athlete with the God given ability to play just about any sport and be good at it. I Love to watch him play. Here is a photo from one of his games. Check it out!! 

Thursday, May 8, 2008

7 Weeks 4 Days

Can you believe it. From the last time I journaled we were 12 weeks out. Still trying to sale our house. Now we are just over 7 weeks away and our home was sold in 2 1/2 weeks. God is on the move and still preparing the way for us to start a new church in Wilmington. Just last weekend I met with the Evangelism and Church Growth Commitee of the NC East District of the Wesleyan church and had a very encouraging time of vision casting and prayer for the plant. God is continuing to answer prayer in amazing ways. Here are just a few:

1. The sale of all of our houses for all the families moving from corning in less than a month.
2. Free office space for me to have an office in Wilmington.
3. Networks with people who want to partner with us through prayer support and financial support in planting the church.
4. The District being excited about a multi-site model of ministry.

To these and many others I continue to be WOWed, God is doing amazing things.

Stiving to do BIG things for God.

Friday, March 28, 2008

12 weeks


Can you believe it? 12 weeks from now and we will be living back in NC. Today here in NY it is 35 degrees and we had about 2 inches of snow last night. Today in Wilmington it is almost 70 degrees. Now that is what I'm talking about. I will really miss the people here and the friends we've made, but one thing I won't miss is the weather. It is still so hard to believe that 12 weeks from now we will be moving. So much to do and so little time. One of the things I have been doing lately is studying the book of Proverbs. I have really been asking the Lord to give Ash and I and those who are moving with us wisdom as we make this transition to planting a new church. Till next time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Church Planting Journal Entry #7

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Today we told the Victory family about our calling and the fact that we would be leaving the end of this school year. All three services responded with a very authentic standing ovation. What a humbling experience this was for Ash and myself. Never expected that type of response from the church body. I wondered how I would feel after making it public and it was a very conformational time for me even as I stood there and shared my heart with the people. After the service we received even more confirmation from people who share that they would miss us but were excited about what God had in store for the future. We probably had at least half a dozen people tell us that they had family or friends in the Wilmington area who needed a good church.

This day was filled with many mixed emotions. The biggest fact was that it was now reality for us there was no turning back, not that we wanted to anyway.

Church Plant Journal Entry #6

Sunday, Jan. 6th, 2008

What an interesting day. This morning after our service I met with all of our adult and students leaders to announce to them that we would be leaving to plant a church in Wilmington. There really seem to be mixed emotions after the meeting. I really can’t put into words what I sensed from everyone there. Obviously I think that everyone would like for us to stay but they understand.

Sunday night as well was interesting. Just before getting up to speak for the Mix I began to hear from the Lord. He began to remind me of the passage in Eph. 3:20 that says “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” As I began to think about this scripture it was like the Lord was saying to me, “even if you were the worse pastor in the world, I could take you and make you the best pastor in the world.” God can do more in me through his power than I could ever imagine and I have to stop fearing what I don’t know and trust that He does know what he is doing. God wants to do great things through me I just have to let him.

Church Plant Journal Entry #5

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

What a week! A week filled with a lot of different emotions. Times that brought excitement, times filled fear, and finally times filled with thoughts that said WHAT IN THE HECK ARE WE DOING!!! But through all this continually being reminded of the specific call that the Lord had given us.

We spent this week in Wilmington with the Pratt’s and the Palmer’s. They too experienced much of the same emotions that we did. We were able to finally find an apartment after looking at 15 different ones. We finally decided on the Avalon apartments and even put $50 down. They are brand new apartments that will not be ready until April. They are in the Forest Hill elementary school district.

The neatest thing about this whole trip was the fact that each night we got together and spent time debriefing the day and praying together. This was always a neat time to bring everything back into perspective that God had called each of us to this place to begin to share the message of Jesus Christ with people who needed to hear it.

While we were there we also go to meet a couple that knew Mark Pratt. There names were Hayden and Heather. Hayden works for a pharmaceutical company called Kendal Pharmaceutical. He told Ashley that he could most likely get her a job working there if she was interested. We both saw this as an open door and another way that the Lord was saying he was going to take care of our every need.

The sign in the yard

Well it is finally offical and reality is begining to set in. Just yesterday around 5pm we officially put our house on the market. Now we sit back and let God do the rest. Each step that we have taken along the way God has been in, and we know that he wil continue to walk through this part of our journey as well. Until next time.

Friday, March 14, 2008

God's Hand

Well we are now 3 and a half months away from moving to wilmington. Since making the decision in September to follow the call of God we have seen God's hand at work in amazing ways. At present we have 4 other families following the call of God to move to Wilmington NC to help us plant the church. I am just amazed by the sacrifice these families are making to move from NY and even one family from Chicago. These are exciting days and seeing God's hand at work has been life changing for myself and my family. We are seeing God and understanding faith in ways that we never have before in our journey with Christ.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Journey Ahead

Well we are 6 months away from a new adventure. The Lord is leading us to plant a church in Wilmington NC in a few short months. We have 3 other couples who have commited and a few others that are seriesly considering it. It is unblievable what God is doing. I am at a point in my life where i am really beginning to understand what it means to live by faith. Please be praying for our family and the other families that are beginning the journey as we move with God.

BIG God using little us.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20

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