Somebody is growing inside of me. In June 2017 we will welcome the newest member of our little family. Time to grow up, for Jake. Now he needs to learn to share. His parents, attention, toys and a lot of other things. But thats mostly a good thing.
This little human will see the light of the world in Germany. You ask why? Let us give you a review of the last months in Canada.
As you know in 2015 Max received a job offer from Urban Abbey in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lots of preparation went into making this move happen. Lots of paper work and chores that come with moving to a different country. Fast forward to August 5th full of hope and excitement we board the plane and fly towards a new future.
So after about three and a half months of working at the Abbey we sensed that this is not how we thought it would be. I am not going to talk about details but suffice it to say that expectations on both sides were not met. So then we decided to resign from this job and look elsewhere. Interestingly enough before the final decision was made God had been putting people in our lives who were pointing into a different direction. Three different people started talking to us about Hamilton, Ontario. Since that was the only real viable option Max reached out to friends of friends and set up meetings over a five day period in Hamilton for the first week of December. So he flew there and met a bunch of great people. Saw churches in this city working together for the welfare of the city and also found one particular church plant that fit into his planting framework. During this time in Hamilton Max had two interviews that left him with a great new possibility. GOHOP a non-profit monastic prayer organisation was considering offering a job to Max in cooperation with a local church.
After he came back and we moved out of the apartment, provided to us by the Abbey, to house sit for a friend, we had a final interview where the job offer was presented and we started working on the paper work to get it done. The whole move to Hamilton basically hinged on one final not so minor detail. Which is housing. Since we didn’t expect to resign so soon from the Abbey and they were graciously providing housing for us we didn’t fundraise enough to pay for housing and living expenses. So to make this work we needed to find free housing in Hamilton.
The leader of GOHOP Jill Weber asked and prayed along with us to find a place. But sadly nothing was developing. So after lots of conversations and prayer we then decided to not move to Hamilton at this point but to move back to Germany regroup, see family and friends, birth a child and work and fundraise some more. Our goal, plan, dream and calling is still to come back to Canada at some point. Maybe as early as in the fall of 2017. GOHOPs job offer stands and when housing is found or we fundraise enough to fully support ourselves we are welcome to return.
So on December 29th we booked our flights to Germany for January 12th.
This basically describes the last couple of months, but this is not all that happened. Much more than the plain facts of things that occurred, God has been at work in us and around us.
Let us tell you a bit more about that. First of all we left family, friends and all known community in Germany when we came to Canada. So God faithfully provided us with amazing friends, who have become like family to us. Who have supported and prayed for us during these quite difficult couple of months. I don’t need to name names because those people know exactly that they are meant and that we love them very much.
Jill who looked at our situation as an outsider had some great insights, encouragements and interpretations for us and I’ll just quote some of what she wrote us:
I just want to affirm the call on your life and the courage you have displayed – your commitment to costly obedience in the pursuit of following Jesus. You have hung onto HIs word for you, made sacrifices, been diligent in taking opportunities to grow, taken risks and stepped out of your comfort zone. Sounds like a true disciple of Jesus to me. 🙂
It’s not unusual for God to either engineer or permit situations that are difficult or perplexing, as part of His work in forming us and shaping us as leaders. I do not know a single leader who carries a real weight of spiritual authority who has not suffered in some significant way.
Learning about what Carina needs in order to thrive in a ministry context. Learning about communication styles – what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. Learning about what kind of church plant you aspire to build, and what kind isn’t a good fit for you. Learning about how disappointment impacts you, and what are healthy and unhealthy, helpful and unhelpful responses to disappointment. Learning about ministry context – how important that is to you – how important healthy mentoring and real enfleshed community is for you. I’m sure you could list another dozen things you learned since September that will massively equip you for your future in church planting – things you may not have learned if things had gone smoothly and as you expected. So with that lens, your time in Thunder Bay is not a failed experiment, but has been a massive learning opportunity for you – one that has not set you back, but has moved your forward in significant ways in terms of your equipping for life and ministry.
We have invested physically and emotionally into what could be seen as a failure or a waste of time and resource, but we are certain that God wasn’t absent and will through this season show us much more of what he is up to.
Thank you to all of you who have prayed, texted, donated and been or have become our friends, we love you and bless you for this new year 2017. We believe there are more adventure ahead for us and hope you will try something new as well.
Max, Carina and Jake