Monday, September 17, 2007

Faith Challenges

Jeff and I knew when we made the decision to step out in faith and start a coffee shop ministry that the dark forces of doubt would probably step in and start shooting arrows. After all, it stands to reason that adversarial entities (however you personify them) don't want us to succeed, being opposed to bringing more people to Christ. That's pretty much what this coffee shop vision is all about, bringing more people into the Kingdom.

So, while we were still in NC this summer where we combined researching our coffee shop idea with visiting family, we finally reached the conclusion after a lot of prayer that this was God speaking and that we'd better listen. As soon as we told our family about our crazy decision, the fiery arrows started zinging toward us.

The first news, before we even boarded the plane to come back to CA, was that Gaby, our 23-year-old who lives with us, lost her job. So that meant we'd be putting our house on the market and literally selling it out from under her. (Not that we don't think it's time for her to leave. ). Then Jordan, our 20-year-old, who goes to DeVry U in Freemont, CA began experiencing serious spiritual isolation and depression. Two of his close buddies transferred out and he was left alone without any spiritual formation leader on campus and he wasn't clicking with the group of peers he normally hung with. He hit an emotional rock bottom.

Then there were the financial set backs. I'd been stashing as much as I could into savings which isn't saying much considering we already had to pull out of equity to manage California cost of living. And with the big bucks I make as a very part-time admin assistant and a freelance writer who'd put column writing on hold to pursue book writing, and having just come out of paying for Rachel, out oldest daughter's wedding in CO, there wasn't much padding there.

So, where was I. Oh yes, so the financial set backs started coming. We put the house on the market and were told we have to have everything pristine in order to be competitive. That meant the fogged up windows in the kitchen and dining room had to be replaced. Cha-ching. There went that money. Then my faithful Bonneville started acting up and had to have a major tune-up. Cha-ching. More savings down the tubes. Then Jeff, who officiates sports, called on Saturday night en route back from a football game to tell me he had knocked out his front veneer tooth AND we were supposed to do a presentation on this entire ministry idea the next day at both Sunday services.

He'd look like a hillbilly! After calls to several dentists who I learned are not on call like doctors, we temporarily solved the fix with super glue. I'm not kidding.

It held for two days until Jeff could go into dentist. Total cost for a new restoration, $780. Cha-ching. So God has allowed our small savings to dwindle. Looking back. I have to say that it's probably not a coincidence. When God tells us he wants us to step out in faith, sometimes he helps us along by taking away anything that will cause us to rely on our own power.


Now, let me share some of the cool stuff God has been doing. First, after three months of unemployment, Gaby got a job at--where else--a coffee shop. Jordan has pulled out of the tailspin and has seen his campus relationships improve and is doing better spiritually.

We've had numerous people come up to us and tell us how excited they are about our new ministry and that they want to help.
God to use them to help launch a new ministry and then our ministry appeared. (God, you are too cool.) And then another person handed us a check and told us she prayed over it and felt that that was the figure God told her to give. She also is going to try to contact a relative in VA who is a lawyer to see if she will do pro-bono work to help us figure out the legalities of non-profit versus profit + ministry to see which animal our coffee shop should be.

And then there was the couple who offered us our choice of a used car or van which we could either give to Jordan for transportation to college or for us to sell to have the extra cash to use for ministry needs. Way cool.

Oh yeah. And the housing market is pretty dead. We had no calls to view our home this weekend, however, our next door neighbor told Jeff his sister-in-law wanted to move closer to them and she was visiting. Could they take a tour of our home. Well, of course we said, "yes." So God is working.

Keep praying for the sale of our home, that it will be soon and for a good price. We need the money for the business start up.



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