We wanted to update you on what has happened over our 5 week break now that school has just started up again...here are some of the major highlights. (pictures to come later, will have to get my amazing wife to help, I seem to be computer challenged... : 0
It was a time of rest, challenge, growth and wonderful time w/ friends and family.
We got blessed by the Hardy's (a couple back from FTC) with an 8 day stay at an amazing condo that walked right out onto Mission Beach! It was really needed because our 'break' was actually pretty busy! So our family took a week off and relaxed on the beach (70 degrees in winter...nice). Aaron biked and ran with Malachi and Rachel. We played games, had some friends over to see in the New Years and reflect on what God did in 2013, and mostly relaxed with our family. Thank you to the amazing Hardy's once again, it was a refreshing time, more than you guys know!
After we returned from the condo, we had our first visitors from CO, the Lloyds! Yay! Drew, Danelle, Hawk and Phoenix came and stayed for 7 days with us. 10 people with 1 bathroom! Ha! It was a blast though. We spent time exploring the beach, the tide pools, going to free museums at Balboa Park, watched the Colts get destroyed : ( and the Broncos beat the Chargers. We also got an amazing deal for LEGOLAND (basically 1/3 the cost of tickets), (thank you Eckart family for that blessing, we love you guys!) so we spent a day there and it was a great time, the kids behaved really well and they all really loved it! The next day Isaiah wanted to go back! There were challenges however...the first night Phoenix threw up and almost every night after that it was someone different throwing up or getting sick. On Sunday, Hawk had a temp of over 104 so Danelle took him to the ER and watched the entire Bronco game at the hospital and Drew got the flu and was knocked out for the last 2 1/2 days of the trip. It was a bummer that everyone was sick, but at least during the day, everyone for the most part was healthy and we were able to still press through and have a great time with them. Love you guys!
2 days after the Lloyds left, my mom came down to see us for 8 days. Nobody got sick during this stay! We also had an amazing time with my mom. We went to the zoo (thank you Abdelaziz family, a true blessing!) while she was here. Isaiah had been asking for what it felt like every other day to go see the animals for weeks, so he was super happy! We also got to go to the park, the beach, watch the sunset, celebrate Andrea's 35th birthday! My mom was able to meet a ton of people that are heavily involved in our lives right now through the Rock and Impact during our open house week and that was a true blessing! Of course everyone loved her, hard not to : ) It was very special to share a glimpse of what we are going through with my mom, wish we could've shared it with the Lloyds, and are looking forward to sharing it with my dad who comes out to see us in March!
During our break there were multiple International Impact Trips that took place and we who stayed were challenged to do a 'proof project.'
IIT (International Impact Trips)
Impact sent students/leaders to India, Thailand and Ecuador for 2 weeks to preach the gospel, serve the widows, visit jails, help orphans, help with a Christian school and much more. I just want to share one story that was SO cool.
In India the team met a woman who has had epilepsy for many years and she has burns from having seizures and falling down wherever she is at. The team felt led to pray for her and did so. After that moment God healed her and she has stopped having seizures! Praise God! She afterwards came to faith in Jesus and received Him as her Lord. Her husband saw the love that the team had for one another and he also came to faith in Christ! He told them that he had never known such love in a family, and he saw how the team treated and served one another in love and he wanted to be part of that family! Wow. This is what Jesus prayed for in John 17: 20-21. Our love for one another is proof that we are Christ's disciples! (side note: they followed up w/ a phone call to the woman since it has been 3 weeks now and she still has not had any seizures. Jesus!)
Our 'proof project' was a time where we could 'prove' or 'practice' out in our lives what we have been learning. Basically to apply what we have been learning (the Bible says to be "doers of the Word and not hearers only so that we don't deceive ourselves") We felt led to ask Jesus to grow our hearts with compassion and minister to the Homeless here. 1 John 4:17-18 "But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."
There was a lot of things God did during our outreaches which consisted of 4 times going to them. God supplied over 50 blankets, 300 pieces of clothing, 4 big tubs of food, Bibles, over 50 hygiene kits (toothbrush, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc). All of this He supplied for FREE which was amazing in and of itself. We went out 2 times to give out these items, and meet people, pray for them, listen to their story, ask how we could help and share the gospel as God led.
One highlight of the first trip was meeting a woman and her 7 yr old daughter who had been out on the streets for a few weeks running from an abusive relationship. I hope she met Jesus that day in us. We were able to pray for her, give her real needs, and people were led to pay for a hotel stay for 2 nights which was right next to a woman's shelter for abused women. So she and her daughter hopped into our Suburban and when we dropped her off, she gave me probably one of the longest hugs I will ever experience...
The last 2 times we did outreach were times we helped with "Micro Sites." So a micro site is where we take an Ipad, projector, speaker system, do a live stream from the Rock Church service and set up church! We literally bring church to wherever we can access an electrical outlet and have a property to set up on! Bringing the hope of Christ to people who don't want to step foot in a 'church' or don't have the means to get to church. It is awesome. The one we were a part of is literally outside in a parking lot, next to the interstate and in downtown San Diego a few blocks from a major Homeless population.
The second time we helped, we were able to see God bring 37 people and 8 people received Christ afterwards! This Micro site is consistently going and there are literally Homeless people who walk to this location every week to go to 'church.' I met a man named Carlos who had just gotten out prison that week after 18 years! He trusted in Christ about 3 months ago and has been encouraged to grow and keep coming back.
There are too many stories to keep going, these are just a few I wanted to share.
Ultimately, God is moving and it is so great to be a part of His story.
Please keep praying for us as the enemy is fighting to deceive us and have us waste our time on frivolous things while people die daily and go to hell apart from knowing Jesus.
We love you and miss you all.