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Chapter 57: Similarities to Daniel

16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Daniel 3: 16-18
Lately I have felt that I can relate to these three.  This journey seemed to be so simple and straight forward.  Trust God, Be Patient, God moves.  I innocently forgot that God doesn’t play it safe, He moves at a snails pace, and shows up exactly on time…in His perfect timing.  At the end of the day, no matter what, He is still our God.
Loralie is doing great in school!  She has connected with new friends, has a non-hostile school environment, and she has been recognized by the teacher as leader and role model  We are super proud of her!  Jack was enrolled in Kindergarten but was not responding well in the classroom. We decided to home school him and have seen tremendous progress!  He is incredibly smart, but requires patience.  Dottie is 19 months old and is incredibly talkative.  Every day we see more of her personality develop.  She is incredible.
We believe we will soon be able to share our next step with regards to our time in Portland and where I will be working.  Again, not yet the time for all the details (I still don’t know them all!) but we believe it is the reason why God has had me wait so long.  Of course, if this isn’t it…God must have another plan!  This has seemed to be one, long, drawn out experience of stretching our faith to build perseverance.

Please keep our family in your prayers!  We are still going through major transition as we prepare for baby #4 (still not 100% sure whether a boy or girl), Brad starting a new job, and we are still not 100% sure of what our housing will look like.  We are incredibly thankful for Michelle’s sister and brother- in-law for housing us during this time.  It seems like every time we have needs people show up.

Please continue to pray for…

-our finances, during this time of unknown, uncertainty, and transition (deposits/rent/start-up of new house things).

-our housing, whether a house(which we would prefer) or apartment and stuff to fill it…we literally have only a few items.  When we move (2-4 weeks, we think) we will have empty shelves, rooms, etc.

-a church home, we believe we have found our new church home.  Pray for wisdom and discernment.

-the kids and their adjustment in this time of transition and changing family dynamic.

The Plan

The sermon today discussed the faith of Moses who fled everything he knew,  the comfort he had only to wait for God 40 years in the dessert working for his father-in-law. I pray it isn’t a 40 year wait, but God does have a plan.

After much prayer, we believe God is asking us to patiently wait with faithfulness in Portland. He has called us to Vancouver, but the timing isn’t right. We believe this is connected with the arrival of our 4th and the need to be relaxed and focused before traveling to Vancouver. This means that we will pursue schooling for the kids in the public school system here in Portland (probably Beaverton where we are located now) and I will work in the coffee community. We still believe God is asking us to trust him with all the details. For example, we don’t currently have the financials for our own place (down payments for rent, utilities, etc), we currently don’t have any job offers, and we still need to get our schools plugged into a school (which really should be in the same area we live….).

Whether we wait 40 hours, days,  weeks, months, or years…God is faithful.  We will trust Him completely!

Please keep us in your prayers!

With much love,

The Graves Family

Chapter 56: Navigating by Compass

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:13  NKJV

Today is September 1st.  Wow!  This last month has flown by so quickly! Since we left Colorado we have put at least 2000 miles on our van, I have visited Vancouver BC, and we have rested.   It has been a roller coaster of emotions as we press into Jesus, constantly surrendering our fears, desires, and dreams to Him.  Our faith is being tested.

I have constantly used the analogy of being like Peter walking out on the water in faith (Matthew 14:22-33).  I would say that we have already stepped out on faith (left behind Sweet Life, Poland, family, safety and security) in pursuit and obedience to God’s call (from Poland).  All we need to do is keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.   While this is still so true, I feel that I have been given a much more accurate analogy.

God has called us on a an awesome adventure to follow Him into uncharted waters.  There is not a map that we can follow or familiar stars to keep our course, all we have is a compass and a heading.

We know that we are heading to Vancouver BC, to work within the coffee industry, where we will conduct ministry (within, with, and around this community), and to live in a building.  Our compass is Scripture and the Holy Spirit.  At the moment feel we are out in open ocean.

As you may remember we believe that God has (multiple times through our and others prayers) confirmed that it will not be by our works but His.  In other words, God will make the way.  He has already done that countless times through financial gifting, generous friends who loan vehicles, family who have opened up homes, and a church body that provided us a Van.  So many people have just “showed up” in our lives.

We have been asked frequently this week about our journey:

“Where are we at?”

“What about the kids school?”

“Any job offers yet?”

“When are you moving to Vancouver BC?”

Such good questions!  These have been my prayer requests for the last 3-4 months.  I still don’t have all the answers.  Every time I pray for God’s leading he reminds me of this scripture in Ephesians 6, asking me to Stand (be patient!).  God always seems to be showing up at the last minute with the perfect answer.  Every time He shows up, we realize that our timing was rushed and His was perfect.

When I visited Vancouver BC, my time was great.  I visited many cafes, had many conversations, and interviewed with a great many companies.  The one thing that didn’t make sense, every company was “2 months out” from needing me.  So where does this leave us?

God has called us out to do something that doesn’t make sense in this world’s logic.  We can’t just copy and paste another journey and make it our own.  We can only trust God, lean in and pursue Him with reckless abandon (seemingly reckless).  So what can we do?  Pray. Would you join us?

Pray for:

-wisdom regarding the kids schooling. The school districts our kids would be apart of (in Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver BC) will all start September 5th.  Do we hold on, enroll locally until we move, home school this year, etc?

-wisdom for our financials.  We want to be good stewards with what God has given us.  Through our supporters we have an income, though very limited.  We have generous hosts who have helped cut our costs to a minimum!  Do we scrap by? Do I find a local job until we move? Do we stay a year in Portland?  Do we keep ourselves mobile and not tied down so we can move at the drop of a hat?

-wisdom about our time.  We want to “show up” wherever we are, but we don’t want to get held back from moving where God wants us to be.  Knowing how to spend our time best would be awesome!

 

Thank you all for your support!  We love and appreciate all of your prayers and presence in our lives.  As always, if you have any prayers of your own, we would love to join with you in prayer!

 

Much love!

The Graves Family

 

Chapter 55: One giant leap and $80

We left Poland with $80 in our pockets.  This was not an estimation, it was an exact number.  As I reread our last newsletter I am reminded of just how many questions we didn’t have answers to.    How many problems that would have consumed us if we didn’t have God in the equation.  But we left with God’s peace, stepping out into the unknown.

We landed in OKC to a vehicle loaned out to us, slept in a hotel room that met every need a jet lagged family of five could have, and were able to do something we thought wasn’t possible, we rested.  Then we traveled to Colorado in a different vehicle, were given a gift that covered all our finances for arriving back stateside (ultrasounds, blood work and prenatal care, updating the kids passports, transfer our Driver’s Licenses, gas and food money, etc). God showed up.

When we prayed about the first major problem, transportation, we felt God kept answering that He would provide.  We found many vehicles that would “work.”  The kind that you would have to cut a hole in the floor and everyone would have to chip in on the “foot power” Flintstones style.  We kept hearing God tell us to be patient.  While searching for Vans and 3rd-row seat vehicles in our area, we found it.  Walking up to the Van, Michelle looked at me and said, “This is our van, I just know it!”  I laughed and tried to halt her excited tone (you can’t let the salesman know you are interested!).  It was still in the service lot and had yet to be officially processed for sales.  That Friday we test drove it (day 1 on the sales lot) and loved it.  The problem was the price.  We didn’t have $12,000.

Our salesman talked it down to $9,140.  Still about $9,140 out of our price range and others coming to view the vehicle the next day, we surrendered our desires to God and decided to be patient.  We found out that Sunday we had $2000 raised from the Art Sale.  I felt God asking me to continue to be patient.  Still $7140 short, so we trusted.  On Monday morning, we had a call from Pastor Jon asking how much we needed…and God showed up.  Through the generous giving of others who responded to God’s leading, we now have the Van of our dreams bought and paid for!  AMEN and PRAISE GOD!

We were asked more times than I count the deep questions of life: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.  Tough questions to answer when you don’t know the answers!  This is what we do know::  God is calling, the location is Vancouver, the work will be around Coffee, and our purpose is to show up.  What we do know is that God has filled us with His peace.  I should be scared to death, but I am not!

God has called my family (all of us, not just me!) on a grand adventure.  He told us so many times that we will not be able to do this on our own.  This adventure is all about His provision, His movement, His ability, and most importantly Him.  He has asked us to trust Him and allow Him to show up (patience).

We believe He has asked us to show up, because that is what He wants us to do in Vancouver.  He wants us to show up in people’s lives.  To be present, love unconditionally, speak truth, and co-labor with those we meet.  God wants us to get our hands dirty, because life can be very messy.

Please continue to pray for our family during this time of transition:

~as we search for my work in the Coffee industry in Vancouver.

~as we search for our ministry focus, ministry partners, and local church home.

~as we search for housing (without a budget, job, or income)

~as I (Brad) travel up to Vancouver next week (8th-12th) to Pray, network, and interview.

~as our family continues adjust to new environments, times zones, cultures, and unknowns.

~that we would continue to be filled with peace while living in the unknown.

 

Thank you to everyone who has made this adventure so amazing.  We appreciate everyone who has “showed up” in our lives.  Without you, this wouldn’t be possible!

 

With much love, The Graves Family.

 

p.s.  Our offer always stands, we are always willing to join with you in prayer.  Please email us at thegravesabroad@gmail.com with your prayer needs.

 

Update: We got the Van!

What a mighty God we serve! God has provided our van! Through the generous giving of Centerpoint Church, all funds were provided for our car! No part of this story is about what we did for ourselves, this is a journey of God showing up in major, real ways. He did it all! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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