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Today.

Today is the day!  We have an appointment at the Hospital at 4pm PST for Michelle to be induced.  We will likely only update after delivery, and after Michelle has had some rest.  Keep our family in your prayers as we go through one more transition this year…i think number 2040239840?  Or something like that.  After we get more settled we will have a registry set up for those last extra items.

 

Much love from the Graves family!

Chapter 58: A solid perspective

For he is the living God,

and he will endure forever.

His kingdom will never be destroyed,

and his rule will never end.

He rescues and saves his people;

he performs miraculous signs and wonders

in the heavens and on earth.

He has rescued Daniel

from the power of the lions.”

 

Daniel 6:26-27 NLT

These last 6 years have been one crazy adventure after another, getting wilder by the minute.  It seems like only yesterday that we were welcoming Jack into the world, unsuspecting of twists and turns ahead of us.  We have had many highs, and many lows.  The mountains and valleys on our family’s journey have given us a very different perspective on life and what we hold value in.  I wouldn’t take any of these experiences back, the lessons have been invaluable.

Though we have yet to reach our final destination, which we still believe to be Vancouver BC, we are confident that God has us right where He wants us (Portland, OR).  Whether we are here for 6 or 60 months, we will continue to pursue His will.  So I’ll try to paint that picture of what we are currently working on and what we believe we will be doing in the days to come.

Brad will be working with a friend in Portland who roasts coffee.  This will turn into a more full time job, providing a solid foundation that we are not12 used to working off of!  More specifics will be provided after paperwork is signed.  Until then, I will continue to connect with the coffee community here in Portland.  These guys and gals are fun to be around and passionate for coffee.  It reminds me of the Polish coffee community I so dearly miss.  I look forward to connecting my passions of coffee and community in the months to come!  As always, I am excited to work around my trade and dive deeper into coffee.

Michelle will be more focused on the kids, as Baby Graves #4 is due sometime between November 24th to December 1st…which means any day now we will expanding to a family of 6!  Jack is continuing to excel with Homeschooling, Loralie is meshing well with her 2nd grade class (and has tested for TAG/Talented And Gifted) at her school! Dottie is a busy little bee with new words and sign language each day!  Life is full.

We have so much happening in the next two weeks: a new job, (soon) new apartment, new baby.  The reality of of all this can be crushing at times.  Regardless, Jack and Loralie are excited, and Dottie is oblivious.  Having a new apartment that is not furnished, reminds us of all the items we don’t have.  We have found some items (a single couch, table with 4 chairs, dresser, beds, some plates….), but we understand our move into an empty apartment will take time.

We are thankful for what God has provided us these past three months in Portland.  Our sister and Brother in law have provided food and shelter, what an incredible blessing this has been.  Though we will miss their company,  we are excited to finally transition to a place of our own after 6 months of living with others.

Life doesn’t always happen how we expect or want it to.  The rubber meets the road with how we respond to life.  Our family would have not survived these last five years if we hadn’t had a solid foundation in Christ.  Our family’s identity is key to changing the perspective we view our daily lives.  Where did we turn when Jack burned his arm, when we had conflict with our business (how we responded), when we fought and had disagreements (how we sorted through conflict), when our children were disobedient (how we responded).

Please continue to pray for our family as we…

…move into our new apartment and figure out what we need to restart our lives (utensils, pots and pans, toiletries, etc etc etc).  Not just with all the small pieces we are missing, but as we connect with our neighbors and get to know them.

…grow to 6!  Baby Graves 4 is coming within the next 2 weeks(yes possibly before, during or after our move).  We have a bed and a few outfits…depending on whether its a boy or girl we have some donors with clothes waiting!  But its all the other little pieces that we need to still bring together.

…plug into our local church and establishing a community group.  That we would find the right families in the right community.

…adjust to a new job.  As I provide my knowledge and expertise, and in learning my new roles.

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

 

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