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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!

I think we found a Van!

This may not seem like a big deal, but it is.

4 and 1/2 years ago we sold everything we had and in 8 bags moved half way around the world.  2 weeks and a day ago we moved back with 11 bags and 1.5 more family members!  Life is full of adventure for the Graves Family!

We have been so thankful to have friends and family allow us use of their vehicles. Not having to worry about transportation our first 6 weeks back is such a blessing.   But we may have found our Van!  In the next city over we found a 2010 Chrysler Town and Country.  It was a recent addition with brand new tires and has all the features we had hoped for.

We had expectations of paying well over $15,000. We found this van for $8000!  We believe we have around $2500 raised, so we still need around $5,500.  We are super excited about this possibility.

Please join us in prayer as we seek God’s wisdom moving forward.  We will get to test drive the van this Friday for a final evaluation.  If you would like to contribute towards the vehicle purchase,  let us know and we can provide more details.

 

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Chapter 54: Father’s Day

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Luke 6:38

As we sit and think about the Father’s in our lives today, we have memories surface from our experience of WHO and WHAT a father is.  I pray that I am to my children, what my dad was to me!  The example he set, the presence he had, the love he gave.  The standard was set high, and I do my best to follow in his example (which is following His example!).  I realize that as a father, the example I set for my children will have an influence in who they become as they grow older.  May God grant me the wisdom to raise Godly children!

These last three weeks, and this upcoming week, have been incredibly difficult.  Poland has been our home for the better part of the last four and half years.  Our children have all lived longer in Poland than the United States, becoming true Third Culture Kids.  Dottie has actually only spent 5 days outside of Poland!  The dynamic of friendship as an expat changes the intensity of the relationships.  This means that for our family we have very deep friendships here, which means the goodbye’s (or see you later!) are really hard.

Even in the midst of this difficulty, we have glimpses of our future which brings great joy.  The joy comes from knowing that our family is following God’s direction and leading.  This path will take us to Vancouver, BC, through Portland, via Pagosa Springs, and beginning in Oklahoma City. We hold tight to the promises of God and have a great hope in having a home to live in, the right job for me, and a balance with our growing family (remember we have another on the way!)!

We have a plan for the next month, but August is really a time of unknowns.  Where will I work?  Where will we live?  What school will our children attend?  When (or which city?) will we get a vehicle? Financially how does this all work out (hah, this is my favorite!)?  We, as humans in this fallen world, can get overwhelmed.  I took my eyes off of the problem solver and onto the problems that seem to be a great mountain before us.  I became downcast, frustrated with God’s timing, and almost hopeless even in light of the promises.  But God (one of my favorite parts of scripture), spoke truth and wisdom to me, granted me peace, and filled my heart with His love and compassion.  I know I will not have all the answers, but I trust that God will continue to be my family’s provider and protector as He has been all this time.

Please be praying for our family as we conclude our time in Poland.  We have a major transition in our lives as we move from Central Europe to the Pacific Northwest.

Please also continue to be praying for:

-Clothing: For all of us (message for sizes)

-Car:  We will need a 6+Passenger vehicle for our growing family (probably mini-van or SUV)

-Travel Expenses: Food/Gas/Hotels

-Deposits/Down Payments/Furniture/Moving Expenses

-For the Art Auction/Fundraiser

If you wanted to participate in the Art Auction/Fundraiser, it will take place at Centerpoint Church in Pagosa Springs, Coloardo.  If you are unable to visit in person but still want to contribute towards the fundraiser, you can follow the details below:

  1. Go to http://www.centerpointpagosa.com/resources/giving.html
  2. Select First Time to create an account (recurring options) or quick give (one time)
  3. Change “my donation” to “MISSIONS-Poland Mission”
  4. In the “Other Comments” you can say “Graves Family”

– OR –

Make checks (or cash) payable to: “Centerpoint Church”
In the notes say it is for: “Graves Family”
Send to:
Centerpoint Church (Attn: Logan Irvin)
2750 Cornerstone Dr
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

Thank you all for your prayers and support during this major change in our family’s life.  Your prayers have lifted our spirits!  We are excited to take this next step in our journey following God’s leading.

 

The Graves Family

 

p.s.  As always, if you have something we can be praying specifically for, please feel free to send us an email at thegravesabroad@ gmail.com

 

 

Quick Praise Update!

The other night Loralie had a friend come to church.  During our time of worship, I could over hear her talking to her friend about God.  It was so awesome to hear her sharing her faith in God.  At one point she began to describe how God can provide, “and God knows your heart, if you like pray for like $1,000 He will see your heart and then he can provide it for you.”   Now I am not saying that God is a bank, genie, or dream caster, but He is a loving father!  I swallowed my desire to intervene and let it play out.

As we finished church and talked about the kids conversation, I was a bit defensive.  I couldn’t just say that God would provide $1,000 if you asked for it.  But isn’t that what my family is doing?!  I thought about all the needs my family has been praying for and realized very quickly that we are probably looking at needing between $30,000 and $40,000 for our move.  And hasn’t God answered our prayers so far?!

Praise:

We have our flights covered! This is easily around $5000.

We have accommodation for the first month and a half.  Easily another $1000.

We have been given the funds to cover 2nd bags! $500.

Our home church, Centerpoint is having an Art Auction to help us raise funds for a car $??

We have friends in OKC who have some clothes for the kiddos!

Almost all Doctor appointments and visits are covered!  At least until we figure out Canada’s health care for our family.

Our loving home church is making preparations for an Art Auction and Fundraiser for the 1st weekend of July.  The proceeds will go to our family towards either the purchase of a car, deposits at our place in Vancouver, or other costs associated with relocating our family around the world.  The details for now, is that the event will be held at Centerpoint Church in Pagsoa Springs, Colorado.  They would like to invite you to participate in person or through donations via post or online giving.  As more information becomes available, I will send you updates.  So here is the giving information:

  1. Go to http://www.centerpointpagosa.com/resources/giving.html
  2. Select First Time to create an account (recurring options) or quick give (one time)
  3. Change “my donation” to “MISSIONS-Poland Mission”
  4. In the “Other Comments” you can say “Graves Family”

– OR –

Make checks (or cash) payable to: “Centerpoint Church”
In the notes say it is for: “Graves Family”
Send to:
Centerpoint Church (Attn: Logan Irvin)
2750 Cornerstone Dr
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

So can I really say that we can’t take our needs before God?  $1,000 seemed unreasonable, but yet God has provided over $7000 of the $30-40K in less than a month!  When I prayed this past week, I believe that God is asking us to have a child like faith about this. Kids don’t have to wonder about financial provision, they trust their parents.  I believe that when God says He wants to provide, He means it!  Sometimes it takes a bit of patience.

For those who are interested in knowing about what needs we have remaining, here they are.  Will you join us in prayer about these needs being met?:

-Clothing: Michelle and I need new clothes (badly), the kids will need some items (message for sizes)

-Car:  We will need a 6+Passenger vehicle for our growing family (probably mini-van or SUV)

-Travel Expenses: Food/Gas/Hotels

-Deposits/Down Payments/Furniture/Moving Expenses

-For the Art Auction/Fundraiser

 

We would love to join you in prayer as well!  Please send us your requests, remember you are never alone!

 

Much Love!

The Graves Family

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