search
top

Chapter 61: New New Beginnings Again

Read at your own risk as this gets pretty long! (but fun!)

 

 

I sat around the table the other night realizing that our three oldest kids are the same age differences that my sisters and I (Brad) are.  How did my parents survive?? Let alone us kids?!  How can Michelle and I do this with four?!  Life is full.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

Not only is life full, but our season in life is changing.  I can officially announce our partnership with CenterPoint Church will be concluding at the end of 2018.  From the very beginning of our journey to Poland in 2012, CenterPoint has been a critical piece of our family’s foundation.  We would like to thank you for EVERYTHING that you have done for us through prayer support, financial contribution, helping raise support for a van (and fully paid off at that!) a means of employment, as a loving family, and a church home.  You have been there for us when we left for Poland first time, when we had two more children, when we stepped into the unknown and stayed in Poland, when we opened our coffee shop, when we left our coffee shop, and when we returned stateside.  You are an example of what it means to be a church.  You don’t just show up and then walk away, you reside.

Well, are you ready?  Every time my family enters a new transition I wonder if I am.  As Pastor Jon and I talked about the conclusion of our partnership and what lies ahead for the Graves family, I recounted how awesome God has been on this crazy adventure our family has been on.  Since my Starbuck’s days, God has reminded me of His promise as Provider, Healer, and Leader of our family.  We believe He has clearly brought our family to Gresham, Oregon to work with Mark at Intent Coffee.  It is so clear that God has allowed us to be here for a time of healing, restoration, and rejuvenation.  It doesn’t mean anything has changed, and yet everything has changed.  Here we are doing the same thing that we have been for the last six years, but now we are in our passport country speaking our native language.  To some this may seem like we are no longer Missionaries. Some will say we never were and others, like myself, don’t care what our title is, just that we are in pursuit of God.

So, what lies ahead?  We believe God is asking us not to partner with another organization at this time.  We will continue to pursue God’s direction and leading for our family’s direction, as we have been from the beginning.  As in Poland, our areas of focus will be around the kids, their school and Brad’s work at the coffee shop and in the coffee community.  This season will be another step out into “the waters.”

Portland is a widely non-religious, post-church people. In need of love, acceptance, and His presence (don’t we all?!) we plan to merely show up. Being an example and praying for healing for our neighborhoods and people who may need hope. We also have adopted the mentality that “less is more” with regards to time and lifestyle. We do not believe we should fill our time with events or pouring into the community but giving space to just be. We believe that to create a lifestyle of living with God that is sustainable for our four kid’s foundation and relationship with Jesus that time spent together is most important. As we spend time together as a family, we form an unbreakable bond with each other and with Jesus, our friend and co-partner in life. As we build a healthy connection we grow like branches into our community. Loralie, Jack, Dottie and Charlie are brave warriors who are now and, one day, will be out in this world on their own. We believe God has huge dreams for each child and we want to do our best as parents to guide them as they grow! And as they grow, they go into the world! (We will not keep them from the world but prepare them in it to stand out! We love our kids, we love what their future holds and that we do not need to fear what will come because we have hope that they, each, were created with a purpose on this earth.

Here is a quick update on the family!

Jack is flourishing in school. Although Jack has spent tears over the last 1.5 years missing Poland, his friends and family there we are thankful for how he has grown since.  A year ago, we were told by a teacher that Jack wouldn’t successfully complete Kindergarten.  We are happy to report that he is half way through First Grade and thriving.  Jack has surpassed every expectation set before him!  He has a way to go, but for a 7-year-old boy…he is doing just fine!  Hah!

Loralie has been pushing her limits as a Third-Grader.  She has been accepted into a Talented and Gifted math class that I am sure would make my Cousin Amy proud!  The new school the kids are in has been a place of love, peace and promise.  We are so thankful to have a public school that challenges the status quo and embraces the children as their own.  This school may rank lowest in Portland….er Oregon?  But you wouldn’t know it from the level of service these teachers and staff put into these kids!

 

Dottie is talking more clearly every day and consistently bringing joy to our family.  She is a ball of energy and has so much love to give.  We cannot wait to see her continue to grow and develop as she will be turning THREE in just a few more months!

 

Charlie just celebrated her First birthday!  Wowzers!  1 year has already passed.  If that doesn’t blow you away, she is now walking on her own all over the house and climbing the stairs! Charlie is the ham of the family. Smiling nearly all the time, smacking people in the face, blowing kisses and cheeky as ever.

 

 

Thank you for reading our words faithfully, listening to our hopes for our children and supporting the very real needs we have had. We are not without gratitude and deep thanks for your emails of encouragement, monetary donation and hugs of support in our times of need.

 

To conclude, we invite you to continue to support our family’s needs, ministry adventures, and outreach.  Our family’s ministry support will no longer be able to go through CenterPoint after December 31st, 2018.  If you believe God is asking you to partner with our family after this time, we will still be accepting gifts through Pay Pal, Venmo, Cash App, or via snail mail.  As always, our family strongly relies on God’s provision. (We do loads of dinners and events based out of our house that impacts our local community!)  He has asked us to trust Him during this time of transition, so of course we will!

 

He is always faithful.

top