As we continue to get everything ready to move temporarily to Georgia and then permanently to the Dominican Republic, one of the items of concern was how to get all my tools down to the D.R. I have a hodge-podge collection of tools, some I’ve purchased, most I inherited from my father. They’re all gathered among several toolboxes and tool bags, with no sense of order or organization whatsoever. For someone like me who embraces his O-C-D, this chaos drives me a bit crazy.
Since we made the commitment to become full-time missionaries, Lee has been searching for the perfect ‘every day’ bag, something in which she can carry her Bibles, tablet, materials, etc. Late last month, she came across Better Life Bags and fell in love with one of their items. Even though these bags are handmade and cause driven, the price was a little on the cost-prohibitive side.
That moment you find the perfect bag….the one you’ve been searching for over the past 2 months…and I mean the PERFECT bag to carry around my ‘missionary’ supplies once we get to the DR (bible, Chromebook, journal, etc)….only to realize it is $252. Doesn’t exactly scream missionary now does it?!? Haha
As it turns out, Lee’s friends decided to bless her with the bag, so Yay God for the gift and the support from those close to Lee.
I have a messenger bag I used for my classes at Trinity College which will work perfectly for me in the same capacity, but I can really use something to consolidate my tools. Well, this evening Lee decided to bless me with a new toolbox set, one with which I can both organize my tools AND transport them down to the D.R.
I was going to go with a smaller and much more affordable solution by Stanley, but the unit felt VERY plastic and I just knew it would not survive a flight to the D.R. By contrast, I’ve seen this model of Ridgid boxes make it to the D.R. on more than one occasion given it’s what my friend Amanda used to take down her tools for our mission trips through Relevant Church.
So a world of thanks to my wife and Yay God for the continued blessings in this transition experience. And for the record, my new toy is still half the cost of her new bag. #justsayn
Sister Hazel has been an integral and bedrock part of Lee’s and my relationship since we met. Lee and I have seen the band countless times since 2005, and our immediate circle of friends is a result of people we met through Sister Hazel.
As we transition into full-time mission work, Lee and I have been drastically downsizing. Although it’s been a pleasure and a blessing to give away so much of our stuff, there is also a need to fundraise in order to cover some of the moving expenses associated with this next chapter in our lives.
So to accomplish this goal, we’ve listed two of our favorite Sister Hazel items for auction via Facebook. I’ve copied the descriptions below, and we have the auction open until Friday, March 16. Unfortunately, you have to have a Facebook account in order to participate in the auction.
If you’re interested in supporting our missionary work directly or sponsoring a child for Advocates of Love, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
We are auctioning *TWO* excellent and unique Sister Hazel items from our collection.
Our first is a framed image of an acoustic guitar on the beach, with lyrics to Sister Hazel’s ‘Sail Away’, and signed by Ken Block.
Our second is an acoustic guitar signed by Drew Copeland and Ken Block.
Bids can be entered in the comments, and this auction will remain open until 10:00 PM PACIFIC time on Friday, March 16. We will ship to anywhere in the continental US.
Please keep us in your prayers and we appreciate your support. Also be sure to share this post with your circle of friends and fellow Hazelnuts. Happy bidding.
On this Super Bowl Sunday, before the wings and prop bets, we joined the board of Advocates of Love as they held their annual, in-person meeting to set the direction for the calendar year.
It’s with great enthusiasm and a sense of blessed humility that I am able to announce Lee and I have been officially commissioned as the missionaries to run the children’s home in Samaná. Although we’ve been operating with the confidence of God’s direction for us, it is rewarding – and a bit relieving – to have this opportunity made formal and official.
We look forward to the opportunity to move to the Dominican Republic and build on the work Advocates of Love have been doing there these last four years. Besides, who can resist a vocation that pays in smiles?
My wife and I make a great team. In many ways, we’re perfect together. But if there’s one thing we’re not, it’s financially savvy. Neither one of us was raised by parents who invested in the market or had that innate sense of entrepreneurship. Rather, we both come from poor, blue/no collar backgrounds where frugality is an art form.
As a result, we did a poor job of staying financially healthy. Even though we were blessed with steady careers that yielded wonderful salaries, our mistakes from the past left us living paycheck to paycheck with little, if any, security net on which to fall.
So it’s no understatement when I say the best thing to happen to me was being laid off. At the time I received the notification, I was left in shock. But less than two weeks later, God revealed part of his plan for Lee and me, and we’ve been moving in a bold, new direction ever since.
Part of this new direction has been the ability to take my severance check from Verizon and use it to pay down and eliminate some of the debt in which we’ve been drowning. The check has been a metaphorical ladder we’ve used to climb out of the hole we dug over the last ten years.
Needless to say, I spent most of this morning going through our accounts and paying off debt after debt after debt. The euphoria of seeing the hefty balance in our checking account was quickly tempered by the realization those dollars would soon be gone.
Dave Ramsey reminds us that money is a tool. Although it would leave as quickly as it came in, this severance check was a tool God gifted us so we can be better positioned to transition into mission work. There’s no doubt in my mind had I not lost my job, we’d still be buried in debt in 2019, the date I was originally targeting to leave my career.
They say God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. In the case of this money, it was simply part of the continued qualification God’s putting us through in preparation to do His work. And you can’t put a price tag on that.
Last night, Lee’s sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and his fiancé made the drive from Dothan, Alabama, to our house. They wanted to be here early in the morning so we could get started on packing up Patsy’s belongings into a truck and then make the six-hour drive back to ‘Bama. We spent the morning moving boxes, loading furniture, and getting creative with how best to fill the sixteen-foot Penske truck. My hat’s off to Lee’s nephew Hunter who Tetris’d the inside of that vehicle and made it all fit.
We said our goodbye’s at noon and off they went.
After a brief rest, Lee and I went out for a bite. As we sat at the restaurant exhausted, and while recapping the managed chaos that was the morning, the reality of the situation seemed to hit us both at the same time.
“I can’t believe we got it all to fit.”
“Mostly all of it.”
“True, but at least all the essentials are in the truck.”
*pregnant pause as we looked each other in the eyes*
“There’s no turning back now.”
And there it was, like a ton of bricks on our table. We knew for a month this day would come. We’d been discussing Patsy’s move for several years. Yet it felt almost surreal to be in the conscious understanding of the situation and having a, “Wow! This really happened,” moment.
As I mentioned yesterday, having my mother-in-law live with us was actually quite great. And although we were sad she was gone, the more pressing feeling at that moment was how we’d passed a proverbial point of no return. It was a tangible feeling of commitment to our call to move into full-time mission work.
Whether or not the opportunity in the Dominican Republic works out (we are very confident it will), the fact remains there’s no deviating from our plan to sell the house. Our next step is in ministry, and our next step does not involve our current home.
Yes, it can be a bit intimidating. If you let it, the anxiety can be overwhelming. But Lee and I have been operating from a place of obedience since we prayerfully decided to heed God’s call and go. And acting out of obedience means placing our full faith in God.
Coincidentally, we came across an ad for MyIntent.org, a site from which you can order bracelets and other items with your special, intentional word. For me, that word is Surrender. For Lee, her word is Brave. I think both words perfectly summarize our situation. We have the courage to move into the unknown because we surrender our fears to God.
Why would we ever want to turn back from that?
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT