Summer is here! Not sure where you're reading this from, but here in Oklahoma it sure felt like we went directly from winter into summer. Whatever happened to spring?!
It's been a full couple of months here. Buckle up...
In our last update, I (Jay) shared with you about our involvement serving the city we're in and in particular, many of the homeless that are near our new location. I've spent a lot of time recently researching what organizations are already in our city and who they serve, talking with local church leaders and non-profits for advice and to discuss potential partnerships, and praying to ask God for direction in all of it. During the process, we were introduced to the 405 Center in OKC. I'll soon be meeting with some of our Covenant Members who've expressed interest in leading in our serving efforts in this way and I'm hopeful that we can develop a partnership that will mobilize our people to demonstrate and declare the gospel to our city.
A few weeks ago, Brooke and I's Missional Community said goodbye to Henry and Harry, exchange students who were at OU studying meteorology for the past two semesters. If you remember, our MC launched last August, right around the time they got involved with Providence Road. They didn't realize it, but they jumped in our MC from the get go, so saying goodbye to them was tough. A recent article I read spoke to what a lot of us felt, A Gospel Goodbye. On the other hand, we spent some time thinking back on all that God has done in our MC and how we've grown together as a family. The last nine months have been a sweet gift from the Lord to us.
Along those lines, I have noticed recently how God has given me more opportunities to minister to and counsel those in our church, specifically young men. It's probably a natural result of being present and serving here for close to two years now, but it's been especially encouraging to get those opportunities and for them to happen naturally out of relationships that have been built over time. Again, a gift from the Lord.
Our church held a Baptism Sunday in April where we baptized 11 new believers. There were a couple of kids, but mostly college students and young adults. It's not lost on us how rare that can be, and we are grateful for special partnerships with college ministries in the area and how God is at work through our Covenant Members in their neighborhoods and in their places of work. God has empowered *all* people with His Spirit and in Jesus, *all* Christians are priests. Another gift from God to see. He's good!
To some personal/family things... The kids are growing up so fast. Eden is a full-on toddler now. She is just so, so sweet. Well, until she tells me: "NO!" Then, not so much. But we're working on it. The kids wrapped up their year at Mother's Day Out (to them, it's "school") and Henry will begin pre-K in the fall. How is that even possible?! Brooke's pregnancy is going great. Everything we're hearing from the doctor's is positive and we're targeting the end of October to welcome Baby #3. In the next month we'll find out gender.
This spring we tried out soccer for Henry. We got mixed results. I think the first game that he intentionally touched/kicked the ball was week 4, but he said he enjoyed playing. The first game Brooke took a 60 second video of him spinning in circles and picking flowers while the ball was in play! Text me if you want to see it... hilarious stuff. He'll also have swim lesson this summer. He's scared of water and has to wear ear plugs because he has a hole in his ear drum, so that will be another adventure.
About 10 weeks ago, I injured my back pretty good. I've done that multiple times in the past several years and tend to recover in 4-6 days with rest. About a week after the initial injury, I was bedridden and had significant pain while walking and realized this injury was different. After 6 weeks of no improvement, I got in to a local doctor. It took steroids and muscle relaxer to relieve the pain and inflammation. Thankfully, there is no structural damage in my spine/vertebrae. I've been going to physical therapy for the past few weeks, but still experience discomfort every now and then. I feel so much better now than right after the initial incident, but I'm hesitant to get back to doing things I was so used to doing (jogging, basketball, heavy lifting in the yard, etc.).
That said, we'll be taking a vacation next week and it couldn't come at a better time. Brooke's parents will be watching the kids so we'll be able to get some real rest. We're headed west to the mountains, so I'm thrilled about high temperatures in the low 70s and low temperatures in the 30s.
Here are some ways you can pray for us over the next couple of months:
As always, thank you for following our journey, for praying for us and our family, for giving financially so that we can serve Jesus and the city of Norman. We sure do love each and every one of you.