In many ways, the last few months of 2017 and the first couple months of 2018 felt like a blur. Some of you have experienced being in a church during a major fundraising effort and/or a renovation process. However, none of our church leadership had been through anything like that (before now), and I (Jay) think it was a lot more work than any of us anticipated.
Having been in our building for right at 2 months now, I think we would all agree that it was worth all the late nights and long weeks. We are already meeting all sorts of new guests, primarily because of the location we are in. Downtown Norman isn't like Bricktown in OKC or 4th Street Live in Louisville, but it is highly active with events happening all the time. In our short time in downtown, we've sought to partner with the city a couple times and it's allowed us to meet people as they are out and about.
In addition, we're being pressed to make a decision soon on how we want to minister to the homeless population in Norman. It feels like about every other day, someone new is coming to our doors or we're being introduced to someone in desperate need of some type of assistance. This Wednesday, we have a meeting with a couple other churches/ministries that have started similar ministries before. Please be in prayer for us in this regard. We are limited in resources, yet we feel burdened to care for our neighbors and want to welcome them as we've been welcomed by Jesus.
Last Friday, we held a joint Good Friday service with another Acts 29 church here in Norman. It was a sweet and sobering time as we read passages, listened to poems, and sang songs that pointed us to the cross. Honestly, I have always struggled with Good Friday because I know Jesus has already risen. So why should we sit and mourn as if He is still in the grave? But more and more I'm learning that in order to celebrate well I must also mourn well; to feel the deep agony that Jesus felt and to remember it was my sin that put Him there. Then come Easter Sunday, I can celebrate with greater joy!
Speaking of Acts 29, a couple weeks ago I travelled to Kansas City with one of our pastors and an intern at the church (His name is Quinton, and he lives with us. Not sure if we've told y'all that! We've loved having him in our home and he's especially been great with our kids.). We were only in KC for 24 hours, but it felt like a week of being refreshed with other brothers who are living in the trenches. For me, it almost feels like a college reunion because so many of my friends from SWOSU are currently in A29 churches in the Midwest Region (OK, Kansas, & Nebraska). I've so appreciated the Acts 29 Network because behind the scenes, so much emphasis is placed on unity amongst churches and personal holiness of its ministers. It's beautiful to be a part of.
For some more personal news... We're super excited to let everyone know that Brooke is pregnant with baby #3! The due date is October 30 so we're still a ways out. Henry had his first soccer game this past Saturday, but he wasn't very interested in the ball. He made some new friends and picked a couple flowers, though! Eden took off walking about 3 or 4 weeks ago and hasn't slowed down since.
As always, thanks for reading, praying, and supporting our ministry. We love you guys!