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!
"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
This quote now sits above our fireplace instead of the Christmas garland and lights that were once there. I love this quote because although this year was fuller than most years we have had, I also loved 2017. Eden Grace, the absolute sweetest little girl joined our family this year. Henry just turned four and has turned from a toddler to a "kid " in his words, and is growing so fast. We bought our first Norman home this summer and we (mostly Jay) put lots of sweat equity into fixing it up. I went back to work full time which was mostly terrible. Thankfully, I was able to go part-time in December. When I look back on my life, knowing all that my family has been blessed with, it's almost like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. So this quote reminds me that God's grace will always be enough, no matter what the next year brings. And far, far better things are ahead because each day is a step closer to glory.
Jay has spent most of January directing the building project for our new church building in the hippest part of Norman (in my opinion). I know, I know... church isn't about the building but the people, it doesn't hurt that we get to meet together in a cool, rustic building with slick ceiling tiles, exposed brick, and original wood floors.
On Friday, our Covenant Members walked around the building and covered each space with prayer. Our first Sunday gathering was yesterday and it was a sweet, sweet time. Life is hard and people are messy and so we pray that God will draw people to our building and that lives will be changed, sin will be laid down, and freedom will be found through the grace and kindness of Jesus. A few Sundays ago, Blake and Jeremy – two of the guys who planted Prov Road – were serving communion together and it was such a visual reminder to me of God's faithfulness in bringing us to Norman, to Providence Road. We are thankful for them and their leadership.
Jay also had an opportunity to preach at the beginning of this year and did a great job. He has been using the gifts God planted in him to administrate all of the tiny to huge details of our new building, something that would probably make me cry myself sleep for weeks on end. All that to say, we are hoping to get away for a few days at the end of this month and have a few days of rest. Thank you all for your prayers and your support!! You all have stuck with us for awhile, and we couldn't be more grateful!
Merry Christmas from the Frymires! This blog post is as close as we will come to sending out Christmas cards this year. We keep telling ourselves, one day we're going to do that...
Let us start off by saying thank you. Thank you to all of our supporters that provide us with an opportunity to serve in a church we love, in a city we love, and alongside people we love. We can't do this without you and that isn't lost on us. You are God's gift to us and we thank you for your continued support of us.
In addition to meeting our physical needs, many of you often lift us up in prayer before the Father. You regularly send encouraging texts or messages through social media and some of you even randomly send gifts to us. Friends, there is just no way to quantify or describe what all of this means to us. God uses you to sustain us in ministry and we just love you to death for it. So, in sincerity, thank you. We love you!
Like many of you, I'm sure, this time of year is really fun and really busy for us. We've gotten the chance to spend more time with family over Thanksgiving and then also in the coming weeks for Christmas. We love it, but it involves plenty of time in the car and abnormal routines for the kids.
We forgot to take pictures with our Missional Community, but our group has been growing closer together as the semester has moved along. We got together for a big Thanksgiving meal, which was a first for a couple of the college guys in our group who are from Great Britain. They brought some more of their friends from across the pond and it was a good chance for us to meet them. They also brought a couple of their favorite dishes from back home. After the meal, our group pooled money together to purchase high chairs for a woman in the community who is fostering her 4(!!!) grandchildren. It was a proud moment for me to see our group quickly jump at the chance to do that.
As you can tell, we've posted several more pictures this time around. We are a little later in the month than usual in posting this blog, we we figured we'd give you a little more of life that's happened. Moving forward, we will probably post updates every other month. So don't think we're going quiet on you guys!
Our church is nearing the end of renovations at our new building. February 4th is the day I expect us to begin meeting in our new space. We. Are. Excited.
The above pictures are from our first workday. If you're interested, I've done two video updates in the building. You can check those out here: first walk through & second walk through.
This is a massive step of faith for our young church, but we believe it's one God is leading us to take. This will be Providence Road Church's home for the next 10 years at least, possibly 20 or more. To date, we have raised/pledged just under $300,000 of our $500,000 goal. We are thrilled with that number and look forward to watching God provide for us over the coming years.
This whole process has been a new experience for me. It's been a challenge as I try to navigate new responsibilities – with hard deadlines – on top of regular responsibilities at the church that haven't gone away. I've appreciated the opportunities that have come up as a result of the project, but I am also looking forward to having it completed.
We wish you the very best this Christmas season and pray that you are able to reflect on the birth of our Savior, experiencing anew his love for you. Blessings!
Jay, Brooke, Henry, & Eden
Happy November! Just three weeks from today, we’ll all be gathering with our families, eating lots of turkey and stuffing, and watching the Cowboys lose on national television. These are some of my favorite traditions.
As we mentioned in last month’s post, October was a nice break in our regular routine. We spent some time in Destin and it was a great time for us as a family. Henry is at the perfect age to play in the sand at the beach and he met a lot of kids his age to play with. He only threw sand in my face once. Eden isn’t quite at the “play in the sand” phase yet, but she’s pretty good at cuddling. We’ll take that. As soon as we got home, she started crawling everywhere and it’s keeping us on our toes. She’s growing up fast!
Brooke’s work schedule will soon be shifting to a much more normal routine. I don’t remember if we’ve shared this or not, but she’s been working three twelve-hour shifts a week. When she got hired, they didn’t have any part-time positions available. In early December, she’ll move to two days a week and most of the time it will be Monday and Tuesday every week. This is huge for us as we seek stability in general for the family, but especially as we look for childcare, regular bedtime schedules, etc.
I wanted to give y’all and update this month on how things have progressed with our building renovations at the church and our fundraising efforts for those renovations. We sought out to raise $500,000 to cover our renovation costs. After our “Pledge Sunday,” we raised a little over $265,000. We didn’t know what to expect going in, so we’re thrilled to be over halfway to our goal. We still have a lot of work to do regarding external fundraising, but this is a really good start.
The initial goal was to be moved into the building by mid-December. However, as construction projects typically go, that has been extended because of unforeseen circumstances that have come up. Now we are targeting sometime in mid to late January. Plumbing has been roughed in for new bathrooms, new HVAC units and ducts are being put in, and new walls are going up all over the place. A week or two ago, we were wondering why there wasn’t much progress on the building. This week, there have been about a dozen guys working on various projects every day. It’s exciting stuff for our church!
Our Missional Community has been meeting together regularly and it’s starting to feel more and more like a little family. As often as you think of us, pray for this to continue to happen and that as we are reaching out to our neighbors, the Spirit would soften hearts and change lives. Also, pray for a friend of mine. I’ll call him James (though that’s not his real name). He’s been attending Providence Road, but has been wrestling with the idea that all of the Bible is true. He’s had a hard past, probably harder than anyone reading this. But Jesus is bigger than my past, your past, James’ past, and all of his doubts, too.
We love you guys!
I (Jay) can’t believe it’s October. It hadn’t really sunk in that Christmas is right around the corner until Henry grabbed my attention while we were walking through Lowe’s the other day. “Look Daddy!” On the top shelf, there were giant inflatables that you see in people’s yards for decorations. His favorite was the Elf one, a six or seven foot image of Will Ferrell. I love Elf, but I’ll pass on putting Will Ferrell in my front yard. Probably forever.
We’ve been running at a pretty fast pace around here since May. The house renovation, Brooke’s job, personal support raising, and now building renovations and fundraising for the church haven’t allowed us to really slow down at all and catch our breath. Thankfully, we will be taking some time off next week. Brooke’s parents recently purchased a condo in the Destin area and they are graciously allowing us to stay there.
As often as you think of us, pray that we would get real rest while we are away and that we don’t waste this opportunity. Not just physical rest, but mental and spiritual rest as well. The more we go, go, go, the more I am tempted to not take breaks and be reminded that I am not in control, God is. Pride says, “I can’t rest because if I did, then ________ would never get done.” And if that doesn’t get done, the world will fall apart. Right? Too often, I buy that lie.
Because so many other things have been going on, we haven’t been able to fully devote ourselves to finish our personal support raising (through the end of 2018). When it comes to money, I tend to be skeptical and desire full honesty and communication from other individuals or organizations. So because I am like that, I am guessing some of you are that way as well! That being said, let me update you on where we are at and what's been committed to us so far…
The Elders of Providence Road communicated to us that we could raise $5,000/month towards my salary, insurance, etc. Because we are submitting ourselves to their leadership, I’m thankful that they set this number and that isn’t something that Brooke and I make up. Part of this $5,000 is the $800/month that they give to us out of the Prov Road budget. So technically, Brooke and I are actually raising $4,200/month. To date, we have a total of $4,480 of the $5,000 committed. Because much of what we receive is in one-time gifts, the total number comes out to $80,650 of the needed $90,000, or just under 90%.
As you can see, we are so close to being fully funded again from July of 2017 through December of 2018. Praise God for the way he provides for his children! Occasionally I get anxious about how or where our provisions will come from, but as I type this out I am again blown away at how God uses his people to provide for our needs.
I know that the only way our needs are met is to make them known. As you consider potential year-end gifts and ministries to support, we ask that you consider us. And even if you have no money at all to give, pray that God would put people in our lives that want to give, joyfully, to support our ministry here in Norman.
As always, we are so thankful for you. If you’re reading this, that means that you are interested in what we are doing here and more than likely, you deeply love and care for us. We thank God for you because your love for him, the Church, and for us is evident in the way you give, in the way you pray, and in the way you minister to us through encouraging words. We love you guys, more than you know.
This may be the best time of the year in Norman, Oklahoma. The temperature is no longer in triple digits, college students bring tons of energy and life back into the city, and, of course, it's football season. (Check back in later this evening after the result of the OU-Ohio State game to find out if it's still the best time of the year!)
In all seriousness, this really is an exciting season for us and for Providence Road on many levels. Not the least of which is our upcoming move to a new building in downtown Norman – the heart of the city. The picture above was taken in downtown Norman in 1909. The building we're moving into was built in 1930. There is plenty of history and significance tied to this part of Norman and one of the reasons our leadership wanted to find a space within this area. As you might imagine, there are few buildings that could accommodate a church in this area. Making a move to this area even more improbable is the fact that standard rates for buildings in this area were far above what our young church could afford. It seems that there have been at least half a dozens times in this process when we thought this deal would not and could not come to fruition. And yet, God has made a way for us to make this move.
A few weeks ago, our construction crew began demolition and in another week or so, they'll begin build out. It's exciting to think that in just a few months, our church will use this space as a hub for ministry and a gospel lighthouse in this city. Simultaneous with construction, we have begun our initiative to raise money, both internally and externally, in order to cover expenses for this move. Tomorrow night is a big night for us and somewhat of a kickoff to our internal efforts, as we will be having a dinner with our Covenant Members. I've been especially grateful for friends from Severns Valley back in Kentucky, who have been so gracious in providing guidance and advice as we begin this endeavor. I won't get into all the details here, but if you're interested you can visit our church's website for specific details on the building and what we have to raise.
Our lives are settling down a bit, not so much because we are less busy, but moreso because we are getting into a rhythm of what our schedules are like and how we can fight for family time and rest in the midst of it all. Our new Missional Community has been meeting weekly for about four weeks now and we've enjoyed having people in our home on a regular basis again. We've also been more intentional recently meeting our neighbors and getting to know those who live near us. Tonight we're hosting a watch party for the OU game and we're hoping some of our neighbors show up!
The kids are back in "school" every week, which is what we call their Mother's Day Out program. They're growing up so fast and as you can tell, bring so much life and joy into our lives.
As always, we're thankful for all of you out there who give to support our ministry here, who read along monthly and pray for us, and call or text us regularly just to encourage us. We are grateful to have so many people that love and care for us, both near and far!
We have now officially lived in Norman for a year. As I (Brooke) reflect on all that has gone on, my heart is filled with so much gratitude. The first year here was filled with slow, challenging, and also really great days of being a stay at home mom. I had laundry days and grocery shopping days. I knew exactly when I changed the toilet paper last. I cooked 3 meals a week with leftovers on the other days. I got up at 6am to meet my running club a few days a week. I looked forward to playdates and book club and the few sweet hours on Fridays when Jay took over while I could escape for a bit. Eden came and I got to enjoy 5 months of not having to leave her. Being a stay at home mom was a challenge for me but also a blessing.
Still, my heart struggled to be content. This past month I went back to work full time at a local hospital and I am hardly keeping up with life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve sick people, but I am also just tired. I now have no idea if we even have toilet paper. Jay has gone to the store for me lately and who knows what is for dinner? Not me! Please pray for me as I am learning to juggle everything and also that I will be able to change to a part time position soon. Previously, there weren't any PT positions available but we are hopeful that there might be an opportunity for that at the end of this year. Jay has been super-dad, taking care of the kids all while continuing to work on our house, and everything going on at Providence Road.
This is an exciting week for us, as we launch our Missional Community (MC) at our house with another couple from our previous MC. Hospitality is one of my favorite words because of all that it means. Inviting people into our lives can be messy and chaotic but also beautiful. I am reminded of past community groups we have been a part of in Kentucky and still feel a special connection to so many of those people that became like family. There is something special about meeting in a home. As I was praying and trying to get my heart and mind in the right place for launching our MC I read this in a devotional by She Reads Truth:
"Hospitality, I am learning, is often untidy and almost always inconvenient. But making room is not about my own comfort. It's about taking something I presume is mine, and offering it to someone else. Jesus made room for everyone, for all types of people--neighbors, the poor, His betrayers, strangers, children, and so many more. It was a mark of his ministry: giving Himself and offering Himself to others and the Father. Jesus made room because His is a gospel for all people. The Apostle Paul writes 'For as many of you have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:27-28). In the Gospel, there is no 'other'--there is only us."
Pray for us as we make room for new community in our home and also in our lives and that Jay and I may offer ourselves to all types of people, like Jesus.
When we decided to purchase our house on Thorton Street, we knew that it needed a lot of work. We committed to tackle as much as we could in the month we had before we absolutely had to be out of our house. We knew that if we waited, it probably wouldn't happen. With jobs, kids, friends coming over, and life happening, all of our hopes for the house would be put on hold.
So we jumped in with both feet! And man, was it a hard month. Probably the toughest and longest month of our marriage so far. I (Jay) spent all of my *free* time at the house and didn't get home until 9 or 10pm for a few weeks. That left Brooke handling bedtime and dinner with the kids by herself. And oh by the way, Brooke started working at Norman Regional Hospital a couple weeks ago. Now that we are moved in, we are thankful that we endured. But that didn't make those moments any easier.
We aren't finished, but we're getting closer. A couple days ago I finished installing our flooring and last night we got our stove installed. Still no dishwasher or fridge in the house yet, and countertops and our kitchen sink might still be 3 weeks away (#prayforBrooke). We need to do a lot of texturing and painting on the walls and I'll probably finish our trim work by Christmas. Of 2019.
Overall, we knocked out a load bearing wall and installed a beam in our living area, replaced cabinetry in the kitchen, and changed out flooring. I took on as much of the project as I possibly could on my own to save on cost. Having never done anything substantial like this, I felt pretty good about what we were able to do! But now I need a really long nap. Here some pictures of our progress.
Over the past few months, we've been informing you guys of our process with a new (to us) building we are trying to acquire as a long-term lease for our church. There have been a few snags in the process, which has been great for me personally since our house project has been such an undertaking for me. But now that we are getting more settled, I'm in a place now to take on a much more significant role with our building.
We received bids back from general contractors to update the building we are looking at in order for our church to gather there. The entire process we have been reminding them – we don't need anything fancy, we just want a place to meet! Despite this mindset, costs have been higher than we'd like. The low estimate was around $500,000 – most of which comes from basic building needs like plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and a sprinkler system. (The previous use of this space was not for an assembly. Changing the purpose of the building requires several improvements.)
We are now in the process of getting individual bids on our own to see if we can get that cost down. Regardless, we still believe this is the place that God has led us to and that he will provide a way for us to be there. In the meantime, we are exhausting all our resources so as to not cripple our church financially and be good stewards of what God has entrusted us with.
As often as you think of us, please pray for us in this regard!
Despite our busy month, we're still trying to have a little fun. Henry has enjoyed any chance he's gotten to play in the water and last night we rode our bikes around our new neighborhood. Eden is the sweetest girl on the block and has been such a joy to have around the past 5 months.
Support raising has taken a back seat to everything else going on, but I'll be seeking to wrap that up over the next month or two. We are right around 80% funded as of now.
Guys, we are just so, so busy right now. It's not ideal, but it's not all bad either. We are thankful for God's grace in our life and how he's provided for us. He's given us a great church to be a part of, he's placed amazing people in our lives that we can call friends, and both our church and friends consistently point us to Jesus. Having the people of Providence Road in our lives has been such a gift to us and we are so thankful to God for them.
To all our supporters and people following our journey... thank you for reading, thank you for praying, and thank you for giving toward our ministry here in Norman!
Last summer was packed full of support raising, moving states, and praying I did't get Zika when Jay and I went on our 5 year anniversary trip to Mexico. This summer is looking like it will be a busy one as well. We closed on our fixer upper last week and went straight to work, with hopes of completing as much as we can before moving in at the end of June. We continue to be so excited about this new home God has blessed us with and have hopes that this will be the place our children will remember as their childhood home. I look at the future playroom and imagine lots of laughter and also some arguments taking place in that room. I see the fireplace and imagine myself curled up with a blanket and a good book. I see the extra bedroom and wonder who will fill that space. We are so thankful for God's kindness to us. We've added some photos below of our current progress.
We've mentioned in the past few updates that our church is pursuing a space to acquire as a long-term rental in the heart of downtown Norman. We've hit a few snags in the process, but things seem to be back on track. We believe this is the place God wants us to be, so we are moving forward to that end. However, we know that if God wants us to meet in another space he will provide that for us! As often as you remember us and Providence Road, please pray for our building situation.
We continue to raise support and hope that next month we will be able to write to say we are 100% funded. As of now, we are a little over 75% funded for the next 18 months of ministry (through December – 2018). Similar to last year, we are continually blown away at God's provision for us through the people of God – in particular through relationships that we've made over the last several years. Thank you to all who have already given. Your sacrifice is not lost on us!
We love you guys and thank God for putting each of you in our lives.
Oh, what a year it has been! A little over a year ago, Brooke and I began sensing God’s leading to explore what it might look like to move to Oklahoma and be a part of a church we knew little about. This past year has been adventurous, fruitful, faith-stretching, and joy-producing.
When we considered leaving a great church we had been a part of for 6 years (and one that provided us financial stability), we even considered ourselves a little crazy. Nevertheless, through much prayer and counsel, we moved forward and embarked on this journey we are on now. Looking back, it is evident that the Lord’s favor was with us and He provided everything we needed at each step of the way.
Recently, the leadership at Providence Road approached us and asked us to officially join the team and commit to being in Norman indefinitely. We don’t know how long the Lord will have us here, but we do know that He has us here now. Without hesitation, we gladly agreed to stay. Moving forward, I will be the Director of Operations and Ministries for Providence Road Church.
Earlier this year, our growing church was given an opportunity to pursue a new meeting space in the heart of downtown Norman. It is a strategic location that will allow us new opportunities to reach the city that we didn’t previously have. However, this also means taking on added expenses that we didn’t previously have. While Brooke and I are thrilled about this new opportunity for the church, we also know that this means we will be committing to raise our support to stay here until the church grows and adjusts to these new expenses.
For the past year, we have lived off of financial support from people all over the country who love and care for us. We know that we could not be serving the people of Providence Road and the city of Norman apart from such generosity. If you have yet to support our ministry but have kept up with our monthly updates and our ministry here, we humbly ask that you consider supporting us so that we can continue serving here. Below is a breakdown of our needs moving forward.
Needs Monthly goal: $4,400
Length of Commitment: 18 months (July '17 through December '18)
The leadership at Providence Road has asked us to raise support through December of 2018 – 18 additional months – and then we will re-evaluate the church’s financial position. They have made it clear to us that the goal is to take on our support in full as soon as it is possible. In the meantime, we hope to be in touch with you soon about our time here in Norman thus far. If you are interested in supporting our ministry, visit our giving page. You're also welcome to email me or call anytime (580-302-0615).
Looking back on these pictures from the past year, we can't help but be reminded of God's faithfulness to us. We packed up our Uhaul with our toddler in diapers. Now our toddler is out of diapers and his crib, and we have a beautiful baby girl. Lord willing, we will have many more stories of God's faithfulness to us a year from now. We've walked through moments of doubt and fear, but the overwhelming theme of our hearts now is gratitude. God has been faithful through it all and we are certain that he will continue to be so.
Thank you so much for your continued support of us. We love you guys and are so thankful that God has put each of you in our lives.