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.
Hey guys, it's Brooke! I am finally beginning to emerge from the newborn fog and feel like a real human again! This past month has been a busy one – settling into a new routine of caring for a newborn and a toddler has been a challenge but also a joy. I feel that Henry is at the perfect age and hasn't shown any signs of jealousy. He is completely in love with his sister – always kissing her, helping her, and talking about how cute she is. He also goes to a Mother's Day Out program twice a week which has been a tremendous help. He is so social as well, so he loves it.
This month hit us with the unexpected death of my Grandpa, so we traveled to Iowa for his funeral and to spend time with family. I was so thankful that we were able to be there. Henry also got to play with my cousin's kiddos, which are all around his age so he had a lot of fun. We have also been at the hospital with Jay's sweet Grandma, who fell and broke several bones. We are praising God that she is okay, although she has a long road to recovery.
This has also been an exciting month at Providence Road. I am continually amazed by the women I am surrounded by at our church. I have met and become friends with women who are walking through all sorts of hardships: some struggling with infertility, marriage stress, the loss of a child, and a young mom currently undergoing chemo for cancer. All of these women are quick to be open with the struggles they are facing or have faced and use their stories for the glory of Jesus. I know it is not easy for them and yet they continue to praise Him even when they do not understand why these things may be happening. These women are examples to me and I pray that when I face trials and suffering as they do, I will remain faithful. Last night, I gathered with several other moms from Prov Road. We will be meeting once a month to pray for our children.
Jay travelled to Kansas City a couple weeks ago with another one of the pastors from Prov Road. They attended an Acts 29 Conference with several other A29 pastors from the Midwest region. The picture below was taken at their conference held at Redeemer Kansas City. They had a good time and got to eat plenty of KC barbecue.
Things are moving forward with the church potentially moving into a new space. Contract negotiations have progressed and we've settled on a verbal agreement to lease a building in downtown Norman. Once the landlord approves of our architectural design plans, everything will become official! This is an exciting time in the life of the church. There are certainly unknowns (finances, time frame, unexpected obstacles), but we are moving forward in faith.
As always, thank you so much for continuing to support us on our journey. We haven't forgotten that we wouldn't be here without the generosity of those God has placed in our lives.
She's here! Most of you probably keep tabs on us through social media, but Eden Grace officially arrived on January 30. We are thrilled that she's healthy and growing (now, we just need to work on that sleeping part!).
So much has transpired since we last wrote in early January. The most exciting, of course, was Eden making her appearance. One of our biggest concerns was how Henry would respond to a new human being in our house – mostly demanding all of Mommy and Daddy's attention. He still has his typical toddler moments, but for the most part he has been so helpful around the house. If he hears sister crying, he sprints to the nearest pacifier and tries to soothe her. If she needs a new diaper, he is right there helping to get a new one out so "his baby" isn't sad anymore. It's been a joy to watch him take on the role of big brother in stride. We are so, so proud of him.
Plenty has taken place at Providence Road in the past couple of months, too. We officially launched our new website. Go check it out – www.provroad.org! I spent a lot of time with the details in finishing it out, so it felt pretty great once it was finished. We also installed a second service back on January 22. It has been a remarkably smooth transition. I've learned a ton in the process... how to mobilize a new wave of volunteers, creating new positions, how to best communicate to a large group of people, and trusting God throughout it all – knowing that even if our best efforts fail, it will be okay.
We found out at the end of 2016 that the building we currently meet in won't be available to us long-term. We rent from a local church who has been so gracious to us, but they would like full access to that space again in the near future. As a result, we have spent a lot of time recently looking for new potential gathering spaces for Providence Road. After lots of prayer and discussions, the church put in an offer on a building yesterday morning – one that we would rent. We are excited about the potential of this space: the location, size, and opportunities to serve the city of Norman.
Here are the ways in which you can pray for us in the days and weeks ahead:
Without further ado, here are a bunch of baby pictures – which is probably all you wanted to see anyways! I've also added one of Henry playing on his new play set, a gift that was given to us from my aunt and uncle.
We love you guys! Thanks for your continued prayer and support for us.
Happy New Year, friends! Thinking back on 2016, we have much to be thankful for. This holiday season was a reminder to us again of God’s faithfulness. We took a break from our normal routine, probably a lot like many of you, and spent quite a bit of time with family. Henry got to meet some new cousins, see lots of Christmas lights, and open a few presents.
I’m writing this from a hospital room here in Norman. This morning my grandpa (Vernon Henry Frymire) had knee replacement surgery, so Brooke, Henry, and I are keeping him company. It’s moments like this that we cherish so much, and a huge reason why we wanted to move back here. Henry’s bedtime is coming up and when they leave, I’ll test his skills at Skip-Bo. Don’t let the hospital bed fool you. He’s sneaky good at Skip-Bo. I’ll need to bring my A-game.
I know many of you are wondering, so I won’t delay any longer. Brooke is feeling well and the pregnancy is still going very smooth. The other day, she began having her first contractions. This afternoon, Brooke packed her bags so whenever Eden Grace is ready to meet us, we will be ready too! Her due date isn’t until January 28, so we’re hoping she keeps cooking for a few more weeks.
For the most part, we’ve just been getting Eden’s room ready and enjoying the last few naps we’ll have for quite some time. The same has been true for my responsibilities at the church, in a lot of ways. Things slowed down quite a bit with so many people traveling and students going home for Christmas break. As y’all know, they’ll pick back up pretty quick over the next couple of weeks. January 22 is a big day for us here at Providence Road – the day we launch our second service for the first time.
As often as you think about us, we’d love it if you would remember us in prayer. Here are a few ways you can do that:
This past month has been one of gratitude and grace. I (Brooke) have loved being a part of our Missional Community and were blessed to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with them plus many international students that attend the University of Oklahoma. We also had the opportunity to spend time with both of our families for Thanksgiving. Although we missed our Kentucky family that we spent several holidays with, we are so thankful to be near Henry's grandparents, aunts, and uncles and that he is getting to spend lots of time with them.
This past week was a little crazy around the Frymire household. Our sweet little Henry decided he was mad and that the only solution was to throw a toy firetruck at our TV. We are learning material things aren't of the utmost importance as things get broken weekly in our house but Jay and I decided it's time to bunker down and figure out the art of parenting a strong willed toddler. We are reading books and asking for advice as well as praying that God will use his strong and social personality to make him a great leader who loves people well as he continues to grow.
I also had a scare a few days ago and fell onto concrete, while holding Henry. Jesus protected my two babies well as my face took one for the team. Our daughter, Eden Grace, is moving lots, measuring well, and will be here sometime in the next 8 weeks. Being pregnant this time of year is an absolute joy to me, as I not only await her birth, but anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus. This past weekend some girls from my MC threw a baby shower for her and although we have only been here about four months, the love our family has been shown from our new community is such a blessing to us.
As 2016 is coming to a close, we want to once again thank all of you who have supported us and prayed for us these past 4+ months. We love each of you and pray you take this Christmas season to dwell on Jesus.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
Like many of you all, I’m sure, I (Jay) just cannot believe it is already November. It feels like just a few days ago we were saying goodbye to friends in Kentucky and packing up our U-Haul. Now, we are over here making Thanksgiving and Christmas plans with family. How is that possible?
This month’s update, unlike past months, kind of snuck up on us. Life is getting busier, in a good way, and on a lot of levels. Several weeks ago I remember sitting in my Fight Club, which is a group of guys that I’m walking in accountability with as we seek to “fight” our sin together. We talk about work, family, sin struggles… all of life. At this particular meeting, I recall voicing a bit of discontentment in feeling like I didn’t have enough work on my plate, feeling that I could be used more. (Related question: Have you ever asked God in prayer to give you more patience? Did he just miraculously make you a patient person in an instant OR did he provide, let’s call them “opportunities,” for you to become more patient?) It’s safe to say that I no longer feel like I need more to be added to my plate.
We’ve got a lot of exciting things going on here at Providence Road. This past weekend, we hosted a church-wide tailgate after our Sunday gathering. If you follow Brooke or I on social media, you likely saw something about this event. It was a great time for the church family to come together and connect with friends. We had inflatables, corn hole, and lots of food. I was asked to run with the logistics for the event, so much of my time the past couple of weeks was designated to putting it together.
On top of that, we announced this past Sunday that on January 22 of the coming year, we will be launching a second service. Our space is tight in a lot of areas: kids, parking, and meeting space. For several reasons, our elders and leadership believe adding a service is best for the church. Again, this is super exciting, but we have lots of work to do so that we are prepared for January 22, 2017 and beyond. I’ll be overseeing a lot of the behind the scenes work to help us be prepared for that. Along with these things, we’re working on a new church website, recasting vision for the church, and discussing how we can refine our membership and leadership development across the board.
So, again, I no longer feel like I need more work added to my plate! That being said, I am pretty excited about the future here. One of things that energizes me in ministry is helping people to run in their lanes of gifting – finding out how God has gifted them and help them to use those gifts for His Kingdom. What is the role of a pastor/shepherd/overseer? “…To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). So much of what I’m being asked to do here is just that – find out what talents and gifts people have and help equip/train them to serve in the “work of ministry” so that the entire body is built up. To me, there are few things more rewarding than seeing other Christians serve Jesus and His bride with joy, knowing that they are being used to help other people find freedom and joy in Him.
So many of you have prayed for Brenda, my step-mom, over that past year and a half. I received a call today stating that the cancer, though it is back, is now decreasing and that her current chemo treatments are working. I think we all have a love/hate relationship with chemo. Right now, we are thankful that it is working to decrease her cancer and we pray that it will all be gone soon.
As you can tell, Henry had a good time on his first trick-or-treating experience. Brooke and I had fun once he went to bed, digging through his loot! We aren’t the only ones, are we? We have good friends just up the street that we went with, and they have two little girls. As you’d expect, friendships are deepening with people here and we certainly feel “settled” into life in Norman. Henry has been enjoying his new big boy bed and room. More and more, this place feels like home. We’ve landed on a name for baby girl coming in January. Despite Henry’s best efforts, we won’t be calling her John. Stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll be sharing that with y’all soon.
As always, thank you for reading, thank you for praying, and thank you for supporting us in this journey. We love you all, much more than you know.