Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year...New Beginnings

God is a God of new beginnings and fresh starts!  I always love the beginning of a new year because it gives me a chance to evaluate my life and decide on areas I need a fresh start.  For instance, I have definitely decided I need to impliment a better system of chores for our kids!  I have been pretty lax and often end up doing things myself because it's easier in the end than keeping after them.  However, I was reminded that this is really not what's best for them, so we are going to start fresh with the new year with some consistent job assignments.  I wish I could report that my children had feelings of excited anticipation over this new year's resolution, but as you might imagine there are more sighs and groans than singing and grins! :)

I recently had someone tell me they don't bother with "new year's resolutions" because it's a set-up for failure.  Well, I can see how this can be true, but what about the feeling of a fresh start?  I think we ARE destined for failure at many of the tasks we set forth to accomplish because, as Jesus reminds us, "apart from me you can do nothing."  We strive, try HARDER still, beat ourselves up and ultimately fall to defeat and in some cases depression...all because we are striving in our own power to do things we clearly need the Spirit to do through us.  To love more, be more patient with a family member or spouse, to be generous and consistently (and genuinely) kind.  These are just a few things maybe you would consider putting on your list of new year's resolutions.  But what exactly does Galations 5:22 mean when it says "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..."?  Does that mean that I need to produce joy an peace - and if I just tried harder to be patient and self-controlled, I would be living according to the Spirit?  That's totally backwards!  I think Jesus clears things up when He spoke about the grapevine in John 15:
          v.4 - "Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  (v.5) Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing."

So, no more striving this year friends!  Simply remain in Him.  How?  Make time to be with Him - abide.  I like to go for a hike and be outdoors to be with Him.  Sometimes I like to sit in the sunshine and just listen to worship music to be with Him.  I get together with friends and pray and discuss scripture to be with Him.  I like to journal and write to be with Him.  Whatever it is that feeds and nourishes your soul as you spend time with your Creator, DO IT!  And as we abide, as we walk with Him, the Spirit bears fruit - love, joy, peace, etc., through us - no striving.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blessing upon Blessing

In case you haven't heard...WE GOT A GOLF CART!! I want to repeat here the exact article in our local Avalon newspaper so you get the story from a different perspective than just mine...

"It's amazing what can happen when people come together for a cause.  Cities can be built, wars started, laws passed...or in some cases, golf carts built.  This was the case when a small group of people got together about 2 months ago and decided to start something crazy; something that was going to take time, labor, support from the community, and a lot of help from God.  You see, when God wants something to happen, it gets done, and that is exactly what happened.  What started with a few people sitting down and throwing around ideas about blessing a family in town with a golf cart spread into a project greater than what was ever thought possible.  Countless amounts of people donated their time, labor, and finances to make it possible.  Parts were graciously donated by both Catalina Yamaha and Buffalo Motors, the enclosure was generously made by Sal Vega, and an anonymous donor re-painted the body at no cost, and numerous amounts of people from the community stepped in to video the process, create a brush guard, clean and sand the body, and even cook the laborers dinner!  This project, code named "Operation Mobility" in order to help keep it under wraps, was all done for a family who recently moved to the Island from Florida, after feeling God calling them to minister here.  It has been such a blessing having them here, and being able to bless them in return was an amazing and encouraging opportunity.  It was also a chance for people not only to hear about God's love, but see it in action.  The secret operation was an opportunity to bless a family in need, who before this had no means of transportation and a family of 6 to try and get around, as well as to show people that God's love is real and tangible.  42 days ago this project started, with a beat up limo-style Yamaha golf cart, a community of caring people, and a God Who can make all things possible.  On October 6, 2011, after what seemed to be a normal church service, the Hobbs Family was blind-sighted by the presentation of a completely custom, hand-built, picture of God's provision.  They now not only had a vehicle, they had an idea of just how much they mean to this Island.  So, to the entire Hobbs Family, congratulations on your new vehicle!  And to everyone who made this project possible, we appreciate you so much for your help.  God bless you all and your kind hearts!  I John 3:18 says, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth." The past 42 days, this small island community has come together and accomplished this.  I know that if the Hobbs were being interviewed for this article, there would be no better way to end it than to simply say, "All glory to God."

So there you have's a beautiful thing when people give and it's very humbling to be on the receiving end of such a project!  Thank you Avalon!!  Thank you to all of our amazing friends both here, in Florida, and all over the world who love us and support us in so many ways!!  May God bless you one hundred fold!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

We do not lose heart

Hello Everyone!!  My how time flies...I'm sure some of you have wondered "what in the world is going on with the Hobbs!"  Well, here we go...

As I mentioned before in a previous blog, summer is crazy on Catalina Island!  We held on tight for the ride and made it to the other side - a little worn out and dizzy, but here we are.  Fall is now in the air.  We have experienced one day of stormy rain, then a chilly cold front ushered in Fall.  School is in and things are beginning to calm down.  So now let me fill you in about some huge stuff that has happened in our lives over the past month.

The day before school started we went "overtown" (to the mainland) for dentist appointments and some shopping.  We had not been there long when Andrew stepped down off a curb onto a very uneven section of pavement and hit the ground with a yell.  He had sprained his ankle (torn ligaments and all) and that was his first day of not being able to walk for a little over 2 weeks.  Who would ever have thought that this guy who works in a physically risky job as a zip guide and never has an injury would step off a curb and be taken out for 2 weeks?  It was crazy.

So, we get home and the kids experience their very first day of public school (Maddi and Harrison - Grace is still Homeschooling with Mom :)).  The day was very exciting and quite an experience that would soon be overshadowed.  That evening as Harrison is bringing his backpack up to the house - riding his razor scooter - the wheel twists and he falls.  All of his weight comes down and his elbow is caught between him and the concrete.  An unfortunate position.  He runs in the house crying that he thinks his arm is broken so we run him to the emergency room.  Xrays reveal that it is indeed broken - but its his elbow and it looks really bad.  So the next day we take him "overtown" again - this time to an orthopedic specialist who looks at it and gravely announces that he will need surgery right away.  God arranged that we get the best surgeon in the area (the top at UCLA) to do the surgery - we had no idea how that happened, it was truly a gift.  Harrison is now our "bionic boy" with seven screws in his elbow!  Pretty amazing.  He just got the stitches from the incision taken out this past Wednesday and is healing nicely.  He is doing therapy and is able to move it, although not fully extended yet. 

So, how to react to all of this?  Wow...honestly, it was hard.  But God was good through it all to point out to us where He was.  We realize that having Andrew unable to work made him more available to his kids during this huge transition into a new school situation.  Also more available to Harrison during his pain and questioning.  Of course, being 13, he doesn't get "suffering".  This accident has been a refining process for him to decide for himself if he actually believes in all of this "God stuff" that his parents hold fast to.  There comes a time for all of us to decide if we trust that God is good, or do we walk according to what we see and feel at any given moment - that maybe there really is no God or that He has abandoned me if there is.

2 Corinthians 4:8,16-18:  "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...Therefore, we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

We choose - and Harrison has chosen - to trust and believe.  To fix our eyes on what is unseen.  God is incredibly faithful and continues to rain down blessings on this family.  Andrew is back to work now and because his injury happened on the property of a McDonald's restaraunt, they are paying for all doctor's visits AND lost wages!  God has used many of YOU to bless us with financial gifts during this time that will be used toward Harrison's costs.  We have no doubt that God has allowed hardship to refine us and to cause us to watch Him provide.  He is faithful!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Raw Confession

Ok, well, I feel God calling me today to share with you a page from my journal from a little while back.  Maybe He has one of you in mind that needs to hear His words to me in a time of sadness and seeking...

     "Why am I crying Lord?   I'm scared and I don't think I'm up for the role you have for me!  I just don't do well - I'm weak and unfaithful...
     ...Lord, You spoke directly to my last words written to You - "I don't think I'm up for the role" - You are giving me an invitation to come - Lord, how am I hindering your story?  Why am I stomping my foot and saying "NO, I am not worthy!"  What do You say to me?  John 11 - when you saw Mary weeping at your feet, you were moved in your spirit and troubled and YOU WEPT!  When you see ME weeping Lord, you are moved.  You care, you LOVE.  You see through me to my core and yet you call me - invite me to arise.  Song of Songs 8:14:  "Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains."  Your words to ME.  Thank you my Father, my Lover - Lover of me, my soul, my brokenness.  Song of Songs 7:10:  "I belong to my lover and His desire is for me!"  Song of Songs 8:6-7:  "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame.  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.  If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."
     So, Shelli, don't go looking elsewhere - wasting time, energy and money on "less wild lovers" - only come to ME, the Author and Creator And Finisher of LOVE and of you."

So there it is - I still read it and find it amazing.  Does God's word really say those things?  YES it does - Yes HE does.  He is pursuing us and wooing us and HE LOVES YOU.  Whatever you are struggling with today, believe HIM!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


As I sit here to write I am reminded of why it's so hard to sit here and write!  The birds are singing their hearts out outside, the warm sun is shining, the breeze is gently blowing and I have to be at work in a couple of hours.  Ah, summertime in Avalon.  But I have SO much to share that I must come into this dark little spot to spend a few minutes to update our friends.

God continues to affirm to us His calling here to Catalina.  Every week another life is affected and through it all, our lives are deeply impacted as we watch Him work.  Some of the most recent things include a camping trip to the Isthmus, a cool group of seniors that visited from Huntington Beach for a retreat, a huge graduation party for Alex and our last young adult Bible study that had 24 show up!  I will expound on a couple of those...

Last weekend a group of about 16 recently graduated seniors came over to Avalon for their "senior trip".  They got connected to us through Alex who met their leader at a Christian Surfers camp a few weeks ago.  They stayed at the church and they studied Wild at Heart and Captivating while they were here - sort of a "mini retreat".  They came over to our house a couple of different evenings and it was super neat to talk with them about their goals and dreams and the Lord.  We shared scripture and songs and stories of faith - it was awesome.  We look forward to getting to know these blessed kids (and leaders too) better through the years to come since they live close, only "26 miles across the sea"!

Sunday night we had a graduation party for Alex.  As most of you know, Alex, as a homeschooler, finished up his last few credits here on Catalina this past semester and was able to be declared a high school graduate!  We are proud of him and although he didn't want us to at first, we threw a party in his honor.  It turned out to be one of the biggest blessings since being here!  We had over 60 people show up at our house (thankfully with the help of a couple friends we had plenty of food!).  We enjoyed hours of awesome fellowship, delicious food and lots of fun.  The highlight was toward the end of the an official Avalon School cap and gown, Alex walked up the sidewalk through the crowd (which was humming the "graduation march" song!).  He ended up on our front porch where Andrew and I met him.  We then had a chance to share some words - a "charge" - with him.  Then people gathered around, laid hands on him and prayed for him.  It was INCREDIBLE!  Truly the best graduation ceremony I have ever attended!  The prayers were all so blessed, the people who came to show their support were amazing and the fellowship was sweet.  I still am in awe, a week later!

Every Monday night we have the young adults to our house for Bible study.  This past week was particularly cool.  24 kids showed up, some of who are not believers, but seeking truth.  We are studying Philippians.  Just walking through, verse by verse and picking it apart - discussing the meanings of certain phrases, and most importantly asking the question "what does this mean for me in my life right now?"  It's so cool to hear the students open up and share in our group time.  It's also cool when afterward we have the chance to go deeper with individuals.  We usually stay and hang-out by the fire outside or around the living room inside and just talk together, pray together, laugh together and eat together.  That night I was able to talk with a girl here from Iowa for the summer, that I work with.  She shared with me that she was one tiny step from going to Indiana for the summer, but at the last minute decided to come to Avalon and stay with her aunt and uncle.  She said after that Bible study, she knew why she was here.  She said every summer in high school she saw God reach out to her.  She had been to christian camps and mission trips even though she didn't grow-up in church.  She was able, through friends, to attend.  It has been a few years since high school and one of her closest friends that was a believer, has since turned his back on Jesus.  She has no one in her life to encourage her toward Christ and had recently decided that maybe christianity was not for her.  Then she came to Avalon.  She said she has met several christians and after being exposed to the Word again, wants to come back to Jesus.  She is going to college in the fall in Orange County and so I was able to hook her up with the group of students that were here from Huntington Beach - many of whom will be attending the same school and truly love Jesus!  It was a great night and, again, I just marvelled at watching God work!

Well, I could go on and on, but I gotta go to work!  Thank you all for reading and for continuing to pray for us...we feel it!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summit to Sea Connections

It's official!  We have officially launched the new Young Adult Ministry here on Catalina Island.  It's called Summit to Sea Connections.  "A ministry connecting young adults through discovering God's love and plans for their lives.  Exploring both the mountains and the sea, from the windward to the leeward side of Catalina Island."  That's it in a nutshell!  Some of our gatherings include a weekly Bible study at our house on Monday nights and Summit Praise on Wednesday evenings (where we get in a van and travel a couple miles up to the "summit" to have a time of music and testimony - SO cool to worship under the amazing stars).  We also have four 3-day camping events scheduled this summer.  We went to an Angel's game a couple weeks ago (the Tampa Bay Rays spanked them, I might add) and have another one scheduled in July.
As great as all of these activities are, we still are well-aware that true ministry to an individual life depends more on one-on-one discipleship than any group activities could facilitate.  With that in mind, we continue to meet with several young adults each week one-on-one.  Andrew was able to meet recently with 3 different guys and have some real quality time answering questions, and praying together with them.  Shelli has also met with 3 different girls for the same purpose.  How exciting to see God love on these kids through us.  It has truly been AMAZING to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives as He begins to "lift the veil" that has been over their hearts and minds.  I love the verses in Jeremiah chapter 1 where Jeremiah is afraid to speak because he doesn't want to blow-it.  But God comes down and puts a coal on his lips and says "now the words that you speak will be my words".  That is our greatest prayer as we meet with these precious kids - that God would speak and we would get out of the way!  And He does, He is SO faithful! 

One of my favorite songs that has been recently introduced at church is called "Restoration".  The words are so powerful and remind me of God's goal for each of us...healing and restoration.  You can look it up on YouTube - Restoration, by David Brymer.
Here's the lyrics...
You bring restoration
You bring restoration
You bring restoration
to my soul

You've taken my pain
called me by a new name
You've taken my shame
and in it's place, You give me joy

You take mourning and turn it into dancing
You take weeping and turn it into laughing
You take mourning and turn it into dancing
You take my sadness and turn it into joy

hallelujah, hallelujah
You make all things new, all things new

Friday, May 20, 2011

Working Hard

Well, I realize it has been a few weeks since our last post.  We have been moving in to our condo we are renting and at the same time, Andrew, Shelli and Maddi have all started new jobs!  So needless to say, it's been a whirlwind this past month.
We are delighted with our new place to live.  It's nestled up in a canyon across from the infamous Avalon Pet Cemetery.  It's a bit out of town, so getting down to work, church, or the grocery store takes time without a golf cart.  But we are thrilled to be in a place of our own and able to "nest" and get situated. I will say, however, that we miss the Dominguez family dearly!  We so enjoyed our time with them and never could have imagined how nice it could be living with another family.  We miss our family dinners with them and just the daily access to friends.  We have determined to have dinner together as families on Sunday nights as much as possible so we don't lose what was gained during our time there.
As for jobs...Andrew is an official "Catalina Island Zipline Guide"!  He worked very hard over a 2 week period to get licensed and certified to zip and in CPR, first aid, etc.  It was a very intense training and we are glad it's over.  He is settling into his new position and best of all, building great relationships at work.  He discovered yesterday that another one of the guys he works with is a new Christian, which is so cool.  This week in the Avalon movie theater (our only one) Soul Surfer played.  It's pretty cool since it's a Christian-based movie here in our little town.  We got everyone we could to go and Andrew was excited that several guys from work, both believers and nonbelievers, attended with him and really enjoyed it.  It's a great open door for him to share "the hope that is within" as the Bible says.  This weekend he will be camping out at a cove called Howlan's with a number of young adults, so please pray for that as well as his continued strength and witness at work.
Maddi is working at a retail clothing shop as well as the same cafe Shelli is working. The owner of both has grown-up on the island and has introduced us to many of the locals that we would never have met at church because they don't attend.  So, we are excited that God has provided yet another area to let our lights shine for Christ and we pray that He woos the hearts of those we come into contact with so they will want what we have.  Each day we, like you, find ourselves faced with many choices of how to approach people.  We can think of them as just passer-by-ers who don't matter to our lives, or we can ask God to help us to see them as He sees them - with great compassion and love and with needs that He can meet.  It's hard, sometimes, to be patient when we see people that way, because we want them so badly to be free and to know Jesus!  But they must choose.  And so my job is to allow the Spirit to work through me how He sees fit in the lives of the people I am with.  I leave the heart-work to Him and I love.
P.S.  Thank you to all who are continuing to support us financially and through prayer!  We are so blessed that you have allowed God to use you in our lives and we thank Him for you!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Lover Who Serves

I just wanted to share a cool story that illustrates how God moves in a life.  For several weeks now I (Shelli) have been meeting weekly with a girl doing Bible study.  She has struggled with depression and with what it means to live - really live - as a follower of Jesus, out of desire and love rather than duty.  She has been a Christian for a long time and has been recently renewed in her desire to be a "lover who serves, rather than a servant who loves."  It's been awesome to watch her come alive and watch the Lord awaken her heart again.  Recently she went, with her husband, to the Republic of Georgia (near Russia) for a mission training trip to train young leaders.  While there, she noticed a particular girl who seemed quiet and sullen.  After a couple of days, she was able, through an interpreter, to discover that the girl was discouraged in her faith.  My friend wrote her a note of encouragement and included several Bible verses that have been especially meaningful in her own life these past couple months.  The girl met her in the hall the next day and grasped her and held her and they cried together for several minutes.  There was a language barrier, but the love of Jesus was clearly communicated and the two hearts were knit at once.

How amazing that when we share the true Gospel and are faithful to our Heavenly Father's message of loving Him FIRST before anything else, even serving (Matthew 22:37-38), our hearts are set free to then WANT to serve.  May Jesus help us to be a "Mary", and sit at His feet and worship and adore Him with no condemnation and to pray against the Enemy's scheme to get us so busy - whether it be in ministry or not - that we become discouraged and disillusioned with what it means to be a believer!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Back in the USA!

We are back!  For those of you that prayed for us, we are grateful, God blessed in huge ways and we had (according to the founder of the Ban Meata Orphanage) the best week of camp the orphanage has ever experienced!  Yay Team Thailand, Yay God!!  Every morning was filled with the team teaching the kids a different sport - Monday/Tuesday was basketball and soccer.  Wednesday/Thursday was volleyball and American football. Friday was competition day and Saturday was carnival day with water activities.  Every afternoon was filled with various clubs the kids were able to choose.  Some of the offerings included Bible/arts & crafts, guitar & drums, fishing, board games, active games, golf, wrestling and swimming.  The kids absolutely LOVED every club and were so thankful to get to choose from such a variety. 

One very touching story was a little girl about 9 years old, who came forward at the worship service on Sunday to publicly say thank you for teaching her to swim.  We thought it was very sweet of her to express gratitude, but what broke our hearts is when Rob, the founder, came up to expound upon her thanks.  Last summer she had been found at the bottom of a swimming pool.  They had been able to rescue her and resuscitate her, praise God!  So all-of-a-sudden her little "thank you" had much more meaning and weight - there wasn't a dry eye among us. 

One more thing - the Dorm Moms had a special encouragement of their own as Anna Rice and I had a couple of hours to share some things out of God's Word and do a craft with them.  Also, Andrew had an evening with them, bought them all ice cream and gave them some more encouragement from the Word as well as his experience working with youth.  The Dorm Moms were ever-grateful!  They have a demanding, 24-hour job.  Most people who come to visit are strictly there to see the kids, but this time the "mums" received a special touch. 

I could go on and on, but for the sake of time I will conclude with I Corinthians 15:56:  "But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Update

So much is happening with the Hobbs Family, I hardly know where to start.  I think I will begin with...WE FOUND A PLACE TO LIVE!!!  Ok, I got that out, now I will expound.  I have decided that God likes to play chess!  We had been looking at a particular place for the past 2 months, but felt it was too small.  After a while, however, we decided that we would just have to squeeze.  Well, the owner wasn't on the same page at all.  She let us know in her very expressive way, that we were too big of a family to fit in that space, even though it was 3 bedrooms.  I was disappointed.  Little did I know that God was going to use that in a funny way.  So several weeks later we hear by word-of-mouth that a 3 bedroom will be opening up at the end of April.  A couple days later we were able to contact the people living in the condo and set-up a time to look at the place.  We LOVED is more than we expected and a perfect fit for our family.  Come to find out, the people are moving into THE place that we wouldn't fit into!  CRAZY!  Like chess pieces, God is moving them out and us in and we watch it all take place in awe.  This has been a clear expression of the verse in Ephesians 3:20 of God doing more than we could ever ask or imagine!  I'm so grateful that we listened to the people around us and to the Lord when He continued to tell us to wait this out...something will come and when it does, "you'll just know."  Thank you for your prayers!

We have had a great few weeks of ministry as well.  Andrew has been enjoying exploring the island-always with 2-4 young adult islanders along!  It's been incredible for him to have the opportunity to build relationships, particularly through hiking, paddling, snorkling, etc.  The other exciting event was to have Cameron Porter, one of our young adults from Florida, visit for a week.  There was definetely never an idle moment for Cam!  We actually just dropped him off at the LA airport so he could return to cold Detroit to finish his college semester.  Good Times!

I (Shelli) had the wonderful opportunity to share with the women of the island this last Tuesday at the community Bible study.  It was a great experience as I was able to share my heart to see women set free as they learn and truly experience God's passionate pursuit of them and interest in their healing and wholeness.  It was received well and I was so very encouraged as I was able to see, again, God show-up in such an incredible way.  I also shared with them what God has told me is my mission in Avalon..."to BE" (I'll have to explain that in a future blog).  And the converstation is continuing...I have received several emails and phone calls from women who want to go farther in learning and exploring what God has to offer in this.  It's very exciting and again, I say "thank you" because I know several of you were praying for that morning.

One prayer need that we would bring to your attention is Alex's health.  He has been under some serious attack as he's recently endured one sickness after another.  Over the past few weeks we have had him to the doctor a couple times and he's been on several different antibiotics.  He is still not back to normal and would greatly appreciate your prayers.  His heart is to spend time with the boys of the community that have been spending hours (and meals :)) at our place and with our family.  It's been so hard for him to have to explain to them that he can't come out and "play" because he has to stay in bed and away from people because of being possibly contagious.

Well, we leave in the morning for our trip to Thailand.  Hopefully we will be able to post updates from Andrew's laptop, if he has wireless access.  Thank you for praying for our safety and health as well as our ministry to the orphans that we will be working with!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Wow...time's already been 2 weeks since I last posted a blog update!  So let's see...where should I begin?  I suppose one big thing on our minds right now is "where?"...where are we going to live?  We have looked at several places, just asking God to speak clearly where HE wants us to land.  I would say the biggest lesson these past 3 weeks is patience!  We are so graciously cared for and comfortable where we are living, but we know we need to get into our own space so we can have our kitties with us and our "stuff" out of storage and begin to settle into life and ministry.  We appreciate your prayers for clarity and provision!

Speaking of ministry...God continues to open doors as Andrew builds relationships with several young adult guys from a nearby camp.  These guys work at Campus-By-The-Sea, a camp accessible only by boat or hiking.  They seem thrilled to have someone whom God has called to the island specifically for THEM!  Many young adults, even in Avalon in fact, are amazed at this - it's very exciting.  So keep them in your prayers as we seek open doors to speak into their lives, that God would provide opportunity and that we would have wisdom.

Also, I (Shelli) have begun to do a Bible study one night a week with a young woman and the first couple nights were amazing - God showed-up in such a big way and is revealing Himself to this precious girl in new and wonderful ways.

The children continue to do well.  Alex had a special week as one of his close friends, Paul, came out and stayed with us.  Paul is part of the missions team for Christian Surfers and is a blessing to Alex and to our entire family.  He was exposed first hand to the work here and served where he could and encouraged us a whole lot - thank you Paul, we hope you can come again soon!

Thank you again, friends, for your continued prayers - we feel they are upholding us and are excited and hopeful as we watch things unfold before our eyes!  I sometimes wonder at how God works...He's called us to minister to the people of Catalina Island and yet, I think so much of the ministry is in our own hearts as we wait and watch and pray.  "May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in You." (Ps. 33:22)  We pray this for you too!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Wow!  Time is flying and it's hard to believe we have been here over 3 weeks now.  We are adjusting and doing well.  One of the cool things about our life right now is living in community with another family.  About a year ago, I seriously considered what it would be like to live in community - that is to have 2 or more families living together in the same household.  I wasn't sure at the time why God had laid it on my heart to consider the idea, but I did - for months I couldn't get it off my mind.  I asked Him several times if He was asking us to look for a way to live this way.  I felt, instead, that He was saying expect to live this way at some point - just consider it for now.  I marvel as I realize that the Lord was gently preparing me for where we are right now!  Back then we had NO idea we would be here, or anywhere other than our home on Pine Street in Clearwater!  Isn't it amazing the way He leads those who desire His will in their lives - and so many times we aren't sure why He is saying something or even what exactly He is trying to tell us.  But as time passes, what a blessing it is to be able to look back and realize "Aha, so this is what that was about, Lord!"

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we seek to know exactly where it is God is placing us in various ministries here on the Island.  We are realizing that there are a thousand things we could be involved in, and although it is very hard to wait, we want to be sure to plug-in exactly where HE wants us!  We have our mission to work with young adults and to go out to camps and coves - and we want to stick by that, but to be strategic in how that happens can be tricky.  So we thank you for your prayers!

We also want you to know a couple of cool things...
Alex continues to minister to the "local boys" through the skate park - only they have followed him back to the church and are now hanging-out here too!  They stayed for church last Thursday night and one of them actually came to the service on Sunday - AMAZING!!  Alex and Andrew were able to meet with the City Manager yesterday to continue plans for a new skatepark.
Andrew had his first "young adult" living in Avalon call him last week to go paddlesurfing!  It was a great connection - his name is Scotty - and Andrew looks forward to continuing that relationship.
I (Shelli) started working with a woman in town helping her with in-home care (cleaning, cooking and such) as she is handicapped and needy.  She is a lovely person, although an unbeliever, so we are thankful for this opportunity!

Gotta go make dinner...blessings to you all from the Hobbs! :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Catalina at Last

We have officially been in Avalon for 4 days - this is day 5.  We arrived late afternoon on Monday to an incredible welcome - so many people were at the boat dock to greet us with hugs, smiles an kind words.  The rest of that day consisted of "nesting" in our new accommodations.  And what accommodations they are!  I had brought our air mattresses and sleeping bags, thinking we would be using them and "camping out" in a big room at the bottom of the church.  Well, we were surprised by being given 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a "rec room" for relaxing in addition to access to the church kitchen.  Way more than we expected!  We are really very comfortable.  The Dominguez family has been a joy to live in community with!  Enrique, Santa, Rico and Azariah have been so gracious and we are blessed to be "house-mates".

So, day 2 in Catalina consisted of meeting (it seemed) a thousand people - ok, maybe 20 or so...anyway, alot of people!  Every day we meet more - it's fun, but remembering everyone's names is gonna take a miracle.  But the people have been amazing - so kind and welcoming.

Yesterday was a huge highlight.  After schooling the children, they went over to where there was a skatepark - I say was because it has become derelict and run down and completely unusable.  So, any of you who know Alex, know that he was on it right away!  He, Mike, Derek and the kids began to move ramps around and clean up the place - it took hours and slowly, but surely, it began to look like a skatepark again.  A few people from the community heard what was going on, including the owner of the property.  Instead of getting upset, he actually asked Alex to draw-up some plans to design a whole new park!  Wow - that was cool and unexpected!  It had only been cleaned-up for a few minutes before about 30 kids were all over it!  What a blessing and what a huge need for this community!  Alex, Mike and Derek had a great time hanging-out, beginning relationships that will hopefully grow into opportunities to share Christ.

That evening was a church service.  Mike led worship and Andrew gave his testimony, challenging the people on taking risks in order to test their faith.  It was a wonderful service!  The room is small, so the sound of people singing resonated loudly making for an awesome time of worship.  The people were receptive and challenged through the testimony.  At the end, they all came forward and laid hands on our family and had a powerful time of prayer.  What a blessing!!  It was so special and reminded me much of our send-off as people had gathered around our family in the youth service at Pathways to do the same thing.  So, here we are, circled and lifted in prayer on both ends of our journey, not to mention carried along on the wings of prayer through our entire journey here.  It was such a fitting end to an amazing day and we are marveled by God's working in our midst already!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers...we love you!
The Hobbs Family

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Home Sweet Home...

Well, we're here!!  It's hard to believe that we have traversed the entire country and all has gone as planned.  God has been SO incredibly gracious and has answered so many of YOUR prayers and ours!  We felt we were carried along by His hand the entire way - good weather, safety, beauty, fun - we really enjoyed every blessing and mercy of His hand poured-out on us.  Today we unloaded the U-Haul truck and trailer, put some of it in storage, some on the barge to Avalon, and here we sit in my sister and brother-in-law's beautiful Laguna Beach home, safe and sound.  Honestly, as Harrison said in the car today, we still feel like we're on vacation - the reality has not quite sunk-in yet that we are not returning to Florida, to our "home".  But we continue to trust that God is bringing us to our new home - although we have yet to step on the boat and make our way across to Avalon- that will happen Monday (today is Thursday).  So we thank all who have upheld us in prayer and ask that you please continue - pray for continued safety, for rest as we recuperate from the long journey, and for continued strength as we face many huge decisions in the immediate future.  Of course, please continue to pray, too, for our ministry as we get together with leaders on the Island to plan where to start with the vision God has laid on our hearts.  We are so grateful for all of the kind texts, facebook messages and emails you have sent us - it has encouraged us much.  As much as we have enjoyed this trip so far, there have been moments of sadness and some tough days, especially emotionally.  So with that thought, I am reminded of what an old trucker said to us at a gas stop just over the California border - "just remember, nobody said this would be easy" - it was as if God Himself were reminding us...following Him is not easy, but it's good!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Wow!  That word has been in frequent use the past few days as we have made our way across this beautiful, diverse country.  Since wi-fi has been scarce, I have not been able to update this blog like I would have liked, but here we sit on day 9 of our adventure - all the way over in the Grand Canyon!  We travelled through New Orleans, crossed the Mighty Mississippi to stay the night in Baton Rouge, LA on our second day.  Day three took us through the soggy south into Texas, where we spent the majority of our travel days - wow, what a huge state Texas is!  We were able to spend an entire day touring the beautiful city of San Antonio, a high-light for sure.  We passed through El Paso and stopped for some amazing mexican food, then on to Tucson for the night.  It was interesting to be in the very city where such a tragedy had taken place the day before.  We prayed for the lives of those injured and for the families of those whose lives were lost.  But it was a quiet night and we were up the next day to travel on to Sedona, AZ.  We were taken by surprise at the beauty there and after a good nights rest, had a blast hiking to rugged, red terrain of the amazing rock formations in Sedona and surrounding areas.  We left in the afternoon to make our way to one of the seven natural wonders of the world - the Grand Canyon.  Worth mentioning, though, is the incredible scenery between Sedona and the Grand Canyon - very unexpectedly reminiscent of Colorado's Rocky Mountains.  Anyway, we made it to the Grand Canyon just in time for the sunset - again, we all exclaimed, WOW!  Maddi and Harrison kept saying "is it real?".  It was so unbelievably majestic, it almost felt like we were standing in front of a life-sized screen watching a movie.  Except for the freezing temperatures, that is!  We awoke this morning to a temperature of 9 degrees and by lunch time it has warmed up to a warm 15 degrees!  Yes, we are SO cold - that is why I am sitting here writing this instead of taking-in the breathtaking beauty right now!  If it were a bit warmer, we would surely be hiking as far down as time would allow!  That was the plan...but we are thankful for just being here!  So, I'm gonna get off here now and venture back into the cold! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On Our Way!!

Well, it was a difficult morning of tearful goodbyes...or "see ya soons" as we preferred to say.  Leaving our house of 12 years, the only house the kids remember, was hard.  More than anything, though, leaving our loved-ones was very hard.  We had our family and a few close friends help us load the last minute things and close-up the truck and trailer.  We had an awesome time of prayer and then we hit the road!  Our first "crisis" happened about 2 hours into the trip when Frank (one of our three cats with us!) pooped in his cage and we couldn't handle the smell, so we had to make our first stop.  We pulled off in Ocala, washed-out the cage and cleaned-up the cat.  We made peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and filled-up our gas tank.  The traffic was bumper-to-bumper and we heard that since we had pulled-off the road, there had been 4 accidents between Ocala and Gainsville.  We immediately gave thanks to the Lord for the timing on Frank's poop!  Ha, Ha!  Could God have used that incident (as smelly as it was) to keep us from an accident?  He sure does move in "mysterious ways"!  One more cool thing...we had to stop at the Agricultural Department up here near Tallahassee and they made us pull over to check the U-Haul truck.  Of course, Andrew had the chance to share about our mission and where we're headed and the officer was stunned.  He gave Andrew a big hug and some incredibly encouraging words - he was a believer and his encouragement came at a very crucial time as Andrew was feeling particularly lonely, missing his family.  So, again, God sent a little blessing our way as to say "keep going guys, you're following Me, keep your heads up".  God says to "count the cost" when we choose to follow Him - every day we are doing this and yet there are believers around the world that are losing much more, including their lives, are we willing?  Thank you for your prayers, we love you guys!!