Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1

December 1!  Doesn't that give you chills?  It does me - time flies and I just can't fathom how we are already in December and we have almost been on Catalina Island for 2 years!  Some of you have been following and supporting us all along and we sure are grateful.

Some interesting things have transpired this month.  We found out that our landlord is selling the condo we currently live in, so we are on the lookout for some new place to move our home.  It's VERY challenging to find housing here in Avalon, especially with 3 bedrooms that allows pets.  This is another opportunity for God to stretch our faith for sure.  We appreciate your prayers with us on this matter!

Thanksgiving was a special family time for our family this year!  We created a new memory by camping at the Isthmus for 2 days.  We had chicken kabobs on the grill along with several other semi-traditional sides (sweet potato fries, sweet hawaiian rolls, chocolate chip cookie smores, etc.) for our Thanksgiving Dinner.  It was quiet and stress-free, a lovely little break from crazy schedules and "to-do's".  We hope your Thanksgiving day was special too!

Now on to Christmas.  We had the tree up, lights strung, decorations out and Christmas music blaring before Thanksgiving day this year.  I guess you could say we are a little excited about this festive time of year!  The greatest thing we are looking forward to this Christmas is Alex coming home for 2 weeks - hooray!  We miss him so badly!

Ministry is going strong and God continues to teach us so much.  About patience, unconditional love, missional ministry and His faithfulness through the good times and the hard times.  We find ourselves saying to each other a quote from the movie Facing the Giants - "if we win we praise Him, if we lose we praise Him."  Not that we feel like we are ever really losing, since we know that Jesus is the Victor, but some days are just tougher than others.  Again we say, "thank you for your prayers, letters, financial support and encouragement - we couldn't do this "mission" without you!!"

Merry Christmas!
Shelli, Andrew, Alex, Maddi, Harrison, and Grace

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Fall

Happy Fall!  We are officially in this amazing season of cooler temperatures and cozy gatherings.  It has been a while since I posted so I want to just update you all on what's going on!

October was a fabulous month!  We did so much and God blessed SO much.  I (Shelli) got to take 4 other women to the Captivating retreat in Colorado.  I cannot fully explain to you how powerful this time was for each of the women including myself!  We bonded together, but more importantly, each experienced God in very intimate, fresh ways and will be forever changed because of it!  It was particularly fun for me to get to share this awesome experience with women who were not familiar with hearing from the Lord in the deep places of their hearts and to experience healing in those places.  I'm so thankful to Jesus for providing and answering a multitude of prayers that were surrounding us!

The following weekend was the Catalina Island Women's Retreat where women from all over the community meet out at Campus By The Sea for "camp".  It was really special, and because some of those who shared went to the Colorado retreat the weekend before, so we were able to speak out of healing - about life and freedom - and women were blessed and changed by Jesus!  It was so powerful and since then we have continued to experience women seeking us out to ask for prayer, Bibles, etc.  We are starting a Bible study on Monday evenings for many of these women who asked to go deeper and want to continue learning and experiencing the LIFE that Jesus offers.  Most of these women I am writing about have not been to an actual church service in years (if ever).  They represent different "religions" and have varying views on doctrine.  But they experienced LIFE and got a glimpse of the LOVE God has for them and they want more - praise Jesus!!!

Andrew continues meeting with men on Monday nights and they are now meeting at another hotel conference room.  It's a great location and the men are enjoying their time.  There is a cost to meet there, but we are trusting God to provide.  The room at the church where they were meeting became unavailable on Monday nights, so this hotel is a provision and we will watch how God meets the need. Andrew is taking over 10 men to the Wild at Heart Boot Camp in Santa Cruz in February!  Men all over Avalon are being renewed and refreshed as a "band of brothers" that encourage and speak life into each other.  Thank you for your continued prayers for these vital ministries!

On a personal note, Andrew was recently able to go to Florida for a short visit to see his oldest brother get married.  It was such a sweet ceremony performed by Pastor Jeff Iskra and Andrew was so blessed to be with family for a couple days!  Unfortunately he wasn't there long enough to visit with many of you, but hopefully next time God allows a visit we can catch-up!

Kids are all doing great in school.  Maddi is about to transition from volleyball to soccer at school (which she is very excited about!) and Harrison will play high school basketball for Avalon.  Grace is learning to play saxophone in middle school band and LOVES it!  She is definitely following in her big brother Alex's footsteps with her love of music.  Alex continues to enjoy living in St. Augustine, Fl. where he is currently renting a little house with 2 other guys and working at the Surf Station along with ministry with Christian Surfers.

May you be blessed this coming Thanksgiving!  We pray for you as we become aware of requests and we always thank God for people who continue to pray for us.  Thank you!  Bless You!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September Update

Hello Friends!  We come again to communicate to you what is going on in our little corner of the earth...Catalina Island.  Do you ever marvel at the huge-ness of our world and yet the small-ness?  It's so amazing when I am waiting tables and I happen to meet someone from another place that I have been to or lived or someone who has a connection with some part of my life in some other location, whether it's an actual location or maybe a mutual friend.  I remember right after we first visited the Island and met Santa and Enrique - the people we lived with for the first four months of being here - Santa mentioned that she was from Buffalo, NY.  I kind of quickly threw out the fact that I had a friend that lives in Buffalo.  As we got a bit deeper in conversation we discovered that my friend I had mentioned (who was my roommate of 4years in college) was one of her closest friends in Buffalo!  It was such a God-ordained moment!  After that we just had such a connection that was beyond just the present happenings of our calling to come to Catalina.  It was evident that God has such deeper, seemingly impossible connections for His people to discover as we follow Him.  Santa and I have felt that He allowed that initial discovery to be a catalyst to throwing us into a very deep friendship that feels like it has a history and we are so grateful!  And, by the way, our mutual friend Gloria was as amazed (if not more) as we were!  She and her family will be visiting Catalina for the first time next summer and we can't wait!

On other subjects...the children started school last week and are all getting settled and seem very happy with their classes, teachers and friendships.  Thanks to God for such an easy transition so far.  It's my first time in 16 years not to homeschool at some level!  I think we were all ready as God has been preparing us for this time.  Our kids understand their mission.  They have been trained to recognize the difference between friends that are more "missional" and friends that are "comrades" when it comes to standing beside them in their christian values and convictions.  One of the best experiences they has this summer was attending the Christian Surfer's Prep School Surf Camp.  They were taught about "peer care" and "peer share" and were so happy to be given very practical tools for how to talk to their friends about the Lord as well as how to love them.  We still discuss these things in our family times together and we are faithful to keep them accountable for every friendship as well as motives for choices they make on a daily basis.  It's hard work - actually can be harder than just pulling them home and homeschooling them again - but it's clearly what God has led us to do.  We are all committed as a family to being in the "world" but not of it.  Thanks to Jesus that He gives us the amazing opportunities to speak into the lives of hopeless, lost people!  Please pray that we are all kept strong by His power.  I'm not gonna lie and say it's easy or without failures on our parts, but we just want to be found faithful and He knows are hearts so He continues to pick us up and set us right again!

Last month I mentioned that Andrew needed a place to meet for "Wildmen West".  He is still searching, but in the meantime is meeting at one of the churches.  Attendance continues to be good and they are going through the book Beautiful Outlaw right now.  The men are being blessed as they study Jesus as He really is!  Generous, Scandalous, Cunning, Loving and Life-Giving among other things.  He is amazing and we are given the opportunity to live the life He lived here on earth through the power of His Spirit within us.  Maybe as you read this, you wonder what that means or how you can know this kind of life.  Just ask.  That's the answer.  God promises that those who seek Him with all their heart will find Him.  Will find LIFE.  He came so that we could have LIFE to the full - an abundant and free life is available to us if we will just ask.

Lord, I ask that any who may not know You and the life You offer may cry out to you right not and ask.  Ask for forgiveness, mercy and for Your love to cover them.  I pray that Your Spirit would wash over them and flood them with joy and peace that passes understanding or comprehension.  I ask they would be pulled-in by Your un-matched love for them and they might gain just a glimpse of living a life  committed to You and all that could mean for them.  What joy!  What hope comes when I know that no matter the storms that rock the world around little me, I am held, I am secure.  I will not be shaken or torn.  Jesus is holding me now.  Thank You Father.

May you have a blessed month!
Shelli and the "fam" :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Endless Summer?

Yes, sometimes it feels that endless summer!  Although I'm sure our kids would not agree, this summer has been very long and Andrew and I look forward to September when things slow down a bit here on the Island!  We have had a fabulous summer very full of epic trips to the interior, deep times of connecting in the Word during Bible studies, meaningful connections with individual young adults and great times as family.  We are so blessed to continue settling in as a family here in Avalon, as well as expanding and morphing the ministry into something that will meet the needs of this unique place on the planet!  We have found ourselves challenged in our methods and meeting places, but God has grown us and caused us to be ever dependent on Him - which is exactly where we want to be.

Most recently we have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, company from "overtown".  We had friends from Florida come to encourage and work with us, friends from Newport Beach area come to bless and encourage us and family come to visit!  We love it!  Thanks to all who actually made the effort to come out here - you are a blessing and we are so happy that you came to share your lives with us!

Please pray with us over a few things:
1.  Andrew's "Wildmen West" men's group that is meeting every Monday night has hit a little roadblock.  The place they were meeting has decided to charge $75 per week to continue meeting there!  That is not an option for us, so please pray that God provides another place for them.  We have less than 2 weeks to find another meeting place, so thanks be to God, Who will provide very soon for this need!  Thanks to His people for praying.

2.  Our children start school in 3 weeks!  Please pray for them to stand firm in their faith and to be lights in a VERY dark school here in Avalon.  It's a tough environment and we are blessed to have the opportunity to continue to walk this road with them - but it's not easy, so thank you for praying!

Some of you have asked what is going on with our oldest son, Alex.  He has decided to stay in St. Augustine, Fl. after his internship with Christian Surfers comes to a close.  He has a good job and is very involved in his church, River Oaks Community Church.  He has a vibrant ministry of his own there in the community of surfers and skaters in St. Augustine and is discipling several young men as well as growing himself.  We are thankful God is using him in this way, and although we miss him very much, we want God's best for him!  Thanks for your prayers for him as well!

As we close this blog post I want to challenge you with one simple phrase that I am basking in in AWE of Him.  That's all, just notice Him and be in awe.  It will change you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day From Catalina Island!

Hello Everyone!  We are excited today to celebrate, along with the rest of this town, our country's freedom.  This holiday is, by far, the most celebrated event all year here in Avalon - bigger even than Christmas!  Everyone decorates - houses, golf-carts, vehicles, businesses, boats and themselves.  There is a parade with the USC band and cheerleaders leading the pack.  This town is supercharged today!  We hope you have as much fun as we will have!

As far as news from the Hobbs...there is so much to report!  God is continuing to bless this ministry beyond measure.  I (Shelli) continue to meet with a small group of women once a week.  Most recently we have been sharing our "stories" with each other and it's been incredible.  Some of these ladies have NEVER shared their story with anyone.  What an incredible gift for them to be known and loved in this way.  To have the freedom to share whatever God lays on their heart and not hold back or "edit" anything - and then to be fully embraced, loved and prayed over afterwards - has proved to be very powerful in the lives of each of us in the group.  We are planning next to do the study "Breaking Free" by Beth Moore.

Andrew has recently begun a new men's ministry on the island.  As you may know, he took a group of 5 guys to Colorado for a Wild at Heart bootcamp a couple months ago.  These guys came back changed and on fire to spread the news of freedom to others on the island.  Out of that has birthed "Wildmen West".  God graciously provided a place apart from church - a neutral gathering place - where men from all walks of life, who may or may not be associated with the church, can feel comfortable to gather for something just for them.  It has been 3 awesome weeks and more men are coming each week!  News is spreading and excitement is building.  The church is in full support of this effort and it has been so cool to see men from the community who wouldn't think of attending a Sunday service, come to this Monday night gathering.  Thank you, Jesus for your provision and blessing!

As far as our ongoing ministry of young adults all over Catalina, we are continuing to do weekly Bible study in our home as well as a weekly "girls night" at our house where we cook and have time to fellowship like only girls can.  Additionally we have continued trips to Two Harbors for gatherings and will put on "Soul Surfer" this Sunday at the outdoor beach theater.  They have reported there will be huge numbers in town that day, so we are super stoked about the impact this outreach could have!  Please pray, pray, pray!!

We love you guys and thanks again for reading and following with us on this journey! :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer is Here!

Summer is officially here with the events of Memorial Day kicking it off.  We are putting on our seat belts for the ride!  Many of our college students have begun to arrive home to the island and we have a full schedule of connecting and outreach opportunities for them.

Andrew just returned a couple weeks ago from a Wild at Heart Boot Camp.  He was able to take 4 other guys with him and it was awesome!  From this he is starting a new men's ministry on the island!  We would love for you to pray with us for this..."Wildmen West".  Here in Avalon there are several women's Bible studies that meet at church and in homes, as well as a yearly women's retreat.  However, presently there is nothing going on for men.  Attempts have been made in the past, but nothing has "stuck".  So we are asking the Lord to bring the men, to disciple the men, to heal the men of this Island!  The process began out at "boot camp", so please pray for it to continue!

As far as personal news from our family, we have had a busy and eventful month!  Right after Andrew's return from boot camp, we celebrated with Maddi as she walked down the "red carpet" for Avalon's own Prom Walk.  It is a unique event that has been a tradition in Avalon for decades.  The kids going to prom get to promenade down Catalina Ave. all the way to the end of the green pier on a red carpet.  It's very exciting and the whole town attends the event!  After walking down the pier there are many, many pictures taken and then the students walk to their prom venue.  Are you thinking what I was thinking?  "I hope those girls are wearing comfortable shoes!"  Anyway, Maddi was asked by Tommy, and they had a blast.

    Harrison has to get in there and make sure Tommy knows who's boss :)
The "after prom" party was held at the arcade.  So glad the dress clothes didn't hamper this couple's fun!

Other news in our family...Andrew is starting a new position as a driver and tour guide for the Catalina Island Conservancy Jeep Eco Tour.  Any of you that know him very well, know this is right up his alley!  He will work the same days that he was working at the Zipline, but will stay at the zipline one morning a week to continue to have a touch there.  We are excited about this new transition, and would appreciate your prayers as always!!
Have a blessed June...and feel free to contact us with prayer requests!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Action Comes to Us!

The Hobbs Family has SUCH a wonderful time on our recent trip to FL!  We spent most of our time with family, which was such a blessing.  One of the major highlights of our week was Thursday night's picnic at Largo Central many of our sweet friends stopped by to share a few minutes or a few hours.  It was incredible to see how kids have grown-up and adults look the same!  But no one is really the same - life has thrown some curve balls filled with heartache as well as brought blessings beyond measure - it was just so good to hear your stories and once again be acquainted with your lives.  We miss you all dearly!

We returned to Avalon to find windy, cold weather the first week back.  Kind of a relief after the heat of FL!  But this week has been sunny and beautiful - perfect weather for this weekend's mass of humanity that visited our Island!  We had the Film Festival, Rugby Tournament, and Longboard Classic - alot going-on for one weekend!  The highlight for us was of course the Catalina Classic longboard downhill race.  Skaters started at the top of our very long, curvy road that goes up the mountain above the harbor.  The racers' last turn was the turn right in front of our house aka "coffin corner" (difficult turn AND in front of the pet cemetary)!  So we basically had the entire town up at our place Sunday - it was very exciting.  Andrew, being the evangelist that he is, got up at 6am, brought speakers outside and blarred christian music.  He also set-up a "for skaters only" station giving out christian surf movies and Bibles!  16 movies were taken and all of the New Testament Bibles.  We also got a chance to talk to many of the skaters and event coordinators as they were setting-up for the event Sunday morning.  It was very cool.  Andrew decided it would be silly to hold the Youth Service down on the flat streets in the church buiding with all this action, so we invited all the youth up to our house for a short devotional and a cookout.  Below are a couple of pictures...Andrew has more posted on FB if you're interested!

All the action came to us this weekend!!  Thank you, Lord for the chance to reach the lost :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Resurrection Day!

This is what the early church quoted to one another.  Christ is risen indeed: a fact that we as modern Christ-followers are accustomed to, but that rocked the world of the first followers.  Can you imagine watching your Lord tortured and hung in humility to die when you had hoped He was going to claim the throne of Israel and end the oppression that weighed heavily on your people for generations?  Such betrayal, such disappointment and confusion.  But then Sunday happened - and most were in disbelief.  However, in His kindness (and sometimes comical way) Jesus Himself appeared to His loved-ones to prove that He was truly alive.  I find it interesting that He chose to show Himself only to His followers during His 40 days on earth after the resurrection.  Surely He could have stood before those who put Him to death to prove to THEM that He was truly Who He claimed to be!  But He did not.  And His purpose in spending time with those who loved Him?  We would be too bold to claim to know for sure, but one thing is true - those who deserted Him as He was beaten, tried and crucified, and then hid in fear those days following...NEVER wavered again after spending time with the risen LORD.  They were themselves persecuted and martyred, many dying horrendous deaths, but surely not afraid ever again.  They now spoke with authority, boldness and unwavering courage.
But, not only had they spent time with the risen Lord, they now had the Holy Spirit.  During His last days before His betrayal,  Jesus told His disciples this in John 16:7:  "It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."  They had no clue Jesus was speaking of His death, resurrection and ascension - but they soon realized what He meant when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost- they had power and courage like never before!  And so can we...
Francis Chan writes in his book Forgotten God these words:  "It really is an astounding truth that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you.  He lives in me.  I do not know what the Spirit will do or where He'll lead me each time I invite Him to guide me.  But I am tired of living in a way that looks exactly like people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them.  I want to consistently live with an awareness of His strength.  I want to be different today from who I was yesterday as the fruit of the Spirit becomes more manifest in me.  I want to live so that I am truly submitted to the Spirit's leading on a daily basis.  Christ said it is better for us that the Spirit came, and I want to live like I know that is true."
Friends, we have access to the same Spirit that gave the disciples power to do miracles and the courage to stand for Truth in the face of death...let's "keep in step with the Spirit" by abiding in Him...resting quietly and listening, then acting in obedience to what or where He leads!
God bless all of you - and Happy Easter!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hello March!

Greetings All!  Things are going well here on Catalina Island!  We are experiencing more opportunities for ministry as Andrew has been able to back off to only 3 days at the zip-line.  Thanks to God, Who has chosen to continue to bless us with enough support for this to happen!  One example of the blessing of being a little more freed-up is more time and relationships being built at the west end of the island, as well as more time to visit the nearby coves of Campus-by-the-Sea and Toyon Bay.  Andrew has been taking guys from the zip (his co-workers, praise God!) to paddle (SUP) out to these coves on Thursdays.  It's been such a neat ministry tool because it accomplishes two things...building relationships with the unsaved co-workers and visiting and ministering to the workers at the camps.  The zip guys have witnessed some amazing things on the water (including watching a great white shark attack a sea lion!) as well as amazing ministry to the people at the camps - specifically prayer and encouragment.  It's a pretty unique opportunity!  One thing you can pray for is for boards...Andrew only has 2 functioning paddle boards right now and could really use at least 2 more!  Plus, of the 2 that he currently has, one is badly in need of repair.  So please pray for provision in that with us.
On another note, we have been blessed to be a part of a study called The Journey.  In it we have been encouraged to focus inward with the Lord as our guide.  We have heard lectures from John Coe, the director of the Institute for Spiritual Formation out of Talbot School of Theology, as well as from John Lynch, who authored a few books, one being TrueFaced.  Both have challenged us to consider whether or not we are submitting to "moralism" - that lovely "ism" that encourages us to "buck up" and "do better" when sin is exposed in our lives.  The official definition is:  any attempt to grow, fix, transform myself in the power of my "being good".  There's SO much more that they go into, but a good question to ask is this: when I am aware of a particular sin, what do I do with it?  Naturally, we try to hide (as our first parents Adam and Eve did) - and we hide by determining to "do better", and we put on masks to cover the "issues" that we deal with because we don't believe that ANYONE, including God, can deal with our crap.  We can't even deal with our crap.  But instead, God calls us to EMBRACE our bad - our sin - and to acknowledge it to Him in honesty and humility and to admit that we can't do a thing about it (we've tried for heaven sake!) and then to sit there with Him in the midst of our "weeds" and simply ABIDE.  Wow...that just doesn't seem right, does it?  Moralism has had a profound effect on us and we didn't even realize it.  Personal awareness of sin is an invitation to walk through the door of love to a converstion with the Lord, not to hide by "doing more or better" because of feelings of shame and condemnation (which are never from God).
Well, that's just a taste of what this "Journey" is leading us through...I pray to write more another day.  For now know that God is CRAZY ABOUT YOU!!  He couldn't love you more than He already does - even on your worst day!  Halleluja!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Love and the Lifter of our heads

Wow, February is well under way and we are again amazed at God's work on this Island!  So often He reminds us that He has led us here.  It's so easy, I'm sad to say, to get disillusioned and begin to question your calling as you forge through the daily grind.  But God has been so gracious to literaly lift our heads (as Ps. 3:3 "But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.") when we feel low or discouraged or even just "normal" like we are just here living life, not really having an affect on anyone.  So many times this week people have voiced to me or in a group setting the fact that our family moving here has had, and continues to have, such a huge impact on the community and in the lives of individuals.  I was walking with my 22 year old friend Amy this morning and she voiced that she knows that she would not have come home to the Island and stayed (after recently graduating from college) if it hadn't been for us.  Now don't get me wrong, I am WELL aware this is NOT about us!!  And that is the marvel of it all...we are just who we are - it is God Almighty Who is doing this amazing work right before our eyes and we get to be a part of it!  Because we said "yes".  And we continue to say "yes".  The month of February often brings the natural tendency to focus on love.  One of my favorite things about the Love that Jesus shows us is that it never forces anything.  It's up to us to respond!  My prayer for us is that we will. AMEN!