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" :)