Another incredibly late update for those of you who still read this. Well, since my last update...there's been loads of stuff going on in my life. The biggest change was getting married at the end of March, which many of you were able to come to. Thanks so much! Aside from the whole getting married thing, the best part about the wedding is that you get pretty much all of your favorite people in the world in one place...and those who can't make it still send cards and stuff. It's just one huge, awesome reminder of all the people God has put in our lives and the impact they've had. It's really overwhelming. We were blown away by all the support and encouragement we received, not just in making the wedding happen (although there was tons of stuff with that), but also for our lives. We are so blessed!!!
After the wedding, we were able to go to California right away which was really fun. I had never been to Cali before, but liked it. One of the highlights was a restaurant that specialized in cinnamon rolls. Yeah, how great is that?!?! Perfect rolls and coffee and that's it. Anyways, we stayed there (california, not the cinnamon roll place) for a week and began the drive back on Friday.
On the drive back, I pulled the ultimate husband move of “Nah, we don't need to gas up here, we can definitely make it to Bakersfield.” Well, turns out, Bakersfield was a lot farther away than anticipated and the gas gauge drops significantly faster for the bottom half. Miles seem a lot longer when your “low fuel” light has been on for 30 minutes and the gauge is just sitting on the bottom...yeah, and then I'm thinking how ironic it would be to run out of gas in the middle of Exxon Mobile and Chevron oil fields...where you are surrounded by signs for them and no gas stations within 30 miles. Haha, that would be pretty funny....except for being stranded in the middle of nowhere on your honeymoon. Long story short, we probably had angels pushing the car, but we eventually made it to a gas station and I've never been so happy to pay $4.59 a gallon in my life.
The really cool part happened after that. It turned out that as we were planning our wedding date and the honeymoon after, we decided to come back Saturday, April 7th. After planning that, I got an update from an old missionary friend in Utah that I'd served with years ago. He said he was planning an outreach in Colorado City, Utah, for what date? You guessed it—April 7th! Colorado City is almost exactly halfway, and right on the way, home from California. So we had the wonderful privilege of joining in that outreach.
What an outreach it was! In the morning, the team swept the entire town passing out invitations to a free barbeque in the park which was attached to a testimony that some of the college students had written out that talked about some truth that God had shown them in the Bible and how that affected their lives. We then went to set up for the afternoon in the park. It was such a great time catching up with the few that remembered me from years before. There is just such a special connection with those people whom you've served with on a mission field like Utah. It just brings you together in a way that you can't really describe. And, of course, they all got to meet my new wife. After being in the park for a while, one of the ladies from our group spotted several local boys sitting a ways off and mentioned how someone should go meet them. I grabbed the best “ice-breaker” tools I know—a soccer ball and cones. I walked up to them and asked if they would like to play soccer, to which one boy responded, “I'd rather soccer than frisbee.” (yeah, great answer) “Me too,” I said. So we got to play soccer for like three hours and I found out I'm not in the soccer shape I used to be in. Their older brother, though, who was a little older than me, sat on the bench and watched for the first while and read through probably 5 or 6 testimonies. Awesome! Later we sat with a family for dinner. They were very friendly and open and we even got to talk about the gospel for a bit. The father told one of his younger sons (probably 10-12) to give us a “honeymoon ride” on his 4 wheeler. Just really cool to connect in such a short time. The pastor that came with the missions group and I were able to talk with a young man for a couple hours about God and everything else and he was very hungry for it. Sarah (my wife) also had some great conversations with some junior high and high school age girls as well as some of the other women. It was AMAZING to have the conversations and connections after the FLDS leaders had told their people beforehand not to come to the “Devil's Barbeque.” Very intense, but a great outreach and a great way to finish the honeymoon (although it's never really over.)
It was nice to get back and have some extra time to move in and get situated because it was my “buffer season.” this is the time between ski instructing and raft guiding, which is nice for the time, but not as nice for the finances. However, God has faithfully provided. One of my close friends who has turned into a mentor for me had a construction project in Snowmass that he needed some help with. So I got to go with him and few others to work for a week and then again for a couple days. One the second time, I was given a great opportunity to talk with one of my co-workers about Jesus. He and I were staying in the same room and had talked just briefly about God in the car. In the morning, I prayed over my granola and said (silently), “and Lord, please give me and opportunity with this guy and open up his heart. In Jesus name, Amen.” What do you know? About ten minutes after that, the conversation turned to God and I got to share the gospel with him. Good times. I'm still praying that he will repent of his sin and trust in Christ.
Back in Gunny:
Since being back, I'm still helping out Rick with ministry stuff. While I'm mostly in charge of organizing the music, I've been able to preach several times and feel like there's more of a calling in that direction. We'll see how God leads with that. Rafting has started back up, which is really fun and God has provided me with a good amount of work. Still praying for good conversations with my fellow guides.
It seems like a lot of people are asking us, “So, how's married life?” these days. It's actually a really weird question. It's not exactly a short, one sentence answer. It's not like it's bad. But I feel like it's not totally accurate if I just say, “oh, it's great.” If any of you are married, you know what I mean. It's awesome, but it's still got it's struggles and challenges and quite frankly, it's a lot of work...but it's still awesome. It's not like our marriage is a cake-walk with nothing wrong ever, but we're learning so much about ourselves and each other and tons about grace, humility, and forgiveness. I've found myself usually responding to the original question as “It's good. It's really sanctifying.” We've been blessed by having lots of great advice. Some friends have given us, “Real Marriage: The truth about sex, friendship & life together” by Mark and Grace Driscoll which is definitely a good book for couples to work through together. It's helped a lot....and we're still just halfway through it!
Well, as always, there's a lot more, but this is already long enough, so you'll just have to wait for another 4 months or whatever it's been till my next one. Okay, jk, hopefully I can be more consistent in my updates from now on. Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement. It means so much.
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1