Since our marriage in February 2003, we have called Maryland our family’s home. To be honest, we always felt like Maryland would not be permanent for us, but every time we thought about moving, God closed the doors. Over the past five years or so, as Justin’s role increased at New Hope Chapel, we knew God was calling us to remain in this area for an indefinite time.
This year, God has been whispering into our hearts. It hasn’t been clear what He was saying or why He was saying it, but we sensed there was change in the air.
About a month ago, it became abundantly clear that God is asking us to simplify our life. After twelve years of pastoral ministry, He has asked Justin to be in a place of “wilderness” and set aside leading ministry for a season. This means that Justin will be transitioning out of his role as pastor over the next several months at our beloved church - New Hope Chapel.
| We have lots of NHC memories, |
like baby dedications
Karlene has started the process of preparing for nursing school. She’s been taking prerequisites and is hoping to get into a BSN program, since she already has her bachelor’s degree.
At the same time, God has asked us to go to a land that He will show us. It appears now the doors are opening for us to move. It appears that He is calling us to Lancaster, PA, and so we are in the process of either renting out or selling our home here and purchasing a home up there in the city (see FAQ section for more details).
Each step in this process has been full of confirmations. While we are incredibly sad about moving further away from so many friends and Justin’s family, we have this incredible peace that surpasses understanding. There are a few purposes for this new frontier in our life. Primarily, God is calling us to focus on our relationship with Him and strengthening our relationship as a family. This will also be an opportunity for us to downsize and save money. We sense that God has something else for us down the road, and we want to be financially prepared for that. We’re certain that at some point in the future, we’ll look back and see why God has called us to take this big step.
|There's lots of things we'll miss about our home in MD, |
but we'll only be less than 2 hours away.
As far as a timeframe goes. We have a contract on a house in Lancaster and have begun the process of either renting or selling our current home. We extended the closing date until mid-April to buy some time. When we move really depends on when someone wants to move into our current home. However, we have obligations here until May. Justin has told the church that he’s willing to stay on leadership until then to help with the transition process. Karlene has classes Mondays and Wednesdays, and the kids have classes Mondays and Thursdays. So at least for a couple of weeks (maybe a couple of months), we’ll be straddling the Mason-Dixon line, commuting back and forth and staying with Justin’s family.
Please keep us in your prayers as we make this giant leap to a new phase that God has for us.
On a lighter note, some of you may have lots of questions. So here are those answers (and yes, people have actually asked some of these questions).
Q: Why Lancaster?
A: There’s something about that city that draws us there. Justin’s college roommate and his family live there, and so we’ve visited them many times over the years and have really enjoyed the city. Ironically, at the same time that we began sensing that God was leading us there, Karlene’s sister Micayla announced that she will be moving to Lancaster with her husband Aaron who just landed a job at the famous Sight and Sound Theater. This will be the first time Karlene has lived in the same city (well really in the same vicinity) as her family since she left for college.
Q: Does Lancaster have electricity?
A: No, but we are building a giant hamster wheel and making the kids take turns running on it to generate power to charge our Apple devices. As long as Annalía keeps running, those Trivia Crack games can keep going. Just kidding… obviously. When most think of Lancaster, they think of farms and Amish life. Lancaster also has a nice city. I guess it sort of has a feel like downtown Annapolis but at a fraction of the cost and no water access. So I guess nothing like Annapolis… maybe more like Elicott City or Frederick. Over the past few years, it has been revitalized with a lot of community activities. So yes, to answer your question, Lancaster has electricity, indoor plumbing, and all those modern amenities. But if you feel like peeing outside brings you more in touch with the Pennsylvania-Dutch roots, then just know we aren’t bailing you out of prison when you get arrested.
Q: Are you becoming Amish?
A: If we say yes, will we still be able to use our Apple devices?
Q: Will you continue homeschooling?
A: The future of education is the one room schoolhouse. Just kidding. We have very much enjoyed our homeschooling experience with Unitas. It has been a wonderful community. But we also have to be realistic in our time constraints, especially with Karlene going to nursing school. There’s a great Charlotte Mason school that meets four days a week. Right now that appears to be the plan.
Q: Have you found a church there? Do you know what ministry God will lead you to?
A: We have really important theological standards like no expectation of wearing neckties and a healthy amount of men sporting beards. Just kidding. We’ll look for churches when we cross that bridge. But one thing is certain, right now, this is not a season we’re looking to formally serve in ministry. Of course, we will eventually, and we want to be at a place where we can be of service and live missionally. But right now we’re focusing on letting Jesus minister to us and focusing on ministering to our family.
Q: Will you start rooting for Philadelphia sports teams, i.e. Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, etc.?
A: God has given us many crosses to bear; that certainly isn’t one of them.
Q: How about Pittsburgh teams? Will you become a Steelers or Penguins fan?
A: That question doesn’t even deserve a response.
Q: Can we come and visit?
A: Yes! Yes! Yes! (Unless we don’t like you very much, then we will happily give you a list of adorable B&B’s in which you can spend your time.) We’re planning on purchasing a city home that has a third floor with two extra bedrooms and an extra bathroom. Right now we’re planning on using that as our guest suite. There’s plenty of places to visit like Hershey Park and the Amish country. And best of all, you could drive down the road and be able to say, "I've been to Intercourse, PA." Bucketlist.
Q: Will you be taking Luna?A: Never, in a million years, did anyone think that Karlene would ever truly love a 4-legged furball, but God does still perform miracles. It turns out that right around the corner is this swank dog part (the city won a huge grant or something). It has artificial turf (not really sure how that works), water fountains for the dogs, and more tennis balls than you would find at Wimbledon. So while we let our kids play on the rusty falling down slide in the kid’s park, we’ll let Luna live it up in her own doggy paradise.