Here is the letter I wrote to the Peoria church planting team, Andrew thought it was too much info so he sent a different one, but I thought I’d share my heart and perspective on here because I can. For those of you that don’t know us we had planned to move to Peoria to start a new Vineyard church and well, things changed.
Dear Future Peoria Church Planters:
We have stopped trying to presume to know God’s plan for our lives. Rather we are doing our best to abide in Him and do what he is doing in the moment. As many of you know our story of going on the church plant to Peoria began in 2006 when Andrew believed he heard God tell him that he was to plant a church with Ben and Tina. A year or so later Laura met Andrew and also had the tug on her heart for church planting. On August 9, 2008 a missional couple was formed. We were committed to following God’s plan for our life from day one of our journey together.
Through much prayer and through different events it finally came time to tell Ben and Tina of our thoughts about planting a church with them. We lived and breathed Peoria, you know when you first fall in love with someone and they’re all you can talk about, every conversation turns into talking about them? That was Peoria for us. Andrew started his job search in Peoria in January of 2010 and we were all in.
After 8 months of looking for a job and being strung along for 10 weeks by a job in Peoria the job doors in Peoria were slammed shut. The day after the news of the job not panning out we didn’t feel that we were supposed to quit on Peoria and we rose up and continued the search just as committed as we were day one. We told everyone we knew we were moving to Peoria, we looked for houses, researched neighborhoods, applied for any open jobs and waited with hope that something would come up. We felt like God had stopped speaking to us and we were blindly being obedient to what we believed the call on our life was to plant a church with Ben and Tina. In September God began speaking to Andrew and I once again. He gave us both the same picture, that I won’t try to explain, but basically the message was the same for both of us in the end, God spoke clearly that we were to look for jobs in other locations. This seemed crazy to us and neither of us wanted to say anything to the other until finally one day it came out that we were seeing and interpreting the same picture. I can’t remember feeling more hopeful any other time in my life. It was as if the biggest burden was lifted off both of us and we could dream again. We continued to seek God through the process of applying for jobs across the country. We both heard God say, this is your house not selling moment, don’t think that you are wimping out…if someone’s house didn’t sell they wouldn’t go either. Considering we only needed ONE thing to go our way to go to Peoria it was becoming clear that this might not be the path God wanted for us.
It’s no secret that we love Austin, Texas. Laura’s siblings and our nephew live there and it’s the closest place to home in our hearts besides our actual homes. We always hoped that someday we would get to move there and live close to family in this beautiful city. A job came up in Austin that Andrew thought he would really enjoy so we pursued God and pursued the job simultaneously. I remember one night Andrew said, “Laura, do you think it’s possible for God’s plan to be the same as the plan that we would like and it could actually happen now, instead of down the road?” I hadn’t really thought about it considering the only trajectory we had been on for the last year was Peoria. We kept pursuing every option that was laid out before us and on November 29th Andrew interviewed at Sapling Learning in Austin, TX.
Tuesday December 7th Andrew was offered this job. We don’t presume to know God’s plan, but I do know his timing is impeccable. I, Laura, quit my job a few weeks ago and my last day was December 3rd. Weeks ago we told our landlord that come January we would be moved out (she filled it in one day), Andrew’s last paycheck comes on December 16th and I’ve been packing for the last few months, God’s timing if perfect. We have been at peace through this whole process. We were about to be homeless, jobless, and hopeless and God swooped in and gave us a job in a city we love that has a Vineyard church and a free place to live (Laura’s brother’s house). Not to mention of all the jobs Andrew has applied for this one seems to be the favorite, it’s an environment he’ll be comfortable in with a job he will enjoy.
We don’t know why we were told we were planting a church with the Hoerr’s and now it looks like we won’t be, at least not in Peoria, but I don’t feel the need to know at this point. Neither of us our angry with God and we don’t feel abandoned by Him. He has all of our best interest at heart and when we look at this team we see an incredible group of people that will change the city of Peoria. We are sad to not get to be on this journey with you, but we are excited to see the amazing things God has for this stellar team of people. I now know this to be true God is good, even when we don’t understand Him, He is so good. God has run this line through my head many times over the last few weeks:
Different Mission Field, Same Mission: to share the love of Jesus in Biblical, Practical, Powerful, and Fun Ways.
Doing His Work here, near, and far away.