Hands and house

Hands and house

Monday, April 25, 2016

What If We Did??? Mark 2 Ministries

There have only been a handful of times in my life where I have felt so certain,

so sure that we were supposed to do something.

Doors have flown open,

serious mountains have moved.

We have fallen in love with a program so beautiful...

But first I need to tell the story of how we got there.

I need to tell it because it is beautiful.

because it has been astonishing,

because it gives us the courage to jump,

because we may need the reminders,

that God has led us here.


The sweet people at Washington Family Ranch 

told us to come on out and chat.

As we drove the long and winding road out to the ranch,

snow began to fall....

It was less than 10 degrees outside and everything was frozen white.

The perfect time to go and visit a giant summer camp right?

We pulled up at 3:00,

camp was nearly empty.

There were two staff there.

They were so welcoming,

we talked for over an hour as our kids ran around,

Zeke spouting out Chinese as he giggled and ran circles around the office.

In talking the staff  were really honest,

camp life can be really good and really hard.

They asked about our backgrounds,

and then said,

"Have you talked with Mandy at Mark 2 Ministries?"

"You are from Hood River, do you know Jeff Strong (Mandy's brother and our good friend)"

They took us on a tour....

on the very coldest of days.

Frozen waterslides,

dark dining halls,

everything empty.

Our kids were so, so cold.

We left thinking,

"Well, I'm not sure what to think of all of that."

Our drive home was full of conversation about what God might be doing.

We left feeling like we were supposed to do a few things:

Email Mandy,

and meet with Jeff.

Not sure what to tell them, we just told them both the story of what God was doing in our hearts...

and we committed to praying.

We heard back from the email,

they were glad I had written but didn't have any openings at that time.

We went back to 'normal' life.

I had major knee surgery,

and started adjusting to life in a wheelchair and on crutches for six weeks...

All while soaking in and pouring out love to our new little guy.

Even through all of that chaos,

we felt like God was preparing us for something.

We would find our conversations circling back to Washington Family Ranch.

What was that all about?

Was God doing something?

We would always land on,

if something was going to happen,

only God could open the door.

In mid February,

I got an email from Mandy at Mark 2 saying she and the Director of Mark 2 were going to be in the area and would like to have coffee with me.

So, I crutched on in to coffee with them!

It was a great conversation,

they are incredible women.

They told me a lot about the program,

and I told them about us.

Many things lined up...

but they didn't forsee having any openings for staff.

At the end of the conversation they said,

"Well, I'm not sure what God is doing but maybe the next step is to have you guys come down to spend a weekend at Mark 2."

So, we started planning,

so many questions and doubts swirling in the background...

What are we doing?

How can we be of any help at all?

We are not a small or quiet crew..

.are we nuts to keep taking steps in this direction?

Yet, every time we prayed we felt like this was a path that we were supposed to follow...

So we would take each next step.

(Zeke really loved my wheelchair!)

We set a weekend in April to go down and visit Mark 2,

fully expecting that the door God was opening was one where we would have a relationship with this ministry...

probably one where we would come down and volunteer on weekends sometimes.

Then an email came,

they had created a new position at Mark 2...

one working with the ladies house.

We started to pray hard.

Was God opening a door?

It seemed impossible.

So many things would have to happen,

so many mountains would have to be moved.

Our conversations started to turn to all of the impossibilities:

We are so rooted in our community,

the kids love their school,

I love my job,

our kids have medical issues,

we live in a gorgeous home,

we just moved in September,

the housing open there was a 2 bedroom condo,

we would be further from family....

and the biggest,

Doug had recently switched positions at work,

it would be impossible for him to work remotely.

As much as we had doubts we kept coming back to the conviction of,

What if we did?

We needed to keep walking this path as God unfolded it...

because He is a God of miracles.

We didn't understand but knew that God was leading us.

So...a few weeks ago we headed down to serve at Mark 2.

During that weekend, 

Doug was also attending a Men's retreat that was also at Washington Family Ranch.

Mark 2 is this beautiful ministry for adults with developmental disabilities. 

The "Friends" live at Washington Family Ranch in two houses (one for men and one for women).

The aim of the program is for the "Friends" to have meaningful work and to live in a community that

 values them as individuals and the gifts they bring to the community.

Let me tell you....

it is amazing.

Each Friend has a job that uses their personality and their giftings to serve the camp....

they help make the camp run!

So, we loaded up our craziness and headed down to spend the weekend at Mark 2...

well my friend Sarah and I at Mark 2 and Doug a few minutes away at the men's retreat,

popping over for visits when he could.

The weekend was incredible,

we fell in love with the women at Mark 2...

we saw the school,

met tons of people who live their and work at the camp.

Our kids ran and ran,

climbed the hills,

searched for treasure...

and fit right in.

By the end of the weekend we found our hearts begging God,

to somehow open the door for us to move down and fill the position.

It seemed like their were still some huge mountains.

Some, were crumbling already...

instead of a two bedrooms condo,

a five bedroom condo had opened up,

our kids,

we were so sure they would not want to move....

they love their friends and school!

By the end of the weekend they were asking how soon we could move there!

Mark 2 was asking us to consider coming...but they would need some sort of answer within a week.

As we drove home,

there was only one mountain left to move...

but it was huge,


What about Doug's job?

We went home and kept praying.

We felt a ton of peace.

This whole story has been marked with crazy Peace.

We knew that Doug need to knock on that final door.

It seemed impossible....he works for a big company and changing positions has to go through a ton of approvals and can take months.

He emailed his boss.

The first day,

things did not seem promising.

It sounded like anything that would be open for working remotely would be a HUGE decrease in pay,

like back to just getting out of college.

There was no way.

I started to assume it wouldn't happen,

to gear my heart up to be happy where we were (which IS amazing).


Decided to fast and pray 

The next day, things looked a little better but still nothing definite.

So he fasted and prayed for another day.

That morning he called me saying....

"You are never going to believe this! One of the managers was just about to post a telecommute position that she would love to have me for! It honestly would be a job I would love!"

The final mountain was beginning to crumble.

Within days the position was solidified,

the #2 in the company signed it,

Human Resources approved it...

and by Friday Doug had it in writing!!!

The final mountain completely gone!

And so.....

here we jump!!!

We will start serving at Mark 2 on July 1st....

and we can hardly wait!!!!

Look out Washington Family Ranch,

here we come!!!

If you want to know more about Mark 2 Ministries Click Here

for Washington Family Ranch Click Here

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

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