Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nudges


This was a continuation of my last blog entry but I felt like the last entry was getting way too long so I figured I could give this part it's own post...and release it a few days later.  Don't want to overwhelm people with too much reading because then people won't read the updates at all.  I know how it works.  I understand.  I'll try and keep this shorter.

I just wanted to put this out there.  It's something that's been on my heart.  It's something that is as much for me as anyone else.  This isn't to rag on people at all or call people out.  My hope is that it can be an encouragement for folks, something that spurns them on to do more for others.  Here we go.

If God ever gives you a nudge to do something or bless someone, please do it.  Don't rationalize your way out of it.  This is about when God lays someone on your heart.  You may not know why He wants you to do that and it may not even seem like a big deal, but if the Holy Spirit is tugging on your heart to do something, it is a big deal.  It can make a big difference in someone's life.

Rachel and I have had the blessing of seeing the fruit that can come from that recently.  It was something as easy as dropping off some cookies we had made on someone's doorstep we knew.  I just had a nudging.  I didn't know why that person had come to mind but we did it anyway.  It turned out that the person we left them for had just lost someone very close to them.  It was a huge encouragement to them when they opened the box up to find cookies.  We didn't find out the back story until months later.  Sometimes, it may take longer than that to see God's big picture.  Still other times, you may not find out at all and that's okay.  It's not about finding out why.

Now, I'm not telling that story to brag but to encourage about how simple it can be.  You can really make a positive impact on someone's life by listening and obeying that leading.  I think all too often, we get that nudging but cast it aside for a multitude of reasons.  A favorite excuse of mine is "What if they think I'm weird?"  I use that one a lot in my head.

Man, we really miss out on opportunities to bless others.  We miss out on opportunities to make a difference, to make an impact in someone's life who may really need it at that moment.  There are way too many people in this world hurting to miss out on a chance to love and encourage them.  Let's not cast aside those leadings anymore and miss opportunities to build people up.  Let's make an impact for a better world by focusing on the people right in front of us.  It starts there but obviously and hopefully, it won't end there.  What you do locally can have ripple effect throughout the whole world given time.  In the end, it may seem small or like no big deal but if you feel God nudging you, it's a big deal.  He has a reason for it, a purpose.  He is giving you a chance to make a difference in the world.

Exciting Times and Staying Busy

The Wall household has been staying extremely busy of late.  This past weekend, we had a staff retreat to plan out the coming year for Christian Challenge and FCA.  Both days, we went overtime by about...a couple of hours or so.  It was good though.  We are jam packed for the coming year with tons of activities and opportunities to connect with students.  We are pretty stoked about it.

We just pray that the Lord helps us raise our full support so that we can be on campus this fall in time to get the ministry rolling for the semester.  If not, we will probably have to cut back a lot of the things planned out.  We also pray that Josh, our ministry team member, will have a clean bill of health and not require surgery on his heart late this summer.  If he ends up needing surgery, he will be bed ridden for possibly 3 months.  That will also change things up if that happens.  In the end, we just have to be flexible to the circumstances that play out and flexible to how the Lord leads us.

Speaking of medical stuff, Rachel and I have a huge praise report.  As many of you know, this past February, I had my appendix out.  It was quite a surprise to us.  I guess nobody ever really plans on having it out.  Sparing you all of the details, after being sick for a day and a night, I had Rachel google appendicitis.  Turned out that my self-diagnosis was right.

I knew something was up because I never have flu like symptoms.  I might have had the flu once when I was 5 or so but other than that, I've been immune to it, thank the Lord.  Plus, the flu is not extremely painful that I know of.  After looking it up, Rachel came back to me and told me we needed to head to the ER.

Hours later, I was without my appendix and stuck with a big hospital bill.  Now, Rachel and I have insurance but it's more the kind that protects you from going in huge debt if something catastrophic happens to you.  That means we have a very high deductible in the thousands but everything after that is covered.  Well, when you are transitioning from seasonal jobs to a job in ministry that requires fundraising, even thousands can be a huge burden.

We have been praying for months that we might be able to work something out with the hospital.  It has been a long stressful process to say the least in trying to work something out.  I guess the length of the ordeal just gave us more time to pray about it.  Technically speaking, they don't have to help anyone out.  They can charge whatever they see fit for the most part.  We just hoped that we could work something out whether it was a lengthy payment plan or maybe, they would take some off the price.  Today, we received out answer.  Instead of having a bill of $3,000, they knocked it down to $300.  Praise God!  What an answer to prayer!  We are so thankful we serve a good God!  We are also thankful for all of those who covered us in prayer during this time.  Wow, I just feel so blessed.

So what's up next for us?  Well, I will soon be heading off to a director's conference with collegiate minsters from all over the state.  I'm not really sure what to expect from it.  When I return, Rachel's parents come to town for a few days.  We then will head back with them up to Colorado Springs for awhile to focus on raising support up there.  We already are lining up appointments and dinner meetings with people and churches up there.  We hope to have more set up by the time we leave so if your interested in meeting up with us to hear our presentation, please let us know.

After Colorado Springs, we are back to Durango for a bit.  We are praying about me having another surgery to fix some major sleep apnea problems I have been dealing with.  I guess Rachel probably deals with them also at night with my snoring keeping her up.  With our deductible already met from my last surgery, I may be able to have the surgery pretty much free.  They would just have to fix my deviated septum and cut out my uvula and possibly tonsils.  Not a huge surgery but still want to pray about it and make sure it's a good decision.  From what we've found, it doesn't always fix things and has some downsides.  It's something to think about.  Please be praying that God gives us discernment concerning the procedure.

Following that, we head back up to Colorado Springs to meet with more folks if possible.  On the tail end of that trip, there is a conference on discipleship I will be attending with Rachel.  From there, we'll to head to Kansas City for a couple of weeks in hopes of connecting with some folks from my old stomping grounds.  We don't have any support presentation meetings set up just yet but we know that the Lord will provide.  While there, we hope to not just meet with individuals but also churches, Sunday school classes, small groups or even dinner party groups.  If you're interested in setting something like that up, please let us know.  We would love it!

From KC, we head back to Durango just in time for the athletes to start arriving.  Soon after that, the new freshmen start arriving and moving into the dorms.  It's an exciting time.  There are so many ministry opportunities to be had!  Keep praying for Fort Lewis College!

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Blog Address

Alright, so Rachel and I decided to change things up a bit...just to keep everyone on their toes.  As we were creating materials for our support raising, we realized that frommountainpathstoheavenlyplaces was way too long for a blog site address especially when you tag blogspot.com onto the end of it.  Quite frankly, it didn't fit on anything we were making.  It was just too big.  Plus, we realized that with an address that long, nobody could remember it or even stay focused long enough to type it in without making mistakes including us.

So with that, we have moved the blog to thewallscall.blogspot.com.  We figure this will be much easier to remember and type.  Hey, it even rhymes.  It's catchy and yes, a bit cheesy but hopefully, that will help people remember it.  Our blog's name will still be named From Mountain Paths to Heavenly Places because, well, it took me a long time to come up with that name and I still like it.  What we are doing is simply changing the address.  Hopefully, this makes it easier and doesn't confuse anyone.

Thank you for your understanding with this major change.  I know everyone is probably very concerned.  We will make it through this...together.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Back Safe and Sound from Phoenix

Got back late last night from a road trip down to Phoenix.  I know, who goes on a road trip to Phoenix?  Especially a person like me who has a strong distaste for the desert and heat...  But we did have a purpose to it.  Rachel and I had a support raising seminar down there this past week.  Our ministry director, Josh Story, also wanted to head down there to meet a married couple, Sean and Kim, who are possibly coming on board with the ministry as well.  Sean is a wildland firefighter down in Phoenix during the summer and Kim was in town to attend the seminar as well.  It worked out pretty well getting to know them and their hearts for the Lord having everyone meet up down there.  So with Josh heading down there as well, we decided we better just carpool.  Save some money and have a lot of time for fellowship as we journeyed down.

Before heading down to Phoenix, we had a pretty cool "God Story" happen.  Knowing that the seminar was coming up, we had been trying to find a place to stay down in Phoenix for months.  Rachel's parents have some friends in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix, so we figured we would just stay with them.  They were gracious enough to offer us a place to stay for free.  We waited and waited for word on where the seminar would actually be located but were always told, "We'll let you know when we get it figured out."  Finally, three weeks before our trip, we found out it would be in Peoria...at least 30 minutes to an hour away from Scottsdale.  Well, that would be quite a drive everyday gas wise.  We prayed for weeks that God would open the door to someplace closer.  Still, we had no luck.  Even the nearest hostel was about 30 minutes away and just as expensive as a hotel.  We finally settled with staying in Scottsdale and just putting up with the rush hour drives.  Then five days before we were supposed to leave, we received word from Jennifer, Josh's wife, that they had found a place closer.

Jennifer had been meeting with a girl that she was discipling and mentioned that Josh was heading to Phoenix for almost a week.  The girl said, "My parents have a second home in Phoenix.  They were just praying last night asking how they could use the place to bless people with.  Would Josh want to stay there?"  And with that, we had a three bedroom house less than five minutes from the church the seminar was being held at, one room for Josh, one for Rachel and I, and one for Sean and Kim.  Praise God!  (The church the seminar was at was actually the church the owners of the house attend when they are in town.)  Man, it's awesome to see how God provides!  It's encouraging as well when you get the difficult and daunting task of fundraising/support raising your position in the ministry.  The only way it can be done is by God providing.

The seminar itself was a great encouragement.  First off, it was awesome to see the hearts of all the people who were there.  Seeing all the ministries they were involved with was very cool.  One can't help be be excited and encouraged about what God is doing in their lives.


Second off, the seminar was extremely informative as well.  The first part focused on biblical principles of giving and receiving, that giving and receiving should always be in the vertical, going to and through God.  It was great stuff.  The next part focussed on overcoming a lot of fears that most people who raise support have.  The last parts were a crash course in marketing and networking.  Intertwined with all of that were a lot of workshops putting everything into practice.  The days were long and certainly a grind with a few breaks thrown in here and there.  It was good though.  It really helped lay out a game plan.  It's nice to have that this time around instead of being thrown to the wolves and being told good luck.  If anyone is praying about going into ministry full-time and getting to support raise, I definitely recommend going to one of these seminars before you ever even start.

By the time the seminar was over, our brains had turned to mush and we were ready to head home.  We had been there just long enough for allergies to start kicking in.  Runny noses and heat just aren't a great combination.  Thankfully, our bodies hadn't melted or been burned to a crisp in that desert heat.  Every time we drove around the area, I kept expecting to eventually smell the salt of the ocean or see a great expanse of blue off in the distance...but sadly, there was only more hazy sky and desert with no ocean to cool off in.  I think people dig Phoenix because they have air conditioning.  If you go inside anywhere, they keep it nice and chilled.  By the time you walk out, you're freezing and the plus 100 degree heat feels great...for about a minute and then you start sweating and looking for the next place with freezing AC to cool off.  It's a freeze/thaw cycle that must be great for the muscles.

All joking aside, we had a great time in Phoenix but it was time to get back to Durango.  We had a long drive ahead of us.  We ended up taking a detour to meet with a possible supporter up by Marble Canyon.  Sadly, we were never taught at the seminar how to give a presentation to a waitress who is on the clock.  "Yes, I would like fries with my burger and we are working with international students and student-athletes and I'll fill you in on some more after you take those other people's order."  Strange, I know, that they didn't cover that kind of presentation at the seminar.  Thankfully, God worked everything out and it went well.  It's one of those situations where you just look back on and laugh...and thank God of course.


After a great meal and another long stretch of road, we finally arrived back home just before 2 a.m.  We were ready for bed and a good night's sleep.  I'm sure Josh was ready to get back to his wife and kids also.  Looking back, we had a great trip.  We met some great people.  We gained some confidence and were encouraged.  Now, it's time to put everything we learned into action.  If you are interested in hearing Rachel and my presentation, please let us know.  We'd love to share it with you and let you know how you can get involved.  Please keep us in your prayers as we embark on this journey to build up a network of ministry partners interested in reaching college students for Christ.