Have you ever had someone do something so awesome that it makes you want to tell people about it? Well, fortunately I have, many times. God has blessed the RouseHouse so much and He often does it through the amazing people He has put in our life.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis
When we began talking about moving Lara and I thought about how we want this to be a place of community. Therefore, we wanted a really big table that could fit a bunch of people and a ton of children. Well, those kinds of tables are not cheap! We know a friend that had just built a large farm table and it looked really good, so I asked him if he would be interested in helping me build one for our new house. Before any of you say something I did fully disclose that I have 0% skills in craftsmanship! My friend quickly said, “would you just want me to build it and you can paint and stain it?” to which I respond with a “OH YES!” I think he knew that it would probably be more work to have me actually help. He got started and it quickly came together.
Lara and I sat and looked at the table the other night when I finished staining it. We talked about the many years that we will be using this beautiful piece. Our hope is that God will use this piece of furniture in hundreds of people’s lives and our dream is that one day it will sit in one of our children’s house and will be a place of community and long conversations for them too.
What a friend and servant! Who builds a table like this for someone else house without charging them??? The RouseHouse is so thankful and blessed!
PS, the top was made out of reclaimed wood from a construction demo project at Piney Grove School which makes it even more special! We not only have a table that will have a bunch of people around it in the years to come but a piece that will always remind us of how God has used us in this community for many years. How cool is that!
Almost 8 years ago Lara and I since that they Lord was telling us to sell our new home that we had built just a couple of years ago. We knew that God was leading us into a life of full-time ministry and wanted to make sure we had more financial margin than we currently did. We are so glad we listened and did sell it! We had no idea of the journey that was before us.
We thankfully had a great home to move into but planned to only be there for 6 months – 1 year. Well, we never really had a chance to move out of that home and we never felt like God was saying it was time. Until now.
Also, 4 years ago we were led to start a ministry in a local neighborhood (Piney Grove) after serving in a variety of countries for that past few years. This became a large focus of ours and our church’s (Ridge Church). We have seen God do some really awesome things around the school, with the staff of the school, and with a handful of families in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. There are some pretty amazing stories we can tell and some that are still in the making! Then towards the end of 2014 around the same time I was privilege to take this new role with United World Mission, the RouseHouse felt the Lord might want us to move into the Piney Grove neighborhood. We toyed with the idea and prayed some about it but didn’t know if we were ready just yet. Some of our closest friends began to feel the same stirring to move into the neighborhood which seemed really cool to imagine both of our families living and serving together. Then our pastor, Chris Brown asked us, “Have you thought about moving into the neighborhood?”
We began wondering what it would look like for “us” to become a “them”? How much more could we live intentionally and missionally if we were in the midst of the community? Why wouldn’t we do this? Is God putting all of the pieces together for us to take this step? This could actually be a huge blessing for the RouseHouse in so many ways.
As we began praying through and wrestling with these and other questions we quickly found our hearts becoming more attached to the idea of living in this community. Therefore we started looking for houses with our friends. Every home that was for sale over the last 6 months in this neighborhood we have looked at. Early on in our search we found one house that was in much better shape than most and it seemed to have a lot of community living space; 2 living rooms, patio, large back yard, and a front porch. For the reasons we want to move in this neighborhood we knew that we needed living spaces like this. So, we made an offer! Unfortunately, the night before the seller accepted someone elses offer. We were bummed but had to try to move on. We just couldn’t move on though. At least I couldn’t. I genuinely felt that the Lord had told me that this was the house He had for the RouseHouse but it didn’t make sense because someone else was already buying it, so I prayed that if it was His will He would make a way. And He did, about a month later the contract fell through and we were the first offer on the table!
It isn’t the dream house, it isn’t the biggest house, it isn’t the newest house, it isn’t the area we would normally choose to move too…it is however the place God has called us too! It is our mission field and these are the people He has put on our heart and in our path to serve/love for this season of our life. This is our home and we love it already!
The RouseHouse is so excited and so nervous all at the same time. We know that there will be days that may not be the easiest or the most comfortable. We are also hopeful for the days when we get to sit on the front porch or in our living room with new friends laughing with them and caring for them. Our goals are simple. We want to be the best neighbors, make good friends, serve those in need, seek ways to bless those around us, and after all of this, we want to show people how to follow Jesus and worship our God.
As we take this next step in life and ministry we would love for you to remember us in your prayers often. Please be praying for His Spirit to be so evident, His blessings to cover us and our new home, that we may be a “city on a hill”, that we will gain favor from our neighbors and have great influence in their lives, that God will provide a smooth transition for us and the kids, that our kids will build some great friendships, and for the Fathers blessings and presence to flood us during this season of life.
Last Saturday we saw the weather forecast for the next day and it looked beautiful. Still a little chilly but warmer than normal and full of sunshine! If you don’t know, the Rouse’s do not enjoy the winter months! It is almost torture for us mostly because we just hate being cold all of the time. Along with the cold we hate having to be inside all the time. Since it is cold outside we stay bundled up inside which can make us a little crankier than normal.
**Before all of you northern folks start in, we know that our winter isn’t as bad as most but it is cold enough for us. We realize that we are big babies so no need to comment ;)**
Last weekend the forecast was warmer than normal and with a whole lot of sunshine, therefore we planned to be outside as much as we could. After church Lara, being the most awesomeness wife and mommy, planned for us to have a picnic at one of our favorite parks which is downtown Charlotte (our whole family loves this city and loves being downtown so we do so as much as we can). It was such a good time! We ate lunch on a blanket, people watched (a favorite pastime for Lara and I), kicked the soccer ball around, cuddled, laid out on the grass, played a game of freeze tag, walked to find coffee (no coffee though, everywhere was closed! not the best part of the day), and laughed a lot.
Between the warm sunshine and family time this was just about as perfect as it can get! I like to say it was like good medicine that just refreshes every part of me. These are the times that are priceless and make the best memories.
Just before the Christmas, Lara and I had the privilege of going on a well needed date during the day. We went to our favorite sushi spot, finished up some Christmas stuff, ran errands, and vegged out on the couch before going to bed before 9:30! My mom took the kids for the day and that was an incredible gift…My mom is amazing!
One of the most distinctive conversations we had during our time that day was while we were riding in the car to lunch. We were talking about the past year and all of the transitions and exciting new journeys. We didn’t get too far into the conversation before we realized how blessed we are to have a team of people who partner with us in life and ministry. It is truly remarkable how some of you bless our family over and over, month after month, and even year after years. Some literally sacrifice to support the Rouse House…unbelievable!
Our monthly or annual financial supporters are so much more than that to us. They are our team, family, and partners in this journey. Those of you who have and are sacrificing so much to give to us I want you to know just how much it means to the Rouse House. We really do feel supported and not just financially. We feel that you believe in us, love us, and care for us…That right there is worth so much more than money!
I know that words don’t always communicate the deep heart-felt feelings we all have some times but there is nothing else that comes to mind for the Rouse House when we think of you other than…THANK YOU! We so dearly love each of you and thank God every morning for you! God is just getting started with the Rouse House and we wouldn’t want to chase after any of it with out you. We hope that you have a since of (holy) pride and honor in knowing that God is using you to reach the nations with love and the good news of Jesus. Lives, communities, families, and entire countries are transformed because of you. From at risk children being taking care of in Latin America to church planting and discipleship in Africa to care for ex-sex enslaved woman in Asia, God is you through partnering with the Rouse House.
There is so much more that God has planned for our family and ministry. Some plans we know and many more that he has yet to show us. If you would like to hear more about what God is doing in and through our lives or how you can become apart of our ministry partner team, we would love for you to check out this link or shoot us an email. Thank you and God bless!