Happy New Years, Jan 2018,

IMG_6437
Christmas Day 2017!

It seems to be easier to be hopeful and optimistic at the beginning of a new year regardless of the outcome of the past year. We are grateful for 2017 for so many reason and are extremely excited for all that 2018 holds! Looking back on 2017 we are reminded of the mountains of miracles from God and the way He took such good care of us during one of the toughest seasons for our family. One of the biggest ways we experienced the favor and goodness of the Lord was through YOU! **Philemon 1:4, I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.  I know we say thank you a lot but we are realizing more everyday that through you partnering with our family there is a great impact and hope for people and communities across Africa and locally in our city. Great, young leaders are being equipped to change the world, people are meeting Jesus face to face, and others are experiencing God’s love for them. This is a great picture of “His Kingdom come” and it is happening because you decided to join us in this great mission. We are so grateful for your sacrifice, prayers and encouragement in 2017!!!

IMG_6415
Christmas lunch and white elephant gift exchange with friends

 

Our first South African Christmas…

IMG_6489
It was super hot and we don’t have A/C at home so we had to road trip it to the beach! Stopped for lunch and enjoyed the view on the side of the road.

It was a little odd to be celebrating Christmas when it felt like summer time. We literally wore no shoes and went swimming over Christmas break. Even though the weather was not what we were use to back home in North Carolina we still had a great time! A typical Christmas for our family is filled with family and good food. Even though we couldn’t be with our family we were very grateful for the chance to FaceTime many of them. Technology is a wonderful gift. The Lord has blessed us with some wonderful friends that we spent the holidays with. We really enjoyed our times of celebration with each of them.

Christmas Eve we went to see one of our favorite Christmas movies, Home Alone at an outdoor theatre in Cape Town. Christmas morning we spent time together, just the five of us at home opening presents, eating a big breakfast, and reading the Christmas story. We were invited by some friends to a traditional South African meal called potjie (pronounced, poiki) which was unbelievably delicious! We finished the day off by hanging out with some other families who serve along side us at East Mountain. The boys shoot their new pellet guns, we shared yummy snacks and watched Christmas Vacation one more time this season. This made our first African Christmas really feel like home. It was a full day of fun, friends, and food! We felt blessed!

 

Prayer updates from December’s Update:

  • Travel to Durban, South Africa for a UWM Africa Missionary Conference – We spent the week before Christmas in Durban which is about 18hrs from Cape Town but thankfully we were able to take an easy 2 hour flight there. We really enjoyed spending time with some other UWM missionaries that serve all over Africa. They are pretty special people!

    IMG_9580
    UWM African family outside of Durban
  • Vision for the specific ministry areas the Lord wants us to invest in deeply in 2018  – Next week we will spend a few days with our team here at East Mountain planning and preparing for 2018. We look forward to the time of team building, praying for the new residents that move in Jan 20th, seeking after the Lord’s heart for how He wants to use each of us this coming year, and identifying what communities and areas our family will invest deeply in during 2018. We believe the Lord has us in South Africa not for a what but for a who and we are excited to love, serve, care for people and point them (who’s) to Him this coming year!

    IMG_6526
    Having fun with friends on New Years Eve
  • God’s grace, strength, peace, joy, protection and constant wisdom for everyday situations – Life seems to be going well for us. We obviously all have those moments in our week, especially around the holidays, when we are missing things back home like family, friends and familiarities. God’s given us wonderful people  in our lives, so we are not surprised that we miss them the most during the Holidays. It is slowly feeling like home here. We have settled well in our house, found a great church we enjoy, we are building strong friendships, slowly learning some Afrikaans and finding our way around. God has been good to us and we feel like we are daily walking in His grace! Please keep praying for us! We know that all of these blessing are a direct result of you lifting us up regularly.

    IMG_6455
    Rice Crispy treats at a friends farm house. The Marsh mallows are pink therefore the rice crispy treats are too.
  • Water Crisis! – There is still very little water and we are entering into the hottest and driest part of the year. PRAY!!! God is in control though! On New Year’s Eve we had a big down pour that lasted on and off all night. Our South African friends said that it NEVER rains this time a year, so we must be praying or something. God’s working behind the scenes and He is using this to open peoples eyes and hearts to Him.
  • Awareness of opportunities to love, serve and care for those in need around us – The Lord brought an opportunity to our family just before Christmas to help out a young South African guy. His name is Romero and he was one of our residents from last year. Romero is a special guy with amazing potential. God has big things for his life and we want to be a part of it. He shared that he needed somewhere to live this coming year so that he could continue with the resident program. Lara and I began praying specifically for this guy but knew that the Lord had already answered our prayers. When we moved to South Africa we were lead to a much larger house than we actually needed. The cost is more than we wanted as well but we felt like the Lord was saying we was going to use this extra space to bless people and this is where He wanted us to live. With this extra room in our home we had been praying that the Lord would fill it with the right people and thats what He did. Romero moved in early December and we look forward to how he will become more apart of our family. Please be praying for Romero as he is working on school at the university, participating in the East Mountain resident leadership program, and following the Lord’s call on his life.

    IMG_9352
    Romero taking me out for my first surf lesson
elly and matthew
Elly and Matthew making snacks
IMG_6525
Wild Man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6282
South African wildlife and a giant fake snake

 

Prayer needs for January:

  • Pray for the new residents that will be moving in Jan 20th. We will give you snapshots of each of them throughout the year.
  • Pray for Homeschooling…For everyone to finish the year well in these next 5 months
  • Pray for wisdom of when to travel back to the US for a visit this year and for affordable flights. We are looking to visit the beginning of July.
  • Pray for Spanky’s parents (Nana and Pawpaw) as they travel to visit us Feb 1. Mom doesn’t like to fly and it is a long trip.
  • Pray for success: that others may know Jesus and know His plan for their life through our lives and ministry here. We want to have a deep impact on people and communities this year for His glory!

 

Let us walk in the power and wisdom that Jesus offers to us this year!

 Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

 

If you would like to know how you can partner with us this year please check out our link Partnering with us… If you would like more info on specific projects and/or needs that we might have please email me at spanky.rouse@gmail.com. Thank you!

Below is all of the social media outlets that our family has and this is a great way to stay connected and up to date with the Rousehouse!

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

https://www.instagram.com/causing_wonder/ – Mac’s Instagram

Gray Water

If you are like me and are from the West you probably haven’t heard of “gray water”. I had never heard the term until a few weeks ago. Gray water is something I have come to hold as a valuable commodity. Gray water is the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances. It isn’t really clean water but it isn’t really dirty either, to put it simply. What is the importance of gray water? Why am I spending time even talking about something that seems so insignificant? Well, it is actually a big deal in much of Africa and can make a huge difference for us here in the Western Providence of South Africa.

We are in the middle of the worst drought in over 100 years. What makes this even more critical is the fact that we are heading into summer which is the dry season. NO RAIN in the forecast for months!!! Gray water is more than just waste water for many. Gray water is water what most of us flush with, let flow down the sink freely, and pour into the sewer without even a thought. Not here! We collect and save as much of it as we can. It’s not just a “green, earth friendly” thing to do but a must so we can use or reuse it and hopefully not run out of water one day.

gray-water-reclamation

Challenge: for the next 5 days pay attention to the extra water that you may waste by leaving the sink run while brushing your teeth or washing dishes, time how long your normal shower is, count how many times a day you flush the toilet, how long do you water your lawn (with clean water), calculate how much water you use to fill a bath…You will be shocked at how quickly 23 gallons of water is used up!!! Here is a link to a helpful calculator that will help you gain an accurate number on how much water you might use in a week, http://mycapetownneeds.co.za/thinkwater/

Gray waterOur family can only take 2 minutes or less showers, collect the shower water in buckets to use in other places, turn the water off to toilets, and follow the motto “if it is yellow let it mellow but if it is brown flush it down”, to do our part in helping with the water shortage. We are only allowed to use 87L (23 gallons) of water per person a day or we will receive a large fine. The city is now talking about the pipes drying up one day and maybe sooner than we think, if we do not take drastic measures to reduce our water usage. We are grateful to live in a community that has three lakes that supply our clean water. Those is the townships and more heavily crowded areas like Cape Town are the ones that will suffer first and are suffering today from the lack of clean water.IMG_8861

Thankfully it has rained 3 days this past week!!! But we need so much more rain for this problem to be fixed. Will you PLEASE join us in prayer that the Lord will fill our lakes and reservoirs with ample amounts of water?!?! Join us in asking for a miracle and trusting that the Lord is going to use this for His purposes and fame here in our community and providence!

Father, in your power and authority we pray that you will fill our lakes and reservoirs either from the ground up or from the skies down. Let it be said that the Lord is good and has shown us his favor. You are the one that is able! Amen

Job 5:10, he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields;

Job 38:37, Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,

Zechariah 10:1, Ask rain from the Lord
in the season of the spring rain,
from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,
and he will give them showers of rain,
to everyone the vegetation in the field.

James 5:18, Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

 

More reading on the water crisis:

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/cape-towns-water-crisis-5-things-you-should-know-20171019

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-10-04-op-ed-the-city-of-cape-towns-critical-water-shortages-disaster-plan/#.We2g7617FmA

http://www.capetown.travel/visitors/plan/information/healthy-safe-travel/water-wise-tips-for-tourists-visiting-drought-stricken-western-cape

http://capeinfo.com/blogs/spaniard/2017/05/20/tips-for-surviving-the-western-capes-water-crisis/

VISA update!!!

But you, O Lord, laugh at them;
    you hold all the nations.

O my Strength, I will watch for you,
    for you, O God, are my fortress. 

            My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
    God will let me look in triumph on my enemies. 

Psalms 59:8-10

It’s time to celebrate! The Rousehouse received our visas for South Africa this past Friday in Los Angeles! After our fourth visit to a South African Consulate office we couldn’t believe it when they handed them to us. I [Spanky] stood there and read them over and over just to be sure it really was the correct visas we had been fighting for, for more than 3 months now. It has taken months, many trips out-of-town,  lots of unexpected expenses but more than anything, it has taken a toll emotionally and we have struggled to keep the course. God has once again proven His faithfulness, His presence, and His care for us through this battle.

Before sharing the joys of getting our visas in LA, let me catch you up on all that has happened over the past month quickly...

.img_8438.jpg

  • June 13th the Rousehouse heads to NYC South African Consulate to apply for our visas.
  • June 21st we get an email from the Consulate asking us to fill out an extra wavier form. No explanation as to why we need this, we were just told to fill it out even though we had all documentation they require for our volunteer visa.
  • July 30th, 2 days before our departure flights for South Africa, Spanky returns to NYC to hopefully get our visas and passports. He spoke with the consulate who made it very clear that he was not on our side and was intentionally delaying our process.
  • August 1st, we cancelled our flights and were not able to leave for South Africa like we had planned.
  • August 14th, Spanky returns to NYC for the third time this summer to get our visas but ended up leaving with nothing more than our passports. We were back at square one with the visa process.
  • We began pursuing every avenue through friends in South Africa, talking with other people who have been through the process, and our ministry leaders who were talking with am international consulting firm in South Africa.
  • We started the visa process from the beginning (paper work, background info, applications, etc) while working with this South African visa consulting company.
  • Planned our trip for all five of us for Los Angeles because we were advised that the LA office was much more willing to work with us to get visas and in a timely fashion.
  • Headed to the west coast on August 28th and were the first person in line at the Consulate’s office on Tuesday the 29th.

This has been a trying season in our life. Nothing like it to be honest. It seemed like the door to our dreams had been shut. We weren’t sure what to do and the worst part was not having a back up plan or a time line. We were sure that we had heard from the Lord and that He said He had good plans for us in South Africa. There were days that we struggled hard and had nothing else to do but hold tight to the Lord and His promises for us. Thankfully He never let’s go and is always completely in control. The Lord has used this experience to awaken us to His presence and power like never before!

We walked into the Los Angeles Consulate office, handed them our files and moments later were sitting in an interview room. The lady on the other side of the glass was extremely nice and made our kids feel very comfortable. She seemed ready to help us get approved for visas to South Africa as soon as possible and even better with no extra hoops to jump through. Once she found out that we were going to hang around LA for a few days this government official said she would do her best to get us visas in hand before we left town. We didn’t really believe her, after all that we had experienced from the NY office this summer this seemed crazy. Never in our wildest dream did we think we would leave there with visas last week.

On Friday morning we woke up and called three-times to the Consulate’s office. No answer! It rings three times and then hangs up on you, every single time. We decided that in faith, we were going to drive back to the office and ask where we were in the process before we left LA. Lara and the kids went to a coffee shop next door while I went up to check on everything. The lady at the front desk went to ask someone else behind the scene and came back to let me know that everything would be ready in 30 minutes! Nerves, excitement, and disbelief were all going through our minds as we waited those 30 minutes with sweaty palms and a shaky knees. “Was this really about to happen?!?!” Five minutes before the office closed for the day, the lady who did our interview a few days earlier came out with a handful of passports. Talk about my heart pounding out of my chest! The piece of paper that gives us the right to head to South Africa, the key to all of these plans of us moving, and the prize we had been working and praying so hard for these past few months was right in front of me!!! As the passport was opened and I read the phrase “3 year volunteer visa for multiple entries in effect September 1, 2017 to serve with East Mountain Leadership Development” and was speechless. I couldn’t wait to run out of there and show everyone.

I left the South African Cimg_4625.jpgonsulate’s office praising the Lord and partially wondering if this was really true. I had all five passports and visas in my back pocket! As I saw my family standing across the street waiting on me by the car I could barely hold in my excitement. I decided to walk up to them with a somber look and an empty envelope as if things had not gone well. They looked at me waiting on some kind of emotion as I huffed and said, “I don’t know what we are going to do now.” I started to feel bad as I saw the kids faces turn towards disappointment. I then pulled the stack of passports out of my back pocket and yelled, “WE GOT THEM!!!! WE ARE GOING TO SOUTH AFRICA!” In the middle of the parking lot we jumped around and yelled with joy. We have been hoping and praying for this moment!IMG_4605

We walked through this trial, questioned lots of things, experienced an array of emotions, and felt bombarded daily with thoughts of fear and uncertainty. It is by the grace of our Father and His Spirit that we were strengthen to continue to stay the course. I saw my wife [Lara] battle through this well! We saw and felt the support of our family, friends, and ministry partners through this time more than we could have asked for and it kept us going day after day. And we believe that we saw the hand of God and felt His love wash over us over and over.

We may never know why we had to walk this path but we can trust that it is all part of the Fathers best plans for us! And now we are rejoicing in the fact that He has chosen to now give us visas to go love, serve, and care for those in need while leading people in a growing relationship with Jesus. He is also allowing us to go to be impacted and developed personally and as a family in ways we can only hope for. IMG_8486

When are we leaving for South Africa??? We just re-booked our flights (2 hours ago!) and will be heading out to South Africa on September 18th!

Please continue to follow our journey so you can keep us in your prayers and know how to partner with us further in this journey! To be continued…

Also, following along on Instagram and Facebook, we will regularly be posting pictures and stories.

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

https://www.instagram.com/causing_wonder/ – Mac’s Instagram

 

June 2017 Updates

Time is getting close to our departure for South Africa! We are really excited and probably more nervous than we realize. We are scheduled to take off on August 1st. Much has been done to get us to this point and we feel like we are closing in on one of the big mile marker moments in this journey.

Here are a few updates from our last Newsletter Update in May:

  • Visas – we need to be applying this week and praying that there is no issues with the consulate accepting and approving them quickly.

We did apply for our visas and had all of the paperwork and more they needed thanks for my organized wife!!! We have not received our visas nor passports back yet, but from all of those that have gone through this process before us have said that “no news is good news”. If there was a problem we were suppose to hear with in 14 days. We haven’t heard so we are assuming all is well! PLEASE KEEP PRAYING!

  • Trip to NYC to apply for visas with the SA consulate

You can read our latest blog about our New York trip here, The Big Apple Adventure

  • Putting our home on the market and selling the rest of our furniture, cars, etc.

The Lord gave us this house as a blessing and it continues to be a blessing. We did sell out home in a matter of 4 hours!!! We even got over asking price which is amazing! We know that it is all of the Lord’s doing. We are just about to close (Tuesday the 11th) and are currently getting rid of the last few things. We believe that life will feel a little less heavy after this is all said and done.

  • From our family’s prayer card, the letter T – Travel arrangements: purchasing the best plane tickets, cost, routes, etc.

We are purchasing plane tickets this week! Our church, Ridge Church said that as part of their support for us they would like to purchase our tickets! How cool is that!!! We even got a pretty relaxing schedule where we can spend a day in London as a family walking around between two long flights.

  • To have 100% of monthly support finalized and one time set up cost in

We have been blown away by the generous people the Lord has brought our way this past month. We have reached 100% in our monthly support! Praise the Lord! It feels so good and we are extremely thankful. We still would like to raise about $7000 in set up cost before we leave August 1st so please let us know if you would like to help meet this need.

Prayer needs for July:

  • Visas to safely and quickly get here in hand
  • The closing and moving out of our house to go smoothly (Closing is July 11th)
  • Packing essentials and things we will want in SA. We can only take 2 free bags each but currently have 4 extra bags ($200 each x 4 = $800!)
  • All of the goodbyes. There are many!
  • From our family prayer care we have a couple:
    • J-Joy, “Not to feel sad”, Ellyana
    • E-Everyones luggage will arrive safe and sound
    • K-Kids, Trusting God to provide what they need in each step of the journey and that they will recognize His goodness

 

If you would like to join our financial or prayer team you can check out how to partner with us by clicking here Partnering with us…. Thank you!

 

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

May 2017 Newsletter Update

 

May has been a whirl wind of a month for us at the Rousehouse. Busy busy busy! Thankfully we are holding up well and have experienced the joy, strength and peace that the Lord can give. Thank you for all of you who have been praying for us. KEEP IT UP!!! Let me catch you up on a few prayer points from last month to start…

  • Decisions on what to do with our home. Rent it or sell it?

After many conversations, prayer, wise council, weighing the options, and moments of grieving we have decided to sell our home. We love our sweet little house and realize that it was given to us by the Lord for this short season to enjoy and that is what we have done. We will always remember this blessing from the Father!

  • Finishing up fundraising, 100% by June 1st

Almost everyday this past month was filled with meetings, speaking opportunities, and lots of conversations. We are now super close to being at our 100% monthly financial goal!!!! We are in need of just $200 more a month! PTL! If you would like to help get our family across the finish line check out how to partner with us here or email us at spanky.rouse@gmail.com. We do still have some set up cost needs too so any special one time gifts would be very much appreciate as well.

  • Ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to know the Father’s leading in every plan and decision as we prepare to move

This season has been tough but priceless, for sure. I don’t know that we have every heard from the Lord clearer, seen Him at work, and experienced His presences like we have recently. We are reminded that His plans for us are the BEST and that He desires to care for us more than we could ever imagine or ask. We are learning that you get to experience this part of the Father the most by going through tuff stuff which in the moment isn’t too fun but we are learning is worth it.

  • Successful silent auction fundraiser and all the planning that goes into it.

Lara killed it! She worked really hard and it paid off! It took a lot of work on her part to put it all together and I am grateful for her! We also had some amazing people that donated a whole lot of awesome gifts and packages for auction. Lara and I wanted to keep all of them for ourselves because they were so great! Thankfully we had many of you come out and bid on them instead. I had a really fun evening with our friends and family celebrating my birthday as well as we were able to raise over $3100 to go towards purchasing plane tickets and vehicles in South Africa. Definitely a great night!

  • From our family’s prayer card, the letter J – joy: That we may be filled to an overflow of His joy. Romans 15:13

Some fun events this month have been celebrating our 15 year anniversary, Elly’s dance recital and 2 weddings.

IMG_3093I can’t believe that it has been 15 years since we got married! Definitely the best thing that has ever happened to the both of us and yes we are more in love today than ever and have so much fun in together! This is the only way we would choose to do life. We were suppose to go out of town for the week but ended up spending the night and next day sitting under a tree in the grass in the small town of Davidson. It wasn’t the week we had planned but it was just what we needed…it just needed to be much longer!

Elly did awesome at her recital! We could really tell that she has improved from the time she first began a couple years ago. Masterpiece Dance Studio is amazing and we will miss all of them especially Mrs. Jackie! Elly’s favorite dance was the Jazz dance because it is fast and she gets to “shake her booty”. She gets her dance skills from her mom for sure! It was a bittersweet time as well seeing Elly and two of her bff’s dancing together for a special ballet piece. Great memories and we got the DVD so we can watch it over and over and over.

Prayer points for this month:

  • Visas – we need to be applying this week and praying that there is no issues with the consulate accepting and approving them quickly.
  • Trip to NYC to apply for visas with the SA consulate
  • Putting our home on the market and selling the rest of our furniture, cars, etc.
  • From our family’s prayer card, the letter T – Travel arrangements: purchasing the best plane tickets, cost, routes, etc.
  • To have 100% of monthly support finalized and one time set up cost in
  • Strength: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual 

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
    and with my song I give thanks to him.

Psalms 28:7

April 2017 Rousehouse update

Spring has sprung! The Rouse’s love the warm weather, blooming flowers, and outdoor activities. But we hate the allergies that come along with it!!!  This year we are trying to enjoy every moment of Spring with the idea that we only have a few more months left until we leave for South Africa. The past few weeks have been a lot of fun but super busy. Spanky ran his second Spartan race, Mac joined the social media realm (IG), Spring Break arrived just in time, we went to see our favorite band in concert, Lara is working hard on our silent auction event, and fundraising is moving along well!

123_1Over Spring Break Mac had the chance to go to the mountains with some friends from church. From all of the stories that he has told us it was lots of fun! He went hiking, zip lining, shopping, junk food eating, stayed up late, and played games. I think his favorite part of the trip was saying up late and hanging out in a hot tub in the cold mountain weather.

IMG_7565Oh yea, Mac also got his own Instagram account. It’s a new season for us as parents but thankfully our first teenager is a remarkable guy, therefore social media doesn’t seem too scary…yet! His Instagram name is causing_wonder incase you may want to check out some of his posts. He chose that name because he wants his life to cause people to wonder, why is he different? I think it is a very accurate description of this young man. I am constantly in wonder of this guy, he is ridiculously awesome!

Spanky ran his second Spartan race with a team from our gym, Carolina Sweat. They had been training hard and it paid off. The team came in the top 5% of all teams and Spanky came in the top 2.7% of participants on Saturday. It was muddier than normal, cooler than he would have liked, longer than planned but invigorating! Next we are going to try another mud run as a couple in June! Couples that get muddy together….

We found ourselves needing to take a break from the regular routines of life which is why we were so looking forward to Spring Break this year. Breaks like this one offer us the chance to forget bed times, ignore some of our responsibilities, soak up the sun and forget the diets. Spring Break 2017 was a success! On Monday we went on a nice looong (Elly, “I’m not going to make it”) hike up Crowders Mountain. We started the hike off with excitement and energy but come 6.5 miles later we were so glad to be in the car heading to Rita’s Italian Ice for a nice reward!

We also had the chance to head to the beach for 2 days with RuRu (Lara’s mom). We LOVE the beach! We are immediately refreshed by sitting on the beach with our feet in the sand. The weather was perfect but the water was freezing. That did not stop the kids though from going in head firstIMG_7551. Our kids seem to have a different internal thermometer than we do.

An update on where we are in preparations and fundraising for our big move to South Africa…

We have begun to realize that our time for departure is coming near, and fast! We are thinking about and actively working towards selling our furniture and other home furnishings, applying for visas, figuring out plans for our home here in Piney Grove/Charlotte, ordering school supplies, picking out the limited amount of clothes we are taking and working on roughly 1 million other items that are on the check list. Even though Spanky helps others move over seas regularly as a job it never seemed like that big of an ordeal until we started going through it ourselves. There’s a whole lot of work that goes into it. We are constantly being reminded and are so grateful that God is at work for us.

Fundraising Update: Things were slow-moving for a few weeks even though we keep having great meetings with great people. During this time we were hearing from the Lord a lot and He was constantly shaping our hearts. Over the past two weeks it has really picked up and we are very thankful! Support raising initially was this dreaded necessary evil that we knew we just had to endure to pursue this passion of ours. Today we can say that we are actually enjoying it, well just a little more than we use too. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our story and passions with other people. The best thing about support raising, donor building, fundraising, or whatever you want to call it are the relationships that are formed, for sure! God is raising up people who have a real heart for our family, believe in us, and desire to bless us and be apart of what He is doing all over the world. We can’t express enough what this means to us and how this community fuels our tanks! If you are currently one of our “people” we say a HUGE thank you for playing such a great role in our lives and journey!

We are currently at 67% of our monthly funding need. We NEED to be at 100% by June 1st (FYI, that is my birthday if you didn’t know)! We have a bunch of asks out there that we are waiting to hear back on but are still needing to find a few more families, individuals, or churches that would be willing to support our family and ministry. PLEASE get the word out and connect us with those you may know! If you would like to become one of our partners you can learn how here.

In lieu of my birthday we are hosting a silent auction fundraiser on the evening of June 2nd at a fun venue from 6-10pm. Proceeds will go towards our set up and travel expenses. STAY TUNED for more details and an announcement coming soon!

Things you can join us in Prayer about:

  • Decisions on what to do with our home. Rent it or sell it?
  • Finishing up fundraising, 100% by June 1st
  • Ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to know the Father’s leading in every plan and decision as we prepare to move
  • Successful silent auction fundraiser and all the planning that goes into it.
  • From our family’s prayer card, the letter J – joy: That we may be filled to an overflow of His joy. Romans 15:13

The Rousehouse is Moving to AFRICA!

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-11-40-32-amThe Rousehouse has taken some big steps before but this may be the biggest one yet! We are moving to AFRICA!!! We are so excited to publicly announce this news as well as tell you a little bit about our story. So here you go…

Last summer our family moved into the neighborhood that surrounded Piney Grove Elementary, the school we had built a partnership with through Ridge Church and had been volunteering at for the past few years. We had no idea how the Lord was going to use that step of faith to call us to even bigger ones. We moved into the neighborhooimg_0659d because we loved the idea of our family living missionally beside these people we had been serving and fallen in love with. We loved the idea of our family being intentional about building relationships in a community of people that maybe didn’t look or act exactly like we did. We believe there is a great big God who is constantly at work in this great big world and by living our lives this way our family will be able to experience Him more and hopefully, just maybe, He would use us to bring others closer to Him. What a privilege!

Fast forward to this past March…

IMG_5598 Lara and I had the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to visit a missional community that I serve with at UWM called East Mountain. As we spent time with this group of people we saw something that sparked a passion inside of us. The excitement began to grow as we saw how they serve and support the local church and how they live in healthy community with one another. It was also very exciting to see how they are partnering with ministries in South Africa similarly to how we have partnered with Piney Grove. As East Mountain is serving alongside these national workers God is using them to grow His church, strengthen indigenousness leaders, and do good works while living in healthy community with each other. Lara and I have patiently been waiting for God to provide an opportunity for our family to serve overseas for a few years and through this trip He did just that. Our time in South Africa was awesome, simply because we heard the Father’s voice calling us to something amazing.
img_0106

After a whole lot of prayer and discernment, we feel like this is how the Lord wants the Rousehouse to, “Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you” (Ephesians 4:1). We feel like this calling is God extending His grace to us. It is a privilege to serve alongside the other missionaries in this community as well as be a part of how the Lord is building His church all over the globe, especially in Africa, a part of the world we fell in love with many years ago.

We have committed to serve in South Africa for 3 years on staff with
East Mountain. East IMG_5811Mountain is a community of people who love Jesus and are passionate about teaching, developing and empowering leaders. They accomplish this through one-on-one discipleship, training workshops, theological education, and spiritual formation as well as forming authentic relationships with leaders already engaged in excellent Kingdom work in churches, non-profit organizations, and schools. While we are there we will spend a third of our time doing a specific role/job, and third of our time will be spent serving as a family in one of these local partnerships, and a third of our time being developed ourselves as leaders and Christ followers.

Lara and I have been involved in missions from the very beginning of our marriage. We have served in Brazil, Panama, Uganda, our local church, and in our community, Piney Grove. Our whole family shares this love for people and we know that we were created to live our lives this way. By living in community we care for others and we are cared for, we disciple others and we are discipled, and as we serve others we are blessed beyond measure. We are super excited about the work God has called us to and we know He has not called us to do it alone. We are seeking a team of partners that will help with meeting our financial support goals, praying for us, and connecting us to others who may be able to partner with us as well.

There will be many stories and lessons learned that we will want to share here on our blog, we hope that you will stop by and follow us along the way! God is doing a good work and we look forward to telling you all about it!

If you would like to grab coffee, a meal, or simply give us a call to hear more please email Spanky directly to set up a time we would be honored to answer your questions and share more with you! spanky.rouse@gmail.com

You can also learn more about East Mountain at http://www.eastmountain.tv .

It is our desire to make an impact globally, serve locally, and invest deeply in God’s people and we would love to have you on this journey with us!

If you would like information on how to partner with us through sending us, praying for us, and supporting our family in this mission you can either let us know by emailing Spanky or clicking hereStellenbosch wooden sign with vineyard background

I don’t have any money to pay for this healing….

 unnamed

I received this update from a missionary that I get to work with that is living and working in China. It blessed my heart and made me question how big is my faith in my God. He is still able to do the impossible and He is still at work today!!! Prayer is a powerful gift that the Father is just waiting on us to use because He knows that it is an opportunity for His power and glory to be on display. 

The elderly woman’s joy faded into panic as she anxiously told us that she could not pay us for the healing she had just received.  We had met her only moments before as she sold snacks to travelers at a rest stop.  She was walking with difficulty, and we offered to pray for her. As we prayed, the pain in her legs caused by rheumatism disappeared!  While praying for her legs, we noticed she had a hearing aid in her left ear and we asked if we could also pray for her hearing.  She told us she had been completely deaf in her right ear since she was a child and that she had very little hearing in her left ear due to a burst ear drum that hadn’t healed. We prayed for her again, and her right ear Immediately opened up! After more prayer the hearing in her left ear became more and more clear. Because Tibetan monks charge for their spiritual services, she thought we, too, would want her to pay. When she told us she had no money to pay, we told her that it was Jesus, the creator God who loves her, who had healed her and it was completely free. A huge smile crossed her face, and she began to cry as she thanked us and thanked Jesus. We encouraged her to call upon the name of Jesus regularly because he created her and loves her. As we got back in our vehicles to continue our journey she walked away smiling with her hearing aides in her snack basket.

 unnamed-2

This is just one of the amazing things God did during my recent trip to a Tibetan area in our province.  Ours was one of seven teams made of up other missionaries and visiting ministry school students that participated in this outreach, and each team had incredible testimonies of salvation and healing.  We are so thankful for the way God is demonstrating His Kingdom among these unreached peoples!

What are you praying for and how certain are you that He is able?

Lord I need you

This was the first morning of our conference in Thailand with our missionaries from all over Asia. We started the morning  with worship and prayer. Worship and prayer time with a room full of missionaries that are living in some of the toughest spots in the world is quit incredible! You would think they have a direct line with the Father.

One of the songs we sung was “Lord I need you”. After sitting at dinner the night before and breakfast that morning with different couples listening to their hearts I couldn’t help but to have a heavy heart for them. They are facing situations of loneliness, feeling like there is no fruit from their years are hard ministry, and deal with the struggles of raising families in foreign cultures. Life is hard! Way tougher than anything I can find to complain about back home.

During this song I couldn’t help but cry and think that this is so much more than a song to them. It is a literal cry from the deepest place in their heart to God. These amazing men and woman know what it is like to depend on God fully. They declare their dependence every day they wake up in the country they are serving.

“Lord I need you, Oh I need you. Every hour I need you. My one defense, my righteousness, Oh how I need you. ”

Father, forgive me for not declaring my dependence on you but rather living as though I can do it with out you. Oh God how I need you today and in every single moment of this life. Thank you for being the one and only one that is dependable. May my life be in your hands, or may I not forget that my life is completely in your capable and loving hands.