I am slightly tentative yet also excited, relieved, and hopeful to share that S. is employed! The tentative part comes because we are still working out the numbers, but our main investor assured S. this morning that we "will make this happen".
A few years ago S. started a ministry called "Big Oak". The name comes from his favorite passage in Isaiah that I shared in a previous post. Isaiah 61 tells of what Christ does; binds the brokenhearted, proclaims freedom for the captives, comforts those who mourn... and in verse 3, "They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor".
There is much we could share about the aspects and projects involved in Big Oak but to give you brief understanding, the goals are: 1. To create teaching & discipleship materials that are biblically sound and culturally relevant (includes a devotional for students that we wrote together and are preparing to market). 2. Communicate Gospel Truth through S.'s speaking engagements; church services, retreats, conferences. 3. Consult leaders in growth principles for a sustainable impact in youth ministry. 4. Cooperate with local ministries in outreach events and conferences (includes leadership & gifts training).
Big Oak was something we knew we had to let die in January when we laid all of our dreams and ideas out on the altar. In pursuing other jobs, it has not even been on our radar.
However, in the last couple months it kept surfacing without us bringing it up.
In May S. mentioned to me a certain individual he wanted to meet with. He said, "I don't know him well but I think he might have some connections and ideas for a job."
The next day we were going to get take-out from a restaurant. We drove up and spontaneously decided to eat inside instead. As we got settled S. realized that individual was at a booth near us. They talked briefly and the man said, "Come by my office sometime this week."
S. did and the man asked him "What do you want to do?" S. said that he really just needed a job but the man said, "I'm not interested in just a job for you. What is your vision?"
S. ended up sharing his vision for Big Oak and the man told him to make a business plan.
We talked about it and decided we might as well work toward something. Everything else was a dead end. S. learned everything he could about business planning. As he started working, he kept running into people who wanted to know more about Big Oak... which turned into meetings with potential investors... which turned into more ideas, connections, and money. Suddenly the very idea that S. surrendered and walked away from was back on the table.
This morning S. met with the individual who got him started. He told S. that he will be annually contributing to Big Oak so that it can be full time for us. The details have not been worked out but it will be enough for us to take a salary and jump in!
It's been so interesting to watch this unfold. I have watched God answer protests I have had to doing Big Oak full time. Funding was the biggest hurdle and He is answering that beyond our expectation. S. has grown immensely in priorities, time management, and discipline in the last five months. That alone has squelched half a dozen "buts" from me.
Much is still unknown but what is known is God's faithfulness to us and our family. We know that we are together in this next adventure. We are both excited, both dreaming, and both hoping for a really cool office that S. discovered last week! We know that for the time being we can call Lynden home. We know we are abundantly blessed by those of you who have been committed to holding us up in prayer, sending us encouragement, and loving us through a turbulent season.