Thursday, April 26, 2012

Change is in the Air

Change is in the air once again at the Christensen surprise huh? We seem to live well with frequent change.  This change is over all good, a bit sad, but exciting and good.  We have been doing a Ministry House ministry for the past 6+ months.  We have learned a lot, had many good times, joyous meals, dancing around the house, lots of laughing, hugging, and praying.  We've also had our share of tears, mourning, growing, learning, stretching, adapting, and refining.  It's been simply amazing to watch God as active and at work in our lives and the lives of those connected to the Ministry House.  When God called us to start this, He never gave us a time frame or indication that this would be anything other then a temporary ministry for us.  The purposes are probably a hundred fold, but some of the major ones are to provide young couples a chance to save up and purchase a house; allow singles to pay off debt, organize their finances, and put together a life plan that they can begin to walk in; grow in our practice and understanding of living on mission and with in true Biblical community.  With those objectives at the fore front we are excited to deem the Ministry House as success!

Dave and I are getting a small taste of the sending off empty nesters experience as they bid farewell to their grown children.  It's good, but it's also a bit sad.  We are so very proud of these young adults we have been given the privilege to love, serve, and teach.  We are in a season of transition here as we have begun move from a Ministry House back to our Home.  Just a few weeks ago we said God Bless to Alyssa and Dustin as they moved out into their own apartments.  Right on the heals of their engagement, this is a great opportunity for them to get to live with friends and experience some of that unique "young adult" part of life before their wedding in October.  We met Alyssa a year ago and in that time we have gotten to watch her grow and mature from a girl into a woman.  She eager to learn what it takes to become a Godly wife and we know she will make an excellent helper for Dustin.  Watching Dustin over the past 8 months has been a treat in itself.  He's gone from a baby believer to servant leader and pursues his upcoming role of husband with humility and energy.  We have been super blessed by them both.

Debbie, Dusty and Allie have put an offer in on a house in Cloquet and await a closing on or before the end of May.  They have both gained great jobs and have really developed as husband, wife and parents.  We are sad that soon they too will be moving on, but are so very excited to get to go over there for dinner instead!  My kids will miss Allie greatly as she has become so much like a sister to them, but they are eager to go for sleep overs and play dates too.  My mind is just a boggle when I think of how far Debbie and Dusty have grown in the past year.  Having them in our life has truly been a treat.  We are thrilled that God has worked so redemptively in their extended family relationships and reminisce on the fun their wedding was.  We are also so blessed by them as they pray and plan about continuing a bit of the Ministry House idea in their own home in the future.  Nothing makes a teacher happier then to see their students passing along the knowledge and ideas they learned.

And that leads us to Oliver.  We just marvel at how God has been at work in Oliver's life over the past year.  He's been with us the longest of any of our current Ministry House people and it's been our delight.  He has grown so much as a man of God and we have no doubt he will make an excellent husband and father.  Watching him go from single college guy to an engaged, Godly leader, and home owner has been nothing short of amazing.  Yes, I said home owner!  Ollie and Jill bought a bank house, in much need of some TLC. He has been pouring into his new house, working hard to "prepare a place" for his bride.  Their wedding is the end of June, but for all practical purposes he spends most of his time working on his new house instead of hanging around the Ministry House.

So with the moving out of our "residents" we are transitioning back into more closed house environment for now.  Dave and I are eager to regain some more family time and see we need to do a bit of work ourselves on our house and some of the attitudes and behaviors that have developed during such a busy season (in both us and our children!) With the moving out we have also gained back the upstairs bedrooms and have moved many of the kids around and into their own rooms.  We hope to keep these rooms as theirs for the foreseeable future.  We've done some painting, and redecorating to make them a bit more "thiers".

We painted the kitchen too!

Once everyone has moved out Dave and I are planning on fixing the basement back up into a nice apartment with a full kitchen.  We have begun some of the work and hope to have it finished by summer time.  Our heart's desire to always have that open and available as God would have us use it for temporary housing.  We however have also learned that with the size of our family, the demands of ministry and work, we need to have our residence a bit less open and random.  So the basement apartments will be treated as separate residences for occasional use.

I like change.  If things stay true to our random course...there will be more change somewhere in our future!

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