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A Week till Local Outreach!
The last month has been incredible. The DTS has really come together in unity. We've been taking seriously the commandment from Jesus to love one another and it has been flowing out as we minister to our neighbors and this city. We have one more week of lectures before we go to a full-time schedule of serving and sharing!!

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October Update: One Month In.

A Month In!
We've covered 'Nature and Character of God', 'Biblical Worldview', 'Hearing the Voice of God' and 'Freedom in Christ'. It has been such a incredible experience seeing the students grow deeper with Jesus and find more freedom and greater revelation. This coming week is 'Father Heart of God', please be praying for the students, some are still needing to see quite a lot of funds come in to continue in the school!!

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Annnnd we're off



Wowzers! It definitely has begun...

We have 10 students on the school and it is good! We're thankful for the school size because we have quickly learned that we fill EVERY.SINGLE.SPACE. we have. We've gone through orientation and we've seen some pretty incredible things so far. As we sent them out to get to know our city, they were also challenged to pray for a few people. When we all got back together, I was so overcome with awe as I heard many stories of beautiful encounters. In one instance they prayed for a man who had been hit by a car and couldn't walk for 3 years... after their prayer, he was physically healed and could walk and even climb stairs! God is soooo good.




They have jumped right in as we have taken them to Yosemite to dive into the subjects of Character and Nature of God AND Biblical Worldview. I love seeing people's perspectives shift as we engage in the Word and step out of our own Worldview.  Please continue to pray for us as will still work on some visa issues and finances with students.

Please pray for Luke and I as we navigate family life and ministry life with no staff. He is our portion!

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.

Psalm 16:5 




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The DTS has begun!
We are about to start week 2 in DTS and we have already seen some big things happen! We have seen students step out of their comfort zones, break out of fear of public speaking, share how God has impacted their lives and what they hope for in this time. We ended up with 10 students after a few dropped out and we have an amazing group. Miraculously, we have JUST enough accommodation for all the students and things are going smoothly. We have decided to....

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God's provision




You know those times that "conveniently" you have the right people at the right time? Well, I don't believe those things are by chance but God's provision in his Sovereignty.

We have needed to revamp the backyard for around 2 years. We just haven't had the time or the energy to pull off something like that. Well, recently, we had a visitor (now a dear friend) who needed to stay while some things needed to get worked out. She has many skills but among them, landscaping experience. With her skill and my design, Luke didn't know what was hitting him. ;)

With some of the DTS arriving early, we had all the man power we
needed to turn a backyard jungle into the perfect space for DTS hang outs and family times. The kids are definitely outside A LOT MORE!

Don't you just love when God brings you a blessing when you weren't even looking for it! So thankful that He cares about, even when you don't see it happening and put it on the back burner. This yard is here to stay for a while!




And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Phil. 4:19








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8 kids?! Game on!
We've had quite an eventful month here... to say the least. Sometimes in life a lot of events just seem to happen all at once.

We've had to navigate grief as not only did Angela's cousin pass from cancer but we also lost a close friend from a car accident. She was only 30. We sent Angela up to be with their family for a few days....

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ANGELA'S LOSS
Thank you all who contributed to sending us to Chicago. We had the privilege of being with my sweet cousin Becky when she passed earlier this month. We soaked up every moment of the last few days Becky was with us in worship, prayer and speaking truth over her. Hours felt like minutes as we sat in the presence of the Lord together. I've been learning how to....

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http://gleanings.org/
The first Mission trip with my Youth Group was to YWAM Gleanings.  We started out playing road games and having so much fun. It was so amazing just getting to know my team. In the beginning, we started out just waving and saying hi but through this trip we got to become really good friends. We traveled from San Jose to south Fresno.

When we got there, it smelt like hot sweat and manure together. It was so disgusting! We got all our cabins and unpacked our stuff and chose our beds. After we had dinner, the Gleanings staff introduced themselves. Then, we all had a great sleep.



The next day, I got ready in my work cloths, had conversations over breakfast and then we started work. We were supposed to help turn the ugly fruit the stores didn't want into dried fruit that could be sent overseas to the hungry.

http://gleanings.org/
When they showed us what to do, I thought that the best job for me was the “cup up”, which is when the pears are cut in half and you have to make sure they face up when you put the sod on it when it dries so no bugs will get in it. I did that job during the week. Although it was hard work and I was sweaty, I stilled enjoyed my time there. We had a great time. There were other groups there that we were able to meet. I got to know a lot of people in the other Youth Groups too.They were so fun to work with.

Then my Youth Director’s wife, asked me to get involved in worship. I agreed to sing and play the cajón, (which is also called a box drum). I felt honored that I could be included.

We worked a lot but we got to play a lot. We got to go swimming in the pool that they have and we had so much fun playing water polo. There was one night we dressed up to listen to the teachings. It was nice to get dressed up after being in work clothes all the time. After the teaching we had a prayer time. This was such a moving experience for most of the Youth Group. We started to pray and I felt the Holy Spirit fall on my like a crashing wave. Than I started to sob in tears. My friend Valerie and I hugged because we could both feel it. Before I knew it everyone started to gather and we cried together and hugged. The Holy Spirit moved us and as we felt led, we started to repent from the things we felt convicted of and after we started to Worship the Lord. Even now, when I think about it, I cry cause of how moving and present the Lord was in that moment. It was such a moment of the presence of our Lord and Savior.



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July Update: Believe with us

As we draw near to running our 2nd DTS in San Jose, we are so aware of all the details that need to fall into place. Existing in the faith gap of where we find ourselves to what we are believing for invariably causes us to fall on our faces and cry out to the Lord.

Can you relate? It is such a safe place to be, before Him, completely reliant on Him. In this place your life gives Him SO much glory!

I've been learning how to....

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UPDATE Sept 13th
While we are still believing for a home to be released for our family, a great short term option has come up for our short term needs which will enable us to run the school without adding the expense of a new house!! It also enables us to remain in our family home!

It has been a desire of our hearts to become more planted here in San Jose. It has been growing over the years and we are believing God to release a home for us as a family, to not just be renters but own.

So we are placing this need before the Lord and believing for Him to do what we cannot!

We are after a specific kind of property, one that has room for our immediate family with a little wiggle room to grow as well as plenty of space to entertain and host other guests and families.

We have been looking for something with multiple dwellings, either some apartments or multiple houses on some land. Over the past few years we have seen several possibilities come up on the market but we have not felt a peace about proceeding.

With the current reality of needing more property for our growing ministry it would make a lot of sense for us to use our current family home we are renting for accommodation for our staff and students.

Would you stand with us and believe with us for a property that would suit us? We have a sense God has the right one in mind. We don't have much of a clue of how to get it. What we are starting to do is gather pledges so if we are needing to put up a deposit to get a loan we will have a chance to purchase something.

The lowest price we've seen of something that would work was around $800,000, the highest end was 1.4.  Would you stand with us and believe? We've been carrying a rent of $3000, I don't think that would translate to a bank loan with a mortgage repayment of 3000 but if it did I would say on a conservative end we wouldn't qualify for much more than a $400,000 loan. I (Luke) am so open to help and wisdom if you would like to offer it!

Yes, it is a challenge! I speaking to my good friend who is a pastor in the city and the conversation was along the lines of we have to keep people who are called here. I realize many people need to leave because of the high cost of living, but for us it is our CALLING to be here!! This is how we are approaching it, so, stand with us and believe with us! HE is able to do GREAT things!!

In a timeline sense our DTS starts September 19th, if we cannot purchase something before then we will most likely rent another property but we are hopeful of a solution!!

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Luke and Angela

Points of Interest

Giving
Gifts under $14,000 attract no gift tax.
If you would like tax deductibility this can be complicated as we would need to pay income tax and it would look like our income would sky rocket so we are hesitant to receive too many donations at this time.

Goal
We are trying to raise as much as we can. Our initial goal is to raise $150,000 cash with as many low-interest/no interest loans as possible. If we were able to have someone co-sign or even help purchase would be great. We're not sure how, we are wanting to be proactive!





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Its the end of the school year for us... Just. one. more. month.
Traditionally, this is the time where it feels like EVERYTHING takes so much more effort. It sometimes feels like it all crashes down at once! And in the midst of it, we're either desperately asking God to help us get through the day OR wondering where the heck he is. We can feel discouraged, frustrated and even defeated.

I woke up one morning REALLY tired and I struggled to get out of bed. Oddly....

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So, this is us... the real, brutally honest us:
- Birthdays: We just celebrated Levi's and Xavier's birthdays at the end of March and Kindi's is creeping up slowly (its at the end of the month). We're so amazed by the little people they are becoming but scary as we dive into pre-adolescent years.
- Health:  Kids have been fighting a lot of sickness...

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But I must not be too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me. So a painful problem was given to me—an angel from Satan, sent to make me suffer, so that I would not think that I am better than anyone else. I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. Yes, I am glad to have weaknesses if they are for Christ. I am glad to be insulted and have hard times. I am glad when I am persecuted and have problems, because it is when I am weak that I am really strong.
______________________________________

This scripture popped out to me this morning. I think the most common verse in this is verse 9. The well quoted scripture of "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

But today this stood out to me in a new light. The Lord keeps challenging me with my perspective.

We all have that "thorn in the flesh", that thing we complain about... that thing we bring up for sympathy or use to justify our thoughts/actions. Whether its sickness or an injury, financial stresses, family dramas, kids, spouse, lack of sleep, school or work... pretty much anything... That God-forsaken THORN! 

But do I have to view it as a "thorn"? I think Paul's heart was to express that if we are walking in the fullness of God's grace, our perspective will shift. Grace is not a magical feeling that comes from the sky, its a growing in your faith. Its beginning to see Him, His intent & His Glory. Its beginning to see things as an opportunity to step out in faith, to trust for His provision, to lean in on His understanding, to offer a picture of grace to others. 

Id like to throw the thought out, that i we see things differently than this, then maybe we are just outright walking in pride..

Pride is independent. Pride is also slowly turning a "God story" into a "me story". Pride is self-sufficient, thinking we can manage and fill the gap ourselves. BUT did you also know that pride is also feeling that you deserve that sympathy.... That pride is doubting God's intentions. Pride is mistrust and fear. Pride is skepticism and pride is just plain old unbelief. I can easily say that I have walked in pride more often than I'd like to admit. However, we are just people... mere mortals. Flawed and imperfect in every way... The older I get, the more joy I have in that fact! Especially when I size myself up against a Perfect, Infinite, Creator, Savior God.  

The joy comes from seeing less of me and even more of my NEED FOR HIM (GRACE)! The expectations of me and others around me begin to lessen and the more I look for Him to fill the absolute gap that is there (GRACE). The gap, the thorn (or whatever you want to call it), is there so His grace is needed for our survival. Its becoming one and COMPLETE IN HIM! 

The gap is an all encompassing part of His grace, so we realize its not about us.. but about Him. That is His love in action. He's bringing us back to our original intent of being in communion with Him! The oneness is our whole purpose... the JACKPOT answer for what is the meaning of life... its the LOVE relationship with Him!

So next time you don't sleep well, or have a cold, get in a fight, or just can't make rent... take comfort in these words:

HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, HIS POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS!

Why? Because if you let Him, you will see what God's grace truly is as He draws you closer to Him!

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Water from the Rock

This morning I woke up with a word and I shared in our staff meeting...  The word was simple, "Water from the rock".

Now immediately my mind went to Numbers 20 when God asks Moses to speak to a rock so that water would spring from it, but them Moses makes a colossal mistake and HITS the rock. This disobedience resulted in Moses never being able to go into the Promise Land... So sad.

Well, how the heck is that encouraging? Was God trying to tell me we are being disobedient and we're not going to go into the Promise Land???

So I was looking up the scripture reference so I could thoroughly examine it and saw Exodus 17 pop up.  This was actually the first time God sprung water from the rock for Moses. You see, the Israelites were thirsty and started complaining...  Now I have a lot of grace for the Israelites.  They came out of the only place they ever known, not really knowing or understanding God and God is using all these opportunities to show them that he is the one true God. So I get the fact that they were complaining. They just didn't know or understand... But Moses seeing that a potential mob uprising, probably concerned and frustrated by the people's response and probably more than a little out of his depth, goes to the Lord. The Lord says, "Hit that rock with the walking stick and water will come out of it. Then the people can drink.” So probably a little unsure if it will work, but trusting God enough to take the faith step, he does what he was told and VOILA! Water from the rock! Amazing, right? What a faith builder that must have been.

Fast forward probably YEARS. There is this on-again/off-again thing with the people trusting God.  They are so fickle in some ways. I mean Moses went up this mountain to meet with the Lord and after some time went by, they got nervous fell back into idol worship (among other things). So Moses comes down with these tablets called the 10 commandments. I mean... they weren't using paper here. He was chiseling it into stone. I wonder how LONG that took? But anyway, the people now had some solid guidelines to go by.... but what happens when you feel like "things never change"?

Here we are again (Numbers 20)... no water.... AGAIN! At this point so many feeling would be going through one's mind...
"things never change"...
maybe, "things always are hard"...
possibly, "if God is real then we wouldn't have the same problems"...
and on... and on... and on...
I wonder what Moses thought as the people slowly formed into a mob? I wonder if he was frustrated at God more than the people this time? 

This time the Lord tells Moses, "Speak to the rock in front of the people. Then water will flow from the rock, and you can give that water to the people and to their animals.” So when he gets there, what does he do? He HITS the rock and the consequences are BIG.

I don't know what Moses was thinking when this happened. I have no idea! But the Lord spoke this word to me this morning and this is what I believe he was imparting to me/us.

We are about to reboot some past programs we have trialed in YWAM Ember Ink. They are familiar and may have the same challenges. We have personal struggles (all of us do) which seem like "same-old, same-old". But the question we should be asking is, "What is GOD saying?"

I can almost put myself in Moses' sandals... He is in the same place he was years back, saw God provide and had the story - the memory. Now God asks him to do a SIMILAR thing but not the same. There is maybe a sort of logic that the physical hitting of the rock could produce water... maybe it was a weak point in the rock... how else would it have cracked and opened up? 

I imagine he was wondering how it would even crack open if he just spoke to the rock... or that he knows God has done it before in a certain way/method... or maybe that the fear of it not working meant that he couldn't hear God and the people would turn on him. For whatever reason, he HIT that rock. And his lack of faith and trust was acted upon. He didn't take a faith step like before, he chose to step out in fear laced with a sort-of God element. 

How incredibly dangerous that is. Its enabling our fear and misguiding those around us. It robs us of our inheritance and puts a cap on what God can do in your life. And ultimately, its sad... because there was so much more.

The challenge I walk away with is...
  • What is God saying?
  • What am I afraid of?
  • Am I limiting God to working only one way in my life?
  • Am I bound by fear of others?
  • Do I carry a perspective of "here we go again" expecting everything to fail?
  • Am I continuing to step out in faith? In new ways?
  • Am I exercising my trust in the Lord?
  • Am I letting my logic interfere with the things God is challenging me in?
  • With each circumstance, who am I in the story? The Israelites? Or Moses?
  • How do I regularly examining my heart?

Don't miss out on the things God has for you... and I'll aim to do the same.


Angela

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March Update: Back in the game!

Recently, I've had the chance to teach on 2 DTS classes that are running in Northern California. Spending time encouraging and teaching these young people who have set time aside to learn more about God and His ways was so life-giving for me. I've never really consider myself (Luke) much of a teacher but being able to be a part of the journey for these students has stoked a real fire within me. As we look forward to hosting YWAM Ember Ink's 2nd DTS this fall I am excited and expectant for...

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January Update: Our Latest...

You know that point when you learn something new or get a revelation and you seem to be reminded of it where ever you turn? Like, if you get a new car and then all of a sudden you see the same exact car EVERY WHERE!

At the end of the year, Luke was leading worship at church and...

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