Babies are time consuming.

It's been a super long time since I've updated or posted anything on my own site. Last thing that happened was our son, Valor Dean, was born. So yeah, that's why I have neglected this. But now lets get back to it, and I'll start with an update I sent our home church back in NOLA, Vintage Church. 

They are starting a church planting development network/community of sorts, and being among the first guys to graduate seminary and forge a new direction from God calling us outside of NOLA, I'm lucky enough to be apart of their trial run/beta program for it. It's called the GX network, for Gospel Multiplication, based on a teaching series Vintage did a few years ago. 

Here is the update I sent them, along with some links on more info on Vintage Church's MORE initiative and the GX network. 

Vintage Church MORE Initiative:
http://www.vintagechurchnola.com/give/more-initiative/
Detailed info, including the sending out of church plants at home and abroad: 
http://www.vintagechurchnola.com/s/MORE-Vision-Book-Web.pdf

1 Story, 1 Prayer, 1 Need: A GX Update from Matt & Keeva O'Mealey in Des Moines

Family downtown DSM

After being a part of the early days of Vintage, thanks to the invite by our campus neighbors, Scott and Wendy McGuire, Vintage Church has been an immense part of our story and formation as ministers of the Gospel, both as a couple and individually. It was bittersweet to move away over 2 years ago now, because our closest friends and co-laborers in the Gospel were formed through serving New Orleans through Vintage. Needless to say, we are super encouraged and excited that Vintage Church and its staff continue to encourage us as well as help to push the Gospel forward through the MORE campaign there in NOLA and abroad through the many that God continues to send out. 

1 Story

So one story that stands out as a wild example of God’s sovereignty and provision is how we’ve been given a lot of coffee equipment. It’s been a recurring desire and dream of mine to continue to work in the coffee world and use it more directly in ministry as a way to keep our own hands in the marketplace, allowing us chances to meet people from wider backgrounds and stories. 

My pastoral partner, Scott Carter, was back in New Jersey, where he’s from, visiting churches and giving updates to those that have previously supported them as missionaries. He mentioned that his new pastoral partner is in the coffee business and maybe someday our church ministry could do its own thing in some capacity as a way to gather and meet people. After church that day, a couple approached him saying they had equipment they wanted to give to him. Turns out it’s 2 espresso machines, a grinder, a decked-out mobile cart with a fridge and water pump, and other various equipment. They had intended to start a business and never did, so their equipment was used a few times for church and then put in storage. 

From there others have given us money and equipment, including the coffee shop I currently work for, who gave me a quality commercial bulk coffee brewer to help start us off. It’s incredible that they support me and have even given me equipment to start my own business. 

We could of course go on about how God continues to orchestrate such things, but to the point, our hope is that Scott and I can get our own mobile coffee business going to be an alternative revenue stream for us as the pastors, so we can leave our other jobs. If we could get to the point of being financially supported through a combination of our own mobile coffee business and church support, we would be freed to work on ministry tasks more, while also supporting our families through work that also allows us to build more relationships and find inroads into the community.  

1 Prayer

As our team grows, we are having success and favor with inviting in friends and coworkers who don’t know Jesus and/or aren’t connected to a local church. Besides praying for salvations and lives changed, pray for our leaders and a unified vision. 

We have a need for more leaders, as well as spiritual health and protection of our leaders as they preach the Gospel to those in bondage of sin. The enemy does not like it and will do anything to bring division or diminish the heart and drive of those proclaiming Jesus, as well as distract and discourage those hearing the Gospel. We have already been seeing specific instances of spiritual attack and distraction, and are praying against it. 

As for our unified vision, our mission and vision is to help people “take their next steps with Jesus” and see lives changed. As Pastor Rob always preaches at Vintage, it’s always a win if God uses us to move an unbeliever even one step closer to faith, or continue to spur the believer to a deeper walk. 

So, as we continue to grow, we pray that this vision keeps getting fleshed out well, and that leaders, and new leaders yet to join, can catch the vision and run with it as God uses them to be the church in their own individual contexts and ministries. We also pray that God would continue to use us all to preach Christ and see our friends and neighbors come to a saving faith as God uses us through our vision of helping people take their next steps with Jesus.

1 Need

Our overall big need is support, both locally and financially. We would love to gain support and camaraderie with other local churches and ministries here in the DSM metro area, which I’ve been working towards. It would be great for collaboration, brotherhood, resource sharing, etc. and maybe even other churches sending some leaders over to join us who are in our area that would share our vision. 

The other support need is financial. I have secured some funds for operation cost support through NAMB, but extra would be a big help for equipment, like chairs, which we are running out of chairs quickly from the ones we’ve borrowed.  We currently have space, but are running out of seats, which is a problem you want to have!

Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement. The GX network and partnership fulfills a need for encouragement, support, and prayer that anyone stepping out in a new ministry cannot do without. We are humbled and excited to be a part of the Vintage story from our years in New Orleans, and forward to Des Moines and any other community, city, or country that God sends GX partners into. We miss you all and cannot wait to visit our NOLA home and family again.

Des Moines, Topping Lists and Drawing Church Planters

It's more than coincidence that a city like Des Moines is topping lists, which are praising it's current status as well as it's projected rise to prominence, while God is also calling church planters here as well as sparking growth in many other area ministries. 

Every week it seems I meet a new person in ministry, have conversations with new friends disconnected from, searching for, or just becoming interested in church, but are yet to find a place they feel connected to. Likewise, I hear of and/or meet people at various stages of exploring a call to Des Moines church planting, and many already on their way or in the first months of planting. 

A Call to the City
Cities are rapidly expanding, and in our context, notably small to medium cities, especially in the Midwest, are on exponentially fast trajectories in many areas. 5.5 million people move into cities each month, and currently 80% of the worlds population is urban. Outside the US, other megacities are growing the fastest, but we are not far behind and our cities are growing at incredible rates.  

Our hearts and calling are to theses cities, and in particular to Des Moines. For us, we explored a calling that could only be explained by a Holy Spirit prompting that led us to here, and has been confirmed over and over by these types of stats and cultural trends that point to the prime time opportunities to move into cities and be a part of God's redeeming movements in the city. For others we've talked to about their call, it's been seeing the undeniable evidence of this movement and opportunity, and feeling prompted to explore a call that would hinge on the new urban growth and cultural expansion. 

I share this to give a glimpse into our lives and calling thus far. Also to our friends and family near and far, to point to God's movement and culturally influential opportunities that are bursting in cities like Des Moines and so many others. If you feel called to join us here, awesome. If you are prompted to shift ministry efforts in ways to capitalize on the new urbanization, awesome.

A Call to Action
Church, let's not lag behind on another cultural trend that can be influential with the redeeming power of Gospel. Let's shift our focus and efforts to change in a way that's on or ahead of trend, instead of remaining stereotypically irrelevant to current culture movements and trying to play catch-up after falling a decade behind (and in this case, being slaves to typical  evangelical anti-urban bias). Let's move with culture, through careful discernment and strategic action, and allow the power of the Gospel to redeem the city, its art, its neighborhoods, its business', etc., in ways that not only see conversions to faith in Christ, but engagement and investment in the new urban culture, in the common good of our neighborhoods, in the art and business whose influences reach far and wide outside the city streets. Remember, God built His church through cities, and as the city goes, so goes culture. 

As it's said in Why Cities Matter: To God, The Culture, and the Church, "We argue for the importance of cities not because it is sexy or trendy, but because the wonderfully good news of the Gospel demands that our mission not be haphazard or arbitrary. Rather, Christian mission ought to be strategic." "We need churches everywhere there are people, but the people of the world are moving into the great cities of the world much faster than the church is. And therefore we must call all Christians to better understand and care for cities, and we must call more Christians to consider living and ministering in cities."  I can rattle on about this, but don't take my word for it!

From Megacity to “Metacity” — The Shape of the Future
The Missing Demographic in Urban Churches
Do the Most Hipster Thing Possible—Move to Des Moines
Rise of the Megacities
Beyond City Limits: The age of nations is over. The new urban age has begun.
World Urbanization Prospects, 2014 Revision
 

A Quick Update on Us and Partnerships

Shot from me kicking it downtown. 

We have had a crazy busy time over the last couple of months. Holiday time was great, but short since the hairstyle world doesn't get off for holidays, because people want to look snazzy for seeing family and pictures. So we both worked a lot and only had a few days off for Christmas to take a quick jaunt through Oklahoma to see my family, Missouri to see Keeva's, then back to Des Moines to work. Then Keeva had to leave on a business tip and I was left by my lonesome over new years to fend for myself in the cold, but luckily my friends from Mars helped cheer me up for a few days, and we hung out downtown and I even jumped in on percussion on an open mic. 

Part of why we've been busy lately is because Keeva has been promoted (which is what the business trip was) to salon manager for the Ulta Salon in the Merle Hay Mall to help build a team there and revitalize the store. The mall once was the largest in the state and that Ulta was the highest grossing as well, but after the huge Jordan Creek mall and shopping area (where she had been working in another Ulta) went up in 2004 in West Des Moines, the area has seen a decline, but it is currently going under an update and revitalization. So it's a very exciting opportunities, as the mall is in our area of the city, the promotion comes with a salary that enables her to actually work less hours than her 2 part time positions up to this point, for more pay, enabling me to not have to work as much as ministry meetings and involvement increase. 

On that note, we have also seen God's hand in so many things (including Keeva's promotion) as we prepare to plant a church and seek out friends and partners in the city. One of the first churches we visited, Westwind Church in Waukee, has been very helpful and the lead pastor immediately offered up help and support as we got into the city. So through them and the BCI director, and even through the new friends I make every day at Mars, there are several opportunities and individual partners in the works that we are praying through. There are so many possibilities and people that have been feeling, and answering the call to start new church gatherings in Des Moines, it's easy to see God's hand at work and be excited, but in the end it's not surprising as we are led by and share the same Spirit. 

Also it's been deathly cold up here lately, it's currently negative double digits with even lower wind chill, after about an 8" snow a couple days ago, as noted by my frozen Jeep up above. Keeva is about 7 months pregnant and while it keeps her warmer mostly, her belly won't fit into coats, so it's sad/funny/cute. 

Be in prayer with us as we seek clarity and direction with some key people. Also be in prayer for those in various stages of feeling called to serve in ministry in Des Moines, as God continues to build this ground swell of workers in an influential Midwestern city, that's quickly growing. 

You have to be close to listen.

Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest is one of the most popular devotionals ever complied, and a favorite of mine that has never ceased to kick me in the gut when I'm needing it or feeling a little stale. One of the entries that has always jazzed me up is "Called By God" which looks at Isaiah 6:8, one of my favorite sections in Scripture, and one that's often used for people's calls to ministry. 

Those verses are awesome for so many reasons. We see the Glory of the Triune God, a glimpse at the throne room, Isaiah's realization of his iniquity and God's reconciliation for it right then and there. But in the context of this devotional and this post, we see Isaiah answer God's call. To me, one of the greatest things about having a relationship with God and realizing our call to be used to bring others into relationship with Him, is the extreme balance of both our severe insignificance and God's overwhelmingly infinite love for us. This has a lot to do with my personal attitude and feeling when it comes to my call into vocational ministry. It is unbelievable that I'd be chosen, but at the same time not, because the call to join our Father in the Ministry of Reconciliation is there to all who have Faith in Him (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).  

Chambers points out that God was not directly addressing Isaiah in His questioning for a messenger. He makes an interesting point that the call is an open general call for all who's spiritual condition is attuned to hear the call. Scripture tells us that we are all called to the ministry of reconciliation, we are all commissioned to go and tell of the Good News (Matthew 28:18-20), and that those who are in the faith are of the holy and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9). So yes, as believers we are all called, but God is not knocking down your door because you're some special cog in the Gospel machine. This has many significant implications though, so don't think this is any sort of diminishing of your personal call. If this call was overtly hinged on us individually, then it would give us something to boast about personally, which would be theologically incorrect, since salvation is not of our doing so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9) as well as God's decision to use us despite our brokenness (2 Cor. 12:9), and as previously mentioned all believers are called. Also everything about being a Christian and a minister of the Gospel is about personal humility, by making much of God and His glory and putting others above ourselves in service (John 3:30, Matthew 22:37-40, Phil 2:1-11). 

To wrap up, so far I've been applying this to large, all encompassing calls, but I think we often overlook the daily and spontaneous (though divinely ordained) call we have to not only die to ourselves, but to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Everyday we are in contact with people who we can have the opportunity to minister too, both regenerate believers, and those non-regenerate and outside the faith. The verses in Isaiah, as well as the point that Chambers makes, are for particular calls to specific people, times, and places as the Lord sees fit to use them.

I'm a big advocate for zeroing in on the specific circles of influence that God has ordained you to be in, that only you fit into with the unique position and circle cross-overs that naturally happen. Like a ministry audience Venn Diagram, uniquely ordained by God that we will surely miss capitalizing on if we are not in tune with the Holy Spirit's guiding prompts in our daily lives. Boiling down Isaiah's call in this instance and not just focusing on the incredible nature of the situation with the seraphim and the burning coal, Chambers summarizes "Isaiah was in the presence of God, and he overheard the call." This is how we can be led in the moment to ask certain questions that get at the heart of the matter with someone we are ministering to, or quote certain verses, or do certain things like stopping in that moment to lay a hand on them and pray. 

This is the simple take away: There is a call to all believers; as a believer you are called; and to hear the promptings and answer the call, you have to be in His presence; you have to be close to listen. 

Appreciating Hindsight

"Nomade" - Sitting in the Park at Night - Downtown Sculpture Garden - Des Moines

"Nomade" - Sitting in the Park at Night - Downtown Sculpture Garden - Des Moines

Over the last several years I've had a lot of various journeys and experiences that I can look back on and learn a lot from. An interesting thing though, is as I get to know new people and we learn about each other or as current friends ask about how various things are going or if I regret certain life decisions or directions, they often seem to be thinking I would have regrets or negative feelings about different things. Sure we can all often wish certain things went differently, but good or bad there's so much to be learned from hindsight, as well as just being flexible enough to not think that something was a failure if it didn't end up the way you expected on the outset.  To think every unexpected change points to failure is rather negative and I would think limiting from what you could actually learn a lot from looking back and seeing not only how things can turn out better than expected, but that a surprising change of direction could actually be a good thing (no I'm not saying failure isn't a thing, because it is; but I am saying everything is an opportunity). In all the various changes, struggles, and surprises in our journeys as Christians, we should especially be able to look back and see God's hand and sovereignty in all things, whether good or bad, easy or difficult. God has consistently surprised Keeva and I in our journey with unexpected new paths and even deep Gospel lessons from unexpected changes, hard situations and suffering, such as years of infertility and an early miscarriage. 

The reason I'm thinking about productively analyzing our journeys in hindsight is we recently had a fun weekend in NOLA where I taught at a youth retreat and we were able to spend a couple days with our friends/NOLA family from our community group, neighborhood coffee community, and of course Vintage Church. Several times we were both asked, for instance, if our time in Omaha just "didn't work out" or we if we thought it was a failure. First off the answer is a resounding "no". Yeah we had a different concept when we left NOLA for Omaha, but even after 13 months there we still accomplished most of what we set out to do, even if in the end it looked different in how it played out. We were able to learn a lot from Coram Deo about church and Midwestern culture, which supplemented and filled in some gaps for the foundation we set up through seminary and Vintage. We were lucky enough to be asked to start a new Gospel Community in the Little Italy neighborhood of Omaha, which helped us hone our small group skills, which we already knew were some of our top skills and passions, but as we were hoping, the different culture of people who were mainly from there or other Midwestern areas prepared us by teaching us more about the heart and religious culture of Midwestern cities, which was notably different than NOLA and even our Bible Belt Oklahoma roots. We also had a great relationship with all the pastors and staff at Coram Deo and were able to learn a lot from meetings and one on one time with each one. I also had the opportunity to have several meetings with Pastor Bob Thune and several other leaders in the church that were interested in church planting, and spend time twice a month digging into what it means to be a pastor and church planter both scripturally and practically. And I would say just as formative, and always one of our favorites, was our jobs and all that we learned about people and culture through our industries of fashion and coffee/specialty local cuisine, not to mention regular and often encouraging conversations with customers and coworkers both inside and outside the Faith. 

I think a lot of what has formed this type of personal attitude and ethic is a growing foundational understanding of the Gospel and our identities in Christ through a Gospel lens, as well as a realistic expectation of ideas and plans. My mind first goes to James 4:13-17, because "you do not know what tomorrow will bring" so why foolishly set yourself up for disappointment and confusion to say with certainty what is yet to come when you have no way of knowing with certainty? Of course we should have goals and a direction, but as we move forward in faith we don't have to have every little detail ironed out or be crushed when things inevitably shift and change. Also, to Paul's personal words on what ultimately matters in life is to know Christ and to make Him known and that all else is rubbish in comparison, whether that be our resume or 10 year plan. To get to that point of concern only for the things of God we have to first deal with the false belief that we have control over tomorrow, only then does our plans, possessions, status, comfort, relationships and the like, pale in comparison to Jesus and His Good News, thus enabling us to look back on any journey of life and praise His name. 

We are called to follow God and his call on our lives in all things, and trust that He not only will lead us and give us clarity, but that the calling and direction will be fulfilling to us personally on a deeper level than what we would come up with on our own. Too often Christians formulate their goal and direction and attempt to sprinkle God in to attain blessing in their efforts. That is obviously not the life Christ calls us too. We are to follow Him and trust that He will insert our passions and preferences into His plan for us. What I'm saying is that God gives us our individual personalities and preferences for a reason, and they are ultimately for His reasons of worshiping and glorifying Him and using them in the ministry of reconciliation. Our overly independent western society thinks that religion takes away our individuality for some detached greater good, so we selfishly and pridefully try to keep God in a box that we are comfortable with, to ensure we get to do what we like and will stick to it whether or not it lines up with a greater Gospel purpose. This is a lot of what it means to trust God with our careers and direction, trusting that the person He made us to be will not be lost but even better realized in His greater plan, and not our mere good ideas. 

To conclude, lets briefly look to Scripture, specifically the Scripture so many like to mistakenly claim as some God-given material blessing promise. Without writing out an entire commentary or sermon on it, let's just get a better picture of the context and actual general lesson found in Jeremiah 29:11, which can be found plastered on every genre of trinket and decor at your local Christian book store today.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare [or peace] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
 

For starters, the Israelites were in exile in Babylon, which God sent them into as a part of His plan to get their attention and because of their sin. In the previous verses in chapter 29, He is telling them to stop moping around and to grow, even in their unfavorable situation, and He assures them of His plans for peace and restoration that are to come, though even at that moment they are not outside of God's plan due to their exile, but in it. Honoring God even in hard times brings Him glory, I'd say even more so. Their exile and current moping are not surprising Him, He's God. He's sovereign, omniscient, and omnipotent, and nothing in their situation is outside of his control and He wants them to recognize that. Also God goes on to warn them about listening to false prophets who were saying God wouldn't let Jerusalem fall to Babylon, which was not from God and He did in fact destroy Jerusalem by their hands. The false prophets were preaching a false comfort, in contrast to God's promise of temporary suffering before future blessing (whether in the present life or the one that is to come).  So even on first pass, this is not a verse of immediate blessing or even inevitable abundance, but a promise of hope for peace and a God centered plan and purpose. 

Yeah this was a long post and thought discourse, but it's been something stuck in my craw for a while. It's something I've been pondering personally, as well as through discipling people either in their own hard times, or asking about others or even my own. So what about you? How has God made His sovereignty evident in your life, either through situations or through His Word? How has Jesus revealed Himself as the only true source of unwaivering Hope? Or what makes you struggle to find fulfillment in Jesus? I pray that you will find your identity and sense of hope in Christ, pray for us to not take our eyes off of Him in that same way as well. 

Our NOLA trip was a Smash

Our trip to NOLA has wrapped up. We had a great time with the New Orleans Chinese Baptist Church youth group at their retreat weekend where I had a chance to teach more in depth on the elements of the Gospel, our identities in the Gospel, and what it means to be Gospel fluent. We also had a great time hanging with the students, and I also led a team to domination in a few rounds of Bazooka Ball, no surprise with my leadership and extensive studies in military tactics (meaning I've played a lot of video games... and they're just kids so...). 

We also had plenty of time to hang out with several of our close friends too. Our first stop was to spend the afternoon at our old coffee shop job, PJ's on Magazine, where we both worked over 4 years each together. We caught up with several friends, as well as old regular customers who walked right past us only to turn around caught off guard that we were there, and my hair is over 10 inches shorter so that's quite a change. Since it's New Orleans, we had to eat out, so after a late lunch at Guy's Po Boys by our old house, we went to another favorite, Midway Pizza

We also hit up the new District Doughnuts and had several sliders a doughnut sandwich, some coffees, and a cinnamon roll doughnut to go. I don't think it needs said, but it was awesome. Also the coffee is legit, with beans from 1000 Faces, and a La Marzocca Strada MP espresso machine. 

After the retreat we came back to a Labor Day party at Pastor Rob's house to catch up with more of our Vintage Church family. That was a great evening, not only because we got to see close friends, but because we had finally been able to publicly (aka on Facebook) announce Keeva's pregnancy a couple days earlier, so there was plenty of excitement already. After a long road of an early miscarriage and about 3.5 years of infertility (more on that later) she's finally pregnant and past her first trimester, and we were able to thank God together and celebrate with more of our friends who have journeyed with us from the beginning. 

Sadly the "smash" part of the weekend was getting a call Monday night that our car driver side window had been smashed out in a rash of smash and grabs. Other than making mess and costing us money for window replacement, they made off with my 8 year old original Zune MP3 player but forgot to take the charge cable with it. I hope they can get at least $20 for it at a pawn shop, though I may need counseling to get over the loss of my old friend, the Zune. 

But this upcoming weekend (9/6) I will get a chance to share our vision for church planting in Des Moines Metro area at Waukee Baptist Church. It will be a good chance to get to know more ministers as well as inform them on how they can be a part of what we will be doing and partner with us. 

So we're down one Zune, but up one baby, which may likely be named Zune in memoriam. 

Officially moved into Des Moines.

Keeva in front of the Capitol building. 

We are finally in our location where we feel God has been preparing us and calling us to plant a church. Keeva is doing a certification class this weekend to begin teaching at La James where she will teach part-time, and also continue to work part-time as a hairstylist at Ulta. I did my first shift tonight at Mars Cafe, my new coffee shop job and our inevitable home away from home. It's a super cool place and I'm pumped to pour into it as both a barista and regular hanging out with the other regulars. Bonus, it's about 10 blocks from our house, so I can quickly ride my bike to work, though I may need to invest in some different tires for the snow....

Thanks to Keeva's oldest brother Berrik and and our friends Britni and Brandon Holloway, who helped us pack up in Omaha and move into our new place in Des Moines, we are happily chilling in an old duplex from the 1920's with a large living room and connected open dining room. We are looking forward to that place facilitating small group Bible studies, with its good central location and plenty of open communal room to hang out in. 

Continue to pray for us as we meet people and connect in with other ministries and pastors in the city. We haven't yet had a chance to visit any churches to attend for the time being, but will asap. Also pray for us as we go to New Orleans this coming weekend to visit coffee shop friends and our home (at least what we consider our home, Vintage) church friends. Primarily we are going for me to preach a retreat for the youth of the Chinese church, which I, along with others, have done pulpit supply for quite some time. The retreat will be Saturday evening - Monday morning, and we will be walking through the concept of Gospel Fluency, which has been a huge influence on Keeva and I over the last year from our time in Omaha at Coram Deo. All things in life need to be dealt with as an issue of unbelief first, and practical steps secondly. We don't get over an issue of lust, for instance, by mere will power, but first through understanding properly who God is and our relationship to him and others, and then practical steps to break the bad habits secondly. So the idea of Gospel Fluency is that the Gospel is our starting point for overcoming any sin and struggle. 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” - Romans 1:16-17

 

We got an apartment! (and website updates)

We are pumped to move to this beautiful city!

We are pumped to move to this beautiful city!

 After a mind numbing amount of Craigslist searching and driving randomly through neighborhoods we nailed down a place.  It's an old stacked duplex from the 1920s, 2 bed 1 bath with a large living room and open dining room setup which should do well in facilitating new in-home Bible studies and Gospel Communities. It's on University Ave. just off 35th, which is awesome since Mars Cafe is on the same street about 11 blocks away. Biking/skateboarding/walking distance is a luxury I very much prefer after my years living around the corner from barista job at PJ's on Magazine in NOLA. 

Keeva did a practical interview at a cosmetology school and that went well. Now we just need to see what's available and pray about whether she should teach and work at Ulta, or just one or the other. 

With jobs pretty much take care of and a place nailed down, we will be able to move in on August 20 or before depending on the current tenant and the owners turn around time on it. 

Also I'm still learning more and more of all the top notch site development I can do through Squarespace, my hosting and development platform. I added in some contact and feedback in a new page and combined my news and blog posts into one feed for RSS (which the RSS button is on the bottom of the Blog page) and to keep things simple. Also on the new Connect page has an email subscription option. Stay tuned for more updates and a more robust site in the near future!

I leave you with an article from a site that's new to me called Made for More. The article is about how a grace filled life should be rubbing off on those around us.

Why the blog?

I plan to keep this a regularly updated blog and news update site for the ministry journey and adventure that Keeva and I are on. Our call to the Midwest and Church Planting is a recent one (in the last couple of years) and it is something that intimidates and excites us. It's very much a work in progress as we figure things out and improvise as we depend on God and listen to Him as He leads us to these people and places we never anticipated. 

We've learned a ton in the last couple years, especially in the last several months. I will use the blog as an outlet for those growing thoughts and convictions as we move forward pursing the ministry calls on each of our lives. We aren't necessarily trying to blow minds with our thought processes, but many things are new and fresh for us as God grows us through study and interactions with other ministers that will be specific to us and our contexts. 

So follow us here and through various social medias, and pray along with us as we figure this out and work to see God glorified, disciples made, and ministries started in the Des Moines metro area. 

New jobs and still house hunting.

image.jpg

Well I "friended" my way into a new job at Mars Cafe in similar fashion to how I got my job at Aromas Coffeehouse in Omaha. I have many years of barista experience and I'm good at making new friends, so if I befriend a lot of the staff...  

So that's awesome that the Mars worked out, because it's in the general area that we want to plant, and it is right near Drake university and very busy. Keeva goes in for a technical interview at the cosmetology school on Thursday and we will do some more house hunting then too. Hopefully we can nail down a place in the right area that will serve as a good base of operations and neighborhood inlet to ministry and connections into the city. Pray for favor in that so we can get the ball rolling and move in the next couple of weeks. 

First up, we need jobs and a place to rent.

Focusing all efforts toward DSM!

Focusing all efforts toward DSM!

We have been living in Omaha for a year now (more on the later), and it's time we move over to Des Moines. Tomorrow, 7/24, we are going to DSM for a couple of job interviews and to try to look at some apartments. I have an interview at Mars Cafe which I'm pumped about, and Keeva has an interview at La James cosmetology school. She would like to both teach and work in a salon, so pray for that and God's direction in those choices. 

We also need a place to stay asap. It would be ideal to rent a place for 1-2 years and begin house shopping as we get our bearings in the city and God opens up opportunities and directs us to more specific areas on the map. We do think it will be between 31st and downtown, and Ingersoll and University (or so) area, which is still a good swath of land. 

So pray for those opportunities and for God's direction in that. We believe that jobs and places to live should be so much more that just that, and that God wants to use them for redemptive Gospel community. E