Yes, we are going to be Minnesooooootans (we just learned the official name for someone who lives in Minnesota :)).
I decided to do tomorrow’s post tonight, since I couldn’t wait! This is something we are so excited to share and TO GOD BE THE GLORY! God has been working in this situation in so many ways – not only on our end, but also in the people in Minnesota.
Now for the rest of the story…
In December, Dan was in the interviewing process with another church at the time, but Dan saw an ad in the Banner for a job opportunity in Prinsburg/Willmar, MN to which Dan decided to send his resume. About a month later (while we were in Belize), Dan heard from the head of the search committee, wanting to set up a phone interview. So the week we got home from Belize, Dan had a phone interview. We also found out that week that Dan did not get the position at the other church he was interviewing at. The next day (after the phone interview with the churches in MN), they called wondering if he/we would be willing to come out for a face-to-face interview. They gave us the option between two different weekends and we chose the first, since we didn’t have anything else going on anyways. So, the first weekend in February, we were Minnesota bound!
In all of this, we kept telling God that we would go where He would send us – no matter where it was. It wasn’t out of desperation that we were praying that, but out of our pure desire of wanting to be in His will. Every month that passed by, we knew God was preparing us for “something.” We just weren’t sure what that “something” was. As anxious as we were to find out where, there was an inner peace that God continually gave us. Yes, I had those “freak out moments” (just ask Dan) of wondering WHEN and where, but they were always replaced with God’s (and Dan’s) gentle patience with me in realizing God’s timing is just not up to me.
So, with telling God that we would go where He would send, we realized while driving out to Minnesota, that this could be the place where God could be calling us. We knew their core values and ministry philosophy matched almost verbatim to ours. That spoke volumes – a very HIGH volume to us. Our ears perked up and knew something was in the making. At the same time, it hit us that we may be moving away from “home” as in the state we grew up in.
Out to Minnesota we went, the first weekend in February. We ended up renting a vehicle b/c two days before we were to leave, our transmission was giving us trouble on our “good” vehicle. At that point, you’d think we’d cry, but we realized a transmission issue is far from the depth of the other stressors we have experienced in recent months. So we called the mechanic, knowing it may not be good. We decided to rent a car instead (save on gas too!) and it ended up being SUCH a blessing! AND…we got a call from the mechanic on the way to MN and it was just an engine coil, which was only $200 vs. the $3000 we thought we’d have to spend. THAT is when I cried. God, yet AGAIN, graciously worked and provided.
I have to say (and I’m not just saying this so that people will come visit us :)), it was a beautiful drive out there! If you love the country, this drive is for you :). Parts of Wisconsin were so incredibly gorgeous. The rolling hills, frosted with a fresh coat of snow, with the trees sporting their new white winter coats, and the sun sending it’s rays on the barns/farmhouses perched on the sides, is a sight that makes the drive all the more enjoyable. Then there is the 1 1/2 hour drive west from Minneapolis, to Willmar. If small towns are your calling, then US 12 is your route. I felt like I was “home” already.
We arrived in Willmar late Friday afternoon, checked into our hotel, drove around the town (got a little lost – which I’m sure you fellow Minnesotans laugh about, wondering how that is possible), then went to Perkins for supper. A good ole home-cooked-type meal was calling my name and Perkins answered the call. Saturday morning Dan had breakfast with one of the pastors, then went out to lunch with two of the search committee members, and then took a tour around the town. We had a little break then went to the “formal” interview, followed with a yummy supper and a meet and greet with the congregations and youth group kids. It was an AWESOME day. It was a packed day, but we were so blessed by it. By the end of the day, we felt we had known these people for years. The jokes, the laughter, made us feel like we were right at home. That night, we were told that they were going to recommend Dan to the councils. God was doing something in our hearts, molding them to the desires of HIS. As we layed in bed that night, we knew the next time we found ourselves in Minnesota, would possibly be to build a life out here.
Sunday morning we went to one of the churches, went out for lunch with the pastors, and then made the 9 hour 45 minute drive home. Yes, it is possible to make the trip to Willmar/Prinsburg, MN in a weekend :).
Dan will be working essentially for two churches (located in Willmar and Prinsburg), but one youth group. They even have their own youth building and it ROCKS 🙂 (no pun intended Minnesotans :)). Their youth group is called Solid Rock. In all seriousness though, they have an awesome place set up for their youth, be a part of their ministry, and we are so excited to start a new life out there.
Next weekend we are heading back out there to find housing, figure out little details, and quite frankly, we are pumped to see everyone again. The first weekend in March we are heading to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indy (which is a MUCH closer drive from St. Joe than MN), and after we get back, we hope to move to Minnesota. Hopefully our adventure down to the conference will be a little less eventful than last years – hopefully no tornadoes will be in the horizon!
We can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful the people of Prinsburg/Willmar are. They feel like “family” already and have been so incrediblyloving, supportive and helpful. We love them ALL and can’t wait to meet all of the youth group kids! Thankfully the University of Minnesota is part of the Big Ten, so we have that covered – we can always cheer for the Big Ten!
And most of all…we are just excited to be used by God. God is calling us there for a purpose. He already has a purpose set in stone, in His plan. We are so eager to be a part of the story that God has already written for us in Minnesota – in which our job is just follow Him. Yes, it is bittersweet because we will be moving away from our families. But, we told God that we would go where He called. We will still be in the Midwest. We will still be in the United States. We will still be on the same continent. We will be within a day’s drive. What a BLESSING. Really.
We know that Minnesota is where God wants us and our hearts are at peace. After months of wondering, our prayers have been answered. And Minnesota is where we want to be – we are so excited to be starting a life out there. Honestly. We don’t want to be anywhere else, besides in God’s will and His desires are truly ours. THAT is why we are excited.