21 day challenge

Lots of our blog posts over the past few years have been all about Kingdom-what we’re doing as a family.  This one will focus on the other side of the continuum–Covenant and being a family.

At the end of August, we sat around as a huddle, talking about what God has been saying to each of us.  Some of us were unsettled, restless.  Others hearing the words “find contentment in the being.”  Over the last few months, we have had a new start as a family of missionaries.  We have all committed to living in one neighborhood with the focus of shining Christ’s light and bringing His Kingdom to where we are as a family.  It had been a challenge to just wait on the Lord and be patient in hearing what He wants us to do and be faithful in looking for people of peace.  As we discussed and questioned the kairos we had been given as a community, we threw around some crazy plans trying to find what obedience looked like.

Finally, we settled on this:  be together for 21 days straight.  21 days.  Not all day, every day; but together at least once every day.  That’s how many days it’s supposed to take to solidify a new habit.  21 days.  It was almost like a fast – giving up our individualism, our free time, and our schedules-a group of introverts.  Now this is sounding a bit “suffocating” as one of us put it.  We were united in our decision-we were determined to create a tight family, one we know will stand firm, one we can invite others into, one that has been tested.

21 days is up.  Everyone sacrificed something.  There were days we had to get up early to have breakfast together because work schedules went beyond our little ones’ bedtimes.  There was a day we had to meet at Kroger and grocery shop together even though some of us despise shopping.  There were even meals some of us didn’t prefer to eat.  Most of the days just looked like eating dinner or playing a couple video games or watching a movie together.  It ended up being much simpler and more natural than I had expected.  Isn’t that what a covenant family should be?  Simple and natural.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there were days when not everyone was happy.  There were days when not everyone was healthy.  And there were days when it would have just been easier to skip (like the day after the toddler fell and got nine stitches).  But mostly, there were days of joy, conversation, laughter, and family.  My prayer is two-fold: that we will look back on these 21 days as some of the best days as we drew closer, refined vision, and restarted on this mission our Father has set us on; and that we will be able to carry on with this new sense of family that we pressed into.

So, there’s your glimpse into what we’ve been doing-which has looked a whole lot like just being a family.

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so much good

photoI read a blog recently that posed the question, “if there is no God, why is there so much good in the world?”  There are days when there’s so much bad, it’s hard to see the goodness.  But, there was a day this week that there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that there is goodness and that God was and is responsible for it.

It started off like any other Wednesday night…threatening skies and a few old faithfuls helping get food ready.  This same ole Wednesday transformed before our eyes…new faces showing up, all ages participating in prayer stations, and enough food to go around.  There were new relationships forming and conversations happening all over our front yard and porch.  Delightful squeals could be heard from the kiddie pool in the backyard.  I figured I needed to go make sure no one was getting stuck in the mud or being dunked too forcefully in the pool.  As I got to the back, one of the girls hopped out, skipped up to me, and asked if she could get baptized.  It caught me completely off guard, but the story of the Eunuch being baptized in a nearby ditch popped into my head (Acts 8).  So, I said yes!  After we talked about the meaning of baptism and gathered up the rest of the family, we baptized not just her, but seven others.

Each person proclaimed truth and talked about who Jesus was to them…”my hero,” “my King,” “forgiver of my sins.”  There was cheering and rejoicing as so many chose to be obedient and go public with their faith.  The night ended with almost all the kids in the pool and almost all the adults standing in awe of the goodness of our God.

-Natalie

let the little children come to me

CA183E34-030B-4C20-B604-DD14DAED0063Do you ever feel like the disciples did? Bothered by the children?  It’s easy to get caught up in their mess, their chaos, and their noise.  But it’s also easy to see why Jesus scolded the disciples and told us all to be a bit more like the little ones (Matt 19).  Just a few Jesus-qualities shown by the youngest of our family at Open Door MC last week:

selfless service:  offering to serve food to others and choosing to eat last

evangelism:  requesting paper and crayons to make signs to invite others to the cookout

love & kindness:  the older ones toting around the younger ones, taking them underwing

compassion:  asking for prayer for their loved ones

generosity:  running home for five packets of kool-aid to make and share with the family

I’m so thankful God has entrusted us to begin discipling these young believers.  As we focus on sowing seed generously across our neighborhood, I’m reminded that these are the  first sprouts of the seeds we planted when we began this journey as a family a few years ago.

-Natalie

 

 

sprouts of family

open doorIt is lovely, sitting on a front porch, the wind slightly blowing.  Another neighbor mother is holding my daughter as she tells her daughter how to give berries to mine.  I pick more mulberries from the side tree.  I watch.

Beautiful blue faces.  Makes my heart smile.  We are eating together.  Talking together.  Being together.  The evening sky is cooling down.  I can see God’s picture of family moving in our midst.

These prayers of seeding.  Sprouts, they have begun.

Thank you, God, that we can see them.  I am so happy I can be here.  That you have helped me to this place.  That my fears are less and that I have trusted, and can always trust, in who You are.   Help me to see You more.  Help me to slow down and catch glimpses.  Refresh me in Your ways.

-Danielle

His Kingdom is alive

Within a few days of getting back from our Community of Practice retreat, we are already seeing fruit.  It is so refreshing to know we did hear correctly what God was saying.

The summer of 2013 I would regularly walk about five blocks to Nate and Natalie’s house.  Along the way I would smile and wave at anyone who would make eye contact with me.  I met quite a few people this way.  And just this past week, one of the ladies I still wave at came to my house.  She was crying and embraced me with a hug for awhile.  I was confused and shocked.  I had one or two quick talks with her in the past, maybe, and every other time I would wave and just ask how she was doing.  As we were hugging I remembered the people came to Jesus for help.  They would just show up in front of him.  I prayed before I said anything, asking God to help me help her.

While we were hugging I began to ask her questions as to why she was crying.  Asking if she was hurt, or if she was not safe.  She whispered to me, “I’m in pain, I’m in pain.”  She was so sad, this is the only thing she could get out in between crying.  She picked her head up off my shoulder and looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m in pain Danielle, you don’t even know.”  My heart broke.  This was not physical pain she was feeling, but emotional pain.  Knowing she could not speak of the pain, I asked her if we could pray and she said yes.

So we stood together and I prayer to our Father.  I sent her along with some food and another hug.  I told her thank you for coming and that if she needs anything to come back, that we will be here for her.

I can replay her voice and facial expressions in my mind.  Over and over.  It is a reminder for me that people need to hear the Good News here.  They need to be loved in this broken world, in this hard place in Columbus.  And I am so happy God is using us here in Southern Orchards.  We don’t know all the pain and suffering people are in, but we know God does.  We are here to be part of Him restoring and making all things new, and to show His Kingdom is alive.

 

-Danielle

Snyders go a-gamin’

Hey Internet!, Nate here!  One of the exciting things we get to do at Soma is send people out to do what Jesus did, what the disciples did, and what many other disciples have been doing for roughly 2000 years:  be a part of bringing His Kingdom to creation.  One of the ways in which we do this is by making and multiplying Missional Communities.  I am blessed to be able to share today a bit of the story for one such couple as they were grown, cultivated, equipped, and then sent out to make new family for others to join them in.  This story comes from Dustin and Danielle Snyder:

What a journey we are on.  It’s been pretty amazing where God had us start and to where we are now.  As our Pilot Missional Community (the first MC at Soma) was coming to completion, and everyone was feeling called to go out and start their own MCs, I knew God was calling us to go out, too; but the mission was still a mystery to us.  The mission finally came to us when we were at our 3rd 3DM Learning Community in March 2013.  We were being led to begin a Missional Community based around games and those who love them.  Video games, board games, card games, any sort of game is what the mission would be.  That is what would bring us together and closer as an okios (Greek for extended family) and closer to God as a community.  God’s words were so clear to me that weekend.  What made it all come together all the more is that before I came to Christ, I participated in gaming type events, and went to a gaming store on a weekly occurrence.  The mission was given to us, and our OUTs were already thought of.  We excitingly explained the mission to our okios, and they were very excited for us.  But that was only the start of this journey.

We spent months starting to (re)build relationships with old friends and new ones, as we prepared for our new Missional Community.  In the meantime, the Pilot Missional Community ended, and two others formed and started meeting regularly, SOKs and Koinonia.  We were also blessed with our first child at this time.  As we prayed, God led us to hold off on starting our Missional Community, and so we joined the Shoemakers with their Missional Community, SOKs.  We spent a few months with them, being in community (which we find very important) and building relationships with our own POPs (Persons of Peace), and explaining and refining our mission.
In October, God told us it was time.  We had a group of people ready to start, and even more in the wing.  We were sent out by SOKs, and we officially began our Missional Community, Game On!  God has already blessed us with great people, and even more great opportunities for relationships on the horizon.  
Dustin - blog signature (black BG)

new life

photo (2)Over the last six months, exciting things have been happening in the life of our church!  God has moved us to end our pilot Missional Community that has existed for the last year and a half to train, equip, and release leaders.  We saw this pilot MC go through many seasons, seasons of growth, of change, and of pruning.  Now, we get to see it bring about new life.

Three new MCs have been birthed from the pilot.  The first is called “Koinonia” which is the greek word for communion, unity, and fellowship.  The mission for this MC is “redeeming the Family.”  They exist to provide safe spaces for individuals and families to bring about conversations, fun, and restoration.  The second is called “GameOn!” which is geared around people who play and love games and value fun together.  (Look for blogs from and about Koinonia and GameOn! in the coming months!)  And the third is called “SOKs” which stands for Southern Orchards Kids; this is the neighborhood where Nate and I have put down roots.  We weren’t planning for a MC focused on children, but God was.  So, now that the pilot has ended, we have transformed that MC into one that is intentionally discipling children and raising up young leaders in this community.  We’re using the huddle format with them and inviting some of the young teenagers to begin making decisions and leading on a small scale.

We’ve seen overwhelming breakthrough in both MCs already, with people new to the idea of oikos jumping in and participating, children making plans based on what they’ve heard God say, and adults from the Southern Orchards neighborhood see deliverance from sin revolved around their parenting.  This is only the beginning.  We expect God to continue to do great things as we press in to being part of Him bringing His Kingdom to earth.

Natalie - blog signature (black BG)