We blinked and it was April.
Hello dear ones. I wonder if you have any idea how grateful we are that we have a group of friends and family that want to know what’s going on in our lives and ministry and that you believe in us. We are seriously grateful. “Thank you” feels small, but we mean it BIG.
We have a lot to share about so we’ve divided lots of news into many sections so you can skim the headers or skip around and read what interests you.
Of course, our most exciting news is that we’re expecting another baby! No need to read through an entire email to hear that—let’s start this letter off with a bang!
As you may imagine, the whole area of pregnancy is sensitive for us. With two babies lost in two years, we don’t take lightly the miracle of conception and life. We also refuse to hide behind fear. God has been good to us even in our darkest hours—especially in our darkest hours—and we have every intention of surrendering our family to him again and again, knowing that ultimately he will always find a way to demonstrate his goodness in and through our lives, despite whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Because of that assurance, we believe we can be free to celebrate wholeheartedly and without fear of the future… and so we do! WE ARE HAVING A BABY. Wooohoooooo! New life is worthy of our wholehearted celebration! That doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with moments of anxiety—we’re well aware of the fragility of life and being missionaries doesn’t somehow make us people of faultless faith. Will you pray with us and for us in this vulnerable time?
Leadership & Pioneering
Since most of you are connected to us through social media, you know that right now our family is attending a Leadership and Pioneering Seminar at YWAM Perth. We towed our tiny house on wheels allllllll the way across to the west coast of Australia and landed in the most beautiful of cities. How blessed we are to live in this great, wide land and to have friends and coworkers scattered throughout! (Side note: This is where Adriel was on staff before marrying Ryan. She hasn’t been back in more than seven years so it’s been a wonderful “homecoming” of sorts.)
We’re almost done with our six week seminar, which is designed to equip leaders in ministry planting within the context of YWAM. It’s been a rich and full time for us and we’re very grateful for the input of seasoned international YWAM leaders who have flown in from around the world. The timing of God to bring us here at this stage of our pioneering process is just impeccable. Not only are we being given some extremely practical principles that will serve us in pioneering YWAM in inner Sydney, but we’ve also found ourselves in a season of sweet communion with Jesus—rich times of prayer, hearing his voice clearly, strategy for how to implement our vision, and an unforced, growing passion for seeing the kingdom of God come. Most importantly, we have a hunger for more of Jesus in our lives. YES, we need that:more of Jesus.
Tiny House Life
After three months in our tiny house on wheels (aka “Vinnie the Van”), we’re feeling the pressures of living in such close quarters with each other, but we’re also so aware of how this time is serving us. We are learning to keep short accounts with one another, to prefer each other in greater ways, and to practice communication and humility more than ever before. Perhaps there are other ways to learn these things in great measure without moving a family of four into 100 square feet with no bathroom, but we see the wisdom of God to give us this time together. It’s been so good and so sweet. And no doubt when God gives us a house/apartment to live in we will be incredibly grateful for things we would have taken for granted before. 🙂 Pressures aside, our little house has very much become a home. We love it and love this special time living like crazy folk. (For photos of our place, follow the hashtag #livingsmalltolivebig on Instagram.)
Both of the boys are attending the YWAM preschool and they are having a ball. It’s a Montessori style school and is so great for their development. They’ve easily made friends and look forward to going, which works beautifully since it runs while we attend seminar sessions in the mornings. When we leave they will continue some preschool and kindergarten by homeschooling (Levi is excited about this, Judah is not—ha!) and We’ve been enjoying dreaming about how to best inspire them to learning and discovery and making some plans accordingly. (Home educating the kids for the remainder of this year will be something that we share as our roles are still very fluid. It will be fun for us to explore serving our kids in this new way.)
Laying Foundations for YWAM Sydney
We continue to feel that God is encouraging us to trust him in terms of timing and not be in a rush to Make Things Happen in building the ministry “in our own strength.” (Sorry to use the Christian cliche there, but hopefully you know what we mean by that.) Because we’re both fairly confident, high-initiative, self-starter types, it’s a very intentional daily surrender to the Lord to wait for his timing and leading on many things. It takes discipline to take the time to lay our foundations well, but we know what God wants to build is something that will outlast us, so it must be started well. As hard as it is to sometimes “hold back,” there’s such freedom that comes along with it as we continue to learn what it means to live and work from a place of rest. It’s wonderful and we truly are learning a ton. We’re committed to 2015 being a year of prayer, planning, networking, and learning and we’re convinced that these “small beginnings” are part of the big picture of what God’s leading us into. Co-creating and building with God is amazing. It’s kind of awesome to have the dream job. 🙂
Teaching & Travel
These next few months hold a fair bit of travel for us as Adriel teaches a week at a time in Perth, Melbourne, Townsville, and Papua New Guinea, and both of us teach on two consecutive weeks on a DTS in Toowoomba (along with the boys). We also plan to spend some time at a few different YWAM bases gleaning from them and strengthening our friendships and partnerships so will make our way up some of the east coast before the year’s end. (More and more we see the wisdom of God for leading us to buy the caravan to live out of—having a little place to consistently call home is so good amongst all the movement.)
Some of you may remember from our last newsletter (in November) that we had anticipated going to a YWAM gathering in Turkey in May. Instead of Turkey, we’ve decided to attend a week long international YWAM gathering in Townsville (Australia) in September, which will be an amazing opportunity to meet with our global YWAM family, hear from many of our seasoned international leaders, and of course spend time with dear friends in our old stomping grounds.
Thank you for helping us GROW so we can PLANT in Sydney.
- We have begun a private facebook group for those who want to follow us more closely. We tend to post personal prayer requests and bite-sized updates there as things arise that we don’t want to “broadcast” widely on social media. Please let us know if you’d like to join and I’ll gladly add you. It’s a small group and we kinda like it that way. It really is just for those who feel called to partner with us through prayer, and for those that want more than the 3ish newsletters a year that we send out. We are the small and mighty. (Join us here.)
- Similarly, we have a social media advocates group (another separate private facebook group) for those interested in helping us by sharing videos, photos, etc. on social media every week or two. This group isn’t super active at the moment, but as our ministry takes more shape this will be something we’ll continue to develop. Please let us know if you’d like to join that little team. You don’t need much experience, or a huge following/platform. We’re looking for ordinary folks willing to sharing among their friends and help create a buzz around urban missions and what we’re pioneering. (Join our advocates here.)
Happy Easter to you. We are SO thankful for the resurrecting, life-giving, life-sustaining power of our wonderful Jesus. May you experience his closeness in your own families as you meditate on his goodness and celebrate along with the worldwide church that JESUS IS ALIVE.
Love you a million,
The (growing) Booker Family xoxo
P.S. Our PRAYER REQUESTS can be found right here. Thank you for praying with and for us!