Keepin’ it real, friends
One of the responsibilities of being a supporter-funded missionary is working on having good communication. Newsletters, blog posts, phone calls, emails, social media — whatever form or medium you can conjure up, we imagine we’re “supposed” to be using it. In fifteen years of working with YWAM I don’t remember a time where I didn’t feel behind or like I should do more. I’m beginning to see how unhealthy this mentality is… but I’m not exactly sure how to change it. (Just keepin’ it real, friends.)
Honestly? Even as a writer and someone naturally wired to communicate, I find the responsibility hard. There are times when I wish I could close down my email and facebook accounts forever. (I’m sure that desire isn’t exclusive to missionaries. You can relate, right? I know you can!)
And yet I get it—why we need to share about our work—and deep down I wouldn’t actually change it if I could. Because the truth is, we both need and want to know that people are WITH us, praying for us and cheering us on. You’re our friends and we care about connecting with the people that matter to us. Sometimes we’re involved in hard stuff physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and although vocational ministry is our absolute joy, it’s also one of God’s biggest tools in our life to disciple us. Let’s just say it has it’s challenges.
So the dragging my feet that happens at times? It’s not you, it’s me. No, actually it’s Gmail. And Mark Zuckerburg. Heh.
Hardship is not synonymous with failure
Since losing our baby, Ruby, last month I’ve thought many times about writing to tell you how we’re doing, what we’re doing, why we’re doing what we’re doing, etc., but I’ve also felt this need to just pull back and not answer that compelling need to produce some news worthy of sharing.
The truth is, losing another baby has been hard. Actually, let’s back that up. The last few years have been hard. And that’s okay. Hardship is universal and so we do our best to lean into Jesus and keep our hearts sweet. But it’s still been hard. Being missionaries doesn’t make us heroes of the faith. As my friend Amber would say in her charming southern accent, we’re just “reg-uh-ler.” We’re learning to deal with hardship in our lives just like you are: one day at a time by the grace of God.
For the last 18 months we’ve bounced between living at my parents’ house, Ryan’s parents’ house, and a million locations in between. Imagine living out of suitcases for a year and a half! Sure, our bags have been unpacked and repacked a few times as we’ve settled in to different places, but still it feels transitionary. At the moment we have no prospects of moving into a home of our own, and no financial means to do so. I never imagined my grown up life to look like it does right now and there are times when I’m tempted to sum that up as failure.
Foundation laying by candlelight
As much as we love living in our little vintage van, it comes with some definite challenges. For Ryan the most difficult aspect is space (he’s not a small man); for me it’s noise (two little people in a tiny space = not quiet ever). The lack of having our own bathroom is also a wee bit challenging. (Did you catch the pun there? *snicker*) And yet for five months and counting we’ve made it work. It’s not only worked for us, it’s been a HUGE blessing for us! Perhaps most importantly, it’s provided us with a sense of having our own home and consistency, which we desperately crave in this season of movement and transition and training in various locations. Overall—even with the challenges—we’ve enjoyed it and we’re incredibly grateful. We see the wisdom of God in leading us during this time and it’s clear he’s given us all we need.
Our training in Melbourne and Perth from February through April was good and worthwhile. We learned a lot and got a significant amount of planning done—all part of laying the foundations of our new work in inner Sydney. There are a thousand details to work through and we’re trying our best to stay in step with what God’s saying about the pioneering process. Often, it feels like walking in the dark—we’re learning to trust in great measure and that’s not a bad thing, although it does feel vulnerable.
One of our greatest personal challenges is resisting the temptation to produce just so we can have something to show for ourselves, and we’re continually reminding each other that no one ever sees the foundations of a building even though it’s critical to everything else that will one day be visible. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s not only okay, but it’s right.
It’s challenging though—this behind-the-scenes digging and pouring and foundation laying—and it’s helping us to learn dependence on Jesus in new ways.
Longing for home and community
We are now back in Sydney—the place we call home even though we don’t yet have a house of our own. We’re temporarily staying with mum and dad Booker and using our caravan as our office space, and we’re rolling up our sleeves to do what we can even while our circumstances are not ideal. (And trying not to second guess ourselves when we look around at our lives and wonder, what in the world were we thinking?!)
Our hearts are longing for a place in the city to call home so we can live in the area we feel so knitted to and walk the streets in prayer and meet the neighbors we’re soon to build community with. There’s a yearning to get on with the things God’s called us to (yes! let’s go!) and also an invitation to move slowly, with intention, and allow God to do the door-opening. It’s an interesting tension to navigate and we sometimes do it well and sometimes don’t. But we’re learning and we’re grateful he is faithful to lead and take care of us.
God’s relentless belief in us changes everything. Knowing and experiencing his heart for our family brings hope and courage, perseverance and determination, and a faith to step out and trust all over again.
Something unprecedented is happening in Sydney
The more we connect with pastors and intercessors and others in Sydney, the more we’re convinced that God is on the move in our great city and he’s drawing the church back to the urban core to see heaven established where it’s been forgotten. The movement is undeniable and we sense we’re on the cusp of a radical shift in the city, beginning in the Body of Christ. We’re humbled and floored that God’s led us to be included in that. It really is an exciting time to be a believer.
Would you pray for us while we (actively) wait?
- Pray that God would give us eyes to see what he’s doing beyond the obvious—wisdom and discernment.
- Pray that God would lead our meetings, our networking, our connections—unity and synergy.
- Pray that God would open up doors that feel impossibly locked—breakthrough and opportunity.
- Pray that God would give us a house to call home that will serve our family and pioneering team well—miraculous provision.
- Pray that God would prompt partners to join our support team, especially in the area of monthly giving and prayer—team growth.
- Pray that God would prepare hearts for those we will prayerfully invite to join us on staff—co-laborers in the harvest.
- Pray that God would provide our family with rich and meaningful friendships in our new community—authentic community.
Note: If you’d like to pray for us daily, I’ve made a simple bookmark with one prayer point for each day of the week. Download the bookmark here: Pray for the Bookers
Help us grow so we can plant in Sydney
We continue to feel that God’s strategy for building a YWAM base in inner Sydney is to give us a family home in the city that serves as a base and hub for us to operate out of, both as a family and as a pioneering ministry team. (At the moment we are working toward renting a place, but we believe God will make a way for us to someday own a home there.) We need a home that is central in location to the area we feel called to serve (Newtown and the inner city), and it needs to accommodate office space and a guest room, with a living area big enough for prayer meetings and worship gatherings. We believe it’s from this family home that things will really start to unfold.
Monthly support | In order for this to happen we need to raise another $3,400 in monthly support to be able to afford the cost of living in the city (a huge chunk of which covers the sky-high rent). Please consider giving $30, $80, or $200 a month to help us hit our goal. Click here to donate.
One-off gifts | We also need to raise $15,000 to move into the city. This will cover our relocation expenses, a deposit on a rental home, and the first two months’ rent. Would you like to give a one-off gift to help us move into the city? Click here to donate.
Of labor and birth, giants and promise
Friends, our desire is to be transparent in this process so you can truly journey with us as we birth this new ministry. We’ve been “pregnant” with vision for a while and it’s as if the rumblings of early labor pains have begun. They are still relatively small, but we’re nervous and excited as things start to get more real. Like a laboring mother needs to lean in and trust the process of her body doing what it’s designed to do, so we must lean into God and trust his process, even when we waiver between self confidence and self doubt. Thank you for cheering us on as we go. It means more to us than you could possibly know.
We’re standing on the edge of a Promise Land, mustering up our courage to move forward, knowing God will slay our giants. Thank you for sticking with us as we grow into our new place of work and home, and grow into the sort of people that can live out God’s promises well.
With hope and thanksgiving,
Adriel (for the Bookers)