We moved into our first house on 4/29 and have been in full-time remodel mode ever since. Just a few months after the Ride Nature shop construction was finished, Ethan got to start on our house. It has been a challenge considering we have a crawling baby and our home is still a construction zone. Also, when we moved in we didn’t have a working stove, oven, dishwasher, disposal, or washer and dryer. Thankfully, most of the painting and flooring was done in the week between closing and moving. Those first couple of weeks I relied heavily on our toaster oven and crock pot before our range was working. Day by day and piece by piece it is coming together! Of course I wish it were one of those HGTV shows where you walk in and everything is perfect, but this way we will fully appreciate it!
A friend of mine and her husband built a cabin from the ground up a couple of years ago. Throughout the process, they did all kinds of crazy things like live in a tent and have their kitchen in their bathroom. She told me the struggle of living in the midst of an unfinished house but she has always been so gifted in seeing the spiritual lessons in the ordinary. The Lord was teaching her that our entire life is in process and to live that reality out in her unfinished home, made her appreciate the process the Lord brings us through in our spiritual walk. Now, that is my reality (but not nearly to the extent of hers). Things like living in an unfinished house, getting sick, or driving a car that breaks down should turn our attention heavenward and make us thankful that this Earth is not our home.
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-2
Here are just a few pictures of our moving day crew and the home progress we are making. Excuse the mess, we are in process 😉
Tomorrow Seder turns the big 1-year-old! 🎉 It is wild how much they change in the first year! We have loved every second!! (well almost every second except 2 am wake up calls). Motherhood has of course drastically changed my day-to-day routine but I know this is both a gift and refining process the Lord blesses us with as parents! For Seder’s birthday tomorrow we will do a little celebrating just the 3 of us and then we will be in KS mid June to celebrate with all our family. Here are a few of our latest pictures of our big boy at the beach this last weekend.
June 1st the day after his birthday we will be flying to Panama for a Ride Nature mission trip. This will be my first team trip with Seder. It will be interesting balancing the needs of a 1-year-old and still trying to serve. I know for me it won’t be like mission trips with no baby, but it will give me a chance to serve even if it isn’t like I always have. I will be leading the girls in the evenings and Ethan and the local missionary will lead the team throughout the day. Our team will be 7 Ride Nature staff and interns and 5 people from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Please be praying for the group that we have hearts to serve and we would be a blessing to the people of Casa Paraiso Missions Base in Panama City. Also, for the divine appointments that the Lord already has laid out and that we would be sensitive to the Spirit’s guiding. Finally, for us and Seder and the new dynamic of leading a team together in the midst of caring for a baby. I know the Lord has good things in store even if it is a challenge!
Things at the House of Ride Nature have been going great and we are definitely slowly but surely integrating into the community. It is so cool to see the ways God has used our location already to reach out and care for the people of downtown Fort Myers. On a weekly basis, we are doing a community breakfast, mostly for homeless people who we personally invite. This gives our RN team a chance to have intentional time with the people we invite rather than an overwhelming soup kitchen line. There are already lots of resources for feeding the homeless downtown, so our strategy is to build relationships and share the gospel with them. Also, we do a Friday night BBQ with a devotion time that is open to anyone. That crowd is more diverse and a lot of skaters are around that night using the mini ramp. I was able to go on a girl’s monthly paddle board outing this last Sunday. We had a few non-Ride Nature ladies join us. One of the ladies said at the end, “This is kind of weird to say but I just wanted to put it out there, I’d really like to know more about God and the Bible.” Yes! We’d love to share more with you! 🙌🏼 Also, most of our summer interns just arrived this weekend so we have a batch of fresh meat to pour into!
- The Panama trip and specifics I shared earlier.
- Other trips going on this summer and fall (Costa Rica, Haiti and others)
- Daily being on the mission field as people in need of the hope from Jesus walk through the doors of the House of Ride Nature every day.
- Using our time with our summer interns to the fullest!
- We have been in need of a guy who has a heart to be an full-time, live-in internship leader on staff.
I always love to leave you with something I’ve read recently that I feel like the Lord has specifically laid on my heart for those of you who take the time to keep up with and pray for us. So here it is:
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge – even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you – so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ” 1 Corinthians 1:4-7
Blessings and much love!
Sandra (and Ethan)