Is that a question you get a lot "so what is your story?" We often use it when we are trying to get to know someone, or when we haven't seen them for a long time. Often we use it when we know something significant has taken place in a person's life and we would like to hear it directly from them. The Reynolds family gets this question a lot "so what's your story?" I smile inside when I hear the question because reality is each and everyone one of us has a story. We were created for story, for chapters of our lives that have yet to be written as we walk on this earth. God created us to continue His story, He is actually the master author of a brilliant creation where He wrote the beginning, constructs the middle and moves us towards the end. He intertwines His words, His power, His plan with our lives and rather we like it or not we all have a story……we are all on this journey to discover, uncover, rejoice, cry, learn, grow and give praise to the Author of our Journey……our Heavenly Father.
Have you stopped to think about what is your story? Maybe its this ongoing novel that has a ways to go. Maybe, it’s an assortment of short stories, maybe it’s a collection of poetry……..what ever it may look like, you have a story. As you ponder that for a bit, let us share with you an excerpt of our story….our journey that God has had us on for the last few years.
Rob and I both grew up on New England, in the late 1980's we went to school in Grand Rapids MI, getting our degrees from Calvin College and were married in 1991. Through our college and early marriage years we knew that God was orchestrating in our hearts a call to ministry. What that looked like we had no idea at the time. First jobs led to the business world for Rob and working among college students for me. But always, God was preparing our hearts. Our first Son, Caleb, arrived in 1998 and along with him I departed from working with college students and moved into part time ministry working with worship arts at our church, Kentwood Community Church. Soon after that time Rob was called into full time ministry working with youth at the same church. God did amazing work in our lives and hearts in our years at KCC rich with leadership, personal growth, experiences, relationships and training. In early spring of 2004 Rob had the opportunity to go on a planning trip to New Zealand, in preparation for a team (which he would be a part of) that would head over in late spring. This team would be assisting in setting up a youth portion of a family camp held on the North Island. From that very first trip, God began to intertwine Rob's heart with the hearts of people in New Zealand. The experiences that year where a huge marker in the depths of his heart. Soon after that time, God called our little family back to New England where He blessed us with our second son, Aedan, soon after arriving. In his new role, Rob continued to work with youth at a church on the seacoast of New Hampshire. The next spring 2005, Rob once again went with the group heading over to New Zealand for a second year. The end of that trip brought mixed emotions. Rob clearly felt as he said good bye to some of the key leaders on the island that this was not the end of their relationship and that sometime in our future, our family would be a part of what was happening in New Zealand.
The next year for us was one that we could have never seen coming; usually the highest climax in a story is the one you don't expect right? 2006 was a year of spiritual battle and spiritual renewal. In June of 2006 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The full treatment was thrown at me, a year of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. In the midst of this journey, the door to Rob's current ministry was shut as well. So many questions, so much confusion, crazy turmoil…..yet in the midst of it all God was ever loving, ever faithful. He supplied our everything; He was enough. We would never want to re-live a year like that again, however, there are things we experienced in that year that are so beautiful, so amazing, so personal that we would not give it up for the world. The God we thought we knew prior to 2006 and the God we experience now is very different . God showed up in mighty ways and today, through the power of prayer and His mighty hand, I am healed and our hearts are healed as well.
So for us the question lingered…"what now?" During this time, New Zealand was never far away from our thoughts, especially in the year of 2007. Rob continued to build relationship with a pastor from New Zealand that he really connected with on his visits. The idea was planted and began to grow…."what if we went to this church plant and served them for a while". In the summer of 2007 we were given the "all clear" for my health, and we realized we were totally free to move forward in life and seek out what God wanted us to do. For the next several months, we spent time in deep discussion, seeking wisdom from other Godly influences in our lives, and laying out our hearts, fears, and desires before the Lord. Through prayer, people and circumstances, God made it very clear in Sept of 2007 that the next steps for our family was to join Him where He was at work in New Zealand. Since that time we have been affirmed in the decisions He has lead us to. In late October of that year, we were interviewed and accepted as missionaries through Global Partners, the missionary arm of the Wesleyan Church. Our desire was to serve in any way we could the church cession|community (www.cession.org.nz), a church plant in Auckland on the North Island lead by Brett and Kristin Jones. This desire was fulfilled and we will be on a two year appointment to that church helping with community outreach, leadership development, and where ever else we can serve. Rob and I have been through training sessions with Global Partners and jumped into raising up a team to support us this past spring. Our undaunted hope is that we can begin our appointment this fall 2008. God has shown up in ways we could have never imagined in the last few years. It has been an amazing journey, and we continue to trust the "travel" to Him.
So, that is just an excerpt of "our story", what about you? What is your story?