This post will be of a personal nature updating our supporters from Arizona on our first two weeks in Florida so far. Our time has been amazingly rewarding, challenging, and tiring so far! I don’t know anyone who likes the process of moving, and there are great reasons behind the negative feelings. The following running summary will catch you up on some of the action in the past couple of weeks:
June 3 – 7. We loaded a 26′ Budget Truck and our 12-passenger Chevy Express and Micah, Eli, and our friend Jon left for Orlando. We stopped in El Paso, San Antonio, and Mobile on our way. While we mostly ate fast food and hotel breakfasts along the way, we stopped for a delicious Mexican dinner in San Antonio at the River Walk. Our AZ home closed on the 4th and Bethany and the other 4 kids spent four days with her parents in Chandler prior to flying out to Orlando on the 7th.
June 8th – We signed papers and received keys to our new home in Florida. Thanks to some wonderful neighbors and friends we had more than enough help emptying the truck and getting everything inside.
June 10th – We hosted our first Launch Team Meeting with over 100 adults and 30 kids in attendance. The pastoral team pictured here includes, from left to right, Jonathan Garon (Next Generation), Brent Taylor (Worship & Production), me, and Lee Stephenson (Lead Pastor). We will be meeting most Sunday afternoons from now until our fall launch.
June 11th and onward– Getting to work! We’re working to lay a foundation for a strong fall launch. This includes firming up the Launch Team– which we would like to grow to over 100 committed adults. This also includes beginning small groups, raising the necessary funds for up-front capital expenses, building out the worship band, outfitting the facility for kids and students, and training lots of volunteers! One fun thing was ordering T-shirts we will give out to our Launch Team to begin to saturate the area.
We are enjoying the new sights and weather here in Florida! While we haven’t spotted any gators yet around our community we have seen deer, squirrels, lots of lizards, an armadillo, and many sand crane. Oh, and our house was attacked by a pack of raccoons who got into our trash and ate the corn out of our corn hole game bags! 😂
We’ve been introduced to many of our neighbors and I’ve been able to meet other pastors in the area. So far I am greatly encouraged by the way the family is adjusting. I am hopeful that God will open the right doors ahead to allow the gospel to reach deeply into this community in the months and years ahead. As we seek to share the good news about Jesus with Lake Nona and beyond, I want to thank you for your prayer and financial support. So far we have received over $30,000. Thank you for your generosity!
Some of you are giving monthly or even weekly (which is awesome) but I do not know officially if you are planning to support us monthly. If you’d like to let us know your intentions it will help us predict our future support better. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!
Let me invite those of you who are still considering supporting us monthly or giving a one-time gift to do so. You can also have some fun and shop online for items our Kids Ministry needs! Here’s an amazon link for that:
And lastly, if you’d consider a financial gift to Harvest over all, we’re working to raise about $50,000 to cover capital expenses needed to outfit our student and kids rooms, buy signage, and up-front items for our grand opening. You can give online to support us or these needs at HarvestFlorida.org.
Thank you for your continued support! As you are praying, here’s a few specific needs looking ahead:
- Getting our kids enrolled successfully in their schools over the summer. This is more complicated than in AZ.
- Navigating the potential to partner with a great Latino congregation and pastor from the outset. We’re praying for wisdom as to if and how to do so.
- Brent Taylor, our Worship Pastor has to navigate a move from Ft. Meyers Florida to the Orlando area. Pray for housing needs.
- God to move in the hearts of the right people to partner with us for the Launch Team phase.
Thank you again for all of the love and support!