Life’s a beach in Oregon.

We’ve been Oregonians for five weeks now… aaaand… what does it even mean to be an ‘Oregonian’, you might ask? While I’m certain the answer varies from peeps to peeps, for us ‘Life in Oregon’ has been a b**ch. It’s been HARD. but hey, we’ve been to the beach. and that’s really why we’re here. Well, not really. but it helps. It helps to know when things are hard, we can go to the beach :).

When our cars break down… we can hitchhike to the beach.
When we can’t find a rental house… we can live with our parents… who live close to the beach.
When our kids are fighting… we can yell at them… and then take them to the beach… where no one ever fights.
When homeschooling at home sucks… we can go exploring… and learn something new… at the beach.
When we’re stressed out from moving cross-country, living out of boxes in disorganized chaos, living with our parents, starting over, Pastoring at a new church, selling our house we left in Ohio, and homeschooling in the middle of it all… we can say ‘screw it’ and head to the beach!

We’ve been to the beach twice since we’ve moved to the Pacific Northwest, and it’s been wonderful. I wish I could say things have been smooth sailing, and coasting on over to the beach has swept away all our problems, but no. Since we’ve moved, we have walked on water thru some very hard days. Wave after wave, the difficult circumstances have washed over us. At times, treading water, at times being pulled under. Sooo many days, I’ve wanted to run away to the beach, but there’s been too much to do. And reality is – life is hard – and we have to walk thru trials and circumstances without going to the beach to escape.

Have you ever worn a wetsuit? They are a pain in the ass to put on. Imagine squeezing a watermelon into some pantyhose. That’s me – squeezing myself into a wet suit. The last time we went to the beach, I was so frustrated with squeezing myself into the wetsuit, and I was very close to giving up. Selah was in the bathroom with me, encouraging me to finish putting on my freakin’ wetsuit. “C’mon mom, you’re almost done.” I was so glad she did. The time spent in the ocean was amazing. Although I was frustrated with the work it took to put on the suit, I knew I would regret not going into the water.

If you want to enjoy the Oregon coast, you need a wetsuit. You can dance on the waters edge without one, but if you dare to go deeper, you need a wetsuit. We can dance on the edge of Christianity without a care, but if we dare to go deeper, we need the armor of God to protect us from the enemy. 

As we prepared to move from Ohio to Oregon, I knew we would be swimming into darker, deeper waters of ministry. I knew it was going to be a lot of work. I knew our faith would be tested. I knew attacks of the enemy would come. I knew it was going to be frustrating to step into unknown territory. And I knew if we did not make this move, we would regret it.

We are not battling the raging waters. We are in a spiritual battle, unseen to the human eye. In the midst of this move, it has been easy to become distracted with the external problems, shifting our focus from the reason we are here. God prepared my spirit for this battle in prayer. As the trials have come, He has been showing me how to battle in prayer. We are here to know HIM and to make HIM known. There are times, a wetsuit and a trip to the beach seem like the ideal way to deal with the difficulties we face… but Oregon is so much more than a trip to the beach. This is a place full of people living in darkness, yearning for One they do not yet know. And I will spend my life making Him known here.

My armor is on. It is His presence. I fight from my rightful place in His presence. In His strength. His love. His hope. His joy. His peace. 

Our Story rages on… In Him, Leslie

*All water and cursing puns intended for the authenticity of this story.

east to west

IMG_20140910_151048

It has been a year… God whispered GO… the time is now. He stirred in our souls a desire to leave comfort and a place we were known and loved by beautiful people, to a place of unknowns. We responded to God – yes, we will go. Unsure of exactly ‘where’, we knew He was calling us to the Northwest to plant new roots. Our hearts were drawn to Oregon, where Adam’s family lives… and to the Nations, our desire to serve in overseas missions has burned in our spirits since we began dating over 18 years ago.

We said ‘Yes’ to the GO. We began the process of discerning the ‘next step’ early summer. We resigned from our church in Ohio in June, and began the process of saying goodbye to the church family we’ve loved for 10 years. We knew we would miss the hell ‘outta them. It was not an easy process. Some people excited for us, some joy-filled for our journey, some sad, some confused, some without understanding, and some angry we were leaving… It’s hard for a church to lose a Pastor. We’ve walked this church thru that loss before. We don’t recommend it just for kicks or anything.

We became very comfortable with the answer ‘We don’t know…’ We don’t know where we’ll end up. We don’t know which country we’ll be going to. We don’t know which church we’ll be joining. Slowly, the next steps began to unfold, along with many more unknowns and many times the answer to questions about our future was ‘I don’t know.’ He never promises us a map of the journey, but He promises us His presence on the path. 

We began to pursue YWAM. Their mission, their ministry and their movement inspired us. We connected with the YWAM leaders at their base in Canby, Oregon and began the next steps of applying and raising funds for the Discipleship Training School. Meanwhile, we connected with many Pastors and leaders in the Vineyard Northwest region, knowing we would need a new ‘home church’ to plug into. “Our plan” was to attend YWAM, and plug into the Portland Vineyard church.

God had a different plan.

Mid-August, a few weeks before we were planning to move, the Northwest Vineyard leadership contacted us, and we learned another Vineyard church outside of Portland was in need of a Pastor. The same week, we learned there were no other families beside ours attending the YWAM. Regardless, we were moving to Oregon. Now, we were faced with a decision before we began the journey from east to west. Which next step were we to choose? Where was God leading us? What was He calling us to do?

We became more comfortable with the uncomfortable.  

We choose to say ‘Yes’ to God, and Pastor the Hillsboro Vineyard Church. We chose an ‘arranged marriage’ of a Pastor and his family to a church Bride we barely knew. We met her once, we took her hands in ours and said ‘We Do.’ This church was not on our radar. This was never part of ‘our plan’, Yet God knew.

The process has been a journey with confusion and clarity, anger and joy, sadness and excitement as our companions along the path. Yet God spoke. You were made for this. Don’t look back. When the road is expansive and the pathway clear, you just drive… and 4 weeks ago, we began driving.

Wednesday, September 10th 2014 – Day 1. We left our unsold, still-on-the-market, only home our kids have ever known, in Ohio and started driving… Adam, in a 16ft box Budget truck with no cruise control, cd player or companion, towing our CRV chained to the auto transport. Me, in our ’97 Odyssey with our 3 wee Babs, all of our crap, and the beautiful mess of our temperaments and personalities. At least I had a cd player… We made it thru Ohio, Indiana and the torrential rain storms and flood warnings to arrive safely in Danville, Illinois. We were blessed to stay with a family friend the first evening. We even washed our wet towels we left home with. I wasn’t particularly excited about traveling for 5 days with wet towels, but we had to take showers and clean the house until it sparkled, before we left Ohio. We were a sweaty mess from loading the truck, loading Adam’s car and cleaning our house to keep it “show ready”. Barf – house showings make me want to throw up… I digress.

Thursday, September 11th – Day 2. Well rested, we drove on I-80 West, I-80 West, …and drove some more I-80 West thru the rest of Illinois, thru Iowa and made it to Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska is a “I was surprised by its beauty” beautiful state. It’s vast and somewhere along the way, I lost all cell phone coverage, so that became torture for me. We just kept – on – driving. I could handle the kids on my own, but without the ability to make phone calls… I began to doubt my sanity.

IMG_20140913_195704

Fun at rest stops in Nebraska

Friday, September 12th – Day 3. Somewhere in Wyoming… which is also a beautiful expansive state with barely any people living in it, and with sketchy cell phone service. While driving, we got a call for 2 house showings. Have I mentioned how much I love hate house showings?!? Oh. but this time, I didn’t have to clean for it & we moved all of our crap out of the house – SO bring on the showings! We continued driving on I-80 West, landing in our super cool hotel room for the evening in Laramie, Wyoming.

Saturday, September 13th – Day 4. We found a super cool coffee shop near our super cool hotel. We can deal with sketchy cell phone service, crazy kids and tiring days driving 2,500 miles cross country, but we can. not. deal. with bad coffee. We’ll be coffee snobs, and drive miles away for good coffee if need be. Driving along thru Wyoming, we made it to Rock Springs and we got a call from our realtor and received an offer on our house. BOOM>>>! Oh yeeeee, of little faith. Why did you doubt ME, thus sayeth the Lord? Oh Lord, forgive us! We knew You would come thru! Some 8+ hours later, after driving thru the rest of Wyoming and the blow-me-away beautiful state of UTAH, we dragged our tired selves into our hotel room in stinky, smells-like-manure- Burley, Idaho and came up with a wicked counter-offer. Would they accept it…??? drum roll please…

IMG_20140914_142832

 IMG_20140914_132430

Sunday, September 14th – Day 5. I can’t take it any longer!!! We’re almost there!!! How much longer? When will we be to Grandmas? Blah blah blah blah blah! And this is ME (Mom) asking the questions 🙂 In the meantime, was our counter-offer accepted??? YES! They accepted our counter offer and the real fun I mean, real driving began. Selah became ridiculous and no amount of threatening her while flailing my arms from the drivers seat was improving her behavior, so I screamed at her while I was talking to our realtor (thankfully also an understanding friend, also with three small children) trying to work thru all the details of selling our house… WHILE DRIVING CROSS COUNTY!!! We had to pull over to deal with Selahs craziness, and the only place in cow-town Idaho was near a farm with cows and flies. We rolled down the windows for fresh manure air, Adam stood outside the van, staring at Selah to keep her behavior in check, she settled down and I called Amy back to finish talking thru the house-selling details. Did I mention we SOLD our HOUSE >>> WHILE driving CROSS COUNTRY!!!???  Yep. Yep we did. Oh, Leslie – what did you do on Sunday, BESIDES DRIVE ALL DAY LONG? Oh. We sold our house. 🙂

IMG_20140914_181147

Late that evening, tired and weary, our bodies in a permanent driving position, we wedged ourselves out of the vehicles we had come to love hate for the past 5 days, 2,500 miles. We made it to Oregon. Thankful for no injuries. No road troubles. No flat tires. No dead car batteries. No sickness. Full of so much to be thankful for. Five thankful hearts arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s home in Oregon.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our half written records. Our story rages on… In Him, The Babs Fam

 20140915_111929

5 truths about being a Pastor…

970202_668153729865384_510170458_n

Being a Pastor is one of the most unique jobs in the world. Second only to being a parent -or third only to being in the military- I believe it is one of the most exhausting jobs in the world. However, this is my humble opinion. Take it or leave it. It is what it is. Unless you’ve been a Pastor – you don’t know what it’s like to be a Pastor. No offense.

1. Pastoring is unique… Being a Pastor is extremely unique. Because People. People are the client… the work base… the responsibility… A Pastors job is the people they pastor. Did you know that? Now you know. You’re welcome. You never know what to expect from people. Everyday will be different based on the people Pastors interact with. Every church service is different. From attendance to sound issues, to worship choices and preaching topics, ever church service is unique. No work day is the same. We like this about being a Pastors. It’s never dull.

2. There is no standard answer … For every spiritual or Biblical opinion, question, debate, ideology, understanding and expectation… there can be a myriad of answers and angles to find the answers. Following Christ is a life long journey of learning. Yes, ‘the Bible tells me so’. Jesus loves me. Relationship with Christ, is the one and only way to God the Father. However, for some of the questions people have, there are not always simple answers. Because People. People are complicated. There is no straight forward Pastoral policy and procedure handbook given out to every Pastor when they become a Pastor. The Holy Spirit has to be our guide. Because People… Complicated People. They need to know God’s love and God’s truth. We like this about being Pastors… teaching, counseling, learning and growing God’s Word. It’s never dull.

3. There is little time off… The pastors primary job is to Shepherd the people in their church… while dealing with a dysfunctional copy machine, budget decisions, preparing and planning for services, organizing outreaches and volunteers, overseeing staff, plunging clogs in the church toilet, evicting raccoons who’ve made their home in the church sanctuary… and that was just on Tuesday. There is always something to do… or someone to meet with. Work hours can vary greatly… from 50-80 hours a week. There is not always a set schedule. Many Pastors are bi-vocational working full-time while Pastoring. And time off is not always time off. In our time of Pastoring, people have decided to leave the church, and give us the news while we’re on family vacation. This is our least favorite part of Pastoring – when people leave the church. But, it is what it is. It happens. Even during our time off. There is never a dull moment, even on vacation. It’s always an adventure

4. Results are unpredictable… As a Pastor it is difficult to assess the results of your job. Jesus is your boss and your work day is never the same. Because People. The results of time serving as a Pastor will vary, depending on the people. Church growth, discipleship classes, small groups, mission trips, neighborhood outreaches, teaching and preaching, giving and tithing, financial responsibilities…  ‘Production results’ will always vary. Because People. Are people are growing and maturing in their walk with Christ? Truly knowing people are growing in Christ can be difficult to assess… by their fruits we can knowwe can make a judgement… but some would say we’re not supposed to judge one another. HA. Because People are people. Complicated people. Pastoring is always an adventure.

5. Pastors are not Superman… Pastors are 100% human. In case you weren’t sure. In case you had any doubts. Any supernatural abilities a Pastors has are solely gifts from God. They must fully rely on direction and strength 100% from God their Father, Jesus their Lord and Savior and Holy Spirit their guide. No one -not even other Pastors- can know exactly what another Pastor is going thru day to day, moment by moment… they’ll have an idea, but every church is unique to its own people. But God… He knows. He knows all, hears all, sees all, understands all. He sustains super-human Pastors in their supernatural calling. Pastoring is always an adventure. 

As we prepare to leave our current Pastoral role and move into a season of unknowns, we are grateful. We are grateful for the Pastoral journey we have walked. We are grateful for the growth we have experienced thus far… and the learning we have yet to do. We are grateful the journey has never been dull and always been an adventure. At times very difficult, but never dull. Most of all, we are grateful to serve our amazing Lord, to whom no one can compare. He walks with us, beside us, around us. He goes before us, He is our rear guard. We know Him, we see Him, we hear Him, and we trust Him… in everything that has been and will be.

Our story rages on… In Him, Leslie

The Unknowns

_theunknowns_flat1

The truth is… we’ve never been good at sitting still.

The truth is… we’ve never stayed in one place for long.

Geez. It sounds like we have commitment issues, I know…

Nope. We are fully committed. We are All In. Our commitment is to each other, our marriage, our family, God’s leading for our lives and seeing His Kingdom come.

For 17 years, we’ve lived as North American Nomads, moving from place to place, across Oklahoma, Texas and New York City, and Ohio. Our whole lives, we’ve been serving God with a heart for His church and His mission. And now He is calling us into the great unknown… and we’ve never been more certain of anything in our lives.

For the past 10 years, we have been serving the Eastside Vineyard Church community as the lead Pastor and Worship Leader. We have walked through both joy and pain, challenges and freedom, and grown tremendously through it all. For the past few years, the Lord has been stirring a desire to GO. He has confirmed in the last few months, our calling from the current Pastoral role to transition into a Missionary role. As our season in Ohio is coming to a close… we are ready to embrace our next assignment.

This is what we do know ~ The Knowns:

God is telling us to >>>GO>>>.

We know God spoke, “You were made for this.”

We know we can not survive doing anything else.

We are selling our house and almost everything we own.

We are leaving a supportive church, full of amazing people, we have loved and served the past 10 years.

Our new “home base” will be the Northwest. And our mission field, the World.

We will be serving with Vineyard Churches in the Northwest region and going thru YWAM for Overseas Missions.

***

What will this next chapter look like? What will be doing for the next 20 years? Honestly, we are not completely sure. We do not fully know how it will map itself out… but God. We put our trust fully in Him. We desire to use the gifts He has given us for His glory wherever He calls us to go …

Serving the least, the last, the lost.

Going into all the World.

Thru…

Worship

Church Planting

Preaching and Pastoring

Teaching and Training

Coaching and Counseling

***

Our calling is to Know God and make Him known. 

We invite you to join us on this journey. The story rages on… In Him, The Babs Fam

Genesis 12: 1 “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

How to Join Us in the Great Unknown:

1. PRAY – Commit to being on our PRAYER TEAM and pray for our family regularly.

2. GIVE so we can GO>>>.
As a Global Missionary family we will be 100% supported by your donations. Please consider becoming part of our GO TEAM so we can GO throughout the world to MAKE HIM KNOWN. There are several ways for you to GIVE:

GO TEAM GIVING OPTIONS:

-GIVE to The Babcock Family Directly via check or cash or send it to them @ 440 Hillview St. Pickerington, OH. 43147 ( until departure in late August 2014 )

-GIVE through Eastside Vineyard Church with a Check in-person or mailed to:
The Babcock Family c/o Eastside Vineyard Church.
333 Jericho Rd. Pickerington, OH. 43147
Just write: Babcock Family Missions in the Memo line or with an attached note. *you will receive a tax-deduction through this option.

-GIVE online through eastsidevineyard.org/give/, and in the Designation field choose, Special Offering and then in the bottom box entitled: Notes, type: Babcock Family Missions. *you will receive a tax deduction through this option