What do you do when you have been planning to move to serve in the ministry in a new city and there is a pandemic? You pray, be careful and follow God’s calling.
After several years of having New Orleans on our hearts, we were planning to move in April of 2020 to serve the church alongside Steve and Bonny Stephenson until they retired in the near future. We were excited to GrowNOLA and see the gospel spread across Louisiana and neighboring states.
The year started off with unexpected heartbreak as Adam’s uncle and dad died within a month of each other. We couldn’t believe the timing, right as we were making such a huge transition but God carried us through.
The first week of March, just two days after returning from his dad’s funeral, we went for a short visit with the sole purpose of finding a home. We had a few lined up to look at, and the day before our visit, a new property came on the market. Our five-month search of touring nearly 25 homes was finally completed. God had led us to a great house that we could use for his kingdom in an incredible neighborhood.
We were blown away that God allowed us to find this house just in time to stay on schedule for our April move. A week later, life changed dramatically as stay-at-home orders were put into effect. We were so grateful we had already found a house and could see God continuing to make clear he wanted us to go.
Our last days in Dallas looked quite different than we had expected. Our going away party turned into a virtual send-off. Our daughter missed out on her last month at her beloved preschool. Her playdates were replaced with video calls, dressing up like princesses and showing each other their toys.
We recognized blessings that came, as we were able to enjoy making more memories in our home of four and a half years. The isolation enabled us to focus on packing and preparing for the journey.
We prayed that God would make clear if for any reason we shouldn’t make the move in the midst of the pandemic. Our departure date was delayed nine days which was frustrating at first but turned out to be just what we needed.
One day Bethany thought, I should get some more masks and a few minutes later a sister texted her asking if we needed masks she had made. The movers brought their own coverings for precautions and on April 24, we left Dallas and headed toward the Big Easy.
We mapped out where we could make brief stops, instructing our daughter not to touch anything when we went inside. We had a stash of gloves and made sure to hand sanitize when back in the car. For dinner, our order was brought out to the car and we ate it right on the curb under a tree.
As we crossed the Texas/Louisiana line we saw highway patrolmen on the other side flagging down people driving into Texas to inform them they would have to quarantine for 14 days. It was quite a different move than either of us had ever made.
The New Orleans Church disciples were so welcoming, even though we couldn’t meet in person. Connecting with the church consisted of texts, phone calls and zoom meetings, with a few people carefully helping us get settled. We’ve had food dropped off at our door. Drive by fellowship at people’s homes has been so refreshing. The extra time to get to know neighbors, as many are at home has been invaluable. We look forward to the days we can meet in person with our church family, but for now we are grateful for God’s protection and guidance through this crazy time.
We anticipate the great ways God will move in the greater New Orleans area. The boundary lines have fallen for us in pleasant places. (Psalm 16:6)
Has God been stirring in your heart to go on a new adventure? Consider praying about helping us GrowNOLA. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. God is still moving powerfully in the midst of the pandemic and we look forward to seeing more people come to know him!