Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Year One: the learning curve

Valerie and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday! Hooray! I just want to say that it has been the most amazing year of my adult life! I cannot believe that God has brought such a beautiful, intelligent, wise, hard-working, prudent, loving, and godly woman into my life! There are a couple of verses from Proverbs that immediately come to mind when I think of Valerie:

Proverbs 18:22 "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord."

Proverbs 19:14 "House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." Add Image

I can say confidently that God has given me a fantastic woman with whom I am very excited about spending the rest of my life with! She is my best friend in the world!

However, I did not blog to just brag about my wife and how awesome she is :), but I am writing about a couple lessons and experiences that I have had these last 12 months.

Valerie and I have gone through 3 major changes in our lives within the last year of being married:
1. Being married. It is a drastic change from being single, as you can well imagine.
2. Valerie quitting her job as a teacher and joining me on Navigator staff.
3. Moving to San Diego to help restart the ministry at SDSU!

Each of these changes in and of themselves are huge, and to experience them all in one year made this year seem to go by quickly and slowly simultaneaously! Valerie and I have learned many lessons about ourselves and God through each of these big changes but the three that most stick out to me are:
1. His sovereignty
2. His goodness
3. His faithfulness

Each one of these experiences made me confront each of these aspects of God's character in a new way. Every time Valerie and I experienced one of these big changes I asked God different questions because I doubted that He would act in accordance to His nature. For instance: "God, are you really going to provide for us to be married?" or, "God, do you REALLY want us to move to San Diego now? We thought that the plan was to move 2 years from now!" or, "God, will you REALLY provide for us to move to San Diego and minister on the campus of SDSU?"

These are just examples of the myriad of questions that both Valerie and I asked God this year. And you know what we found to be true? That God will ALWAYS be true to His nature! It may not line of with what we think we need or want in the moment, but God is faithful to turn our hearts to His ways and to rest and wait upon the Lord!

I would like to end with a few more verses that remind me of God's sovereign plan for our marriage.

Psalm 139:16b "...And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."

Jeremiah 29:11 " 'For I know the plans that I have for you', declares the Lord, ' plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

Even though these are from the Old Testament, I think that the underlying truth is that God has already written all the days of mine and Valerie's life, and He is faithful to bring them about. He is also in the process of making sure that the plan that He has for us happens, and that it is for His ultimate glory and our good! I look forward to the day when our future and hope with Jesus Christ is finally fully consummated in us being with Him in His presence forever and ever!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Purpose and Potential

by Val,
Snow is a funny thing...

This summer I kinda felt like snow. Not cold and white, but rather unmoving and fragile. Whereas water gushes and flows, snow sits silently while it waits. It sits there for who knows how long just waiting to melt.

This summer I forgot that snow melts. Also, that snow has a purpose, and a potential. You see, without the cold of snow, the internal mechanism of some plants would never allow them to germinate. The seeds become plants only after they have been touched by the frost of snow. God also had a purpose for my time of snow. He never wastes time ever,He always has a purpose for what he is doing.

Snow also has the potential to become life giving water. The funny thing is though, snow can't just will itself to magically become water. It has to wait on the sun to melt it. In a similar way, no matter how much I wanted to move, it didn't make a difference because I still had to wait for God to provide the funding.

So now here we are at the next chapter. Now that we are moved, how will I use this time? When snow melts sometimes it still just sits there in a puddle. Other times it mixes with dirt and creates messy mud sludges. However, other times this water seeps into the ground, to where it is no longer seen and gives life to the grass and plants around it. It dies to itself.

John 12
24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

My prayer is that Ryan and I learn to die to self while at San Diego State. That we model Christ in serventhood, grace and truth. Our goal is to make our house a place of refuge where students can come and experience Jesus everytime. That "in everything we would set the students an example by doing what is good." Titus 2:7. That I would "teach what is good. " Titus 2:5 to the younger women. That we would both be "active in sharing our faith, so that we would have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." Philemon 6.

We ask that you would keep these verse in mind while you pray with us.
John 12:24
Titus 2:7
Titus 2:3
Philemon 6

Monday, November 24, 2008

Moved In

Thanks to all who helped move us this last week. It was an incredible testament to those around. We went around to meet our n eighbors and many of them commented on how amazing it was to see the amount of help you guys blessed us with. It brought to mind John 13:35

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

We are now officially living in San Diego, California. We love it and are so grateful to God for His faithfulness and provision. We are mostly unpacked, but are lacking some furniture. Some dressers, and bookcases. But everything else is pretty much in order. I LOVE our place, it's so cute! Our guest bedroom has just a few boxes in the corner, but plenty of room for a bed if people want to visit anytime. Just give us a call. We'd love to see any of you.

We've been on campus already, and I forgot how much I love it. Even though the semester is winding down, I'm so excited to see what God will do.

Please pray that God will provide us with friends here in San Diego. Some heart friends that we can share our lives with and encourage one another. For me, I know that's a huge prayer.

Well, call or write anytime. We are at:
4372 56th St.
92115 San Diego, CA

We'll continue to keep everyone posted through this blog and emails! Miss you all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

His Ways, His Acts

YAY! Our cute little pink/peach house. God is the great provider!

In training yesterday God gave me a quick kick in the behind. We were talking about the Israelites and Moses in the books of Exodus and Numbers. As many of you know, it is full of God's provision and the Isrealities ungratefulness. I don't know about you, but I use to roll my eyes at the Isrealites and guffaw at their constant lack of faith. However, God has really humbled me during these last, almost six months.

We didn't know where we would live, how we would pay our bills or when we would be fully funded, if ever. Some days God gave me the strength to trust. Other days, not so much. Our teacher made a good point though.

Psalm 103: 7
He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

Moses praised God for His ways, the Isrealites praised God for just His acts.

Moses was constantly praying to know God better in both the good times and the hard times. Though he would get frustrated with the people, his faith in God did not waver. Though he was in charge of over 2 million people INCLUDING his wife and two sons, he still made time to be with God. Moses faithfully followed God and His ways.

In contrast, the people were not concererend with God's ways, but rather with His provision. The would rejoice when things were good and grumble when things were difficult. They would frustrate GOd with their lack of faith and grumbling attidudes. In comparsion to Moses, their responsibilites were simingly small, yet not many of them sought to really know God.

Moses followed for the long run. The Isrealites only followed when things were going well.

So what if it's a long, difficult path for us to be fully funded? So what if this new rental house falls through like the last one? So what if we have to change a tire as we travel to California? So what if the students at SDSU are not responive? There are many things, hard things that God may still have planned for us. Because He loves me, because he wants to grow me. The question is, will I be an Isrealite or a Moses? Will I continue to seek his face during even the hard times? Will I continue being in the Word even when it's hard, or confusing, or seeminingly not encouraging? Will I continue to pray even it feels like He's not listening? Will I continue sharing the truth even when people scoff or ignore me?

Do I rejoice over his ways...or just his acts?

Monday, October 27, 2008

God's Provision!

77 %!
Praise God for His provision!
Thanks to all of you for your support!
San Diego Here We Come!

On Friday we will be looking at some places to live. Please pray that God will guide us to the perfect place he has picked out for us at that time. Also, it's looking like we will be loading the truck on Friday the 7th of Nov. and then heading out to San Diego on Saturday early morning. We would love any help be it prayers for a safe move, physically on Friday/Saturday loading and unloading, or even financially for gas for the moving trailer. We appreciate all your support and are excited to see what God has in store for us on Friday.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Hurting Heart

By Val

Pain, intense, dark, screaming, lonely, empty, mournful...
Sitting in the grass, weeping.
Head bowed in defeat.
Heart crushed and mulled.
Bombarded with dark thoughts, voices, screaming. Loud piercing yells.
Make it stop. Anything. Make the pain go away. Anything.
Dark thoughts envelope me. Hopelessness encompasses me. Alone, all alone.

Brokeness is everywhere. WE are broken. The world is broken. I am broken.

College for me was a hard time. A time of despair, pain and hurt. Many late nights I would lay by the pool wondering if I could just slip away into the darkness. Wishing it would engulf me and sleep would would overtake me and I would never have to wake-up again.

I was so broken, it stared me in the eyes every morning. Never did I have the energy to fight it. It dragged me down like the swift tide of the black oceans. Every night, tears pouring, heart breaking, loneliness embracing.

I covered it with sin after sin. Hiding from who I was. Hiding from who I should be. Hiding from the only one who could help. A spiraling hole I dug myself. Self-destructive decision after another overlapping themselves.

I was down. I could travel no lower. Broken pieces of myself scattered like china across the cold steel floor. Dark, without any hope of light.

But that was exactly where I needed to be.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Over a long, arduous, and painful process the healing was allowed to begin. I faced the truth of of who I was by reading of the truth of who HE is. Hiding is just a facade. I cannot hide. I was never alone. I cannot fix myself. I had to let Him fix me through His word, prayer, worship, community and time.

This is why I feel so deeply for the college ladies God puts in my life. I want to comfort others, because He comforted me.

2 Cor 1:3-7

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

I hear so many stories of brokeness, of pain and despair.I hurt for so many women. My heart breaks for these precious jewels of God. I get so angry at Satan and sin. Tempting, lying and seeking to destroy these wonderful crowns of beauty. Worst of all, is when he maims them and whispers in their ears dark stabs of hopelessness. They are left as cripples. Hanging onto cliffs by their fingertips when they should be dancing on hills of joy.

I cry for these ladies. Cry that they are shackled to their pain. I want to scream on the mountain tops:

"Yes, it is hard to face the truth. To face the pain. I know, I've been there. But you are not alone, you were never alone, you will never be alone. It is done. You are free. You are forgiven. Believe it, and it is so. Walk in His love. Roll in His blessings. And wrap yourself in his warm peace and hope."

The world is dark. We are not of the world. We of His world. We are strangers and aliens. We have been hurt, lied to, deceived and beat up. I pray that they will stop listening to their fears. To the lies that crippled them. I pray that He would show them truth. I pray for these girls. I pray that would run to him, drink from his well, lie in his green pastures and listen. Listen to the one that can "bind up the broken hearted."

"Dear God,
My heart hurts for her. So much pain. She whispers to me her past and tears sting my eyes. I see who she could be, but she refuses to believe. She lives in lies I am too familiar with. Crippled by her own fears. I don't know what to do. I pray for her everyday. My heart breaks everyday. I want her to experience the joy you have given me. The hope you have instilled in me. The vision you have shown me. How? What can I do? You've called me away. Yet I see the pain. I see it in her eyes. Dark, empty and confused. I love her so much. Don't let her go. Strengthen her. Show her the way. "Sanctify her by the truth; your word is truth." Guide her steps. Love her. Love her deeply. Unshackle her so she can walk in the identity you have called her into. The identity you have created for her since the beginning of time. Refine her, so that she too can have a heart that breaks for you. So that one day her heart will brim over with compassion, over the girls you have put in HER life."

Friday, September 26, 2008

"He was a very intense child."

"Intense. Very Intense." This is how my mom described me as a baby...and as a child... and again as a teenager...And now that I think of it, probably as I am now.

My mom told me a story about the way in which I would practice my clarinet when I was younger. I would play and play a piece until it was perfect, and if it wasn't perfect in the amount of time I thought it should be I would get so mad that I would THROW my clarinet across the room. Finally my mom "broke" me of this habit...by getting me to throw the music stand instead. An improvement, but not a big one. There was another time when I was auditioning for the Arizona All-State Band in high school, and I got so frustrated with my performance in the audition that after I left the room that I was auditioning in I actually threw my fist into the wall of the music building. These are just a few of the colorful stories that capture my unfortunate personality of being intense.

As you can expect this has caused quite a bit of strife and harm in relationships that I have had with people. I often come across as harsh, competitive, argumentative, and aggressive. And the person who really has to deal with this first hand is my wonderful wife. I feel so blessed that God has given her to me because she is so patient and kind and gentle with me as I undergo God's tempering of my spirit.

Recently Valerie brought to my attention how I had become more aggressive and argumentative in the past few months than I had been in the last couple of years. It was hard to hear that because I do not really like that aspect of my personality and have been trying to give God's Spirit more and more control over my life and attitudes. I thought that I had been improving in that area. One of the phrases in scripture that has been running through my mind for about a year is found in Ephesians 4:2 "with all humility and gentleness...". I have been trying to live that out as it pertains to walking with Christ in a manner worthy of the calling of Christ. I struggle so much with gentleness, compassion and humility so, to hear Valerie bring that up definitely made me get before the Lord and seek His thoughts on this.

The next morning I was spending some time with Jesus in His word and God gave me two passages of scripture that I am now memorizing and meditating on:

Proverbs 16:32
"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit that he who captures a city."

Proverbs 17:27
"He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding."

These verses cut me to the quick and I knew as I read them that Valerie was the instrument that God was using to continue the tempering process in this area of my life. I feel like these verses speak for themselves so I will not attempt to expound upon them, but believe me when I say that it is harder to live out these verses than to read and memorize them. I memorized them in a day, but I will be seeking to live out these verses, with the help of the Spirit, for my whole life.

As I have been spending time in prayer over this, God has shown me that I often do not think of humility, gentleness, being slow to anger, restraining my words, and being tender with people, as strong characteristics.

As being characteristics of a good leader.

But I am about as wrong as you can be about that.

Jesus is the perfect example of how humility, compassion, gentleness, etc. all are characteristics of a truly godly servant-leader. As the Spirit of God works in me and tempers me I see more and more the value of these fruits of the Spirit. Not only in my relationship with my wife and others, but more importantly in my relationship with God! I have experienced a deeper and more intimate communion with Jesus because He is working those things into my life.

O' the sweet pain of the Great Doctor's scalpel in my heart,
turning me toward a greater affection, commitment, knowledge, and reliance upon Him!
The pain comes from my sin and depravity acting against God's work in my heart,
and will only go away when I enter in His eternal rest
where there will be pain no more!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


"Wait"...135 times this word shows up in the Bible. Waiting for land to appear after a flood that just wiped out EVERYTHING. Waiting to talk to the powerful Pharaoh to ask him a request that he will probably laugh at. Waiting for children, years of waiting for just one child. Waiting for the Messiah, the one that suppose to "fix" everything, the Savior, the One.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. God is a big fan of waiting. It's just so hard for me to grasp why. During Elisha's time the King refused to wait on God for the famine to end, so Elisha point blank said, "too bad, so sad. Guess you won't have any food then." And it's true, the king got trampled to death, by his own subjects no less. I do NOT want to be trampled. And maybe I won't if I don't wait, but there are so many stories of people being impatient and it ALWAYS ends up bad. I mean, look at the whole Ishmael deal. Abraham couldn't wait to have his own kid, a kid from Sarah, his wife's stomache. So what does he do? He has a kid with some other chick. Even now, if you look at world news you can see the reprocussions of this decision to be impatient. Muslims verses Jews. It's this crazy mess. And why? Cuz one man didn't wait.

Yep...this is what I hear everyday we are not yet in San Diego. Wait Val, Wait. "But God, we're doing everything we can?! Calling people talking to people, I'm so tired..." I'll say and what does He say?

Ps 27:14
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."

Begging I say, "But we can totally be more impactful in San Diego, Lord! Isn't that where we should be?! We want to further your kingdom! isn't that what YOU want? Isn't that what we are suppose to do? I just don't understand." ...and He just says

Ps 37:7
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him...

So I get on my knees and start crying "But it's so hard! I can't do this any longer! Maybe I should just get a part-time job, maybe we're not cut out for this, maybe I should get a job again and Ryan can do the full time gig and...." Then I read

Ps 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my

Hope. My hope is in Him. My hope SHOULD be in Him.

Is 49:23
"...those who hope in me will not be disappointed."

I've been looking at this all wrong. I'm making SDSU some kinda salvation or something. My identity. My desire is now becoming my obsession. So, I think I'm understanding a little better why He asks us to wait. So He makes sure He is always higher then anything else.

So I wait. I pray. I share my burden with others so I don't lose heart. This is a very hard lesson He is teaching us, yet here we are, praying for SDSU, as we wait. Thankfully though, God says through it all we WILL NOT be dissapointed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


" I have no greater joy then to see that my children are walking in the Truth" 3 John 4

Truth. Truth. How can we find truth? what is truth? Obviously the first answer is God, and the Bible, and even sometimes people and creation. When you hear truth it can be like clouds parting. A small beam of light into the dark abyss of lies. Truth is everywhere! So why is so hard to listen?

I've been going through this book I heard that made a big impact on my friend Michelle. It's called "Lies women believe and the Truth that sets them free." At first I started reading it because I knew I would be working with college girls, and I know from experience how many lies infest inside you during your time in college. But even though I've only read the first section I start to notice...Wait! This is talking about me!

Take for instance God's love. I would never SAY God didn't love me. But, do my actions say the same thing? Isn't worry or an anxious heart form of questioning his love for me? I mean, if I truly believed he loved me, I would never worry, because I would know in my heart that what is happening to me, what will happen to me, is because He loves me. Maybe the evil itself is not from his love, but definitely the journey through that evil. So that stopped and made me think. "if that's true, then He loves me so much, and is so perfect, that He knows that the most perfect and loving place for me right now is to be in...Arizona?" Wow! That's crazy! Cuz that's not how see it. But if I don't believe that, then I REALLY don't believe he loves me. Truth. Crazy truth. It really makes you step back and re-think so many things.

Sometimes "truth" can also lead to lies.

I hardly ever tell this to anyone. In fact, I didn't even tell this to Ryan until we had been married for like six months. But when I was in 7th grade some kid made fun of the way I looked. He was surprised that his friend could ever be attracted to me. I know of so many girls who have had very similar experiences. From then on, I was always counting fat grams, watching what I ate, weighing myself. I would constantly be doing sit-ups, push-ups, leg lifts, whatever, while everyone else would be siting and relaxing. I had drilled it into myself that I had to work on myself, that I could only be attractive if I looked a certain way. Thank God he protected me from more dangerous measures, but my thought process itself had become a cancer inside me. Even to point that I feel self-conscious in front of my very own husband!

Living single, it was very easy for me to control my body. I was starting to feel OK with it, I had met others girls who shared similar issues, and I was really trying to believe in GOD's truth. "I praise you because I am perfectly and wonderfully made." God created me perfectly just the way I am, slow metabolism and all. Then it came. I small, innocent remark. I am sure that whoever sent it only had good intentions. It was in fact the "truth". In essence it said...my clothes were to tight to be attractive...I just stared at it.

Now, I am not one to really flaunt my body. Maybe when I was young and naive, but now? No! I try hard to be fashionable yet modest. I where camisoles under almost all my shirts so when I bend over no one can see anything. When I wear skirts I always make sure it passes the fingertip rule. I know that I am not only representing myself, but also God and the way I value myself.

But...see. whether I admit it or not. I had lost control. When I got married I no longer had time to teach gymnastics, in which I could work out with my students during their condintioning time. It was harder for me to grab one of my friends and say "hey, let's go to the gym." I was learning how to cook things that Ryan would like, apperanetly alot of men don't absolutely adore salads, who knew? So I would inveditably eat whatever I had cooked up for him. And life just got sooooooooooo busy! Needless to say, I had gained so much weight.

In church, our pastor talked about our "hell on earth," a real or theoretical situation that you do everything in your power to avoid because of the personal pain you would experience through it. Mine has always been being over weight. But there it was. Looking at me in the face every morning I would wake up. I began to try and take back control. Running. muscle strengthening. trying to eat smaller portions. Then I learned that the medicine I was taking could also be keeping me from losing weight! AH! It began to get daugnting. dis-heartning. No changes. no nothing. So I gave in. I began asking Ryan if I could get some new clothes. I had know idea when my weight would finally go down but I couldn't wait for that. So there I was, trying on sizes I thought I would never be forced to wear. With the small budget we had, it was a slow process. A new piece here, a new piece there. Anything I could that would cover this now hated body.

Here is where this comment plays in. I had tried to be so careful! I had been watching what I ate! I had been excercising! I bought new clothes to cover it up! But it didn't seem to matter...When I read the comment my heart stopped. I had to get out of there. I put on my shoes and ran and ran. Not content with that, I even walked on the treadmill until my feet started hurting. I figured I still had time till bed, so I jumped in the pool and just started swimming until my husband found be in a hurt confused puddle.

The comment was probably true. Maybe I needed to go to Goodwill and find even bigger shirts to fit in. But to me, it didn't matter. I saw myself as being fat. and now other people knew it as well. While I was running so many lies entered my head. Hurtful and pronounced. Over and over they swept. But...I prayed. I prayed that God would be my savior. That he would walk with me through this journey. I was running, and I hurt so bad that I almost convinced myself to start throwing up. I mean who would know? it was late. No one was around. But then I started to think about truth. What was true? God's word! I frantically began reciting old scripture verses I knew. It didn't matter what they were about. I just needed some TRUTH!

Eventually my mind couldn't take it anymore, and that is when my husband, my gift from God came to me. I no longer had the capacity to remember any truth. But he sat there next me, stroking my arms, whispering beautiful truths.

This is a journey I didn't want to go down again, but here it is. And I will walk though it because God loves me. Even writing this I'm crying. I wish I could brush off the comment. I wish I could go on living as though it wasn't said. But it opened a pandora's box of lies. lies and insecurities.

I don't know how this experience will mold me. I have a hard time letting hurtful comments go. I just want to remember truth. Beautiful truth.

Monday, September 1, 2008

"No,it means Saint Diego." " Agree to disagree..."

Well, here we are in San Diego or, as Will Ferrel argued against, "Saint Diego". I am not sure who Saint Diego was to have a city named after him, but it is a really cool city. He must have been a really cool guy. Anyway, we actually aren't here permanently because we are still below the funding mark to be allowed to actually move. But, we were given special permission to be out here for the week of staff and student planning for the year, as well as the first week of school. So we are into our first week of being in San Diego.

Just to give you all an idea of what has been going on, we have had several days of planning sessions with the staff and students, as well as just getting to know the city and looking for places to live! It has been a jam packed week and we are tired, but I am encouraged with what is going on out here. First I want to talk about our staff team. They rock. I really like being around them and listening to them because they each have such a humble attitude about what God is doing in their life as well as what God is directing them to do with the ministry here at SDSU. The staff team is as follows: Myself and Valerie, Tim Nelson (UCLA graduate), Anne Palawski (4th year on staff), and Dave and Heather Molascan (campus leaders).

Our staff and student leadership sessions have been really encouraging because everybody seems to be on the same page as far as where to take the ministry. Also, Dave has really done a great job of sharing the vision of the Navigators at SDSU in such a way that the staff team especially, is united together in spirit and purpose. The staff team is brand new and the students leadership team is new, but already we have sensed a deep love for one another and the possibility that this ministry can really be one of transparency and reconciliation. Not to mention fun and a whole lot of love thrown in there :)

So, in way of history of what God has been doing here with the ministry, it is pretty simple. Last year the staff team saw that there was a need to really challenge the students to actually take their walks with Jesus seriously, and as a result most of the students left. What was left was the remnant that God wanted to help rebuild the ministry on a solid foundation of people who love Jesus and take seriously His command to "make disciples of all nations". This is where we come in. We have joined the staff and students (total numbering about 10) for this new season of rebuilding and casting our nets out to "be fishers of men". There is no where to go but up at this point.

I am super excited about this because it wasn't too long ago that ASU was in this exact same position and I got the privledge of seeing God take a few and grow His kingdom into many. This time also reminds me that I am inadequate in myself to go and make disciples, but Christ makes me adequate and He is the one who really grabs a person's heart and soul for Himself, I just happen to be the vessel through which the news of Christ comes. I am praying that God will give me just one or two guys who are thirsty for Christ and His word "as a deer panteth for steams of water" that I can pour into and invest myself in. As the founder of the Navigators is famous for saying: "You can't have two 'till you have one". Simply put, we cannot grow unless we are investing in the individual, being careful and intentional to help that person become a mature Christian (Colossians 1:28) and equipped to "go and do likewise".

Another praise is that God has been connecting Valerie and I with many, many Godly friends with whom we get along with well. We went to a small church service at a church plant called Kaleo and I will tell you what, those people made us feel so welcome and we met almost everybody there! That is what a church is supposed to do, and they did it! We really felt connected to that church and we had just met them. The pastor was not afraid to speak truth, but he also reminded us that all we do and everything we have as believers is because of the Gospel! He is also laboring to see the church really be a community where people are actually involved in each other's lives daily, not just once or twice a week. Now that is a picture of the early church seen in Acts 2!

Here are some things to be joining us in prayer for:
1. Meeting new students on campus starting tomorrow!
2. Getting the rest of the funding in place so that we can actually make the move out here. We need about $15,000 to move.
3. That Valerie and I would be content with where we are in our funding and living in Arizona still when our hearts desperately desire to be in San Diego with our new friends and ministry.
4. Energy. We are physically and spiritually tired. Please pray that we can know what it means to find our rest in Christ!

Thank you all for your prayers, they have been especially felt this last week! We are encouraged but tired. Please continue to pray that God's kingdom would continue to be advanced on the campus of San Diego State University!

Friday, August 22, 2008

At the Foot of His Bed

So, as many of you heard, Ryan got a dog. He's this little black mop of a thing. Not much different then my dog. Completely black with a slightly brown underside, so black in fact that sometimes it's even hard to figure out where even his eyes are, among all that black.

Two dogs, similar shape, color, and appearance. In the dim light, it's even hard for ME to differentiate from the two of them if their faces aren't looking at me. Though, with all their similarities, their personalities couldn't be any different.

Samwise, or Sammywise, as my little cousin calls him, is VERY independent. Sleeps by himself, sits by himself, and only comes to me when he thinks he's going to get something. If I yell his name once, he'll come bounding towards me like a hell hound. But if I don't reward him with "the goods", well that's the last of that. I'll be lucky if I even get pompous glance from him the next time I call him. He's friendly enough though. When people come over, he's the first to say hi. However, don't expect him to stick around once he's throughly sniffed you in ever creavice conceivable. However, in many ways I envy him. He has this, "I don't care what you think", attitude and stance. When you pick him up does he jump so it's easier for you to lift him? Does he tuck in his feet so you can hold him up nicely? Of course not. Whatever position you picked him up in, that's the position he'll stay in and if you don't like that you may as well put him down. He doesn't need the affirmation of no one, no how.

Then there's Dickens. Good ole Dickens. Not only does he come when I call, but he'll fly off the couch, bound between the other dogs and their food (not always the smartest move), race through the house, then continues to launch himself four feet in the air landing right beside me on the bed. Does it matter if I have a treat? maybe... Does he care if I ask him to this a hundred times a day? possibly... But he never shows it! He loyally follows me and obeys me no matter how daunting it may seem ( I don't sit still very well.) Sometimes I'll even come out of the BATHROOM and there he will be, just sitting by the door. His favorite time of the day is "time for bed", where he chases after me, snuggles himself at the foot of my bed and he just sleeps. Whenever I look around, if I don't see him, it's almost always because he's tucked under my feet, curled up on the carpet. For him, his job, come hell or highwater, seems to be just to be with me. To rest near me. To follow me.

During this time of waiting on God I've really had to examine how I am responding to God. Do I sit by myself, too preoccupied with what's in it for me? Or am I like Dickens. He can't really feed himself, wash himself, give himself water...or really do anything other then eat, sleep, and play. Yet, he's learned to follow the voice of his master. "to lie down in green pastures...to be led by streams of water". So utterly dependent, so utterly needy.

God is the reason I am able to wake up in the morning. He is my Master, and I know he is utterly in love with me. What other reason do I need to spend the rest of my days pursuing Him?
What other reason do I need?
to just lay by his feet
and sleep at the foot of his bed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Lean on Me
by Bill Withers

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Lean on me...

These lyrics have really rung true for me, during these last few days.

This last week has been really hard on me due to fundraising. Our first SDSU staff meetings are coming up so soon and I feel we are so far away from being able to move. SDSU's Sept 2nd start up date feels likes it's pummeling down on us. I feel so broken and disheartened at times. It's only been 10 days since are temporary move but it seems like a lifetime, a lifetime of waiting and not very well on my part at that. When Lord, will you allow us to move to San Diego?

I try my best to figure our what it means to minister where I am RIGHT NOW, but it's sooo difficult to figure that out. I feel like I'm in limbo. Everyone keeps saying things like "I'm so glad that you are still here in AZ." I appreciate their sentiment, and I do love everyone in Arizona so much, but my thoughts and plans are already ahead of me in San Diego. So, I fall into despair. Wrestling with my thoughts and heart. Thinking, we will never get there.

God has brought Ecclesiastes to mind during these times:

9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken

I thank God so much for Ryan especially now. He has been my support his week. To spur me on, to help me up, to keep me warm, and to defend me against my own dark thoughts. He is my gift from God. I don't know what I'd do without him.

Along with him, there are so many of you who also listen so patiently to my cries. You are the one's I lean on.

So, in closing, we continue to openly invite you to become partners with us financially. Only 19 more people, who pledge $50 a month, to get us to San Diego. God only asks that we invite, He will do the rest. In the mean time. Thank you for letting me "Lean on You."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Halfway There!

So, we have finally hit the 50% mark! We want to give all the praise and glory and honor to the Lord for helping us to get this far! After all, at one point we were at 0% and now we are at 50%! Only God is able to make this happen!

This whole experience has really caused me to run to God's Word. It has caused me to listen to what He has to say about Himself, and what He would have me learn about Himself. Two things that have really stuck out to me as I have been spending time with Him in His word is that those who trust Him WILL be blessed [Psalm 115] and that He listens to His people and, and hears them [Psalm 116:1,2]. This is huge, because this is the God of the universe who stoops down and actually listens to and hears His people's supplications and voices! This has really encouraged me to pray confidently and earnestly to our God knowing that He IS listening and takes into account my prayers.

This has also reminded me that God is good and that He is sovereign. He will provide for us all the funding that we need in His perfect timing and will also provide for us the housing that we need in San Diego perfectly in His time. All God requires from us is simply, that we are faithful in pursuing fund-raising. But, really, this is all He wants from us in our Christian walk as well. Just be faithful in pursuing Him. That is want what we plan on doing. Just be faithful.

Behind all of this, I am still SUPER excited about getting to San Diego and laboring amongst the college students at SDSU. It will also be very exciting to make new friends with the staff and with the people around there as well!

Please be praying with us:
1. That God provides the next 50% for us by September.
2. That God provides us housing in San Diego.
3. That God would mightily work in the students' lives at SDSU.
4. That God would be preparing Valerie and I for the transition to SDSU.

We love all of you who in our lives and who are supporting us either financially or through prayers, or both! Thank you all for helping us to get so far!

In Christ,

Ryan Buss

Saturday, July 26, 2008


So, we are moving. YEA! But not yet to San Diego. *SNIFF*

We are in this weird place called "Transition". What does that even mean? I guess it means that at ANYTIME God can give us the go ahead by giving us the 75% funds that will allow us to move to San Diego. That could mean tomorrow, August 1st, September 1st or even a YEAR from now. We don't know. What we do know is that we are in Arizona right now and 44% funded. We will be staying in temporary housing that Valerie's parents have so graciously offered. However, the present question is, how can we be productive followers of Christ during this unknown length of time called transition.

Is it fair to make new friendships when we know we won't be around very long to cultivate them? Do we engage in accountability with others when we know very soon the relationships will drastically change? Can we have the hard conversations with our friends, knowing that it may not go well and our friendship may not be on the best of terms when we leave? So many questions.

I'm a planner. When I was 6 I planned on always doing music. When I was 12 I planned on being a music teacher. When I was 15 I planned on going to ASU. When I was 20 I planned on teaching in the inner-city. But now...I have no plan. Not for the next month, or even longer. My plan is to go to SDSU. But what if that's not God's plan? And if it is, when doe He plan on us going?

I read in the Bible of different ladies in the Bible asking for a child. It goes on to say that God answered their prayers. Then I think to myself, when is he going to answer OUR prayers. But see, then I keep reading and I put two and two together. Yes, he answered them, but RARELY right away. So, God's plan may VERY well be for us to go to SDSU. Maybe just not right away.

So it brings me back to my point. How will Ryan and I live during this time of the unknown? Will we be patiently waiting for God, or anxiously waiting for God? Only time will tell. My prayer is that we learn what it means to make the most our time.

Eph 5:15
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."

If you remember, we hope that, that would be your prayer for us as well. That we would be patient, seeing this time as a gift from God and that we would be making the most of this opportunity.

As we are in this time of transition.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Why is that the hardest person to be honest with...is the person that knows you the best? Why do I always feel like hiding from the one person who is my protection? This process called fundraising is harder then I could have imagined. Yet, Every time I meet with God I put on this facade with him as if everything is ok. Why is it so difficult to tell him the truth? That I hurt. That I'm scared. That sometimes...I don't trust him. I CAN'T DO THIS ON MY OWN! yet I'm not suppose to. "with man things are impossible, but with God nothing is impossible." But so many times I don't believe that. Am I less of Christian? Sometimes I feel that if I'm honest with Him that's what I'll be...less of a Christian. Like I should have already learned this, and that trusting in Him should be a no brainer. It's like those classes your in all semester, and you kinda pay attention, and your teacher is so engaging, and the classwork is really helpful, and the material is easy....but the day before the final...you realize you have NO idea what any of it means, yet your too embarrassed to ask for help because YOU SHOULD KNOW IT! I feel I should know this whole trust thing, but...I don't. God's shown me over and over reasons to trust him. Yet, I still don't get it.

So here I am.
Being honest.
I still don't get it.
But at least I don't have to hide anymore.
I'm broken.
and finally I realize...
that's the best place to be.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Faith and CUTCO knives

I feel that the title of this blog title is really very much what I and Valerie are experiencing this summer. The past month and a half have been very stretching for us in terms of our faith in God's provision and His making good on the promises that He has made! The reason for the title is that we are going back and forth with living out of faith that God WILL provide for His people all that they need, and feeling like we have to provide for ourselves because we don't always see His provision immediately.

There is a passage in scripture from Jeremiah 17: 5-8 "Thus says the Lord, 'cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. For he will be like a brush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes but its leaves will be green. And will not be anxious in the year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."

This passage of scripture has really encouraged me these last couple of weeks. There is an obvious comparison to the person who trusts in man, or I would be willing to wager oneself, and the person who trusts in the Lord. It seems pretty clear that God loves it and blesses it when His people trust in Him and Him alone, and do not trust in men. God has promised that those who trust in Him will flourish and have ALL of their needs met, even in drought and heat. Why is it so hard to believe that He will?

Valerie and I are facing our own drought and heat with fund-raising. There are specific and pressing needs that must be met now, and so the need for immediate money. But we also know that once we have reached our funding goal, those needs will surely be met. So, it is a struggle to not lose heart that God will provide, and to not go looking for a job that we think might provide better than God. Thus: CUTCO knives. Valerie and I have been looking for part time jobs until we are fully funded, and the best we could do so far was CUTCO knives, which is basically fund-raising only you are selling knives and make less money.

Why can't I believe that God will provide?! God is the God of the universe! He is the one who invented this thing we call money! He is the one from whom all things flow and have their being! He is totally sovereign over all creation including man! Even people who have "jobs", I am proud to say, have been given those jobs by God Himself and would not have the money they do if God had not given it to them! Money coming from an employer is no different from money from people because of fund-raising, because both of those sources come from God Himself!

Fund-raising is a blessing in disguise because we are surrounding ourselves with people who support us, love God, and can be a huge encouragement for us in the hard times! How lucky are we that God has called us to such a magnificent job that we get to meet and surround ourselves with people like that! Valerie and I have been drawn close together with trusting in the powerful provision of God and the faith-solidifying process called fund-raising!

Friday, June 6, 2008

So Here We Go!

Wow! This last year at ASU has been a year of growth and learning for both of us, as well as for the ministry at ASU! We have learned so much about one another and how we individually minister to people as well as how to minister to people as a married couple! We have made a lot of meaningful and impactful relationships with the students and staff at ASU.

Now God has shown us that our time at ASU has come to a close. The Navigators have invited us to be campus missionaries for the next two years at San Diego State University in San Diego, CA!

Valerie and I have been at with the ASU Navigators for 6 years. We have been honored with the opportunity to see God grow the ministry, from its small beginnings to becoming a well established, disciple making ministry! Because of this experience as well the gifts God has given us Navigators believe that this move would be best for us as well as the campus at SDSU!

We feel blessed to have been given this opportunity and we’re writing to invite you to partner with us in this endeavor! We’ll need a team of friends to join us in ministry through prayer and financial support. We start August 1st!

For Valerie as a student, the Christian walk and the college life seemed like an impossible juxtaposition. There are so many pulls in other directions, be it academics, boys, parties or just the feeling of freedom from parents. It was definitely a time of brokenness and it was only by God’s grace that he allowed Valerie to be strengthened through those times rather than be demolished by them. We are incredibly grateful that there were staff ladies from the Navigators who lived out the principles of 1Thessalonians 2:8 .They did this by talking with her, praying with her, coming to her recitals or just being there with her. God has now turned the tables and has allowed us to do likewise with other students.

As we go to campus, we’ll be part of an established Navigator ministry at SDSU. In the meantime we will be trained and classified as members of, “The EDGE Corps,” which is comprised of recent college graduates who will minister for one to two years on college campuses. We will be interacting with the students at SDSU in the same way that we did at ASU. We will be doing Bible study, meeting with students one to one to talk about God and life, and helping them to grow in their relationship to Jesus, while also helping them to relate to a world that is growing more and more hostile to the values of the Bible.

Our assignment as full-time missionaries is to assemble a team of prayer and financial partners. We’ll need dozens of friends who will pray faithfully and give joyfully. We will spend the next few weeks raising the funds needed to completely underwrite our ministry for this coming school year. Our funding must be in place by August 1st in order for us to be on campus full-time investing in students. On that day, we plan to greet students as they arrive on campus. Will you prayerfully consider joining our monthly partnership team?

Jesus observed in Matthew 9:36-37 that “the harvest is great, but the workers are few.” We’ve seen how students at ASU have shown hunger for more in their life and how God has allowed us to be part of their journey. We are confident that God can use us to impact the students at SDSU! Will you please pray about joining us in this exciting opportunity? We look forward to telling you more about what we’ll be doing.

Thank you so much!

Your partners in the Gospel,

Ryan and Valerie Buss