Adventure Awaits {in a shoebox}

In March of 2013, God launched the valley church here in Vilonia AR. He set us out with a mission to make disciples. We plan live in authentic community, learn biblical teaching, serve here in our area, as well as through go there, where ever that may be across the world to do just that.
Clipping along through the story of the valley and what God's doing, we come to April of 2014 when a crazy tornado swept through our town, destroying many things including the building we were leasing. That allowed us to get creative in how to serve our community during that really hard time. 

I share that all so you'll understand the awesomeness of the upcoming date! 


Since the conception of the valley, part of our attempt to make disciples across the world was to partner with Samaritan's Purse to pack Operation Christmas Child boxes that serve as an amazing, door-opening, tool to share the gospel with children and their families. In the years we've been portable, we still chose to make it a priority to commit to this campaign. 

We have had to let go of a lot of things because it's just too hard to set up and tear down big stuff for just an hour and 1/2 service once a week. This year, I decided to make a BIG display to show the importance of this campaign to our church even if that means a lot of extra work. As a bonus, I think it's helping put a little cheer in our people's already generous hearts.

This week and last week, we collected TOYS! We collect the 5-7 weeks {depending on the year} in preparation for our Operation Christmas Child 2016 shoebox Packing Party.  This year it will be November 13th. Our goal is 60 boxes but I think we May just surpass that quickly...😳 Eeek!

occ-info-station occ-item-collection-trunk

::Collection Schedule::
10-2&9: toys
10-16: hygiene items
10-23: school supplies
10-30: accessories & boxes
11-06: catch up, bring anything you missed

The biggest news!? We are shooting for hosting the packing party In. Our. NEW. Building.

This space to worship in and serve from is just one small way God has continually reminded us that He is not done in this city, through us. He has provided *opportunities to build new relation ships,*unique ways to keep serving, *new families to join in our mission, and *faithful ways for us keep making disciples locally and across the globe.

The adventure awaits! You just have to be willing to take part. God's story is so vast and He invites us into it; isn't that inconceivable?! For many children in poverty-stricken parts of the world, their hope of being apart of God's adventure awaits in a simple [Operation Christmas Child] shoebox gift that might just come from us...or you.

Adventure Awaits! How will you respond?

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Enjoying My Supporting Roll in God’s Story

Two years ago, a traumatic thing happened in our small town- an F4/5 tornado took out most of the businesses, tons of home including an entire neighborhood, and many lives were lost. This happened just over a year after my husband and I moved our family here to plant The Valley church.

We constantly pray for God to teach us how live missionally: to love the community we live in, show new ways of share His love right where people are at in their lives, and grant us favor so door will be open to lead people to Him. That night in April, God handed us just that, on a filthy, demolished platter perfect for serving the hurt and searching town He sent us here to server.

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The days following the storm, my husband and I were overwhelmed with the support from all the networks we had been apart of, long and short term. I was too much to keep up with. I often felt like I'd been given this huge responsibility and I was failing by not being able to manage all the help He was sending our way. Things have slowed down over the past two years...well, in comparison to those crazy couple months to after the storm.

This year as I scrolled through my archived private messages and "memories" on Facebook, I was overcome with guilt all over again. How I didn't answer some of the lost messages from friends and acquaintances, timeline post I wasn't sure I handed well enough, and most of all the lack of appreciation I didn't show those how fought through the pile off notifications to help us. I had high hopes of sending formal Thank You cards, letters of how prayers were answered, gifts were used, and just how very loved I felt. Even now, satan is making my insides hurt with remorse because I am so VERY thankful to be a minor character in this beautiful thing we are living.

God has taken these two years to reassure me that while we are all just supporting rolls, in God's story, that all points to Jesus, they're all important I have shared before that I often give up on things because I see someone else doing it, and likely way better. BUT God has plans and invites us to join the adventure of going on it with Him.  We aren't called us to compare ourselves to others but rather support one another's part in the story.

Don't become arrogant when God's story starts playing out in front of you.

That's where focus is changed from what's most important or players get pulled.

Don't forget that the sun doesn't revolve around you.

The ONE who created light without that sun is where our focus should remain so we stay in the light.

Keep at the front of your mind, that EVERY story in this world points back to Jesus; whether it's acknowledged or not.

I want to make sure the story I'm in gives all glory where it belongs.

I guarantee you that this high schooler in our town was organizing volunteers sent her direction way better than I was. BUT God sent certain people along my path in life for such a time as this. He ask that I play a part in their story involving my town.

I know many of the women who worked the Play Place with me after the storm could have run it better, shared our story better, and accomplished more. BUT God ask that I run with it amidst my poor relational, communication, and organizational skills.

I promise, there were hundreds of other kids in our town that could have offered input on the new playground. BUT God saw fit to have my daughter and I as part of that planning team.

From schools, trips, camps, ministries, neighborhoods, and places we've passed through in live all showed up when God was ready for things to pan out that He's been writing since before I was born. Do you ever feel like you're not playing the part you want in the story of life? Be encouraged! Every [seemingly] small part in a story is valued.

When God ask you to play a repetitive, type-cast roll, Say Yes! When God invites you to play an unexpected drop-in roll, Say Yes! Because you never know when your story will change and there will be a big BUT GOD right after your YES!

Enjoying My Supporting Roll in God's Story

Thank you, to at least 2 different countries, 14 different states, 37 different US towns, and MORE than 61+ different friends/acquaintances who shared a part in our Vilonia Tornado chapter through asking for prayer from their friends, collecting donations, sending necessities/gift cards/monetary support, delivered items, helped with clean up, and so much more! It's so humbling to be connect to each of you and really hope I didn't miss anyone. These are just the names I could find on my Facebook timeline and private message history not including my husbands:

  1. Brittany Thompson- Ervington, AL
  2. Kelsey Harris- Arkadelphia, AR
  3. Danna Magness-  Batesville, AR
  4. Morgan Smith- Batesville, AR
  5. Shadrack and Mellissa Black- Batesville, AR
  6. Amy Howard- Benton, AR
  7. Kathryn Doland- Bethel Heights, AR
  8. Jessica Colley- Centerton, AR
  9. Kim Stiles- Conway, AR
  10. Morgan Williams- Conway, AR
  11. Molly Jones- Conway, AR
  12. Janna Chaffin- Dalton, AR
  13. Cheryl Patterson- El Dorado, AR
  14. Craig Herring- El Dorado, AR
  15. Dana Rumph- El Dorado, AR
  16. Deedra Nash- El Dorado, AR
  17. Wanda Deason- El Dorado, AR
  18. Hannah Henderson- Fayetteville, AR
  19. Kelly Malancon- Fayetteville, AR
  20. Sally Acosta- Fayetteville, AR
  21. Johnathan Stoner- Floral, AR
  22. Brandi Shinn- Greenbrier, AR
  23. Cristin Jensen- Greenbrier, AR
  24. Terri Nicholson- Greenbrier, AR
  25. Amy Whisenhunt- Greenland, AR
  26. Cindy Brantly- Little Rock, AR
  27. Shane Harris- Little Rock, AR
  28. Samantha Grant- Magnolia, AR
  29. April Winn- Marmaduke, AR
  30. Cathey Griffin- Parker's Chapel, AR
  31. Fran Brotherton- Parker's Chapel, AR
  32. Heather Gilmore- Parker's Chapel, AR
  33. Jennifer McNab- Parker's Chapel, AR
  34. Rita Snow- Parker's Chapel, AR
  35. Rob and Amanda Waggoner- Parker's Chapel, AR
  36. Julie Beavers- Pine Bluff, AR
  37. Jessy Cutrell- Star City, AR
  38. Doreen Keim- Siloam Springs, AR
  39. Ashley Hall- Strickler, AR
  40. Anja Spadoni- White Hall, AR
  41. Candace Achorn- White Hall, AR
  42. Shannon Paldino- Orlando, FL
  43. Kate Stoner- Keokuk, IA
  44. Jam'e Brown- Wichita, KS
  45. Katie Archer-, Ruston, LA
  46. Rebecca Dorobis- Rockport, MA
  47. Patrick Sherrill- Alpena, MI
  48. Karen DeBeus- Hope, NJ
  49. Sami Roe- Midwest City, OK
  50. Scott Jenkins- Norman, OK
  51. Edna Cain- Sapulpa, OK
  52. Betty Lin-Fisher- Akron, OH
  53. MaryAnn Waltz- Milford, OH
  54. Kathy Metivier- TX
  55. Christine Hurt- Orem, UT
  56. Abigail Assam- Lynchburg, VA
  57. Heather Rennie- Aberdeen, Scotland
  58. Jenny Sim- Aberdeen Scotland
  59. Rachael Underwood- Insch. United Kingdom
  60. Betty Pennington- ?
  61. Justin and Crystal Murphy- ?

 Thank You for playing your part in God's story!!!

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Happy Dependance Day

God bless America?

How arrogant can we be? What makes us think we have some spacial relationship with Christ just because we live in America?


Don't hear me wrong, I enjoying being an American citizen. I am so grateful for many blessings God has granted me with through living in this nation. The opportunities that have arisen because of where I live are innumerable but ALL of those still fall under the authority of Christ. Not the country in which I live. God had a "chosen people" in which His grand plan of salvation would play out through but after Jesus fulfilled that on the cross, the road to eternal life was opened to Jews and Gentiles alike. No amount of favoritism existed.

It's worrisome when we pledge more allegiance to our countries flag than we do to our King. When we do so, we are no longer Christians {Christ-followers} we are Americans {American-followers}. These words are NOT synonymous. A nation in and of itself can not be "Christians" and we are slandering the name of Jesus by claiming that America is a Christian nation. We Need To STOP! America is NOT a Christian nation. We are a nation like any other with good intentions, searching for a truth to live for. C

Can I tell you, achieving the American Dream is NOT God's blessing on you "living for Him"?! A team of individuals starting a new nation because of persecution a gazillion years ago does not mean this entire nation is chasing after the heart of Christ. Tagging the name of God to wars, political fights, flags, and our standards is self-serving and leading other nations to really think anything they see coming out of America is Christian.

Did you know that because of insistence to be labeled a Christian nation, citizens from other nations HATE the name of Jesus? They are not getting a correct view of Jesus via American TV, the U.S. in the news, and a lot of ignorant people who happen to live in America but don't follow Christ. The problem isn't media. The problem is trying to force moral standards on a pagan nation.

Enjoy the freedom we have left here in America because the Bible is very clear that FREEDOM in Christ is eternal but that doesn't mean following Him will ever be easy. Hug an amazing soldier who fight for those rights for us and thank them but don't loose focus on THE one who fought for our rights to be adopted into the family of God. The confederate flag, the American flag, or even the man-made Christian flag do not deserve your allegiance. Stop chasing the wind for a purpose to get behind and look up. Christ is there, behind all that muck we are blasting at one anther. None of that muck is worth the fight. Christ and His illogical love for undeserving humankind is what's worth the fight!

Happy Dependance Day!

Please break free from the idea that the American dream will save you and become a bond-slave to Jesus, becoming completely dependent on His every provision and not disillusioned with independence that will send you to eternal separation from the One we all need. I mean, just think of what would happen if Christians reacted to real issues like we do the distracting fluff issues!

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Sickness and Sin

He cleaned her up after her second puking episode in this 2015 Puke-a-Palooza season. She looked up at him grossed out and sad to say, "Daddy, I hate that sickness is part of our world because of sin."


I don't do puke. Chop open the back of your head and gush with blood, I'm your girl but the smell of sickness is what I can't handle. My hubs has always been sweet enough to handle that nastiness but I'm sad I missed this beautiful recognition of how literally sin affects our daily lives.

The consequences of sin are all around us if we are willing to identify it. As Christ-followers, sometimes we like to pretend our 'silent' sins don't have any reactions in our world like those that are loud in the secular world. We somehow act as though gossip and unforgiveness are less harmful than homosexuality and idol worship. All those are self-serving perversions of God's original plan.

Sin is and will always be part of our world until all the nations have heard the gospel and Christ returns for His followers. It sucks but that's the truth. So what do we do with that?


We live in community with believers and non-believers in love while chasing after the heart of Jesus and eagerly awaiting his return that will end the madness that our sin started.  God didn't ask us to hide, build walls, and protect ourselves.

I was taught growing up that you didn't hang out with "bad kids". You know, you might catch their sin. My prayer, as I surround my children with ALL those Christ died for, wither they have accepted that free gift yet or not, is that my children's lives are so overrun with the health of God's love that they don't catch too many sins. We're all gonna screw up and will never be sinless but if we are chasing hard after the heart of Jesus then we will totally sin less.

Are you scared of catching your own versions of the valley plague from doing life so closely with your local body of believers? Do you fear hanging out with non-Christians and catching their sin? What skewed view of God do we have that maybe needs to be realigned with the Bible so we can more fully love all those around us?

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A Year {and a few days} After The Storm

No matter how much our town would like to NOT be known for last years tornado, it's now a part of our story and will forever define all of us in some way.

The valley {our church plant} lost our rented facility to the storm making it that much harder to ignore the fact that we will forever be changed do to a natural disaster. We've hopped from place to place, have exhausted members by working them to the bones, learned people's true heart and passion, and have most importantly Seen Christ. We've seen His heart and passion. We've seen His presence or absence in people when hard things hit and work gets hard. We've seen His spirit in every dwelling the Church has gathered, reaffirming that the Church is not a building!

A Year {and a few days} After the Storm

There's enough tragedy and struggles experienced this past year we could fill an entire book but rather than focus on the spiritual warfare, I want to focus on the places God's brought us through them:

  • Play Place
    free childcare for those parents working or volunteering after the storm
  • Service on the Slab
    praising Jesus for his sovereignty
  • Mom's Night Out
    stress relief for moms after the storm
  • Survived Super Summer
    our middle-middle child got to experience a 1st for our family with her broken arm {it was mostly fun}
  • Adopted a Dog
    Lulu the {almost 2-year-old} registered English Bulldog became part of our family
  • First Family Vacation
    water park and tons of free attractions in Bran son MO
  • Baby Dedication
    ELLIE! got to be the 1st baby dedicated at the valley church
  • Started Our Families Foster/Adoption Journey
    we've started the process of opening our home for foster care through the CALL ministry and DHS
  • Hosted our 2nd Annal Kids' Valentine's Day PARTY
  • Baptism
    Maggie has discovered what being a Christ-follower looks like for a year and announced this decision in baptism
  • Bought Land and Sent a Former Intern to the Ukraine Mission Field {short-term}
    financially these were the biggest outcomes of people's generosity after the storm that we never saw coming

I feel like the two biggest things that have happened over this past year are the strides in our community and neighbor love'n breakthroughs we've had.

After nearly 2 years in our community I feel like we've finally made some big strides in getting to minister in and with our community included but not limited to helping with the big KaBoom! Playground and cook out to celebrate the park. Those in the community are starting to recognize our name which is NOT the cool part but because they know us more, they are more likely to call upon us to help in needed areas. We are here to serve and are finally feeling like we're getting that opportunity.

We have also been plugging away at loving our neighbors all the while hoping they don't think we're crazy. Our most resent cook outs {just here in our neighborhood/our front yard} have allowed us to meet at least 2 more families. Just living outside our home on purpose has let us get to know our neighbors so much better which means they can know and trust us more which means we can love them in bigger ways. It's a beautiful circle! I truly believe its impossible, or at least much harder not to hate that which you know so well. Ignorance leads to hate; hate leads to avoidance, avoidance leads to ignorance. NOT a beautiful circle. Take the time to trudge away beginning the simple circle Jesus has called us each to, right were you are today.

Live, Learn, Serve Here, Go There in LOVE.

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