Synopsis of The Valley Church

Our church body has had an outpouring of support from friends, family, and complete strangers from all over the state as well as many other states. Most recently, we've had a couple Vacation Bible Schools focus their missions offering collection on us. They want to educate kids on local missionaries as well as support them financially. I thought I'd just share the simple overview we've given them so their kids know a little about us.

~~~

Matt and Julie Rothacher {Roth-ache-r} were youth ministers in Arkansas until God called them to plant a church in a new community.

There was a lot of planning, moving, and remolding that happened before They Valley Church launched on Easter 2013. Lots of other churches helped by donating money, time, and supplies.

This is a picture of the launch Team Easter evening in front of the space they were leasing that used to be Vilonia's old Dollar General. Since that time, God has done some crazy fun stuff through this group of people.

the church in the valleyThe Church in the valley family pics

There has been unspeakable life change, people come to Jesus for the first time, 8 baptisms, and lots of unique ministries done in the community to show the love of Jesus.

the little valley launch sunday IMG_2720

The Valley has services on Sunday mornings as well as Valley Groups {small groups} on Wednesday nights. Children birth through 6th grade met at the building for Little Valley Kids groups where we are walking through the Bible book-by-book using The Gospel Project {by Lifeway} curriculum. During Sunday services, we believe "big kids" {K+} are smart enough to learn from the lead pastor so we don't have a kids church, although we do a few things during the service to make it more kid friendly- provide color sheets, clipboards, and soapboxes full of crayons, as well as do crazy and unexpected things during the teaching portion of the services like have odd props- goats, flannel graphs, giant mountains, painting during the message, and lots of humor to keep their attention along with their parents.

Kids are learning about Jesus as well as how He wants to be apart of their lives every day. They are learning that every story in the Bible points to Jesus as does everything in our life. Kids are excited to love their friends, family, and neighbors like Jesus would and know God has a plan for their life that specific just for them.areal view

Shortly after celebrating our 1 year anniversary, the town of Vilonia was hit by an F4 tornado. It started on the southwest side of town and cut all the way across to the northeast side. One family with a mom, dad, and 2 young boys that go to the valley lost their home as well as a two of their best friends who lived down the street.

The building that the valley was meeting in was in the center of town, right where the storm went through. The tornado knocked down 3 of the 4 walls of the building and destroyed, blew away, or dropped walls on top of all the stuff in the building including all 3 nursery rooms and playground where the kid tables, chairs, books, curriculum, and toys where.

The morning after the storm all the people who attend the valley showed up where the family who lost their home was and started to dig through what was left of their house and possessions. They collected any clothes, toys, movies, dishes, and pictures they could find.

The same people showed up later that afternoon at "the slab" where the building used to be and helped dig through rubble to find anything that was still useable.

After those two places were quickly cleaned up, the valley church was excited to find unique ways to minister to the town of Vilonia during such a hard time. The people of Vilonia lost businesses, restaurants, animals, homes, and people they loved. They needed physical help as well as emotional and spiritual support for healing.

One of the first things the valley church was able to do was start "The Playplace". This was a place kids could come have breakfast and lunch, play, rest, watch a movie, do crafts, and be with friends far away from the sad sights and dangerous areas that were all over town. The local primary {elementary} allowed them to use their giant multipurpose room as well the playgrounds outside and several restaurants supplied food. The Playplace was Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

As soon as people heard about what was going on, strangers from in town, all over the state, and some from other states, brought supplies and donations for affected families, along with toys to send home with the children.

Another fun thing the valley was able to do for the town was take all the mommies to a fun night out with their friends since most of them were very sad and stressed. The mom's went to a "Mom's Night Out" that included dinner, shopping, getting their hair, nails, and make-up done, all before going to the new movie, "Mom's Night Out".

Mom's Night Out {group pic} Mom's Night Out

The storm that knocked down the valley's building happened on a Sunday night, and the very next Sunday, the valley church had service on the empty slab where it once stood. People from all over the state brought lawn chairs, folding chairs, and even pews for people to sit on and there were over 300 people out in the hot sun who came to sing praises to Jesus and learn more about Him.

After that, the same school that allowed us to host the playplace let us host services for the valley church. Right now they are meeting at the local fire station in the big bays {with no AC} and the Little Valley Kids and Valley Groups just kicked back off last week. Valley Groups for teenagers and adults meet in homes and the younger kids get to meet at the local Senior Citizens' building on Wednesdays.

at the school:
IMG_0010 IMG_0011IMG_0012

at the SCC:

I know lots of you may think this is weird but not the valley. God has taught us that He is good no matter what. That means, even when bad things happen, we can trust that God has plans for our life. Plans to prosper us, not to harm us. He also taught us that The Church is the people who are following Him and not a place or building.

I will remember our Covenant

We are thrilled to be a part of what God is doing in Vilonia and are continuing to find new and unusual ways to love these people. We are also looking into doing something we never imagined doing {especially only being a year old}; buying land and putting up a simple building for the valley church to use for the glory of God.

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How Rich am I

My family is in the richest 14.2% of the world's population.

Our family's income is more than 6.9 times the global average.

If we were to donate 10% of your income:

We would still be in the richest 15.4% of the world's population. Our income would still be more than 6.2 times the global average.
And with our donation, every year...

685

Against Malaria Foundation would be able to distribute 685 mosquito nets

or…

8,400

Schistosomiasis Control Initiative would be able to treat 8,400 people for neglected tropical diseases

This is equivalent to saving 1 life

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The Odd Start to a Very Fitting Adventure

Sitting in the quiet, me in my glider and hubs in his man chair across the room, we did our newly found way to unwind involving reading and writing. This hadn’t always been our thing. God had just sparked something in my husband and he began to read. That may not sound abnormal to most but we aren’t readers. I mean, we can but It’s just not something we did for leisure. I had begun writing/blogging on as Jules is going as an outlet shortly after having Jamin, my third child in two and a half years.

The Odd Start to a Very Fitting Adventure

Seemingly out of nowhere, Matt says, “So…I think I’m supposed to be a pastor.” Again, this may not seem like a big deal to you because you either know that my husband was a youth pastor or have met us in this phase of life where he is a “grown-up pastor”. But you have to understand that we were “lifers”. We often discussed our discussed with those who used pastoring youth as some sort of stepping stone to get to the “major league” as if youth were a lesser being that earned lesser klout. Sickening, really.

We would joke about attending loud concerts and challenging young people to eat gross things all while we sported our gray hair. We deep loved {and Still do} youth. Our heart was to reach the next generation with the same timely gospel but with relevant tactics. If we ever transitioned, we thought maybe we would end up in collegiate ministry but never working with or pastoring/leading adults.

This nonchalant “I think I’m supposed to be a pastor” conversation didn’t go very far. Looking back, I wasn’t overly supportive but I wasn’t trying to be a discouragement. I literally thought, “Okay, this is his new kick. He’s got like a 6-week-timeline of excitement. I’ll wait it out and see what happens.” I nodded my head and with a slight giggle in my response said, “Okay” and we went back to what we were doing.

We’d been having a rough go with our current job. After being in a church-body for over 5-years starting when we were newlyweds, it was hard learning a new space, culture, and the expectations that come with that. I wasn’t going to let satan scare us into pastoring adults because of that. We were stronger than a few bumps in the road. I really just thought, “Things will calm down here. We’ll jump back on the wagon and get rolling soon.”

Needless to say, before even nearing the six weeks mark, Matt came to me and said, “Okay, I’ve been praying about it and not only do I think God wants me to be a pastor but I think He wants us to start a new church.” I’m not a good liar so I’m sure my face had laughter all over it. With eyes wide, I questioned like most of us do, “There are enough churches already, lots that need help, why in the world should we start a new one.”

You see, I was a firm believer that ‘lots of churches’ were just a result of The Church not being able to play-nice together. I wanted to be part of the solution, not add yet another division to the already segregated body of Christ.

Time passed. Matt read more and more on church-planting. I held out, still confused, waiting for the shiny to wear off. Over two and a half years later, the shiny has worn off, reality has set in, and it’s more evident today than it could ever be that God did/does want my husband to be a pastor. God did/does want our family to plant a new church.

We just thought Scotland was the adventure of a life time when we were given the opportunity to minister there. Boy was I wrong. I am so glad God softened my heart in a time of skepticism to get us all on the same page because if he hadn’t, I would be missing this awesome adventure. The one I’d always dreamed of. The adventure God had planned for our family. An adventure fit just for us!

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K5 Learning {Review}

We just finished our trial period using K5 learning. Both my girls (5 & 4-years-old) tried this out and loved it!

K5 Learning is an online reading and math program for kids from kindergarten through grade 5. Our intent is to help kids build reading, math and study skills through independent study. K5 is designed for home use and can be used for after- school, weekend and summertime supplemental study or in conjunction with a homeschooling program.

We started by complete and online assessment with 8 key reading and math skills. From there, the girl work independently at their own pace. They offer over 3,000 online lessons and activities. The lessons have cute animation and are simple enough for my four-year-old to interact with them by herself {after showing her how the first round}. K5 learning automatically chose lessons for the girls (based on their assessment and past lessons), track their progress and provide reports for me about their progress.

In the short time we tested out this program, I did see my girls begin to learn essential reading and math skills, develop good study habits, and reach their academic potential. This supplemented what we were already doing in 'school' and gave my girls one more tool to practice these skills with the added benefit of learning basic computer skills.

It did require me to walk them through some of the basics of the program but after that they could navigate most of it by themselves. With my girls being 4 and 5, I'm not quite ready for them to have this much independence. Eventually, that will be a great benefit of the program but I noticed they were slightly irresponsibly independent, getting off track, being lazy going through the lessons, and guessing just because they wanted to click around like it was a game rather than actually listening, learning, and answering as if it was a lesson.

In general, we enjoyed the program. It did seem a bit like handing my kids a smart phone to play "educational games" but I feel like this was much better at teaching my children actual lessons in a way that I wasn't able to. I liked that it wasn't costing me tons in printer ink to create workbooks.

The girls loved being able to "play on" my computer but I was uncomfortable with that. For this program to be used to its fullest potential, they should be doing the lessons on a regular basis. Since we only have my laptop, if they are using it for K5, I can't work at the same time and it made me nervous the machine would get torn up some how rendering me unable to work. If we had a some sort of tablet or simple computer for them to use for school, I would be much more likely to allow them to use the program more often.

At this time, we won't be purchasing the program at its monthly rate although it would be a comparably inexpensive price for the reading and math curriculum.

The K5 program includes:
  • an initial online assessment of each child’s math and reading skills,
  • award-winning, curricula based reading and math content,
  • over 3,000 online multimedia activities, personalized for each child based on his or her assessment,
  • a highly structured environment which allows the student to proceed through the lessons in a logical fashion at his own pace,
  • ease of use which allows even 4 or 5 year olds to work independently,
  • attention to child safety with no external links, advertisements, chat or similar,
  • comprehensive reporting to parents,
  • 24/7 availability and no downloads
Program Costs

K5 Learning is available on a subscription basis for $25/month or $199/year with substantial discounts for siblings. Each subscription includes a free math and reading assessment and unlimited use of each of K5’s four programs, K5 Reading , K5 Math, K5 Spelling and K5 Math Facts. A 14 day free trial is available.

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Mom’s Night Out {Movie Review}

The movie, "Mom's Night Out" is about a stay-at-home-mom who has three small children and desperately needs a night "off".

Mom's Night Out {group pic}

I know some of you reading are in this same boat, some may not have kids, and some may be intrigued by the life of a SAHM. I started a simple review of the movie Mom's Night Out and turned into a deference of the life I {and my husband} have chosen. Where did that come from?

There have been some hate-filled critics out there that motivated my defense so in short:

Some will proclaim "anti-feminist".

Some will cry "man-hater".

Some will argue "not-'Christian'-enough".

People? Get over it. This is one snap shot of a made-up life, albeit a pretty accurate depiction of some of our lives with all its "chaos and confusion". Life just gets messy and in no way is Pinterest-perfect in any sense of the meaning.

Some of us are have chosen an "archaic" role in life but that doesn't mean we don't think women are capable of anything. But in the true sense of "feminism" shouldn't we all be supporting one another in our chosen profession? This movie is only giving a picture of a single women's chosen profession, just like any other movie. Hate is fueled by ignorance. Stop hating and use this to educate yourself on the struggles in the life of someone else and not deeming them lesser because their stress is different from yours.

I consider myself a feminist, but there is a spectrum to it. When we start turning on other women and bashing anything that they CHOOSE to do, then we are not following the point of being feminists. I despise when this sort of thing happens between women and about women. The point of feminism is that women should be able to do anything they want as a career, be seen as equal, and being supported in that endeavor. Being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling kids is HARD. I am with others commenting here - I have sincere respect for those who can do it. -Angela, Therapist at Resilience Counseling Center

Some of us have amazing, hard-working, and involved husband who are just like the main character's husband. He supports us as part of the team that we are and encourages us to take a rest when needed. He doesn't have to be convinced to watch his own children. But let's be realistic. There are all types of dads out there. I think this film shows a glimps of all those. There's the dad who feels inadequate. Then there's the man who doesn't have any kids who seems to dislike them but may surprise you.

Some of us struggle in our Christian walk. WHAT!?! Yes, it's true. There are lots of us like the main character who don't have an accountability partner. To be honest, this chick is ahead of most of us in that she's part of a bible study with women, during the Day, WITH childcare. The film doesn't show this women praying or reading her Bible in her time of desperation probably for a couple of reasons, 1. it's targeted to give lost people a hope without bombarding them and 2. in fairness, even when you're seeking God, some days you still just need a break. Mom's shouldn't be made to feel like monsters for needing one.

There's a wide variety of personality types shown in this film among the men and the women. You can't get mad because they didn't show every type {that's impossible} and you can't complain that you just didn't like one of the types {we all know there are lots of personalities that rub us the wrong way but that doesn't mean they don't exist}.

I've seen Mom's Night Out twice now. Once with my husband at a preview night. The entire time I was glancing around as I laughed,  sniffled, and shook my head wondering what the others {hubs included} thought of my life that I was watching being splashed across the screen. The second time, I felt even more validated in my life as I laughed, sniffled, and shook my head in unison with hundreds of other women in the same theater. I wasn't alone. It was okay that I too have hard days. There were others that were seeking God's will for their life but just needed a break to put some pep back into their every-day.

Dear SAHM,

When others slam the life you've chosen. Make your struggles seem unworthy of a second glance. Deem you as not enough in this world.

You are God's masterpiece. Although you are nowhere near being complete, He's still at work. He hasn't left you on a back shelf of His studio. He sees you. He sees purpose in what you are doing. You are important. You are making a difference. This world would not be the same without the unglamorous, daily, unseen, mundane faithfulness.

If you feel "unhappy" with life right now, even if it's "all you ever wanted"- step back. take a break. refocus. God may have a different "YES" for you or you my just need the confidence boost to continue faithfully.

Do all you do for the glory of God.

You are loved!

See the movie, Mom's Night Out! Be encouraged. Laugh. Sniffle. Nod your head because there ARE women out there with the same struggles you have. God's compassion is for the #firstworldproblems AND #thirdworldproblems.

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