Our Story: Can you help?
We have been on quite a journey these last couple years. Having our first child, moving from Seattle to Orlando, finding a new Church, a new home, starting seminary, starting a two year counseling program and most recently finding out we are pregnant again! It doesn’t appear that the craziness of life will be calming down anytime soon. Yet, we are thankful to be ever reminded of our need for God in every aspect of our lives; parenting, marriage, strength, empowerment, work, financial, daily direction…etc.
Personally I have felt called to enter into ministry again at the same time begin a two year Master of Counseling program here at RTS Orlando. In order to pursue these things something needed to give in my life. For me that turns out to being able to work at Starbucks. This has been a means of healthcare and provision over the last couple years but with the nature of the program being full time it is just not feasible to be able to continue working at 20hrs/week at Starbucks, the minimum to maintain healthcare. We have prayed through this an considered our options and both feel that God is directing us to trust him for provision and pursue loving his people.
The counseling program itself at RTS is one of the most highly acclaimed. The approach at RTS is marriage of learning from the scientific community what we can and ungirding it all with a Biblical Foundation to provide a holistic approach to counseling. We seek to address the spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental problems which make up who we are as human beings. One of the most unique and important parts of this program that sets it apart from most others, is the clinical experience we get after our first semester. We get the opportunity to meeting with actual clients under supervision for the final 18 months of the program. This experience is truly priceless. Not only are we being taught in the classroom but we are given the opportunity to apply these concepts and grow in our ability to counsel real time. This is one of the most beneficial parts of this program.
Our heart is to be able to help people see how the gospel does apply to their everyday lives and everyday problems, big and small. Eventually I would like to be able to provide biblical gospel centered Christ exalting counseling in the context of a network of local churches (community). I hope also to be able to provide counseling to those who don’t yet know Jesus in hopes that they would come to see him as Lord and Savior (missional). I believe this is how God has gifted me and I am very excited to get to serve the church and the world in this way.
This program will give me the practical experience and the theological/psychological foundation to be able to better love people well. Yet to be able to devote myself to this process we need help. Up until this point I have been able to use the remaining benefits I had through the GI Bill by having served in the military. This has provided us a stipend to live on and has paid our tuition, but this benefit is ending soon and we are trusting the God has a plan to finish this good work he has started.
It seems that God’s answer is to ask for support. We have had at least two people come to us asking if they could support us before we even had brought it up and decided that’s what we will do. It’s seems as though the Lord is already at work in people’s heart who know us and want to help us carry out the calling that God has placed before us. We simply want to be faithful and listen to where God seems to be calling us. We are confident that he has a plan. We are asking for people to commit to at least a year of giving with the option to continue in subsequent years. The program itself is two years long.
We would love to have your support in both prayer and financially. If you are feeling compelled to partner with us, we are overjoyed and you can do so here.
Crosspointe is an Acts 29 church that we have joined and have fallen in love with. We feel called to this community and endeavor to serve the body in the ways that God has gifted us. Our church is about 60% college students as we are just down the street from one of the largest Universities in the Nation, University of Central Florida (UCF). Part of my role has been helping to shepherd people in the church and community group leaders as well as counseling and discipling. I hope to continue to grow in this role, and Pastor Jared as agreed to let me raise support through the Crosspointe Infrastructure. This both will keep me accountable and will also allow for any donations to be claimed for tax purposes.
It has been my joy to continue to grow in Christ, in loving him, my wife and daughter (and future child), and as well as the church. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this.
May God’s Spirit and grace be upon you.
Justin, Elise & Abigail.