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Moving to Boise

Written December 2007 (see below for a February 2010 update)

After several nudges from the Spirit, quite a few obvious directives from God, and many prayers, fears, joys, and tears, we now live in Boise, ID.  I am writing this down mostly for my benefit (Monty), so I will not forget how God has worked and is continuing to work. I hope my excitement will be evident and that you will see how obeying God - whatever he asks - leads to more life than you could dream of.

The transition began in the Fall of 2006 when my Dad and Mom began counseling the church in Boise where I was raised. John and Fern made extended visits to Boise from their home in New Mexico.  During this time I had many long conversations with Dad about the situation in Boise and how God is guiding us all toward open ministry, seeing God's church as one entity with many diverse parts.  A spark was ignited. I was excited to see that the Boise group, who had a history of exclusivity, was actually changing. God has guided our family for many years toward worshipping in spirit and truth, putting off any semblance of spiritual egotism - which at this point had us in home church ministry.

In November 2006 God guided us to prepare our house. Literally... prepare our house so we could sell it.  At that time we had no idea where we were to move, and we began looking locally in the Montgomery area.  Through the next few months we continued to pray and work on the house. In December we planned a trip to New Mexico to visit my parents. We watched the Fiesta Bowl - with an ironic match-up between Oklahoma, where I was born, and Boise State, where I was raised. In that incredible game Boise State pulled out the victory. However, the next day my employer announced a lay-off of quite a few employees. I was not one of them, but my team was torn apart. The situation at work began to rapidly decline.  In hind sight, I see that God uses even negative emotion to push us in a positive direction. In late winter, it was obvious that God had bigger plans for us than continuing beyond 7 years with Colonial Bank.  Still, we did not know where.  We continued to work on our home. 

Conversations with Dad continued about God's work in Boise.  It then became clear; God was guiding Dad and Mom (John and Fern Moreland) to return to Boise where the Morelands lived from 1971 through 1984.  The decision was made that Dad and Mom were moving back to Boise in early April, during our Family Reunion in Pensacola, FL.

Within two months of Dad and Mom's new assignment in Boise, Mari Beth and I were secretly investigating job possibilities in Boise, sensing that this was the place he was guiding us.   For months I applied for jobs and investigated potential employers.  Not even one company responded.  We shared the idea of moving to Boise with the kids... and innocently Kendall mentioned this to his Grandma one day. [On the phone]  Grandma, "So what are you doing today, Kendall?"  Kendall, "We are talking about moving to Boise."  With the cat out of the bag and Grandpa and Grandma and the kids involved, the excitement level raised significantly. 

For the previous eight years we had enjoyed a very close relationship with Melinda Hopson, Mari Beth's sister who lived in Montgomery. She is Mari Beth's best friend and they were able to help each other through the grief following the death of their mother to cancer a few months after we moved to Montgomery. Putting 2000 miles between Mari Beth and Melinda was obviously going to be the most difficult part of this move. In January 2007 Mari Beth's nephew, Chandler, and his wife had a baby boy. As Melinda transitioned into being a Grandma, it became apparent to me that God was easing the pain of us leaving by providing new life for Melinda.

Several times throughout this process we battled with doubt, wondering why God would not provide a job when his guidance was so clear. Did we really hear God correctly? We continued to believe what he told us and to prepare our home. During this time I was reading through the book of Amos. This was a time that I was in doubt, wondering why there was not even a hint of an answer to the biggest barriers to our transition. I was praying for answers, but instead of direct answers, God gave me a reminder that everything is in his control and that he is asking me to make decisions based on this fact. He undoubtedly had started this ball rolling. I had to live daily - every decision - based on trusting him. This is the scripture he gave me, which continued to encourage me as a kind of "theme" scripture for our transition.

Amos 9 starting in v. 11 (The Message translation)

"But also on that Judgment Day I will restore David's house that has fallen to pieces. I'll repair the holes in the roof, replace the broken windows, fix it up like new. David's people will be strong again and seize what's left of enemy Edom, plus everyone else under my sovereign judgment." God's Decree. He will do this.

"Yes indeed, it won't be long now." God's Decree.

"Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won't be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at onceā€”and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I'll make everything right again for my people Israel:

"They'll rebuild their ruined cities.
They'll plant vineyards and drink good wine.
They'll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables.
And I'll plant them, plant them on their own land.
They'll never again be uprooted from the land I've given them."

God, your God, says so.

The phrases stuck out in my mind, "It won't be long now" and "Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other." Dad and Mom moved to Boise in June 2007.  That month I was offered an all expense paid business trip to Nevada. I took some time off after the event to travel to Boise.

Tim Gordon, a long-time friend from Boise, had been tirelessly helping me find job leads for months. He repeatedly reminded me, "There is one job out there that God has for you." He works for Micron, one of the largest employers in the tech industry in Boise. Many times he told me, "You're a shoo-in. I'll get you an appointment with one of the managers in your field." A few weeks before I arrived he told me that Micron had a hiring freeze, but they were hopeful that things would turn around within a few months. The day I arrived in Boise, there were rumors and news headlines... Micron may lay off more than 1000 people. I thought to myself, "How can I possibly compete for jobs with potentially dozens of local people in my area of expertise looking for jobs?"

The first several days of the brief visit were fruitless. I visited with recruiters, potential employers, meeting and talking with as many people as I could. I had attempted to contact a bank with an opening that nearly exactly fit my skills and experience, but there were problems getting in touch with them when I was in Montgomery. This was a job I didn't really want to take (I have had my fill of working for banks), but I knew I could land the job.  I had filled out the application while in Montgomery, tried to fax it, and it failed. I called and emailed, but received no response (which by this time I was getting used to). I had it with me to deliver it in person. The HR director looked at it and said, "This looks really good... I wish we had seen it last week. We just hired someone." I knew I could have gotten that job and was disappointed for about one minute. But, I knew even then that God was protecting me and he had something better in store.

I continued to look for leads and talk to as many people as I could. There were absolutely no leads. Then two days before I had to leave, Tim Gordon sent me a job announcement that nearly exactly fit my skills and experience.  Boise State University advertised for a Systems Engineer.  As soon as I read the ad I said, "This is the one." I spent the evening customizing my resume to highlight the areas of expertise and experience they had requested in the announcement. I decided to hand deliver the application, though I had no idea if I could find the hiring manager. I started with the Administration Building. They sent me to the Help Desk. The Help Desk gave me the number of who they thought was hiring for the position. I called and she said, "No, I'm not hiring for that position. But, let me put you through to him." He answered and I told him I thought I was a good fit for the opening and that I would like to drop off my application in person since I was in town for only one more day. He gave me an address I was not familiar with. I looked it up on the map. As we approached the building I looked to my left. One block away was the Biblical Studies Center where my Dad works! I felt the Spirit well up inside me as I pulled up. I went inside and talked with him.

That brief impromptu meeting led to an invitation to a formal interview a few weeks later. The day I got the interview I scheduled my flight to Boise. Just after the flight was booked, I received another call from Boise. This time it was for an interview for a job with Boise City Schools. They wanted to schedule the interview for the exact time Boise State University scheduled my interview! I requested a time the preceding day. The very next day I got a call from the City of Boise health department requesting an interview for the day following my BSU interview!

After months of not even a nibble, I now had three interviews scheduled independently of each other on three consecutive days. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed seeing that God was confirming his plans for us. I flew to Boise for the interviews, and Boise State called me back for a second interview while I was still in town. Micron announced their first round of lay-offs the week I interviewed.

While I was in Boise my Dad invited me to a meeting with a minister from another church who wanted to use their church building. I didn't think I had any interest in whether they used their building or not. I planned to go prepare for my pending interview. Then I felt the nudge of the Spirit. When Dad told me this group was trying to build their group on home church ministries, I knew that it was more than a coincidence. I went to the meeting and found that they are a group of people who had recently completely dismantled their traditional church in an effort to worship in spirit and truth. There were many families who, guided by their desire to have Christ really living through them, had started home churches the previous January. God guided us to a group who have seen the exact problems in traditionalism and had responded in a very similar way that God guided us into over the previous five years. After hearing this I knew that God wanted us to work with them. I decided to obey God without question.

Within two weeks of my return to Montgomery I got a call confirming the official offer from BSU. This began a three week frenzy of planning, packing, loading, and driving. We had a lot of help from family, friends and neighbors. I started the job at Boise State in late August, the first day of classes at BSU.

We put our house on the market with a real-estate agent prior to our move as our "For Sale By Owner" efforts were fruitless. We soon realized that the housing market was entering one of the biggest slumps in U.S. history. There were hundreds of houses in the Montgomery market that were not selling. I knew how God had worked providing a job, waiting until a time that it appeared that it would be impossible to find a job, then providing one that is better than I could possibly imagine, perfect in location and every other aspect I need. I had to believe he was going to do the same with our house.

We lived with Dad and Mom for nearly two months. Even with all that had happened I found that many times we were wondering if God was going take us this far and leave us. We considered a "bridge loan" to move things forward on our own. But, this never made financial sense, and it did not fit with the way God had been working. We decided to continue to trust that God would finish what he started and we did not fall to the temptation to jump ahead of him.

During this time we began to meet with a home church. God blessed us with friends and people who are seeking Jesus with their whole lives. One family in particular, the Hannulas, were encouraging to us as they home school their four kids and hosted the home church in their home. We also began working with the Biblical Studies Center, where my Dad is working in full-time ministry, getting to know the partners God is drawing to that ministry.

In October we received an offer on our home. I was amazed again by God - he so quickly brought a buyer in the slumping market. Negotiations began and we accepted an offer. We had been looking at homes in Boise, but could not find one that matched both what we felt we needed and our price range. Boise has higher housing prices than Montgomery, so we did not know if we were going to be able to afford a house large enough for our kids to have a room and be the kind of place Mari Beth would enjoy spending every day teaching the kids in home school.

Finally we found a house that not only was within our budget, but also exceeded our space requirements and was a very good fit for our needs as a family right now. We made an offer contingent on the sale of our home and after brief negotiations it was accepted.

Our house sale in Montgomery closed on October 25 and we moved into our new home here in Boise a week later.  God confirmed this transition in multiple ways and at multiple times.  It has been very exciting to see all that he has done for us and incredible to experience all the blessings.  The transition has been one of the most difficult we have ever made... preparing and selling our home... finding a job in a distant city... having to leave Mari Beth's sister in Montgomery... uprooting the kids and us from friendships... But, God is faithful in his promise that he will provide if we let go. There is no doubt in my mind that God guided us here and provided for our needs at every turn. Things happened so quickly, just as God told me from Amos, that our heads are still swimming. My focus now is continuing in complete obedience to see the new adventures God unfolds.

The most important thing about what I have learned through this experience is that it is not about me. The purpose of all the blessings and direct guidance from God is not to give us a new place to live or a better job, or a nice house... the reason God has blessed us is so we can serve him, that we can be in a place he needs us, doing things he needs us to do. Knowing this makes our life even more exciting.


February 2010 Update

The most challenging thing about life after a major transition in which God has revealed himself in so many ways is to keep the momentum going. I have tried to focus on living in obedience every day. I look back on this transition story and am inspired again and again.

Since we have settled into our home and life in Boise, God has continued daily to unfold His plan for us. It is interesting to see how God's plans came about despite my initial ideas of what was supposed to happen. The most significant area that developed differently than I initially thought is in home church. We met for about a year with a the group that God drew us to. When things begain to progress in a direction that was opposed to where God had been pushing us for more than 8 years, I was confused. The details of why we stopped meeting with this group are not important because there is nothing wrong with what that group is doing. However, we had to obey what God had been guiding us into... a focus on God's family, stripping away the structure of corporations that U.S. churches see as normal Christianity. Again, in and of itself I do not see corporate structure as a bad thing, but it tends to lead to assumptions that are not healthy. God has me and my family in a different place for a different reason.

After we stopped meeting with that group, for a year we did not meet with an organized group of Christians "for church". We fostered relationships within our family and with people in our circle of friends and those God drew to us. We still had contact with many from the home group we had met with the first year. However, God seemed to be drawing us toward one family in particular, the Hannulas that were mentioned above in the section written in December 2007.

In the Summer of 2009 we started meeting with the Hannulas on a regular basis. This was an exciting transition to me because in many ways I saw it as the early beginnings of God's next phase for us and possibly the fulfillment of part of the purpose God has for moving us to Boise.

Our focus is not to "start a church". The church - the body of Christ - already exists in Boise. We challenge and hold each other accountable. We study the Bible deeply together and teach our families together. We are following what God wants of us... to be faithful with what he has given us.

Others have begun to be drawn to the simplicity of this life with Christ. As this happens, my prayer is not for immense numbers. My prayer is that we all can foster and care deeply for those he draws together. Organizational growth is not my focus or even a personal desire. Our focus is true growth in our adventure with God.