It’s Go Time

After TWO years of ‘patiently’ waiting… my flight is booked to SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA!

Yahhhhflippppinwhoooooo!

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June 6th I am taking flight! I will spend 9 days immersed with church family in Arroyo Grande, California and officially be prayed out & sent out by Everyday Church (where I attended Iris Leaders School in 2014/2015). Mark & Cheryl Perry, lead pastors, will be our church covering for the church plant/base in Sydney!

On June 15th, I’ll take the 15-hour flight over the ocean landing in Sydney June 17th.

On June 24th, we will host an Iris Alumni gathering for those who are connected with Iris in the Sydney area to share our heart and vision!

I want to say a huge thank-you to each of you who have been praying for me and this journey and to those who have sown and invested financially so far! It is greatly appreciated and thank-you seems to little compared to the seeds you have sown. I am blown away by the love and support from people from literally all different seasons of my life – It is so neat to see how God is aligning it all!

I’ve been meaning to write somewhat of a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ post to share more about what we are doing. I know many of you know the ins and outs if we have had any conversation in the last two years, but I know many of you I haven’t seen in a long time [or maybe never met] and may be curious as to what I’m up to!

What will you be doing?

I will be helping to establish an Iris church [Everyday Church Sydney] and Iris base in Sydney, Australia. This past week we officially became registered as an incorporated association in New South Wales!

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We have also built a strong connection with The Salvation Army. They have invited us to join them and other local churches and ministries [Hillsong City Church & Jubilee Church] to come alongside each other, sharing our visions, dreams and hopes for the area. The hope is that we will collaborate together in different areas – making solid connections and huge impact! This is amazing! We have yet to meet as a church, but we have been invited to the table! God is orchestrating some amazing things for us to be involved in and I know this is just the beginning!

You can read more about Iris Global/Everyday Church:

http://www.irisglobal.org/about or www.everydaysydney.com

Who are you going with?

I have partnered with Danielle & Aaron Carter. I met them while we were all in Iris Leaders School in California. They recently spent a year and a half AFTER our 9 months in California interning and being mentored by the lead pastors of Everyday Central Coast. They moved back to Australia at the end of 2016 to get settled in their new place and get their two beautiful kids settled in school. They have a heart for their country and especially the people of Sydney.

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When are you going?

After 2 years of waiting, it is finally GO time! I just booked my flight for June 6, 2017!!

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How long will you be gone?

As of right now, I will have a 1-year work/travel visa. I do plan to continue after a year, but will depend on the visa process and which one I will be able to apply for afterwards! There are a few options that I will look into once I am there.

Is this a paid position? Do you need financial support?

This is not a paid position. I am volunteering my time to go & help establish the church & missions base. I will be looking for a part time job when I land to help offset the cost of living. There is definitely a plan to eventually bring me on as paid staff in the future, but in the meantime, it is amazing to have friends & family partnering with me and investing into this. I will also find part time job when I am there. I have applied to a handful already, but difficult as I am not physically there yet! Sydney is a very expensive city to live in, just renting a room is roughly $1200 a month! Every little bit helps!

If I invest, what will the money be used for?

All financial support raised will help towards flights ($2000RT), medical insurance ($1000), visa to enter Australia ($450), monthly housing & living expenses and of course a portion towards the church itself. As mentioned above, I will be finding a part time job to offset the expenses but my sole purpose for going to Australia is to be part of the ministry. The support that is brought it will allow me to put more energy into the church plant!

How can I invest & sow into this?

Iris Ministries Canada – I am officially a missionary through them and they are a great avenue for you to donate through. You can check out my profile at www.irismin.ca/krista-noack There are many options as to how you can go about investing; one-time, monthly, electronically, by CHQ, or by credit card!

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How can I keep in touch with what you are doing?

Email me! I’d love to hear what is going on in your life & how I can pray for you – krista@everydaychurch.com

Follow my blog! Hit the FOLLOW button to receive an email when I have posted a new blog.

Join my mailing list! – Shoot me an email/FB message with the best email address.

What can I pray for?

The next 7 weeks are going to be full! I would love for you to join me in specific prayers for myself, but not only me, but my family and especially for those I will encounter in my travels and once landed in Sydney!

  1. I am in the process of getting my work/travel visa – please pray that it comes through quickly & of course, that it is approved. [IT’s APPROVED!]
  2. I am selling my car – that I would have a buyer in the price range I am asking for and that the deal/ownership transitions over smoothly. [SOLD!!!]
  3. Provision – finances, housing in Sydney and a job!
  4. Transition as a whole – for myself, my momma (my dad thinks He will be ok), and that everything will continue to align as the date quickly approaches

I think that covers about everything in a tiny nut shell. There is so much more, but would love to connect personally to share! Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly krista@everydaychurch.com . I would absolutely love to hear from you.

As always, I am so thankful for your continued love, prayers & support on this adventure God has me on!

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Meant for good

For those of you who may not know, on April 2, 2008, my high school sweet heart, Jesse, was killed by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle. Today it has been NINE years! Yup, nine. [Article]

It would have been really easy to spend the day thinking of the hurt, pain and loss, I’ve spent a lot of the past 9 years doing so, but each year it has gotten easier to get through the days. It doesn’t hurt as much, I don’t think about it as often, yet – if you asked me about it, my eyes would probably still tear up, even after all this time.

Today I want to reflect on all the ‘good’ that has come out of such a tragedy.

The word ‘good’ and ‘tragedy’ don’t often go in the same sentence, but I believe that out of this tragedy that turned my life (and many others) upside down, good has come from it!

I often reflect on the verse:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. [Genesis 50:20]

This verse can be taken in many different contexts. For me, I know God has taken what the enemy meant to hurt me and He has turned it for good, for His glory. There are many lives that have been saved through sharing our story.

Shortly after Jesse died I had reached out to Mothers Against Drunk Driving for a school project. I had shared my story with them and they immediately wanted to support me and invited me to join them in a weekend of sharing with others who had been impacted by a drunk driver. I met many survivors and victims of impaired driving – many who played a key role in processing my loss.

I didn’t want to be silent about what happened and wanted to find the ‘good’ out of this tragic loss. There was more that needed to be done outside of going through the motions of grief.

It started shortly after the funeral, the family planned a bike rally in his memory to help raise money to go towards signage throughout the city that would encourage people to call 911 if they suspect an impaired driver – It was a team collaboration in getting permits, designing and picking out prime spots for them to be placed. There are 20 signs throughout the city – large ones can be seen on Hwy 6 towards Caledonia & coming into Hamilton near the crash site, in Ancaster before coming onto the link and in Stoney Creek coming on & off the link onto Mud Street.

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[CBC News]

[The Spectator]

I started to share our story in schools with MADD. As you can imagine, it was difficult, but the more I shared our story, the more courage I had. I wanted to inspire youth to be the change – to be bold and take the keys from their friend or parent who had been drinking and to encourage them to speak up. Sometimes the people we expect to protect us are the ones who put us in difficult and even tragic situations. I’ve shared my story in high schools in both Barrie and Hamilton to 1000’s of students.

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[Simcoe News]

Sharing for 5 minutes at the end of a MADD multimedia presentation soon turned into me sharing our story IN the multimedia presentation that was shared in high schools across Canada. Over a million students have heard our story.

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As I started to turn back to God and allowed Him into my grief – my platform changed and I was invited to share with 700 Club Canada. The clip is still shared now, even years later.

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[Watch Clip]

Our story is being shared in many different capacities still to this day. Just recently, MADD has used footage from the multimedia in their current commercial – maybe you’ve seen our faces or heard my voice – It’s neat to see how after 9 years later, our story is still being shared. I know God is continuing to use our story to impact people’s lives!

[PSA 1] [PSA 2]

Does my heart still hurt? Sometimes.

Does this change the circumstances? Nope!

BUT, it has changed my perspective.

God is a GOOD Father whose heart is to see us healed and restored.

I want to encourage you, right where you are: no matter the circumstances, no matter the season you are in, no matter the loss you may be facing – God is walking with you. His heart is to see you walking in freedom and wholeness, rising above your situation, eyes focused in on Him. It sure would have been very “easy” to allow my grief and loss take over [and at times it did], but I pushed through, I fought through the pain in order to bring a light into the darkness, to bring hope. I allowed God to bring good out of tragedy, what the enemy meant for evil.

All the Glory is given to Him, for without Him, I’d be lost.

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Shake it off!

Can I be real with you guys for a minute?

Ever since I have started in forward motion towards Australia, I have been overcome with this feeling of discouragement. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am beyond excited and wait with anticipation for Australia, I KNOW God is moving and aligning things that I cannot see, yet, for some stinkin’ reason, I feel DISCOURAGED.

Things are moving, forward motion. People are praying and partnering financially – why am I feeling discouraged?

Well, I know sure as heck it doesn’t come from God. What I do know, the enemy will not be idle when we are running after God!

As I was driving the other night, thinking to myself, ‘man, why do I feel so discouraged?’ God spoke quite frankly, ‘You cannot give me room to move then walk in discouragement. You either trust me or you don’t.

OUCH! Now, it sounds like and felt like He came down hard on me, but He is a loving Father and I know His heart is to see me walking in CONFIDENCE of WHO HE IS. Because He is a FAITHFUL Father and has ALWAYS provided my every need and His track record SHOWS that He WILL come through, so He wonders why I’m feeling discouraged!

God has been stretching me these past few years in having faith and trusting him in many areas including provision. 

He has always provided my every need. It may not come in the way I had thought, planned, or hoped – but He is constantly providing all my needs. 

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” [Luke 12:31] 

“And my God will fully supply your every need according to his glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus.” [Philippians 4:19]

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.” [Psalm 34:10]

 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!” [Psalm 84:11-12]

“There is a lot of travel ahead for you. I hear the Lord saying there will be provision for bridges are being built even now for you and connections to the nations are being built for you. The Lord is already working intricate details for your life.”

This is a snippet of a larger word spoken over me two years ago! It’s been spoken in His word, He has come through time and time again AND He’s been working on the details a long time ago… SO, why do I feel discouraged?

I believe Satan will use whatever tactics he can to take your mind off the ‘goal’ and ‘vision’ ahead. God has spoken to me and has been directing my footsteps – It wouldn’t be in His character to leave me hanging.

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This process of planning to move across the world has been just that… a PROCESS. There are certain things needing to line up in order to make it a smooth transition; finances, work visa, travel insurance and… God’s perfect timing.

I was sharing with a friend how it somewhat feels like Skydiving: Taking a big RISK and JUMPING.

There are many steps to take prior to even stepping foot on a plane.

[I experienced skydiving in Australia a few years back!]

  1. Ensure you are in great health – no heart issues
  2. Read over and sign a waiver that you won’t sue for death by fall
  3. LISTEN to an instructor share how to PREPARE for the jump – how you sit/fall
  4. PUT ON your safety gear and ensure it is on properly and it is tight
  5. At this point – The fear is kicking in high gear – nerves are going crazy! “Why did I decide to do this?” runs through your mind!
  6. You are then introduced to your Tandem Partner (Instructor) – He has done this jump a million times. He will do most of the work and you will be attached to him for the jump
  7. On to the plane you go, sitting in your instructor’s lap – you aren’t fully attached to him yet, but he will attach your harnesses and ensure you are connected before jumping
  8. 14,000 feet – Time to jump! Your instructor does most of the work – you are just a willing participant to jump, or more so, be thrown out of the plane. He waddles you to the open door and prepares to flip out into a free fall

[TRUST is huge – you have to trust that your instructor did his due diligence in ensuring the parachute and everything was good to go – you don’t have any control over it – other than just asking for his assurance that is was done.]

  1. JUMP! During the free fall, the instructor is leading, he has his hands on the handles GUIDING and DIRECTING– He then allows you to hold and direct once the parachute has been released – giving you the freedom to steer, with his guidance.
  2. The instructor PREPARES for landing – again, he does most of the work, ensuring you are facing the right way, landing in the right spot, and slowing down before hitting the ground.
  3. You officially can say you jumped out of a plane!

If anything, Australia seems like jumping out of a plane – only safer. There is a certain order for things to be done in order to be successful. It is also a ‘partnership’ with the instructor as he leads you through signing the waivers, preparing you and training you and eventually being attached to him in order to complete the jump.

When the jumping is about to happen, the instructor takes full charge – ensuring the harnesses are attached to each other (that would be awkward if they weren’t), that the parachute is on and preparing to move towards the door – once in free fall, he is in control – He is paying attention to speed, how fast the wind is moving, the direction of the wind, and the location you’ll land – He is OVERSEEING a lot more than I realized in the moment as my life (and his) were in HIS hands.

This is doing life with God as I prepare for Australia: Taking risks & jumping out of planes.

There are certain things that He needs me to line up before going – He has given me the wisdom to prepare. He diligently watches over each step.

So, now that I have NAMED what has got me down [discouragement] – I can stand FIRM and tell it where to go! I can refocus my attention on the vision and what needs to be accomplished knowing full well that God is working in the details.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really see (or remember) the instructor putting on the parachute and doing his checks, he was doing everything while nerves and fear took over. I was free falling and focused on that while he was ensuring everything was running smoothly – all the details were in place. And, before I knew it, the parachute was deployed – all without me knowing.

God is aligning everything. Sometimes we don’t see it or know it until we JUMP! Just like I had to trust that once I jumped, everything aligned accordingly for that parachute to deploy!

God has my best interest in mind. His timing is perfect.

Does it make the journey easy? Nope!

Does it make waiting easy? UMMM, Nope!

BUT, I know there is purpose to persevering through the wait!

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So, discouragement – a ploy from satan to keep you from moving.

A ploy to keep your hopeless and feel defeated. I REJECT THAT!

God wants us to be ENCOURAGED, knowing He’s in this with us!

There have been some key things that I have done this past week to move out of discouragement. I’d encourage you to do the same when it creeps in!

Worship

Pray

Respond with thankfulness & gratefulness 

D A N C E

Shake, shake, shake it OFF! [literally]

Share with someone!     

*This is so key! It wasn’t until I shared with someone [and ya’ll] what I was experiencing that I could overcome it – it was now in the light!

This quote hit me pretty hard:

Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today and INSECURITY regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is IMPATIENCE with time, IMMATURITY of thought, and IMPOLITENESS to God.”

 //William Ward

I want to FULLY TRUST God and the plans He has for my future. I want to walk in SECURITY and STRENGTH knowing He has my tomorrows. I want to be a person of PATIENCE in His timing. I don’t want to walk in discouragement in a season of excitement and anticipation.

I’m refocusing, setting my gaze on Him.

He’s got this, even when I don’t see the fruition and fullness of it all – He is aligning the intricate details of what’s to come!

There is JOY in the process.

There is PEACE in the waiting.

I’m waiting with anticipation to have my socks blown off with His goodness, because he is a good, good Father!

Folks, don’t allow satan to bring your down with discouragement – shake those sillies right off and set your gaze on Him, trusting He’s got you! He always has and always will!

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Forward Motion

On New Year’s Eve: I packed my car, filled my tank, grabbed a coffee, set my GPS, United Pursuit’s new B-sides on and headed out on a 9-hour trek by myself to visit my brother in Illinois. I had made it out the door in good timing and got cozy for the long trip ahead.

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It had snowed the night before but the roads weren’t that bad. Just as I got settled in and cruising… 3 lovely salt trucks. From 118 KM to 40 KM an hour – I was only at Woodstock, 45 minutes into my drive… that is a long stretch of highway to get stuck behind salt trucks!

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I laughed… Seriously God!

I had just started to cry out to him about Australia and the timeline and not feeling that sense of peace about moving forward and then BAM salt trucks.

I felt the impression that he had something to teach me in this moment – through the salt trucks!

What is the purpose of salt trucks? [For my California family where the sun is always shinning] If you have been stuck behind one, you know – they can be a pain in the butt when you have somewhere to be – there aren’t any opportunities to by pass them – and it really isn’t SAFE to do so.

Salt Trucks are out on the roads for our SAFETY.

As per the MTO website: Spreading of salt begins within 30 minutes after the start of a winter storm, helping to melt snow and ice, preventing it from sticking to the highway. It also makes plowing more effective.

Sand is used to provide traction on slippery surfaces, especially when it is too cold for salt to be effective.

Maintenance crews continually monitor weather and highway conditions. They patrol the highways and use advanced systems for predicting and monitoring weather and highway conditions so they can prepare the right equipment and materials before a storm, adjust their activities as conditions change.

What I find to be the neat part is that the maintenance crews are CONTINUALLY monitoring weather and highway conditions. They are predicting and monitoring the conditions to help them PREPARE for what is needed. HA! Just like God ‘monitors’ the path we are on. He is PREPARING us for the journey ahead. The salt truck has a purpose – to help provide support and TRACTION on the slippery surfaces to avoid collisions!

Also, the salt makes plowing MORE EFFECTIVE! The delay we sense when the trucks are scattering the salt actually makes the work later on more EFFECTIVE! I believe this is the same with Australia – the delays are aligning everything so that when it is time to ‘plow’ through – it will be done effectively!

I know God has been in all the planning, delays and preparation for Australia. Through the salt trucks I believe He was showing me that even though my eyes have been on the destination – He sees the bigger pictures – He has been monitoring all the factors that I may not see – just as the maintenance crew does.

I am thankful that He is in the details that I may not see!

Not long after my salt truck encounter, I felt that it was time to start taking some bigger steps towards my move – It was a good time to move ahead with the paperwork to become an official missionary with Iris Ministries and to start organizing my belongings and selling off what I no longer needed – building my ‘ark’ so to speak.

SO! What exactly will I be doing?!

I am going to Sydney, Australia to be part of a church & mission base planting team with Iris Global (www.irisglobal.org) and Everyday Church (www.everydaychurch.com). This has been in the works for almost 2 years and I am excited that God is starting to move things forward!

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As of last week, I am now an official “Iris Missionary” and backed by Iris Ministries Canada: www.irismin.ca/krista-noack

Who is Iris/Everyday?

“God has called together an amazing, growing tribe of people who are deeply committed to loving Jesus and to increasing His kingdom on earth in our generation. They call this tribe “Everyday,” because at the end of the day, it’s really about lifestyles of love. We believe the world is changed as we walk in God’s love and then give it away – to our cities, to our nation, and to the nations of the earth. 

Our PURPOSE: FAMILY: to model kingdom family & reproduce it throughout the earth.

Our MISSION: TRANSFORMATION: it is personal, regional, & global transformation through God’s manifest Presence.

Our VISION: INCLUSIVITY: To see the rich and the poor, serving one another in the community, as family.

Our VALUES: LOVE: a love that is expressed upward, inward, and outward.

Our GOAL: DISCIPLES – to reproduce lovers of Jesus who are Biblical, supernatural, relational & missional.”

What does this all look like practically?

It looks like living in community and doing life with each other. Our community of like-hearted people is aiming to look like: a multi-site church, a local and international base and a multi-faceted regional training centre. It looks like connecting with already established organizations in Sydney and partnering with them whether it be for feeding programs, assisting those in need, volunteering in different capacities and building long lasting relationships. It looks like hosting short terms missions teams locally and sending out internationally. It is multifaceted and I am excited to see how God develops it all. In the long term – I picture purchasing an old brothel in King’s Cross and turning it into a “Safe Haven” – a coffee shop, a place to rest, a safe place – a place to connect with people in a different atmosphere than a church building.

I am beyond excited about the journey, opportunity and experiences that lie ahead. BUT – This adventure needs a team of people! I need you! This cannot be done on my own – it takes a TEAM of people in a few different capacities!

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Would you consider joining my team in one or more of the following ways:

Prayer Team 

Prayer is crucial. Heidi Baker, founder of Iris Ministries writes, “If your dreams are from God, they will always need intercession. Praying people, like midwives, help birth the miraculous promises in your life. They will make the obstacles before you more bearable.” Join my prayer team and commit to praying for myself, the team and the community regularly.

  • Preparing my heart: For everything God has in store
  • Financial Provision: As I step out in faith, I am believing that God will provide a monthly financial team to invest in my/our work
  • Transition: Quickly adjusting to change
  • Pray for Sydney and the community we will be impacting & loving on

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Financial Support Team

As you can imagine, a journey like this requires finances to help cover living expenses, travel and ministry expenses. This is not a paid position. I believe that this is a great opportunity for people to partner with the greater cause, the bigger vision!

Consider joining my month financial support team and commit to sponsoring me $25, $50, $150 or whatever amount God puts on your heart. There are a variety of ways to support financially – please read the options and choose which is best for you!

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CANADIAN FRIENDS & FAMILY – [tax receipt]

Iris Ministries Canada (IMC) is a registered Canadian Charity

You can support financially by:

  • By cheque payable to Iris Ministries Canada: 10-1425 Abbeywood Drive, Oakville, ON L6M 3R3. Please attach a post it note saying “Krista Noack” and leave the memo line blank
  • Pre-Authorized Payments: A program for direct withdrawal of funds from Cdn. Bank accounts is available for those who desire to support IMC on a monthly basis.
  • Credit Card: IMC is able to receive donations by credit card, on a one time or regular monthly withdrawal basis. This service is provided by Canadahelps.org which is a secure site for receiving credit card donations. Please go to www.irismin.ca/krista-noack

AMERICAN FRIENDS & FAMILY [no tax receipt]

Subscribe to my BLOG

Stay posted and up to date with what is going on in Sydney! I PROMISE to update more regularly!

So, there you have it! A brief insight of what is to come for my adventures in Australia. I’m hoping as time goes on I will continue to post more to keep you updated and informed. Please, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me!

Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers !!

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Do you trust Me?

Staying steadfast and faithful through the process can be quite difficult. The ups, the downs, the unknowns… times where it would be easier to close the door and walk away.

But is it easier?

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” [Psalm 27:14].

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield” [Psalm 33:20].

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” [Psalm 37:7].

For 2 years I went through numerous tests to donate my kidney…to be approved, but not a direct match to my friend, to waiting, and waiting, to finding one and them backing out… I stood faithful through all the appointments and disappointments that came our way. I’ll admit, the process was frustrating. To see my friend in dire need, stepping up to the plate so to speak by doing the testing, finding out that I have a perfect kidney for donation, could donate to anyone…except her…the waiting, the process, it proved to be difficult at times, I can only imagine how difficult for her. Yet, I stood faithful through the process. I did not waver in my commitment to her.

THEN God showed up [well, he was there the whole time] but He really showed up…Cassy received a perfect kidney, what we thought was impossible and I was able to keep my kidney. Was the journey worth it? Were the tears and frustration worth it? Would I do it all again? YES! God taught me so much through the process of waiting. Teaching me to be steadfast and faithful through the process and the unknown. We both were blessed immensely by our steadfastness and faithfulness to the process! He is faithful.

It was A miracle in the waiting.

In March, it will be 2 years since I began the journey of joining a team in Sydney Australia to plant Iris global church and missionary base. It has proved itself to be a difficult season of waiting and delays. Everyone sees it as a negative part of the process but for me, I don’t want to step outside of God’s timeline to just crash and burn, but want to wait for His leading and guiding. [Isaiah 30:18 MSG] “…God takes the time to do everything right – everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.”

I feel the question of the year has been, “When are you going to Australia?” 

I wish I had an answer. I think I know, then something changes, and then I think I know, and yet I don’t feel the timing is right. It has been an emotional rollercoaster as timelines and dates change and now that the couple I will be joining has landed back in Australia,  I still don’t feel God’s peace to move ahead in the process. I know where I am going, I just don’t know the length of time until I will be released to go. I don’t know how to explain it, but I will know it when it comes; when there is a peace that passes understanding.

Yesterday I came across a short clip from Steven Furtick, literally, perfect timing…

“There’s been a change of plans… God said, I’m going to change the plan so many times that I’m not even going to tell you plan A because I don’t want you to be confused. God will tell us to set out but he knows we can be directionally challenged at times. So, He’ll tell us he’s taking us here, but then He will takes us here, here, here and here. God loves to surprise his people, not to punish His people but because HE WANTS TO KEEP HIS PEOPLE IN A PLACE WHERE THEY DON’T TRUST THEIR PLANS, BUT INSTEAD THEY TRUST HIM!!’

Wow, how accurate in this season! When the plans constantly seem to change, when I finally get settled, change of plans! God has been faithful through it all needless to say. He is stretching those faith and trust muscles.

Each step, every turn; “Do you trust Me?” 

Do I trust Him? I want to say yes, but there are days and circumstances that leave me weary about what is next, is there something coming around the corner that I don’t see yet?

“Do you trust Me?”

It seems I am at a dead end again…

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It seems like I have been in this spot for 4 or 5 times in the last year and a half.. waiting…waiting for the path to be lit for what is next. Waiting for the next steps to be revealed. Trusting that what looks like a dead end, He has a boat prepared for the next leg of the journey.

I hear a gentle voice, “Do you trust me?” I know that He is aligning my next steps, orchestrating the next job, the next place He is taking me. I know that He has something planned because each time I have been in this exact place, He proves Himself so faithful. I know I am here for a season, to continue getting rooted and to dig my heels in.

Do you trust Me?”

For now, I have to stay faithful to what God has shown me and the direction He is leading. There is a purpose for this season that will launch me into the next season. There are lessons to be learned and training to endure; preparation. There may be a lot of twist and turns along the way, but I am trusting His leading and timing. I can’t force it. I can’t manipulate MY timeline. I have to trust that He has my best intentions in mind. He is outside of time and He sees the bigger picture. As difficult and frustrating this season can be at times, knowing that He is for me keeps my heart at rest – most days!

So, to answer the question of the year, “When are you going to Australia?”…

When I feel a peace that passes my understanding.

When I get the green light.

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I’d like to say things will unfold sooner rather than later, but I don’t really know.

In this season of waiting, I continue to lean on Him, drawing near to Him. I continue to work diligently and prepare the best I can while I am here.

Trust can be difficult.

Waiting can be difficult.

This has been a season that God has called me to wait. The only thing that will be harder than waiting on God is wishing that I had. Each time he whispers, “Do you trust me?”  I take a deep breath and take another step.

He is in the waiting.

When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” [Isaiah 60:22]

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Forever Imprinted

It has been a devastating week with the news that an incredible man, Cole and two others, were in a plane crash and a week later have yet to be recovered. Since hearing the shocking news, I have not been able to keep the tears from streaming down my face. I have sat reading through Facebook and Instagram, waiting, hoping and praying for a “WE FOUND THEM” post. I have been in battle praying for a different outcome. I have been praying that he would be safe and this post would take on a different direction. I have been praying for the impossible. I’ve been praying for a miracle.

I still have hope.

I’ve been at a loss for words, yet here I am with a need to write.

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[Benjamin Cole Brown]

Cole is close to many people’s hearts that I know and love. This past week I have felt this overwhelming grief and emotion as if I’m feeling each and every persons heart ache. I’ve never experienced this and find it hard to explain. I don’t know why, maybe because I have experienced tragedy first hand and at times it can feel like yesterday. I remember the phone call I received 8 years ago telling me that my boyfriend was killed by a drunk driver. I can feel the rush of emotions. The shock. The devastation. 8 years later and it can feel like it was yesterday. I remember my world crashing all around me. I remember the moment I found out Alex was killed while riding her bike 2 years ago. The brokenness in knowing a world changer was taken at such a young age, someone who had a huge impact on my life. What is crazy is that I encouraged Alex to go with World Vision on a Live Different trip where she built a house alongside Cole.

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[Photo by Devin]

These are moments where I can physically feel my heart fall to pieces. I picture Cole’s loved ones receiving phone calls and the hundreds of people who have read it on Facebook or heard on the news about the crash. I see heartache and worlds falling apart. I feel deeply for each person who is forever impacted and changed with such a tragic loss.

MY HEART ACHES.

Cole and I were not close per say, but he has played a vital role in 3 defining moments in my life when I traveled to Dominican and twice to Haiti with him.

Cole was my dad’s friend and I was Noack’s kid.

He was the first man my dad entrusted my life to…

I was inspired by a presentation at my high school and wanted to go to the Dominican to do a school build. In 2007, my dad told Cole my life was in his hands and that I better come back in one piece. Basically, Cole was the reason my father allowed me to jump on a plane and head into the unknown of a developing country.

This was my first experience with Live Different and a trip that opened my eyes and unearthed a deep passion for developing countries. This trip sparked and ignited a desire to see change and not just dream it, but to act on it.

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[Picture by Kristen]

In 2010, 4 months after the earthquake in Haiti, my dad again entrusted my life to Cole and I ventured with a team to Port au Prince to help with the aftermath. This was the first Live Different trip to Haiti, one of Cole’s many dreams. It was amazing to see how much he had already accomplished in helping and we were quick to jump in and help where we could. If I close my eyes I can see him smiling and snapping photos while water balloons crash all around him at one of the tent villages for children. I see him hanging out the truck to buy us some sugarcane. I sense his calm yet panicked voice as the sun is setting and we are still ways away from the hotel.

I returned to Haiti in 2011 with Cole leading. I remember it was my first time flying solo and would be having to navigate the airport in search of Cole without any means of contacting him. Walking out into the hot sun with many people asking to help with my bags, Cole merged from the crowd, grabbed my bag and navigated me safely and swiftly to the bus without saying a word.

I believe it was this trip that I was ridiculously sick.. It was the middle of the night and I was having hot/cold flashes and was pretty rough condition (got back to Canada to realize I had strep and an ear infection)…I knocked on Cole’s door at 3AM and he answered it half asleep and after sharing how I was feeling, handed me a bottle of medication and his almost empty gatorade and said in the morning we would sort it out. I didn’t take the medication, just chugged back the gatorade and went to sleep. The next morning I look over and saw that the bottle he had given me was nasal spray! We had a good chuckle over it.

The one thing that I loved was being apart of was the initial stages of seeing his vision for a school in Haiti be birthed and over the last few years grow.

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[Pictures by Cole]

There are many moments that have come to mind over the past week.

I am beyond thankful for Cole and his role in this part of my life.

I am thankful for the memories he captured through the lens of his camera.

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[Pictures by Cole]

I’m sure as you read this, if you have been on a trip or have known Cole in any capacity, you have stories similar to mine. Each trip, Cole played a vital role in leading the team. It was through his eyes that I saw both the Dominican and Haiti. He was protective and ensured that at all times we were safe whether we at the side of the highway because the bus broke down and a crowd was starting to form around us or venturing through the busiest Haitian market.

He was soft spoken, yet you could hear his heart from a mile away.

Compassionate

Caring

Loving

Sensitive

Tenderhearted

Inspiring

Driven

Visionary

Leader

[Benjamin Cole Brown]

It was an incredible honour to be apart of his vision for the Dominican and Haiti and over the years I have loved watching the vision grow and be fulfilled. Both places hold such a huge place in my heart.

I’m finding it difficult to articulate my thoughts, writing in the past tense yet still believing for the miraculous.

I know that I will hold these memories a little closer now. I will look back on these life experiences with a smile but with an ache in my heart knowing he is no longer with us.

My heart continues to cry out in agony over this tragic loss to Cole’s family, friends and all the communities he has impacted in the Dominican and Haiti. I continue to cry out for that God sized miracle and exceeding of expectations of the reality in front of us. My heart aches reading each persons post on how Cole played a part in their journey and how there is a gaping hole in many hearts. In 36 short years he has managed to leave an incredible legacy and will continue to impact many many lives although he may no longer be with us physically.

What an incredible legacy he has left.

The impact can’t even begin to be calculated.

Lives have forever been changed.

My life has forever been changed.

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Benjamin Cole Brown – You will forever be imprinted on my heart.

A Miracle in the Waiting

 If you’ve known Cassy for any amount of time in the past 7 years, you know she’s been in dire need of a kidney transplant. Having received her dad’s kidney in high school then her body rejecting it 7 years later, her body was highly sensitized. Doctors had said she was 98/99% sensitized and although they had not deemed her a ‘lost cause’ the doctors had made it very clear that it was going to be a miracle if they found Cassy a new kidney.

For the past 7 years, Cassy has been on every waiting list possible within Canada. Her doctor had said her best chances would a living donor as it would take a few weeks to prep her body in order for it to receive the kidney. Because of this, the doctors said a deceased donor would not work as the kidney only has a number of hours outside of the body prior to being transplanted – this was deemed IMPOSSIBLE yet he continued to keep her name on the list.

Webster’s dictionary defines ‘Impossible’: not possible, unable to be, exist, happen.

As you can imagine, there was little hope.

 [2.5 years ago] 

Two and a half years ago was a difficult year health wise for Cassy. She had two near death experiences putting her in the hospital for a few weeks each time. During this season her family had put out pleas for people to consider getting tested to donate. I had called months earlier knowing I was O+ but hadn’t heard back. While she doing her second stint in the hospital with an infection that happens in only 2% of dialysis patients over the age of 60, I spoke with a coordinator and started testing that day.

Tests included; blood work, 24 urine sample, CT scan, ECG, Renal Scan, X-rays, meeting with doctors, surgeons, social worker etc. to ensure I was both physically and mentally healthy to donate and most importantly if I was a match for Cassy.

 We received both good news and bad.

Good news, I was a healthy candidate and was approved to move ahead for surgery.

Bad news, because of Cassy’s highly sensitized body, it didn’t like my kidney.

 To put this into perspective a bit, I’m O+, I can donate to anyone, including you! Cassy’s doctor was willing to work with 3 antibodies against her but that was a high risk surgery that would knock her immune system out and could possibly kill her in the process.

There was 18 antibodies against mine.

 [The medical side of things is complicated and Cassy and I may elaborate one day in a book!]

 [2 Years Ago]

 This is where I 100% became part of the process with Cassy.

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She needed a kidney and I had a kidney to offer.

We were put on a Canada wide paired exchange program, but we were told it would be next to IMPOSSIBLE that we would find anything in this specific program as it had to be a ‘perfect’ match.

The good news though was that Cassy now had a viable kidney donor that put her on that list.

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In two years, we were put in the Canada wide ‘kidney pool’ with others like us 5-6 times. No luck.

What is so key to this particular season is God met her there.

God met her in the pains and aches and disappointments.

Cassy started coming to church, gave her heart (and kidney) to the Lord and was baptized shortly after! Yay, Jesus!!

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[Cassy on the bottom]

He has been her rock during the waiting season.

I believe in meeting God, the IMPOSSIBLE became POSSIBLE in her heart, we just didn’t know how or when it would be revealed to us.

[1 Year Ago]

 This time last year, while I was in California, one of my dear friends had a pain near their kidney and asked the class if anyone had any kidney issues or knew of anyone. No one had raised their hand so I shared Cassy’s story and journey. Everyone got around me and prayed and prophesied and claimed a miracle over Cassy’s situation.

 I wanted God to show up – I wanted everyone to see that it wasn’t me or the doctors but something only God could have accomplished.

 There was a shift in my spirit that day. I knew He was aligning everything.

 

 [10 Months Ago]

Once I was home from California and another round of testing to keep me ‘active,’ we received a call asking if we would be willing to send out our paperwork to the #1 transplant clinic in the US.

We agreed to do so in hopes that this would be our way to a miracle

We waited.

We prayed.

We contended.

We hoped.

 [6 Months Ago]

 I received a word from a friend that 2016 was going to be a year of exceeding expectations and shattering of boxes. 

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On January 5th, 2016, I told Cassy this was the year she was getting a kidney – it was coming up to 7 years since her first kidney failed and I knew the significance of 7 biblically: completeness, perfection, wholeness.

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Not even a week later, Cassy received a call to come in and meet the doctor right away – they found a donor in the states! They would donate to her and I would donate to them.

This was starting to become real on my end – a test – will you stick out the process – in the waiting it’s exciting – but when the knife is coming – will you stay, will you follow through?

I was fully committed to the process, I had jumped in. I asked all the hard questions… will it complicate pregnancies, what are the statistics of having kidney failure myself after donating? I felt God’s hand in the decision to fully commit to the process, whatever that looked like.

I moved to California, and have been planning my move to Australia and continued with life knowing He would align everything in HIS timing, not ours.

People questioned why I was donating. “You aren’t family, you haven’t had kids… what if they need one, what if your husband needs one… what if, what if.”

 I wholeheartedly believed (and still do) that my body is not my body, if God wants to use me to pull off a miracle, He can – if not, He will show up in a bigger way. I was just being a willing participant to His plan and purpose.

 [4 Months Ago] 

We met with the doctors and saw that it would be a process. The kidney seemed almost perfect, only 1.5 antibodies! This was amazing and what we thought would be IMPOSSIBLE to find, here is was!

This began a long 3 month process of her doctor, lawyers, Health Canada and OHIP meeting together, jumping hurdles and ripping red tape in order to do the cross border transplant.

 As time went on, the process was starting to collide with my timeline to move to Australia. I also found out that travel insurance companies would not cover anything kidney related – convenient eh, save a life and they increase your insurance rates.

 But, I was still trusting God and had faith that there would not be a need for it. If he brings me to it, He’d bring me through every piece of it.

 Australia’s timeline was then delayed for other reasons and we thought God was aligning everything for the kidney transplant!

 We were hopeful.

We finally got the call and an appointment time set to meet back up with the doctors. Cassy and I both sensed that something wasn’t right but decided it was just so close that negativity was bound to sink in and kept our spirits high leading up to the meeting.

[4 Weeks Ago – May 10th]

We waited anxiously.

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We walked IN to the meeting thinking we’d walk out with a timeline…

 We walked OUT with frustration and tears streaming down our faces: the donor in the states had backed out.

What crushing news.

I was proud of Cassy’s response to the news. Although sad, she was hopeful as we were pioneering a path for those who will come after us. Red tape was peeled for cross border transplants and we knew that the next time we got a call – it would be a much quicker process as all the legalities were already dealt with.

 We all walked out in silence needing to grieve the news separately.

 I was so confused. I thought God was aligning everything with the delay in Australia it was starting to make sense and we were ready for it.

I actually had to repent for trying to squeeze Him into my timeline [even though in the natural it seemed to be all aligning].

I went for a drive and as I bawled, I sang out these lyrics:

 “I believe in You, I believe in You,

You’re the God of miracles.

The One who does IMPOSSIBLE…”

//Miracles by Jesus Culture

I knew this was all part of the process and the journey. And even though this meeting didn’t go the way we had thought it would have – He is still faithful and a God of miracles.

 That evening, God gave me a pretty epic sunset, can you see the dove?

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“Therefore the delays we face are not a denial of His promises; rather, they are an integral part of His strategy to arrange all the details and get us positioned for His excellent plan.”

“When we hear His promises, we think, that is in the future. But the Father has already seen the end and is reporting the reality to us – He has achieved all that He said He would do [Isa. 55:10-11]. Time just has to catch up.”

//Charles F. Stanley

[1 Week Ago – May 27th]

 Cassy called me crying at 645 AM. I thought something had happened. Through the muffled tears she said:

“Krista, they found me a kidney, it’s on a plane here now!”

 They had found her a kidney!!

 Guys, they found her the IMPOSSIBLE kidney!

I literally had to pinch myself to make sure I was awake and hearing her correctly.

She received a call saying that they had a deceased [yup, you read that correctly – IMPOSSIBLE] donor, that her name came up as a match and to get to the hospital now.

 The kidney was coming in from Nova Scotia. We knew the kidney had to perfect match or else they wouldn’t have called her. It was a full day of testing Cassy to ensure she was healthy enough for surgery and once the kidney arrived, 8 hours of cross matching the kidney to ensure there were nothing that would cause her body to reject the kidney.

 After a long day, at 11:45 PM we got the call…

 Ready for it…

 THERE WERE NO ANTIBODIES!! NOTHING HINDERING the surgery!`

 Surgery was a GO!

 I know, we could argue if ‘perfect’ exists, but this was a PERFECT, heaven sent kidney for Cassy!

 The doctors deemed this next to IMPOSSIBLE.

 But God is a God of the IMPOSSIBLE!

Within 20 minutes we were walking her down to the OR for surgery.

 

[May 28th 1 AM]

 7 years and 7 days since her first kidney transplant rejected, Cassy was in surgery receiving her PERFECT kidney what the doctors deemed would be next to IMPOSSIBLE to find.

As I sit here typing this a week later, it still feels surreal and it wasn’t even my kidney!

A 7 year miracle in the making.

God suddenly showed up in a way no man could have.

There’s no way to explain it.

There’s no way to understand it.

impossible 

He is faithful through it all.

His heart was to draw near to us during this season of waiting, anticipation, denial, and delay.

 My reward for being faithful through the process; I get to keep my kidney!

 He works ALL things together for our good.

When our eyes are on set on Him, in all circumstances, He comes through.

It most likely won’t be in our timing or the way we had hoped…

BUT, if we stand in times we feel exhausted and run down, He comes through with something BIGGER and GREATER than we could have ever thought of or expected

“But He said, What is IMPOSSIBLE with men is POSSIBLE with God.” Luke 18:27

It was all about us trusting Him that kept us in this place of complete surrender. 

This is only the beginning.

— 

We’ve only scratched the surface,

And only had just one glance.

We’ve tasted of Your glory

But there’s SO much more.

// Jesus Culture

A huge THANK YOU to Dr.Ganji and his team at St. Joes for their tireless efforts, answering our million phone calls and never giving up. Thank you for breaking through the red tape and finding every list possible to have Cassy on and the endless hours upon hours of being in touch with other hospitals in search of a kidney. All your hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. We are forever grateful to you!

To Dr. Lambsy, surgical team and nursing staff – thank you for your diligence and care through preparations, surgery and recovery!

To the family who lost a loved one,

Wherever you are, know that you have a Heavenly Father that loves you dearly and is carrying you through this season of grief and loss. Please know that this kidney donation has not only changed the life of Cassy and those closest to her, but to each and every single person who hears this incredible story.

Thank you: that in your loss, you gave hope and joy and new life.

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