For the 1st blog of 2021, on the heels of our family flying to Scotland, I thought it was a fitting time to give an account of our lives over the last 2 ½, almost 3 years that have led to this point. God gets all the glory here, and I intend to give it!
“O give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!”
Each of us have different stories, but all of us can testify to God’s sovereign hand. I believe that these are meant to be shared for the building up of the body of Christ and to the glory of His name. I have told Logan on more than one occasion that I haven’t seen so clearly God direct our paths as He has during this journey besides when we were prayerfully discerning if it was His will for us to marry. He has confirmed over and over again that this is His doing and not our own.
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
Part 1: How did we go from living at our “forever” home in the country with acreage, a pond, etc. near Logan’s parents to leaving everything behind to go to Scotland?! This particular story of our lives begins in a rather unlikely circumstance: the funeral of Logan’s grandmother on April 11, 2018. Funerals tend to cause us to reflect on the brevity of life and how we are using the precious time we’ve been given. Logan and I had several talks the preceding weekend about how we are investing our time and wanting to clearly discern God’s will for our lives. Along with everything leading up to this very point, the actual timing was no coincidence. Logan and Garrett were already scheduled to attend the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference in Louisville, KY that day and the remainder of the week.
On April 12th (or 13th), we 1st heard of 20schemes. Logan and Garrett heard a brief explanation of the ministry as the director and a few of the ministry team members took the stage. The next morning (as the presentation was at the end of the evening), they both went to the booth to talk to Marci…long enough Logan felt badly that he was taking her time when there may be others she should be talking to about ministry, not him! ;) Meanwhile, I was home taking care of our other 2 children, the home, etc., so I streamed almost none of the conference. However, I “happened” to be watching when 20schemes took the stage that same day. I was immediately interested in the ministry, and I went to the website as soon as their presentation was over. I kept thinking to myself, “Logan is going to think I’m crazy looking into this!” I can see how the Lord was already directing our paths. We both unknowingly had a keen interest in this ministry from the 1st day we heard about the work.
Later, we “happened” to have supper with a couple from our church. We mentioned 20schemes during the visit, and they lent us their copy of Church in Hard Places. I immediately read it cover to cover. Logan was less keen as he felt we needed to put this out of our minds. However, it didn’t leave either of us, and Logan decided to read the book as well. Afterwards, he was convinced we needed to inquire more. The first place we went was to our pastor and his wife. We wanted honest feedback if this was something they felt could be of the Lord’s leading and if they felt we were able to do based on what they’d seen in our lives.
I’d like to add right here that the Lord has very graciously provided exactly who was equipped to counsel us at every point of the journey. He is such a loving Shepherd, and we can trust Him! He knows what we need before we do! As we were considering this ministry, one acquaintance of mine came to mind who was ministering with her husband and 4 children overseas. I cried as I typed out my questions and concerns, realizing that there would be big implications if we indeed took this step. She was a voice of understanding when I needed it, and she helped me sort through my feelings and work through trusting God and whatever path He would lead us on.
On July 11, (which was coincidentally Samuel’s 5th birthday), Marci and her husband Frankie came over for supper so we could ask all of our questions and discuss the ministry. Afterwards, Marci recommended us as good candidates to Matthew Spandler-Davison (the executive director of 20schemes). We decided to go ahead and begin the very thorough and lengthy paperwork. On July 26, 2018, we submitted our 20schemes application!
The morning of August 11, Logan had an informal video chat with Matthew, and during that Logan and I were both invited to Candidate’s Week in Scotland March 2019. We agreed, although we didn’t yet know how all the details would work out.
The latter half of Labor Day weekend, September 2-3, our family visited Bardstown to meet some of the 20schemes staff, worship at Redeemer Fellowship Church and hear Matthew preach. We stayed at the Spandler-Davison home and then had lunch with Frankie and Marci before returning home.
On September 16th, Logan spoke about 20schemes during class at our home church.
On October 4th, we booked our plane tickets to Scotland. I didn’t sleep much that night! Note: One very personal sovereign provision God gave me was the gift of my momma staying with our children the 10 days we’d be out of the country. She “happened” to have Mardi Gras break (it’s a southern Louisiana thing!) that week, which is normally in February. Therefore, she only had to miss a day or two from teaching to come up. Logan’s mom and dad were right across the road available for help and company as well. This was HUGE for me. It stretched me more than anything to leave my children for so long, let alone cross the ocean from them! We planned to go before knowing how we were going to care for our children, and He just placed this great big present in my hands. I still praise Him for such a kindness!
On January 18-20, 2019 Logan and I attended the 20schemes candidate’s training in Bardstown, KY. This was an encouraging time to learn more and also meet some of the other candidates who would be traveling to Scotland with us.
During March 1-10, Logan and I attended the Candidate’s Week as well as the 20schemes Weekender in Scotland. I was a nervous wreck to fly, but God graciously helped me keep going despite my anxiety. I still distinctly remember the step onto the plane for the international flight – trusting God despite my intense fear. We really enjoyed our time aside from missing the kids. We instantly felt close to the believers and really missed them when we left although we had only been with them days!
On March 15th, Logan was formally offered a Gospel Worker position with 20schemes (it’s now a Church Planter Associate I believe). We were given 30 days to pray and decide.
On April 9th, we officially informed 20schemes of our decision: We said yes!!! This came after much prayer as a family, consulting our children individually, praying with our church family, etc. We came to the conclusion that there was a great need for people to serve in Scotland and we were willing and able to go. We felt God had been directing our paths this way, and we wanted to be obedient.
An interesting side-note: the day after we said yes, we had to take Garrett to the ER for a very high fever. Three days later, Abigail had a similar sickness. It seemed too uncanny to me to be coincidence. I believe this may have been a taste of spiritual warfare.
Part 2: Once we said yes to going overseas to serve, how were we able to do all that was needed including raise support for Logan to serve full-time? I’ve reminded myself countless times during the past (almost) 2 years that if God guides, He will provide. It’s been Him from the beginning, and it will be Him to the very completion. We’ve simply sought to be faithful and work hard at the tasks before us. He has given any increase!
To begin with, we knew we would need to sell our home very soon in the process, because all of the land and home upkeep would occupy too much of Logan’s time and energy to be able to raise support and the other things needed. Well, God provided and quickly! We were planning to sell our home to one of Logan’s sisters, but her family had a home to sell as well. Their home sold almost immediately because it turned out that the previous owners had grandsons who were interested in buying it. We filled out the proper paperwork to sell our home on June 7th and viewed an apartment on June 10th. The Lord provided the apartment as well. The area we were needing to move to very rarely has apartments come open, and we had a small window we needed to move during if we were to go from our house straight into an apartment. He provided a beautiful 2-bedroom just a half mile from church, and it has been a perfect transition place!
We also had some painful goodbyes as a part of choosing to serve overseas. We had 2 family dogs we needed to rehome, and it was not easy finding good homes! We also needed to find them before Logan’s work trip to Las Vegas. God provided perfect homes for both, and both the week before he left. On July 5, we told our indoor fox red lab, Ruger, goodbye. It was a tearful time as we’d had him almost 3 years to the day and had brought him home as a small puppy. Garrett’s outdoor dog of 4 years, a lab/beagle mix named Buckshot, went to his new home the following day.
On July 26, 2019 we officially sold our home, and on August 1 we moved into the apartment that was our home until a couple weeks ago. The timing was perfect.
This marked the beginning of really pressing on in support-raising. We had done so since saying yes to 20schemes, but now time was more available to be more intentional. Logan was able to speak to a few churches (and consequently individuals) in the fall and winter months of 2019, and we met with individuals in our home as well. We attended the 20schemes Bardstown training in January 2020 as a family, and we met another family who is currently preparing to fly to Glasgow and serve long-term as well. Speaking of God providing people at the right times, the wife has been such an encouragement to me during the last few months! We’re working through similar things alongside one another. Abigail was especially encouraged by a young lady who is now a 2-year intern in Inverness, Scotland. The Lord cares for us in countless ways!
In early 2020 the coronavirus hit along with the lockdown and such, slowing support efforts down drastically. It was not idle time, as God redeems everything. We spent more time in the Word as a family and were able to participate in the T4G livestream (we were originally attending as a family this year) as well as Secret Church with David Platt. Logan also sent out numerous mailings to churches and placed several phonecalls. One of the best things he did was build a website for our ministry. I am grateful to be married to a visionary! He is always coming up with helpful ideas. During the past several months, from a human mindset, you’d think we wouldn’t have been able to continue to gain support through one-time gifts and monthly supporters coming on, but the Lord is not bound by time or circumstances! He has done abundantly, and it is all to His glory!
Our arrival date has been moved twice during the past year from August 1 to October 1 and now to February 1. However, what a mercy it has been! Now I can look back with tears of thanksgiving. We’ve been given more time with our church family since the lockdown has lessened, Logan has been able to teach 3 different books of the Bible in the Sunday school class, I was able to participate in a ladies’ Bible study longer and then lead a Risen Motherhood group for about 10 weeks. We’ve heard more sermons and lessons by our pastor, been able to fellowship with our church family through our discipleship group and other events, spent more holidays with family, and we’ve grown as a family and individually in ways we can’t even see. All along our prayer has been that God would prepare us for the ministry ahead in whatever way was best, and I can only believe that this has been His personalized training ground for our family. When we experience struggles or setbacks, let’s all learn to trust better the hands of our mighty God who does all things well. Even as we plan to fly out into a tight lockdown in the UK, I truly believe that all of this has been a part of God’s sovereign timing and that we must trust His timing and purposes. He does nothing by mistake.
Ok so back to the timeline! I’m going to fast-forward to October 28th 2020 when we received a phone call from Marci. We were notified that we were only 74% funded for our 3-year budget and that we needed to be at least 80% funded for the U.S. side of the visa process to begin. Well, this was a little unexpected as we thought we had all we needed to begin that. Logan straightaway made social media posts and e-mailed our supporters letting everyone know where we were and asking people to prayerfully consider supporting us. Well, in less than 48 hours we met our 80% mark and by November 4th, we were to the 84% mark! We were blown away by the Lord’s provision through His people and how quickly it came in! We had new support come in as well as current supporters raising their monthly commitments. We also found out during that phone call that we were going to be working with the Millars at the church revitalization in Maryhill, Glasgow. We had kept open minds and hearts about where we would be placed, but I have to say we were thrilled with this news! I remember back when we were preparing to sell our house, we already had a feeling we’d be in Glasgow, and we also in later months wondered if we’d be in Maryhill. I feel God was already preparing our hearts for that placement.
Most of our experience the past year has felt like “Hurry up and wait”. Well, this is an example. When the ministry was preparing to submit our visa paperwork, they were counseled to wait until the UK websites were updated on December 1 (BREXIT, I believe, was the reason everything was being reworded). The site actually didn’t update until mid-December! Marci came to our apartment to help us fill out the lengthy online paperwork on December 17. Over the 17, 18, and 21, Logan put in HOURS (I believe over 20) on the visa applications. Next were the biometric appointments in Louisville, KY. In the past, a whole family could go in on the first person’s scheduled appointment and get them all done. That was not the case this year. My sweet husband made the trip 5 separate times during about a 7-day window and then mailed everything as well. He’s taken care of so many logistics and forms that I’ve not had to touch! As of today, 4 of our 5 visas are in, and we’ve booked our plane tickets (and flight insurance). We’ve run into a snag with Garrett’s visa, and any day we hope it’s going to arrive back in the mail approved. I have to keep giving it to the Lord when I’m tempted to worry.
The Lord has taken care of every detail. Logan’s employer has continued to work with him through all the delays, as well as our apartment. We moved out the weekend after Christmas, and Logan’s last day at work was last Friday. We are now living with Logan’s mom and dad and condensing what we plan to fly over to Scotland. God has also provided us a flat in a very good spot for effective ministry within the last couple weeks. Our lease begins February 1st, speaking of perfect timing! We’ve been lining out luggage and all we need to bring over. Logan and I will head to our final 20schemes training in Bardstown next weekend, and our church is having a sending off service for us this weekend. We are at 2 ½ weeks until we fly out February 1st, Lord-willing. We just need Garrett’s visa and 5 negative covid test results to fly. Currently our support is at 94%, so we are almost there! God has abundantly provided all we need, so we are confident He has everything worked out. We are heading into a very tight lockdown, but we believe God has purposes in that as well. He has been faithful since He called us to go, and He will provide!
“We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”