This is our family.
We're a real family, a raw family, a family that has been through thick and thin, starting with a teen pregnancy and nearly 15 years later, surrendered all to follow Christ in ministry.
We try to stay as open and honest as we can, so that others can see our story-- that's got everything and absolutely nothing to do with us.
God is so good, so amazing, and we're eager to be used as vessels for His glory!
We, Brandon and Heidi, met while in school (we both went to a private Christian school in our hometown). Brandon was 17, Heidi was 14. We're from a small town, where everyone (especially at our church) knows everyone's business and is a pretty stereotypical, run of the mill setting. We both grew up with single mom's, we both grew up fairly poor, lucky to have the family support systems we did (grandparents/aunts/uncles). Childhoods were tough, but we managed. As with everyone, we have our battle scars to live with and work through, and in our teenage years we were not very adept at doing so.
We dated for three years, basically becoming inseparable. With all our faults and short comings, we genuinely were one another's best friend. We had both grown up in the church, attended 'Christian' schools and our families were both fairly involved with the large Calvary Chapel in our town for most of our childhood/teen years. All that being said, we also lived in a small desert town with not much to do, the average teen in our town spent most of their time skateboarding and partying. Christian school or not. We for the most part stayed with one another and did more of our own thing than our friends, so while we could have done a lot worse (thank you Lord) we certainly made our fair share of bad decisions.
In 2004 we found out that we were expecting a baby. 17 and pregnant. Un-wed. Brandon now a legal adult. As far as we could see, this was when everything was, everything should have, been over for us. Another set of statistics from a dead beat town. We ended up getting married in Vegas on a Wednesday afternoon. We returned home, Heidi finished school, Brandon kept working, and we waited to see how we'd pull off putting the pieces together. That fall we went through a horrific week long labor that was far more spiritual than we understood until recently, but eventually welcomed a healthy baby boy into the world. In everything over the past year, in everything for our whole lives leading to this, God blessed us with THIS little boy. The kid that we could never sing enough praises of thanksgiving for.
Newly weds have it rough, marriage is difficult. We were doing it from ages 17 & 20, with a newborn, living on our own for the first time, poor, working and attending school. We had fun times, of course, but it was difficult and to this day we're not sure how we made it.... it was purely the Lord from start to finish. Heidi stepped into the role of wife and mom, started college, eventually went back to work. Brandon continued working more and more, he'd be home with us about one day a week and working the rest. Heidi, although completely unsure of what to do exactly, tried doing as we had been taught and got involved with the lovely, little church we had started attending after leaving the large Calvary Chapel we had attended for so long. Her family attended there, it was super small, we all knew one another, our little guy was very comfortable there each week and we're very thankful for our church family there. Brandon on the other hand, was dealing with many spiritual struggles, was surrounded by a very toxic environment at his work, and although he to this day loves the pastor from our little church and respects him a GREAT deal, "church" had left a bad taste in his mouth (us both really- but that's another topic) and he stayed away for the most part. We knew we lived in a dead end town, our souls were lacking a great deal, and God planted the seed in Heidi's heart that we HAD to go.
Just like that (easy to say now!) we moved completely across the country, from CA to NC, after only visiting one time for a couple days and started new lives outside the big city where we literally knew one person. We were dirt poor, trying to work through starting 'careers', navigating a new home without anyone we knew around, keeping a still new marriage intact and raising a child. We tried finding a new church home, but going from a small town where you know everyone and do everything a certain way to THIS was very overwhelming. No matter where we tried, no matter where Heidi forced Brandon to try, nothing felt right. We felt out of place. So for a long time we just put it on the back burner and focused on building the typical suburban dream.
We worked hard, we ended up with jobs that allowed us to build up ourselves, we lived in the pretty little suburban homes and to this world- we were chugging right along! What a success story! From 17 and pregnant to living outside the big city, working great jobs, paying to have our yard mowed and investing in first world things like designer jeans and high priced make up. Clearly we were on THE American path! Heidi found a church that she started attending pretty regularly, Brandon came a few times but couldn't get over the 'mega church' style popping up now... although there was some spiritual movement going on, we were both pretty spiritually dead. Brandon having always struggled with depression and anxiety was having an increasingly difficult time. By the time we had our second child, a precious little girl, we couldn't do it anymore. God had given us a child, now all of a sudden- that seed of change was planted in our hearts again. And it was STRONG.
So, in 2011 we started putting the pieces together to move. Again. Suddenly prayer and an all out willingness to let God choose the path opened up to us. Heidi would literally pray herself to sleep each night, and somehow it came together. We left our jobs, we posted on CraigsList that anyone in need could come take our stuff, we rolled open the garage and gave 98% of everything we owned away. Heidi had a background in floral design, so she created a website to offer services in Key West, FL doing weddings! If we're going to give it all up and leave the rat race for a life where we can be together, be with our kids and enjoy what life has to offer- what better place than on a sandy tropical beach in the Florida Keys! (Note: Neither of us had even been to Florida. Ever.) And we did. We loaded up the car with what we had left, our kids (now 7 and 1 1/2 years), the dog and the cat. We had a little money in our account, no savings, no emergency fund, no back up plan. Off to Florida we went with some business already booked and hopes to find a house when we got there.
We did make it, we found a house that just getting the keys and first month wiped out our bank account, and while sitting on the front porch getting bit by mosquitoes and hearing the iguanas crawling on the roof neither of us felt ok. What happened? We had been praying, we had felt God calling us to move, we had given everything away, why didn't this feel right? We spent the evening on the beautiful beaches of Bahia Honda, looked at one another and said "I don't want to be here." We slept in our car that night, returned the keys and lease the next morning, thankfully got most of our money back, and headed north. We knew we'd be back in the Florida Keys as we had booked business there already, but a gift from God in the form of a couple of friends of ours from back home were our saving grace. We were able to live with our friends (who really, are our family more than anything) outside of Savannah, Georgia. What a huge blessing this was, what a great time for the kids to be together, for us to just go wide open with our friends- enjoying and just kind of detoxing from the 'rat race' life while building up our little wedding business in Key West. Again, we went back to putting God on more of the back burner while we laid by the pool and worked on the weekends from Key West's top resorts.
Well, yet again, we were gifted with the surprise of another pregnancy. What on earth was God trying to tell us? We wrestled with it for a bit, then realized that we really felt we were called to go back to NC. We had business leads there, we loved the area (and it's MUCH more family friendly than Key West) and our friends were ready for a change too! We'd all move up to NC, they'd be there to help us with our soon to be THREE kids, while we built the business. Another round of packing, we found an insanely gorgeous home in a beautiful suburb only this time we worked for ourselves and were on our time. God filled our business calendar up and we were off! (Or so we thought...)
Our business prospered, we enjoyed a comfy life on our own terms, and tried again at "getting it together" and finding a church to attend. By now mega churches like Elevation have overtaken our area, which even our kids weren't comfortable with attending, and the other local churches were just far from where we felt ok. We had been raised with "you go to church on Sunday and Wednesday" and since we couldn't find a church, we just left it at that. Back to the back burner it went. Again. Besides, we were busy building our earthly kingdom! Our rat race had changed, but we were back in it- just as a small business.
Our friends eventually had to move to be closer to their families, we kept chugging along with a packed business schedule that made our industry peers jealous and life was good. We homeschooled our kids, ran our own business, made six figures with a business we created with zero debt and could hold our head high with all our accomplishments. Only now do we really understand just how wrong we were. Just how off balance we were, thankfully God was rather kind in his way of revealing this to us.
We got hit with that seed in our soul that once it started sprouting it was telling us to get out. To not be in the city, to move out. So we did, by the grace of God we found a home on 8 acres of country land, in a small town about 100 miles west. Once we moved we kept working, our business was still fairly full, then suddenly it slowed down. A lot... we spent more time thinking, Heidi pulled more Bible related study into the kids schooling, we started contemplating where we went wrong. God was talking to us, and with our schedules slowing down, we actually stop and listened.
Our business is still going, but slower and slower. We've given it completely over to God-- whatever He wants it to be, it will be. Yes this means we have no control of our income and no big savings or back up plan, but that's ok. The biggest part of it all, the culmination of this massive life story (if you've made it this far) is that Brandon felt a calling to start seminary in 2016. So he did, and boy did he grasp onto it! He stumbled across Christian Leaders Institute and the guy who hated school SOARED through the entire program with a near perfect GPA! It's like a light switched on for our family and a fire now blazes stronger than anything we could have imagined. Brandon chose to drop out of school right before the final ordination, because he really felt like he just wanted the training and education vs a license and title. Clearly it was just a learning experiment, right? Apparently God has other plans.
We're at a huge crossroads in our lives, what will happen and where we're headed. But that's ok. We're completely fine with it-- because we have God. We have submitted our entire family to Him and what He chooses for us. We don't know where we'll get money to pay bills, where we'll have to go or what we'll do, but we know we'll seek His direction in every single move we make. We're sinners, and boy do we need his grace and the forgiveness through Jesus Christ, but we've never been in a place like we are today. And we're forever grateful to be here.
While working on this, staying in constant prayer and scripture studies... we found out (Surprise, surprise!) that we were being blessed with yet ANOTHER gift! Baby #4, a little girl, was on the way! We were stunned! What was God doing?!? WOW! The pregnancy was one health scare after another, a high risk delivery that was bumped up nearly a month, issue after issue, and guess what- everything went perfect. Mom is fine, baby is small, but perfect. Wow- what a blessing Lord! As we sat around just ooh-ing and awww-ing over our newest gift, our precious family, the blessings all around us- we felt God moving in us. In our family.
That's when Heidi suggested to Brandon-- how about we start a church? A real life family ministry. Live 1 Peter 4:7-9 literally, day in and day out. Love people, feed people, share the gospel of Christ with anyone and everyone. To which Brandon replied, Yes. Let's do it!
So here we are- starting the steps in creating an official ministry. Going back to the roots, the model of the home church in Acts. Loving. Serving. Sharing. And with great inspiration and encouragement from the Godly examples of brothers in Christ, like George Muller, we have been reinvigorated to leap out in this life of faith and go to God for all that we truly need relying upon Him to provide in the ways He has in store for us.
Please join us in this journey- connect with us. Subscribe below & on social media. We're so very happy to have you along! Lord, for each day that we're here before your second coming-- we cannot wait to serve you out loud! AMEN!