Eight years ago this past November the Howell family bought one way tickets from Alaska to the lower 48… on my birthday of all days.
I cried throughout the long beautiful flight because it was the most trusting thing I had ever done.
Have you ever stepped out into a huge unknown with a suitcase and little ones? It is by far the most faith building leap to date.
It was a time when “Jesus take the wheel” wasn’t just a funny saying for a hard day… it was real. Jesus – take over.
No job yet – only interviews and connections layered with lots of hope. We knew that without fail God was near and ahead of our story.
Leaving behind family, friends, years of investment with students and families, and saying goodbye to my mountains had me an absolute mess.
This ministry life is a family endeavor. It is not just Dad’s job. When we were called into this life of laying our own down- we knew it would shape the hearts in our home.
Three young boys in tow and an adoption that was still in process was to say the least…cause for some anxiety!
We closed up Chapter 1 of our ministry in Alaska with 5 years of all in service and sacrifice.
I was confident in God’s guiding and had no trouble following the lead of Kris into the unknown (to us) Chapter 2.
Resumes and literally stacks of recommendation letters of humble pastoring and love from parents, leaders, and staff in hand…we signed a deal with God and said yes to the next chapter He was writing.
8 1/2 years with Fellowship Bible Church have quickly passed with Jesus filling the pages of our ministry. This church was generous with loving the Howells in too many ways to count.
We were the northern family who wore shorts in December and drove on the icy roads every winter.
This place has shaped the faith of our now 16, 14, and 11-year-old boys. A daughter was brought home from Korea and a baby was also born into our ministry story. Chapter 2 has been sweet.
As we have witnessed in Chapter 1, God stirs us and places deep desires to step out and expand our ministry story.
Thankfully the Lord knows the next chapter because we are heartbroken that He would desire for this one to come to a close.
This week was our 20th wedding anniversary and so to stick with turning pages on important dates…its time to move again. Much like my that birthday flight…I have all the hard feelings but I trust.
Kris has a desire to shepherd and pastor more in the area of family ministry in a way that encourages, equips and adds hope. As he’s matured as a husband and dad, he has grown to really love walking with the family. I get the front row seat watching him at home and in his ministry relationships – and they match.
After speaking with church leadership and seeking counsel from others, Kris has realized that whatever is next in this season of life…is leading us from this church body that we so dearly love.
Our wings are stretched out.
The Spirit is very near.
We are willing and ready to submit to Chapter 3.
Trust me…this is the worst part of ministry. Closing chapters.
So many stories, memories, so – much – life. But we are a family of HOPE.
We see God making a way out of a place we will treasure forever, into the unknown and that is hard and exciting.
We do not have another job but have heard God speaking to us about the Rocky Mountain states of UT, CO, WY, and even perhaps Northern AZ.
As of this week, resumes have gone out and the search for an opportunity to shepherd and pastor families more has begun. Possibly a Family/Next Gen Pastor or even a Campus Pastor may be the next role. Whatever is ahead, we are open to the Spirit and give Him our lives just like we’ve always done.
This is just the beginning.
We have a busy few months ahead with interviews, trying to finish school, getting our house on the market and sold, possibly moving into a temporary home, and my favorite part…celebrating what God has done in our lives through our people here.
We invite you to join us in praying God’s best for Kris and I, Zach, Keaton, Peyton Jeff, Molly and Tillerman! We have a lot of hearts that are all over the map right now.
Our kids love Fellowship and they always will. They have put in as many hours as we have with FSM and Family Life and we are proud of them.
Pray that the people waiting for the Howells will be a fraction of the kind of unfathomable community we have been graced with in Jackson. For our kids to see God’s hand even though we will be relocating at such critical stages in their life.
So, please come with us?
We need your encouragement, cheers, prayers, and hope!
It is not time for goodbye yet so we won’t go there. But it is coming and we are so very grateful for y’all and the crazy kind of support you’ve showered us with year after year.
There is no way our people could have loved us any stronger…amazing.
For all 7 Howells,