March 2018 Newsletter

MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $7,100.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $2,347.00 Remaining Need:  $4,753.00

Current Ministry/ Ranch Projects: 1.) We are trenching a water line this weekend down to the old cabin that we lived in for almost four years. We also had the exciting adventure of cutting down our own beetle kill trees, and then saw milling them and we laid a new floor in the little cabin. It was a fun experience and the place really looks great. 2.) Chris has done two marriage intensives in the last month and has had a lot of success working with couples.

Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month: 1.) March brought many visitors to Mountain Haven. We had 6 people from Chris’s family come stay for a week, and our family friends- a family of five come stay for two days. 2.) We also had the privilege of visiting Minnesota, and saw the house we will be living in for our next years Sabbath. It’s a tiny, cute three bedroom,1 bathroom home nestled in the East Hillside neighborhood of Duluth, MN

Top Prayer Requests: 1.) Pray that the right people step up to help counsel and coach our individuals and couples that need services while we take this one year sabbath.

Mountain Haven March 2018 Newsletter

SABBATH

The Sabbath was established in Judaism through Mosaic law. You really should read about Sabbath and how it has evolved through time, conceptually and practically. The ideas of taking a day of “rest” have been pontificate about by theologians across all sects, and across time. The main arguments seem to revolve around what the proper day or moment is for a sabbath, and also what a person should be doing on their sabbath. Whatever the division, there is one agreement; the Sabbath is for rest.

The last ten years for us here at Mountain Haven have not been time for resting. It started with cancer in 2007; my cancer diagnosis to be exact. I was pregnant with Lilly and we were getting ready to move out to Colorado, and had already purchased the 35 acres that Mountain Haven is currently located on. I had two surgeries back to back, that resulted in a full recovery; then our son graduated from high school, we packed up our house and put that up for sale, took a trip out to Colorado to construct a huge pole barn, said multiple goodbyes to our friends, family, and careers; and that was all before we started the trek across country in 2008 to go live in our little tiny 432 square foot cabin on the mountain..

From that point forward, since we landed out here in Colorado, and started a full-time donation based ministry; life has been just one non-stop adventure, trial, difficulty, challenge, and feat; maybe you have heard about some of this through the years, but let me refresh your memory and take you on a walk down memory lane for Mountain Haven. Thank you to those of you that have walked this lonely, and yet utterly transformative road with us.

  • There was the loss of a business sale that was going to provide for us financially

  • There was a fire where we were underinsured, due to the insurance company’s mistake, and we lost a 3200 sq foot pole barn including every single item and memento from our last 20 years and from our childhoods. This resulted in a payout for the pole barn and our belongings for 1/12 of what it was worth

  • There was Kevin’s first back surgery- a surprise laminectomy over Thanksgiving

  • There were various other hospitalizations, and emergency room visits,(around 7) lasting a day or so for his recurring Crohn’s disease and back pain

  • There was a major double fusion back surgery for Kevin, resulting in a 5-day hospital stay and 7 weeks of Kevin being laid up

  • There was a 14-day stint in the hospital for Kevin, resulting in a bowel resection and another 6 weeks of recovery for Kevin

  • There have been 3 car accidents where our vehicles were totaled, and two other car debacles resulting in damage to our vehicles and major repair work needed

  • There was a lightning strike of the Mountain Haven house resulting in a lot of damage

  • There were five large mission trips hosted by us, where 40-70 people converged on the mountain to help construct parts of Mountain Haven and also to experience giving to a new level

  • There were three smaller mission trips hosted of groups ranging from 6-20

  • A 3200 square foot home was constructed from the ground up, a pole barn torn down, a cabin updated, and a smaller little cabin named the Robyn’s nest was constructed

  • There hasn’t been one year, except for the last two years, where our income was well below the poverty line, we have done donation based counseling for nine out of the ten years of ministry, and have not turned any person away due to financial need

  • There have been at least five people that have lived with us for a period of time ranging from 1 week to 18 months, all coming from various walks of live and needing varying levels of support from us

  • We wrote two books for marriage and multiple curriculums, including a men’s and women’s outdoor adventure curriculum, a pre-marriage curriculum, a sexual assault recovery group curriculum, two women’s support group curriculums based on books, a teen identity support group, and a marriage support group curriculum

  • We appeared on at least five TV shows, including the 700 club, a network show on the OWN network where we were able to fly to New York City and talk about our story, and we completed over 20 radio interviews

  • We hosted over ten (10)  marriage groups at the Vineyard church we were involved with for over five years, and presented at least Five (5) marriage seminars based on our book The Hope Filled Marriage and other books such as Love and Respect

  • We have hosted family, friends, or just random visitors for over 350 days over the last ten years

  • We have logged in over 20,000 hours of direct person contact for counseling, telephone, or intensive counseling with individuals, families, and couples

  • We have logged over 15,000 hours of time building, cleaning, general contracting, designing, or maintaining this facility

  • Kevin has started three businesses out here to supplement our income and provide for our family, despite his physical limitations, and has enjoyed entrepreneur endeavors

  • Chris homeschooled the girls for three years

  • Chris in the last year, in addition to her Mountain Haven caseload, has joined an amazing team at a domestic violence/sexual assault crisis facility for 26 hours a week to supplement income as well. She has had the privilege of being part of a team that wrote a 170-page training manual for clergy to help train them regarding sexual and domestic violence, and spearheading starting a therapy program

  • We have attended two intensives; one at Marble retreat for a ministry renewal time, and one marriage intensive for a marriage renewal time through the Gottman Marriage Institute, and Chris has attended an individual intensive through Anesis counseling for personal renewal

This journey of a thousand steps brings us to today. The reason for our Sabbath. These steps in our journey have led us to the intention of resting; of taking a Sabbath year off starting in June 2018 to June 2019. We are moving to Minnesota, into a tiny little 932 square foot home (yay we will be near our son and his wife), but will still keep the Mountain Haven property, and will be keeping the Robyn’s nest available one week a month for people that need to rest and refuel at a donation basis. The main reason for this Sabbath, is that this lifestyle for us is currently not sustainable at this pace. A time to rest, refocus, refuel and focus on just the needs of our family, and move into a time of reflection to consider our next moves is essential for our future. Coming back at this pace, to this lack of income, and with our current workload, and lack of emotional supports are not sustainable for our future, so we will be processing all of that.

We have not taken any  salary for almost two years, and the jobs we have both taken to supplement have really helped, but the work, the need, the ministry output, and the expenses have not lessened. All of you who support us faithfully, whether through one time gifts or monthly, we truly cannot thank you enough for believing in us, supporting us, and being such faithful supporters.From the bottom of our hearts, we are truly grateful and have been able to continue this work, and this ministry because of your ongoing support.

If you would like to continue to support Mountain Haven, whether monthly or in one time gifts, the money will go into an account to maintain the expenses associated with Mountain Haven, and will not be used to pay us. Your continued support would truly be a blessing that we cannot express. We, as the founders and executive director and secretary of Mountain Haven, feel extremely weary. The level of despair that we have dealt with on a daily basis, coupled with the demands of our work have brought us both to the cross multiple times with no strength, no answers, and often feeling totally depleted and very lonely. We came out here to give freely from the experiences of our life, and we have matured through struggle, fought through doubt, and surrendered our all in ways that can never be expressed. We have lost track of who we thought we were or who we thought we were supposed to be and found ourselves laying in the dirt floor basement of our heart. To do this is to truly live, says Jesus. (Barbara Brown Taylor). It has been living, and simultaneously dying; which is after all the message of the cross.

In truly living and following in obedience, there is a life force poured out from you to others that is filled with a mystical, immeasurable hope, it’s not a made up hope, its not contrived, it’s not a colloquialism- it’s hard earned hope.  We truly hope that our life force, our story, and our compassion has impacted the world, ever so slightly. Now we Sabbath – as a couple- as a family. We rest, refuel, have fun, contemplate, adventure, SLOW DOWN, and listen for the next steps. Your continued support in any way that you desire to support will be amazing. We will continue to provide a monthly newsletter, with what we hope will be helpful marriage and growth material. If you want to get a hold of us personally; please contact us for our new address. Otherwise all correspondence can be mailed to our Mountain Haven address and it will be forwarded. We are not actually changing our residency.Thank you again for supporting us and please call or email with any questions.

 

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