Monday, November 23, 2009

Our Big News (kind of anti-climatic at this point)

I’ve mentioned my bloggers block in a few of my most recent posts. I find it so hard to blog at all when I can’t share everything! It almost feels as if I’m not being real with you guys. Well, the gag order is up. (just teasing, it wasn’t a gag order ;-)

The past few months the Lord has had us on an interesting journey in our willingness to follow Him anywhere. Actually, it’s felt more like a roller coaster ride than a journey of any kind! Since May, we have been willing to move to Naples, Florida – Soroti, Uganda and Colorado Springs, Colorado. All after living my entire life here in idyllic Orlando, Florida. It’s almost too much to write in one blog post but the long story short is that Greg got a call in the early spring asking if we’d be interested in moving to South Florida. The truth is, we hadn’t really considered seriously ever moving anywhere else. Of course, I had always joked that we’d move to Africa one day….but other than that, we were very settled in our little world. Greg’s job was going great, ministry at the church for me was incredibly fulfilling. We have great friends here and almost all of our family. Why ever leave?

And yet, something made us seriously consider this offer. In the process, we spent time in prayer surrendering our wills and desires and everything we had here that looked perfect. In the end, we felt the Lord was not calling us to this job….but for the first time, we felt like maybe He WAS calling us somewhere. But where?

After my trip to Uganda in April, I was ready to pack it all away and move my family to Africa. Surprisingly, Greg was thinking the same thing! We had said “yes, Lord we are willing to go anywhere” and now it seemed as if we had a plan. In fact, our big trip to Colorado Springs in July was all about our plan to MOVE TO UGANDA!!!

I was thrilled! Sad to leave my family, friends and church but thrilled to be moving to the land that I loved!!! We began to make preparations and plans. The plan was to live in Uganda 8 months every year and in Colorado Springs (the HopeChest home office) for 4 months each year.

On what seems like a separate plane all together, while Greg was in Uganda in September I decided to take a cross-country road trip to visit Colorado Springs. I figured that introducing the kids to the other kids in Colorado would make at least THAT part of the move easier on them. As you may remember, I spent the week with Sara and the kiddos. Sara is Vince’s wife (who works at HopeChest). I had an amazing week. I felt more at home in Colorado Springs than I ever thought possible. Sara and I realized how compatible our families are (as their daughter Hannah puts it…The McElhenys and Giordanos are gonna be inseparable!) and I finally rested knowing that at least for those 4 months we would have friends!

Within 2 days of me coming home to Orlando, I got a few disturbing phone calls and emails. 3 friends independently called or contacted me and asked if we could talk seriously. They said they’d been praying seriously for a number of months…..was I sure I was supposed to be going to Uganda? I kind of freaked out. Tears immediately flooding to my eyes. They each said that every time they prayed about us moving to Uganda right now they had a deep and foreboding sense of fear. One of them asked specifically, “Brandi, do you feel called to move to Uganda right now?” I sank to the floor right there in my bathroom and had to croak out ‘no’. I hadn’t even realized it until then! I had certainly heard God say ‘GO” but I hadn’t even stopped to ask where!!!

At this point….I freaked out completely. I cried for 2 days straight. Greg was in Uganda right then buying us vehicles and finding us a house. How could I pull the plug now? And if we didn’t go to Uganda then where???? I thought of Colorado Springs…but there was no job for Greg there. I could probably do what I’d already started doing—weekend parties and community launches……but what would Greg do?!

I was surprisingly ok with something like that but had no clue how it could even happen! I realized how God had prepared me for this possibility. I had grown to LOVE Colorado Springs in that week I had spent with Sara and I LOVED my new volunteer job. Getting to travel the country and speak on orphan care combined many of my most favorite things and passions. I especially loved the opportunity to speak about orphans. It’s like I feel God’s pleasure when doing this. I can’t explain It so that it makes sense. I often begin not even knowing what I’m going to share and all of a sudden the Holy Spirit just takes over and I’m sharing and crying and passionate about orphans and how God uses us!

Wait…but right now Greg was in Uganda with a big plan to move us there….and how the heck would I share this with him?

I flipped out…crying…a LOT. I shared with a few of my friends, each of whom had no concern whatsoever. Yes, they empathized with me. But, they had faith where I had none. They said to me, “God is speaking to Greg even now. Don’t you worry. If He can work it out in YOUR heart to be ok with not moving to Africa then He can move in Greg.” I pretty much had no faith and didn’t believe them….sad to say, huh?

Greg flies home from Uganda on Tuesday and calls me from the airport. “I just talked to Bob” (HopeChest COO and our friend). I didn’t want to think too much of it and asked if it were just catching up now that he was in country. He said, “yes, and about a bunch of other stuff that we may need to talk about.” I commented that I thought we should talk a lot too. Quickly we both explained that BOTH of us were thinking that maybe God was telling us that we should not be moving to Uganda.. ONLY God could have done this.

Apparently at the same time that the Lord was moving in me here in the states, He was speaking the same things to Greg while he was in Uganda. What I didn’t realize was how God was working at the HopeChest offices too!

Bob had called Greg to talk about a possible job coming to Colorado full time instead of moving to Uganda.

I began to see that God had slowly put together pieces to bring us to this place.

Over the next few months, the rest of the pieces started to fall into place….

So, my big blog (that is actually probably pretty un-climatic to most who read this blog and already know most of this) news is this:


On December 30th, I pull out and on January 2nd Greg comes behind me with the furniture J

We have already found renters for our place and found a home to rent in Colorado Springs….PS It has an extra bedroom and a whole basement (that’ll make Christie happy, right? J for anyone who wants to come visit!

Greg will be working full time at HopeChest in charge of Field Operations in Uganda, Swaziland, India!!! Doesn’t that sound amazing? He will get to travel to all of those countries each year too!

I’ll continue to be a volunteer for this awesome organization J I’m now the volunteer coordinator and get to help others get plugged in from across the country! I’ll also get to continue to do orphan advocacy and will be traveling 2 weekends a month around the country to help launch community sponsorship and to do fundraisers!!

We’d appreciate your prayers for the next month. We are thrilled with what the Lord is doing and has done to bring us to this place, but leaving our friends and family is excruciatingly difficult. I’ve cried every Sunday just thinking of how few I will have left before moving (especially since I’m out of town the next 3 weekends!).

Praising Him for His plans….which confound me sometimes but I’m so thankful for what He’s doing and how He’s leading---



Erin Moore said...

WOW, Wow, wow. I knew most of this story, but am still wowed by the details. I love seeing God work something together through us. He makes us fall in love with ideas and then breaks our hearts with them, only to prepare us for something perfect.

Oh how He loves us!

Barbra said...

HI, Brandi,
You do not know me at all, although I have followed your blog for quite a while! I just wanted to say Congratulations on your move! It sounds like you have definitely walked a path to get there! Its amazing what we think might happen, and what God makes sure happens. We will likely be working with you guys in some fashion as we are just getting started with a carepoint in Swaziland (Ludlati). My husband went on a vision trip to Swaziland in October. We have an online community from which we are gathering sponsors. Blessings to you as you move WEST, following HIM.
Barbra King

Andrea @ The Train to Crazy said...

Amazing news. I am so glad you listened! Wonderful news! I am very excited for your family. GREAT stuff!

Kelli said...

Great story to share, Brandi. I wish your family the best. Prayers for you guys for a smooth transition while following His plan!

running shoes said...

God is Awesome!!!
I am so excited for you!!

Jamie said...

WOW! That's just amazing! I need to read more about Hope Chest! I know you talk about it a lot and know I've checked out their sit through you but I'm curious what it's all about. MY heart is still drawn to Africa. Our pastor just got back from Togo where they're building a hospital and I missed the program on it last night:( I still think about doing a 'playdate with a purpose' but have no idea how or where we could send our money!!?? Sooo, email me with any ideas! Congrats to you!!! You're definately closer to me now!

Elizabeth Bergeron said...

Hi Brandi,

First time on your blog. How exciting to have some definate plans in place and the family ready to take a new journey!! I won't say that I was somewhat concerned about you living in Uganda after talking with Amy S. Now you will have the best of both worlds!! :)

Jessica said...

We are so excited to have you in CO!!!! Can't wait to come visit.

Erica said...

Amazing. Gods timing is perfect. Praying for you and the family as you make this BIG move. Great to see you today too. Loves.

Andrew said...

Great reading, B. Way to listen, way to adjust mid-step.

Love being on this crazy journey with you -- it's a privilege and you make it FUN. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do love basements and hope to come visit at some point!! I of course am excited for you but sure am going to miss you all!! Love ya, Christie

Debbie Titus said...

WOW BRANDI THIS IS BIG NEWS! Gary and I did the same thing with our family about three years ago but we went to Vail. I just loved our time in CO. It was clear that God wanted us back in FL but I definitely left part of my heart in CO. We now have lots of friends in CO. that we can connect better with Hope Chest now that you are out there. I look forward to hearing what God is doing in your lives. Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen said...

I am so excited to hear what the Lord is doing in your life. I would love to move to CO Springs. Post lots of pictures for me to drool over and I am praying for you as you make this big move from the hot FL sun to the mountain air of CO.

I am also excited to read about what God will be doing with you through HopeChest. God is so good:)

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited for you guys. I know that God is going to BIG things as he already has in your lives. I can't even imagine all that you are going through preparing to leave all your friends and family. I know that will be the most difficult part but I will be praying that the Lord will give you supernatural strength to get through it. Our former senior pastor moved out to Colorado Springs a few years ago. It was a similar story of God calling him somewhere else even though he was perfectly content where he was. We miss him greatly but know he is doing big things there. His church is Villiage 7 Presbyterian. His name is Mark Bates. I think you would like his preaching a lot! Their website is I'm sure he and Tricia would love to meet you and Greg and then you would have even more friends out there. :-)

I love you friend,

Beautiful Mess said...

Praise God!

Now... before you get out of this state I must meet you face to face--so when can we make that happen with holidays, moving, and whatnot---let me know!


Valarie Daly said...

How exciting for you and Greg and the kids! I will miss all of you! It's exciting to see GOD move in your life as HE is doing. Dan and I just recently came to the point of complete surrendering in our own lives that we are totally open to where ever GOD wants us to be. Just getting to the point of complete submission is a huge step. We have no clue what that means for us, but we are willing and excited to be at that point together in our marriage! We don't know where, when, or how, but we are willing to go wherever HE wants us to be! We even thought could it be living at silver pines apt and ministering there. But GOD just revealed all HE wanted from us at this very time is complete surrender to be willing to be where HE wants us to be! Love and praying for you and the fam!

Sean and Lisa said...

So excited for you! God's ways and plans are ALWAYS bigger than what we can ask or think. Knowing Good God things are in store for you and your family as you listen and obey.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa said...

A wonderful and exciting story!!! Will certainly miss seeing you in FL! :( Kiss the babies for me!

Kelly said...

Dang... that is some awesome news!! I am so excited for how God is using your family!! I LOVE CO!! Maybe we will have to vist!!

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