An Ode to an Oldie

Meet Olaf.  No not that Olaf.

Madeline names our cars.  This something she picked up when we lived in Belize and had several staff automobiles.  We inherited some names and then got a couple of new ones.  Madeline took to naming them.  It’s something that just stuck when we moved back to the USA about 2 ½ years ago.

Therefore, meet Olaf. 

Olaf is a 1993 Ford Aerostar.  When we were moving back from the USA, we didn’t have a car, didn’t know what we would need for the house and prayed that we would have a car that could meet our needs.

Enter Olaf

At the time, Olaf was residing as a gently (rarely) used van at my grandparent’s house.  He enjoyed quick jaunts to church, the grocery store and well that’s about it.  In recent memory (before Olaf became part of our family and received his name), Olaf traveled less and less.

Enter our family.

Our family was growing, although not as big as it is now, and we needed transportation during furlough.  We didn’t have the capital to rent a car so Olaf was made available.  Good ol’ Olaf.  1993 Ford Aerostar.

A quick history on 1993 Ford Aerostars and me.

When I was 16, I was gifted a Ford Tempo…if you were ride or die with me in high school, you may remember that Tempo.  It was RED, really Red.  Red outside.  Red inside.  Red steering wheel, Red dash. In fact I am sure the instead of the tape deck was red.  Anyway, one day the Tempo and a Tahoe did a Tango when I was driving to school. Alas the Tempo was no more.

Enter my first experience with a 1993 Ford Aerostar.

My parents had a Buick Century and a Volkswagen Rabbit.  Then we had a Saturn.  And it was time for my dad’s new ride.  He wanted a truck.  He got a green 1993 Ford Aerostar, not quite sure that’s what he had in mind.  But dads are dads and sometimes you do that.  Don’t worry though, he is the proud owner of a Toyota Tundra King Cab, extended bed, super truck.  In fact I am quite sure it could qualify as a monster truck.

Let’s Continue.  Due to the Tango with the Tahoe for the Tempo, the van became my new ride of necessity.  It went to my senior prom.  It took me on dates.  One time I was sure that I was being chased around on neighborhood because I flashed my lights at a car that didn’t have their lights on…I am sure they were in the Bloods and I was going to die.  I didn’t die and our van got me thru it.  I hated that van.  It wasn’t what I wanted.  It wasn’t cool.  It wasn’t sleek or sporty.  I was a spoiled, rotten, terrible attitude about cars teenager that should have been thankful I had anything at all to drive and I wasn’t riding a bicycle everywhere.  Actually at that point, I was too out of shape to ride anywhere so I would have been really out of luck!  I did what every dumb teenager would do, I said “I will NEVER own a car like this.”

Olaf is born.

Around the same time that our family got our van, my dad’s brother (my uncle) and his family were in the market for a new (to them car).  Enter Olaf.  After searching for some time, my uncle and his family made the purchase and Olaf entered the Edmonds clan.

In a parallel universe, my grandparents finally got rid of their Ford Bronco (no it wasn’t white but maybe the OJ thing caused them to re-evaluate) and were down to one car. That’s ok because they were retired but eventually they needed a 2nd car.  So Olaf, after faithfully serving my uncle and his family for some time, was transitioned to my grandparents.

Fast-forward several years and our family is home on furlough.  We need an automobile.  We can’t afford to rent one on our missionary salary. Graciously, my parents and grandparents reckoned that Olaf could be for us.  And thus began our beautiful friendship!

He got us from point A to point B faithfully. 

There was of course the unfortunate incident where during a hard freeze outside I pulled off the handle of the sliding door.  Equally as unfortunate there’s not a real market for those side handles thus manufacturing for them had ceased.  The junk yards were out of them, so Olaf went without.

All this really meant for us is that we passed kids in through the windows on the driver side and kids climbed out the passenger side front door when being dropped off for school.  Man you should have seen those looks at carpool.

His horn stopped working once and we had to go hunt for a new part in the steering column, couldn’t find it, so we had an auxiliary one wired up.  I preferred to drive around with an air horn but Amy and apparently “the law” wouldn’t let me.

Olaf carried around children’s ministry supplies to two campuses and became a children’s ministry on wheels of sort, candy and crafts falling out of every door from time to time.

Olaf, is gone and that is sad.  But we are happy and blessed he chose to give up the ghost here at home.

Yesterday as Olaf was burning in the driveway (that’s literally what happened), we mused (after putting out the fire) about Olaf and how he was able to make one last return to my uncle’s house to say his goodbyes!

To Olaf a great car, a good joke, and as of 2018 officially a classic automobile (25 years old).  Twas a good run my friend.

Now we’re off.  It’s time to find the next Olaf.



I was talking to a friend of ours at church who is out there trying to secure some employment for the summer.  He was looking around at all different types of jobs just literally wanting somewhere that needed help that could pay him.

That got me thinking.  One summer, a college roommate and I were doing the same thing.  We were negligent and lazy and didn’t search out jobs soon enough, so most summer jobs out there were already full.  And to be honest there were a couple of things for no real reason at all that were completely off my list (grocery store, food service, and retail).  In hindsight I can definitely see how that SEVERLY limited my options.

I went back to my previous employer and it turned out my skills as a snow cone maker and skate rink DJ weren’t in high demand back there.

I went to several stores and they weren’t hiring.

I went to Two Dudes and a truck or some moving company and had to take a test.  Seriously?  Is this school? Didn’t get that job either.

My college roommate and I even went to an in-home cleaning service and were passed over.

It was getting to be mid June and we still needed a job.  We were looking for anywhere with a HELP WANTED sign on the door.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, we got on with construction team and spent our summer, hanging ceiling tile, mixing mud for drywall and hanging the skilled labor screws.  I think one day we even cleared out a building.  Although I distinctly remember taking all those construction materials from the demo of a building to the WRONG DUMP the first time! Ugh!  It was an adventure but all because we saw that Help Wanted Sign.

We were so thankful that the owner of that business was looking for some help.  We had a great summer that summer and made some coin along the way.  But without that HELP WANTED sign we would be stuck.

I also heard from some friends about other people that needed help in their lives, people that were just struggling.  I was frustrated.  I came home and was frustrated at Amy, with Amy, at our life.  Why are they getting help and we’re not?

And then I thought back to my summer job search that time after college.  The owners of the business could have sat around and said…why can’t we get anything?  Why aren’t we getting more done?  But instead they identified the need and raised the warning flag.  They posted a sign…HELP WANTED.

In our family, I’m the business owner and it’s time to self-identify we are hanging the sign out front “HELP WANTED”

Our Life is crazy

Our life is crazy and I get that, we get that.  But we have some HELP WANTED.  Daily we have 5 kids with 5 sets of needs.  And before you say it, we know it.  We asked for it.  We’ve heard “you signed up for this”, “those kids just have needs, “ “can’t you just give them back.”

Here are the answers….We know we signed up for it.  Actually we feel God’s called us!  We know those kids have needs…actually all of our kids have needs…different needs for different things.  Just this afternoon, we responded to some challenges with a child at school, sought wholesome 4th grade chapter book series recommendations, practiced piano, and then cared for a 102-degree fever.  That was all from 3pm to 7pm for only one child.

We get it our kids have needs.

Can’t you just give them back – The short answer is no.  The snarky answer is which one, because there are times and days when each one of the children is particularly frustrating and /or irritating.  Then there are days and times which one or all of the children is so kind, compassionate and full of grace that it moves me to tears!

Kids are kids and we have a lot of them.  And maybe we’re writing this post, not to say that we specifically need help….actually we do.  We need help.  Because there are times that we feel forgotten.

Amy didn’t birth a baby.  She isn’t recovering from pregnancy.  We didn’t travel to a distant land and come back with a larger family.  We woke up one morning a family of 5 and went to bed that same day a family of 7…instantaneous, immediate.

But we didn’t have time to stop.  We didn’t have time to think, we just went.  Next day more of the same just now with 2 more kids (strangers really in tow).  HELP WANTED.

It’s been a year and we have more or less adjusted but the more we adjust the deeper the wounds go. The more we are here in this new normal; the more layers of the onion are peeled back.  With more layers exposed, become more trauma.

In just the last month, we’ve dealt with aggressive behavior, daily 1 hour tantrums and scared kids.  We’ve argued with therapists, sometimes social workers, and biological parents.  We’ve struggled.  HELP WANTED.

Madeline has sacrificed her personal space as L has moved into her room instead of staying with Z.

Jojo and Elijah have sacrificed personal time with mommy and daddy as we have meeting after meeting in regards to the kids needs.  Help Wanted.

People have asked….Can we help?  Is there anything that we can do?

First of all Thank you for asking.  Really thank you. It shows us that we aren’t alone.

Secondly KEEP ASKING.  We don’t like answering the question “how are y’all doing?”  or can we help but we need to answer it.  And we need to answer it truthfully.

Here’s how you can help!

  • Presence – Call, text, facebook message, email, come over (if local).
  • Listen – Just listen to us. Listen to us over coffee or lunch.  At dessert or just sitting around at the house.
  • ReDirect – When we start down the rabbit path of Foster Care that then feels like a black hole, redirect us to something that’s FUN to talk about. I promise we have more to talk about or share than Foster Care and Children’s Ministry.  Josh just got done coaching Madeline’s basketball team and Amy’s started her urban farm in the middle of Winston Salem (Edmonds Garden just put 100 onion plants in the ground and has a greenhouse cranking).
  • PRAY – Pray for us. Pray for Z.  Pray for L.  Pray for Madeline, Jojo, and Elijah.
  • Influence – We are always desiring for people to work with us to widen the circle of influence in the lives of our kids! Invest in them.  Take them out for ice-cream (bring us Ice Cream).
  • Provide Breaks – It can be tricky because quite honestly, not very many people are going to take all 5 children. But bring a dinner over, a coffee, breakfast, take one kid, etc, etc. Any break or time not spent doing ______ is time reinvested into the family!

Finally love us!  We love people.  We love people loving people!  Thank you all so much for loving us!  Thank you for listening to our stories, for being the shoulders to cry on, for listening to the frustrations and rolling with them!  Thank you because even in the midst of our crazy life that has HELP WANTED, we also have the most blessed life!  We are excited about what God has for us!

Quick Hit Prayer Request Update:

  • Foster Care
    • Court – Court case review is coming up on March 14th. Almost everything is up in the air.  We really aren’t sure which way this one will go.  This is a review of how the girls are doing in their placement and a review of how bio mom is at working her case plan to reunification.  If you recall court last time, it took 3 visits to the court house before the case was heard.  Pray that our case is heard on March 14th!  Pray for us that we would trust the Lord whatever the outcome.
    • Z medication and therapy – Things continue to be up and down fortunately not quite extreme. We are excited that the medicine has helped with some of her impulse control but weekends still are a struggle.   Continue to pray for endurance especially over the weekends.
    • Z school update – We continue to see improvements in learning some sight words. Strangely enough she knows 17 sight words one day and then of those 17 she knew the day before she knows 6 the next day.  We continue to work on 7 letters that she still cannot recall.  However, on the plus side we have had some interventions approved! – Keep praying for wisdom for retention or not for Z.
    • L update – L is a full of life and full of stubborn 3 year old. She can hold a 30 minute conversation full of light, laughter, and love about a variety of topics and then from there purposefully pee on the floor or pour mashed up Frosted Shredded Mini Wheats in her hair.  She’s the most loving and bubbly AND most stubborn child we have had the blessing of parenting!  Keep praying that she would know and love the Lord her God and trust Him completely.
  • Ministry
    • Easter is 25 days away! Our church, like many, have a strong emphasis on Easter.  We have 20 Easter Egg Hunts in our community groups throughout the city.  It was fun counting all those eggs!  We are specifically praying for hearts to be stirred and for people to respond to the invitation of the Gospel!
    • Growth and Expansion – Post Easter the focus becomes on the next steps for expansion. What rooms are next to be renovated.  Pray for wisdom and for strength and skill like bezalel and Oholiab from Exodus 31.
    • Discipleship – The discipleship steps that I have had the privilege of participating in have been rich and exciting. We are tearing through the Bible and learning together!  Now our prayers turn to multiplication.  Pray that we are able to multiply these groups by August!
  • Family
    • Activities – We just finished basketball season which was a blast and now we enter into running club at school! We are eagerly awaiting Spring Break and warmer weather to continue our Friday Night family tradition of smores and campfires.  Pray that we would be present and make memories at each opportunity.
    • Garden Blast off – The #EdmondsGarden has returned for 2018. We have extended garden footprint by ~50%.  Currently we are weeding and scheduling the mulch delivery for the next couple of weeks.  100 onions are in the ground.  And the purple glow of what look like black lights from our bedroom window is our green house.  Currently staged in the greenhouse are 25 tomato plants and 25 pepper plants….ready to go.  Compost is composting and Elijah has really taken an interest in helping.  We can’t wait to keep y’all posted!  Pray the Lord blesses our Land!
  • Real TIME UPDATE – Immediate Car Need
    • Yesterday driving home from Dewey’s (local baker) “free cake square” the van (1993 Ford Aerostar) gave up it’s ghost.  Actually craziest part was I turned it off, put the car in park, removed the key from the ignition and the car continued to run.  Some melted gaskets, rings, or plastic, a bit of smoke, and a fire extinguisher later…the car which just turned 25 years old died.  Now we’re in the market for a new (to us) car.  Prayers for wisdom, discernment, and financial favor!  PS.  If you are interested in a one-time gift towards a car for the Edmonds, let us know.  We can direct you in how to do that!

Friends.  This is life.  This is an Adventure.  Thank you for adventuring with us.

Jojo with his basketball team. Jojo won the award for best defender!

Friday nights are for family, fires and smores

Love me some Fox in Socks. Check out the mask Amy made for Elijah!

Trampoline jumping

Olaf, our van, 1993 – 2018


How ya doin’?

So I’ve started this post a thousand times.  What on earth do I write?  I really don’t know.  How are y’all doing?  I’ve heard it a thousand times in the last two months…nah it’s probably been 3 months

I ask myself, do I really want to answer that?  Do you REALLY want to know?  It hurts too much.  Honestly, I was speaking with a great friend and mentor of mine and he was sharing the difference between sharing from scars vs. wounds.

  • Scars we have healed from. They’ve left their mark, for sure but we are healed.  And those marks, those scars, provide us with reminders of what happened.  I can look at scars on myself from bike accidents of yesteryear or at Amy’s scar on her knee from surgery and we can recount what happened.  Emotional scars are no different.  We look back at the situation when we feel the scar from the event upon our life.  And when we look back we can remember, recount, and realize the lesson learned.  We have endured.  We have learned and we’re on the other side.  Just like when a wound turns into a scar, it doesn’t need any active care….our emotional aren’t forgotten but they don’t need any active wound care from us.  From our scars we can actually be a position to teach, to correct, to provide lessons learned and direction.
  • Wounds are different. Just yesterday Jojo fell down.  He had a scrape on his elbow.  It was relatively deep but it necessitated some wound care.  Alcohol wipe, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic cream and Band-Aid.  This morning, we had to redress the wound.  It involved removing the covering, which re-opened the wound.  That was painful for him.  We had to provide more wound care, more stinging and more hurt for him.  Same wound, just treating it.  That treatment and covering is what is going to make it better.  With our emotional wounds, it’s not different.  We address them immediately or when we can.  We talk it out. We address the emotional hurt.  We apply bandages.  But there are times that they have to be re-opened.  At each re-opening of the wound, we hurt again.  We haven’t learned the lesson yet from our emotional wounds.  We don’t have the perspective of experience and time and it becomes more difficult to learn from them and teach from these wounds.

My friend was sharing that we can teach from our emotional scars.  Those may provide lessons and / or best practices.  But our emotional wounds, we should not.  As a wound heals, the lesson, the perspective is shifting and not fully-formed.

I share that today because we are in a place of many wounds.  How are we doing?  To be honest and completely transparent, it’s hard.  We’ve had a lot going on over the past few months so let me provide some updates rapid fire.

General Updates

  • Preaching – I had the amazing opportunity to share a word on temptation with our church at the beginning of December…not sure why I got tasked with that subject, something about having a lot of experience with successes and failures with it. Anyway, it was awesome and a GREAT time.  If you wanted to check out the podcast from the service….click here.
  • Get AWAY – Amy and I were tremendously blessed to be able to get away this past December for our 12 year anniversary. It was a great time to REST, REFLECT and plan for a new year.  It was filled with naps, cooking great food, playing board games, and watching Fixer Upper…I guess we are old.
  • Sports are a thing in our house – Jojo and Madeline have started playing basketball, and despite my better judgement I agreed to help coach Madeline’s team. Honestly, it’s a blast!  I love those 7 year old girls and the laughs they can provide, and some of the patience they are teaching me!  Madeline loves playing…although her dad wishes she would pay more attention.  Jojo LOVES basketball. He’s a lock down defender and really enjoys bringing the ball up the court.  The only challenge is Jojo and Madeline have games at the same time on many Saturdays so it’s been hard to catch both of them, especially when coaching.
  • Kindergarten here comes Elijah – hey remember when Elijah was born in Belize? Yeah, that was about 4 ½ years ago….which means that he is heading to Kindergarten this coming school year!  We are excited nervous and there are days…ok maybe a lot of days that we (ok I, Josh) cry snot bubble tears thinking about him growing up.
  • Christmas – We had an amazing time at Christmas with the girls making traditions and celebrating Jesus! Our family was AMAZING rallying around and celebrating Jesus with us and the girls!
  • Snow Days – We had A LOT of snow…TWICE! It was an adventure taking the girls out for the first time ever in the snow for them!  They built a snowman, sledded, ate SNOW…A LOT of snow, ate snow cream and drank hot chocolate…all for the first time!  And then it snowed again and we got to do all of it over!  It was an adventure!
  • New Floors – For 9 months Amy has researched the flooring she wanted in our front “formal living room” (now it’s our office) and dining room (actually kid’s homework and art room). Over the past week, Amy, in addition to running our house, ripped out the carpet, and laid the flooring!  Update – It looks AMAZING!!  Yes you know this, I know this but it should be stated again: My wife is simply a superstar!!

Ministry Update

  • Discipleship – Jesus called us to be disciples that make disciples. Through our lives, we have done this through small groups, mission teams, other relationships.  The Lord opened up opportunities to do that and I am enjoying meeting with two dudes every week reading the Bible together, and challenging each other to be better disciples, men, husbands, fathers and leaders!
  • Growth – The Lord continues to bless our church and bring in more families with kids! We even had the opportunity to provide 120 families of our church with everything necessary to have a Happy Birthday Jesus Celebration over Christmas!
  • One More – When we started working on the South Fork building almost 18 month ago, a little boy and his family were coming around all the time. They would “help” and we found out they were attending the church when they could.  Our volunteers started to love on Lil T and his family.  One volunteer family even bought winter coats for Lil T, his brothers and sisters!  Lil T came out 3 hours early for our first service in Feb 2017 and he has been there every Sunday since.  A couple of Sunday’s back our church was in week 2 of 21 days of prayer.  We prayed specifically that morning for our rWorld (children’s ministry) volunteer’s to lead a child to Christ.  That afternoon Lil T came up to one of our volunteers and was led to a decision in Christ!  One more in the Kingdom.  One more revolution of life-change sparked in the community God brought our church!  We’re fired up about that!
  • Community – While my community has come from the discipleship relationships the Lord has brought into my life, Amy has found rich community in her Wednesday evening rGroup (small group). It’s been awesome (and sometimes annoying) to hear Amy’s phone ding from all the texts and calls she gets daily.  What an answer to prayer!!

Foster Care Update

  • Permanency Planning – We have our next court date around the middle of March. At that time, we will learn what the next step is for our girls Z and L.
  • Z’s School – We are evaluating the options we have before us regarding Z’s schooling for next year. At this point she is excelling in math, specifically problem solving, art, and science.  She still does not recognize all of her letters.  Amy and I would appreciate prayers as we work with the team to determine the best way to meet her educational needs and start to have the discussion of retention in Kindergarten or not.  Pray for patience that we help Z with her letters and that she picks them up quickly.
  • L lights up the world – L is great. She lights up the world when she walks into a room and is a joy to be around.  She recently had her 3rd birthday and melts the hearts of all those she’s around.  She also works the room like a politician saying hello or goodbye to everyone at church or a stranger at the grocery store!
  • Z, the ups and downs
    • Ups – Z is still full of surprise and joy. We had a great birthday celebration with her in December.
    • Downs – Then most of the months of December and January were extremely challenging. She has expressed extreme inflexibility and explosiveness in moments of correction at parenting.  She has expressed routine physical aggression to Madeline and L in the house and even done self-harm.  In fact until this weekend we were experiencing daily tantrums of yelling, screaming, sounding off “like a pterodactyl”, punching herself or the walls, kicking the walls, spitting on herself or the floor, and throwing herself down on the ground.  These tantrums are lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours each day.  We are tired.  We are wounded.
    • Ups – Help – We worked with a counselor and a psychiatrist to get medication prescribed for Z to help with mood balance and impulsivity control.
    • Downs – Z’s mother wouldn’t approve the medication and we went more than a month (the entire month of January) without getting the approval necessary.
    • Ups – We finally have approval for the medication and we started it today!
    • Ups – We also will begin Intensive in home therapy 4x a week, 2 hours each session next week!
    • Conclusion – We are maintaining some semblance of sanity J. We are tired.  We are on pins and needles when the kids are playing together listening to hear if any huff and puff will lead to a punch.  But we are trusting that God is with us.  Pray for continued perseverance for us as we continue on this path.  Pray specifically that Z’s behavior will change and these tantrums will reduce to nothing.  We are wounded, all of us, kids included but we are praying for these wounds to turn into scars!

What’s next….

The reality is we don’t know.  We enter Feb excited about finishing basketball strong with the kiddos.  We are excited about ministry opportunities and community.  We are excited to partner in this thing called life with each other!  We are expectantly looking forward to court and to Easter!  We look to God to sustain and encourage!  Thank you for praying for us as we heal from these wounds!


Post NYE celebration with shredded paper confetti

Homemade Slime is all the rage these days!

One of our 3 snowmen from Snow Dayz!

Look in the background there is Lil T curious about what we are doing there at this church. Over a year later, he has met Jesus and is ready to get Baptized!

Mommy and Jojo in their love language together of “projects”

Proud of his puzzle

Hide and seek genius…inside the gym bag

New floors look FLY

Praises and Prayer Requests – November 2017

Friends!  Happy Belated Thanksgiving and Merry Early Christmas!  From our family to your’s Gobble till you Wobble and Santa Baby!

It’s been an awesome time this month with family, friends, ministry and fun!  Times are always crazy but we have always said life is an adventure…thanks for adventuring with us!  Here’s some of the quick notes.

Tradition Makers

I remember the things that we did as a family, picking out the Christmas tree, “santa’ leaving the presents out instead of wrapping them, French toast on Saturday mornings.  As I got older, I remember not doing some of those things anymore and then still doing others!

Amy and I were looking at Thanksgiving and with family stuff on Thanksgiving day not really an option this year (NOTE: There was a large family event about 3.5 hours drive 1 way.  We declined to attend that), we were determined to make Thanksgiving Traditions.

So we got cinnamon rolls for breakfast, sat around in our PJs all day, listened to Christmas music, watched Christmas Movies and the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day parade, played a couple of fun games and prepared and ate an AMAZING meal!  It was slow, low-key, relaxed and we LOVED it!

This got us thinking….how this year for Christmas will we continue to build on some of our family traditions and make new ones!  What are your traditions during this holiday season?  What about traditions / rhythms weekly or even daily?  Here are two of our more regular traditions.

  • Daily – Each night before the kids go to bed we tell them the following.  “You are so smart.  You are so beautiful (or handsome).  Mommy and Daddy will always love you no matter what.  And Jesus loves you even more.”
  • Weekly – This pleasantly plump adolescent ate mounds of French Toast every Saturday morning.  I think the most I ever got up to was probably 6 or 7 pieces.  Now that I am home on the weekends every weekend, I have started to prepare a French Toast breakfast like my mom did for me.  First it started out just for Amy and now the girls Madeline, Z and L wanted in on the action.  So each week, we go through about a carton of eggs, too much syrup, a loaf of bread, etc and sit down for our Saturday morning Breakfast tradition.

Traditions don’t have to be elaborate or they can be.  They don’t have to be out of the house!  Traditions are just routine experiences done with enough frequency and celebrations that they develop memories.  And those memories are what develops the desire for the routine experience!

School Update

  • Things are Wacky Tacky – Tuesday was Wacky Tacky Day at the elementary school!  We were so excited in our house.  I helped Jojo build his outfit and ultimately all he wanted to wear was a suit Jacket, one of my ties, and it was “tacky” because he had basketball shoes on.  I told him I have pictures from Easter one year of me wearing almost the same thing, only a worse tie and Reebok Pumps!  Z couldn’t participate (punishment for peeing on the floor on purpose to make mommy clean it up…Fostering is always an adventure).  And Madeline and I spent some serious time planning her outfit.  The kids got off the bus and Madeline let me know Madeline was the Wackiest – Tackiest in her grade level.  She won the same “award” in Kindergarten as well!  Edmonds’ got style for dayzz!!!
  • An update on Z’s school
    • When Z entered our home about 8 months ago, she was behind educationally.  At 5 years old, she had never had books read to her.  She had been in and out of several preschools (inconsistency).  As a result, she was behind.  She didn’t know colors, letters, directions, or basic vocabulary.  One example: We would point to an egg and she didn’t know what that was.  And she didn’t have a guess.  Another example:  she simply couldn’t communicate.  All sentences started with “raise your hand.”  She learned that phrase in preschool and everything she would say would start with “raise your hand.”  Amy and I were nervous, worried, and we along with the help of MANY MANY people worked hard to get Z ready for school.
    • Praise GOD she was ready.  She had tested out of speech services.  Vocabulary sky-rocketed! and language developed!  She knows her colors and shapes and numbers 1 – 10.  She can count to 39…(seems to always get tripped up on “40”).  As school has continued we have noticed that she is far behind on letters.  We thought she knew her letters in her name but really didn’t.  It was too the point where the teacher was noticing and Z was showing signs of discouragement as her classmates were picking up reading more quickly.
    • So Amy (being the teacher) requested to have a meeting and get started on some interventions to help Z’s letter learning.  We had a review of those interventions and progress last Tuesday.  Amy and I were expecting (at least I was expecting) moving forward with a learning disability testing.  However, the progress was great!
    • Z still does not know all of her letters.  However, she is improving.  In fact she is ahead in some areas relative to her peers in her class!  We even learned that she is adopting some of the strategies we worked on at home in her classroom!  We were STOKED to learn that!  We did ask about retention (repeating the grade) but the team said it’s too early to tell and that with her improvement they at this time don’t see a need to repeat Kindergarten!  We are so blessed!  Z works so hard to learn and engage!  I am so blessed to have Amy as a patient teacher wife who will create strategies, work patiently with Z, and advocate for her needs!

Ministry Update

  • Children’s Ministry – continues to be a HUGE blessing.  I love getting to partner in ministry with my wife.  We are still figuring out how to best work together (more clearly, I am still figuring it out.  Amy knows already!).  We are continuing to see new families come into the church and even another (unrelated) Edmonds family which was cool!  December is upon us and it’s involved to say the least.  Continue to pray!  We will need pace and endurance to get through all the activities in the curriculum this month!  But it’s going to be AWESOME!
  • Students – You remember the post, A story about life-change.  Well our student ministry continues to expand at both campuses.  At our South Fork location, we have seen 3 students take their next step and begin to serve on Sunday’s!  That’s HUGE!  At our North Campus, we just completed a student retreat.  Fourteen students with volunteers unplugged for 3 days (no phone, no internet, no tv) and instead of being engrossed in those spent time studying God’s Word together.  The students came back on FIRE for God and a had a legit hunger and thirst for His Word.
  • Community – Amy and I are still evaluating community for us!  Couples group?  Family group?  Meeting with men for me to lead, Amy to be part of a women’s group.  Prayers for wisdom, discernment and appropriate margin and opportunities to meet this need and deep desire to have deeper and stronger relationships with our peers!
  • Preaching – I am preaching this weekend at our South Fork Campus!  I am so excited to share God’s Word with our people (and so nervous too)

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  • Prayer Request – The beginning of the weeks are hard.  Monday’s are visitation days.  We love that Z and L have a great time with their biological mother.  Often Monday we sit on pins and needles waiting to see if visit will happen and then deal with the aftermath of visits with bio mom.  Z often says she can’t call us mom and dad (which we are ok with….it’s her choice) and tends to be stand-off-ish until about the end of the week and then warms up all in time to go to visit again the following Monday.  It’s a roller coaster of emotions for sure for her, for Amy, and for the rest of the family.  Pray for endurance.
  • Praise and Prayer Request – Financial Partners – Praise God we have had a couple of additional financial partners join our team!  Thank you and again Praise God.  We are still praying for $250/month in additional support.  If you are thinking about partnering with our family in ministry financially, let me or Amy know.  We would love to share about ministry here in Winston Salem, NC at our church or with Z and L.
  • Pray – Multiplication – We are praying specifically over the next season for multiplication.  Multiplication of disciples, of leaders, of kids in the children’s ministry, of rooms.  We are praying specifically that God is NOT waiting on us to multiply.  We wont be caught not ready.  Pray that God will multiply and we will be prepared!
  • Pray – Student Ministry –  Our student ministry is growing and thriving!  We have students taking next steps (desiring to serve, desiring to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus).  Continue to pray as we preach over the next few weeks on the Bible, The Holy Spirit, and Fasting.  Pray that our students would latch onto the Gospel and have their lives transformed by Jesus.
  • Pray – GET AWAY – Amy and I are about 2 weeks away from 3 days without any kids!  Be in PRAYER now that it will be a time of reflection over the last year. Be in PRAYER now that it is a time of expectation for the new year.  Pray for rest!  Pray for fun!  It’s going to be AMAZING!
  • Pray – Preaching – This weekend I am preaching at one of our campuses!  Pray for our house to be a place of peace as I work on the final preparations.  Pray for nerves.  Pray specifically that it’s NOT TOO SHORT!  I’m excited just nervous!

Friends, thank you for petitioning the Lord with us!  God is on the move.  We have so much to be thankful for!  How can we be praying for you all?!?


Wacky Tacky Kindergarten Champion!


Date breakfast with the wife – we’re so cool. Calendar Planning!


Because who doesn’t love the Habit ReSTORE for a date location



Love our leadership time as a staff each and every week




Decorating the Christmas Tree at Grandma Jane’s house with the cousins!

No Watch me BUAY

In all our years of living in Belize, we learned to speak English-Creole…well most of us anyway. (Side bar – I never learned how to read it, I mean ever!  I tried and tried and a pastor ONLY texted me in Creole and still nothing)

I continue. Perhaps no one learned to speak Creole as much as our most Belizean boy – Jojo.  Jojo was 10 months old when we moved.  More or less his entire language formation was developed in Belize, most often while being passed around by women and youth speaking Creole to him.  From 10 months to 3 years old Jojo spoke nothing but Creole.

This past week was Jojo’s birthday and as part of his birthday present he wanted me to come to his class and tell them about Belize.  As I prepped the presentation, I road down the memory lane of Facebook, looked at pictures and listened to videos, and heard that accent as Jojo started to speak.

At school, when I was “teaching” his classmates Creole, Jojo beamed.  He was proud of the language he knows but won’t speak.  (2nd Side Bar – Even now, we can tell Jojo formed language in Belize….his “r” are never HARD.  They are soft almost like a “Boston R”)

Then I saw a little bit of sadness as he looked, laughed, and shared about a country we love and really the first home he knew.  I looked at him telling his friends “No watch me buay” that he missed being there sometimes and today was one of those days.  And I realized…today son, I miss it too.

Happy Birthday to that dude.  Our Belizean buay in every since of culture.  A buay that refuses store bought food because in Belize mommy made everything homemade.

Happy birthday to the buay that wants flour tortillas and fry jacks.

Happy birthday to the buay who says bananas here taste funny and would rather have a mango fresh off the tree and eat his oranges with salt and hot pepper.

Happy Birthday to the buay that is fiercely competitive and fiercely loyal.  That loves his friends and deeply desires to please others.

Happy Birthday to the buay that is ready to the big kid but wants to cuddle at night with mommy or daddy or his blanket.

Happy Birthday to the buay that deeply desires to serve others and learn much.  To the buay that refuses fiction books at the library and dives into non-fiction.

Happy Birthday to the buay that loves passionately, is wild and free, and is waiting for God to form and shape his heart.

Happy birthday day Jojo, our Belizean Buay, we pray that you always know and remember everything we have tried to teach you.  You try our patience many times but that’s parenting.  May the Lord take your loyalty, passions, love, deep desire for learning and position you to pursue Him relentlessly in whatever avenue He directs.  We pray that you meet Jesus at an early age and do not stray from the right or the left.  We pray that your testimony is filled not with sin the Lord had to redeem you out of but rather sins that He kept you from because of your relationship with Him.  We love you buay!

Will you join us in praying that over Jojo?


Jojo at “hours old”


Jojo at 3.  My baller shot caller!


4 yrs old


This might be my favorite Jojo pic ever.  Channeling his inner Tupac


Jojo on his birthday!  6 years old!! 


Jojo @ 2!


Jojo the 1 year old!


A story of life-change

Baptism is a big deal!  It’s a HUGE deal at our church!  As a leadership team, we want to make sure that no one, and we really mean NO ONE out celebrates us.  Since the very first Baptism service, our leadership team said, “why can’t the church have the most crazy incredible loud, fanatic, celebration?”  Isn’t someone having their life transformed by Jesus bigger or better than a touchdown?

Out answer is simply yes.  Therefore we put A LOT of energy into a Baptism Celebration.  Noise Makers!  Bounce Houses!  Bounce House Obstacle Courses!  FOOD!  MUSIC!  and this past Sunday was no different.  Here’s one story of why

A story… To understand Hez, you have to understand what we prayed for when we launched REVO at South Fork.  When we launched our campus in the South Fork neighborhood, we were so excited to be in a residential area.  As a leadership team, we began to pray for a student ministry at our South Fork location.  We prayed specifically that we could have students from the surrounding neighborhood come into a church, encounter the Gospel and be transformed.  So several months ago, we launched a student ministry!  And Hez was one of the first ones to come.  Hez was graduating in May and we could tell he was searching for something more, maybe what’s next.  He had maturity and was genuinely curious.  Our leaders began to meet with Hez, and build that relationship.  Each week we would faithfully present the Gospel, praying that someone would respond.  We realized we weren’t putting Hez in front of God, so we began to pray specifically for God to transform Hez’s heart and for him specifically to be baptized on Nov 5th, 2017 at our Baptism Celebration!

We were faithful in prayer.  We were faithful in preaching the Gospel.  We had some specific leaders that invested into Hez.  And Hez desired to give his life to Jesus.  Did you catch that?  Hez realized his life was incomplete with Jesus.  He desired to stop living one way and start living for Jesus.  Jesus sparked a revolution of life-change in Hez’s life.

The Lord heard our prayers and ANSWERED YES when Hez was BAPTIZED last Sunday.  Not only that, we prayed specifically that Hez could be a LIGHT to this neighborhood and the students he has influence over were all out to see him take his next step to move forward to Jesus.

And God is doing immeasurably more!  Hez is now a student ministry leader each Wednesday night!  And Hez is attending and serving our church as part of our Guest Services Team!

But God’s not done….Friends our prayer specifically for Hez is that he would take our churches core value of LIVE BOLD to heart and he would shepherd and lead one person in his sphere to Christ.  It is our specific prayer that Hez would baptize one of his friends at our next Baptism in May!

Friends thank you for being part of this story.  Thank you for being part of the story of God using our family to help spark a revolution of life-change through Jesus in our city.  Thank you for being part of sparking a revolution of life-change through Jesus in Hez’s life!


Zach who has invested heavily in Hez celebrating like crazy after Hez came up out of the water!  God we desire for Zach’s face to be repeated in Hez at the next Baptism as he is baptizing one of his friends!!

Praises and Prayer Requests – October 2017

October has been a month.  I wanted to say is a month but I sit and write this on Halloween Eve and realize October is GONE!  So it’s been a month.  It’s been a great month of activity, family fun, a lot of ministry, and some foster care ups and downs.  A brief recap, some praises and prayer requests and A LOT of pictures!  We hope you enjoy!


  • School has gotten in a good rhythm for everyone.
    • Jojo tries to be the best behaved in his class.
    • Madeline’s Spanish is amazing and her 2nd out of 3 total teachers is from Colombia.  Between that and my love for the Netflix show Narcos, I think the Lord is directing to her Colombia as a missionary.
    • Z: School for Z is going well.  She loves her teacher, her friends, and riding the bus.  She LOVES numbers and shapes.  But letters….that’s another story. We are realizing that she doesn’t know letters.  She can write them but only if looking at them.  She cannot recall them and has a hard time identifying.  We are really stumped at this time but we are now enlisting the professionals.  We are blessed to have such a large support system.  Amy is moving forward with the PEP and IEP process and getting some interventions in place to help Z learn these letters.
    • Elijah – This dude loves school.  We were worried heading into this year because his best friend was in a different class.  But of course Elijah comes home this entire month and talks about 4 or 5 different people that are his best friends!
    • L – She’s the star of her class!  She loves her class and works a room and hallway almost as if she is running for office and with her belly, snack time continues to be her most favorite time of any day.
  • Fall Fun – We have LOVED the fall weather….well sort of.  We have loved fall.  We have done the corn maze thing, the fall festival thing, the paint and carve pumpkin thing.  Josh went with the seniors of the church apple picking and looking at the fall foliage.  We’ve been extending the Edmonds Garden (about a 50% increase in size) and working on new composting strategy.  Stay tuned cause the Edmonds Garden will produce some dividends this year.  Sign up early to claim your jar of pickles, jam, canned salsa or homemade tomato sauce!
  • Kids Activities – We have dodged the big family / lots of activities bullet for some time (Praise God).  But we are heading into a season of many activities.
    • Madeline is currently in Piano lessons at her school (Yay for free lessons from Wake Forest students).  She’s had two, so naturally we bought an electric piano!  Now I’m practicing (and it’s so hard!).  Pray for me that I practice every day!
    • We’re playing basketball.  Jojo has been counting down the days since he was 4 to when he could start Kindergarten and play a sport.  His first choice is basketball.  I thought to myself, surely he’s going to hate it.  Only he’s really good, like dribbles without looking at the ground, with each hand independently good. Is he going to the league?  Nope but I think he might actually like it!  We shall see.

Foster care Update

  • We’ve been to court and we don’t have another court hearing until March.  Therefore, Z and L will remain in our care until at least then. We aren’t sure what’s going on with their mom and the case plan other than she is working it.
  • The fun – We have done some cool firsts with Z and L this month like make leaf piles and jump in them, carve and paint pumpkins, and just last time we took them to their first fall festival!
  • The not so fun – We continue to battle days and sometimes weeks of bad moods and disobedience.  We did enter the first “but why do I have to obey you, you’re not my parents”.  We also had some behaviors that were honestly a little scary.  Fostering isn’t easy.  It isn’t always fun but it’s the calling He has placed on us.

Ministry Update

  • Ministry at REVO church has been AMAZING.  Our children’s ministry is growing and it’s been a real pleasure to serve with our AMAZING volunteers.
  • We have adjusted our curriculum and are doing almost everything that we can to resource our parents and partner with them in sparking a revolution of life-change through Jesus in their lives.
  • Facility remodel – You may recall in the first part of the year, our church was in the home stretch of renovating our 2nd permanent facility.  Amy and I were specifically focused on the children’s ministry area with a HUGE host of amazing staff and volunteers.  Well this August, September and October we renovated the children’s ministry area at our campus in the north end of town.  It was hurry up and wait for a while but we just finished and it looks AMAZING!  We had another INCREDIBLE team of staff and volunteers partner with us!  So cool to see our church sacrificing so much so that kids can come to know Jesus in environments that are safe, fun, clean, and exciting!!
  • Student Ministry – When we moved our mobile campus to the South Fork neighborhood, we began to ask and beg God for influence among the students in that neighborhood.  After weeks of prayer and some tweaks here and there, He heard our cry, inclined his ear to us!  We have approximately 15 students each week.  These are students that have never heard the Gospel presented in an engaging way.  I have had the privilege to hang out on some Wednesday nights and share the Gospel with them!  We have seen some students take next steps, with now routinely attending our Sunday Worship Services and (1) of them is serving on our Guest Services team and getting Baptized this weekend!
  • Community Group / Small Group – We took a break from our community group over the summer and adjusted to life with the girls.  After looking at our schedule, Amy and I said the only night during the week that would work for our family and bed time for the kids, etc is Friday night.  So we said we would have small group at our house on Friday nights.  We weren’t sure if anyone would come!  We prayed.  We sought counsel and again the Lord heard our cry.  We have 3 other families coming to our community group now.  These were families that weren’t already plugged into community in our church!  The Lord is faithful and we are excited to do life with these families!!


  • It’s fall y’all – We have really enjoyed some intentional family time within our unit and with our extended family.  Praise God for good times of lunch dates, cool weather, and fun fall firsts!
  • Ministry – Ministry is growing, fun, tiring, exciting, and awesome.  We are praising God for growth.  Praising God for people moving forward, taking next steps in their relationships with Jesus.

Prayer Requests

  • Foster Care / Z’s educational needs – We are learning that it is a challenge to get the appropriate approvals for Z’s educational testing.  Apparently Foster Parents do not have the authority to initiate that.  Therefore we are waiting on the bio mom to approve the educational testing needs.  This whole process is truthfully frustrating, most especially for Amy, since she is a former teacher and is in the “know” on the process.  Pray for patience for us!  Pray for immediate action from the bio mom.  Pray that Z can get the testing / screening and subsequent interventions she needs.
  • Student Ministry – I have the opportunity to share about every 3 weeks at our student ministry.  Please be in prayer as our student teaching team lays out the next several weeks of content.  Also please pray that our students begin to be stirred towards the Gospel.  We have a whole host of students who have NO IDEA about Christ.  Pray that they would hear and believe!
  • Preaching – I am excited to share with our church later in the year!  Please be in prayer for great clarity, peace at home and for low nerves!!
  • Parenting – Continue praying that Amy and I can parent in a way that is pointing our kids to Jesus.  Pray that we shepherd their hearts well towards their Creator and not simply ask (or demand) obedience to us.  Pray we parent to the heart of the issue in all circumstances.
  • Get away – Amy and I are blessed to be able to have a small get away in December (Thankful for church family that has a place we can get away to).  Please be in prayer for this NOW!  We are so excited!!  First time away since the girls came to our house!
  • Financial Support – Amy and I continue to rely on financial support from you all our prayer and financial partners for part of our income.  We are currently praying for $250 additional per month in financial support.  That could be (1) family at $250 a month or 10 families at $25 per month.  We would ask you join us in praying.  We would also ask that you prayerfully consider partnering with us financially in ministry.  If you need more info, find one of us on social media or simply email one of us and we can get you the 411.

Friends, thank you so much for celebrating what God is doing in our family and through us in ministry here in Winston!  We are so thankful for ALL of you!  If we can be in prayer for you in anyway, please let us know!

For the Kingdom! – Edmonds Family!