Grieving & Grateful

I usually like to write when my thoughts are together, when the details are aligned, and when the revelation has come.

But this time I come to you grieving, grateful, raw and filled with hope.

I am going to cut right to the chase, we have to leave Thailand. The place we have come to know and love the last year, and move back to Colorado in order to best care for our sweet Elijah and his recent medical needs.

We have to say goodbye to our neighbors and friends we have made, pack up our home and eat all the Thai food we can in a week. The boys have to stay in the states while David and I go back and move and wrap things up. So I have to go pack up all the dreams and say good-bye for them. We have to put a life long dream on the shelf for a while, and just trust that God isn’t done yet. That is where the grieving comes in. Right now in this moment, it hurts, it doesn’t make sense, and we sit in so many unknowns, so we take deep breaths, laugh at inappropriate times and watch the genuine joy that one year olds bring to everything.

We came home in December, got to spend time with family, got the physical therapy that Elijah needed and ultimately found out through a long series of God working, that he also needed this feeding tube placed in his belly so he could drink fluids safely. That is where the gratitude comes in. Grateful for resources, for speech therapists that truly care, for family and friends and a place to land, for the endless prayers and support in this season.

Last week as I sat in the pew at my Grandmothers funeral, my pastor said something that has stuck with me. He said how great is it that God made our hearts so complex that we can grieve and be grateful at the exact same time, what a beautiful messy thing our hearts can be. It has been 3 months of riding a rollercoaster of exactly that. So that is where the raw and real comes in.

I know my God is good, I know He is for me, my family and that He is going to use this season in Elijah’s life to bring people closer to him. I know he will take care of my heart when it feels scattered across the world. I know He is my comfort, my peace, my strength, my healer, and I know I can trust him. Then I remember that I am not in heaven yet, I’m here living life between two gardens trying to navigate how to walk this season out with grace, patience and love. That even when my heart feels broken I still want Jesus to be known, I still want to be kind, gentle and loving to my husband and kids when everything feels chaotic. But right now I say everyday, Lord I trust you as the tears fall. And you know what? I think that is okay. And that my dear, is where the filled with hope comes in.

We keep our chins up, we fix our eyes on Jesus, we hold hands a little tighter, we get on that plane, we pack up, we say “see ya soon”, and we walk forward with complete faith and trust.

Thank you for journeying with us, for fighting for us, for believing in us, for believing in all God is up to. Here is to new beginnings, to walking forward in whatever season you may be in with complete expectancy that God has something beautiful in store. We love you all so much.

Grieving and grateful,

Erica & the boys.

Rainy Season

Right now I am sitting at a coffee shop. My Husband is working at the hostel just down the street, my boys are at home napping while two lovely ladies watch them for a few hours, and here I am. Today I chose the window seat. Honestly I should be getting a lot more done than I am right now. But I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be. There is something that awakens my spirit when I can watch the life of a city pass by. ( Also, I have killed at least 5 ants that have tried to share my hazelnut coffee with me.) It’s rainy season so of course its raining cats and dogs, and people just pull over their scoots, put on their bright colored ponchos and carry on. It’s interesting to watch peoples reaction to the rain. For the Thai people, it’s familiar so it does not phase them. On the other hand, I can spot the people who are exploring this unfamiliar place, because when the rain starts, they have this look of shock and horror. But within minutes their fears are calmed because, like magic these wonderful humans with smiles on their faces show up all around them and are ready to sell you ponchos to get you through this rainy season. After all, this is the land of smiles.

 

 

As I observe from the comfort of my dry seat, it made me wonder what people see in me when the rain comes?

God always shows me how He is moving and working in my life in fun ways. Today it is through this place I now call home, this place that is becoming more and more familiar everyday, & through the smile of a stranger offering a hot pink poncho to someone who is clearly in distress.

From my experience, life can have a lot of rainy seasons. Sometimes they are torrential down pours, sometimes it’s that light shower with the sun shining through that just warms your soul. For me, I have had all of the above. In the past two and a half years I got married, I lost my brother, fought for my family through the mess of addiction, moved across the world, and gave birth to 2 perfect baby boys. It has been hard and beautiful, but the thing I love most about it all, is God has always been there with a smile on his face ready to offer me a poncho to brave the storm.

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We don’t always know the season we are stepping into. It can be unfamiliar and unknown, the storm can hit you out of nowhere and you just might be that person looking frantically for somewhere to take cover. Or with time, the place becomes more familiar and you become more prepared. You are not always looking to buy a poncho, but you have your umbrella packed. So when the rain starts, you pause, take it out, and carry on.

See, God never promised life would be perfect and easy, he just promises us that He will be WITH us and give us what we need to get through it. God tells us time and time again, he will never leave us. He says in Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Did I mention this was the very seat I sat in over a year ago when David and I flew out here to pray about moving to Thailand. The same seat as I looked out the window to this unfamiliar place, the seat that I wondered how we would possibly get here. the seat I prayed in for people who would want to partner with us and all God is doing here. The seat I dreamt and wondered if this is the place we would one day start a family. The very seat that I sat with nothing figured out and endless unknowns, but a whole lot of peace.

My hope is that when the rain comes, I will be prepared, and peace will be what people see in me, and not because I am strong and have it all figured out, but because a long time ago I trusted that God did. We didn’t always know we would need ponchos and an umbrella packed. We had to walk through it to learn that. I love that about walking in a relationship with the God. He is a Dad that loves his kids so deeply, yet He is willing to let them learn what they need along the way. And what I have learned throughout all of this, is that all I truly need, is Him.

We are so grateful for this rainy season here in Thailand, for the people behind the smiles that greet us as the rain starts to fall, and for the endless ways God continues to meet us right where we are and give us exactly what we need, because that is just the God He is.

I don’t know what season you are walking through in your life right now as you sit on the other side of this screen across the world from me. But what I do know is you have a Father in heaven that wants to walk through it with you, He wants to love you, He wants to be there when you need it most, and he wants to give you exactly what you need to get through it. And He will.

You know how I know?

Just read the first paragraph.

WITH you through it all,

Fjelstad Four

 

Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. We would not be here without each and everyone of you. We would love to hear how we can be praying for YOU, no matter the season you are walking through, know there is a small family of 4 fighting for you in Thailand.

Living Room Floors

 

A lot of our time these days is spent on our living room floor. We make ridiculous noises and talk in really high pitch voices and roll around. No, we have not lost our minds, our boys are just 5 months old and that is where we get to share space and delight in each others presence. It’s funny how our pace of life feels like it is going a million miles per hour, yet has slowed drastically all at the same time. We may not be running around 24/7 exploring the city and going on adventures as we knew it, but we are parents, so adventure as we now know it has been within our four walls a lot of the time. It is in the first smile, first coo, first wiggle, nap time snuggles, and of course laying on the floor playing as we witness our boys discover this world one little detail at a time. 

Our living room also happens to be where our big glass sliding front door is. It faces out to our street, which I love more than anything, as I watch the slow pace life of our moo baan (neighborhood) stroll by. There is a lady that lives across the street named “Yai Pa” that we have shared friendly smiles and broken “hellos and how are yous” and nervous laughs for the past few months. A tradition within the Thai culture is to bring fruit to neighbors as a gift, so between some fruit exchanges, and some christmas cookie exchanges ( which come to find out, our Thai friends do not prefer western treats) we are slowly building a relationship. The other day David walked outside with Eli. And both our neighbor ladies “Yai Pa” and “Ba Houng” happened to be outside. They came over to the gate and were “awing” over Eli, so instead of leaving it at that, David invited them in. I happened to be laying on the floor playing with Abe when they showed up at the door smiling ear to ear. The immediate thought in my head was, oh my word I’m in my PJ’s, I don’t have proper attire on and the house is a mess. That thought was followed with the biggest smiles and hesitant body language as they stood at the door unsure if they should come in. I immediately motioned for them to come in. They were so giddy, took their shoes off and joined us on the floor. We had a full conversation through smiles, laughs, body motions and one worded answers. We shared life. We didn’t speak the same language, but it didn’t matter. It is in those moments we see Gods love the most here. 

I think sometimes in life we think we have to have it all figured out, but I am learning we just have to be open to the invitation, allow space for God to move, and just see what happens. Sometimes that takes courage, sometimes it takes being inconvenienced, sometimes it just takes saying yes, and sometimes it means rolling around on your living room floor. Whatever it may be in your life, I can promise you it will be worth it.

Here is to being open to the invitation!

Grateful,

Fjelstad 4 

สวัสดีคะ (Hello) From Chiang Mai!

Where do I even begin? Our world has turned upside down in the best of ways the last few months. To say we have been busy with our two little joys would be an understatement. I always laughed when I heard new parents joke about choosing between showering, eating, or taking a few minutes to catch your breath. The last 3 months I have consistently chosen a shower! However, as we become more efficient and learn how to do this whole parenting twins thing, we now: eat food, run errands, take Thai classes again, work, occasionally sleep and also… we write updates (while breast-feeding twins) to the ones we love most (that’s you!)

Continue reading “สวัสดีคะ (Hello) From Chiang Mai!”

Now is The Time….

It is December. The last month of the year when we look back and reflect on all we have or have not done. It is the time we get to sit in the peaceful presence of Christmas lights and the ones we love, get lost in the chaos of Christmas shopping, rest in the tangible hope this season holds in welcoming a new year, and remember the miracle that was given to us through Jesus.  

We started off 2017 praying 2 Corinthians 6:2 over our year. “Now is the time of Gods favor, now is the day of salvation.” We prayed it with all our hearts as we sat in my childhood room at my parents house,

Continue reading “Now is The Time….”

On The Move.

To say we have been on the move the last few months would be an understatement. I could spend time listing all the ways we have lived out one of the crazier seasons of our lives, but more than us being on the move we have seen the endless ways that God has been on the move in this season. It has been beautiful, challenging, growing, exhausting and joyful all in one, and through it all we have experienced God’s miracles, His goodness, His kindness, His faithfulness and His peace.

His miracles: Our growing healthy twin baby boys!

His goodness: Life and the ways we see him preparing us for this season.

We have experienced overwhelming goodness through a trip to Chiang Mai, a summer of doing ministry together at Eagle Lake Camps, and 3 weeks of training with the incredible team that we will move to Thailand with.

His kindness: The endless ways He is going before us and paving the way.

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Through friendly faces that welcomed us on our trip to Chiang Mai, who have been a tangible expression of the way God has gone before us, helping with little things from what to bring, to huge things like where we will give birth to our baby boys. We are so grateful for the Pound family.

His faithfulness: In the ways He provides through the people we love most.

 Above are just a few of the faces/hearts who have stepped out in faith and committed to prayerfully and financially journey with us the next few years to Thailand. We could not be more grateful for all of our friends, family and supporters that make up our team in this season. We would not be where we are without them and could not do this without their endless support.

His peace: Transitions, trusting and moving are hard things, but His peace is greater. 

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We are met with Gods peace daily in every detail of our lives. Through our people,  this beautiful place we get to call home, fundraising, and continuing to hear His voice through all the crazy, that our home is in Him.

 

 

Trusting with Faith,

Fjelstad 4

 

 

 

JOIN US!

AIM

 

To the hearts that have shaped us and gotten us to where we stand today,

We come to you with anticipation, excitement, and expectancy welling in our hearts. We have been riding this roller coaster of life with arms held high; whether in the complete joy of stepping into the adventure that marriage is, or learning how to navigate through grief together after losing my brother. We have kept our chins up, and our eyes on The One we can put all our hope and trust in, the creator of the heavens and earth. And the best part is, we have merely scratched the surface of the adventure that God is calling us into. We said yes to marriage understanding how unique and different God made us, but we learned early on we didn’t want or need to become more like each other, we just wanted to become His. For us it meant growing in love, trust, and dependence. And in order to grow in those places we run towards more opportunities that will allow us to discover it. We wanted the dreams he placed on our hearts to collide.

So we prayed. We asked. We waited. We heard.

And here is where we find ourselves with an incredible opportunity set before us. A space where our calling, passion, gifts, and dreams collide. Want to know the fun part about it? It’s not just our story, we have all been invited to step in.  

We are moving across the big blue sea to Chiang Mai. A busy little city tucked away in northern Thailand, filled with life, vibrant colors, sweaty hugs, and a crossing point for people from all over the globe. We will be partnering with Adventures in Missions, the same organization that Erica went on the World Race with, to be a part of the long term base they are establishing, with a heart and mission to be the church in a place where less than 1% of people know Jesus.

The goal of our team is to make disciples and establish churches. This will happen organically as well as through utilizing short-term teams to bring focused energy to this effort. We’ll open a hostel in the city as a missional enterprise to build relationships in the city, connect with travelers from far and wide, house the short-term Adventures teams, and fight against slavery and invite freedom through anti-trafficking outreach. Our team of 10 will have various roles across these objectives which meld our efforts into what’s currently being done through partners in the city.

David’s role will be giving leadership to the hostel – While he hasn’t started a hostel before, his experience giving leadership to camp programming will translate well. A new business requires an entrepreneurial mindset and a willingness to jump into whatever comes along. He is excited to learn, grow, and develop himself and others around him, whether they are on the Adventures team or employees from Chiang Mai.  

Erica’s role will be a mentor to the short-term teams that we will host through AIM. The teams of 50 will be there as short as 1 month to as long as 3 months at a time. She is excited to jump into this role after her experience on the World Race giving leadership to her squad. Her heart is to walk along side people in this journey of life, to fight for, encourage, challenge, develop, and love.

As we prepare our hearts for this journey we are reminded of what Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship.” We are ready for the ways God will bring breath and life to this verse in the ways we live, love,serve, and walk through life with His kids, and step into our new roles with AIM.

We are currently looking for financial partners and prayer warriors who are willing to support us monthly and stand behind this ministry vision and the promise God has set before us in Thailand.

However, with that, I want you to stop here. What gives you the most joy in giving? Pray about it. If it is coming alongside people you love, then join us! If it’s fighting against slavery and inviting women into the freedom that Christ offers, then join our mission. If it’s a passion to love people and to step into the transforming power of the Gospel, come on! If it’s starting a new business and seeing the ways it impacts a community, economy and the kingdom, then we want you to join us! Or if you have a heart and resources to give, but don’t know where, then we have a place your resources will be used to see more of God’s love move in this world. We want your giving to be just as much of a blessing to you as it is to us. If investing in us and our ministry will bring you joy, we would be honored to have you partner with us financially and prayerfully and join our tribe.

We would love to talk to you personally about joining this vision and mission and answer whatever questions you may have.

I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to measure the impact we have made on others on this side of heaven, but what I do know is that the difference will be made when we all take a giant step together. We need you, we want you on our team, because the truth is we couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do it without you! Guys! God is on the move, and this isn’t just our story. We want to partner with you in prayer, we want to come alongside your stories as you come along side ours and witness the ways God moves.

We have been loved, challenged, grown, and set apart. We are excited to step into more, to learn how to be a better team, to share the gospel, to walk along side His kids, to jump into a new culture, to learn a new language, and walk out the gifts God has given us. We are ready for Thailand! Are you coming with us?

ขอขอบคุณ,

(we think that means thank you)

Team Fjelstad

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