"What? Ephraim got a Tractor Supply? Awesome!"

As you may have read in our newsletter, the big change for the Funnell household recently is that we are moving into full-time work on our efforts to get to Utah. That means that Ned has left his job- as of today!- so that we can have all the best hours of the day available to build a network of ministry partners that will support the work we’re going to do. If you missed our newsletter, you can find it here, and subscribe here if you have not already.

Sarah and I had a great opportunity to continue developing our ministry vision and action plan with the TGM staff during a trip we took to visit Utah in February. Ned’s (now former) employer wanted him to attend an event in Phoenix, AZ. We took the opportunity of being out West to book an extra ticket for Sarah and work out travel arrangements so that we could spend time in Ephraim. During our visit, we had some strategic planning sessions with the TGM staff where we got specific about our future community outreach efforts and conducted some training for the café staff. We also took the opportunity to get to know our future co-staff-members the Rittmeyers, who joined TGM as staff after we were there in 2010-2011.

We enjoyed building our relationship with Kjelse and Jordan, and their kids Svanja and Judah enjoyed getting to know Flint.

Sarah and I also did some footwork scoping out houses in town and getting a feel for what to expect when we start home-shopping in earnest. It was really great to spend time in Ephraim, and our hearts were filled with excitement for our move this summer. The idea of being super jazzed to move to a small agricultural town in rural Utah is strange (knowing my usual attitude toward small towns), but it is confirmation in our hearts that God has been pulling us back to Ephraim for some time. There’s no other way to explain our irrational excitement at finding out that Ephraim got a Tractor Supply Company since we visited last. (This should help the title of this post make more sense now.) We were almost giddy as we drove into town last month, and we know it is not because of what the Sanpete valley has to offer in terms of amenities! It’s because of the work God is doing in this town that we can’t wait to join.

                The next several months are a very important time for us, and we would benefit so much from having your support. As we know, Utah has been a playground for a very real enemy that has been largely successful in keeping the people of Utah unaware of grace and oppressed for decades. Satan wants to oppose everything we do to shine light in the darkness, and he is a strong enemy. In these next months, when we most need to focus on our work, we will be tempted to fear and worry about letting go of the security we had in Ned’s job before seeing the security of God’s provision. We know that we serve a God who is greater than any enemy, however, and who always supplies the needs of those who serve him, even if in ways we don’t expect or recognize. We would like to ask you to ask God on our behalf for peace for us during this time so that we can focus on the work of building our network of ministry partners, and that we could have success in connecting with all the people we need to for our physical needs to be 100% covered by our move date at the beginning of August.

One of the beautiful vistas encountered during our trip.

               It will be a great privilege for us to be agents of the gospel in Utah. Although God has called us there specifically, we know that we are only one small part of the body working to share God’s love with the world, including you! We’re grateful for the way that you minister where you are, even though ministry to your community might seem different from those who pick up and move to other places for the same purpose. As we enter into this new season of networking, we’re excited to see how God will weave our stories together to reach the unreached in America. If you are a friend of ours, don’t be surprised if you get a call from us in the months to come wanting to meet and share our vision and goals for Utah. If you’re too excited to wait for a call(what are you, some kind of overachiever?) or not sure if we have your number, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment. We look forward to it!