My mother-in-law passed away on July 9 after a long battle with cancer.  Alvina helped me raise my children as she moved here when my oldest was 6 weeks old.  I cannot tell you in words the gratitude I have for her help in our journey.  She will be greatly missed.  Here is the letter I read at her funeral and the video that Delaney made to honor her life.  Enjoy!


Thank you Alvina…

Thank you for giving me the best husband a girl could ask for.  You’d be really proud of him today.  He’s strong and kind and He loves the Lord with all his heart. You did well. So very well.

Thank you for babysitting my girls every Tuesday until they were in junior high.  That time for me was a gift that allowed me to do ministry, but that time for them was priceless.

Thank you for teaching my girls how to cook and bake.  The hours of rolling dough and cutting cookies will be lifelong memories for them.

Thank you for helping us start North Creek Church.  You brought a depth and wisdom we needed, but you also kept us all fed.  Our team became a family over your breakfasts.

Thank you for baking 700 scones for our first baptism service at the park.  That was a feat, to say the least!

Thank you for coming to nearly every event my girls ever had.  Basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, dance, graduations, recitals, and even a few appointments with me.  An one epic ER visit with Kennedy!

Thank you for making family dinners, birthday cakes, and breakfasts in the park.  You created an environment that helped Mark and I to slow down and remember how important family is, which may have been easy to overlook in those busy days.

Thank you for letting me tell you the hard stuff we faced in ministry.  You held our hearts up in prayer and that will simply be irreplaceable.

Thank you for having a Bible on your table every time we were in your home.  Your love for Jesus’ Word is a great legacy.

Thank you for asking me to smuggle in maple bars for dinner on our Monday night dates.  Everyone should eat donuts for dinner now and again.

And thank you for letting me be a part of the journey of cancer over the last several years.  After serving our family so well, it was one of the greatest honors of my life to try and serve you where we could. 

But mostly, thank you for holding tight to Jesus through your entire life.  He was always first in your heart no matter what you were facing.  That is the gift we will all cherish the most.

I love you, Alvina. 





On Alvina’s last evening with us we were blessed with a nurse that loves Jesus very much.  Our nurse, Elizabeth, was playing worship music as she prayed over Alvina.  She was about to change up the songs when she felt the Lord say to her heart, “No, let it play.”  And the song “It is well with my soul”  poured out as Alvina took her last breath on this earth.  I am confident that it was very well with Alvina’s soul as she left a legacy of love here and met our Savior face to face.  Because of that, it can now be well with our soul.

Delaney made a video of Alvina’s life to share with us.





Oh my goodness!  We are making great progress!  Our current plan is to get the front building done and cram in for a few months while we finish the back building.  Our goal is July, but that is completely dependent on when work gets scheduled with our hired trades and how much volunteer time we can log.  Even if it’s August by the time we get in…we are so CLOSE!!!!  Thank you to the countless volunteers who just keep showing up.  Even those of you who only have an hour are very appreciated!  There’s nothing like being super tired and having someone stop by to pick up the trash that seems like an unattainable mountain, but then suddenly it’s gone!

Every day we have people from the community stop by to thank us for our work.  You are already making a difference!

Here’s some of the progress:

The front building is barely recognizable at this point!  We have it mostly painted and the landscaping in the front finished.  We still have to paint that board that runs under the roof line, install new windows, and finish painting the front door.  We will also be adding signage soon.  Those details will make this building sing!!

The back building got most of it’s face ripped off! 😉  This is actually a huge improvement!  Now we can get the roof redone, replace that floating door with a window, pressure wash, and paint.  The fence will come down between the buildings, bright green sod will be laid, and the sidewalk that you can’t see will become our main entry to the courtyard.

Inside we have been doing a ton!  Our new foyer is getting done.  We found old masonry brick under the drywall that is a true treasure.  It got pressure washed last week and it’s just gorgeous!  We will finish the ceilings, floors, get our HVAC completed, get new lights, and install a coffee bar.  I may live in this room…  Also, the stage is getting rebuilt in the auditorium, the bathrooms have been completely demo’ed thanks to the guys from Heritage Church, and we are beginning to put paint on the ceilings and walls.

Right now it feels like we have about a hundred half done projects, but one by one we are all ticking them off the list.  Please pray for everything to continue to go smoothly and that our timeline stays in tact.

How’s the budget?  Well….it’s fine.  We are managing what we have well with a $300,000 loan and the money in the bank.  That being said, everything is expensive and unforeseen things are constant.  While we will make it work within the parameters we have, another $100,000 would complete all the projects and stop us from having to put some much needed things on the back burner.  Would you pray for that as well?  On a praise note, our monthly budget is doing good.  We are meeting our goal every month, which makes the day in and day out ministry much less stressful.  Thank you for your faithful giving while we are in transition.  You are truly a gift to this church and the Kingdom of God.

Our next two work opportunities are Wednesday from 6 pm to 8:30 pm and again on Sunday, June 3 from 2 to 5 pm.  We have landscaping, painting, drywall, trash hauling….come dressed for work!  Someone is also at the building every day from 8 am to 4 pm if you’d like to stop in to work or just to see the progress.  We love visitors!  Especially visitors who bring ice cream bars…thanks Hollie!!!

Whew!  Now let’s get back to work!  Love you all!!!!!

We started North Creek Church with 20 children and 19 adults almost 12 years ago.  As those children who are still at North Creek turn 18, I write a blog just to honor them.  Happy Birthday to Adam Gray!  Enjoy!


Dear Adam,

You are a wonderful man of God.  A man with great depth, great strength, and great perseverance.  Ironically, most people reading this letter would skim over those words quickly, but I wrote them with clear intention.  I wrote them because I understand that the depth was carved from grief, the strength was carved from lonely times, and the perseverance was carved from patience in the midst of trials.  Those traits should be held with great regard as they were bought with the highest price.

In Australian Aboriginal society, there is a thing called a walkabout that is a rite of passage for boys between the ages of 10 and 16.  At some point during that time, the adolescent goes to live in the wilderness for about six months to make the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood.  When I think back over your life, I feel like God allowed you to have a very defining time that was your walkabout.  A time when you set off into the wilderness completely alone to come face to face with who you want to be, what you will stand for and whom you will serve.  A time that you stepped into manhood both spiritually and traditionally.

Your mother and I spent many hours grieving over your wilderness journey…it wasn’t pretty!  We questioned God often about why He allowed you to experience some of the things you did and why He wasn’t rescuing you from the challenges.  It seemed from the outside looking in that God sent you to the wolves with a pocketknife.  It was almost unbearable to submit our trust to God and let you navigate each challenge as it came the best way you could.  We had dreamed a much different dream for our kids who helped start our church.  We hoped for mountain top highs, not realizing that a mountain is only majestic because of the valleys

But we were admittedly shortsighted in our worry.  What I see now is the profound value that those days in the wilderness gave to you. It was there that you found that depth, strength, and perseverance that will carry you well through the rest of your life.

Adam, God spoke to my heart about you a very long time ago.  As a boy, not even in elementary school, He told me you would set the church on fire.  Not a literal fire (which at the time was the more believable option amongst your Sunday School teachers), but the figurative one where your unwavering will is a catalyst to inspire others.  I have no doubt now that the very days we were most concerned for you will be the very days we look back on as the ones that molded and shaped you into an immovable force.  

I am very proud of you.  Not for being perfect or having it together through every challenge, but for going on a journey into the wilderness and making it out…not only alive, but as a man.  I have no doubt you will continue this trajectory through the rest of your life.  I also see now that you are armed with far more than a pocketknife.  You carry a mighty sword with you and you have what it takes to conquer whatever may come.

I love you.  It has been my highest honor to watch you grow up.









Lots of plates are spinning now, which is very exciting!  In case you are just jumping in, our church bought a 96 year old building with an awesome history and an even more awesome amount of neglect.  It’s been a crazy journey watching this mountain move!  We are still waiting for our big TI permit to be approved by the county, so there are still things we can’t do, but with the roof on Building A all sealed up, it allows us to begin to do so many of the more minor, but important projects on our list.

In the last month, we have taken advantage of the sunny days to get some of the landscaping hurdles out of the way.  Just removing the garbage and yard debris from the property seems like it has been a full time job.  It was a jungle out there with way too many places to hide!  We have made a good dent in the war against ivy and blackberries.  We also built a small retaining wall in front of the world’s largest waterfall (it’s the big blue monstrosity in the background).  We also started taming down the ugliness on the waterfall with some paint and TLC.  We have a few hundred more steps to conquer that madness, but trust me…it will eventually look great.  We continue to chop down bushes and shrubs around the building.  We will be putting more in, but everything had been neglected for so long that saving them was too difficult.


We also got the storage area roof all sealed up, which allowed us to pack our belongings there to open up the space for the upcoming construction and paint.  That was a huge thing out of the way which will make everything much smoother.  You can see in the first picture the piles of trash that turned into a beautiful roof!

We also stripped off the old rotten wood lining the roof around the front building.  The roof guys have a new cap to put on the top edges that will be done soon.  We are also currently figuring out a plan for the front awning, which is a large structure.  A contractor was out there to dig into it to see what our best options are going forward.  It was previously made of wood, which was significantly more rotten than we first thought, so it’s got to be repaired and sided with a more appealing look…at least that’s our current plan.  Contractors and engineers have to make sure that’s the best idea before we move forward!  Either way, we will be saying goodbye to the 70’s Mexican Restaurant feel and going with a clean, simple façade instead.

We sure appreciate each one of you who show up to help with whatever is on the list.  It looks really horrible right now, but we are close to pressure washing and painting the front building, which will help so much!  We literally have someone stop every time we are there to tell us how glad they are that we are fixing it up.  People are excited that we care about their community…first the aesthetics and then the rest of the needs around us!  Together we can redeem this corner and then watch Jesus redeem lives in His church!

Things we need:

  1. An old fence that someone is tearing down.  We have an art project we are doing and we need lots of reclaimed wood.  It can’t be rotted, but old is fine!
  2. A cat with a scoop that can dig out some stumps we have.  Anybody have access to one of those?

We will continue to keep you updated, but if you are interested in being a part of our volunteer crew, we post opportunities on our Going Home Facebook page.  Just click the link and we’ll get you added!  Good days are ahead!!!

We are in full swing with our renovations on our Hwy 99 building!  It’s pretty exciting to watch construction teams, trucks, and cranes begin to dissect the old and replace it with new, functioning material.  I often go to see the progress and dream about what is coming!  I love this building…I know it looks like a haunted house currently, but every time I am there, I see what it will become and I can’t wait!  I am often encouraged by the fact that Jesus sees us the same way…He sees our potential, our worth, and what we can become even when we look like a big, crazy mess.

So, right now we are focused on the roofs while we wait for our last permit to come through, which should be any day now.

The roof on Building A has been leaky for a long time, so our repaired roof with provide a dry environment for years to come.  They had to remove the heating units with a crane to do the roof and the crane will be back to return them.  We also had some work inside to do to remove some existing items to patch the roof appropriately.  All that is finished and the fresh beams are in place.  We also have some electrical and heating work that will be done in the future that will clean up our interior ceilings and make it a beautiful, warm environment.

Building B is by far the biggest challenge as it was empty for decades.  The roof was is very bad shape, which means much more of it will have to be ripped out and replaced.  That work will start in the next couple of weeks and by then we should be in GO mode as our permit will be in hand.

The parking lot will get done farther in the future, so our current plan is to clean every inch of the property and make it shine for our grand opening.  Eventually the parking lot will get additional spaces and really finish off the property, but in the meantime we will move in and enjoy our new home while those plans get finalized.

This Sunday, March 25 we will have a workday from 2 to 6 pm to do some major trash removal from the construction site, some minor demolition of some very rotten wood, and some work on a shed roof that needs some repairs.  If you would like to join us, we will take all of the help we can get.  If you go to another church or just live in the community, come on by!  We know a lot of people want to clean up Hwy 99 and we would love for you to be a part of taking on one of the worst looking buildings on the highway.  Just wait…it’s going to be SO beautiful!

Also, we have a lot of smaller building projects coming down the way, such as shelving, barn doors, etc.  Do you know of any retired woodworkers that would love to come and tinker with us?  We have a very long list and a jobs with a variety of skill sets.  Let me know!

SUPER exciting days ahead as North Creek changes a corner in order to have a place to watch Jesus change lives.

Here’s some photos of the roof repairs: