BY JORDAN AND SHIANNE LOWE
Why are we still in Ellensburg? We moved here three years ago and we're still asking ourselves this question. Looking back on each year’s challenges and growth, we can see God revealing more of His plan to us. We moved here because God called us to move here, and His calling was costly. He asked us to give up what was important to us and felt safe, in exchange for the promise of obedience and faith in His plan. Following this call out of sin and into faith was intimidating, but we could not have imagined the new life He would lay out for us.
Three years ago, as newlyweds and fresh graduates, both of us had ideas of how our future careers would start out. We envisioned the ease and security it would bring us and how we could prove our worth through our abilities. Jordan graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in architecture, and Shianne in counseling from Washington State University. We felt important and accomplished and ready to find impressive jobs. Throughout college we had attended Resonate regularly and served by hosting and leading village, and assumed that post-graduation we would job hunt, move to the job, and then find a local church to serve with. But one sermon started a nagging idea for each of us.
Pastor Keith Wieser posed a question to our church: “What if you moved for a mission instead of a job?” We were terrified of but strangely attracted to this idea. Through the orchestration of the Holy Spirit, we were invited through this sermon and conversations with our church family to consider church planting. We began praying, and decided to move to Ellensburg, WA to support a Resonate church plant on Central Washington University’s campus in the Spring of 2014, the same time that we graduated and married. This decision took several months and difficult conversations. Our families worried about the wisdom of moving to a town for church rather than for stable jobs, and we each had anxious moments of uncertainty and unanswered questions. How are you going to start your career in a rural community? What about student loans? How does a working married couple fit in with a college student church?
However, God continued to cover us with a transcending peace over the anxieties of our future. Josh Martin often says, “God is always after that thing that you're not giving to Him.” We believe this is true and is how we see where we are being called to obedience. For us, obedience was moving to Ellensburg and trusting God to provide everything else. And He has blessed us with exactly what we need, whether with dream jobs or just-a-job, an encouraging thriving village or desperate lonely village to turn us to Him.
Shianne held various jobs the first year that humbled her yearning for recognition, and ultimately led to a career counseling position. Jordan worked for a non-profit in a job similar to his field, and a few months ago God provided an architecture position in nearby Yakima. We are grateful to see how God has provided for us specifically in our jobs; the thing we had idolized and were asked to give up to Him, He has provided fully at each step.
Perhaps the best answer to why we are still in Ellensburg is because God isn't done here. What He is doing on campus at Central Washington University in the hearts of college students has been incredible to watch, but we trust that the same transformation is possible in the community of Ellensburg. We began serving Resonate as village leaders focusing on connecting college students to the Gospel and to community. As our church and student leadership grew, we were able to focus on older students, grad students, non-traditional students, married students, etc., and now we are able to turn our focus to the community. Through work, mountain biking groups, and various community events we’ve met tons of young professionals (yo-pro’s) and families who don’t have relationships with Jesus. In 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul charges the church to share the gospel wherever you regardless of difficulty, and we feel strategically placed to fulfill that commission with yo-pros and families. Our college student church needs maturity and wisdom from community believers who are passionate about spreading the Gospel through campuses.
Moving to Ellensburg cost us our pride and career expectations. It stripped us of some of our biggest barriers to sharing the Gospel so that now our biggest cost is sharing the Gospel itself. Sharing the Gospel is costly, but it is what is obedient as disciples of Christ. It would be a waste of His provision if we don't demonstrate our gratitude by continuing to be faithful to His calling. Because even though our lives and struggles have changed as we've transitioned from college students to yo-pros, the calling is the same. It's not a one-time thing, it's an everyday decision. Even when it's clear to us just how much we have neglected His mission or how disobedient we have been for our own comfort and glory, we can still choose to give that up to follow Him. To accept His call to obedience.
If you connected with this story and want to speak with someone about it, email firstname.lastname@example.org.