Since I just jumped into blogging, mainly as a way to force myself to write on a regular basis, I did not consider all the aspects of the craft. One aspect being people like to know who is behind the computer. (I started to say typewriter, that gives you at least one small clue about me : ) Thus I thought I would take the opportunity with the letter F to introduce our family.
For a year I have been starring at the question: Who are we? as I put off writing this blog post. How can one blog post describe who we are? It can’t! Like all families we have our past lives, our present situation, and our future hopes. There is too much history to cover in one blog entry. Suffice to say, this is only a small picture of who we are, where we have been, and what God is doing in and through us. We are on a never-ending journey growing in God’s grace and love as we humbly attempt to learn from our past, live in the present, and look to the future as we comprehend more of who we are in Him.
Allen and Machelle
My husband, Allen, and I have been married for 19 years. We have, what has been referred to as yours, mine, and ours, in the realm of children, both having come from brokenness in our past including our past marriages. Though we rarely classify them that way except for clarification, since we both know they all really belong to God. “His” three are all grown and married, living out their callings at home with their children, and in their careers. They are each conquerors, moving forward in life against all odds. “My” three are grown: one married, one in college, and one recently graduated from college, also over-comers despite difficult circumstances earlier in their lives. “Our” three boys, ages seventeen, fifteen, and eleven, are still at home learning to be young men.
Home – Our Mission Field
Our household for more than ten years has also included my mother who came to live with us during a difficult time in her life and liked it so much she decided to stay 🙂 . Until last year, my three plus our daughter-in-law, our boys, and my mother were all living in our home; for a total of ten people in a two-thousand square feet, two-bathroom house. The current household total is six. This number fluctuates as we have been known to take in a few extras over the years. In fact this number just recently went from seven to six with a friend living with us for the last three months as God moved her from one season in life to another. Within the last couple of years, the number of people residing in our home has been as high as fifteen.
This fluctuating number represents our heart to love people during transitional times in their lives by offering them a place to stay and hopefully some stability. However, the most important thing we offer those coming into our family home is Jesus. Our home is our mission field. We have had people from various walks of life, in various situations, with different perspectives, different physical, emotional. mental and spiritual backgrounds and needs. Their stays have ranged from very short-term to four years and everything in-between. How this ministry to others started over 20 years ago is a long story in and of itself. Suffice to say it has become part of our family dynamic. It is part of who we are. I call it our family “Castle Ministry”.
Out of that same heart to love people wherever they are in life, I became involved with a disaster preparedness and relief organization in 2009. After my introduction to disaster preparedness I became intrigued with a training called Critical Incident Stress Management, or CISM, as it is known in the crisis and disaster arenas. From there I took numerous other trainings and some counseling courses. Today I serve as a Crisis Response Chaplain for the Austin Disaster Relief Network. Being involved in this ministry I have seen God at work in the midst of complete destruction and loss. His compassion and grace are ever present.
Allen and the boyz have also been involved in disaster relief ministry. Allen, a computer programmer and analyst by day for the past 20+ years, is a ham radio operator at disaster scenes. He plays an integral role, as communications are critical in times of disaster. Often other forms of communication are ineffective if available at all. He has become active in a community ham radio club to hone his skills. He has set up shop in his man-cave that he inherited when Nicholas and Karmen got their own place. If the boys are around when he is on the radio, he lets them talk to whoever will engage with them. It is a fun activity for all of them.
Speaking of Nicholas & Karmen, they married in August 2013. It is hard to believe it has been almost two years! They met through their involvement in missions. They both have a heart to see the Kingdom of God manifest in the earth. They both feel called to full-time missions. Currently they are stationed overseas on staff at a mission base focused on disciplining young people.
Rachel just graduated from university with a degree in Family & Child Development. She has persevered and done exceptionally well. Not only did she graduate summa cum laude while working a full-time job, she graduated debt-free! In addition she had a job offer in her field, working with children under three who have developmental delays, BEFORE she graduated! So proud of her as she enters the next season of life.
Amanda dreamed of going to a Christian college away from home, something that was completely out of the realm of possibilities for her financially. However, it was not out of the realm of possibilities for God. He fulfilled her desire in a way she never imagined. Not only is she attending a Christian University, she is traveling the world doing missions while she gets an education! She started out in Texas but not at home just like she wanted. Her educational and missionary path has taken her to Costa Rica, California (another country as far as I’m concerned : ), South Africa, and now Germany. After Germany she will be in at least three more countries by the time she gets her degree. She is growing leaps and bounds as she serves others around the world.
Children Still @ Home
Now we come to “the boyz” as I call them. Jonathan is seventeen and over six feet tall. He is working full-time in the IT department at a local company here in Austin. He is also taking CLEP tests for college credit as he finishes up his high school years. He has felt called to missions in France since he was fifteen and is preparing for that calling by studying the language and learning things on the job that will help him accomplish that goal.
Michael is fifteen and taller than both Allen and I. He is working part-time at a local company in the IT department. He has also been accepted into the Early College High School program at the local community college. This will allow him to earn an Associates Degree by the time he graduates from high school. He feels called to missions somewhere in Asia but is not sure exactly where. If this trend continues Rachel and I may be the only ones left in the United States!
Joseph is eleven and although he is growing rapidly he, at this point, has not passed me up. We will continue our homeschooling adventure this year learning about ancient history. He is quite the entrepreneur with his own convenience store in his bedroom. If you visit our home you will quickly become acquainted with his available inventory 🙂
Our Family & Yours…To Be Continued..
Well that’s our family in a nutshell as it is today. Like you, we will continue to grow and change over time. I hope you learned a few things about us without feeling overwhelmed. Now tell me something about your family in the comments section below. I am looking forward to learning and growing with each of you as we explore life together on this journey of blogging!
© Machelle Baker June 10, 2015