Life as an Adventure
We’re Moving

You have read my analogy of walking the plank before. We set out with absolutely nothing when CLIMB was established, and we continue to operate on God’s grace at less than 50% funding each month. What we have learned is that most often God asks us to move forward before he provides the means or reveals the full plan. As if we are walking a plank with scary things below. If we stand still those scary things seems to lurch and jump at us and fear can grab us. However, when we follow the nudge and we pick up one foot to take one tiny step or a big leap, God extends the plank to support us. He doesn’t create a bridge, that would make us too comfortable. We may settle for staying where we are. He gives us solid footing and tames the scary things below us. That security is not granted until we make the first move in response to His nudge.

We didn’t always live this way, in fact, most of our married life we “just did life”. Life as an Adventure began as our three children began to mature and become adults.  They challenged us in amazingly positive ways. The manner in which they stepped out to embrace life motivated and intrigued us. We learned through their next steps that maybe our current steps weren’t what God intended for our lives.

I remember clearly the day I sat on our couch at our acreage in Charles City, IA with my laptop on my, well…lap, chatting with my friend Leeta.  As I looked out over the pasture and the small spans of land that had become so dear to our family, full of memory after memory, I was having a heartache. “What comes next, Leeta?” I typed with tears welling up in my eyes, “after the kids all graduate, what comes next?”.  “Oh, my dear friend,” Leeta replied, “God has a plan.” Leeta listened patiently and provided the positive encouragement my fellow camp nurse and pastor’s wife friend is known for. Leeta had such confidence as I heard her gentle smile in her words. I wanted to believe her. I REALLY wanted to believe her, but somewhere deep in my being I felt a doubt that there wasn’t much worthy God would use me for. He did that in other peoples’ lives. I read about those people, I wasn’t those people.

Throughout the years to come Matt and I talked occasionally about our life and how we had once thought it would play out. I began my nursing career in pediatrics and transitioned into the Intensive Care Nursery. I had  participated as a Big Sister with Big Brother/Big Sister when I was in nursing school. These experiences made us open to one day becoming foster parents.  We knew we would be young when our nest became empty and we were sure of one thing – we wanted whatever we did after that to have intention and meaning.

As you know, we relocated to Cedar Rapids, IA when Connor graduated from high school.  This move brought us closer to family and our original “home”.  It has been a good move full of great opportunity, great connections, good employment and life experiences. There just seemed to be no roots developing as the years passed.

One day, before we even set out to establish CLIMB for Haiti, Matt wondered aloud to me, “Maybe God had intention of us NOT putting down roots when he relocated us. Maybe this is simply a stepping stone to something that comes next.”

Much as the thought of foster parenting and the conversation with my friend Leeta, I agreed with the possibility but tucked it in the background of my thoughts. We didn’t revisit it often.

Those of you that follow us through whatever media you favor know what came next. God drew us to Haiti more and more often. Through amazing connections and opportunities that only God could have ordained we found ourselves seeing that He wasn’t ASKING us to move forward, but He was fueling the vessel and lighting the way.

So, here we are now, two and a half years into CLIMB’s establishment, and WE ARE MOVING TO HAITI!  Whoa. Hold on….you said WHAT?! Yeah, we get it. It still sounds a bit strange when we say it ourselves. WE ARE MOVING TO HAITI.

You may ask why, and who does that when your kids are so amazing (we may be slightly biased here ;-), and just getting started in life.  We have struggled through that ourselves.  They ARE amazing and God is doing amazing things through their lives. We are blessed and privileged through them. Consider what happened to Jonah when he tried everything except what God was asking of him. And Lot’s wife? Ouch – stopped in her tracks. We realize that no matter the emotional difficulty, no matter the future, we must go.

What will you do, you ask? LIVE. Simply that. We are relocating life to Haiti. We ARE NOT going to Haiti as CLIMB leadership to take an authoritative position among the partner organizations we are blessed with. Leadership of ASL and Tous Ensemble will not change and will not include us in any capacity other than we currently hold. We will, however, live among our friends and assist in any way clumsy Americans learning to live Haitian can assist. There is a learning curve….it could be steep at times. No, it WILL be steep at times. It will affect us at every level spiritually,emotionally, physically, our health, our wellness.


We invite you to walk the plank with us. Consider becoming a player (mission team or visitor), a pray-er, or a payer. Log onto for details around joining us in any of those fashions. We welcome you an Life as an Adventure!

7 replies added

  1. Teresa Jensen February 6, 2018 Reply

    WOW This is amazing news!!! You both have my prayers on this journey. May blessings flow in every step of the way. Praying that my own journey will lead me there to visit and help. Thank you both for your inspiration.

  2. Mike Downey February 7, 2018 Reply

    Good to see how God is guiding you to serve the Haitians.
    Blessings in Christ.

  3. Phyllis Hansen February 7, 2018 Reply

    My husband and I have had the privilege of knowing and working alongside your daughter as Mission Builder’s at YWAM MPLS. 8 years ago we sold our house and all we had accumulated over almost 40 years of marriage, bought an RV and joined Mission Builder’s RV Ministry. I love your analogy of “walking the plank”! Your journey sounds alot like ours. God Bless you and keep you as you follow His lead!

    • Website Administration March 16, 2018 Reply

      Phyllis, thank you for sharing! I actually met the two of you once while you were at the YWAM Minneapolis base. We have spoken often of the lifestyle you have chosen and the encouragement it has been to us. May God continue to bless you as well!

  4. Makenzie Pahnisch February 7, 2018 Reply

    You are both amazing! I was so fortunate to grow up around you and have you both as influences in my life. You helped shape my faith in more ways than you can imagine and continue to do so today. I am so inspired by your actions and can’t wait to help in any way I can.

    • Website Administration March 16, 2018 Reply

      Makenzie, that is so sweet. We have so many fond memories of those times, too. God uses us along the way even when we are not aware of it. Matt & I (along with CLIMB) would be honored to have you on this journey with us!

  5. Randy Heitz February 12, 2018 Reply

    It is wonderful to have seen you both grow in faith and now walking the plank for Him! Looking forward to the next steps and hearing how He is leading and you are following!

Leave your comment