I think it is fair to say we live an unusual life. I can trace our unusual life back to a discussion we had before we were married. We agreed that we wanted to make a difference with our lives, we wanted our faith to be real and our marriage to be about living that faith with integrity. A bible verse that continues to be an important touchstone for us is Matthew 6:33:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Our whole married life has consisted of a wrestle with how to live this verse out. I know when I say it like that, it sounds impressive, but the truth is that the wrestle for an authentic faith life is a messy one that hasn’t always been simple.
Our take on what God was asking of us, was to be ready to trust him with every aspect of our lives, and to be ready to do whatever he asked us to do, even if we didn’t see how it was possible. A specific aspect of that has been being ready to live without a regular income, trusting that God would provide what we needed as we prayed and shared our journey with our friends and supporters. So far we have never missed a meal, but this decision has meant that we live our lives below the official “poverty line.”
We started our married life with me leading the Fusion team in Hobart, where we made lots of firm friends and enjoyed seeing God work at lots of different levels. Following that time we moved to the very special village of Poatina at the start of the year 2000, where we were able to purchase a house (which was a bit of a miracle considering our irregular income) which we still (mostly) own today and has been an important base for our family. From Poatina I led Fusion’s work across Tasmania.
In 2005 we moved to Victoria to lead the work there, and again saw God work in lots of different ways, until it was clearly right for us to move back to Poatina in early 2010.
Both from Victoria and then Poatina, I was involved in Fusion’s leadership internationally and enjoyed the privilege of being able to travel both across Australia and around the world both to train and mentor leaders and groups of people who want to make a difference in their communities.
2012 was a big year for us. We started the year in Poatina helping to lead Fusion and by the end of the year my book 6 Radical Decisions was published and we were living in Canada in the snow and I was studying a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies. In 2013 our sense was that it was right to be open to working with a church to implement the heart I had been writing about in the book. After a few months of prayer and dialogue I started as the Pastor for Community Engagement and Mission at St. Albert Alliance church. Six months later Leeanne joined the church team as the receptionist.
It is interesting trying to bring the learnings from 21 years in Fusion into a congregation, but so far it has been a productive experiment and I am learning a lot.