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31 Days Not According to PlanI woke up at 3:30 am wondering why I wasn’t farming in Europe.

That had been part of the plan six months previously.

The idea wasn’t quite as crazy as it sounds.

I’d heard of an organization years ago called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms that matches volunteers with small farms in need of assistance. You provide the assistance, they provide room-and-board. A cheap way to travel the world and try your hand at farming.

At the time, my husband and I thought we had a job lined up for him to start a church in Baltimore. A multicultural, inner city church backed by an already established church. The start date was a year away. We figured if we’d be merely subsisting during that year anyways, we may as well do so on a farm in Europe.

The Setting Sun and the Farm

Photo courtesy of Trey Ratcliff.

As the idea morphed, people started talking to us about L’Abri – a place in Switzerland where people live in intentional community seeking honest answers to difficult life questions. I’d heard of L’Abri in college and wanted to go ever since.

We couldn’t imagine a better place to continue the digging into life questions that had begun for me in Portland, Oregon. And it sounded like my husband could take on a pastoral role of sorts within the community, which would cover our room and board.

When we discovered we’d actually have to pay thousands of dollars each month to stay at L’Abri, I started to realize just how outlandish our ideas might be. After three years of not being able to find full employment and having had numerous, more practical ideas fall through, perhaps we were a bit too eager for forward momentum.


Photo courtesy of Tahir.

We reevaluated and decided it would make sense to go to Baltimore for a couple months to discuss more church planting practicalities before making other plans. Some friends said we could live with them for a few months while we figured out logistics.


At that point, things started slowly falling apart.

Really, they’d been falling apart for years, but this was a new falling apart. We’d weathered the applying-to-two-hundred-jobs-in-a-year-and-a-half falling apart. And only months before we’d emerged from the missions-opportunity-in-Cambodia falling apart. This was a now-we-have-a-plan-and-are-going-somewhere falling apart.

Surrounded by taped up, cardboard boxes in our half-packed home, we were informed that not only had funding for the new church been withdrawn, but the friend who had invited us to start the church with him had moved forward with someone else without mentioning us.

Climbing Mount Adams couldn’t have been more daunting than the piles of boxes surrounding us when we took in the news.

No church. No job. No plan.

My Life in Boxes

Photo courtesy of Mpopp.