Benedict newsletter- Lowman Chapter 1, 4-26-11

Published Date Author: , April 26th, 2011

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4-26-2011

Dear Friends,

Here it is finally, another long over due family newsletter. I’d apologize, but I don’t know how I would have posted something before now. Life is different now, interesting, and I’m still trying to make sense of it. So please bear with me. It’s springtime, the sun is shining, and it is SNOWING outside!!!! But I guess that’s life in Lowman.

1. Family update 2. Dreams 3. Musings

Our last newsletter told you about us moving to Lowman, Idaho, and closing a chapter of our lives in Idaho City where I (Tim) had spent 6 or 7 years trying to make a positive impact on the community and youth there. Karen was there for 4 years of that with me, trying to do the same. We lived there, grew there, and yes, even grieved there. We know we made a positive difference there. We had friends there, and unfortunately, as seems inevitable, enemies too, that much maligned us. Moving to Lowman was the best thing we could have done, and something that I thank God for, even in spite of how hard it was for all of us, and how low I sunk into depression afterwards. Lowman accepted us, embraced us, and reached out to us. They took care of us in our need. And I am eternally grateful to those in the community there that did so.

Lowman and Garden Valley are the next chapter of our lives *smiles*.

1. A quick family rundown:

I (Tim), in between moving in, sorting, and building, have been working freelance at home this winter (cold winter), building websites, writing books, and trying to build a solid financial foundation for our family. It’s not completely stable yet, nor where it needs to be to meet all of our needs, but it IS growing, and slowly getting there. I have also decided to run for the local school board, a hesitant decision at first, because the local school board and school community have been deeply embroiled, for a long time, in some pretty serious infighting and unhappiness. More on this in a minute…. But this has also led to a possible fulltime alternate energy consulting job in Garden Valley as well… It’s kinda neat, really… like seriously cool…. *big grin*.

My wife Karen has begun studying to be a midwife, and I think has finally found part of her calling. It makes my heart happy to see her so excited about something so important, and special, to families. This is a ministry that crosses all language barriers, knows no boundaries, and will give her awesome access to speak and minister truth into families everywhere.

Our son Sergei is wandering. He does not keep in touch with us, and we only know that he still lives in Idaho City somewhere (we think). This is a deep sadness that lies heavy in our hearts as we pray for him.

Joey is still living with Karen’s parents in Portland, and is excelling in school as he establishes his residency for University there. He has quite a good relationship with us, though we still keep his soul in prayer.

Viktoria is growing in a new found sense of self here, as different Christian women of the community pour their love into her.

Ruthie just got her driver’s license last week. That’s a big step there, for all of us :-) . She and Hannah are true Skillet panheads (a die hard skillet fan apparently – I hadn’t heard the term either). But Hannah is also doing well here, as is Isabella (now enrolled in the local elementary school – a little one room mountain schoolhouse for grades 1-6).

Vanya is growing like a weed again, and sometimes I have to remind myself that she’s not that little girl anymore, the one that went through my divorce with me, and who still deals on a psychological level with fallout from it. But she too is progressing with life, and enjoys the mountains and our family up here.

Vera is also doing well at Hope House. It’s good to see some of the cracks in her Russian orphanage foundation start to be healed and smoothed over finally.

But do pray for each of them. They each have struggles, as we continue with this new chapter of life here in Lowman.

2. Dreams. In all honesty, we’re not sure which dreams we’re supposed to be building anymore. We still continue to meet new people who share our dream of a youth ranch/camp and/or retreat center up here. And we continue to meet people opening up their homes to displaced and/or troubled youth (2 more families just this past week), much as we also did in Idaho City. I’m telling you, when something is heavy on God’s heart, people respond. And people here are responding to these three closely related items: youth ranches, camp/retreat/sanctuary centers, and residence homes for wounded people. I am not sure what our personal role in this is meant to be. There’s already one fully functioning residential youth ranch here in Garden Valley, but more and more people are feeling the call, people either completely unaware of the local (high risk youth) program already in place (Project Patch), or that are wanting to reach other niches of youth that the local program can’t or doesn’t.

But I take comfort in that. I am hearing God’s heart. On one hand, I did what I was very explicitly and specifically told by God to do over 7 years ago – “build a home for children”. I did that in Thorn Creek outside Idaho City, and He filled it with children soon thereafter. Then He moved all of us to Lowman after the house fires and whatnot. And now He has led us into involvement with people in Garden Valley and Lowman, who share this other desire/dream of mine, the three-fold items that I mention above, that I have talked about for over 7 years now: youth ranches, camps/retreat/sanctuary centers, and residential homes for wounded people/youth.

But what does it all mean?

In all honesty, I don’t know. I don’t yet have a specific marching order from the Lord like I did with the ‘home for children’ thing. I just know I have a deep desire inside for something, something that I know is apparently also deep on HIS heart, judging from the other Jesus follower people around here that are all talking about the same things…

So we’re praying, exploring ideas, and connecting with people of similar heart and vision, to see where God might lead us next, waiting for Him to show us a bigger picture of how we fit in…

3. Musings The last six or eight months for me (Tim) have been full of a lot of deep grieving inside my heart, some depression (especially through the winter), some new friends, and even some small successes with my online business venture attempts. It’s been very up and down for me, emotionally, and to some extent, for the family as well. And in the middle of it, I knew I had to get back involved and engaged in life, because the option, to shrivel up and die inside, just didn’t seem like a good option to me. Imagine that….

So first I began to play music for the Lowman church when their regular pianist couldn’t be there. And boy howdy, was that a shock to the system, for both me AND them I suspect. Can we say, HUMBLING? There were several Sundays where I just plain crashed and burned, BAD, in spite of my practicing for hours beforehand. Not just once, but multiple times. I like guitar. I like synthesizer. I’m decent at them. I like helping to lead music. I even like leading music, when on my guitar for a group of people I know well. But playing good piano music for people I don’t know deeply well, and leading the congregation in song at the same time, is a feat I just haven’t mastered yet. My wife (bless her amazing soul) came to my rescue on Easter Sunday last week, and stepped into an uncomfortable role for her as well, actually standing up in front of the church and leading the singing while I played. But together, we made good music that day. It was good. I think Jesus was happy with us.

The second thing I did was throw my hat in the ring for the Garden Valley School board (shark-infested waters by some accounts), as the trustee from the Lowman district. I had a lot of local Lowman community support in this, and I am running unopposed on the ticket. But this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, and I was repeatedly warned of this, by lots of different people, in both Lowman and Garden Valley. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision either. I thought about it long and hard, and the more I considered it, and prayed asking for wisdom on it, the more it felt like the right/next thing to do. So I proceeded with it.

But several things have grown out of this decision already, even though I haven’t even officially been elected or sworn in yet. 1. I have been told that I have already brought some peace to the table in the midst of the chaos, 2. I have been able to make some pretty neat connections in Garden Valley, with lots of different people, 3. I’ve been able to speak God’s truth and encouragement into a number of people’s lives, 4. It has helped me get back on my spiritual feet (as I knew it would), 5. I’m reconnecting to local youth again, and 6. I’ve apparently stirred up an old hornets nest of people from Idaho City that didn’t like me(????), and they have now followed us here with their lies, rumors, and insidious gossip. I thought that place was in our rearview mirror!

But this is hard to deal with. Yeah, yeah, I know in my head that Jesus warned us that people would say all sorts of evil things about us whenever we get honest about serving Him (which translates by extension into also serving our fellow man), but gosh darnit, it still stings when people cast clouds of suspicion over me, or slander my character. It especially stings when some of it comes from people that claim to love and serve the same Jesus that I do. How does a person deal with that? And what does it say to people on the outside watching and wondering if Jesus is real/alive or not, or whether He actually came back from the dead or not (Easter)…?

I know that the last time this slander happened (back in Idaho City), Karen says it helped throw me into a three month funk (that coincided with our house-fire fallout prior to moving to Lowman). I just didn’t take it well.

What’s it mean?

It might mean that we’re doing something right, exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, and that the darkness is threatened as Christ shines through us.

But it brings home a deeper point too. In the days to come, as the economy gets worse, the hard times are going to separate the sheep from the goats, and the whimps from the men. The infighting and slander and even persecution will get worse, as people seek someone to blame. It’s the sinking ship thing, where people are killing each other to get to the lifeboats, instead of working together constructively. I suspect we’ll see a lot of scary stuff in the days to come. It’s human nature to slander and/or fear things that are different, foreign, or that are threatening in some way. Our way of life is changing. People are afraid. And no one has answers, or the promise of true turnaround. Blame, suspicion, and fear are growing. And instead of providing answers and preparing to reach out to wounded people, too many churches, organizations, and individuals are all fighting with each other, slandering each other, and sinking deeper into a muddy pit that only Jesus Himself can truly pull them out of. This is not the way things are supposed to be!

It also means I can’t take it personal.

My simple prayer right now is this:

“God, please forgive me for my shortcomings. I want to be clean in you sight. You are an awesome God. And please show me what to do going forward, and how to best serve you and reach out to the hurting people around me. Give me wisdom and true insight. And please protect me and my family, and vindicate me. In your name, Amen.”

Sincerely,

Tim and Karen Benedict, and all the kids

PS1> As always, back issues of the Benedict saga, going back nearly 7 years, can still be found at http://www.funkygeko.com under the newsletters tab.

PS2> Are there several individuals out there that might be interested in reviewing my latest book and giving me a short blurb or testimonial, in return for a free copy thereof? It’s called “Traffic in 30 Days, a guide to generating massive traffic for your website”.

________________________________ Tim Benedict (http://www.timbenedict.net), the Funky Geko (http://www.funkygeko.com)

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Marion Inwards - Gravatar

Marion Inwards said on April 27, 2011, 8:31 am:

Hey Tim-
I am very excited for you to be in Lowman-it was definitely a wonderful fit for our family, and I suspected it would be for yours when I first talked with Karen! It is a small community, so there will always be gossip, but the bottom line is, because you are all so isolated, you have to forgive and move on…it’s a wonderfully supportive community! :)
I’m excited for your opportunities on the school board (and job!!), I pray that you will be able to influence the politics of the school in a positive way. I’m also excited for your willing heart in getting involved with the church/music. I am so sorry that I had to bail on you for Easter… I really feel called to be part of the church here in our community (currently attending the Episcopal Church in Placerville….an even smaller church than Lowman!). There are things that we really like about it, and things that we are having to adjust to, but mainly, both Brian and I feel strongly that the church is the best way to get involved (doesn’t that sound familiar?) into the community, and we’ve decided that our community is the Centerville/Placerville area…)
Well, enough of my rambling… thanks for the newsletter link!
Marion

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