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Humble beginnings and a little laughter!!

Humble beginnings and a little laughter!!

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Before I share an old email that was shared with me this week I thought I should give a little background to those who don't know the story of how God brought us to Austin.  I will try to make this short and sweet but as many of you know I am a woman with many words, ha! On February 5, 2008 after months of prayer and fasting for our future and direction for our ministry Todd felt that the Lord was telling him that our time at our current church New River Fellowship was over and that we should pursue a lead pastor position.  Todd and I had worked in student ministries for about 12 years and while at New River for almost two years he was able to work in Men's ministry, children's ministry and work in many areas of family life and was teaching from the front about once a month so felt as though God was asking him to make a change.  SO he put in his resignation that morning and it was that afternoon that we received the phone call from our social worker asking us to consider adopting this baby girl that had been born two days earlier and they needed an answer quickly.  Todd had no idea that morning when he put in his notice that he would be trusting God for another mouth to feed as we did adopt that baby, Bethany Grace.  You see Todd did not have another job lined up but felt so strongly that we were to trust God and His call on Todd's life to become a lead pastor.  So fast forward 5 months and the middle of July we finally sold our house in TN and by this point Todd had been unemployed about 4 months we had Jackson who was 5 and Bethany who was now 6 months old.  Amazingly God was providing financially and with the sell of the house we were able to move back to Texas and we moved in with Todd's Mom in Dallas!  We had been on our own for 15 years so you can imagine how interesting that was!!  We had two small children, two dogs all our stuff in storage and were living in a house full of antiques and Waterford Crystal!  Don't get me wrong we were so grateful to Mom for allowing us to invade her home and life but we were still so uncertain as to where God was leading us and how long we'd be living there!!  We truly felt like Abraham who trusted God when he was asked to GO knowing that God like Abraham was clearly calling us BUT to a land we did not know of yet!!  There was some potential in Dallas but we considered that a remote possibility and then there was a cracked door for Todd to become a church planter for the Hill Country Bible Church in Austin.  Although we had interviewed with them two years earlier and it had not been the right fit BUT due to a few God appointed circumstances we and the HCBC Association were giving it a second look, crazy I know!!

So as we prayed and trusted, prayed and waited some more, God in His grace and love allowed HCBC to make a spot for Todd when they had already hired 4 guys and really had no room for us BUT God gave us favor and they called exactly 6 weeks after we moved in with my mother in law and said, "would you like to come to Austin"?  I remember that was an amazing day for our family.  Todd had felt so strongly that God was calling him to lead a church and then had even put the desire for church planting in his heart and he had patiently and faithfully waited for God's perfect timing.  He had been without a job for 5 months!!  I know many people thought he was crazy for trusting God and not just getting a job, any job.  We could hardly believe that the one place Todd and I had always dreamed about living in and doing ministry was about to finally come true!!  I heard it was once said, "God is seldom early, BUT never late"!!  Oh how true that is!!  So often we do not want to wait on God's timing and we go ahead of Him but when you are patient and trust His character and proven track record , He is always faithful!!  Then once the answer comes the joy was indescribable!!  SO we had two weeks to find an apartment and move our family yet again to... AUSTIN!!  We were moving to a city where 85% of the people are unchurched and when Todd was asked by Tim Hawks the pastor of Hill Country Northwest, "why he wanted to move to Austin"?  He said, "to keep Austin weird"!  If you had the opportunity to know Todd you know that is so true!!  So with our two kids, two dogs, my classic rock loving, people and Jesus loving "weird" husband we headed south ready for the challenge and the adventure of a life time!!

 

On October 12, 2008 Todd sent the following email to a group of friends, family and supporters;

One and All,
Cassi and I have been in Austin for a little over a month and things have been exciting. Yes... we are still in our apartment on the third floor. Yes... Three flights of stairs, several times a day. No... I have not lost any weight. I think I have gained some. Keep praying. No one wants a fat preacher. I have more chins than the Chinese phone book.
The kids are good. We are enrolling Jackson into Karate Wednesday. Cassi and I are starting to get concerned because even though Bethany is only 8 months old, I think she might be able to take him. She is strong as Kimbo slice and twice as tough. Jackson... well, let's say he's a little sensitive and cautious. That combination is not bad if he was running for public office but it doesn't help you on the playground. We're looking for Chuck Norris to give him lessons if anyone knows where we can find him.
Baby Bethany continues to be the greatest baby ever. She seldom cries and always has a smile on her face. She does however drool so much that we are afraid she is going to dehydrate. The girl is like a faucet that is left running. Now she has bad allergies so her nose runs as fast as her mouth. Ain't nothing like her cute smile with snot running into her mouth while saliva runs out the other side. We're talking about 6 to 7 bibs a day!!
Cassi and I are great. Life is good when your married to the best wife on earth. So sorry she didn't marry as well. Some people are lucky and some ain't.
I have more than I can handle trying to start the church, but I want to be no other place. Austin is amazing and knowing that I get to share Jesus and disciple the people of this city for years to come really pumps me up. I was reading Jonah chapter 4 and I love how God finishes that book, "Shouldn't I be concerned for that great City?" God loves cities and the people in them. He loves your city and mine. I know that God is all over this church plant as I work to share his story with the city he is concerned about, Austin.
Please continue to pray for us. We relish your prayers. They are very important to us. If you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself and join a team that is gathering for a mighty cause, talk to us and we can give you more details on how you can become involved. Moving here is not unrealistic. It could be the greatest thing to ever happen to your life.
We love you,
Todd and Family
After this email, about 6 friends and left the comforts of secure jobs and family to move to Austin to help us start the church, amazing!! God eventually called us to Wells Branch an amazing North Austin suburb and the Wells Branch Community had it's first service on September 13, 2009!  The church family is doing amazing and you can visit the church website at www.wellsbranchchurch.com to find out more about the church my passionate husband with God's incredible power and ability and a core team of about 30 started.  Even though our story took a tragic turn on August 13, 2011 with the sudden death of Todd, I know that there are still so many working hard to carry on Todd's legacy and Live For More!!
Eternally grateful for the part I have been able to play and will continue to play in something so much bigger that myself, Wells Branch Community Church and because there is still work to be done in THIS city, I Live For More!
Cassi
How our love story began...

How our love story began...

8 months and counting...

8 months and counting...