Our journey started simple enough: as a couple, we signed up to go on a short-term trip to the middle east with our church. As we were preparing for that trip, Nicole was asked to go on a second one later that year to east Asia. It was a lot but after much prayer, she decided that she could do both. Praying one night, she heard the song "Hosanna" by Hillsong United. (If you don't know it, check it out here.) There's a line in the song that says "Break my heart for what breaks yours." From that moment on, that became her prayer. Its a great prayer but its also a dangerous prayer. If you sincerely ask God to break your heart for what breaks His, you'll soon discover that God's heart breaks for a lot of things. Lost people, oppressed people, mistreated people, the poor, the orphans, the unloved, those experiencing sickness, heartache, loss. The list goes on. We began finding compassion in our hearts for people that we'd never known or even met. We wept for things we'd never seen or experienced personally. We hurt for the countless unloved orphans in our world, for the 26,000 children who die everyday from starvation and preventable diseases, for the millions of people in slavery and human trafficking, for the unseen faces all around the world that have no hope. There's a lot of heartache in this world and we welcomed it into our direct line of vision. For most of us, it's easier to push these things into the peripheral and excuse ourselves from doing anything because the problem is too big, it's too far away, I'm just one person, I can't change the world. And we give a little here and there when we have extra or feel convicted but for the most part, we would never consider sacrificing our own blessings to benefit someone else. The problem is that once you see things through new eyes, through God's eyes, you can't unsee them. Our theme song, "Hosanna," goes on to say "Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like you have loved me." Our eyes had been opened and we refused to shut them again or hide them behind the mask of the American Dream. As we prayed about this and wrestled with it for months, we came to see the reality of the situation. We as Americans are incredibly blessed. But we've missed the point of the blessing. The point is not to hoard our blessings and flaunt them all over social media. We have an incredible opportunity to use our blessings to bless the entire world. We as Americans, especially American Christians, have the opportunity, the means, and the know-how to literally change the world. Why aren't we? Because of the dream. The dream that we work hard, accomplish much, buy bigger/better/more, all for the purpose and end goal of our own personal comfort and enjoyment. We're told that we deserve it, that we've earned it. But what about the children born into poverty on another continent? We "deserve" comfort and personal enjoyment yet they don't even "deserve" proper nutrition or a roof over their heads? Suddenly that didn't sit well with us. So many people are quick to blame God for the world's suffering and depravity but as Francis Chan points out in the incredible book "Crazy Love," God has more of a right to ask us why there is so much suffering in the world. Imagine Him looking down at us in our huge, elaborately decorated houses with perfectly good food in the garbage because we were full and ask why we couldn't give a little more of our "blessings" to help save a life. Would it be too much to sacrifice the biggest house or the newest car or the latest gadget to bless someone else who has nothing? We forget that God doesn't show His love by blessing us. He showed His love 2000+ years ago when He sent His Son to die on a cross for us so that we could have a relationship with Him once again. He blesses us so we can take part in what He is doing around the world and in our own neighborhoods to bring people back to Him. But are we succeeding there? Francis goes on to say "Are we in love with God or just His stuff?" If we are truly in love with God, we will seek to love as He does. Selflessly, sacrificially, joyfully.
As a part of this journey we were on, we started to take a hard look at our own life. Sure we faithfully gave our 10% to God but we had always assumed the other 90% was for our personal enjoyment. Yet the more we sat broken-hearted for God's people around the world, the more we started to look around our own life and feel what can only be described as a holy discontentment. For months we struggled with this uneasiness. We wanted to do more for God, give more to people, have a greater impact, leave the world in a slightly better place than we entered into it. We felt a discontentment that was so strange and different, not the discontentment of wanting the bigger house or the better car or more wealth. It was a discontentment with a holy purpose. After months of praying about this, Nicole felt God calling her to sell the house. Not a small ask. Parker hates to move (who doesn't?) and we had only bought it 2 years prior. When we moved in, he said he never wanted to move again and she said that was fine. But we began to feel that instead of using our financial blessings to help others, we were simply sitting in them, enjoying them for ourselves. So she started praying. She told God that if it was His will to sell the house, He would have to convince Parker because she would not try. She waited and prayed. And dropped some not-so-subtle hints along the way, though he never took the bait. Until a couple months later. We were at the beach with his family and we were both reading the book "Radical" by David Platt. One day, he read for a few hours straight and got about halfway through the book. When he came downstairs for lunch, she asked him how the reading was going and he said "Good. I think we should sell the house."
We were no longer content to use 90% of our income on ourselves. We were no longer content to strive for bigger and better, turning a blind eye to the brokenness in this world. And honestly, we didn't consider any of this radical or extreme. We simply believed that the calling of Jesus to deny ourselves, take up our cross, sell all that we have, give to the poor, and follow Him do not line up with the American Dream. As the song "Hosanna" says, "Everything I have for your Kingdoms cause."
Exactly one year later, we sold our house. We bought an older house that needed some TLC. We cut our mortgage in half but multiplied our joy exponentially. We committed everything we have for His Kingdom's cause. And we've never looked back.
Elisha's House exists to help followers of Jesus use their
blessings to bless others
through giving, serving, and hospitality
Elisha's House is a ministry started by one family committed to radical obedience to Jesus. We believe that there is a good Creator who has sought us out and asked us to call Him Father. We believe that despite our sinful nature, our Father wants to be in a restored and personal relationship with His children. All of His children. And we believe that where our sinful nature kept us far from Him, He made a way back through His Son Jesus. This is a God worth following with reckless abandonment, radical obedience, and whole-hearted devotion.
As a family, we believe that the very heart of God is for missions. We do not believe that missions is something man created but instead is something man stumbled upon in Scripture. Missions is the story of God redeeming His people and reconciling us to Himself. And it is the metanarrative of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.