Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Update on moving to Andrews, North Carolina

So the winter and early spring months have been full of many trips, phone calls, prayers, research and more prayers regarding our eminent move to Andrews, North Carolina.  It's one thing to know that the Lord has called you to a particular place and to develop a new chapter in the unfolding story of him making all things beautiful, it is a whole other thing to sense the weight of that responsibility of managing all the resources he has given you with wisdom and prudence.

We're so thankful for the folks that God has raised up during this time to give advice and counsel during this time formally and informally - directly and indirectly - practically and conceptually.  First and foremost we want to thank the Lord Jesus Christ who has become for us a gushing spring of the purest refreshment and the Spirit who has comforted our hearts in what has been a very uncomfortable set of circumstances.  We are so thankful for supportive parents who have been sounding boards, cheerleaders, counselors and encouragement.  We would also like to thank our church's leadership for providing for us two men in Ken Stoltzfus and Bryan Mullet who have been able to take a "wild-eyed dreamer" (JC) and make the Lord's plans known and give clarity to an idea that needed much support, research and understanding.  There have also been several supporting members in Andrews including Steve Coleman, Brody Holloway, Tim Litchfield, Justin Smalls, and last but certainly not least Harry & Tanya McSween.

We are overjoyed to announce that we have been able to get contracts on both a home and a business location and we will be posting pictures of those on our Facebook soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Open Letter to Fairlawn Mennonite Church

                The Christensen family has been so grateful that all of you have opened your arms to us and made us feel welcome as we’ve worshiped and served together over the last several years.  We are also grateful for the encouragement we have received as we engaged what God is calling our family to missionally.  We have been equipped through programs like Perspectives, supported in our trips to Italy & Kyrgyzstan, encouraged in our receiving Ben and then Kanat as our family welcomed our Kyrgyz neighbors here to Apple Creek, and providing us with wise counsel as we prayed through next steps.   That’s certainly been true the last 8 months as we’ve sensed the Lord calling us to adjust our strategy to accomplish the vision of Morning Star Fiber throughout Central Asia.
                Over the past seventeen years our family has undergone massive changes.  After many years of leading youth ministry in Wooster, Cleveland and then Atlanta, we moved back to Ohio, where we pursued JC’s grad work in biblical counseling.  It was during this time that God began to work in our hearts regarding business and mission and reaching unreached people groups.  In the summer of 2006 we began to describe it like this:  We believe the Christensen’s exist to be a catalyst in the engagement of at least one unreached people group(UPG) in the span of our lifetime and spur others on to that same passion.  In a single word – TEOTE! [an acronym for “the ends of the earth”].
                For those who are unaware, walking out this calling has included taking a job at Morning Star Fiber (MSF) in the fall of 2006 to join a start-up business seeking to be a Great Commission Company.  In 2007 the Lord caused us to encounter 12 Kyrgyz artisans who were part of a business exchange program based out of Cleveland.  In 2010 the Lord led us to take our first of three exploratory/preparatory trips to Kyrgyzstan.  These trips have allowed us to prepare nationals and expats to establish a platform for a fiber industry in the region.  During this whole time our family has wrestled with our personal role in his call “to be a catalyst”. In recent years it’s been interesting to see how the Lord has brought “welcoming” opportunities to us to witness and train nationals in our own home and business. 
                God is always changing and clarifying what we think we know about our future and teaching us tough lessons along the way.  For starters, our ever expanding family has played a large and dynamic part in how this vision has been worked out over the years.   Also what started out as JC cleaning the mill, to learning to help with a few machines, to managing the floor production and now outright ownership has been anything but expected or planned for.   It’s taken the skill of hearing His voice amidst all the other voices to a whole new level.  But praise the Lord for His Word and being able to seek out and submit to godly counselors that God has placed around us.  We’ve had to learn that while we can make plans, it’s the Lord that directs our steps.  We’ve had to learn that a plan is not the same as “His path” and the Lord always instructs us in walking down His path only revealing what He deems necessary at the time for His glory.  And often enough that path didn’t look like the plan, or what we thought the plan was going to look like.
                We’ve often thought the plan included our family living in Kyrgyzstan, but the steps he’s directed us in this past spring and summer have looked a lot different.  We now see that the Lord is leading us to establish a strategic base camp location between “here and there” that allows us to properly equip, supply and encourage young entrepreneurs in business as mission through a training center we want to call TEOTE! Outfitters.  As the Lord would have it, many of our friends at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters ( have been looking for ways to develop entrepreneurial ideas that would give creative access into hard to reach places in Northern India, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa to better launch and sustain the many folks that they have been influential in preparing to go in the last decade.

               Through discussions with SWO and others the Lord has raised up here to walk us through this transition several things have become clear:

1.) It isn’t about our exotic fiber processing business, but the idea of creating vehicles like ours that gain creative access to UPG’s in ways that embrace their cultural heritage, create wealth and greatly assisting in the foundational roles of discipleship and witness in that local cultural.  

2.) It isn’t about our family going to Kyrgyzstan to launch a mill and be “missionaries”, but our family being on mission with God as He catalyzes a movement of young entrepreneurs who purpose to establish a multitude of vehicles that will revolutionize industries, transform nations, and point millions of lost to Christ in UPG areas through the use of Great Commission Companies.

3.) at the end of the day our family will do well to pay attention to the prophetic word of God as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts, this was never about the will of man but men being carried along by the Holy Spirit into the greater purposes of God.

                If you feel so led here are six ways you can get involved:

1.) pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit as we posture ourselves and set our sails ready to receive his power and direction

2.) help us seek out the best option that fits our family/business needs this spring when we move to Andrews, NC

3.) help us move out of our home after January 5th and pack most things into storage at the mill property.  Our plan is to move out the storage items on January 10th to the barn at the mill property and move the remaining things the following weekend into the rental property.

4.) consider if God might be calling you (or someone you know) to use your entrepreneurial experience to create a new vehicle for missional purposes in creative access areas

5.) consider strategically welcoming someone from Central Asia through a student exchange program to help establish an ever expanding network of connections in the region that the Lord might use in the future to do His work.

6.) talk with us and help us think through ways we can partner together to advance the gospel through business as mission through resources and ideas you might have 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How much transition can one family take?

So the month of December has been a whirlwind... decorating for Christmas, finding a place to rent until the spring, caring for sick family members, packing boxes, upon boxes, upon boxes... and yes there's more to pack, cleaning out the barn to get it ready for storing the majority of our belongings while we rent, and finally looking for new employees as Dave Artrip and intern Kira will not be traveling with us, and trying to give a Christmas present to all of our January customers by getting their product done in time for Christmas.
Through it all the Lord has allowed for some precious moments but there are days when Marghie Christensen and I just stare blankly at each other and remind each other to keep breathing.  Each of the family is dealing with the transition in different ways. Many of the kids are acting out in unexpected ways and we just have to remind ourselves to put on compassion and love each other through this.
Dave Artrip has worked with us for like 6 years now and seeing him move on to the next season of his life is a bit like losing a family member. I'm not really sure how to process it (JC). He certainly is a key man on our team and we will surely miss him. We're not sure he can be replaced but someone will have to take his place. We love Dave and the ways in which he has taught us to serve others with a gentle and quiet spirit.
In the past week the Lord has opened up doors for a new staff member for the mill, a place to rent in Orrville that meets all of our family's needs, and we've gotten a ton of things packed so far this weekend. We were also able to share with our church family about our future move in the Spring this past Sunday. The older boys are being such a huge help.
Please continue to pray as we continue to listen and walk according to the Lord's leading.
JC on behalf of the Christensen crew

Monday, December 1, 2014

Emerson Road and beyond...

“If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” - David Livingstone

A couple of weeks ago we found out that our house was being considered by a local couple here in Apple Creek. Another week later and we were under contract. Our house will close on January 5th and we must be all moved out by January 19th.
Pray for us as it's hard to decorate for Christmas and celebrate and keep things "normal" that way while packing up boxes and preparing for a move shortly after the holidays. Moving in the winter is not anyone's idea of fun but we'll make the best of it. The majority of our stuff we will put into storage which my parents have agreed to allow us to use the barn for storage. Then the smaller amount will be moved into a rental some place close.
We're still looking for a rental place to stay while we wait for the spring. We will move down to North Carolina then in early spring. I'm sure it won't be easy to find a renter who would be interested in a 3 or 4 month lease but the Lord knows best. We're not looking for awesome just 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a dining area/living room.
I'm sure the next several months will bring up all sorts of emotions in Marghie and I and also our children. For most of our kids this is the only house that they know and while they might be excited about moving they may not realize how much they are going to miss this place. We've had lots of amazing memories here in this house. This is the longest we've ever lived together in one place so that's going to carry some weight.
Please pray as we go through this transition and that we listen to the Lord voice in the process and don't hesitate to follow where he is leading. Thanks again everyone for your support!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Exploration in Andrews, NC...

Marghie and I are headed down with Ken and Elaine to Andrews today to spend a couple of days meeting with key community leaders there and also looking at properties. Please pray with us, that God's heart might be stirred to action and that He sense His movement in US as well as we consider, discuss, and prepare for the work of the ministry that the Lord is calling the church to become equipped in.

For the sake of your name Lord, let the nation's sing out your praises.

For the sake of your name Lord, let the church awake and be a pure bride and all that you desire in this life.

For the sake of your name Lord, bring revival to this rebel, break my heart, call me out, humble me, renew my mind, purify my heart, refine me in the fire, and bless my way that many might see and fear your holy name. 

For the sake of your name Lord, circumcise our hearts again a second time and cause a even greater sensitivity towards the work of your Spirit. 

Lord, wake us early in the morning to commune with you.

Lord, give us a tongue of those who are taught. 

Lord, open our ears, hearts and minds that we might know the coming and power of the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim it boldly as we should.

Come Lord Jesus and be our guest let all that you have given us be blessed! 

For the sake of your name Lord, let your Spirit fall fresh on us.