I have written about this issue a few times in the last couple of months, and I am continuing to receive clarity on things day by day. Its the whole idea of community, and not being able to find community like we desire as a family. Over the past 20 years we have had hundreds of great people come into and out of our lives. Its not that we are annoying people, at least I don’t think so, but its the nature of the work that we do with YWAM. YWAM is a shot term mission organization. In this, it means that people come for weeks or months at a time, engage fully and then go back home, or somewhere other than the location they did their YWAM training at. Then there are the full time staff, like our family. We are in it for the long haul, and we are thrilled to meet, train, develop relationship with and say goodbye to the scores of people coming in and out of our lives on a regular basis.

Today, our family woke up tired, and feeling a bit defeated. We so want community for our family, but we are tired and lack the strength to fight for it any more (tomorrow will be a new day, today was just a hard one). We are tired of meeting new people, and making new friends. We want to be with people we have history with, people we can call in an emergency, people who drop by without a call, and who we find life with even in our exhaustion. We do have a couple of people like that in our lives here in San Diego, so if your reading this, we are not talking about you, haha.

We are just tired of starting over, and just desire rest. Tomorrow work starts again, and I face a long week of back to school activities, and local outreach in the city. I am going in tired and frustrated, and I absolutely hate that. I want to go in full, and ready. I love my job, I love the impact I get to make and the things that I learn, but I don’t like doing it in a place of tiredness.

Not sure where to go from here, I guess forward. Pray for us if you are reading this. We will be OK, its just a season of suck.



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These past couple of weeks I have been reading The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield. I am not pounding through this book, I am just taking my time and soaking it all in. Rosaria is writing about the way that I want to live, but have yet to get the courage up to dive all in. The book is inspiring, as is Rosaria’s story, courage and convictions.

As a YWAM staff, I have been around good hospitality all over the world, but this book is different, it is talking about hospitality to my friends, my neighbors and the stranger. I have also learned a lot about hospitality from my Syrian friends over the past two years. I see the importance of hospitality, bringing people into your home and loving them as a brother or sister.

One of the sections of the book that is sticking with me is where Rosaria talks about being a guest and a host. She talks about how we are never just guests, and we are never just hosts, we need to be both. When we go to a persons house for dinner, as a guest, and there is still work to be done to get the food ready, we become the host, jump in, and help cook. When we go to church, we sit and learn, as guests, and we give our tithes and help with childcare, as hosts. This is such an important life hack for sure.

I recommend picking up this treasure, it will fill you with faith, hope, and love, in a time where our nation is full of doubt, fear and hate.

The Gospel Comes With A House Key- Amazon.

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Enjoying this time of rest as a family. We are realizing how badly we have needed it. Just time to connect, swim, play, listen, pray and not work. I was looking at my Fitbit tracker today, and measuring my sleep. Over the past month I (Phil)  have averaged 4.75 hours of sleep a night, not the best, especially since sleep is one of my love languages, haha. We also have been going harder than usual, with summer trips, end of school year wrap ups, hosting foreign exchange students, etc. it is good to step away from it all for a short bit.

Thank you to all who support us, in prayer and through giving, for making it possible for us to serve with Steps of Justice and YWAM.

Also thanks to those of you who encouraged us to rest, you gave us the permission to do what needed to be done.


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Since January of 2016 I have found myself in a new season of life, one that is different than the last 23 years that I have worked in missions with YWAM. I have always worked under a YWAM operating location, in LA, Seattle, San Diego, and Kona (we have lived in some pretty sweet places). In 2016, we moved from Kona and the YWAM Ships location, to San Diego, to start a new chapter as Steps of Justice and YWAM.

The past 16 months have been filled with beauty, difficulty, loneliness,  prosperity, doubt and joy. I am thinking out loud here, as that is the way I process best, but stick with me, I’m going somewhere. Let me break down the last 16 months in more detail (talking strictly about ministry, not family. Family is for another post). Below I will share how things have been, and use the word “I” to refer to me and “we” to refer to Steps of Justice and the YWAM ministry that I run.

  1. There has been so much beauty that I have seen over the past 16 months. I have seen new ministries started, like our friends of Syria events and the Syrian drop in center that I have co-led on a weekly basis. I have met amazing people, who have believed in me, stood by me, inspired me and motivated me. We, as Steps of Justice, hosted our first urban team this past year, and we are seeing more trips to Cambodia than we have in a while.
  2. These past 16 months have also been difficult. I feel alone in a lot of ways. I am trying to get things running, and ministries started, and that is happening, but I feel alone in it. I have spent years working in team, but these past 16 months has been working alone, and trying to build and find teams to work in.
  3. This has been a year of prosperity. Not just financial, but also missional and ministry prosperity. We live in an expensive city, intentional because of the relationships we have here and the opportunity to work with the refugee community. We have seen our support grow since moving here, and have had other ways of making money that has really helped us save more and give more. There has also been prosperity in ministry, as we have seen our work with the refugee community grow, have been able to host teams in San Diego and Cambodia and have had open doors to work in a school made up of mainly refugees and immigrants. God has opened doors we didn’t even know existed.
  4. I have had a lot of doubt these past 16 months. Not doubt in my faith, or in the work that I am doing, but doubt in the decision to move my family to San Diego, into a pioneering situation and out of the established ministry context that we were with in Kona. I have had doubt in the loneliness and in the difficult times. The doubt is peppered with the reality that God is blessing us, but it is a different season than I am used to.
  5. In all of it, I have had tremendous joy. Ever since I was 10 I have wanted to work in missions. I have had a desire to show people who Jesus is, and His love for them. I have spent most of my missions career training others to be missionaries, but this season has been one where I have seen my mission dreams come true. I have dear friends who do not love the Lord. They are not my projects, they are not my newsletter material, they are my friends. I have relationships with people who are not followers of Jesus and those relationships run deep. I  am as committed to these relationships as any relationship in my life.

I am not sure how much I will continue to write about this season, but I hope a lot, as it helps me process and learn. If your reading this, your prayers are appreciated.


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