July Family Update – Packed and Ready…

Getting packed…

It is hard to imagine that 9 months have passed since we packed up and headed north!  Our family continues to rejoice in God’s calling to help reach the nations here in Canada.   He continues to teach us so much about Himself, this journey, each other, and this new country.

Thanks to each of you who prayed for our Muslim neighbors during the month of Ramadan! We were able to grow in our understanding of what our neighbors experience during this time as we were praying and fasting, too.  On one Saturday night, we “broke” fast with our neighbors at 9:30pm.  During this experience we were able to demonstrate our love towards their family and even their culture.  They were also very kind to our family as they explained about their culture and beliefs.  God gave us a great opportunity during this dinner to share with some of their family members about the differences in our beliefs and how we can find peace in Jesus Christ.  This was one of the best opportunities that we have had to clearly explain who Jesus is to us and how He works in our lives!  Who would have guessed that this would happen in a Muslim’s home as they observed Ramadan at 11:00PM?  Our God is so faithful!

This city continues to amaze us with its great diversity and challenges.  All of us have spent more time going downtown into Toronto over the past couple of months.  Kevin has been working on the spiritual mapping project, which allows him to study and learn about the GTA.  This has been a huge blessing that God has used in helping gain vision and excitement as to what is ahead.   Jeanna has enjoyed spending time with church planter’s wives in different parts of the GTA as they invest in and encourage each other.  In addition, God has been using her to have weekly meetings in the park with two incredible Muslim ladies and their children.   Kelsey has boarded the train for the downtown core by herself, joining the college and high school kids here on summer mission.  Now that summer has arrived and kids are everywhere, the Kite kids have been interacting with more children in our neighborhood, the people-filled parks and community, intentionally sharing Him as they play, talk, and live life together.  This has been a true joy to watch as they answer questions from other children about their faith and why they have this constant joy.  God is growing us all tremendously as we step out sharing our faith and in learning about so many different religions.

After about 6 months of living here, we realized we were finally settling in and we didn’t have to depend on the GPS as often.   There is so much to learn about living life in a new city, let alone a new country!  There have also been many surprises with summer here: the buzz of people is everywhere all of the time, there are non-stop community festivals all over the GTA and there is a ton of beautiful nature surrounding us and that brings much adventure! It has been a joy and a challenge to learn how to navigate this city – we’ve gone from walking with God in the woods to traveling the streets with Him in the cities.  No doubt that He is indeed alive and well in both places!

This week we will be leaving to attend the Send Conference in Nashville, Tennessee that will be hosted by the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board.  We are very excited about this great conference!  You can read more about it at www.sendconference.com.

After the conference we will drive to Florida to spend some time with family and friends.  Wow, we have missed SO many people!

On August 23rd, we will have a luncheon at FBC Ocala, which will allow us to spend time together with our friends and partners.   We can’t wait to share more about what God is doing here in Canada and share our deepest gratitude to our ministry partners.  If it weren’t for you, this mission would not be possible!  This luncheon is also open to others who want to learn more and possibly join in this Canadian Journey God has put before us all.   If you know of friends or family who would want to join in on this mission, please extend an invitation or share our blog address with them.  Please click on the registration button to RSVP for this event.  If you do not have access to a computer, please call the church office, at 352-629-5683, to register with the FBC Ocala receptionist.

We are so thankful for each of you. Your partnership brings a great sense of peace, encouragement and strength into our lives.  Please continue to pray that His Kingdom advances through this journey that we are on together!

Click Here to RSVP for the August 23rd Luncheon in Ocala

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Summer – Sort of…

As we conclude our first May in Canada, we are at this very moment experiencing something that never happened to us during the month of May while we were living in Florida: we have a fire going in the fireplace today.  No joke.  It is 48 degrees outside (feels like 41 degrees) and it has been raining most of the day.  Besides this “cold front” the weather has actually been incredible this month.  Our garden vegetable plants have finally started growing!

God continues to do some amazing things here in the GTA and our family is thankful to be here.  The last couple of months have produced opportunities that give us a peace and a joy.  Some of the most amazing moments have happened right here on our street.

The “summer” months have brought with it much longer days.  Daylight starts creeping into our windows a few moments after 5AM and often remain until after 9PM.  This change has given us a greater opportunity to meet our neighbors and just spend time with them visiting.  A couple of weeks ago we counted 21 kids and 9 adults – right outside in front of our house.  The kids were playing street hockey and the parents were just standing around visiting.  We went to bed that night knowing that God has placed us in the perfect neighborhood.

Two weeks ago we visited the park that is right across the street from our house.  Now that the weather has warmed up the parks are flooding with people.  Jeanna had a wonderful conversation with two young mothers from China who had met Christians before that caused them to be interested in learning more about “our God.”   They asked Jeanna about learning more and were eager to start studying the Bible. Please pray for this opportunity to develop.

Kevin met a man named Colin at a Starbucks close to our house.  He has begun meeting with him every couple of weeks to study the Bible.  He has been attending a church but is still at a point where he is trying to “figure it all out.”  Kevin is using the ESV Study Bible and the curriculum that we used in Ocala in our small group rotation studies.  Please pray for Colin.

Your partnership with us has been incredible.  Some of our partners began exactly one year ago as we began the 100 day journey to be fully funded, homeless and on the road to Canada.  God has done so much already, we are confident that the days in front of us will be just as incredible.  Our God is just that good!

Spring is not what Spring used to be.

Seasons.  They are fairly new to our family.  We are now approaching 6 months of living here in Canada.  The leaves were literally falling off of the trees when we arrived and we are still waiting on them to return.  It actually snowed on here on Easter.  In this season of life, God has continued to teach us so much about Himself, His Kingdom and how much He loves His children.  We are thankful that you are taking the time to read this newsletter.  These are great days…

We continue to learn so much about our God, our family, the culture where we are now living and about how He is working in this city.  There are many things that are very different than anything we have previously experienced.  This large city (the GTA has over 6 million people) has incredible diversity which presents great opportunities and challenges.  We are learning to navigate through the differences in order to find ways to communicate with our new friends that there is a God who loves them.

Our family continues to be stretched in new ways – from the weather to the day-to-day decisions.  Our dependency on God has increased and our love and appreciation for one another also grows deeper.  God has been kind by calling us to serve here in Canada.

Your prayers, encouragement and financial support continue to make a great difference in our lives.  Because of the stability your partnership provides, we are better able to focus on the task at hand.  This month we are including several photos to help tell the story of what has been happening in our lives.

1.  Evelynn won a bike at our first hockey game.  She had left her bike back in Florida when we moved.

2.  We built a couple of igloos in the backyard during February.  We also camped out inside the igloo one night.  Great memory!

3.  Our first mission team from FBC Ocala came to Toronto in March.  They were a great blessing.

4.  We woke up on Easter morning to fresh snow and bunny tracks.

5.  Jeanna had a great opportunity spending time with several kids from the neighborhood as they painted some eggs together.

6.  Elise continues to grow and change.  However, she has continued to bring so much fun into our family as she usually thinks she has the answer to what we should be doing.

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Frozen Family in February

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Hello from the warmth of our Canadian home. It is hard for us to realize that we have actually just completed our third month here in Mississauga, Ontario. In some ways it feels like we just left Ocala, Florida and other ways it seems like we have lived here for a long time. Regardless of what address we called home, God has always been so faithful to our family in that we have found His peace around every room.

Jeanna and the children continue to amaze me in their transition to this new life. I have watched my wife leave behind comfort, drive over one thousand miles and cross a border without fear and now she has recreated a great family atmosphere in a brand new city and house. Her steadfast love and strength are indeed a reflection of her relationship with Christ. She is an incredible lady. I am a blessed man to be allowed to spend my life with her.

Our kids also continue to make the adjustment well. They have transitioned from playing in the woods to playing in the snow. They have moved from having 10 acres to roam to playing ball in the street. The warmth of Florida and feel of pine needles underfoot have been replaced by concrete and snow. However, their laughter and excitement for fun has remained the same. Their joy of being outside has brought the neighborhood kids out of their houses, too. This is where some of the greatest relationship building has already happened.

Please be praying for us as we continue to build relationships in our neighborhood. The nations are represented all around us and we are doing our best to get to know their stories. We have neighbors from Nigeria, Canada, Vietnam, India, Pakistan and Jamaica. It is incredible – and these are just the houses adjacent to ours. We live in an area that has added 46,000 residences within the last 10 years. As you can imagine, seeing folks just spending time outside is a challenge during this time of the year. Can you guess when we see them the most? Well, if you guessed when they are shoveling the snow from the driveway then you guessed correctly. We have found a great way to meet a neighbor – grab a shovel and help shovel their snow while visiting with them. This was never an option while we were in Florida!

Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to seek God’s leadership in our lives. Our family is grateful for the prayer covering and financial support that we have received since this journey began earlier last year. Please continue to pray that God allows us to clearly see where He is working and that we would have the boldness to follow His lead by being obedient to His direction. It is not our desire to create our own plans but rather join in what He is already doing here in this great city.

We are adjusting our communication strategy. If you are only receiving this newsletter on the blog but would like to also receive the portion of the newsletter with detailed prayer requests – please email us at kitefamilyonmission@gmail.com and let us know. We will keep our prayer requests on the blog very general so that we can be sensitive to the work here in the GTA.

Hello from Canada!

Hello from Canada!  We have made it to our northern home just in time to see the weather start changing to the cold.  After only one week we experienced our first snow fall.  Our goal was to get here before it really got cold so that we could adjust gradually to the big change – not sure we accomplished that goal but we would like to brag on what God has done in the past year:

  • He called us out from what we knew and loved to come to a new place that we do not yet know but we are already falling in love with the people of Canada.
  • He allowed us to journey with our friends and family over the past few months in such a way that it grew our relationships even deeper.
  • He continues to be our provision in so many ways. The methods have changed but His promises remain.
  • He has been so kind to unfold the journey to us one step at-a-time. Even two steps at-a-time would have overwhelmed us.
  • We received a contract on our house in Florida on the last full day that we were in Ocala.  God was kind to allow us to stay there all the way to the end. We are so thankful for so many of you who helped us pack and get the house ready for the closing.

We are thankful for you and your partnership.  There really are no words to describe how our hearts feel at this moment.  Our family has experienced such a deep love coupled with an incredible amount of encouragement – we really do feel like we could move mountains.  “Thank you” seems inadequate.

The journey from Florida to Canada went very well.  It was long but wonderful – there were no major problems!  As we look back over the trip and the border crossing we are able to see God’s hand directing us in many different ways.  We had a server at a hotel encourage us by buying our dinner.  We stayed at a hotel in Niagara Falls that worked with us to receive our last shipment of some medicine.  The lady at the hotel had parents living in The Villages.  The customs agent at the border worked with us to get our paperwork – she was committed to it because of the size of our family and because we had all of stuff outside in a moving truck.  God’s work was amazing.

Upon arrival at our new home, we met our neighbors immediately.  In what may be one of the funniest providential moments of the trip, we arrived a few moments before we could get the key to the house.  For the past few miles on the road Elise had been letting everyone know, “I’ve gotta go to the bathroom!”  So, they went and asked the neighbor (an older man) if they could use their washroom.  Well, it ends up that the older man does not live there.  The family next door is a couple with five children.  They also have four girls and one boy.  Our children instantly made friends and have spent many hours together already out in the street playing ball. Elise is always telling us what to do…

I (Kevin) continue to be amazed by Jeanna and the children.  Jeanna drove the entire distance from Florida to Mississauga and has spent the past two weeks unpacking boxes and setting up our home.  Her resolve to fulfill what God has called our family into is inspiring.  She is an incredible lady.  Our children continue to make the adjustment well.  Jeanna and I enjoy watching them outside playing with the neighborhood kids.  The same laughter that we were used to hearing back at our house in the woods is now echoing in the streets of Canada with children that they just met.  They are adjusting to the change very well.

We are thankful for your prayers and encouragement.  Please continue to pray for the following:

  • Pray for us to establish great relationships with our neighbors. We met several of them during a rainy Halloween night.
  • It is already getting cold – snow will return this next week. Pray that we have a spirit that allows us to “embrace the cold.”
  • The closing for our house in Florida is supposed to happen at the end of this month.  Please pray that everything goes smoothly.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this newsletter.  It is longer than normal but we have left out so many things that we could say about God’s greatness.  He is so good!  Please let us hear from you and know how our family can pray for you.  We count it a privilege to be on this journey together.

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100 Day Journey Complete – 1000 mile Journey has begun

Wow… Our God is so good!

First, I would like to apologize for not getting an update together sooner. It has been a crazy couple of weeks – full of activity. We have completed packing up our belongings (which now fit into a 26 foot moving truck), said goodbye to incredible our incredible family and friends, and started the journey to our new assignment. Thanks for being patient with us…

It seems impossible to find words that would even come close to expressing what we have experienced in this journey. Our family is simply overwhelmed by what God has done over these last few months. He has been so kind by calling us into this new season of life in such an awesome way. Our hearts are eager to see what is ahead but we all want to hold onto this incredible moment of knowing that we are loved so well by our friends and family. We have been blessed to experience such a deep love by so many people.

Our 100 day journey closed in a way that makes us say, “Wow, Our God is so good.” Here is what we sent in the very first communication for the 100 day journey:

On July 1, 2014, we begin a process that is new to our family. We are asking God to put together His Ministry Partner Team for this mission. The goal: a family ready spiritually, emotionally, and physically to make the move to Canada, 100% fully funded with monthly financial supporters, and our home in the woods sold. In short, all that needs to happen in order for us to be where God wants us – needs to happen in a very short time…

Here is what God has done:

1.Our family is more ready today than we have ever been before. Our spiritual life is now so different than it was 100 days ago because of what God has done through this process. Our hearts are strong emotionally because of the encouragement that we received from so many of you. Physically – well, we are more rested this morning than we were yesterday. No doubt that this drive will rejuvenate us as we just sit for a few days in the car (this is much easier than what we have been doing!).
2.We continue to be amazed with this financial journey towards being fully funded with reserves. God has been so good to show His faithfulness through His people. From what we have been told, this will be a constant journey as situations change for people. We will learn more about what it costs to live in Canada over the next few months and we will continue to trust Him for provision.
3.Our prayer about our home in the woods was that God would sell the house right on time. It was our desire to stay in the house every single day that we could because of our love for the place. Well, on the very last day that we had in our house (Saturday), we received a signed contract! How is that for timing? We are praying for a good process that would see a closing happen on November 17th.

Please praise God with us today. He is so good to allow us all to be on this journey together. We are thankful for each of you. We will post some photos as we travel, too. Much love, The Kite Gang

To make a financial gift: http://www.msc.kintera.org/kitefamilyonmission

The story in video: https://vimeo.com/105550039

Our blog: http://www.kitefamilyonmission.com

The Kite family is humbled by your willingness to join with us on this journey. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions! 352.207.3193

Please pray – 3 house showings in the next 24 hours…

We planned to give a full update today on the completion of our 100 day journey but it might be a bit early for the final story.  We already had one house showing scheduled for Saturday.  Within the last day there has been two more showings scheduled.  We are all packing up boxes today and about 1PM we received a message saying someone would like to see the house between 2 and 4.  So…  please pray.  Seems like God is doing something.  That means our house will be shown three times within a 24 hour period – the final full weekend we have in Florida.  If nothing else, He got us hopping and cleaning during this last hour.  We love each of you and love our God that has called us to be on this journey together.  He is so good…