I HATE THE PACIFIC NW. I am a Texas girl. I love Texas, I love the weather, the people, the politics. It is the friendly state and people are warm and hospitable. Now, the PNW is nothing like Texas. It’s government is oppressive. It’s weather is cold and it’s people are even colder. It rains 9 months out of the year and I absolutely love and adore sunshine. I don’t have a love for this area like I do for my beloved Texas.
When I met my husband in January of 1998, before we even became serious, the Lord gave me a vision of the two of us building a church- brick by brick. It was the first time I ever had a vision, it was different than any dream I ever had and when I began to tell Matt my vision, he shared with me the calling on his life to be a pastor. At this time, I did not know. He was in the military and I assumed he wanted to live life as a soldier.
We got married four short months later and remained in Texas another three years. We always assumed he would get out of the military and we would plant a church in Texas. Then, he came up on orders for a year long duty in Egypt and we were told we would not be able to come back to Texas. They gave us three choices of duty after Egypt, one of which was Ft. Lewis, WA, south of Tacoma in the PNW. We decided that because Matt was from this area, we would go to Ft. Lewis and then return to Texas after his enlistment was up. Wrong.
The Lord made it very clear that we were to plant a church in the PNW. Every other door was slammed in our face. So we launched out in June of 2003, along with two other couples and met in a school. We had no money, no church to take over for another pastor; we started from a seed. If you know anything about this area, most true church planters fold up shop and return home after a couple of years because the soil up here is hard. It’s not like the Bible Belt; it’s hardened, rocky soil.
We struggled many years while we had small children and my husband worked 70-80 hours a week trying to keep a roof over our head. We toiled, hard labor for seasons, praying and fasting and seeking Him for help. Believing His Word and holding onto the vision He gave me. We’ve had wolves come in and tear the church apart with gossip and division. We’ve been ridiculed and lied about in the public sphere. We had months we thought we would not make it. But God. And we kept building. Here we are almost 18 years later.
There’s a group of us who love and serve the Lord whole-heartedly. We are maintaining God’s holy church through prayer, fasting and solid Biblical teaching to a very dark and oppressive area. The apostate church is alive and well in this area. If you don’t agree with local churches and buildings, I feel sorry for you. You are missing out on one of God’s greatest gifts. You are not the church without flesh and blood fellowship. This church is my family. My kids have a Kenyan aunt and uncle. I have a spiritual mom. My husband and I are an aunt, an uncle, a mom, a dad, a friend and more to many people. We are a beautiful family of God who live and do life together on a daily basis.
Ask any of our people and they will tell you the same thing. If not for my church, I would have left a long time ago. I still love Texas and my family is there. But, if we leave this area, we take our light with us. We were called and anointed to build a church in the PNW- not anywhere else. What would my family of God do if we left? Where would they go? Our church is a city on a hill. We are not anointed or called to another area. They need us and we need them. So we stay. We are planted.
Our roots are intertwined with another 300 people and they go down 18 years deep. WE will not be shaken. We are here for such a time as as this. I am obedient to God’s will. There is no anointing outside of obedience. I don’t do what I want to do. I have died to my own plans. I obey my Lord’s marching orders. “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”” Esther 4:14 ESVI love the PNW because I love my church.
What’s this all about? Stay where God plants you. Those on the wall growing weary, keep building. Get in a fellowship of believers. Individual Christianity is not of God and rogue pastors, teachers, prophets who have no accountability are godless. YOU are not the church. WE are the church as we live, move and operate in fellowship and communion with one another. The light shines brightest in the dark places! We are needed to preach the gospel of truth now more than ever. Sound the alarm! Blow the trumpet in Zion! Don’t give up because it’s hard. There are dark days ahead and these are perilous times BUT God’s holy church will prevail. Sorry this is so long. #runyourrace
To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page