Thursday, September 18, 2014

You say Goodbye, I say Hello.

Life is full of Goodbyes and Hellos. They are not always sad or difficult, but sometimes they are. I remember the last goodbye I said to my sister. I had no inclination that it would be our last goodbye. It was in the basement of my parent’s house following an amazing Christmas. The snow was coming, as it always does in the WV hills and my family needed to hit the road before the storm blocked our path. One last hug, one last “I love you sis” and we were off. The goodbye wasn’t sad. It was a see you later. Little did I know that it was our last goodbye on this earth. Natalie passed away a week later. Through my tears I still say, “See you later sis.”

Other goodbyes come with mixed feelings, because we know what is coming after the goodbye; hello. In October of 2007, I was introduced to the wobbly-legged, beautiful new ministry named Extreme Nazarene. God said “Rachel, join this madness,” and I did. Seven years ago, I said hello. It was scary, fun, marvelous and intense. As the ministry’s legs found sturdy ground, experiences urged her to run. So we ran. We ran after those God was calling to go to South America and those missionaries ran after the lost and dying. Thousands of salvations have been won and the once wobbly fawn is now a strong handsome mother of 90 churches; churches that did not exists 7 years before!

And now it is time for me to say goodbye. This one’s hard. Extreme family, you are amazing people. Your love for God and others has forever changed who I am. I will never be the same, because you were a part of my life. And I wish you greatness! I wish you God sized vision and dreams. I wish you Kingdom sized success in all that you do to reach the ends of the earth with Jesus as your guide.

Now, I say Hello! Hello to some amazing new adventures! The first is the birth of Rachel Kuhn Ministries. God has placed on my heart a passion to inspire and equip His people to follow after him with all they are! So, Hello, to preaching and teaching and revivals and workshops and whatever God sets in my path. This also means, Hello to paper work, 501c3 processing and all that jazz! Pray for us as we take the next several months to set all of this up.

Some of the best “hellos” are more like “Hello, again!” I am excited to announce that I will be headed back to MVNU, not as a student this time, but as the Assistant Director of Admissions! Hello campus, hello students, hello faculty and staff! I am praying for you all; and praying that my transition into the place will be a blessing to you.

I find that often goodbye and hello are paired. As we leave one adventure, there is another just beyond the horizon waiting; waiting to say “hello.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Operation: Add a Kuhn Falls into Place

Where do I start? So much has happened since I last posted in July. Most of it was completely expected. Summer vacations came to an end. I crammed to get ready for my new position as Computer Science teacher in the middle school. Ryan went to both new student orientations (so he could see as many people as possible before school started). Joel and Miles got letters in the mail from their new teachers. Rachel continued with a few cross-country trips to meet with her team.

Some of it was not expected. Not yet. On the second day of school, I got a call during my plan time. The agency had a birth mother who had seen our profile and wanted to meet with us. The next day. Or in eleven days on Labor Day. Well, it turned out that Rachel had a flight out the next day, so we had to wait. We waited, hoping that we weren't missing out, hoping that she wasn't meeting with other adoptive parents.

On Labor Day, we left our boys with my parents at our extended family gathering and drove off for a meeting. I won't go into all the details, but we met the birth mother and liked her. And she liked us. She was in a tough situation and knew that she would not be able to raise the baby herself. She asked if we wanted to know if it was a boy or girl, and seemed excited to tell us that she wanted to place her baby girl with us. (We had submitted our profile, and she had picked us to interview all before she knew the gender.)

Miles old room is quickly becoming the nursery!
We drove home, heads spinning, as we began to imagine what our fall would be like. We prayed that God would guide and that He would provide. A few more pieces of paperwork later and we were matched. An official announcement was made on the agency's Facebook page, and we continued to plan for how our house our home would look with a baby girl in it.

I shared recently that God has impressed on me that Christianity is manifested in Love and when I read the New Testament I see Love manifested in Generosity. We went into this in February saying that God had called us to give a family, and now we have been blessed to have family and friends stand beside us in generosity as we prepare to do that. We have quite the baby clothes collection and are almost done accumulating the baby furniture. All this at very little cost to us.

Now, with about a month to go, our biggest need is what it has always been: prayer. Please pray with us and for us as we prepare to be the parents of a girl for the first time and of a baby for the first time in eight years. Pray for the grant applications we have sent out, to help cover the cost we have already paid, and the cost we have coming up. Pray about giving towards our adoption costs or joining our financial support team as Rachel continues to send missionaries to South America. Pray for the birth mother, that God will protect her heart and that this adoption will be a positive thing for her, a turning point in her life as God pursues her like He does us all.

Thank you for your support, for the kind words of encouragement and the gifts of onesies, changing pads and hand-me-downs, etc. etc.

As another friend shared today, if you are interested in the process, if you feel God tugging at your heart to open your home and family to foster or adopt, we'd be glad to share our story in detail. Our agency just emailed that they have six more situations this week. There is always a need for people who can adopt.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lost: Praying for Spiritual Awakening at Parque de Las Condes

Our first full day in Peru started with a prayer walk. We were told that we would be taken around the city and given different prayer topics and information at each stop along the way. I was looking forward to intentional prayer, some decent exercise and several interesting views of the city.

Our first stop was almost more than I could handle. When I take the time and really focus on God and what He wants, amazing things happen. I entered El Parque de Las Condes (The Park of the Condors) and began walking around the park, past elevated flower beds, trees, a giant bird cage and a complex system of concrete irrigation channels. As I approached the far end of the park, with its now-dry pool surrounding an island reachable by concrete (everything is concrete here) bridge, and its dusty soccer field, I noticed a flyer taped to a pole. "Perrito cocker spaniel perdido." (Lost little cocker spaniel dog.) The flyer was dated February 1. Behind my sunglasses, tears began to well up.

Now I haven't been always been a pet person; in fact I wouldn't say that I am quite one now. I used to do a quiz about Mr. Kuhn to start the school year. One of the questions was, "Does Mr. Kuhn like cats or dogs?" The trick answer was, "No." But now, we have two cats and nine chickens. And I have a wife and three boys who are very attached to those pets. We've experienced loss with animal life taken by a car, various creatures of prey, carelessness, and a horrific event that involves a curious, rambunctious kitten climbing a ladder and jumping from the attic to the garage below. We haven't however, become callous to death or loss of animals. The opposite has happened. We've learned to be as responsible as possible. The boys double check coop doors, they ask if we have made arrangements for someone else to close up the chickens, they wake up in the middle of the night afraid the cats are still out and not in the garage. Their concern has worn off on me. I more than tolerate the pets. I... I... I at least appreciate them... most of the time.

As I stood prayerfully at the pole and read the sign, my thoughts bounced from how my boys would feel over a missing pet, to the despair that some child must be feeling, to how God views each and every Peruvian that walked past that park and every person who walks on this earth. LOST. Lost like the Sheep, Lost like the Coin, Lost like the Son. (Luke 15).

It breaks God's heart.
And it broke mine.
I pray it continues to break mine.
Is your heart broken for those who are lost?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Operation: Add a Kuhn

Rachel just announced publicly on Facebook that we are adopting and have just finished an approved home-study and are now heading into the waiting stage to be matched. With that info completely public now, here is what I wrote about the process when we were about 5 weeks into actively pursuing adoption, on March 14, 2013.

How did we get here? How did we decide that our fairly comfortable life with 3 boys in a nice house needed to have a baby in it? How did that happen?

It’s quite simple. And quite complex. The simple answer is that God called us to this. The complex answer includes thoughts and emotions, it involves obedience and a couple babies, it involves a sermon and some role models and story sharing. The complex answer is, well, complex.

Last summer Rachel called me from Africa, in tears she told me that God had asked her (us) to say, “Yes.” We’ve tried to make a habit of saying yes. Saying yes took us to Kansas City Missouri right out of college. Saying yes brought us back to Ohio almost 7 years later. But this time we didn’t know what saying yes meant. It was scary and hard.

So we said yes in the little things. We took more time to pray together. We became more intentional about seeking God’s will and saying, “Yes,” in the small things. And we waited.

Then Rachel spoke at a church where a grandmother had guardianship of her 2 week-old grandson, and the entire afternoon Jaquan was either in my arms or Rachel’s. On the way home we looked at each other and said something like, “Wow. We could have just taken that boy home for good. He probably needs it, and we could do that.”

Christmas came around. This season has caused me increasing discomfort in recent years, as I see all the stuff we have, all the stuff that isn’t really used. I hear the boys say, “I want one of those!” and I cringe at the materialistic sound of it. I hear myself say, “Man I need some new running shoes, and lights to run with, and a new phone would be awesome,” and I cringe.

Then Rachel brought up the idea of really giving at Christmas. We took a large portion of what we usually spend on the boys, and we asked them to help us spend it on some kids the school social worker told us would not be getting much of a Christmas. We prayed for the kids and we dreamed of what we could give them. We shopped and purchased and wrapped. Giving at Christmas that year was amazing. It moved giving to the forefront of our minds.

In January our church had a Sanctity of Life service. Much of the service was about why abortion is wrong, and I admit, I checked out a little bit, feeling there wasn't much in the sermon for me act on. Then the Pastor challenged us to make a difference.

“Don’t be obnoxious and picket, be forgiving and compassionate.” 
Ok, no problem- I think.

"Pray for and support the local pregnancy center."
I get those emails. I pray. Money is harder to come by.

"Adopt if you can." 
Whoa! Jaquan immediately came to my mind, and I thought, “We could do that.”

The service continued with the story of Steve and Joy, of their heart wrenching loss of three babies, before their adoption of a little girl. Again I was moved and felt the encouraging thought, “We could do that.”

I was pretty quiet about what I was feeling in my heart. Then in early January, our nephew Parker was born. Unfortunately his big brother, Landon had been through a series of infections and the doctor wanted them separate for a while, so two week-old Parker came to our house for five days. Suddenly we were changing diapers and getting up in the night to fix bottles. Rachel and I looked at each other and said, “We can do this. Again”

A few days after Parker went home, my activator of a wife was checking out adoption agencies online. “We can do that,” had become, “We want to do that,” and “God want us to do that.” As she read testimonials on websites, I repeatedly heard some form of, “Our family just didn't feel complete.” I told Rachel that I didn’t feel like that at all. I don’t feel an empty spot in our family where a baby is supposed to be. I’m not saying that others are not perfectly correct in saying they feel that way. I’m saying I don’t. I just feel God leading us to give, like He did at Christmas. Except now we are to give a family.

Now, every step we take towards giving someone a family feels right, and each leads my heart to having a open spot, a spot for our someday child.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Extreme South America General Assembly Style

Over the last year I, along with an amazing group of talented individuals, have been working diligently on the Extreme exhibit for the 2013 Church of the Nazarene General Assembly event.  Our desire was to show the world what God is doing through Extreme across South America and we succeeded.  Over the week that our exhibit was up, over 3,000 people went through and 1,200 people filled out response cards.  For me this was a dream come true.  Now the work truly begins as we work with those who are called to Go, Give and/or Pray in response to the call that God has placed on their hearts and lives.  My team has a huge job ahead of us. 

Over and over people came up to me exclaiming that Extreme had the best exhibit in the whole hall.  I would have to agree.  Our replica of a South American city was inviting to everyone who passed by.  They were drawn in by our graffiti wall, our large buildings and they beautiful plaza.  The team was able to connect with people from around the world.  One of the most humbling experiences was to have an African pastor come through the exhibit and with tears in his eyes insist on praying for me and our minisiry.  God is so faithful!
For those of you who were unable to visit us at General Assembly you can go through our booth today!  See me in action :)
The entire Extreme Team was invited to stand on the stage along side other South American leaders
Before I close I want to give a special shout out of thanks to Ron Wentling (construction lead), Jami Gray (Designer), and Jay O'brien (Graphics Designer) for making this exhibit possible.  Also a HUGE thanks to the Mobilization team for all their hard work!  God is faithful!


  1. 3,000+ people were able to experience our ministry
  2. Over 1,200 people responded with a call to Go, Give or Pray for our ministry
  3. One 40/40 Missionary was interviewed and approved during the General Assembly event
  4. Churches and people from around the globe committed to Give to help us build $100,000 worth of Churches in Peru
  5. God is calling his people

Friday, February 22, 2013

5 Years and Counting

Well, it is official.  Our family has served with Extreme for 5 years!  As I looked through old photos and read through blogs and stories of our adventure with Extreme, I am amazed at how far God has brought us.  Sometimes I feel like this cartoon; God has walked with us, carried us and often drug us as we have followed him through this ministry. And yet His faithfulness to us has never wavered or shaken; it has always been and will always be steady and fast.

"Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!"
Not only has God's faithfulness been unwavering, but so has the support, prayer and financial, from our friends and family.  You know who you are, and we want to thank you!  This journey would not be 5 years and running, if it were not for you and your faithfulness to us and our ministry. 
Looking over the past 5 years, God has done amazing things through Extreme and our ministry:
  • 78 Churches have been planted (Paraguay - 1, Argentina - 10 and Peru - 67)
  • Over 10,000 salvation
  • 1,814 Short Term Volunteers served for 2 week projects
  • Over 200 Long Term Missionaries have served with Extreme
It has been a very busy 5 years for our ministry, but, oh, so rewarding.  This month we have committed to another 3 years with Extreme.  As I, Rachel, continue to serve as the Mobilization Officer, I know that God will provide all that we need to continue this journey.  Today, more than ever, we are looking towards a bright future with Extreme, as we continue to Mobilize people who are called to Go, Give and Pray and Disciple those who come into a relationship with Christ.

So what does this mean for our family?  It means we are in this for the long run.  God has called us.  What does it mean for you?  We need you to pray for us.  Satan is waging war against God' people.  We need your prayers!  We need you to give.  We are currently at 75% of our minimum goal for the next 3 years of ministry.  So pray and ask the Lord if he would have you join us by financially partnering with us on monthly or yearly basis.

God is faithful.  He will provide. He will guide. In all things we will trust in him as we continue to walk or be carried or even drug along the road that leads us to his will.  Ultimately, bring the world to Him!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Process

We start here and we end there and then we start over.  So what happens in the middle?  The process.  I sit on an American Airlines flight from Quito, Ecuador back to the US.   I am in the process of going from where I was to where I need to be next, home.  I am home for ONE day and then on the road to Chicago to interview Missionaries for Extreme.  My life seems to constantly be in the process stage.  I am moving from here to there and back again.  Striving towards purposes that seem unattainable and yet, they are creating who I am.  It is not what happens in the beginning or what happens at the end, but in moving from that one spot to another that is life changing.

The last 4 months I have been in a process that in all honesty, I don’t understand.  It started in Nairobi, Kenya in July and still today it is pushing and moving me harder than I have ever been before.   I know that is hard to believe, all things considered, but it is true. 
The worship team was leading us, this group of 43 students called into missions and about a dozen leaders.  The worship was simple, yet powerful; Swahili and English mixed in an array of songs that lead us to the throne of God himself.   Quietly they began to play the simple tune, “Trust and Obey.”  You know it, super old school.  No great theological depth or power, just an honest proverbial song that guides in our walk with Christ; “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”  And then it happened….God spoke.  “Rachel, I want you to say ‘yes’ again.“ God gave me red hair for a reason.  My defiant streak came to the surface: “Really God?  Really, you want me to say yes again?  If I remember correctly, I said yes when I was 15 when you called me to be a missionary.  Again 5 years ago you called me out of where I was and into this crazy world called Extreme Nazarene Ministries, where I gave up a job that paid money, that had a paycheck with a paycheck and now, you want me to say yes again?”
Now please remember that God and I are close.  I was not being ultra defiant or disrespectful, just honest about where I was at that moment in time. 

God said “You are too comfortable.  You have been Mobilizing for almost 5 years with Extreme.  You love your little home on 2 acres with your chickens and garden.  Chad loves his teaching job.  The boys are doing well in their amazing school and you are too comfortable.”  As I made my way to the alter I began to process what all this meant.  How could I give any more?  Was I willing to say “yes” again, no matter what it meant, no matter what the cost?
As I knelt at the altar I knew that I was about to enter a process.  God had somewhere for me to go and it started there.  I called Chad that night, because technology is wicked cool and I can call my husband from half way around the world.  I told him the story.  He was quiet, which is beautiful, since I haven’t quite learned this quality yet.  And with a quiet honesty he said “This is the hardest 'yes' we have ever had to say.” 

"Why is that?" you ask.  Because we don’t know where it is going to lead us. 

It is the process of faith and trust and hope with complete obedience and a blind assurance that only God can give.  I don’t know where it is going to lead.  I don’t know what God has for us.  What I do know is that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no heart has imagined what God has in store for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).”  Over the next few weeks, I want to ask you to journey with me.  I can’t promise what will come from this.  Like I said, I am still in the process.  But I need to walk through my last 4 months of process and I would like for you to walk with me, pray with me and believe with me, that God has amazing things in store!