From Sunset Until Dawn

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Oh, but where to begin.

God is real, and God is good. He is faithful, and His Word will not return void.

Over the past four and a quarter years, we have been abundantly blessed by our Prairie Flower Church family. (For those who maybe don’t know, my husband & I serve as the Associate Pastor & Administrative Assistant/Custodian at Prairie Flower in Washington, Iowa.) There is an endless list of people and moments that will forever be near to our hearts. Seeing God at work in the “behind the curtain” moments in His Church is perhaps the greatest gift of all. Witnessing countless acts of faith from people in all seasons & walks of life has grown our personal faith by leaps and bounds. God is real, and God is good. He is faithful, and His Word will not return void. With that being said, it is with exceptionally sad & heavy hearts that we say goodbye to this family that we have come to love and cherish, even as our own kin.

About 6 months ago, it became clear that God was calling us into layman ministry in the Quad Cities of Iowa/Illinois. A burden for the lost combined with a love for people & passion for entrepreneurship were all strong indicators of a new chapter in life. After much prayer, consideration and counsel, we made the decision to step down from our current church staff positions, effective May 2019.

New apartment building & shop in Moline, IL!

New apartment building & shop in Moline, IL!

In May we will be moving into a cozy 450 square foot studio apartment in our recently purchased multi-family complex in Moline, Illinois—right in the heart the Quad Cities (just a few blocks from the great Mississippi River!)—and pursuing our design & construction business as our full-time occupation. We have big hopes, dreams, and visions of ways we can serve this community, and literally can’t wait to dive in.

One of our biggest battles the past few years has been trying to do sooo many different things under lots of umbrellas, and in doing so, not truly excelling at any of them. Don’t get me wrong, we love having a lots of dishes going in the same kitchen, but trying to simultaneously cook dishes in multiple kitchens never really works out for anyone. You spend more time going to and from all the kitchens (instead of actually cooking) and inevitably at least one of those dishes will burn. We are choosing to intentionally narrow our focus and solidify our combined gifts & passions for God’s greatest use & glory.

Our little apartment. (The only part you cant see in this photo is the bathroom. It is super tiny!)

Our little apartment. (The only part you cant see in this photo is the bathroom. It is super tiny!)

The mid-century multi-family includes three apartments with an attached garage, fenced in yard and a detached 1,100 square foot climate controlled shop. The selling point of the property was the fact that we could lease two of the apartments, live in the third and almost completely subsidize the mortgage & utility costs of the property (to include the shop & studio we will be running our business out of)!

Admittedly, the buildings aren’t much to look at, and do in fact, resemble the bit of a prison. But hey, that’s what creativity is for, right? ;) We will be spending time this spring updating and making the buildings our own with some updated finishes, fixtures — all intentional & functional for small, purposeful living.

The shop! We will be putting up a wall and making the back third our studio/office space!

The shop! We will be putting up a wall and making the back third our studio/office space!

I can’t wait to show you all that we have planned! But for now, here are just some initial inspirational images to give you an idea:

What you can expect from us — Over the next four-and-a-half months we will be first and foremost dedicated to our church family & duties. We are committed to finishing our time there with focus & excellence. Because of this I cannot commit to any certain amount of content production as the business is not our top priority, but I do want to do my best to share with you as we get our current home ready to put on the market (a 1990’s builder grade), and put together some concrete design plans for our new home & studio! Once we arrive in May, I plan to share with you all the good, the great, and the ugly of our new lives as entrepreneurs & landlords. But until then, it will probably be fairly quiet around here. We are truly so excited for this new chapter, but also not ready to turn to it quite yet…if that makes any sense. ;)

To sum it all up — We are in the midst of watching the sun set on our truly beautiful and wonderful life, wanting to soak in every last ray, all the while taking more and more steps into the night with a faith and hope that God will one day bring it again to rise. Thank you for so faithfully encouraging, supporting and following along on our journey. It may be cliche, but we really wouldn’t be doing what we are about to do without you all, so THANK YOU! Can’t wait to find all the ways we can serve YOU in this new chapter.

Cheers! xx Julia

Behind our studio office. Can’t wait to throw some fun gatherings in this space!

Behind our studio office. Can’t wait to throw some fun gatherings in this space!

Julia Rocha