Monday, February 2, 2015

Hearts Full of Thanks

What an incredible year it has been. We got married, we moved into our first home, and the Lord has blessed us beyond words spiritually, physically and financially. We want to thank each and everyone of you that has sewed into the Stevens' Legacy, and into the dream of discipling a generation to be changed by the great Love of God.

In the spring we got married in the middle of the woods on the 52 acres at A Place for the Heart.  We invited 60 of our closest friends to witness the glorious day.  There was no denying that God was there, we both cried our eyes out as the wind picked up through the sunlight and butterflies circled around us as we said our vows. Jonathan and Melissa married us, and gave us the most incredible pre-marital counseling. We waited 2 and a half years to say I do, but God was so faithful to set us up for success in marriage. We were ready for that beautiful day that changed our lives. 

         What We're up to now 
 Jake: It has been a very busy beginning of the year. Currently Jonathan and Melissa are recording a new album, which means a lot of studio time to birth the beautiful new sound.  The whole band has changed SO MUCH since "On the Shores," and the new record will be proof of that. 
In case you haven't heard, Jonathan and Melissa are now Bethel Music artists. This is an incredible opportunity for the farm and the 18 Inch Journey to grow into its full potential. In January we took a trip to Bethel Church in Redding, California. It was awesome.   It was great to meet the whole Bethel Music team and to spend time with that family since joining their community of artists. This is going to be an incredible partnership for everyone involved. I can already feel the growth in my own heart and a deeper desire to cultivate this gift of music that the Lord has given me. What beautiful 
opportunities await! 
In other news Joel Case and I are wrapping up an instrumental music album that will be released this year! We have been working on it for the past 2 years and are very excited for the world to hear it! Needless to say, it has been a very musical year thus far.  Looking forward to more music and building projects that will expand our capacity at the farm to house students from all over the world. I'll be sure to keep you updated on the progress. 
Here is a link to Jonathan, Melissa and the band playing at Bethel:

Justina: Last year I began to pioneer a leather goods department for the Cageless Birds. The Cageless Birds is the farm's artist collective. Simply put, everyone on staff that helps lead the 18 Inch Journey are creative individuals that needed a space to be accountable with their creativity in music, art, photography...etc. So, Jonathan and Melissa approached all of us with the idea of a creative collective that inspires each other and the world that it is possible to be an artist and be a kind and balanced person. Since then, we all have encountered the great favor of the Lord. We have sold 600 leather bound books in six months! God has truly blessed the work of my hands in bringing me under the beautiful covering of the Cageless Birds. I had no idea what an incredible blessing it would be. This leather department is helping us create jobs for more people to join the mission of the farm, and it is satisfying the great longing in my heart to create.  
Last year a girl named Lindsay came and interned at the farm and assisted me with art lessons during the 6 months of discipleship. Last fall she came on as staff and has help tremendously with the leather goods department. It is such a blessing to get to work with someone that has vision and understanding for quality and beauty. I know that with our heads together, we will create even greater goods than last year. Here is a link to a beautiful video that JD (the videographer at the farm) made about me, the bookmakers and journal making at the farm:

We begin our 6 months of discipleship on May 23rd! We are excited and are gearing up for another incredible season of discipleship! 

Thanks again for all your love and support! May God fill your barns to overflowing, and may you have a joyful year!

If you would like to support the Stevens and partner in the dream of discipleship, you can make a check out to "A Place for the Heart."  because we're an established non-profit, your gifts are tax deductible.