I’ve Moved and What I’m Learning

Well, what a whirlwind I’ve been on the past couple months. I went from “You couldn’t pay me enough to move to Minnesota!” in February to being the Family Life Pastor of River Valley Church in Apple Valley, MN.

Note to self: Stop saying “never” because God seems to like that word. I think he uses it to shake us up.

I’m excited about this church and where God has placed my family and I. I want to keep everyone updated on how we’re doing and our transition from the West Coast to the upper Mid-West.

Here are a few initial thoughts:

1. When mama’s happy—everyone is happy! I know some women/mom’s don’t like to hear that, but it’s more true than you know.
2. Though I love River Valley—and I can tell the team is going to be fun to work with—getting used to the Mid-West/Minneapolis is going to take a little while to get used to. I already miss the West Coast, mountains and Pacific Ocean.
3. There can’t be much more that breaks a father’s heart than to see his 10-year-old daughter devastated that she had to move away from her best friends. It’s not easy knowing what my daughter is going through and not being able to do anything about it.
4. There’s a lot of work to be done, systems to be put in place, people to meet, changes to make, etc. at a church that’s absolutely amazing.

I plan on blogging gut honest about this transition because 1) it helps me and 2) I hope it helps others who may be or thinking about going through the same thing. Some people make it seem like it’s so easy and there are never any issues. While that’s always the hope, it’s never the reality. God has shown Himself—as usual—absolutely faithful and amazing through this whole change.

I’m off to buy some winter gear!



  1. Pastor Justyn,

    Though we miss you at Southhills when you are willing to walk in God’s footsteps you know it is the best thing to do. Much blessing on this new chapter. I guess it gives Paula and I a reason to visit Minnesota.

  2. You are going to be amazed at how excited those folks get for opening day of fishing season. I think it’s a state holiday. Have fun in Minnesota.

  3. I loved living in MPLS. You get used to winter, although coming from Corona, it’ll be a big change. Blessings on you and your family in your new position!

  4. We will miss you guys. But so thankful we got to meet you and your family. I can’t wait to learn from you via your blog.

  5. Thank you so much for taking the time to blog your experiences. My heart goes out to Leslea, I’m one of those people that did not respond well with moving around. Is she carrying over some of her projects..raising money for Gospel for Asia well? Maybe she can blog her experiences? Dog walking? Staying with soccer? My heart and prayers go out to all of you. If anyone can do it you guys can! And you are so right…when mom is happy everyone is happy, a terrible burden but true! Love to all

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