Saturday, October 12, 2013

Upon Request....

Our church family in Spokane has made a tax-deductible donation option available for those who are excited to partner with us financially.

Checks can be made out to House Church Ministries (Missions Fund/Swifts in the "For/Memo" section)

And mailed to:

House Church Ministries
P.O. Box 48242
Spokane, WA 99228

Thank you for doing this journey with us!

With Love, Nathan and Kellyn

Internship Adventures- Part 1

Screenshot Of Our Intern Pic On The Arctic Barnabas Website.
  The transition from school life to “regular life” was hardly the slow down we had momentarily expected.

     Graduation in May, complete with visitors, gifts, love, support and finding out we were expecting the fourth incredible gift and responsibility of parenting a brand new little person bolstered our spirits as we were thrown into the harrowing last four weeks of commercial. With a lot of hard work, a mega dose of supportive prayer and an overflow of favor and grace, Nathan finished the weeks and weeks of preparation with an intense four hours of oral testing, two hours of flight testing, and several hours of paperwork wrapping up on the very last day of the semester! Several weeks later Nathan's commercial pilot license came in the mail, a much valued reward for the hard work he'd put in over the years. A smile of accomplishment and a huge sigh of relief as a significant chapter of our lives came to a close and the next one began. Soon I will be posting a reflection on many areas of the blessing and lessons that our time at Moody has offered us.

     In an incredible show of provision Nathan was kept working full time between the National Guard and Moody Bible’s IT department to carry us through our summer; A summer that brought us many beautiful family memories– weddings, reunions, birthdays, babies and building relationships.

     Earlier, during the spring, we had spent time researching internship options to fulfill the 8-week cross-cultural missions requirement to put the finishing touches on Nathan’s Bachelor of Science in Missions Aviation Technology. After meeting with a few different missions reps we were reminded of Arctic Barnabas Ministries (ABM) in Kenai, Alaska whom we’d heard of in passing multiple times during our time at Moody. We began pouring over their website and watching many of their online videos and found ourselves very excited by their mission and ministry.

Off to Anchorage!

      ABM’s goal is to strengthen and encourage pastor and missionary families in rural Alaska. Alaska has among the highest rates in the country for child abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide and the like (suicide rates for 2010 were twice the national average.) In an area steeped in spiritual darkness, the isolation of rural villages, most of which are not on the road system, is a huge factor. Many families have committed their lives to ministering in any way possible to the needs of these nearly unreachable communities. Rural pastors and missionaries and their families give so much of themselves as they commit their lives to this task; sometimes as natives to the area with a passion for their local community, sometimes by moving into a foreign culture and learning to become part of a community of people with whom they may even start out with very little in common with. These ministry families often find themselves needing outside resources and encouragement. ABM has committed itself to partnering with sending organizations to provide an extra layer of support to these families; supporting the frontline missionaries by putting on retreats and kid’s camps, repairing snowmobiles and helping fix houses, flying in grocery deliveries (especially fresh fruits and veggies which are hard to come by) and filling many other needs, some big and some small, but all significant in a way that many of us take for granted.
       For us, one of the most important considerations of the 'where' of internship was being able to go as a family, another was interning with an organization that closely aligned with what we feel God is calling us toward. Arctic Barnabas fit both of those goals beautifully.

Working On Their AK Survival Skills!
      During the non-stop summer season with the active support of our local church family and immediate families we began praying toward and preparing for a potential internship with ABM. It wasn't until early September that we had finally finished all the required paperwork and got the final approval. In four short months, our local piece of the church, comprised of around 70 people (children included) raised an incredible $3,300 toward our internship! On top of that many of our local friends and strangers supported us through either donating to or purchasing from our craigslist/yard sale fundraiser during which we raised another $2,000 for a grand total of $5,300! Our cost projection, including flights, rent, car insurance on a loan car, living expenses like gas, food, diapers, and of course covering extra costs for the ministry portion came to $7,500. The flight to Anchorage was relatively inexpensive so after some prayer we decided to step out in faith and purchase our tickets up, though we have not yet raised the money for our return. It has been a bit nervewracking, but this particular faith walk of putting our financial needs in God's hands has become significiantly easier over the past six years as we have seen it evidenced that God prepares us and equips us so perfectly for the things He has called us to.

     We arrived in Alaska a little over a week and a half ago (and will be writing a separate update with our initial impressions and experiences since there were too many to detail here!) and are busy helping prepare for the Ministry Family Retreat that will be taking place at Victory Bible Camp in Sutton, AK next week. We are excited to go out and spend some time ministering to the heart needs of the families who have devoted their lives to a very difficult, very worthwhile cause, bringing light into one of the darkest corners of the world. Update on that next weekend!

      We will be sending updated e-mails, and updating our blog frequently in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Answers to prayer over the past few months:
  • Direction and a lot of our funds for internship!
  • Survived through graduation! J
  • Work through the summer!

Prayer requests:
  • Most importantly, that God will use our time and service here to the very fullest potential- that we will learn all the things He has for us to learn and give of ourselves the very best for this ministry and the people here.
  • We still need to raise $1,700 for our internship, including our return home!
  • Provision of income when we return to Spokane in December as Nathan has no guaranteed full time work.
  • Finally, that during these coming months God would give us a long-term vision!
Our contact info:

Nathan Cell: 509-850-2744
Kellyn Cell: 509-389-5449

Address for correspondence here in Kenai (Ourselves, as well as our children, would love to hear from you!)

C/O Arctic Barnabas Ministries
135 North Willow
Kenai, Alaska

For those of you who have expressed interest in financially supporting us and the ministry here at ABM as we serve these next two months, a tax-deductible option is up on our blog:

As we send this we are spending time praying over each of you on our list this weekend; that God would pour His favor and blessing out on the people who have brought such joy and blessing to our lives!

All our love and gratefulness for your prayers,

Nathan, Kellyn, Elisha, Zechariah, Eden and Baby Avi

“ I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I want to be encouraged by yours...I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit.” (Romans 1:11-12,13b)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mid-Semester Update & A Glimpse Of The Future

     Well here we are, nearly two months into instrument and another three months to go in the semester. Three months. That's it. 

Flying the 10-Day Extended Cross-Country
     Since the beginning of this semester I've not only been challenged in my skills, but also in my character and my faith. I have been challenged again and again to place my confidence in God: to trust Him to equip me, to sustain me, and to improve me as I put my all into what He has set before me. This is hard work. Even harder when you are working on the side and making your family a priority. I am grateful that God has given me a love for flight, I imagine these heart lessons being driven home would be a lot more rough going if I didn't get to soak up every bit of enjoyment out of my time in the air. With the huge learning curve that the instrument rating brings there have definitely been moments that feel uncomfortably close to treading water while adrift in the ocean, and then I put my feet down, solid on God's promises, dig my heels in and study and pray, and pray and study...

    "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen." Phillipians 4:19 & 20

     He will supply. To His glory. 

     I've done a lot of simulator flying in the past weeks; this serves as a more cost effective way to practice my control of the aircraft by reading only the instrument panel until I am as adept at flying by instrument as I am at flying by sight. One of the things that proves to be most frustrating about the simulators is their extreme touchiness, they do not fly exactly like an airplane. However, I've noticed that this also gives me a bit of a confidence boost as I learn; when I do well on a simulator flight I seem to have an even better handle on it when we are in the air. 

     During instrument flights we put on visually impairing hoods to block our view of everything except our instrument panel (before you freak out- all instrument flights are done with an instructor in the other seat- no solos this time!). We've had a large focus on situational awareness, knowing where you're at, at all times and what your surroundings are: terrain, other aircraft, etc., because in flight you don't get the luxury of counting on nature to do what you expect it to. Here's a photo sequence my instructor took of one of my most recent flights, in video form. Enjoy!
     I could use some prayer for healing and for focus. In the past month and a half I have injured myself three times during basketball very important things. Without much sleep to repair and no time to give my injuries a rest from day-to-day life they are taking a pretty big toll on me, making work, school & being a dad a lot more difficult. One thing's for sure, I'm getting older! Obviously not so much with the wiser yet. ; ) I'm also being stretched in my multi-task training and have had to redo several flights before I got them down. Kellyn, as always, reminds me "Hey, more flight hours and more practice right?" Praying not to let my pride or my wallet keep me from positively taking it in stride and using it to make myself an even better pilot.

     We have been blown away by the outstanding faithfulness of so many of you to get behind what God is doing both in and through us. We are grateful to be a small part of such a big picture. To get the chance to let our story impact someone else's story.  To rejoice in opportunities to show the world who Jesus is and what He has done.

     We are spending some serious time in prayer and research of internship opportunities. Tune back in a couple of days, as we hope to have some more answers very, very soon!  It takes us aback a little every time we realize that the plans for the rest of this year are hugely different from everything we have experienced in our life together. We are growing more and more excited for the unknown adventures ahead.  

     We've known for quite some time now that all we knew for sure was God's call to be here. At school, at Moody, with the church, growing, learning, doing life. In the past few days Kellyn and I both started to feel God's call on our future narrowing down. I can't even explain the joy this has given us! 

"Two are better than one; because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm, But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. 

“ I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I want to be encouraged by yours...I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit.” Romans 1:11-12, 13b

     We have begun to notice a pattern of God drawing us toward encouraging, building up and bearing armor for His front line people.  We are still unsure as to what that looks like in an organization, but we are believing that what God has called us to,  He will lead us to!  And we are willing to go.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Praying For You A Favored 2013!

(You know, since the world didn't end and all.
"So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Matthew 24:44)

          Welcome to our winter newsletter! We are privileged to share our family with you as we live sideways and prepare for a lifestyle of serving people and sharing the Gospel at home and around the world! Hope you enjoy our family pictures by Julia Pattee Photography!

Eden, Eders, Edes- 14 Months
          My favorite thing about my brothers is that they can always make me laugh. I'm pretty good at convincing them to help me get into boxes and wagons and let them pull me around the house while I practice my princess wave; I do this for their benefit of course.
          I'm constantly climbing stairs and ladders, unraveling toilet paper and staging exaggerated, grinning, faux attempts at mischief whenever someone is looking. To top it all off, I really do love people and enjoy making them smile, I love to blow kisses, give snuggles, and usually obey the first time because it makes Mama and Daddy happy, and that makes me happy.
I am the bubbly life in our family reminding us…
"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Zechariah, Zacket, Z-man- 2.5 Years
          If you ask me my name I will tell you "It's is Zat-kuriah!" I'm not sure yet if I want to be a big boy or a little boy. I love imaginary play with cars, capes and hunting, and am awed by the little things in life. When I'm in a good mood, nothing fazes me. When I'm upset, everything is heartbreaking (for everyone, trust me). I will be the first one to say I love you and the last one to hug and kiss you goodbye, seven times. I'm silly and live to make people laugh. I repeat nearly everything Elisha says and thrive on his approval and instruction. I always have kisses and care for my sister. I adore snuggling with Mommy. And I love my Daddy and run for the door every time I hear him come home.
I am the voice that reminds everyone…
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."
Romans 12:10 Oh and… "Jesus is Dod"
Elisha, Lishe, Bubba- 4.5 Years
          I am, as ever, full of both questions and answers. I have a thirst for learning that cannot be quenched, but often have to be reminded by Mommy (because she would know) that people learn better when they don't think they already know everything. I've hit quite a few milestones this year. I can now ride my "two-wheeler" that doesn't even have training wheels! I can read, tie my shoes and count to a hundred and nine (and then backward).
          I like to take Zacket under my wing and teach him about life and the way things work. Eden is kinda like my baby doll and she likes it when I take care of her. I am awed by the bigness of Jesus and God, and am always asking for Mommy and Daddy to read the Bible with me.
In our house I teach by reminder every day…
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." 1 Corinthians 1:25

 Guiding children toward adulthood is an adventure! Even from an early age you begin to see personality strengths, as well as the things they will most likely struggle with as they grow and live. Often, I am afforded glimpses into myself as well! I've found that in a day made up of moments, sometimes normal, sometimes wearying, and often joyful, frequently those moments give us a picture of the favor we so often forget we are living in.
          I continue to teach Bradley classes, which present us beautiful opportunities to build new friendships and of course meet many sweet new babies! I've also been privileged to use my love of photography by contributing to two beautiful weddings and many amazing families' memories this year.
          This year I've learned that I struggle *gasp* with gratefulness, contentment and being actively present. Our challenges this year have afforded me insights into the condition of my heart and propelled me into remembering to be grateful, content with and involved in the everyday. In all of this I am grateful for a husband who embodies James 1:19 and a God who proves Himself to me, even though He doesn't have to.
          In the past months I've finished my extended cross-country, passed my commercial written, and Kellyn and I were very blessed by our first public speaking experience with our beloved local church family! More detailed posts (which yes, have taken a long time to write!) to follow on our blog! Up next my final semester focuses first on instrument training, and then preparing for the last practical test for Commercial certification!

To pray with us toward our goals:
·         Pay off the last bit of last semester's tuition.
·         Come up with a financial plan to see us through the coming six months.
·         Keep seeking God as we plan our eight week internship!
·         GRADUATE!

          God has been working through people in amazing ways that have benefited us both in heart and in practicality; for example we were able to spend the month of December with my family while I worked for my Dad providing us with both down time and work this winter break. I then was offered a few weeks of work helping with computers at Moody until school starts! We are incredibly thankful for the unexpected financial generosity of so many of you who made a huge difference in our tuition last semester! As requested we have put information about contributing to our education and ministry @ 

I've been blessed with a wife who "speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:26), a daughter whose smile lights up our home, and sons whose earnest thirst for God's Word and the awed significance they find reminds me again and again that His word is living and active and will not return void. Our root families, faith family, and other family by heart have sown into our lives beyond what we could have ever anticipated this year and continue to challenge, encourage and support us as we walk into the promised, yet unknown.
Thank you for being part of that family!
Nathan, Kellyn, Elisha, Zechariah & Eden

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5&6

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thinking of Joseph today...

     Joseph endured a season of torture, even worse than being abandoned by his family he was betrayed by them. He had nothing and was sold into slavery. It is easy for us to recognize how his faith lived out in his time of meaning very little to the land and time in which he lived. But we should also remember, Joseph brought blessing to whomever he served, both as a slave and as a ruler. 

     What would have happened if Joseph had refused the ruling position? What if he said "I cannot accept. I'm certain that having a good attitude in the midst of slavery shows that my God is great in a way that a position of power never could." What if Joseph thought he knew God's plans better than God Himself knew them? The avenue God was providing for relationship restoration with his family would have been closed. People would have gone hungry. People would have died.

     We tend to look at Joseph's story as a rags to riches, a happy ending, which it is. It always is for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. But what is our good? We seem to think that Joseph received his justice, his blessing, simply because he was faithful with a little. Now maybe that's the truth, that's part of the promise, but maybe there's more.

     There is neither disgrace in a season of barrenness, nor a right to boast in seasons of wealth. In the same way, humble positions should not be worshiped as sacrificial martyrdom, nor should we claim that abundance in itself is an unnecessary evil. More it is an opportunity to discover how we can use the combination of who and where we are.

    God sometimes provides a glimpse of His greatness by requiring wisdom of us (stockpile for the seven years), by the utilization of our gifts, our position, and our favor with man; yet at other times it makes much more of who He is to draw attention to the fact that we have nothing aside from Him. We need nothing aside from Him.

    God works all things together for our good. His plan is bigger than our whole life, yet His focus is on even the smallest details in our life, because He loves us. For us it is about loving and bringing glory to Him. To Him that comes in the form of caring for orphans and widows, encouraging the disheartened, challenging our brothers and sisters in love, walking in the Holy Spirit for wisdom from the smallest daily detail to the decisions that we know will effect the very fiber of who our family is. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. That's the Bible's job. Finally we can bring glory by giving thanks. In all situations. In all seasons.

      With the season of material little that we are in, and knowing that many, many of you are right here with us, we wanted to remind you- whether you have much, or little matters naught, but what you do with what you are given.  

If we don't remember this in seasons of drought... we'll never remember it in seasons of plenty.

Contributing Financially

     We've had several requests to include information on supporting our education and ministry in our newsletters, so we've decided to designate a blog post for those of you who have asked and felt led to give towards Nathan's training.

     If you do not require a tax deductible receipt*, please make your check out to “Moody Bible Institute” and write my name, Nathan Swift, and student ID#, 1972305, on your check. Mail it directly to:

Moody Aviation
6719 E Rutter Ave
Spokane, WA 99212

Or to donate with a card you can call the Moody Aviation Desk at:

(509) 535-4051

*For information on tax deductible donations please e-mail with questions or just give us a call and chat! We'd love to hear from you!

     Thank you for the many amazing ways you continue to support, encourage and believe with our family through this journey!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Seeking Him First...

"31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:31-33

It has been some time since we have experienced these verses with such profound understanding as we are right now. What will we eat? What will we wear? Where will we live? What does tomorrow look like?

In the heat of election season, and a time of much personal challenge for our little family we are reminded that our future is so much greater than anything we can see with these eyes. Ultimately our hope resides not in a political party, or a job, but in Christ. And our charge is to seek HIS kingdom first, not someone else's and not our own.

Our needs are met through the mercy of the Father, the grace of what Jesus gave on the cross, and the wisdom that guides our decisions through the Holy Spirit.

As my little brother reminded me tonight...
All the best things in life are free.
I would add, free, and worth giving everything for.

Green Bluff on Eden's First Birthday!