Borrowing Joy

BY BENNETT ROLAN, BSF BLOG EDITOR

As a veteran teaching leader, Adele Funk knew how to balance work, family and ministry. But last fall, as she prepared her opening lecture for the Acts and Letters of the Apostles study, it all just seemed like too much” for one person to handle.

When we began this years study with the theme ‘Unstoppable,’ I told myself that any person with my circumstances would quit and questioned whether this was God telling me to step down from BSF,” Adele said. Then the thought came to me that the one who opposes everything we do, and is against all that God wants to accomplish, is my accuser. He kept saying, You cant.’ And out loud I said, ‘I am not quitting!’ Only with God is all of this possible. Only with God does all of this make perfect sense.

“God is unstoppable, and so is His message.” 

Sacrificial Service

For years, Adele and her husband, Loren, sacrificed their time, money and comfort to serve the Lord. While building a community-living apartment complex that provides affordable housing for struggling families, they stood steadfast, even through adversity and opposition from the world.

But, on May 3, 2019, Adele received a phone call that rocked her resolve. 

The Funks son Tyler, 30, an experienced snow boarder, was in an accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Adele clung to Gods promises, but in spite of reading her Bible and praying regularly, her joy in the Lord faded.

We were sitting in a church service where the worship was over the top,” she said. My husband was giddy, but I was irritated. I just kept thinking, How can you be this happy when our son is in a wheelchair? At one point my son asked, Mom, are you going to be sad for the rest of your life?’ ”

Adele believed that Jesus was sufficient, but trying to understand His purpose was painful.

Finally, while teaching Hebrews 12, God opened Adeles eyes and softened her heart: “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus …” 

I knew He was telling me, You cant look horizontally. You cant look at whats in front of you. You have to fix your eyes on Me. Tyler is in a wheelchair. If you look horizontally, youll be undone.’

“I just prayed, Lord, you have joy. I dont have it. I cant conjure it up.’ I had to come back to Gods attributes. He is good, He is trustworthy.

“It reminded me of the hemorrhaging woman. When she reached out for Jesus, He gave her exactly what she needed.” 

Throughout the Acts and Letters of the Apostles study, Adele and Loren, who is also a BSF member, experienced Gods unstoppable power, grace and provision. And as the year ended with a study of James, the couple was reminded, once again, of unshakable joy, through James 1:2-3: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

A Test of Confidence 

Tylers injury put to the test Adeles confidence in Christ. But it was not the first time the couple had to look beyond their circumstances to trust in Jesus. In 2012, while Adele was teaching the Acts study for the first time, God used several verses in James to redirect their life and purpose.

I knew He was telling me, You cant look horizontally, you cant look at whats in front of you, you have to fix your eyes on Me.

I couldnt stop thinking about James 5,” Adele said. I like to think Im generous, but God, in His sovereignty, started putting poor people in our lives. They shared their struggles and told us about how they didnt have a place to live.” 

Two years before, Adele and Loren had sold their long-time home on a golf course to downsize to an upscale condominium in downtown Golden, Colo.

I felt like God was saying, Think about how many people you could house with the amount you have wrapped up in that condo,’ ” she said.

After praying extensively and re-reading Gods Word, Adele felt certain the couple was called to sell their condo and use the proceeds to build housing for homeless people in their area.

But would Loren agree? And where would they even begin?

I think God used those same Scriptures to work on us separately,” Loren said. One day we started talking and realized that we both had this desire, we were on the same page. People thought we were crazy, and a lot of them still do, but it was clear to us.”

A short time after reaching the same conclusion, a potential buyer knocked on the Funks’ door and offered to buy their condo. From there, they started looking for properties to build an affordable community-centered apartment complex.

When they discovered a property that was fully equipped with electricity and water service, the couple was on their way to breaking ground on what would later become Synergy Village.

I felt like God was saying, Think about how many people you could house with the amount you have wrapped up in that condo.’”

He Can Move Mountains

Loren, who co-owned a construction company for most of his professional career, had acquired the expertise and contacts to manage a large-scale project. But as plans progressed, the Funks’ faith was tested.  

While family members and friends continued to question their decision, government regulations made the permit process especially difficult.

“We anticipated starting construction in June and the city threw a horrible list of obstacles in front of us,” Loren shared. “We were both down and depressed. Then we received an e-mail that said, ‘We’ve approved your application.’ I couldn’t believe it. We thought we were doing it on our own. I tried everything in my own power to get it approved, but only God could move the hearts of men.” 

Later, Loren was unexpectedly diagnosed with liver disease. The finding was a shock, and they wondered why God called them to a building project that seemed ready to fail. But against all odds, Loren recovered.

“I dont know why that happened, Im not a smoker or drinker. Im not one that had any of the normal diseases that caused liver failure, but my liver did fail. Then, a tremendous miracle went on in the process,” Loren said. “It was part of the journey God took us through to get to this point.”

New Beginnings

Finally, after years of waiting and work, Synergy Village opened its doors in June 2018. Today, the complex is home to 36 residents, including Adele and Loren, who live in the center of the community. Their son, Tyler, and his wife also moved to Synergy after his accident. The only available unit was handicapped accessible and allowed the Funks to provide extra support during those early days of recovery.

“It’s one of the hardest things you can imagine as a parent, but watching someone suffer well is inspiring,” Loren said. “I know the other residents were watching us, thinking ‘Now, how are these do-gooders going to handle this?’

In so many ways its been a privilege to get to know people on a deeper level that are different than I am,” Loren said. When we read the Word of God, I hope we realize that there are some things that are not optional. God wants those of us that have been given much to take the responsibility to do well with what we have, to steward well what we have.”

“We thought we were doing it on our own. I tried everything in my own power to get it approved, but only God could move the hearts of men.”

In studying Gods Word, the Holy Spirit is faithful to speak to all who seek Him. Whether God asks us to tame our tongues through James 1:26, or care for orphans and widows in James 1:27, we know His Word is alive and active … it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12)

Too often we are tempted to say, Im too busy,” or Its just too hard.” But when we willingly surrender our lives for Christ, “… having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

Taking the Bible at its word has been refining,” Adele said. If it says I need to do this, Im one of those people who says, OK, how? And, what is the next step? Send the right person, Lord. And what do you want us to do with what we have?’ ”

Through opposition, illness and a tragic accident, the Funks persevered. They discovered Gods unstoppable joy and, in the process, impacted countless others.

722 Comments

  1. A life changing story for me. Unstoppable indeed. Inspiring for me as I rearrange my priorities.

  2. Your faith through all the trials and listening to His Word inspite of the obstacles of worldly wisdom has greatly encouraged me. I am a widow. 4 mths ago my eldest son died of cancer. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

  3. Thank you for offering testimony to God’s faithfulness to equip those He calls. May your words be a sweet fragrance to His glory. I also appreciate how your husband commends your son for handling suffering well. I pray that you continue running your race with endurance.

  4. This story is very encouraging in so many ways. God bless you for listening, obeying, and persevering.
    I struggled so much through some of the lessons in the Acts study because I have failed to persevere through some very difficult circumstances over the last 15 years. I have wondered if I did the right thing in walking away from situations where there was constant, unnecessary struggle.
    I pray that God will help me persevere in the future.

  5. I just started bsf in September. I’m so glad I did; through this virus and concern about our daughter living in Spain (So thankful she is in Seville not Madrid) and our other daughter having our grandson in Saskatoon. So many plans did not work out as we would have wished, but God is so Good. Our daughter experienced no labour pains and a very easy delivery and quick recovery and even tho I would have loved to be there to help I was so thankful she really didn’t need my help. I pray for all those who are effected by this world situation through loss of loved ones and loss of employment that they would turn to God the only true sourse of hope.
    I look forward to the book of Genisis and hope and pray that we will be able to meet again in person come September. God is unstoppable!!

  6. Thank you for sharing your journey. It spoke to my heart and reminded me of a sermon that stated,”as things are pulling on you, God is the balance that is pulling you up”. What a great reminder of the blessing in serving God. May you and your family continue to experience joy in your giving and service.

  7. Gratitude and serving God is an honour and a privilege.
    Great encouragememt of becomimg richer in spirit

  8. hallelujah what a glory… all glory to god. thanks for adele for allowing the word of god to work through her and special thanks to her husband.. from india

  9. I am in awe of your walk with Christ and all that He has done and continues to do in your life. Very inspiring!

  10. Thanks for inspiring me to persevere when life gets hard because God has a plan for every situation that He allows in my life. Help me to faithfully trust in His word.

  11. The concept of not looking horizontally struck an immediate cord with me. Thank you for sharing your amazing story proving that looking up is what allows God to work in us and around us and for us.

  12. This story so inspired me. God is so faithful and we can trust Him in all things.

  13. Praise the Lord for the Funk’s family am greatly encouraged by this testimony, especially am encouraged to run my race marked out for me with perseverance fixing my eyes on Jesus. Am preparing my wedding in this tough economic time but God just encouraged me to fix my eyes on Him not the circumstances. Thanks so much the Funk’s family for this great testimony. God Bless.

  14. Glory to our faithful God through His Son Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy SPIRIT,,,I love having stood the test that person will receive a crown of life….James 1:12

  15. Beautiful inspiring story. thank you

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