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. Loren and Adele this has been an amazing read. It’s has brought tears to my eyes.Thank you for the encouragement through your testimony. It can only take the lord to go through such a trial and still praise God through it all. I joined BSF this season for the first time for the studying the book of Acts and letters of Apostles and the word of God has challenged me in a great way. His unstoppable nature and practical wisdom in his word has challenged and inspired my way of life in so many ways. I am grateful for BSF and trusting God to grow me in his word and make me Christlike as I look up to him.

  2. Its very encouraging witness of God’s people who really put their learning of God’s word and trust in God’s promises. Praise the Lord.

  3. When I pray for guidance, I better be ready to accept His way. Your testimony reminds me that the evil one will always try and stop me. God bless your ministry.

  4. Thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony of faith and perseverance through difficulties. Thank you for sharing how God blessed you in, and got you through the storms in your life. I really appreciated your reminder to think vertically and look to God as the perfector and finisher of our faith. We, as flawed humans, often try to do so much in our own strength. We always want to take the reigns of our lives and try to steer them in ways that seem right to us. We are but fleshly works of art that God is patiently working on to perfect us in His image. Thank you for reminding us that God’s grace is sufficient for us, and we don’t have all the answers. May God continue to bless you and your family. You are really an inspiration for other Christians!

    • Life often throws us situations that will test our faith in God and question His love for us. Doubt or confusion is not of God but the enemy will always tug at our hearts and thoughts to work his way into our very being, but we have to call God on his WORD! Amen! The enemy has no authority over God’s children. Thank you for your ministry and testimony.

  5. The sharing is so powerful I pray I also find my God-given purpose work which God laid out for me to do

    God help me

  6. What an inspiring story! They remind me of members of the early church, who sold everything to help each other. Letting go of our temporal material goods is not easy for most Christians today. I am learning how to let go on a greater level with God’s help, their story encouraged me to keep giving, sacrificing things I can do without. I want to have their attitude; walking away from everything at His request. I always have had a heart for the poor and needy but feel I should do more. Thanks for sharing your powerful testimony and encouraging your brethren in Christ! Your son has the light of Jesus on his face! Blessings!

  7. Waow what an inspirational story. The couple have found their God-given purpose the work which God laid out for them to do before the foundation of the world.

    They dont feel burdened because Christ has put His easy yoke on them and that’s why the burden feels light.

    They are truly favoured by God.

    May God continue to bless them and expand their territories.

  8. This was such a blessing to me,thank you. The study this year was so good, challenging and powerful. God is always faithful and I too, want to be a faithful servant and keep in mind His unstoppable mercy, grace and strength, daily.

  9. Thank you very much, I needed a special word from God’s people this morning. I received. I am going through at this time.

  10. PTL! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Thank you for this message. Could you please use dark lettering. I have diabetes retinopathy with vision changes. I am receiving treatment. However, I have difficulty reading what is in the light print. I know you want to emphasize those portions but I struggle with reading it. Perhaps change the size or Font or use a different color dark print. Thanks for listening.

    • Thanks Diane! We will make that adjustment moving forward.

  12. Inspiring and challenging

  13. Thank you for sharing your story! Very inspirational!

  14. I have been in BSF off and on for 30 years! What a blessing my discussion and teaching leaders have been to me. Thank you, Adele, for your service and your honest story about your weakness and God’s provision. I would so like to talk to you about Synergy Village and your experiences pertaining to it. I’ve written three mystery novels and one of them is set in a village similar to yours. I’m in the editing phase of that book and adding a couple scenes based on your actual experience would make it so much better. The objective of my writing is to present in fiction what the true Christian experience is and how God must be the source and center of our lives. I have to do this with pictures and action, not preaching! So using something that really happened showing how God works miracles would be so awesome. I hope you’ll contact me.

  15. May God bless and keep your family. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    • These verses in James were eye-opening to me as a new Christian in the depths of brokenness. No, I couldn’t conjure up joy, yet I can still praise God more than 20 years later for letting me borrow His! ThankU, Adele for your story! May His joy be contagious to everyone you meet.

  16. so encouraging ..God does want to use us in the capacity we give Him to be used ..thank you for sharing your story

  17. Praise Jesus! Thank you for sharing this powerful testimony of how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
    BlessIngs…

  18. Thank you for sharing how the Lord used you both. I will be praying for your community. Also that I will have the courage to say yes to God and be used like that for his glory.

  19. so encouraging especially at this time. followers of Christ can still stand their ground, proclaim the word of God and lead in prayer.

    • Heart warming and courageous story. May God continue to bless you.

  20. This was an inspiring and encouraging sharing. It enabled me to refocus by not continuing to look horizontally. May God bless Adele for sharing her testimony. God is unstoppable!

  21. Wow ! and Yes nothing is too hard for the Lord!

    • Thank you for this inspiring life lesson. I’m truly blessed by your story. God is truly all who He said that He is. Praise him for his faithfulness.
      God bless you.

  22. Thank you for sharing! Reading your story and watching the video of Synergy Village was humbling and inspiring. God bless you, your family and Synergy family <3

    • I am in a challenging marriage so seeing a couple working together its a miracle to me. God communicated to both of you knowing your different strengths and weaknesses and succeeded, and completed, in the work He talked to you both. He made His provisions available and kept you going despite the challenges and honestly declaring the lack of joy. But you prayed…. and He heard you.
      Thank you for sharing.

  23. This message is for anyone who is going through a difficult time and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. My son in law fell one morning in August soon after my daughter left for work. She found him on the floor with a dresser on top of him, that he had tried to pull up on to get back on his feet. He was in ICU for a couple of weeks, she lost her job, and then he was transferred to Indy to a more progressive hospital. He was confused, combatant and incoherent. After brain surgery and a few days short of 4 months, my son in law finally came home. He was doing great, getting stronger, but Dec 19th he had a seizure, fell and ended back up in the hospital. While back in a rehab unit after release from the hospital, again, confused combatant and incoherent, he fell and broke his hip. After moving from hospital, to rehab, back to hospital, he was finally released from a rehab hospital 2-1/2 wks. ago. He is no longer the man he was in Aug, he looks and acts like a man in his 70’s. Brian has been an alcoholic for 20+ years and my daughter joined him years ago. My hardest part was letting go and letting God do what He knew was best for my daughter and him. I can’t say he is whole and well at this point, and he may never be, but I think he has finally realized what happened was mostly by his choices. As I see him now, I see God working in him. It isn’t going to be quick but I’ve finally learned to let God do what needs to be done, and He doesn’t need my help. It is in the dark times that His light shines so brightly, which has brought me to a place of complete dependence. Now I wait for the victory to come.

  24. This is exactly what I needed today. This is such a confirmation of God’s grace and goodness . I have been so sad since my husband passed and I have prayed and prayed the pain is so great. I know I will still have that pain but I will look up now and not horizontal. Thank You

  25. Beautiful testimony of total dependence on God. Yes, even in Covid, we Christians can have joy if we focus on Jesus

  26. I was touched by the Story of Adele and Loren, thank you for sharing …also the hard times…and Gods Love towards them…in those times we don’t understand why we have to go through so much…we learn, that we have to fix our eyes on Jesus alone…not giving up..and we will make so many experiences with our unstoppable and all mighty God.

  27. Inspiring…!

  28. Thank you for IL your inspiring example!
    What a perfect example you are to Live out my favorite scripture: Nehemiah 8:10
    “The JOY of the Lord is my strength “…
    As you all serve Him; the Lord continue to give you strength, heal the broken-hearted and gives them Hope and Peace. May His JOY continually be your Strength 🙏

  29. Thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me to persevere and renew my faith that God is always in control. Blessings to you and your family as you serve as a beacon of light for others!

    • Thank you Paula! You can persevere with the Lord’s strength. May the Lord bless you and your family as well!

  30. Hello,
    I think this is something that my husband and I may want to do in Las Cruces, NM. How do we contact the Funk’s?

    • Hi Kathy! Bennett has forwarded me your email address. I will email you tomorrow! Can’t wait to discuss this with you.

      Blessings,
      Adele

  31. this humbles me. Send me Lord. Let me know when your calling me

  32. Glory to God. He is in control of everything. God is unstopable & He does umimaginable things. I habe a feeling that one day your son will stop usinh the wheelchair and walk again. Iam waiting for that testimony in Jesus name.

    • Oh thank you so much Janet. Your words are such an encouragement to us! I can’t wait to tell you fo that testimony one day! Much love to you. Adele

  33. A very encouraging and inspiring story that builds & strengthen my faith. Thank you for your sharing. May God bless you and your family abundantly

  34. This is so inspiring to know that people still have loving compassionate hearts. God bless you for having a understanding heart in opening a new world , new beginning for helping the homeless.

  35. Dear The Funk,
    Thanks so much for your love and faithfulness to respond to the teaching of God’s word.
    Your story is so inspiring which challenges my love and faith in action for our God through His people.
    May God be your everlasting Joy!

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