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. Joyce

    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. Elaine Chu

    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. Clare Coffey

    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. Pam Morgan

    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!

    • Cynthia D Willis

      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. Modi Masokovere

    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. Terri Waters

    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. Winnie Muchui

    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. Mardi Newman

    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. GWENDOLYN MORRIS

    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. Gina Dennis

    PTL! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Diane

    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.

    • Bennett Rolan

      Thanks Diane! We will make that adjustment moving forward.

  12. Danielle Acyatan

    Inspiring and challenging

  13. Sandra Salazar

    Thank you for sharing your story! Very inspirational!

  14. Toni Poindexter

    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. Pat Whalen

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

    • Carmela Sgalambro

      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.

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