Alex Sudan can’t decide how she feels about moving to Michigan. Some days she’s scared, some leave her hopeful, but mostly she just wonders how in the world she got to this place.
Her husband, Jason, is the instigator. When Adam Thomason, a former pastor at The Village Church, decided to move his family to Flint, Michigan, two years ago, Jason prayed for them and their ministry.
That prayer evolved into a quiet vision, and eventually Jason felt compelled to take a trip with his brother-in-law to Detroit. Then Jason went again, taking Alex and their newborn daughter, Hallie, to the city he was slowly falling in love with.
“Ever since my first trip there I wanted to move. The difference was taking a dream of mine and praying about it,” Jason said.
Alex was more wary.
She didn’t see the practicality of leaving the only church community they’d known as a married couple to traipse to the other side of the country with their infant daughter.
“One source of tension for us is that I’m a dreamer, and she’s more practical,” Jason said.
Michigan was compelling, though, and God had an impractical plan in store. “[Praying] coupled with going several times, you continue to see the people and see the need,” Alex said.
But why go at all?
Jason honestly didn’t know. “We idolize comfort. We have a house, a kid, a good income, our family is here. There’s no reason to leave,” he said.
God kept nudging Jason’s heart with this theme of comfort – why he pursued it and what it meant.
Eventually Jason reconciled his idolization. “I realized I wasn’t passionate about many things...nothing excited me more than God. [I thought] what if our family lived out Acts 2:42-47?”
After days of praying and weeping together, the Sudans made a decision.
In the summer of 2012, they stepped down from the Home Group they were leading, left The Village and started attending Antioch Community Church with the intention of moving to Michigan as part of a church plant.
“It was like tearing flesh from flesh,” Jason said in regard to leaving The Village.
Alex continued, “[But] it’s not about The Village Church, it’s about God. We got to experience that firsthand because they were saying ’Go do that, we want the gospel known in our country.’ The Village lived that out.”
The Sudans’ specific mission is still ambiguous, but they know God is calling.
“We felt really confident in God calling us. It was hard, but there was a lot of grace,” Alex said. “There’s a draw to living outside something we’re familiar with; there’s an adventurous side to it.”
Over the next year they will be trained and equipped in the ways of church planting and grow into the roles God is calling them to play in their new body, their new home.
It will be anything but comfortable. But Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 that discomfort too has a purpose:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Before, Jason didn’t know how to answer the questions of “Why Michigan?” and “Why move at all?”
He knows now.
“When your kids ask you, ’Why did you move up here?’ I can say, ’God changed our lives, and we wanted to share the gospel with other people.’” Jason said. “I want people to know Jesus is more important than our comfort.”