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One more year (Pt.I)

Dear family and friends, 

Augustine once wrote, “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it…I do not know.” The older one becomes the quicker the leaves seem to change their color. It really does feel like the past 3 years in Chicagoland have gone by in a blink. Here’s a brief update from our family:

Maya & Kara. They remain the best of friends. I wish I could put into words the joy of seeing them play together for hours in a local park. They both started preschool. It has been a gift to watch them grow, learn, and form relationships with other children. Maya’s imagination and speaking skills are off the charts! At one point one of her teachers told me that they waited 5 minutes for her to join the classroom circle so she could finish an elaborate story she had mapped out with felt people, Barbies, trucks, etc. Kara has also flourished in preschool. She has an uncanny level of focus and a unique set of athletic skills. Our friend Chelsie from small group happens to be a gymnastics coach and she assisted Kara in doing a “circle” in the bar of a jungle gym not once, not twice, but three times! (It’s hard not to speak about your kids with superlatives you know?) The dark side of preschool has been that our family has fallen ill with colds and viruses an absurd amount of times. These bouts with sickness were probably our greatest challenge this past year but we pray that everyone’s immune system is built up and ready to face next year’s Midwest germs.

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Cassie. What can I say about this marvelous woman? We have certainly had our ups and downs through the year but she continues to grow more beautiful in every way. I loved her when we got married but now 10 years in, it feels like that love should have a different name because it pales in comparison to the love I have for her today. She’s carried so much of the weight at home while I study and I work. She has been a constant source of encouragement and wisdom. She is a wonderful mother, relentlessly learning, creating, and striving to disciple our girls for the future.

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Among other things, this past year I hit a deer. I was alone while the beast leapt from the thick of the forest and pounced onto the front of my vehicle (the story gets more dramatic the further removed I am from it). I am so grateful for his protection and for how the Lord provided another car for nearly the same amount of money the insurance gave us. Cassie and I miss our family and friends from Florida dearly, but we have formed some wonderful friendships with incredible people in Chicagoland. We are grateful for our family away from home, for our mentors, for our small group, for our church, and for all the unique experiences the Lord is giving us during this season in the Midwest.

What’s next? We'd love to know as well. Carlos has one more year of studies to go. Could you pray with us about what the Lord may have for us in the future?

We miss you, and we thank you for your love.

Carlos & Cassie Lollett

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Dear family and friends, 

It’s been two years since our family moved up to Chicago so I could attend seminary at TEDS (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). I’d love to give you a general update on some of what God has done and is doing in our life with regards to ministry. If you’re looking for an update on our family you can click here!
 
"How's seminary going?" In short, TEDS has been fantastic. The students I’ve met, the leaders from around the globe, the world-class faculty, the outstanding education... I can’t say enough about how privileged I feel to attend this institution. It’s not a perfect seminary, but it is a great one. My time at TEDS has helped to dispel the notion that seminary is a cemetery for people in ministry. In fact, some of the sharpest, strongest, most devoted leaders and pastors I’ve come across in my life I have met at TEDS or because of TEDS. Here I have found friendships, mentorship, opportunities, and outstanding biblical and theological education. Outside of the incredible courses, being a part of the Mosaic Ministries Cohort on campus (where we get to reflect, learn, and discuss some of the most difficult topics in regards to racial reconciliation) has been a transformative experience. I am also very grateful to work as a graduate assistant for Dr. Jared E. Alcántara. Cassie and I praise God for the following highlights from this year (both past and upcoming):

  • I was honored with the “Arley L. Bragg Pastoral Award” at the end of this year. This award is given to a student that models the pastoral gifts from the late Pastor Arley L. Bragg. The late Reverend was known for his powerful, biblical preaching, warm pastoral personality and as one who took a personal interest in and had concern for others, whether parishioners or students.
  • I get to coordinate an evangelistic event with Luis Palau and the EFCA denomination for Hispanic churches in the area. The event will take place in October at the Trinity campus. We are praying that God may use this moment to bring many people to come to know Jesus! Carlos will also get to lead worship at the event. 
 Christmas at TEDS

Christmas at TEDS

 Dr. Charlie Dates teaching one of my favorite classes at TEDS. 

Dr. Charlie Dates teaching one of my favorite classes at TEDS. 

 The Arley L. Bragg Award

The Arley L. Bragg Award

 Maya & Kara playing with the TEDS Pulpit

Maya & Kara playing with the TEDS Pulpit

"What about Church ministry?" I have the joy of preaching and leading worship at Heritage Church in Lake Zurich. I am deeply grateful for the relationships and the love our family has experienced through Heritage. Both our previous and current Senior pastor, the staff, and congregation have cared for our family and encouraged us to flourish as a family, and to cherish this season of full-time studies. When Cassie and I reflect on how the Lord led us to Heritage (which at the time was Harvest Bible Chapel Lake Zurich), we can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Though ministry at Heritage is my priority, I also have the privilege to preach and lead worship in different churches and conferences. THANK YOU JESUS! For instance, I was invited to speak at the Legacy Conference in Chicago this upcoming July and I am thrilled to deliver one of the workshops. Would you please pray for me as I prepare for the conference, and as I minister both at our home church and other places?
 

 Preaching at Heritage Church

Preaching at Heritage Church

 Preaching at the Trinity College Chapel

Preaching at the Trinity College Chapel

I am at the halfway point of seminary. Thank you for your prayers and for loving our family during this season. Cassie and I miss you. If you’d like to keep us in your prayers (which is something we long for), I wrote a small list of prayer requests at the bottom of this post. 

In Christ, 

Carlos Lollett

Prayer requests: 

  • For greater closeness and intimacy with the Lord. Most of all, Cassie and I just want to be Christians who are close to Jesus and authentically live out our faith. 

  • For wisdom as parents, and for our daughters to come to know Jesus. 

  • For strength and focus as I embark on the remaining half of seminary education. I desire to take it all in. I want to do my best while also being faithful to my responsibilities as a husband, dad, and pastor. 

  • For God to continue to provide for our family financially as we finish these last two years of seminary.  

  • For God to use me and guide me as I minister at Heritage Church and other places.

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Dear family and friends, 

We have reached the halfway point of seminary. Two years have passed since the Lord called us to move from the warmth of Miami skies to the warmth of Chicago sweaters, so we thought it’d be a good time to fill you in on what God has done, and is doing in our family. We haven’t written a sizable update since we moved to Chicago so we believed it’d be wise to make up for the lack of mass communication by composing a 7 page blog. I kid, of course :) 

First, the girls. Maya & Kara are doing extremely well. They are best friends. They play, dance, sing, and everything in between. Maya will be 4 years old this September, and Kara already turned 2 this past February! Can you believe it? It reminds me of when C.S. Lewis wrote in Prince Caspian, “Isn’t funny day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different…” It feels like Kara just started walking not so long ago, but is now successfully climbing the rock walls at the 5-year-old playground. It feels like Maya just uttered her first “Mami”, but is now having full imaginary conversations with her Meenah from the movie Sing. We are certainly transitioning into that stage where we have to carefully consider our daughter’s education, activities, relationships, etc. Parenting may be the simultaneously most rewarding, joyful, and formidable adventure of our lives.

  • Please pray that God would help us be a witness of his unconditional love in their lives, and that he may give us the wisdom to make great decisions on their education, activities, etc. 

Second, Cassie. This amazing woman of God is like fine wine…yeah, you know comes next :) We were worried about the loneliness of moving to an area where we had no family, especially since the girls were so young and they wouldn’t have any of their abuelos, abuelas, tías or tíos around to love on them, and to also call for help in times of need. Though we have faced moments where we deeply miss our family and friends, and though we have had episodes where we have shed tears from the grief of losing touch with our relationships back in Miami, God has lifted our eyes, given us strength, and provided Cassie and I with AMAZING friends from our church, seminary, and even other churches from the city, that have become our family in Chicagoland. Cassie stays at home full-time, in part because we’d break even if we put both of our girls in daycare, and also because we desire to spend as much time as possible educating, and shaping our daughters in these early stages of their life.

  • Please pray that God would give us discernment as Cassie considers further education and training so she can go back to work once the girls go to school in the future. 

Third, our marriage. Because Chicago can get so cold, Cassie is constantly drawn to Carlos’ comforting arms, and this has led to…sorry, I couldn’t help myself. We have shared some amazing moments in Chicago, both as a couple, and also as young parents.  Though we will celebrate our 10 year anniversary in July, we have experienced many firsts; First time we’ve lived away from our families, first time we’ve experienced the simultaneous coziness and melancholy of a cold Christmas, first time we’ve woken up to a dirty diaper spread across the girls’ room, first time we’ve had to live with me working part-time, first time we experienced having no other relationships to go to at a moment’s notice, but God alone. One of the verses God pointed us to when we made the decision to move was John 15:2 “…every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” We believe we are in the midst of a beautiful season of preparation (not only from a seminary standpoint, but from a family standpoint) for whatever assignment God has next.

  • Please pray that God helps us to continue to grow in our love for each other, and that he continue to shape us into the couple he wants us to become. 

Even in the loneliest and coldest winter nights, whenever we asked ourselves “Did God really call us to Chicago?” God has answered with a resounding “Yes”. We are grateful for this time of growth, and look forward to learning from God over the next two years of seminary. 

We miss you, and we thank you for your love. 

Carlos & Cassie Lollett

P.S. For a ministry update from Carlos please click here

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