2019, Thankful It's Behind Us

The year of 2019 was a fantastic gift from our Heavenly Dad. It was an honor to be a small part of His work in this world as He brought healing, wholeness, and restoration in the lives of His beloved. We had the blessing of working in the trenches with over one hundred fathers, sons, men, and a few ladies as they experienced the mysterious and irrefutable truth of being sons and daughters of a good Dad!
     
However, 2019 was a hard year on just about every front. It was like a great physical and mental challenge that leaves you deeply thankful for overcoming it and also glad to be finished. We faced financial pressures in the business, which impacted the ministry. There were many health struggles, relational strains, gut-wrenching brokenness, and other unexpected battles in many areas. It was exhausting and yet amazing. Honestly, I am glad we are getting a break from it all.
   
Despite the battle, we experienced unexpected and providential growth in 2019. There were three Father and Son Quests, three Mighty Men trips, and one Women's Week out in Montana. Every trip was unique and full of adventure. Through lots of prayer and warfare, our Dad moved many hearts and worked perfectly in each life. Fathers were able to reconnect with their sons, and men were able to process what it means to live out being sons in true intimacy both at home and at work. The ladies learned about what it means to live as daughters of a perfect Dad, who pursues their hearts daily. Six sons and two men came to accept Jesus as their Savior. Exciting things happened in Ohio as well. We merged with Innkeeper Ministries to better utilize their facilities and increase the overall offering. Innkeeper already serves hundreds of pastors and missionaries by providing a quiet space for a sabbath rest - a vital and needed work! Due to this merger, we will now be able to offer much of what we do in Montana in Ohio, including solitude retreats, mother and daughter events, marriage weekends, pre-marital counseling, and pastoral training. We launched the TNF App, giving us the ability to provide content, post-Montana videos, and the TNF devotionals. We are excited about the possibilities that this app will create in the coming year.  
     
People who came were more diverse than any past year. We had folks from all walks of life, in different stages of their faith, and from various places around the USA. It did not matter if they were "churched or unchurched" or if they had good or bad relationships with their earthly dads. God impacted and changed many who faced the truth of being a son or daughter of a good Heavenly Dad. He took new territory as every person went home with the truth, an offer of a new life, and the hope and knowledge that they are loved and pursued.  
     
We felt our Dad's love through our fabulous hosts at the Burnt Fork Ranch. They loved us through their hospitality, generosity, and attention to every detail. We are so grateful, and we could not have asked for more than they gave. The beauty of the Ranch, the Bunk House, and the surrounding vistas make it a little slice of heaven on earth.
     
Our TNF Team this year was incredible. Besides the old guard of the Hartenstein Men (Chris, Judah, Jared, and Seth), Josh Lenon ("adopted" brother haha) and newly adopted sons Bill Hare and Michael Cassinari came out to help this summer. Bob Hartenstein (Chris' Dad) and Cory Carlson helped with the fall trips. Behind the scenes were our amazing wives and family: Ruth, Jan, Tiffany, Kristina, Linsley, Gabbi, Isa, Joe, Story, Emmy, and sweet Piper. No doubt we have to mention the team at Hartco and their hard work in Ohio throughout the summer and fall. New this year, we had an army of returning sons and some of their dads to serve each week. The mission and community they lived out and modeled was inspiring and a great representation of what we teach! Everyone was a blessing to me and the ministry. There was a unique and amazing part of our Dad's heart and love that each person expressed.
     
The cabin fundraiser was an epic success, and it was completed on time and under budget. It was an adventure! We saw crazy generosity and providential acts on our behalf. From the site planning to the cabin purchase, it has been evident that this is what our Dad wanted us to do. The funds came in "just as we needed them." The families who stayed in the cabin loved it! What a gift from our Dad.
     
So what did all of the struggle yield in 2019? As the Apostle John stated, "Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" ‭‭(John‬ ‭21:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬). I concur. The fruit of the hard year included: relational healing, financial freedom, deeper trust in our Dad's provision and heart, a unified team, stronger marriages, the cabin, one of Hartco's best years ever, the growth of young leaders, joy, peace, a deeper understanding of identity, and in the end, deeper intimacy with our Dad. All good fruit which could not have happened without the hard year. Although I am tired, I am also deeply grateful and excited for what He will do in 2020.  
     
In 2020, our focus will stay the same, but we plan to expand our reach. We will continue to focus on relationships between fathers and sons and men as they all learn how to become real men by stepping into deeper intimacy with their heavenly Dad as His sons. We plan to expand this mission more to women, mothers and daughters, and marriages. We want to do this in Montana and Ohio. Please pray we know how to adapt our teaching for each group of men and women and expand our staff. Thank you for your continued prayers, support, love, encouragement, and financial sacrifices in 2019. The year would not have been the same without you all! We are grateful for each of you, and we are excited to saddle up for a great adventure in 2020!

Calibration:
  1. Take a piece of paper.
  2. Make two columns. Label one column, "Hard" and the other "Good." 
  3.  List all the hard stuff that happened this year. 
  4.  List all of the good stuff that came from the struggle.
  5.  Rejoice, give thanks to our Dad for walking with you through it and for keeping His promise of making good of the hard in our lives. (Romans 8:28)  If some stuff is just hard right now and no good is obvious - pray for your eyes to be opened to see the good or continue to pray for His purposes to come about! He will make of the hard!

Have a happy New Year!

Chris Hartenstein 
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