We at The Rock Church love the Urbanowski family. Mark, Jenn and their growing family have been with us from the first few months of The Rock Church plant. We’ve watched this family grow with the birth of their precious Elise and more recently, baby Hannah. Having grown with this family for the last two years, I find that this is probably the last time that I get to share a family meal and a couple of their stories with such an awesome family. - Lorraine Yeung
Mark: "I wasn’t married to Jenn yet so being posted 18 hours away from her, I wasn’t sure that our relationship would last and the chances of getting married to her were significantly reduced. I believed that God called me up north and because it didn’t happen straight away, I questioned whether I heard God correctly. I guess my pride was hurt. I wasn’t sure Jenn would trust me about anything else because of it”.
In spite of Mark’s fears, God proved Himself to be bigger than circumstances. Mark and Jenn exchanged their vows before Christ a year later. Jenn and her beautiful daughter Chloe moved to Squamish in 2008 and began their new life as a family together. - LY
Getting into community
Jenn: "Because a lot of people who live in Squamish are not from Squamish, we noticed the first few questions people ask are “How long have you been here?” and, “What brings you here?” It sometimes felt like the people you connected with didn’t want to commit. Many people are only here for one or two years before leaving again.
When I first came to one of The Rock’s Sunday gatherings, I think I sighed and felt at home. Since then I have been blessed to establish real and meaningful relationships, not just acquaintances or social relationships. Everybody seems to love everyone. Everybody just fits. I didn’t have to work to fit in or do something to be “a part of the club.”
Everyone loved us for all our quirkiness. I love being able to keep growing together with everyone: I can go to our small group and laugh and cry with everybody, and that’s okay!"
Mark: "It’s nice to know everyone really cares. I feel for the most part that everybody in the family pulls their weight. Everybody cares about each other’s story.”
Being gospel intentional
Undoubtedly, from their many stories, the Urbanowski family had lots of ministry opportunities in Squamish along with kingdom building relationships with the church body in Squamish.
Jenn is far from shy about her faith and tries to live a life that is not ashamed of who she follows and trusts. Those who have been blessed with Jenn’s company know, she is great for sharing stories of what God has done in and is doing in her life. - LY
Jenn: "We love to share a lot about what God is doing and how He has answered our prayers. As a result, we’re starting to see people demanding a gospel explanation. People know that we’re believers and we bring up our kids in the faith. I’ve been asked questions like, “How do you go about that?” and “What does that look like?” At Mark's work, people are curious to know why he doesn’t curse and has a strong faith."
Mark: "At work I’m known as ‘the-cop-who-doesn’t-swear’ and even ‘The Nicest Cop in Squamish’! When I’m dealing with the more unpleasant people, I still desire to treat them with respect. I try to seek out Gospel opportunities and had times where I have been able to pray with people and encourage them that there is someone who can and would like to help them."
Obedience is worth it!
Mark: "When faced with confrontation, I used to withdraw a bit. When I felt the call of God to grab the reigns and be a leader, I grabbed them too tight at first. Instead of being a servant leader, I leaned towards being an overbearing dictator. Nowadays, I’m fighting my natural instincts to withdraw from confrontation, but still grab the bull by it’s horns. God is teaching me the balance of being a servant leader.
I've had parenting challenges too but God is teaching me to be like the "Father" that He is to us. It’s been rewarding because I know God is teaching me. I know that I’ll still make more mistakes than I want to. I'm trying to listen and be submissive to Christ. I know He will teach me and I’ll continue to be more blessed as I follow. Nothing is quite as rewarding as seeing the blessing of submitting to our Heavenly Father and doing what He has called us to do."
Jenn: "It’s funny, earlier this year I gave a card to Mark for Father’s day. On the front it read, “It’s so safe to follow in your footsteps.”
When I look back, I marvel at how much God has changed me and where He has taken me. I look back four years ago and remember a time that I would have not been able to give Mark that card. I believe it’s so important to be available to what God is doing in your life.
I’m also so grateful that God has graced us with great resources, mentors and people who have kept us in prayer."
Answering the call
When Mark got notice of this transfer, he knew what he was leaving. “Maybe just one more year,” Mark hoped.
For Mark, so much growth happened In Squamish. - LY
Mark: "Like all things that are worthwhile, they take a lot of heart break. Despite the challenges that we mentioned with our marriage and with our time here, if we left here happily, it would be a bad sign. It would mean that we really withdrew and didn’t have our hearts here. It’s unfortunate that it took us as long as it did to for us to establish ourselves in Squamish. It’s been worth it though."
Mark said he feels called to Prince Rupert. He doesn't know what God has in store for his family in Prince Rupert. Regardless, both Mark and Jenn know and trust that whatever it may be, it will lead to God's glory and their joy.
Jenn said she cannot deny that God placed their family in Squamish for a season to prepare them for their commission to Prince Rupert. - LY
HOW CAN WE PRAY FOR YOU WHILE YOU ARE ON MISSION IN PRINCE RUPERT?
Mark: "Pray that we would be more gospel intentional. I've also been challenged to be the head of the home so pray that I can lead my family to live out our faith to family, neighbors and the community. The goal is to do things in such a way that demand a gospel explanation."
Jenn: "That God’s purposes would absolutely prevail in our lives."
Mark: "Anything that starts, does so with a certain reputation. The Rock Church is known for it’s community. I would encourage the people that make up The Rock to continue in the tradition of loving one another and being a part of one another’s lives. It’s about really caring like it says in Romans 12. Don’t just pretend to love one another, really love one another."