Friday, June 26, 2015

Everest VBS 2015

June 15 - 19 we had Everest VBS each evening at church!  This was such a fun theme and even though it was almost 100 degrees each night, we had fun pretending we were mountain climbers and working our way from base camp to the summit of Mt. Everest and learning truths about God along the way.  
Each night the kids started at Base Camp Sing & Play where the kids sang songs, watched a skit, met their Bible Buddy for the day and learned a new memory verse. Then they headed out for a rotation of "stations".  In Bible Expeditions, they got to experience a Bible story each night in an active, hands-on way.  At KidVid Cinemas, they got to watch movies about real kids in the real world who are living out their faith in really cool ways.  Imagination Station is where kids learn to remember each day's Bible point through hands-on, Science experiments.  Glacier Games gives kids the chance to run, jump, and splash through games that relate to each day's Bible lesson.  Mountaintop Treats is where kids come together to enjoy snacks that connect to each day's Bible lesson.  

During Everest VBS the kids had a Bible point that they learned each day.  It was a simple sentence that they can remember to help them not only learn truths about God but also be able to share about God with their friends and families.  During Everest VBS, kids learned:
* God has the power to provide
* God has the power to comfort
* God has the power to heal
* God has the power to forgive
* God has the power to love us forever

Each night, we also collected a missions offering.  Due to the recent earthquake in Nepal which also affected and killed climbers on Mt. Everest, we decided to let our missions offering go to the relief efforts in Nepal.  We challenged the kids in a boys-vs-girls missions offering that went like this: 

If the boys brought in $100, then Kim & I would each take a pie in the face. 
If the girls brought in $100, then David & Curtis would each take a pie in the face. 
If the kids collectively raised $200, then our pastor agreed to take a pie in the face.  

The missions offering each night brought lots of participation and excitement from the kids.  It was awesome to be able to connect that through their missions offering, their money would help provide for the people of Nepal, bring comfort to them, and help them heal.  On Sunday morning, the congregation gave $74.00 toward the missions offering.  Each night at VBS, the kids brought in lots of change and dollar bills and on Friday night, we had raised a total of 
$467.35 to help the people of Nepal!!!!!!  So.........
we all got a pie in the face...and it was SO worth it! 







Hands & Feet Ministry

One of the things the Lord had really laid on our hearts awhile back was to reach out to our local community and be His hands and feet to the people here.  After much prayer and talking it over with leadership, we started the "Hands & Feet" Ministry.
Using agriculturally worthless land, land that often lays in floodplains or other rural properties, developers create unincorporated subdivisions.  They divide the land into small lots, put in little or no infrastructure, then sell them to low-income individuals seeking affordable housing.  These areas are called "colonias".  Colonia residents generally have very low incomes and often buy the lots through a contract deed, a property financing method whereby developers typically offer a low down payment and low monthly payments but no title to the property until the final payment is made.  Houses in colonias are generally constructed in phases by their owners and may lack electricity, plumbing, and other basic amenities.  Colonia residents build homes as they can afford materials or will put really old campers on the property.  One of the greatest concerns regarding the colonias is the lack of wastewater infrastructure and potable water.  Many colonias do not have sewer systems.  Instead, residents must rely on alternative, often inadequate wastewater disposal methods.
We are going out to these colonias to help meet needs.  We have made a connection with Community in Schools and they give us contact information for families who are in need in our area.  Then we go out and assess their situation and see how we can help.  We currently have several families in these areas that we are working with to help provide hygiene items, clothing, food, or help with light construction projects that may need to be done at these homes.  Through meeting physical needs and forming relationships with these families, we are then able to share Christ with them and invite them to church or set up a home Bible study with them.  

We currently have no budget for this ministry and rely solely on donations from others to make this ministry possible at this point.  Please pray for the Lord to continue to provide what we need to be able to meet these needs.  Also pray for this new ministry that the Lord will continue to grow it and open more doors so we can keep meeting physical needs and spiritual needs as we share the love of Jesus with our local community in this way.  

Knitted Together

A few months ago, Abbey came to us and said she felt like our church should start a women's craft group.  Abbey has always been a "crafty" girl.  Her grandmother ("Meager") taught her to crochet and she quickly caught on and has continued to learn new techniques on her own.  A lady at church taught her to knit and after 2 lessons, she knitted a huge blanket for our family.  She loves drawing and painting and she always has a crochet or knit project going. We explained to Abbey that if the Lord was leading her to do that, she should spend time in prayer really seeking the Lord's will for this.  She prayed over it and a few weeks later, she talked with the pastor of our church about it.  He was very encouraging to her and told her that if the Lord was leading her to do that ministry, then she should start it.  So, at the age of 14, Abbey began her first ministry called "Knitted Together".

Every Tuesday evening, ladies of all ages (from young girls to senior citizens) come together at the fellowship hall for a time of crafting, snacks, and fellowship. This weekly gathering is also open to ladies from the community and serves as an outreach tool as well.  There are usually several tables of ladies.  Some of the ladies will be knitting or crocheting together, others working on beaded jewelry, younger girls making rubber band bracelets or doing fashion design templates, some ladies just enjoy sitting at tables fellowshipping with ladies and not necessarily working on anything, etc.

The beauty of it is that young girls are learning from older women, ladies share their knowledge of crafts they enjoy and it's been fun to see ladies learning from each other, it gives ladies a time each week to time to come together and just enjoy each other's company and make new friends.  Knitted Together has been very well attended each week and several ladies have expressed their appreciation for Abbey taking the initiative to start this new ministry.  We are very proud of her for following the Lord's leading and taking the proper steps to start this new women's ministry for our church and community.


Life Update

We realize it has been quite a while since our last update and we apologize for that.  We are going to be more faithful about posting updates here.  We realize many of you are faithfully helping "hold the rope" (through prayers and finances) for us to be here doing full-time mission work and ministry and we want to be faithful in keeping you updated as well.
Sometimes in life we deal with real floods, like the recent flooding Texas is experiencing, and other times we deal with spiritual floods where it feels like all you can do is keep your head above the water.  Ministry is not always easy.  Overcoming the attacks of the enemy in our own lives so we can be effective ministers of the gospel, facing discouragement and frustration, and constantly battling the influence of the world can make you feel like you are struggling to stay above water.

In those times in our lives, it is good for us to remember text like 2nd Timothy 4:7 where Paul reminds Timothy "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness."  No matter what we face, we must remember to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  Pray that as we continue following the Lord's calling on our lives to do full-time mission work and ministry, we too can have the same words as Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7.

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Ministry Update

This has been one of the busiest months we have had thus far in Student Ministry.  Our calendar was packed with opportunities to fellowship with the kids, weekly worship services, Discipleship classes, fun outings together and more.  The 6th-12th grade guys are enjoying their time together hanging out, playing games and eating "man foods" at "Man Cave" each month and this month the 6th-12th grade girls learned to make hand-stamped stationary during "Shine", their monthly fellowship gathering.   We are enjoying every moment we get to spend with our students and ask that you continue to keep them covered in prayers as they live out their Christian faith in their homes, schools, families, and community.  We had many opportunities to participate in ministry outreach events this month as well.
SANDCASTLE DAYS
South Padre Island hosts a professional sandcastle building competition each year in October.  It always draws a huge crowd out to the island and the sandcastles are absolutely stunning.  This year we took 8 adults and 16 Kindergarten-5th grade students to do a "beach outreach" at Sandcastle Days.  They handed out tracts and invitations to our church to people who were at the event. It was almost 100 degrees this day and it was so hot walking around out there but that didn't stop these kids. They loved it and we were so encouraged by their excitement and enthusiasm to reach people in this simple way.  Afterwards, one of the church members treated all the kids and adults to a nice, cold ice cream cone to end the fun afternoon.  
FIELDS OF FAITH
On Wednesday night, October 8, Los Fresnos High School FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) hosted "Fields of Faith" at the high school football stadium.  This is a student-led event that is open to the entire community.  Students came together and shared their testimonies, enjoyed a live praise & worship band, shared their struggles and challenged their peers to stand strong for Jesus Christ, gave a gospel message presentation, and closed the evening with time spent in prayer.  We were invited to help with this event and were asked to be counselors for students at the end of the event.  It was an amazing night and we were so encouraged to see so many students participate in this event.  
CONCLAVE STUDENT MINISTRY CONFERENCE
Our church allowed us to go to Conclave, a 3 day conference for Student Ministry in Arlington, TX.  We had never been to this part of Texas so we enjoyed getting to see new parts of our state and Arlington was a neat town too.  Our hotel was right beside Six Flags, the Texas Rangers baseball field, and the Dallas Cowboys stadium. The conference was incredible and we learned so much from our time there.  They offered 3 main conference sessions of worship & then a speaker who challenged us, encouraged us, made us laugh, and made us examine our hearts and the reasoning behind our methods.  We attended 8 break-out sessions (individualized classes on one specific topic) and we took separate classes during these so we could cover more material and information that way and we got to visit with over 90 exhibitors who have products designed specifically for Student Ministry.  We came back so encouraged, excited and full of new ideas and ways to reach our students and their families for Jesus Christ!  
OVERNIGHT IN SAN ANTONIO
The conference ended mid-afternoon on Wednesday so we drove halfway back and stopped in San Antonio for the night.  Gretta's cousin had graciously given us a hotel room on the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio for the evening and we were blessed to get to stop there for the night as we had never been to San Antonio either.  The next morning, we got up and spent a few hours downtown and on the Riverwalk.  We got to tour the Alamo and being History buffs, we loved seeing this historic landmark.  One of our close friends from church had told David to make sure we visited "the basement" of the Alamo so after we toured the building, walked the gardens, and saw the gift shop, we asked a Park Ranger where the entrance to the basement was.....yep, there is no basement!  Evidentally, that is one of the oldest jokes in Texas history but being from Alabama, we fell for it hook, line, and sinker!  We all had a good laugh about it though and will always remember there is no basement in the Alamo for sure.  

5th QUARTER
Our church hosted a 5th Quarter after the home football game in October.  We offer hot dogs with chili and all the toppings, nachos and cheese, and drinks for free to the students, families and anyone in our community after the football game ends. We play Christian music, have all kinds of games they can play, we give away a couple of gift cards as door prizes, and they enjoy food and fellowship. This month, one of our missionary friends from To Every Tribe, came and gave the gospel message to the students as well.  We had 92 students (not counting students who attend our church) that came for this event and they stayed until after midnight.  We were so excited by this great turnout and we use the information from door prize slips to go do home visitations afterwards.  
TRUNK -OR - TREAT
Since Halloween is on a Friday night this year, and our local high school has a home football game that night, our church decided to host a "Trunk-or-Treat" on Wednesday before Halloween.  This was a new event for our church as they had never done one of these before but they quickly caught on to the idea.  Let us just say...our church rocks!!  They showed up big and made it a great time of free family fun for the people in our community.  We had about 15 decorated cars where kids could get candy, carnival games, 2 inflatable bounce houses, face painting, a train ride, and a puppet show that shared the message of salvation 5 different times.  One car even gave away a bilingual children's Bible and we got information cards filled out so we can do home visitations in the next few weeks and follow-up from this outreach event.  It was so much fun to be together as a church reaching out to families in our community in a fun and festive way. 

FAMILY LIFE
The kids continue to do well with homeschool lessons and are also staying busy with student ministry activities for their ages too.  They are going to start karate lessons and they are all 3 excited to learn this martial art. A local Christian karate studio in town offers FREE karate lessons to students and we are so thankful the kids have the opportunity to learn this valuable skill.  Wyatt hit a big milestone this month also as he started reading!  He has severe Dyslexia and Dysgraphia and we have worked on his reading for almost 4 years with him.  We are rejoicing that he is now reading books and that he is excited to read to everyone that will listen.  

This year, we will not be going home for Thanksgiving or Christmas and this will be the first holiday season we haven't been back in Alabama.  It will certainly be hard to be apart from our families and friends back home and not doing the family things we are accustomed to during Christmas, especially for our kids.  However, it is all worth it though because of what the Lord is allowing us to do in the lives of our students, their families, our church, and our community here in Los Fresnos.  


PARTNER WITH US
We appreciate the cards, texts, and emails you send our way.  Your prayers, encouragement, and support mean so very much to our family.  It is so refreshing and encouraging to go to the mailbox and find a card or care package.  We truly appreciate each of you who remember us.  

We are still partially funded by missionary support. We appreciate those of you who so generously give to help support our family.  If you would like to help support our family as we continue serving in ministry and missions here at the Tex-Mex border, you may send your support to:  

First Baptist Church
300 E. Ocean Blvd.
Los Fresnos, TX 78566
You can either write on the check that it is for our family or attach a note to let them know the money is designated for us. 

PRAYER REQUESTS


  • Pray for those who are persecuted for Christ's sake here at the TX-Mex border that they will remain strong and firm in their faith in Jesus Christ.    
  • Pray for the Lord to continue to bless our efforts in ministry and mission work as we reach out to our students, families, and local community. 



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

August Ministry Update

STUDENT MINISTRY 
Our Student Ministry has officially begun and we have been very busy but having so much fun working with these students, their families and our community here at the TX-Mex border.  In the month of August, we had our "Parent's Meeting", took the kids to a Christian music concert, had our first "Man Cave" (a guys-only time of fellowship) and "Shine" (a girls-only time of fellowship), held our first "5th Quarter" after the first home football game for our town and we are holding a Contemporary Worship service each Sunday morning geared toward our students.
 

TEACHING & DISCIPLESHIP

One of our main goals in working with these students is that they get a good Biblical foundation, understand what being a Christian means, and fully equip them to be able to share their faith with others.  To help accomplish these goals, are using "Explore the Bible" on Sunday mornings and are leading them on a book-by-book journey through scripture so that they understand each book of the Bible, the context in which it was written, and what they can learn from it.  Wednesday nights their class is "Biblical Foundations" focused on teaching them the essential truths of the Christian faith in a simple and life-changing way.  We also have 9 students who are currently taking a 13-week Discipleship program for students every Sunday afternoon.  It is our desire that the students that come through our ministry, be firm in their beliefs, equipped to share the gospel with others, and ready to be disciplemakers wherever God leads them in the world.  

Partner With Us

We appreciate the cards, texts, and emails you send our way.  Your prayers, encouragement, and support mean so very much to our family.  It is so refreshing and encouraging to go to the mailbox and find a card or care package.  We truly appreciate each of you who remember us.

We are still partially funded by missionary support. We appreciate those of you who so generously give to help support our family.  If you would like to help support our family as we continue serving in ministry and missions here at the Tex-Mex border, you may send your support to:  
First Baptist Church
300 E. Ocean Blvd.
Los Fresnos, TX 78566
You can either write on the check that it is for our family or attach a note to let them know the money is designated for us.
 

Prayer Requests:

  •  Please continue to pray for our students and their families.  Many of our students come from homes where they are the only believer. Pray for open doors for us to be able to witness to these families and for our students to be bold in sharing their faith with their families.
  • Please continue to pray for us as we minister here in Los Fresnos that the Lord will lead and guide our every action.  
  •  Pray that the Lord will continue to supply our needs as we continue mission work and ministry here at the TX-Mex border.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

June Update

Vacation Bible School 

June 16 - 20 our church hosted "Weird Animals VBS" for kids ages Kindergarten - 5th grade.  We had over 100 kids attend VBS this year and we had a great time with them throughout the week.  We taught in the "Imagination Station" again this year and since this year's theme was about animals, we were zany zookeepers!  Each night, we introduced the kids to some weird and amazing animals God has created (like a panda ant and a blobfish), taught them weird animal facts (for example, polar bears are left-handed), and did a hands-on Science experiment that taught the kids a Bible lesson and a Bible point to remember.  We had so much fun with the kids and loved teaching them about Jesus and the Bible using fun, hands-on methods.  

Camp Zephyr - Youth Camp


Last week we were blessed to be able to be sponsors (chaperones) for a week of church camp at Camp Zephyr in Sandia, Texas.  Our church took 38 kids (grades 7-12) to camp for a week where they learned about identity found in Christ, being a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), what being the "bride of Christ" looks like and much more.  They had high-energy recreation games each day, Bible study sessions, afternoon free time of ropes course, waterfront activities, paintball games, church group time, late night activities and more.  It was incredible to see God working in the lives of the youth this week and 9 of the youth came to know the Lord as their Savior!  Camp is not a mountain high....it is a launch pad and we are excited to see these kids come back home excited about reaching their families, friends and community with the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  Pray for boldness and strength for them to endure the fiery darts of temptation as they impact others for Christ and continue to grow closer to Christ each day. 

Partner With Us


We are very excited to report that we are at 76% of our monthly support needs!  We appreciate each of you who so generously give to help support our family each month.

We would love to be at 100% by the end of July.  If you would like to help support our family as we continue serving in ministry and missions here at the Tex-Mex border, you may send your monthly support to:

First Baptist Church
300 E. Ocean Blvd.
Los Fresnos, TX 78566

You can either write on the check that it is for our family or attach a note to let them know the money is designated for us.
 

Prayer Requests:

  • We are taking 19 kids (3rd - 6th grades) to Camp Zephyr July 21 - 25 for their week of church camp.  Pray for safe travels, lots of fun and most of all, for the kids to grow spiritually throughout the week.  
  • Pray for us as we continue to develop the Student Ministry (kindergarten - college age) within our church.  Pray that the Lord will continue to give us wisdom and insight as we plan and prepare and that in everything we do the kids will be drawn closer to the Lord and grow spiritually.  
  • After much prayer, we have decided to continue homeschooling our children.  Pray for Gretta as she begins to plan and prepare for the kids new school year.