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.