I’m going to be a dad + the most amazing last two weeks in HSM

1 02 2012

There are a lot of exciting things going on right now in my life. My wife is pregnant, 36 students accepted Christ two weeks ago in Student Ministries, and 105 students expressed interest in going to Haiti with HSM this summer this past week. I feel like there is a movement going on in Student Ministries and there is definitely a bunch of new and exciting adventures going on at my house (like not getting any sleep because my wife moves around all night trying to get comfy. She is so insensitive!).

Here’s the story I shared with HSM two weeks ago:

Back in September of last year my wife and I realized something was missing from our life. We were really happy with how everything was going. We both had great jobs, awesome friends, an amazing marriage, a cute dog, and an unwavering faith but we still felt like something was missing.

 November rolled around and I went on a mini vacation with a few friends and when I got back my wife told me that she bought me something. I asked her what it was and she said a new shirt. I was thinking, “man she is excited about this new shirt she got me.” But my wife loves buying people gifts so I kind of brushed that aside. As she went to go get the shirt she told me to close my eyes and when I could hear that she was about 8 feet away from she said, “alright open them.” There in front of me was my wife holding up a little baby outfit. 

 The first thing I said was “that’s not going to fit me.” And she said “Can you just be serious for once?” So I focused in and asked her if she was pregnant. She said yes, we hugged, texted our parents and a few friends and sometime around July 20th I’m going to be a dad. The thing that was missing for us was a kid. We were ready to be parents, we felt like God was pushing us in that direction and the thing that was missing for us will no longer be missing in a few months.

This then led into a message about something missing in our lives and for a lot of people the missing component is Jesus Christ. This has been one of the most exciting couple of weeks in my life and I still feel like the best is yet to come!

Here’s a little recap of the lat two weeks.

Series: We are in the middle of our series on the Armor of God called “Ridiculousness”. On Jan. 8th we taught a message right out of Perry Noble’s (senior pastor at Newspring Church) book telling our students that Found People Find People. We encouraged them to invite their friends back on January 22nd. (We also started a pretty big buzz on social media surrounding that day by asking our students to hash tag everything with #J22. It was really cool to see them rally around that.) They responded in a huge way and that weekend 36 students that we know about texted us and told us they were ready to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The following week we encouraged students to move forward with what God has equipped them with and serve. In response to a one of our three new service initiatives in HSM that were presented to our students this past weekend, 105 of them said they wanted to go to Haiti with us this summer. They responded to the vision to take action.

Worship: Jan 22- The team opened with a song by Rhianna (We Found Love) and played Awake my Soul by Mumford and Sons halfway through the message. Kevin and I had a blast incorporating music into the message and the students really responded. They then finished with an awesome song of celebration called Freedom is Here.The goal was to create an environment that a student who has never been in the doors of a church would feel comfortable in.

Jan 29- Hear the Sound. Oh My God. From the Inside Out. One Thing Remains. Tyler led and did a great job!!

Fun: Jan 22- Played a couple Minute to Win It games that went really well. Jan 29- Played a game that ended with Steve S. (one of our apprentices) with whip cream all over to him. The students lost it!!

Areas of Improvement: We need to bring this energy, excitement, vision, etc. EVERY WEEK! We saw our potential and now we know we can make that happen week in and week out. Time to get to work.


Haiti Update- Day 6

19 07 2011

All week we have been experiencing what God can do in us and through us when we serve. Today we got to experience God in a few different ways.

Our team took a 2 hour trip to a gorgeous beach in Jacmel and had our debrief meeting. We went over our highs and lows from the week, began to process all that we did, and spent some time sitting with God and being still in His presence.

Our leaders took some time to pray with each student and then sent them off to a time of relaxation and celebration. The beach was amazing, the water was refreshing, and the time spent with one another was so uplifting.

We also enjoyed some hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and pizza at the UN building down the street (a slight change from the rice and beans).

All in all, today was a great conclusion to our time in Haiti. We are thanking God that no one is sick or injured and are looking forward to what He will continue to do in our hearts after we return. We are excited to come home and see family and friends tomorrow, but will miss those we have come so close with over the past week.

Thank you again for your continued prayer and support. We love you!!

Prayer Requests:

1. Pray for the process. Today was just the beginning of remembering our experience here and I hope the transition back to the States is healthy.

2. Pray our students ask the right questions and that they are motivated to act.

3. Pray they surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to grab ahold of EVERY part of their lives.

4. Pray for safety on our journey home.


Haiti Update- Day 5

17 07 2011

3 hour church services are incredible!! Our students sang louder, clapped longer, and praised God like I’ve never seen from High Schoolers before.

After the Haitian pastors led us in many songs and prayers and taught a few different messages, our team was introduced to the congregation. We were thanked for all the hard work and time we put into painting their church. Our students led worship and we had one student share his testimony. They all did a fantastic job. The crazy part is that round 2 is coming up in about an hour!!

We found out early this morning we would have another church service. Clint will be teaching, our students will lead worship, and one more member of our team will share her testimony at the evening gathering tonight.

After church this morning the guys finished painting while the girls finished the garden project and sewed some mattress covers together. All of our physical labor is officially complete.

It has been really cool to see how everything has come together so well on this trip. God has orchestrated an awesome experience for our students and I’m very excited to hear their final hi’s and low’s from this week.

Tomorrow we will be taking a sabbath at the beach to rest, process, and debrief.

Prayer Requests:
1. Pray for our conversations tomorrow. There is a lot to process and think through and we know tomorrow is just the beginning.
2. Pray for peace and clarity for our team. There will be a lot of unanswered questions tomorrow.
3. Pray for rest. They definitely deserve it.
4. Pray for safety as we travel to the beach tomorrow and for continued health.





Haiti Update- Day 4

16 07 2011

High School students experience a lot in their 4 years. There are not many things that will stick with them like a mission trip. I am confident our time in Haiti will be no different. Relationships are being developed, tears shed, sweat poured out, and our team is growing in tremendous ways, individually and collectively.

Today we saw the completion of our weed picking project, finished painting the inside of the church, and led the last VBS for our new Haitian friends. I think seeing the fruit of their labor over the last few days really gave our team a sense of accomplishment. We still feel like there is more than enough to do and I think we feel pretty overwhelmed over how much more we could do if we had time, but it feels good to achieve.

Our students will still be doing more work tomorrow as we’ve added a sewing project and will finish painting the outside of the church. We will also be getting a much deserved chance to rest and process.

Everyone is still feeling good and we have not run into any serious medical issues. We are staying hydrated and eating well (including hot dogs for breakfast yesterday). Thanks for all your prayers. Keep ’em coming!!

Prayer requests:
1. Yup, you guessed it: health and safety.
2. Pray for our team as we prepare to lead a church service tomorrow. A few of our students will be leading worship and I will be teaching.
3. Pray that we finish strong. Our last day with any work involved is tomorrow. Pray for our time painting and sewing.




Haiti Update- Day 3

15 07 2011

I think it may have gotten a little bit warmer today. I’m basing this prediction on the amount of sweat I saw dripping from everyone’s faces and it could mean we were just working that much harder today. I really wouldn’t be surprised if that was the reason.

Our team is kicking butt right now. VBS is rolling, the garden is almost completely free of weeds (I wish I could explain how incredible of an accomplishment that is), and the inside of the church is almost completely painted!! The walls are finished and the ceiling is almost there.

I had the opportunity to go into town with Clint and one of our translators today. We took 6 girls from the orphanage to see a doctor and get diagnosed for their skin illness. We received some ointment and medicine and will also be waiting to hear the results of the blood work for a few other illnesses. Thanks for the prayers!!

Everyone is still doing really well and our students are growing every day. They are fighting through exhaustion and extreme warmth to serve. I wish you could hear the conversations they are having in their small groups. Maturity, growth, passion, encouragement, and motivation are words that immediately come to mind.

Tomorrow will be our last full day of work as we will be attending church on Sunday and debriefing Monday.

Prayer requests:
1. Pray that we are able to continue to serve well the next couple of days.
2. Continue to pray for health and safety as well as persistence and energy for our team.
3. We are developing great friendships with our drivers an translators. It has been pretty crazy hearing their stories and experiences of the day the earthquake hit. Pray for them and their families.


Haiti Update- Day 2

14 07 2011

The book we are reading during our trip is about knowing/seeing/relinquishing control to the Holy Spirit. It’s called “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan and it is pretty amazing watching the Holy Spirit work through our students.

We started the day at about 6:30am, got ready, ate breakfast, and then took a tour of our work sites. We saw the old orphanage and observed the nonexistent second story.

After the tour our team split up and half of us ran VBS while the other half began to paint the local church. We stopped for lunch (apparently we are going to be eating three meals a day), and then got right back to work. The painters went back to paint and the VBSers began to remove the weeds from the garden. It looks like that is how our schedule is shaping up: 1/2 of us will do VBS in the morning and garden work in the afternoon, while the other 1/2 will paint all day.

At the end of our work day we had a brief moment of rest and then a time of celebration. It is one of our team member’s birthday’s today and we were able to find some delicious (and safe to eat) ice cream.

Somehow that ice cream led to a much more energetic worship gathering and team devotional this evening. Our team is currently running around with some of the kids at the boy’s orphanage awaiting dinner.

It’s been a great day and we are thanking God for continued safety and health.

Prayer requests:
1. Health and safety
2. Patience and flexibility for our students in the midst of ever-changing schedules.
3. Some of the young girls at the orphanage have a skin rash and we are trying to find a way to get them medication. Pray we find a good doctor to diagnose the problem.
4. God is breaking our students hearts in a lot of ways right now. Pray our leaders know the right words to say when they reach out to us.



Haiti Update- Day 1

13 07 2011

These will all be typed on my iPhone. Please excuse the errors.

I think we are all running off of about 17 minutes of sleep right now. Our flight arrived early this morning and our team got to experience traffic in Haiti. It took us around 4 hours to get from Port-au-prince to Leogane and there was not a dull moment the whole time.

We pulled into the orphanage and were immediately greeted by tons of children. We all hugged each kid probably 15 times and began to settle in to our new home for the next week.

We ate our first true Haitian meal and spent more time with the kids as we prepped ourselves for a long day ahead. We ended the evening by singing a few songs alongside our Haitian brothers and sisters and are currently in the midst of small group discussion. It’s been a great day and our students are really stepping up. They know this isn’t a vacation an they’re ready. Oh yeah, IT IS HOT!!

Prayer requests:
1. Pray we stay hydrated and continue to take good care of ourselves.
2. We’ve had a couple upset stomachs and headaches, but students are doing a good job letting us know when they aren’t feeling well. All the while, their spirits remain high. Pray they stay that way.
3. Pray for the rigorous day ahead! Painting, planting, and VBS. Let’s go!!