Christmas is coming! We hope this advent season finds you eagerly awaiting His arrival. What traditions help point you to Jesus? What just adds stress or feels like an expectation/obligation?
We are back from the Himalayas/Eastern Europe and healthy again.
It was a great trip and Mike will get an update out on that hopefully soon. He is currently putting the video from the trip together so that we can share that in the next update.
He has also continued discipling his guys and leading the Summit Worship Night on campus.
Though it continues to be small, he has a really committed group of students that attend every Sunday night. It's definitely a good foundation to build on.
Going back to October, I had been wanting to host a hot cocoa bar on Halloween night to meet and bless our neighbors. This is something my parents have been doing successfully for years in their neighborhood.
We had crockpots full of cocoa and a few toppings to choose from. We also had a side table with free bibles and tracts. Our desire setting this up in our driveway was to meet neighbors and open the door to shine Christ's light, that they may see Him and come to know Him.
Our neighborhood does a fall festival in the community center conveniently located right behind our house. Families leave the festival and walk past our place. Even the annual hayride stopped right in front of the house to unload eager hot chocolate drinkers. We met many people and seven took Bibles! I’d say it was a successful evening. We look forward to doing it again.
After we cleaned everything up, a.k.a. throwing everything from outside inside, we crashed. Within thirty minutes, we had surprise trick-or-treaters from Christian Challenge, a crew of 12.
They came in, had cocoa, and hung out. One of the students even asked for a Bible after seeing them sitting out. So that was the eighth Bible of the night to go home with someone! His word never returns void!
November 16th, Rikako, who studied here three years ago, came to Christ, was baptized, and is now back in Japan, came to visit and stay with us for a week.
Another gal who God sent her way in Japan as a missionary also came to town to stay with us and visit her.
There was a lot of playing guitar and worshiping together. There was laughter, prayer, sharing the Word, and sharing our hearts. Rikako shared about the many people she has shared Jesus with back in Japan and her heart to see her country come to salvation in Christ Jesus. The time flew by with super late nights and packed days trying to see everyone who loves her.
Her last night in town was our Thanksgiving Family Dinner where 30-40 people packed into our house.
After the feast, Rikako shared her story, and the Gospel was preached that night. 75% of the students who attended do not have a relationship with the Lord.
So we are excited to see how God grows those seeds. One of the Japanese gals in attendance even wanted to talk to Rikako more afterwards about Rikako's faith in Jesus!
God has blessed us with this home. We love nothing more than to host people, share meals together, be fully present with them, and listen and speak truth as we grow closer to the Lord and one another. It's a place people want to come to, a place they know they belong. They are seen, heard, and known because of Jesus.
Oh and one last thing on Rikako... Just the other night while discussing things at our staff meeting to plan the next semester, we decided to reach out and offer Rikako a position with us on staff to help us reach the Japanese students who come to campus. Despite calling it her dream job, she still wanted to pray about it and talk with her family. If it all works out, we'd hope to have her here by the fall semester but there are some hurdles we'll have to figure out how to clear, like getting a work visa and helping her fundraise enough to be on campus and live in Durango. So we'll need you guys praying.
Updates on our adoption journey: we did our first fundraiser with t-shirts and made just over $1,000. Praise Him! Thank you to those who participated. We also just returned from Grand Junction to see a psychologist for our evaluations. Good news: we're sane. It was $500 cheaper there than in town here. We probably have 2-3 weeks left of the paper gathering segment of the home study, and then we will move onto interviews with our social worker. God has continued giving us favor as we move along!
We were also able to stay with one of our former students, Blythe, who now runs Christian Challenge in GJ while still running her ministry in Africa. It was great to be able to see her and encourage her during our short visit. I also was able to encourage one of her students who randomly stopped by. The student is a third-culture kid just like me who just recently had to move to the States when her parents' sending agency pulled a lot of their workers from the field. It can be a tough transition for kids so it was nice to be able to talk with her.
We appreciate each one of you and the part you play in our lives and in reaching college students with the good news of Christ! Because of you, many have heard for the first time. Many have come into the Kingdom. Many have been supported in their journey. We are so thankful for that!
With it being the end of year, would you prayerfully consider giving a one-time end of year gift? It helps us continue on in this ministry and is tax-deductible. Or perhaps you are led to start giving monthly. Almost everything we have goes into this ministry. We pay the bills and daily living expenses and the rest is invested back into the ministry. If you would like to give for the on-going ministry happening at Fort Lewis, please go to: Give Now.
Merry Christmas and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel
- Pray for our students that God would continue growing them and keeping them strong in their faith. On the surface, it wouldn't seem like Fort Lewis would be an easy place for that to happen but despite that, God is still working in our students lives. We're excited for the group of younger students God has given us this year.
- Challenge has our big Life Impact Conference coming up in Estes Park just after the new year that we'll be taking students to. Two of our Japanese students will be part of that. Pray that God reaches our non-Christian students coming and grows the Christian students we have coming. Also pray for safe travels as traveling Colorado this time of the year can be pretty snowy.
- Being Christians, we are in a spiritual battle. When you do ministry, you become a bigger target in that battle. Keep praying for us and our team that God would protect us from any spiritual attacks. Pray that God would give us the strength and encouragement to endure. Also pray for everyone praying for our ministry because when you pray for the ministry, you become a bigger target as well.
- Over the years, our staff has had a lot of health issues that can really be a discouragement. Even in the last month, our staff has had to deal with some major health problems. Pray that God would keep our staff safe and healthy.
- With the size of our staff, it's easy for personalities to bump into each other and rub each other the wrong way. Keep praying for our team that it would continue to mesh well.
- For years, Challenge has done everything possible to preserve unity on campus between us and other ministries knowing that division opens the door for the enemy to attack and try to tear down what God is doing. Please pray that the different ministries on campus would have unity, being team players, with the common goal reaching FLC with the Gospel.
- Pray that Rachel and I would not neglect the ministry that is our marriage. We can be much more successful in our college ministry if our marriage is in a good place but it's easy to put that on the back burner when things get busy.
- The adoption process is in full swing. Please be praying that things would run smoothly. That there would be no snags or surprises with the adoption process. Pray that God gives us favor throughout the process, and that He gives us a kid who is a great fit for our family.
- Pray that God would open the door for us to partner with more churches and individuals. That will need to be a focus of ours in the near future. With us, Lord willing, adding another person to the family, we'll need to raise extra support to provide for the needs of the child. Immigration also needs to see that we can provide for the child before they give their stamp of approval. And though we have already raised a good chunk, we also have a ways to go in order to pay for the adoption. Rachel and I trust God to provide for our family and the ministry but we'd appreciate you praying as well that the funding needs would be met. If you would like to give for the on-going ministry happening at Fort Lewis or the adoption, please go to: Give Now.