Friday, July 8, 2016

Responding to Recent Violence

As I currently watch the shooting of police officers unfold on CNN, I'm heartbroken.  At this point, there is so little known yet.  What we know is that there is still a shooter at large.  We know there are five cops dead.  There may be more.  There were people just like you and me...and now they are gone.

It's something that leaves you speechless, yet also leaves so many thoughts running thru the head.  It's just hard to put those thoughts into words.  I've tried to organize my thoughts into something that makes sense in the senseless violence.  The following is just a little sample of that:

All human life matters.  It is sickening to see life taken from the innocent.  These issues run much deeper than guns or race or whatever other surface things you want to blame.  They are not the root of the problem.  This is a heart issue.  If you study human history, it's nothing new for this world.  When we walk away from morality, we lose the ability to recognize what is right and wrong.  Instead of our desires conforming to what is right, we conform what is right to our own desires.  As an extremely imperfect people, that is a very dangerous place to be.  It's a place where life can easily be devalued and discarded.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Christian Challenge June 2016 Update!

Summer is here! School is out. Our seniors have graduated. Most of our students have headed home. Though we are still meeting with our students that are still around, things are starting to calm down. Our state meetings in Colorado Springs have come and gone. We're back in Durango. We're actually getting a little rest and time to recharge spiritually which was much needed.

It's been an interesting past few months to say the least. Things with the ministry have been awesome! Check out our video from the past year: Click Here! Josh put it together for us.

One of my event highlights was our Easter Eve snowshoeing trip where we journeyed by snowshoe to a frozen lake in the mountains under starlight.

We roasted peeps over a campfire and made s'mores. We finished the night with me sharing a sermon and having a discussion around that campfire. We talked about how the cross wasn't something that caught Jesus off-guard. It was not plan B. It was the plan all along. He knew it before He left heaven and came down to earth. He knew the pain and torture He would go thru yet still came down to save all who believe and follow Him.

We listened to a song called "I Wonder" by an old friend of mine, Tara Leigh Cobble. It talks about Jesus being reminded of the cross by things throughout His everyday life. We discussed how heavy that burden must have been to carry, and yet even though He could have opted out at any point and gone right back up to heaven, He still chose to go thru with the cross. We talked about how much love He must really have for us to go thru all of that so that we could find salvation in Him.

Now, we also wanted to do some guitar and worship afterwards but this year, it was way too cold. We're talking 5 degrees where it's so frigid, your fingers freeze to the guitar strings. Even without it, we had a great night of ministry talking about Jesus around the campfire.

Speaking of ministry, overall it has been going really strong. It's been an exciting semester. We finished it off with another salvation and two baptisms.

Let me share a little about Audrey who got saved. This was a girl who we first met on the night we did Operation Christmas Child during the first semester. Audrey and her roommate Kelly were looking for something more positive to do than the typical college party scene. In talking with their dorm RA, Aleksandr, he suggested they check out Christian Challenge. It wasn't one of our typical nights but they connected and kept coming to more things. After getting saved, Audrey got baptized by Josh and Randi down in the Animas River with all of our students their to support her.

The baptism was actually pretty funny how it all went down. The water was really cold being that it was April. Josh is a pretty big guy so he wasn't fazed by the cold as much. Audrey and Randi are skinny girls. As Josh was taking his time explaining baptism, the girls were shivering and probably nearing hypothermia. Eventually, Audrey who is normally happy-go-lucky interrupted Josh and sternly said thru chattering teeth, "Josh! This isn't the time for teaching!" True, it probably would have been better to cover that part on shore. With that, Josh quickly finished up and they baptized her. And then of course, a bunch of our students jumped in the water too. Because you know, why not? It was an awesome time.

We followed that up with Aleksandr's brother, Nikolai, getting baptized a week after that on a morning filled with rain and snow.

Their whole family happened to be in town to see Aleksandr graduate so they all got to be there to support the baptism too.

With all of the great things God was doing, we should have expected that Satan would not rest. When things are going good though, you start to forget that we are in a battle. We were reminded the day of graduation. It was at Aleksandr's graduation party. The party was finishing up and we thought because we had all of our old staff and new staff together, we should take a new staff photo.

After taking the photo, Josh took a fall. I was right by him and watched it happen but, in him falling away from me, I wasn't able to catch him or break his fall. Thankfully, it appeared that he was able to brace his fall a bit. Now with Josh's heart issues, it's not the first time we've seen him take a fall. Normally when it happens, it's because his heart has gone into a weird rhythm and he eventually gets shocked by his pacemaker.

After talking with him while he laid on the ground, he couldn't remember getting shocked or passing out. He said his leg just gave out on him. I think with his past heart issues, everyone just assumed it was his heart again. He had an appointment with his doctor up in Denver two days later already scheduled so they thought they'd just get it checked then. He'd end up having two more episodes before getting to the appointment.

When he finally met with his doctor, his doctor told him his heart was doing better than they'd seen it doing in a long time. That was the good news. The bad news was that his doctor thought he'd had a stroke. A scan of his head later confirmed that.

Thankfully it wasn't a massive stroke but he is still dealing with balance issues due to having weakness on one side of his body. He even had to use a cane for awhile. Josh is also struggling with reading comprehension and a bit with speech. So he has been doing a lot of therapy for those things in the recovery process but doctors think he should make close to a full recovery. We're very thankful for that.

Josh and Jen had to drop a summer discipleship program they were going to run for college students in Denver but it was definitely for the better. Now Josh can recover from the stroke. I think this summer will be good for them to just rest and recover.

Randi's summer will be a busy one. She is currently in Germany working on college campuses there doing ministry. When she comes back, she'll transition down to Farmington. (She seems to be having a great time in Germany doing ministry so I kind of wonder if she'll even come back.) Aleksandr and Anna have a busy summer too. They'll be getting married in early August and preparing to come on staff with us as well. Rachel Horton is fulfilling an internship this summer so she can officially graduate and then come on staff with us this fall.

As for Rachel and me, it will be a summer where we try and find some rest. We've got a lot of work to do around the house like making it safer from possible wildfire. There's a lot of dead trees and brush to be cut down and turned into firewood for the winter. We are also hoping to put up that rain capture system we've mentioned so that we can have water more consistently at the house.

Unfortunately, we won't be going on a mission trip this summer. There are a lot of reasons. Our finances were part of it due to the large financial hits we took over the winter. It also turned out that our point guy for the trip just had a new baby. Jaime, our local missionary and translator just had eye surgery. So there were a lot of things that just made it seem like God was temporarily shutting the door for the summer. In my heart, I was still keeping the door open in case God opened a door last minute to go to Peru or maybe somewhere else.

Rachel and I have even gotten back to training. We're up to running 4.6 miles every couple of days. That's the most mileage we've done in years. I was seriously wondering if I'd ever get back there after the lasting effects of getting sick on the last Peru mission trip. I still have very low energy levels and am pretty foggy-brained a good amount of the time. I've worked hard to overcome those things and be ready for a mission trip if God does open that door.

That said, I'm not expecting that door to open this summer. As I look at the latest news I've gotten, I'm pretty sure God has us home this summer for a reason. If you read our last update, you read about the migraine-type headaches I started getting back around the first of the year. I went to a chiropractor and though I still get the start of those headaches, the adjustments helped greatly in bringing down the severity of the headaches.

In the process of that, and wanting to cover all of my bases, I also saw a general doctor to get his opinion. He referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist wanting to make sure it wasn't an aneurysm had me get a CT scan. Well, it turned out my brain was okay but on the scan, they found a nodule on my thyroid. That could explain a lot from getting sick in Peru to being exhausted, foggy-brained and forgetful to the 30 pounds I gained over the winter. At least that's what the internet research I've seen says...and we all know how reliable that is. I'm still waiting to meet with a doctor about it all.

It's unlikely that it's cancer but they are going to do a biopsy just to make sure later today. At the moment though, we don't really know what treatment is going to entail so it's probably good that we don't have a mission trip this summer. We can focus on getting this taken care of and not put off. Then, I'll be ready to go for the fall semester and ready for a mission trip next summer.

Despite a lot of the hardships endured recently, it was really such a great semester and a great year. I could probably tell a thousand more stories about how God is working but I'll leave you with the words of one of our students, Ryan Evanyo:

"When I first came to FLC I was not 100% looking for a ministry to join. I figured I would nominally attach myself to a campus group just to say that I had. In all honesty part of me just wanted to disconnect and have the "college experience." However I found Christian Challenge and the only way I can explain how was that it was destiny. I saw what this group could do for my life and the lives of many others. For the last 8 months Christian Challenge has been my life and I have connected in ways I could have never imagined a year ago. My friend circle has grown exponentially and my faith has been reignited in a massive way."

Ryan is a funny guy we love having around.  He makes us laugh a lot especially when he creates fun pictures like this with him and some of our graduates.  As he explained it, he got bored and decided he'd make a 90's-style rap album cover with the graduation photo.  Notice the two kids that just happened to be wrestling in the back when the photo was taken.  Seems fitting for a rap album cover and I think it gives their fake rap group street cred.  This picture just makes me laugh a lot.

We have a lot of fun at Challenge doing ministry with our students.  We share and have a lot of laughs with them but even more importantly, we share Jesus with them.  We share the Gospel.  We've been very blessed to be able to walk with these students like Ryan on their faith journey and help them grow in Christ.

Realize that when you pray for the ministry and give, you are a big part of impacting these students! Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give! We are super thankful for that! Keep us, the ministry, and the FLC campus in your prayers! #Pray4FLC

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel

If the Lord is leading you to give, follow this link to our giving options:

Prayer Requests:

- Be praying for Josh and their family as he recovers from his stroke.  It's certainly not been an easy year for them with this stroke and Jen's dad passing away this past winter.

- Sarah made it back from the Philippines safely and grew a lot spiritually while there on her mission trip.  She now plans to finish her schooling in the States and then possibly head back to the Philippines.  Praise God for her safety, her growth, and the ministry she was able to do there.

- The rodents are back with the warm temperatures.  We put out some poison blocks and this mouse kept devouring them.  We watched it scarf it down night after night.  We thought it was a super mouse being that it just wouldn't die with all the poison it was eating.  Finally, we caught it in a trap.  Then we caught another in a trap.  And another.  Turns out, it was a whole bunch of them, not a single super mouse.  We still have at least two running around the house free.  All that said, be praying that God would protect our house, its wiring, and our vehicle wires from rodents this summer.

- We're heading into dry season for our well.  Thankfully, it's been a wet spring so we've had water in it to use.  We'll soon have gone thru that though. Please be praying that God would bless us with a wet summer and a rain capture system (and the man power to put it up) so that we can have a more consistent and much cleaner water source.

- Things tend to calm down a bit for us in summer but we still remain somewhat busy taking care of everything we didn't have time to do during the school year.  We hope that it can also be a time to find some rest.  Pray that God would recharge us and re-energize us during this summer so that we can be ready to go when next semester comes.

- 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.

- Summer can be a tough time for our students when they go home and don't have the support they had here with Challenge.  Pray that God would keep them encouraged this summer and continue to grow their faith.  Also pray that God would already be working on the hearts of the new students we will have this fall.

- Over the years, our staff has had a lot of health issues that can really be a discouragement.  Currently, Rachel is having issues with her back and neck that she just soldiers thru despite the pain.  Of course, there is also my thyroid issue and biopsy.  Please pray that God would get and then keep all of our staff healthy and safe.

- Rachel has picked up a little side work caretaking for her grandma after her stroke.  It helps bring in a little extra money but we are still working to get our support where it needs to be.  We trust God to provide but would appreciate you praying as well that the funding needs would be met.  If you would like to give, go to: Give Now!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fake Hustle

I grew up the son of a sportscaster.  Sports are in my genes.  I was blessed to be around a lot of professional athletes when I was younger.  Because of that, I love all things sports.  Playing them, watching them, and watching sports shows...I love it all.

Two of the sports shows I've become addicted to over the years are the ESPN shows, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption.  For the most part, they are just guys arguing about sports.  It's what I do with my friends but these guys actually get paid for it.  Not a bad gig if you ask me.

The shows are not exactly deep in a spiritual sense but as I've seen over the years, God can use normal non-spiritual topics to spark something deeper spiritually in me.  One of the things that has really stuck with me recently has been the topic of fake hustle that co-host Mike Wilbon has brought up.  Now, he's credited the idea of fake hustle to someone else who I actually can't remember right now but Wilbon has been using it recently.

Basically, the idea of fake hustle is exactly what it sounds like.  It's having the appearance of hustling but really just going thru the motions.  You look like you're doing a lot but really, you're not doing much.  You're not trying, not giving your all.

I think I connect with that because that was me in high school.  Once I got to games, I gave 100% but in practice and training, it was a different story.  For soccer, big parts of training were running and weightlifting.  Weightlifting came easy to me but I wasn't a huge fan of it.  I found ways of making it look like I was doing a lot while doing very little.  There was a lot of taking weight off and putting it on but not a lot of lifting.

It's kind of like those people nowadays who go to the gym just to take selfies and stare at themselves in the mirror.  Everyone thinks they went to the gym because they instagrammed it but in reality, they barely even worked out.

For me with running in high school, I literally cut corners.  Once we were out of coach's sight on our five mile runs, we were cutting corners, cutting streets, turning around early.  I use we because I wasn't the only one.  It was me and all of the other out of shape kids.  My favorite fake hustle was when I would act like I was hanging back to encourage all the slow kids.  Yeah, I was that slow kid but I was a goalie so it was more expected.  But still, it was fake hustle.

It wasn't good for me.  It hurt me in the long run and it hurt my team.  I wasn't achieving my full potential and because of that, my team was weakened.  I probably played a lot less minutes because of it too.  When you're young, you don't think about it.  That's not really on your radar.  You might even be told you're hurting yourself and the team but you either can't see it or just don't care.

Today, I've thankfully outgrown that.  I've grown a stubborness that doesn't allow me to cut corners with my workouts.  I now run almost five miles at a time every couple of days.  I won't allow myself to cut corners.  There's a deep guilt, conviction and anxiety if I think of cutting corners.  I've even gotten to a point where I push it farther than I was planning to or should go.  I think to myself, "I can always go a little further."  And that's coming from someone who still hates running with a passion.

Because I hate running, one of the things I do to pass the time and take my mind off of how awful running makes me feel is to listening to sermons on my iPod.  I focus on that and don't focus on how awful running actually is.

Well, a sermon I listened to recently sparked the connection between it and fake hustle.  The sermon wasn't about fake hustle but somehow, the two connected in my brain and left me with the question of: How often do we fake hustle in our spiritual lives as Christians?  How often do we just go thru the motions.  If we're just going to church so that others see us and think we're super spiritual, that's fake hustle.  If we're just reading our Bible but not putting it into practice, that's fake hustle.  Maybe it's going on a mission trip but really only because you love to travel.  Fake hustle.  Maybe someone has a problem, an issue, or needs help and all we offer to them is our prayers.  Again, fake hustle.  I could go on and on.

If you're just fake hustling thru the Christian life, you're hurting not only yourself but your team.  You're hurting the body of Christ.  You're hurting Christ's mission.  Fake hustlers seem to think they have everyone fooled but in reality, they don't.  People see right thru it.  Within Christianity, that makes you look bad and it makes other Christians look bad.  And the worst thing about it, it makes Jesus look bad.

Eventually, fake hustlers come to a crossroads.  You'll realize you're not fooling anyone and just give up all together...or you'll drop the act and the hustle won't be fake anymore.  It will be real.  It will be genuine.  You'll start growing.  And when you start growing, it encourages others around you in growing, in getting stronger.  It builds up a better team.

To close it up, it's simple.  Watch out for fake hustle in our spiritual lives.  It's not good for us or anyone around us.  I think these verses sum the whole issue up nicely:

"24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."  1st Corinthians 9: 24-27

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Christian Challenge March 2016 Update!

Hard to believe it's already March!  It's been months since we were able to get an update to you so it was definitely time to get one out.  Hope you had a great Christmas and hope that the new year is off to a good start!  We've had an adventure the last few months or so.  It's been a roller coaster for sure.

The ministry has been amazing but we've had some stresses outside of that.  With the ministry, we've been averaging 25-35 students consistently at our family dinners and discussions.  This is the most we've seen consistently in the history of the ministry.  We're growing, and it's really encouraging to see.  Lately, we've been tackling hot button issues in our discussions.  In weeks past, we discussed the Syrian refugee crisis, what's driving it, and what the Bible has to say about it all.  The students were really engaged and seemed to have really learned a lot.

We also just had one of my favorite events, the Silverton Snow Day, where we go up to Kendall Mountain, and students can ice skate, sled, cross-country ski, alpine ski, and snowboard.  Here is a link to video of one of our students, Ryan, sledding down a pretty steep hill: Click here!  Don't worry, we didn't have to take Ryan to the ER after his run.  Next year, we might have to start bubble wrapping all of our students for the day.

So I mentioned that it's kind of been a roller coaster over the last few months.  Though the ministry side of things is going great, house issues have been a pretty big stress in our lives.

Let's rewind back to November.  We finished up the month of November up with our house heater and water heater going out.  Not something you want happening going into the cold season.  It actually went out earlier in the month but it took our plumber three weeks to fix it.  We were told we just needed a part at first.  That turned into needing a whole new system and because the previous owner of the house had it hooked up by a guy who cut corners, the warranty was voided.  So $5,500 later, we have a new combo heater that runs our house heat and hot water.  It's still not working right but hopefully that will be remedied soon by making some small adjustments.  And if not, hey, summer's just around the corner.

We started the process early as we had a marriage conference/retreat for people in ministry we were supposed to be at for a week in early December.  We had some awesome supporters who had attended it and told us they would pay for us to go.  They thought it would be years down the road before they could send us but they ended up being able to send us much earlier than we all thought they would be able to.

Anyway, due to us not having a working heater, we kept a fire going in our wood stove pretty much 24/7.  With us going on the retreat, there would be no way to keep the fire going and keep our pipes from freezing.  It had to be fixed before we left.

Now with the retreat, we were told that there would be things that came up beforehand that would make you not want to go.  I thought it would be mental blocks like a fear of talking about your feelings or something.  Well, I was wrong.  It turned out to be the heater.  When the time came to leave, the heater still wasn't fixed.  We knew that God wanted us at this retreat, and that it was going to be extremely encouraging.  We just really had to trust God to protect our house while we were gone.

Also, the plumber was supposed to come the next day and have it fully fixed.  When he called us at the retreat to let us know he replaced the system, he also let us know it would be almost $2,000 more than what we were originally quoted due to him being misquoted by the distributor he ordered the system from.  Thankfully, God protected us from letting that news ruin our whole retreat.

We ended up having an amazing time at the retreat.  As much as I loved it, it impacted Rachel even more greatly.  I thought I'd let her share in her own words about our week there.

"One of our supporters surprised us this past summer saying that they wanted to send us to Sonscape hopefully by the summer of 2016. Then this fall, they wrote, 'We have the funds!  Go as soon as you can!' Sonscape is a week long conference for those in full-time ministry. It focused on figuring out how to balance the demands of life, family, and ministry while rekindling passion for Christ and His church. The days were spent alone with the Lord, together as a couple, in group discussions with the three other sets of couples, and time with the hosts where you could discuss anything going on and work through those things in a safe environment. It was hands-down the most enriching, life-giving thing we had ever done for our marriage. We felt understood, cared for, and encouraged. We learned new things about each other. We were given tools as well as understanding more about how we operate as individuals and as a couple."

It was truly an amazing time.  We felt so refreshed and encouraged.  That lasted the whole 6-hour car ride back to home...and then we were back in the dark stronghold of Durango.  The spiritual attacks started literally the moment we turned into the neighborhood.  We had a dog try and attack our car.  We had some kids we'd never seen before walking in the middle of the road walking slow almost like zombies refusing to move a bit to the side so that we could get by.  I felt like were in the twilight zone or something.  You could just feel a heaviness.

Finally, we pulled into our driveway.  We were home at our place of refuge.  We could rest from the drive and from the outside world.  All would be well.  Yeah, not so much.  We came home to a house that was 35 degrees.  It was literally colder inside than it was outside.  Clearly, our new heater wasn't working and hadn't been working since the night the plumber supposedly fixed it.  We had no heat pretty much all week with night time lows dipping to around -10 degrees.  My mind immediately went to if our pipes were okay.  Thankfully, they were.  The fact that our pipes didn't freeze was a true miracle and answered prayer.  God had protected our pipes.  Eventually, the plumber made it out and somewhat fixed the heater.  It still struggles to heat our house and water at night.  But that's better than nothing so we're very thankful.

Upon getting back, we realized that we were going to need our water guy to come out and bring us some water for our cistern.  We told him to come out the next time he had a chance if the weather was good.  We didn't want him coming out in bad weather as our road to our house can be a bit dangerous when it snows.

Well, he decided to come out three days later during a really bad snowstorm and put his water truck in the ditch blocking our road home.  He also dropped a thousand gallons of water on our road which could have possibly froze making our neighbor and HOA president not very happy.  It didn't help that he tore up our road too.  It took all day to get him unstuck but finally we did.

Though he shouldn't have even attempted it, it wasn't entirely the water guy's fault.  Our plow drivers had new tires that had too much tread which swallowed their chains.  They couldn't make it up our hill to plow so snow accumulated and didn't appear to be removed.  Then we had a very wet storm move in.  The wet snow hit the old snow and froze on contact making it an ice skating rink, only on a steep hill.

Even I had trouble making it up in my Xterra with 4wd, snow tires and studs.  I actually ended up sliding backwards 20-30 feet on my first attempt.  A little scary on a steep and very narrow road but I did finally make it home.

So without our water guy being able to make it, we were without water for three weeks.  Did I mention our house uses water for heating the whole place?  Any water that we had to use was from the snow.  I shoveled it into our cistern so that we could flush toilets every now and then.  Eventually things started freezing so I had to stop shoveling the snow into the cistern.  We melted it on the stove so that we could take weekly baths.  It felt like we were doing mission work in a third-world country to be honest or maybe just living like people did 200 years ago.

Our water guy tried a couple more times to make it up over those three weeks but got stuck again.  Finally, he made it into our driveway.  He unloaded his water in our cistern and then proceeded to slide off our driveway, almost taking out our outhouse, and blocking the driveway.  He also tore the driveway up while getting it unstuck three or four days later.  There comes a point when circumstances get so ridiculous that you can't even be stressed or frustrated anymore.  You can really only laugh.  We were at that point.

If you've stuck with my update this long, thank you.  It's been a rough couple of months...but we expect that when the ministry has been so amazing.  While all that ridiculousness with the house was happening, we were still doing ministry.  God was working in our students lives.  We were trying to get as much discipling in as possible before break.  We were also doing all the end of the year Christmas parties and such for the students.

Just before Christmas break, Tate, a cross-country runner who I first met at FCA, graduated.  It was great to see one of the guys I've been discipling for almost four years walk across that stage.  He really opened the door for the cross-country team to be reached.  That door continues to be as wide open as it's ever been.  It's amazing to see how many students have been reached and discipled thru him showing up at FCA one night as a freshman.  And thru that open door, the girlfriend of one of the other runners I disciple lead Tate's girlfriend, who is also a runner, to Christ!  Tate's girlfriend then also got baptized!  It's awesome to look back and see all the work God has been doing!

Eventually, we hit Christmas break which meant shoveling snow and chopping wood at every spare moment.  With our heat going out, we blew thru our winter's worth of wood in those three weeks trying to keep our pipes from freezing.  That meant we needed a lot more to make it through the rest of winter.  Shoveling has taken a lot of our time as well with our snowblower being broken.  (I figure all of these things breaking are just going to make us that much more thankful when they finally work as they should.)  I did eventually get three days of rest during break to recharge so that was nice.

The night of Christmas Eve, we had our annual event where we take students with us to the candlelight service at church and follow it up with dinner at my mom's place.  It's normally a big highlight for our Japanese students who come.  We've been told it's one of their favorite experiences on their time in America.

Leading up to the night, we were really wondering if we'd have any students.  None had really signed up.  The night before, we had a couple of our Japanese students sign up.  When we showed up to pick them up, we saw one of them walking towards our vehicle with another Japanese student who wasn't signed up.  That student said that he was also going.  Then another student showed up.  Then another.  Soon, we had no more room in the vehicle.  We ended up having to call for reinforcements to drive because we had so many extra students show up.  We ended up having almost fifteen people in our group at church with us.  It was pretty awesome.

We then had the issue of making sure we had enough food for dinner as we had a lot more students than the two we had planned on.  It all worked out though.  It was an exciting night for us.

Also during break, Jen was able to go to Africa.  She went with Blythe, one of our students.  I've mentioned Blythe before.  She is the one who started up an organization called She has a Name which rescues girls out of sex slavery.  Well, Blythe and Jen were able to go over there and work with girls who had recently been rescued.  It sounds like it was a pretty amazing trip for the ladies.

Unfortunately, it was also a very hard trip for Jen as she got news that her dad had passed away the moment they touched down in Africa.  He had been battling complications from diabetes when the Lord called him home.  Due to flight schedules, Jen wasn't able to make it home for a week but she was able to make it to the funeral.

Immediately after that, Josh, Jen and the boys met us and the students up at Life Impact in Colorado Springs.  Life Impact is a conference where college students from all over meet at the Glen Eyrie Castle and Conference Center.  It's an amazing place but what's even more amazing is that we pulled in almost 400 college students this year.  We had fifteen in our group from FLC.  There's worship, big name Christian speakers, and breakout sessions for the students to go deeper.  It's an amazing time.  We saw great growth out of each and every one of our students who attended.

After the conference, Rachel stayed behind in the Springs.  She was going to be a matron of honor in the wedding of one of her best friends from high school.  Due to the scheduling of things and finances, it just made more sense for her to stay up there for a few weeks instead of having to drive six hours back and forth from Colorado Springs to Durango every weekend.  It ended up being a great time for Rachel.  She got to spend a lot of time with family and friends, and I know that was extremely refreshing for her.

Other than getting back into the swing of being on campus and doing ministry, I spent that time shoveling snow and chopping wood, of course.  We ended up getting about two feet of snow while we were at the Glen so I had a lot of work to do when I got home.  I literally spent about a week working to shovel things out.  Don't worry, though.  I did have some fun in there too.  My free nights were filled with movies, pizza, and Oreos.  Rachel got to have her fun up in the Springs so I felt like I should have mine too.

Since our last newsletter, we've got some big news to announce concerning the ministry.  Randi will be leaving our staff to start up Christian Challenge down at the college in her hometown of Farmington, NM.  While we're sad to see her go, as she played a huge role in the success of our ministry, we're really excited to see what God's going to do thru her on the campus down there.  It's part of what our ministry is about.  Raising up students to go and be missionaries wherever God may take them.  Randi was literally one of our original students.  Now, it's time for her to leave the nest and start a ministry up at San Juan College.  She'll start down there with the start of the fall semester.

That said, we have some other exciting news.  We're bring on three new staff.  We've got Rachel Horton who went to Peru with me on the Climbing for Christ mission trip my first year in Peru.  She's one of our students who has been with us since she was a freshman.  She's graduating this spring with a degree in Adventure Education.  And yes, it's a real degree.  It's not just a code word/phrase for "I was a ski bum for all four years."  She'll be discipling girls, and helping Rachel and me with our outdoor events we run for the ministry.

We've also got Aleksandr Trbovich and Anna Kallas (soon to be Trbovich) coming on staff with us.  Aleksandr has been with us since he was a freshman.  Anna goes to CU Boulder.  Both of them are graduating this spring.  They'll be getting married in August.  We're stoked to eventually have them on campus discipling students full-time.

The team certainly will look different next fall but I'm excited to see God work thru everyone.  Be praying for our staff as it will be a big transition for everyone.

Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give! We are super thankful for that!  Keep us, the ministry, and the FLC campus in your prayers!  #Pray4FLC

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel

If the Lord is leading you to give, follow this link to our giving options:

Prayer Requests:

- With the passing of Jen's dad to diabetes, please be praying for comfort and peace for the whole family.  It's certainly not an easy time for them especially since Jen's brother passed away just a year or so earlier due to cancer.

- With Sarah still being in the Philippines, be praying for her.  Pray that God would bless her ministry and grow her in her faith during her time there.

- Our next big issue I foresee with the house is our rodent issue.  The mice are going to start coming out with the spring and they are always an issue.  We've plugged up all the holes we can but we can still hear them in our walls. We also have squirrel issues.  One decided to crawl up under my hood and chew thru a bunch of wires.  That was not a fun fix.  I've tried everything to keep them out but nothing works.  I finally decided to find the hottest hot sauce I can and put that all over the wires.  Maybe that will scare them away.  All that said, be praying that God would protect our house wiring and vehicle wires from rodents this spring, summer, and fall.

- With our well that is dry most of the year and the excitement our water truck guy has brought us, we've come to realize that we really can't rely on a truck making it up to our place in the winter time.  We're at the point where we should probably put up a system that captures rain and snow from our roof and pipes it to our cistern for use.  A new, deeper well would be nice but rain capture systems are a fraction of the price.  It would be nice to have water so that we can have students over and not have to worry about it running out.  (Though rain capture systems are illegal in most of Colorado due to the fact that the state doesn't believe that the water that falls on your roof is yours, they are actually legal where we are due to us having an existing well so we've been told.)  Please be praying that God would bless us with a rain capture system (and the man power to put it up) so that we can have a more consistent and much cleaner water source.

- Throughout the year, the semester can wear on you and it can be easy to find yourself discouraged at times or burning out.  It happens in just about any ministry at one point or another.  Pray that God would keep us and our staff encouraged and energized.

- 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.

- On any given year, about half of the students we work with are atheists or non-believers.  Pray that God would open doors for the Gospel to be received and understood.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would be working on the hearts and minds of the students we work with, especially for the ones that seem really close to coming to salvation.

- Over the years, our staff has had a lot of health issues that can really be a discouragement.  Currently, Rachel is having issues with her back and neck that she just soldiers thru despite the pain.  I'm having issues with a pinched nerve in my neck which sends debilitating migraine type headaches that shoot all over my head like lightning bolts.  On good days where I don't get the full-on headaches, it still keeps me pretty nauseous.  Please pray that God would keep our staff safe and healthy, and bring healing to Rachel and me.

- Rachel has picked up a little side work caretaking for her grandma after her stroke.  It helps bring in a little extra money but we are still working to get our support where it needs to be.  We trust God to provide but would appreciate you praying as well that the funding needs would be met.  If you would like to give, go to: Give Now!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Athlete Worship and Role Models

There's are lot of people upset over the latest Super Bowl.  What's new?  Pro-death groups are mad at the Doritos commercial about a baby.  There are people upset over Beyonce supporting and pushing the Black Panthers.  Coldplay, though a great band, was pretty boring at halftime.  There's the terrible sex-trafficking issues that Super Bowls always bring.  There's lots that people are mad about, though clearly some are more warranted and important issues than others.

Since those things have all been written about extensively, I wanted to write about something else I saw.  It's something I've written about before a bit.  It's just never more clear than it is right now with the Broncos winning the Super Bowl and me living amongst Bronco fans.

A friend of mine recently wrote a blog about how Von Miller tended to troll and bully people online.  My friend was sickened when he thought about all the kids who look up to him and the poor role model he was being.  Miller's actions were teaching kids that bullying is okay.  If my favorite player does it, so should I.  It was a great article that made a lot of great points.  My buddy who works with youth had a really great perspective.

Reading the article sparked some thoughts of my own in a slightly different direction.  I think I'm more concerned with how fans worship players like MVP Miller and Aqib Talib.  Though I have a problem with the online trolling Miller has been doing throughout his time on social media, I'm more concerned with how they handle themselves on the field in front of millions, and how fans not only tolerate it but celebrate it.  They look the other way because they let winning become an idol over morality.  In that, it sends a terrible message to kids.

To my point, many Bronco fans would throw their arms up and say "Why are you picking on Miller and Talib?"  Many truly believe they are model citizens or something.  They'd probably call me a Chiefs fan troll.  Do they have a point or are they blinded by the idol of winning?  Well, let's discuss the evidence.

Miller, it seems, is constantly cheapshotting people and trying to hurt them.  There's plenty of video evidence to make that accusation.  He's tries to trip people he's not good enough to tackle, hits quarterbacks way late, spears them with his helmet, throws people down after the whistle blows, puts his knee on the throat of other players trying to crush their windpipe, and much more.  I'll touch on the more part in a bit.  The man seems to have some serious rage issues even for a football player.  It goes well beyond just being aggressive.

Talib has done the same kind of stuff with his latest offense nearly breaking someones neck by grabbing their facemask violently and twisting them to the ground. "One [penalty] I just did on purpose and I just had to show him." -Talib referring to the extreme facemasking penalty which he actually also called complete BS.  Well, it was.  He was only penalized one yard when he should have been thrown out of the game.  There was also the incident where he was going after another player's eyes and sight earlier in the season.  It's pretty despicable stuff.  He's had a long list of transgressions throughout his career.  Still, if you google him, you find people talking about him slipping on his backside jumping on the stage to be interviewed after the game.  Few seem to care that he just tried to severely injure someone, an injury that could have left the player dead or paralyzed.  I think we call that anything from aggravated assault to attempted murder outside of the football stadium.  Wouldn't be the first time he tried to kill someone...or at least been accused and indicted for it.  The other time, he "allegedly" used a gun.

Miller not wanting to be outdone adds, "I tried to lay on him a few times. I tried to rub my **** on his face."  Uh...I'm no lawyer but I'm pretty sure that if this were done off a football field, that person would be going to jail for sexual assault...unless you're Peyton Manning in college.  Miller later denied that he was the one who said it but unfortunately for him, there's video evidence of him humping others' faces during games.  So either Miller is a lying or the Broncos have more than one player trying to sexually assault other players.

With the Broncos, these two aren't the only players breaking rules and doing very questionable things.  There's a good list of other players who have as well, from dirty plays to past or present PED use.  You can find those lists on any team really, in any sport.  Obviously, some things are worse than others.  Trying to seriously injure someone's neck and dry humping faces are certainly up there.

Normally, I'm not a person who likes to go around airing other people's dirty laundry because we all have some sort of dirty laundry we're not proud of.  With Miller and Talib, though, they seem to be proud of it.  (With Peyton and the incident with the college trainer, he did put it in his book for the public to read...whether he was proud of it or not.)  They wear it as a badge of honor.  They're already putting it out there proudly for the world to see.

We write these things off as boys will be boys or it's just football.  We laugh it off and give their jerseys to our kids.  We turn the blind eye because they win.  We deny and pretend it never happened. We let winning trump morality.  The media loves them.  Fans love them.  It seems all of America loves them.  Even Obama gives them shout outs.

I guess that's why we call it fandom.  That word comes from the word fanatic, and fanatics don't usually think logically or rationally.  Case in point, there's no reason the Cubs should have any fans having not won a World Series since the dinosaurs roamed the earth.  But they have some of the most loyal fans you'll ever meet.  Heck, I've been a Royals fan my whole life and up until this past season, that wasn't really rational.

I don't just want to single out the Broncos and their fans in the football conversation.  We as fans, across the board, must be better and demand better from those we root for and support.  We must be careful to not glorify those not worth glorifying.  Let's not make role models for our kids out of those unworthy of being role models.  There are good guys in the NFL.  There's lots of them, I'm sure.  We just need to look a little deeper than their box score.  Don't follow blindly because of what the media or your buddies tell you.  Let's not sellout our morals for winning.  "For what good is it to gain the whole world if you lose your soul?" Mark 8:36.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

That Terrible Cam Newton Press Conference #SB50

I tend to write every now and then about sports.  I've never posted anything on the blog but I figure, if it's already written, why not post it?  Sports is a big part of my life so I might as well share my thoughts.

With the Super Bowl being yesterday, there has been a lot of talk of how Cam Newton handled himself at the news conference after the game.  This 26 year-old is catching a lot of flack for being a sore loser.  Most of it is coming from the media desperately trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.  And where the media goes, the general public soon follows because a lot of people have trouble thinking for themselves.  But that's for another day, another blog post.

So what happened?  The Panthers lose to the Donkeys.  The Panthers made way too many costly mistakes.  The Denver D gets away with a ton of instances that are against the rules.  They beat up Cam, the quarterback of the Panthers, much later than the rules allow many times.  Denver isn't punished, though, in most of the cases.  With all that going on, it keeps Cam and the Panthers from moving the ball.  The Panthers should have played better but to a lot of non-Bronco fans, it appeared that the game might be fixed.  Now, I won't go as far as saying the game was fixed because players still have to play the game but it did at times appear the league was strongly nudging the game in the direction to help what the league thought was the best storyline happen.  Those nudges made for huge point swings that could have cost the Panthers the game.  But again, the Panthers certainly didn't help themselves either.  Had they just cleaned up their own mistakes, they probably would have won.

Well, after the game, Cam was not happy.  You could tell he was pissed and extremely saddened to let his chance to win a Super Bowl slip away.  He sulked having to answer the questions.  At times, he gave one-word answers.  Towards the end, you start hearing the Broncos press conference occurring nearby.  To the losing team, it certainly could come across like gloating or trash-talking.  Those conferences should never have to hear each other.  It was pretty poor planning by the league.  Or maybe it was planned out that way to get a poor response out of the losing team.  I think the NFL views drama as good.  They love it even when they pretend they don't.  It keeps people talking.  It keeps their eyes on the NFL.  As they say in Hollywood, the only bad publicity is no publicity at all.  Well, the league got their drama.  Eventually, he just got up and left before the interview was officially over.

I think Cam's actions were fine.  The NFL puts players like him in a really bad position after games.  They force you to do a conference right after the game and then tell you what you can and can't say.  That's ridiculous.  It would be much better, at least for the losing team, if they actually gave players a day to cool off before releasing them to the wolves that are the media. 

Even the much worshiped Peyton Manning (except for that stretch during the season where fans hated him, booed him, and basically threw him under the bus) has had his bad moments in front of the press. That's what you get with extreme competitors...which we want but only certain aspects of it.

Cam shouldn't be criticized for the press conference just because he's not who people want him to be.  Cam is a competitor.  He should be mad after a loss.  He should be sad.  It will probably stick with him till he plays his next game months from now.  I'm the ultimate competitor.  It's taken me years to get to the point where losses don't destroy me and ruin my week.  I still hate losing though.  I get where Cam was coming from.  The media and the fans will criticize but deep down, those people don't want Cam to change because they know that hate of losing, that competitiveness is going to drive him to be better.  We say we want one thing and criticize but really want another thing.  It's hypocritical.

I'm sure Cam was not only hurting emotionally during the press conference but also hurting physically...because he got the snot beat out of him.  He took some illegal helmet to helmet shots to and may have been slightly concussed.  He certainly didn't seem like the same Cam we're used to most of the game.  The league normally protects players from speaking after getting concussions but if Cam was concussed, I'm guessing he didn't tell anyone.  It's the Super Bowl.  You tell someone you might be concussed and they sit you the rest of the game.  No player is going to do that.  I've had plenty of concussions in my life.  That's no state of mind to be in and have to deal with the press.

Quite frankly, Cam probably had nothing nice to say so he said very little and then chose to say nothing at all.  Isn't that what we teach kids from young age?  If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.  If he doesn't want to talk, he shouldn't have to.  He could have easily said that they lost because the Broncos D is the dirtiest in the league.  He could have also said that the refs did all they could to give the game to the Broncos.  He could have thrown his line under the bus and blamed the loss on their terrible play.  Though all of that was probably going thru his mind, he chose not to.  Instead, he said little and eventually left.  I don't blame him.  He basically told the truth that everyone on the team needed to play better including himself.  He gave the reporters enough to write their stories and left before saying something he'd regret.  We should be patting him on the back, not crucifying him.

The truth is, I'm not normally a Cam supporter.  Cam actually annoys me most of the time but this isn't one of them.  I do see him maturing...and becoming less annoying.  I'm actually a big fan of him giving touchdown balls to kids in the stands. It's a step forward for him.  It's cool that he's pouring into the kids and probably making their whole year.  He's seems like he's making strides in life and on the football field.  Let's not kick him while he's down.  And lets be honest, aren't there bigger things in football and in life to worry about than a 26 year-old's press conference that will be forgotten in a month or much shorter?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Christian Challenge November 2015 Update!

     Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope everyone had a great holiday!  Yes, it's already that time of the year.  Where has the semester gone?  It's certainly flown by.  Great semesters tend to do that and a great semester is what we have had.

     We have such an amazing group of students this year.  We continue to build on the foundations laid out in years past.  Last year, we had a solid group of students we were discipling.  Toward the end of the school year, we had many students starting to disciple other students.  That has continued this year as our group continues to grow.  We are seeing more and more students who want discipleship and are being discipled.  Our students are becoming disciple-makers and it's awesome to see.  God is really working thru the ministry!

     If you read our first update of the semester, you saw all the things we had planned.  Everything went really well.  I wanted to hit on some highlights though.

     One of our biggest event so far was our pizza party we do on campus for the freshmen.  Last year, we had around 260 students show up for it.  This year, we had even more, probably just under 300.  Thru the event, we were able to make a lot of connections with the new students and meet them that first weekend they were on campus.

     Just recently, we had Thanksgiving dinner put on jointly by most of the campus ministries.  We only planned for 120 or so students.  We ended up having around 300 at it.  We did a lot of praying that the food would stretch and it did.  Somehow, we fed all 300 and had a good amount of food leftover.  It was pretty cool seeing God multiply the food.  It was also great seeing all the ministries work together.  Thru that, God blessed us with a huge amount of students who got to hear the Gospel that night!

     Our discussions on Tuesday nights have gone really well too.  So have family dinners on Thursday nights.  We may be outgrowing the houses we host at very soon.  That's a great problem to have.

    Another highlight or highlights of the semester have been our retreats.  We've had two so far.  Our first one was on our identity in Christ.  It was an eye-opener for a lot of students.  Both Christians and non-Christians alike said that it was something they had never really thought about.  There was a lot of growth that weekend in our students and new friendships were built.

     Our second retreat focused on discipleship.  We brought in Josh's parents to speak.  They have been in ministry for years and just recently retired from running a college ministry at Oklahoma State University.  We also brought in former NFLer Clarence Lee, who happened to be in town at the time, to share.  At one point, we had around 40 people at it.  We were blown away to have so many students who wanted to go a lot deeper with their faith.  It was so exciting!

     As great as things have been, I wanted to have students share it from their side.  The first comes from Chelsea who is in her second year with us.  Not only is she currently being discipled by the ministry, she is now discipling other students.  At our first retreat, she led one of our discussion groups.  Here are her words:

     "The fall retreat was incredible this year. I had the privilege of being one of the small group leaders, and God really used me in that. In the small group discussions, I made sure that I was open and honest with my group. It was amazing because there were times where I would be talking but I really was not talking.  It was the Spirit through me, and it was incredible. Also, at the end of all our discussions, God laid it on my heart to ask if anyone had anything they wanted to say or share. So a guy in my group, named Logan, said that I had brought him back on track and he wanted to start walking with God. That was incredible to hear because none of it was my doing. Another cool aspect of this story is that there were originally going to be four small groups but something came up at the last minute, and we had to do three small groups instead. Logan then, got put into my group. I just love how time after time, God reminds us that he has it all under control, and if we let him, he will use us for wonderful and marvelous things."

     Now, I had met Logan at our table that we run at the club fair on campus in the first week of classes.  The club fair allows us to share what we do with new students.  As I talked with Logan, he talked about a deep desire to get plugged back in with his faith.  He was wanting to get serious about it again.  He said he was kind of like the prodigal son and was really looking for a group to help him grow in his faith.  We've been meeting weekly for discipleship ever since.  Another student, Lucas, joins us.  Lucas is in his second year with us.  Just so happens, Lucas grew up 15 minutes from Logan back in Oklahoma but the two never met until college.  It's been awesome to walk with those guys and help them grow.  In talking about Logan, I thought I'd share some of his own thoughts:

     "For me, Christian Challenge has had a huge impact since moving to Colorado. It is by far the group I am the most involved with here on campus. Christian Challenge has helped me to grow in my faith, meet several great friends, and partake in many great activities such as helping the homeless. Because of the great Christian Challenge atmosphere, I have been able to keep myself on the straight and narrow path throughout my first semester living at Fort Lewis College. Overall, Christian Challenge has definitely had the largest impact on me in Colorado. I look forward to many great times that lie ahead."

     It's encouraging to see the impact God is having on our students.  I'm thankful Rachel, I, and the ministry can be a part of that.  But we're not just seeing an impact on the campus.  We're seeing an impact across the world.

     Some of you might remember Sarah.  She went to the Philippines with us a couple of summers ago.  After only being there a day or so, she told us she thought God was calling her there.  Not just for the two weeks we were there but possibly permanently.  I laughed a bit in my head because we hadn't even started our trek yet.  There was still a lot of heat and humidity in front of us without air conditioning.  I thought maybe we should revisit that thought after the trek.  And after the trek, she still felt the same way.  It may have been a year or two down the road but she would eventually be moving to the Philippines.

     Well, this past October, she did just that.  She is currently in Tacloban doing mission work with the kids in the area.  You might remember that Tacloban was devastated by a super typhoon not too long ago.  She committed to working there for six months but there are many who suspect she may just stay.  After her first month, it sounds like she's having an amazingly blessed time.

     After our last trip to the Philippines, Rachel and I wondered if the biggest reason for that trip was to just get Sarah to the Philippines.  I still think it was.  And funny story with that...Sarah never would have gone if Meagan, her roommate, hadn't gone on the first Philippines trip with us.  Meagan played a big role in getting Sarah to go on the trip.  It's amazing how God works.  We're stoked that God can use the mission trips we take students on in more ways than just us directly sharing the Gospel.  That's a big part of why we take students.  We want to be able to introduce our students to missions.  We want to give them a taste of it and an opportunity for them to put their faith into action.  We want to do that in hopes that maybe someday, God will call them to the mission field full-time.  In reality, we're all called to the mission field, whether it's at home or at our jobs or overseas somewhere.

     Before I end this update, I just want to remind our friends and family who do end of the year giving, that the time is coming soon if you’re wanting to get it in for 2015 tax purposes.  Know that we definitely appreciate that support!  You can find a link to give at the bottom of this section.

     Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give! We are super thankful for that!  Keep us, the ministry, and the FLC campus in your prayers!  #Pray4FLC

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel

If the Lord is leading you to give, follow this link to our giving options:

Prayer Requests:

- Jen's dad has been battling some pretty serious health issues due to diabetes.  Pray for healing there, and that the family would have the strength to make it through these tough times.

- With Sarah being in the Philippines, be praying for her.  Pray that God would bless her ministry and grow her in her faith during her time there.

- Our water heater and house heater have been broken for two and a half weeks.  Unfortunately, our system was only supposed to heat our water.  It was never meant to heat the house but a plumber before we moved in rigged it up to do both.  That caused it to fail and dump out lots of water all over everything...and void our unit's warranty.  Thankfully, we have a wood stove we have been heating the house with.  Unfortunately, we had to leave the house unattended due to a retreat out of town so we couldn't keep the fire going in our wood stove to prevent our pipes from freezing.  We called immediately when it originally happened but due to the plumber trying to find parts and him taking a week off for Thanksgiving, he's just now getting to replacing the unit.  That was supposed to happen yesterday.  Pray that our plumber didn't have any issues with installation, and that we don't come home to water damage and pipes that froze.

- Throughout the year, the semester can wear on you and it can be easy to find yourself discouraged at times.  It happens in just about any ministry at one point or another.  Pray that God would keep us and our staff encouraged.

- 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.

- On any given year, about half of the students we work with are atheists or non-believers.  Pray that God would open doors for the Gospel to be received and understood.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would be working on the hearts and minds of the students we work with.

- Over the years, our staff has had a lot of health issues that can really be a discouragement.  Our most successful years have been when we have good health.  Pray that God would keep our staff safe and healthy.

- We are still working to get our support where it needs to be.  
We trust God to provide but would appreciate you praying as well that the funding needs would be met.  If you would like to give, go to: 
Give Now!