Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Great End to the Semester

What a great end to the semester!  We started out this past Saturday with our last weekend event.  We decided that the students could use a de-stresser before finals week so we planned out a BBQ in the park and trip to the hot springs in Pagosa Springs.  We figured it would be a cool experience for the international students as well.

We all met up at the bus stop on campus at early in the afternoon.  After figuring out the ride situation, we all piled into the vehicles and headed east.  The drive was about an hour and we arrived to Pagosa with hungry stomachs.  We set everything up and got to grilling as fast as possible.  Thankfully, there was some football and frisbee throwing around to take our minds off hunger as the food cooked.

There, we also met Pastor Andrew and Rhonda.  They run a church in Pagosa.  We were able to talk to them about the ministry and possible speaking at their church about what we are doing.  And small world, Josh, the director of Christian Challenge at FLC had actually met Andrew before back during their time doing different ministry on the Front Range.

Anyway, eventually the hot dogs were done grilling and ready for human consumption.  Sadly, the hamburgers hadn't quite thawed out yet.  The dogs would keep us busy until then...and they tasted fantastic!  I probably had way too much.  I finished them off with a bunch of oreos.

Then, we got everyone together for a game of ultimate frisbee.  This was not a great idea after stuffing our bellies with food.  Thankfully, nobody threw up.  I think my team took it easy to make sure that didn't happen...because we got crushed.  We did not have a good showing.  I blame the hot dogs.

Soon, we were finished with the game and ready for the hot springs.  We all slowly trickled on over.  It seemed a bit hot at first for hot water.  Eventually, we got used to it.  The hot springs was right on the river so every now and then, it was nice to take a cool off swim in the snow melt.

photo courtesy of Mizuki Matsubara
Eventually, the sun made it's way behind the clouds or maybe I just found a pool with some shade.  it was finally cooling off though.  The pool was perfect temperature.  By that time, the international students had had enough sun and sulfur.  They were ready to get back to campus...and study, right?  They all piled in with Josh in his SUV and they headed back.

The rest of the group eventually joined me in the perfect pool I had discovered.  We had some really good conversation and relaxation as the sun started going done.  It was so nice!

Around 8 p.m. or so, our bellies began grumbling again.  It was time to head out and find some food.  Some of us settled on McDonald's milkshakes.  You got to have some sugar in you if you're going to stay awake for the hour drive home after spending the day at the hot springs.

Rachel and I finally arrived home around 10:30 or 11 p.m. that night.  We were exhausted but knew it was worth it.  The students had a great time and so did we!

Moving forward to tonight, we had the last Christian Challenge of the semester.  The students came over and we had navajo tacos for dinner which were mighty tasty...and a crazy costume photoshoot for the students much like the one we had at Rachel and my wedding.  It was a blast.  We even had some students we hadn't seen in awhile come on over.  It was awesome to see them.

We started out the night baking the tacos or fry bread.  It took me back to being overseas and having a friend bring that home from the store.  While Rachel, Jennifer and some of the girls were baking, Josh and I moved a couch out onto their driveway.  The weather was beautiful so we just kicked back outside greeting people as they came.  Some would join us, some would head inside.

Eventually, we all moved inside.  It was time to eat.  Throughout the night, we ate, talked, played games and took crazy pictures.  It was a great ending to the end of the school year.  It was certainly an awesome time of fellowship before the students head home.  Before they headed out, we got the students' contact info and arranged time to catch up with them during the summer.  We are going to definitely miss these students over summer but hope to catch up with them when we come to their areas to support raise.

We'll, I guess this is the last Christian Challenge of the season.  What a successful first year we have had, thank the Lord!  The Lord opened up a lot of doors for the ministry and brought us a lot of great students.  Please keep the leaders in your prayers as we support raise and plan out the next year over the summer.  Also, keep the awesome students we have had that God continues to build their faith and that they can get plugged into a solid church or ministry in their home town.  I want to see students coming back more on fire for Christ than when they left.  I'm super excited to see what God is going to do next year!

Rachel and I have more adventures to come later this week but for now, we are just going to enjoy having her family in town for the next few days.  We will fill you in in the next few days about what is happening and how God is already working in that.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New ministry info and how you can get involved!



Ministry Info:

Hello everyone!  Hope this letter finds you all doing well!  There have been some big, life changing events in the Wall household.

Rachel and I, after getting married, have been praying about where God wants us and has called us.  Through a lot of prayer and consideration, God opened up doors for us to work with Christian Challenge and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) doing collegiate ministry at Fort Lewis College in Southwest Colorado.  We are extremely excited for the opportunity God has opened up for us.

This will be a ministry based on reaching the lost and one-on-one discipleship encouraging students who are already Christians.  Studies have shown that 80-90% percent of children growing up in the church leave the faith after going off to college.  Those numbers are heartbreaking.  Our goal is to change those numbers drastically.

Our ministry's focus will be on some of the least reached student groups on the campus.  Obviously, working with FCA, part of it will involve working with student-athletes.  Our plans are to have Bible studies for them and encourage/disciple them in a one-on-one setting.  This group sees very little evangelism due to the tough training and game schedules the athletes have.  Instead of trying to fit their schedule into our ministry schedules, we plan to fit our ministry schedule into their schedules to make it work for them.

Another mostly unreached group we will minister to are the international students who come to Fort Lewis.  They come from Africa, Europe, and Asia.  The exciting thing about this is that we don't even have to go all the way across the world to meet them.  They come right to us.  They come to FLC looking for the American experience but are only introduced to a culture of binge-drinking and drugs.  We aim to counter that culture and introduce them to Christ, many of them which come from cultures where they have never even heard the name of Jesus.  Our hope is that they not only are introduced to Christ but can also take Him back with them to their own country to share with their friends and family.

More and more, we are also finding that there are FLC students who have never heard about Jesus... not even His name.  When you think of unreached people groups, you think of places where there are no roads to in far off countries.  We have American students who come to Fort Lewis who have never heard the Gospel in any way, shape, or form.  This was jaw-dropping to me when we first started running into these students.  It's becoming more and more common.  It just goes to show how much of a need there is for us to share Christ with the students on campus.


Last but not least, we want to reach out to the rest of the students on campus as well, especially those who may not be comfortable with traditional ministries.  There are plenty of students who end up falling away from the Christian faith not because they get sucked into the party lifestyle or have a professor destroy their faith but simply because they don't feel they fit in with other Christians.


Whether their work or class schedule doesn't line up with ministry events, or maybe they are afraid of being around big groups, maybe they have learning disabilities where traditional ministries don't teach to their learning style.  These students slowly fall away with the feeling of a Christianity that is empty, as if they are wandering through the wilderness alone.  Our goal is to find those students and not let them fall through the cracks, to reach out and encourage those students in their walks with Christ letting them know they're not alone.


During our summers, our plan is to take students on mission trips domestically and overseas.  This will allow them to step out of their comfort zones and put their faith into action.  The summer is also an important time to keep in touch with our students.  A lot can happen in a student's life over the summer and we want to continue to be part of that.  Our goal is to do retreats and weekend get-together's for our students still in the area also.

Prayer and Financial Support:

That said, we cannot do this without you.  I hope and pray that you will partner with us, prayerfully and financially.  If the Lord moves you to team-up with our ministry  financially and prayerfully, please send us an email and we can get you more info on how you can do that.  For more info on giving, you can also go to:
http://MSC.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1023666&lis=1&kntae1023666=F706BA83CA4641A290E3E01D327441FE&supId=356879789


Again, thank you so much for your time and consideration!  You all are awesome and such a blessing! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at: mikerachelwall@gmail.com.