Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christian Challenge Christmas Update

Hello Family & Friends,

It’s hard to believe the first semester is over.  God has gone above and beyond what we could have asked or imagined!

The semester started off with moving in many freshmen and holding a huge BBQ on campus that allowed us to meet 300 students. We met thirty of the international students right away as well. It started off big and we were overwhelmed by how many students God brought our direction, and in awe of God’s big plans.

Having had four people on staff, we were able to meet with more students one-on-one.  Students’ lives are changing by the power of the Holy Spirit! God is crushing Satan’s footholds. The Lord is renewing!

Psalm 89:1--I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.

Merry Christmas,
Mike and Rachel

• For Josh Story & his family as he recovers from heart surgery.
• For our support: We are at 60% of what we need to live in Durango. This is not including taxes, health insurance, or ministry funds. This next semester, we will be running the ministry alone as Josh recovers. Pray for support to come in while we are unable to travel around and meet with people.
• For the student-athletes: We have had several breakthroughs recently but mostly, we are still building trust. We meet a new athlete almost every week at FCA. 

• Help cook on a Tuesday night anytime Jan-April for 20 or so students. Let us know if this interests you.
• We have weekend events planned this semester: Come join us and help out. We can send you a list of future events.
• English classes with the Japanesse: Come hang out and help them work on conversational English.
• Were you an athlete? Come speak on a Monday Night at Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christian Challenge Ugly Sweater Dance-off 2012!

Our Christmas party for our awesome students!  We all had an great time...and ate lots of sugar!  This video was just part of the night which included candlelight caroling, the Christmas story shared through scripture, and gingerbread house building!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christian Challenge First Semester Video!

Here is a video of all we have done in our first semester.  Josh did a great job of condensing it all down into a video just under two minutes.

Nov. Update 2012!

Hello team!  We hope everyone is doing awesome and having a great Thanksgiving season!  Rachel and I certainly have much to be thankful for even though the past month or so have been pretty trying.

Not too long ago, God opened the doors for us to move into a place much better suited for ministry.  (Our new address can be found in the lower right corner of this page.)  We packed up in less than a week, moved everything only to find our new place was infested with mice.  Mouse droppings everywhere and on almost everything.  They ate through our clothes and our couch...and brought the very real danger of hantavirus, a deadly virus that made the news earlier this summer in Yosemite.

To add to the stress, my mother’s dog which we had had for over eleven years was very ill and we eventually had to put her down.  It was a rough time.  This all went down with our ministry partners out of town for a little over a week.  But we made it through it, praise God!  We did a lot of praying
and can also say we have not seen any evidence of mice in over two weeks.

Lot's of news across campus to update you on.  With it having been presidential election season, Fort Lewis became a hot spot for the campaigns.  Michelle Obama and Paul Ryan both came to campus and made speeches.  The campus cancelled classes so that students could go see Michelle Obama but refused to cancel classes so that students could listen to what Paul Ryan had to say.  Both speeches were still packed out but needless to say, the demographics at each one were much different.

Colorado also saw voters pass the marijuana initiative.  Though still illegal federally, marijuana is now legal on the state level in Colorado.  All reports as of now state that the drug will still be a banned substance on campus.  It passing doesn't really change much.  The state will get money from its sales.  But in the end, those who want to smoke it were already smoking it.  Laws that are extremely rarely enforced do nothing to scare people away abusing the substance.  Marijuana and many other drugs have always been easy and cheap for the students to obtain in this area.  Our best bet is to pray a lot and get to students first before they get pulled into the drug scene of the area.

The ministry side of things has been going great.  God is doing amazing things.  Our FCA and Dinner and Discussion’s have been going strong.

One of the nights, we watched the somewhat controversial movie, Blue like Jazz.  It takes place on a very anti-Christian campus just like Fort Lewis and has a main character who realizes by the end of the movie that in his quest to have people like him, he has misrepresented Christ to those around him.  The students really connected to the movie and it provided great spiritual discussion and conversation.  Students were still talking about it days later and it allowed the Gospel to be shared with a lot of students.  To quote Hiro, one of our Japanese students, as I explained the Gospel to him a day after we watched the movie, “Wow, that is so beautiful!”  Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Our adventure highlight was our trip to Telluride for snow, free gondola rides and dinner in one of the most beautiful ski towns in America.  We had around twenty come with us on the adventure where we had great conversations during our travels and were able to share Christ during our time with the students.

We look forward to the next month knowing Christ is working in the lives of our students and across our campus!

Prayer Requests:
• For "Y", "N", "H", "V", and "R" as Gospel seeds have been planted with them and they are very open and interested as we share with them.  They are not there quite yet but pray for fertile soil, and against rocky soil, that the Holy Spirit would water the seeds planted.
• Pray for our ministry partner, Josh, and his family, as he has his aorta replaced December 13th.  His recovering will last 2-3 months.
• For open hearts, for many to join us prayerfully and financially to bring the Gospel to Fort Lewis.
• That God would continue growing us closer to Him and help us not neglect our first ministry; our

Thank you for joining with us to reach Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO!
-Cheers and God Bless, Mike & Rachel

Contact Information:
Mike & Rachel Wall
1255 C.R. 207 Unit #4
Durango, CO 81301

Christian Challenge Telluride Trip Oct. 2012

We had an awesome trip to Telluride.  It was certainly full of adventure.  We had around 20 folks show for the trip in total which was great and more than we expected.

The biggest descission starting out was which route to take to Telluride.  We had three options.  Our first choice was Ophir Pass, a fun 4WD pass just outside of Silverton connecting to the small mountain town of Ophir.  The Ophir community is a beautiful small town up in the mountains between a couple of huge avalanche chutes.  It's truly an amazing and picturesque place.  The question mark with this route was if we would find snow up on the pass.  It's certainly not a pass you want to find snow on.

If the Ophir route was to fail us, our back up plan was to drop back down to Silverton, take Highway 550 north over Red Mountain Pass, which was a bit lower in elevation, and actually maintained in winter conditions.  The pass is one of the most beautiful drives in Colorado...though also very scary if you don't like heights and big drop-offs with no guardrails.

Our last resort was to head west out of Durango through Mancos and Dolores.  This is a great way to go if you are short on time and don't want to deal with as much snow but certainly not as pretty as the other ways.

Before leaving Rachel's and my apartment, I did one last check of the live road cams online.  Red Mountain looked clear so we could at least take that route if Ophir didn't pan out.  Getting up to campus, the students all gathered ready for the adventure.  We loaded up the vehicles and headed out.  All but one of our vehicles drove north.  Jennifer and her kids headed towards Dolores.  They would meet us in Telluride after taking the shorter route.

Soon, our group arrived in Silverton.  We pulled off at the gas station so that we could all regroup, use the restroom, and get snacks for the drive ahead of us.  During our time there, the gas station attendant told us that Ophir was a bit slick but that people had made it over safely.  Sounded good to me.  We at least could give it a try and if we had to turn back, that was perfectly okay also.  The road sounded good but a lot can change in short periods of time up there.

As we turned off the highway on Ophir Pass, we could see the clouds starting to settle on the mountains above us.

That was where we were heading.  The higher we got, the more snow we started seeing on the side of the road.

We were quickly in the clouds, ourselves, in blowing snow.

Toward the top, the road became fully covered in snow.  Still, the traction was really good.  We proceeded a bit further to the top of the pass.  There, it was time to make a decision.  Going up is always the easy part.  Gravity makes going down a bit more tricky in the snow.

We had a few minutes to decide as students took pictures and played in the snow at around 11,800 feet above sea-level.


With good traction coming up the pass, I decided to push on.  It wouldn't take us long to drop below the snow-level, I thought.  Well, we didn't make it far before the conditions drastically changed and quickly took a turn for the worst.

We were actually still pretty much on top.  We had driven less than 100 yards when I felt the slightest hint of slippage.  With that, I didn't want to take any chances and turned the convoy around.

I think I was more bummed than the students.  They were just happy to have been able to play in the snow.  As bummed as I was to not make it over the pass, I knew we still had beautiful Telluride to look forward to.  It would just take us a little bit longer to get there.  We made it back down the pass with no problems.

Then, it was over the scenic Red Mountain Pass turning at Ridgway, driving past Mt. Sneffels, a 14,000 foot peak covered in clouds and snow, all the way to Telluride just as the sun was starting to set.  The mountains were blanketed in snow with pink, purple and orange clouds as their backdrop.

Absolutely stunning.  The students were in awe of the beauty they saw on the drive.  So was I.  It never gets old.

Pulling into the parking garage in Mountain Village, students took more pictures and we then made our way to the free gondola.  The gondola was a cool experience for the students.

While on the gondola, we got a call from Jennifer saying that she reserved a table of 20 for us at a local restaurant, Brown Dog Pizza.  She was just waiting for us to get there.  It was a lot of space to save on a Saturday night.

The restaurant was packed when we got there but we were able to go right to our seats thanks to Jennifer.  Our waitress did a great job considering that we had 20 people in our group, and for a good number of them, English is not their first language.  Dinner turned out to be fantastic.

Great conversations and laughter could be overheard throughout our group all night.

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Durango.  We'd had a great time in Telluride.

We loaded up the vehicles and began our journey back.  In the the vehicle Rachel and I were in, the conversations continued from dinner.  Most of our trip back, we talked about sin nature and other Biblical truths with our students.  It was a fun conversation.

We arrived back safe, sound, and a bit tired late that Saturday night.  Overall, it was a great trip where I think a lot of Gospel seeds were planted!  Be praying that God would continue grow those seeds in our students!