Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Christian Challenge March 2015 Update!

     It's that time again!  Time for another Christian Challenge update!  I hope you're doing well!

     It's been an interesting time since our last update.  We feel like we've been a roller coaster.  We can't go into it too much but we got to see God do a true healing miracle for someone close to us from a very serious diagnosis.  We praise God for that!  Nothing like hearing a doctor saying, "I'm shocked..." when God does a miracle.  We weren't shocked.  Our God is big!  What was a very low point quickly became a very high point.

     Another high point we've had was the last retreat we did.  We brought in Mike Story, a collegiate minister at Oklahoma State and also Josh's dad.  We focused on discipleship and the importance of it.  We also looked at what spiritual gifts each student has and how they could use it for ministry.  We've done a lot of retreats over the years but this was the first time we've been able to go pretty deep spiritually.  I can't tell you how exciting it is to have students we can do this with.  It's a big answered prayer.





     After the retreat, one of the athletes I disciple, in response to the retreat, said he realized that discipleship didn't have to be as hard as he made it out to be in his mind.  He's now extremely excited to reach out to his team and start a breakfast and Bible study for the Sundays they can't be at church due to races or training.

     Challenge on Tuesday nights has been going great as well.  We've moved on to issues like the difference between Christianity and other religions, and the many different denominations within Christianity.  This past week, our Japanese students were able to do a presentation on Japanese culture (and updates on tsunami relief) and we finished the night off by having a former missionary to Japan, Dr. Mark Edlund, share about his experiences as a missionary there.

     That brings us up to the present.  Spring break is this week.  While I'll be in Durango getting our taxes together and having a couple of doctor visits, we've got two teams heading out on mission trips.  Jen is taking students to Denver to work with those less fortunate.  Rachel, Randi, and Josh will be in Juarez, Mexico with students at a school run by missionaries there.  They will minister to the kids at the school and also put a new roof on the school.  It's exciting to see them go where others will not.  Help from America has really dried up since the cartel violence down there started making headlines.


     Moving forward, we've got a lot to pack in before school is out.  There is always a stress of getting in as much discipleship as possible before students head home.  We've got lots of events like our Easter Eve Snowshoe Church Service we put on for the students.  Graduation will be here before we know it.

     From there, it's our state director meetings in Colorado Springs.  Then, Rachel and I are off to, Lord willing, Louisiana and North Carolina to get our support up to where it is supposed to be.  After that, we'll be back in Durango for a month to train for our Peru mission trip in the Andes.  We've already have some students committed to the trip which is exciting.  We'll have more info on that trip and the students that are going in updates to come.

     On that note, with our support being down right now, we are trying to come up with creative ways to fund the mission trip to Peru.  I thought of maybe doing a silent auction, auctioning off blown-up pictures from past mission trips, or maybe coffee and mangoes (both of which are the best we've ever had) that can only be purchased in the Philippines.  Just have to learn how to put together a silent auction.  So that's an option with some research and planning.  Rachel had a t-shirt design also put together.  We'll be selling those for $20 a shirt.  I'll put a picture of the shirt below.  Let us know if you'd be interested in getting one.  We need 13 people to commit to make it happen.



     We've also bounced around the idea of renting out our cabin as a vacation rental while we're support raising for a month.  So lots of ideas and not a lot of time to make it happen.  We know God will provide one way or another.

     Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give!  We are super thankful for that!  Keep FLC in your prayers!

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel


Prayer Requests:

Housing-

     Huge praise!  For the time being, we have water in our well!  It's murky and not drinkable without a good filter but we at least can wash dishes and shower...and not have to resort to our outhouse.  Pray that we continue to have well water even without the spring snow-melt to recharge the well.  Prayer for lots of precipitation for our area would help that out as well.

     Our snowblower is still down but thankfully we only had one more big storm of about 3 feet which we had to hand-shovel.  Snow season is coming to an end, though, so it's something we can fix over the summer hopefully.

     Another huge praise!  The issues we were having with our septic system have been remedied.  Our house no longer smells like septic after we take a shower.  I added an extra vent outside which didn't fix the problem.  We thought we might have a leak somewhere in our walls which would have been really difficult and expensive to fix.  Thankfully, the shower drainage pipe just needed to be cleaned.  I suspected it might be clogged with dog hair from the previous owner's dog and it was.  A little septic-safe liquid pipe cleaner and the bad smell is now gone.  We're very thankful for that!

Students-

     Pray that God would keep our teams safe on their mission trips.  Also pray that the U.S. border agents don't hassle our Japanese students like last year when they come back across the border.

     Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to grow our students in their faith and that they'd stay strong in it throughout the semester.

     Pray that God would continue to reveal Himself to the students who have not yet put their trust in Him.

Rachel and Mike-

     Pray that we would get positive answers concerning our medical concerns.  Feels like we're at least finally making some progress.

     Pray that we would make time to rest and not get burnt out by the busy nature of ministry.

     Pray that our marriage would stay strong, keeping God always at the center of it.


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