Monday, June 24, 2013


Friends, I plan to be brief as many of you know that I haven't been feeling the greatest...
Today we had three work sites and each one of them revealed God in some way to the youth-per our small group discussions the youth shared that they saw God today in how everyone was helping out each other and that when people said "thank you" to them it made them feel good. 
Tonight at campfire was an Earth-shaking, tear inducing, life transforming experience as we opened it up to the youth to share after we (Chris, Tyler, and I) finished sharing about tonight's theme and calling. The scripture we used was from Isaiah 28:16: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.”
Continue to pray for these youth as the week goes on and that they remain open to God's convicting Spirits. And a big thank you to those who have been thinking and praying for these youth. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Today was a mixed day for the youth as an accident shook them to their very cores. While the youth were busy working on their sites (four different ones) the rest of the world was still in motion, as it should be, and lives were changed (in more ways that one). 
Without going into detail, three youth group members (back in SD) were involved in an accident which ended with one in the hospital fighting for his life. While it's never easy to get a phone call with that kind of news, I knew it was time to pull our crew from their sites to break the news. After I had finished sharing the sad news tears, gasps, and moans filled the room as shock took over. 
One might think that this would mark the end to our mission trip, but as you can see, the youth galvanized under a Spirit of Hope that only God could provide. In the midst of their pain, their brokenness, and the uncertainty, they found strength in each other. What's even more uplifting is that they were supported by the other youth group members too. They came down to support them with their presence and prayers. 
I am proud of this group. The youth leaders and I, from Plank and from Nebraska are all proud of this group as they have now become one. Yeah, we arrived in different vehicles (bus or vans) and started from different parts of the Midwest (Plank, Omaha, & Lincoln), but we have unified as the church in the Hope found in God's awesome promises through Christ. 
Friends, continue to pray for these youth along with the youth (and their families) who were involved in the accident earlier today. Pray for healing, pray for strength, and pray for patience in the midst of that which seems so uncertain. And most of all pray for hope for this kind of hope is not merely wishful thinking but a HOPE of certainty-that we can be His hands and feet. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Since I was unable to participate in the mission work today, I will simply add some pictures and some words from Tyler Foster, who is the other youth leader among us. 

Youth Trip Update:We spent today at Wind River Ranch working on multiple projects. Most projects involved clearing brush and downed trees to mitigate forest fires. Smokey the Bear would be proud.
Here is a picture of us all getting ready for camp fire. Chris and I are giving some important information concerning tomorrow and how important it is to communicate among roommates concerning keys.
Tonight we talked about not going to church anymore. We challenged the youth to no longer go to church but to be the church. We explained that "church" is not a location for Sundays at a given time and that worship should be in what we say and do for Christ. 
In our closing, we told them to be the church in all that they say and do. We used scripture from both Matthew 16:18 and I Peter 2:5
Continue to pray for these young people as they continue to wrestle with the idea of letting Christ be their foundation-in their relationships, hope, and confidence. 

Friday, June 21, 2013


Last night I was unable to sleep and ended up tossing in the bed from 11pm to 12:15am. I couldn't breathe and it turns out that I have strep and because I still have my tonsils it was worse-it was painful to speak and to swallow. As you may or may not know, I drove myself to the hospital in Estes Park, much to the disbelief of my youth leaders and the youth leaders in general. I ended up staying there until 3:30am with an IV stuck in my arm and was pumped with nearly 3 bags of fluids, given a numbing agent in order to swallow pills-Amoxicillin, Tylenol, and Ibprophen. The end result was hydration and a recharge! Yeah, it was 3:30am, but it didn't feel like it.
Once I got back, I laid down and passed out like a little baby. I did wake up at 5:25am in order to let the boys out for a run, but I went back to sleep. The nuts and bolts has been hydrate, rest, and reflect. As I give thanks for the wonderful doctors and nurses at Estes I give thanks to those who prayed and the Great I Am for all that he has provided. I am sitting at a laptop with no harsh or sore throat. While I feel great, I'm still contagious for another 12 hours. So while I do my best to stay away from close contact with the youth and the youth leaders, I am busy combing the scriptures for God's nudge and Spirit to lead me (not just for tonight's campfire, but for the rest of the week).
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I told God that if it was His will that I be laid aside and unable to speak then I was good with that. Yeah, on the inside I was bummed, as I usually feel it is my duty to step up, but I meant it as I truly feel that it isn't about me, it's about God's plan for this trip-the youth and the youth leaders. But today as we continue with our main scripture verse: Acts 4:11, we move onto a different phase for the week, a different focus: "Jesus is..."
And it got me thinking, there are a lot of ways a person could run with that. Yeah, we could all go with the Sunday School-cookie-cutter-answers and directions, but there's a depth here that could be explored...and for many, perhaps it should be explored. While the youth are unable to read this, I challenge you to re-read the scripture and ask yourself "Who Jesus is..." in your life. Is Jesus your sustainer and provider, the one you turn to in prayer and give thanks to or is he just a convenient reference on Sundays or a conversation that seems to be too deep?
If we're honest we all struggle with keeping a close relationship with Jesus. It isn't enough to merely say I'm a Christian or to do some good things, but to really be passionate about what He can do in and through you and I as His hands and feet in the world. Jesus is...usually right, we need to let go of the stuff or the trash in our lives that we let get in the way of His work in us.
Enjoy the video below called "Trash" and see if you can't relate to this as there is a difference between calling yourself a Christian and really letting Jesus in and having a close relationship.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Good News! We have safely arrived to Estes Park. I know not everyone has Facebook, but it's now safe to say that all is well. We have a few that were a bit dehydrated, but are on the mend. Right now the youth are getting read for bed. The first thing we did was eat and then we unpacked our bus (or van) and dumped our stuff in the rooms we were assigned. Many of the youth were surprised to find out that we have mixed the groups-intermixed to be technical. The room assignments and small groups were arranged with the idea of disruption-helping them to bond with their new bunk mates and small group team. Even our youth leaders are leading youth not from their church. So far it has been a slow start but there has been progress. Today the guys shared about what superpower they wish they had and why during our introductions...some of them came up with some pretty good powers and their reasons why. I cannot vouch for the girls at this point as the girls and some of the female youth leaders just went on a walk. Tonight at campfire we shared the overall theme verse for this week: Acts 4:11; which says, "Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’" And we opened up with a discussion on the importance of foundations-which led to more conversations that we hope will give way to more spirit-filled stories of change. Friends, continue to pray for the youth as they open themselves up to God's call upon their lives. I also have a personal prayer for myself, I'm in need of healing. My voice needs to return. I have a bit of a sore throat and I worry that it may hinder my participation-however, I am open, as I prayed it tonight, that perhaps I am not to speak this week, but merely be and open to the possibility that God can use others to impact these great group of kids. Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers! Here are a couple of songs you can look up as they are songs we have been and will continue to sing at campfire.