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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Feb 22 Updates/Prayer Requests

Feb 22nd update

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks!  God has done some very exciting things this month.  In just a two-week stretch we’ve had more than six new people temporarily or permanently join a new small group.  Each instance has been exciting.  Some have joined us through existing relationships, but many have just walked by and sat down and joined for a prayer OR have contacted us asking about a small group.  We’ve also had several new people come to game nights.

We STRONGLY appreciate your prayers that we be sensitive to the Spirit in each interaction so that we can be at the right place at the right time.  There really aren’t words to explain how exciting it is to see Him move.

Also, I recently gave a message in WaKeeney at the Church of God.  The second service especially I could feel the Spirit stirring.  One young lady approached me after the service very upset and shared some difficult things with me.  Through the Spirit and connections we were able to get her in contact with a lady in her community who can meet with her.  I was VERY excited to be used for that.  It’s ALSO been interesting in that the Spirit has had me meeting with a youth pastor and a few people from that community (one of whom has moved his family here because they felt they were to become involved with ‘Hays’).  I’m heading back over two more times this week for some exciting things the Spirit is doing there.  I’m fairly certain they relate heavily back to the ‘Common Grounds’ coffeehouse along with something our leadership team is praying about.  We would VERY much appreciate your prayers for discernment and for us to have the ability to listen, hear, and follow God’s directions in HIS timing.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  On a personal note, my support has risen to where it will be at a stable $350 per month next month.  Thank God for His providence!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Text version of January Newsletter

It’s been a very interesting month.  Our leadership team is meeting every other week now, and it appears that the team may be growing stronger as a listening community.  I am excited about some of the subjects that have come up and may be in the works later this semester.  Please be in prayer for us that we can listen and discern what the Spirit has for us.

I am also excited for the potentials with Common Grounds coffee house.  We are now working with the United Methodist Student Center board and Allegro to broker a deal so that we can officially begin running.  It appears that God may have provided enough money to get us at least started.

Regardless, the game night communities already meet during the times we would be serving coffee, and the communities are growing well.  A number of very important conversations have begun to occur between believers and non-believers during game night.  Several young women have met with some of our ladies in leadership to share about relationship issues and other things.  Our leadership is praying and seeking to be more aware of opportunities to develop the relationships that God has for us to develop and to listen to be used by God to love others.  Also, a number of new individuals from many different walks of life have recently begun coming to game night.  Pray that God help us move with Him as we interact with them and develop relationships.

Our semester officially started off with a prayer retreat at the First Presbyterian church in Hays.  Six individuals showed up, and we spent six hours in prayer and reflection.

At the beginning of the event we had a general prayer, and then we separated out to spend some individual time with God in prayer and meditation.  We each went through a number of questions and scripture passages designed to give us opportunities to pray with God and listen.  After a couple such sessions, we began practicing some prayer meditation techniques that have been used in the church for centuries as a group.  These included centering prayer and lectio divina (a pattern of reading and meditating on scripture while listening to God). We also separately practiced a soul-baring type of spiritual journaling.  The prayer retreat was powerful for everyone whom God enabled to listen.  I thank Him greatly for what He taught.

In early January we also had a collaborative game night with North Oak’s Outreach Team, the Tippy family, and Community Connections.  We actually had lower attendance than at previous collaborative events, but the combination of people was very healthy.  The Tippy family came with one of the international students who lives in their house, a few from North Oak showed up with some international friends, and about 16 of the standard game night attenders arrived.  At least one of the people from North Oak and at least one of the college ladies very much enjoyed playing with the Tippy’s daughter, and I personally enjoyed getting to know the Tippy’s and three international students better.

As is typical each semester, we again hosted ‘Get plugged In’ on campus in the Union and invited all local churches and college ministries to attend.  Due largely to an ice storm that hit the day we held the event, attendance was low from churches and college students.  A few churches did make it, however, along with several college ministries, and we had some pretty in-depth conversations with students who came looking for a place to connect to.

Next semester we hope to work with a large number of youth groups in Northwest Kansas to promote ‘Get Plugged In’ to Fort-Hays bound students who are still in high school.  We also hope to use the second semester event as a ‘preview day’ so that high school youth pastors can bring their students to ‘Get Plugged In’ to give them an idea of what to look for when they look for a church/college ministry wherever they go.  Please pray about ‘Get Plugged In’ as it relates to youth in high school finding a connection to the Body of Christ in college.  Also please pray for a group of college ministers and youth pastors I have been meeting with who seek to pull in an international speaker for campus and the surrounding school districts and who also seek to help coordinate [alt] next year.

For those interested, I will be preaching both sermons February 20th at WaKeeney Church of God in WaKeeney, Kansas.  If you would like a chance to meet with me in person or listen to some of what God has taught me over the last several months as a missionary/college ministry leader, PLEASE feel free to attend!  First service is at 9:00 a.m., and second service is at 11:15 a.m.  The address for the church is 1300 Easter Avenue, WaKeeney, KS  67672.

Thank you again for your prayers and support.  God is definitely moving in Hays, and we are excited to see what He has yet in store for us!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 9 Post (prayer request, update)

Hello everyone!  Our Tuesday night group met at my house since the Union was closed due to weather, and we had one newer person come back for a second time and two entirely new people show up!  We hope that they continue to come and share with us.  The atmosphere was very fun, and we were able to share some serious prayer requests and encourage each other well.  The scripture discussion was a little short since we also took time to serve some traditional Asian tea (I don't get a reason to break out my Chinese tea very often), but it was also very good.  Please pray for those who joined us that they continue to grow in Christ and in community with His body (whether that continues to be us or whether it be with other Christians).

Also, I have begun serving lunch after Aikido on Saturday and church service on Sunday for any college students who wants to join (both groups like to eat together and have fun together but run too short on funding to eat out often).  The meals are big cheap things like Spaghetti, frozen pizza, sandwiches, etc., and anyone may bring food or drink who wishes to.  So far the meals have gone well (non-Aikido students are welcome Saturday, but it's mostly Aikido students, and people from any church are welcome Sunday, but it's mostly those who attend mine who join us (though two or three came from other churches, too)).  These meals DO seem to be really great opportunities for people to relax and get to know each other better while having fun.  Please pray for them as you feel led.

Please be in prayer that God help a number of individuals in relationships (or just out of them) listen--that He open their ears, eyes, hearts, and minds, and speak in such a way that they clearly hear, understand, and know...  and that He help them follow Him in these instances...  There are several young people going through some difficult situations in relationship (or just out of them).  A number of us in leadership have been meeting with, praying with, and encouraging several individuals in such circumstances.  Please pray over that.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Feb 4th Update

Feb 4th Update
I recently met with the United Methodist Student Center Board.  We discussed several up-and-coming things with the ‘Common Grounds’ coffee house project.  I would appreciate prayers that God help us all listen, hear, and follow His lead and His timing.  This is a project that shouldn’t be rushed OR allowed to lag behind His time frame.  Some of the money we have access to also has a clock on it—if it isn’t used by May, it disappears.  Please pray that it all come together in His timing and His way.

Also, several exciting new ideas came up at our last leadership meeting (our leadership meets once every two weeks to pray and listen).  I have some meetings even today that will relate to some of them.  I would ask that you pray for discernment for us that we can hear and discern God’s will in the plans.  I shortly plan to contact our prayer board so they can be in prayer with us.  At this time I don’t want to go into details since we are just in the early praying/listening phases, but if it looks like a place where we may go I will be excited to share it with all of you.  If you are really curious, you can also ask me in person.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  It HAS made a difference—God is definitely moving.  A number of important conversations have been happening during the game nights, and the small groups are getting some new members whom we are really excited about.

Jan 22nd update Up and running again

It’s excellent to be ‘back in the swing of things’ with the small group communities, game nights, and many of the one-on-one meeting times I have with others.  It’s a sincere blessing to be back together in each of the small groups—the times we’ve shared this week in prayer, study, encouragement, and community are beyond words.  It’s obvious to me that the Spirit guides us and is helping individuals grow and share life together well.  Please pray that He open our ears to hear and that we move together under His direction.