It is good to be sharing with you again! We have been up to a lot since this is our busy season in the ministry, so I'll update you here as much as I can.
For those who didn't follow our blog about the Mexico Mission Trip—it went extremely well. Those of us on the trip felt that we were very blessed to be a blessing, and it was a great chance to spread word about the Home, Unite, and opportunities with both as much of our trip was covered on the KPRD Christian radio station. For a more fully detailed account of our trip, you can go to this website (http://unite2014mexico.blogspot.com/) to read our posts about it before, during, and after the trip. My closing post was put up to coincide with this newsletter's release, so it applies even today. :)
As always, the start of the university comes quickly after Mexico, and the first week is fairly busy letting people know about Unite and our game nights, small groups, and other opportunities as well as letting them know about Aikido of Northwest Kansas and opportunities that they have there and The Gamers Guild and the services it offers. Each of these elements has been expanding in good ways to serve the Kingdom.
Unite is getting back to networking—I'm slowly getting to know the pastors in town again as several churches that I previously worked with have new lead pastors and have been in times of transition (hence they were unable to meet about outside ministry projects since they were dealing with fairly large internal matters). I've also formally joined the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance and am working with their website and possibly on a couple of committees that may have good tie-ins with Unite and some of what we already do. Our Common Grounds Coffee House and free store inside of The Gamers Guild have expanded quite a bit. The coffee house itself is finally training some new volunteer barristas (though we need more if you are interested), and we have greatly expanded the free store. We now have more shelving and items on the shelves, a revolving food pantry that anyone can use, and a free-to-use laptop with WiFi and Internet access (so that people without can check their emails, facebook, and so on). We are hoping to expand the computer access that we provide (we use a Nex Tech Free Public Wifi Hotspot, so it has filters and is safe) so that people without computers can still do online work once the library closes. That will depend on us slowly getting more old (yet functional) computers that have Internet browsing capability. I would also be willing to consider running a free-to-use printer for job applications and such if we end up with a need for it (which we currently haven't yet).
Aikido of Northwest Kansas has been getting quite a few new students and has introduced seven areas of focus into its adult and youth curriculum. These include 'be compassionate, be respectful, be humble, center, relax completely, give positive energy, and keep weight underside'. Many of these concepts have been very fun to talk with youth about—we've even been able to challenge them to respect their parents or someone that they have difficulty respecting and then followed up on it the next week to see what they were able to do. We have also become a home for Professor Moser to instruct 3 in 1 martial arts when we are not using the dojo. He teaches 3 martial arts in 1, but he is also a Jew who became a believer (hence a Messianic Jew) who named his art 3 in 1 to also reflect the trinity; he uses it to teach and share Godly principles about life. It has been my distinct pleasure to get to know him and his wife more—they are a very Godly, wise couple who are out here to be closer to family and do what they feel God has led them to do. I am glad that the blessings He has given us are able to help them out here, as well.
Finally, The Gamers Guild has undergone several large transitions and continues to be a place for people to hang out at from 6:30pm-11:30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday night our Unite Game Night happens there until about 2am. We are training several volunteers who do help out, and I have greatly enjoyed watching them come to know and love and care about the community who hangs out there. It's a very unique group that comes in each night—we have junior high students who don't have much of a home to go back to, high school students who want something different and fun to do, college-aged students who hang out and play games, and middle aged and older guys and gals who also come in to hang out and play games. We DO have a fair number of individuals come in to use Unite's Free Store for food or various useful items. We also have some people come in to donate to it. All in all, it's doing well.
Besides the usual small group and game night start up things, we also had our yearly 'Welcoming Event' to welcome students to campus in the name of Christ. A few churches came out and gave out food, care packages, and more. We also had a few college ministries show up and some other ministries. This year, we've done something new and reserved the quad for next year already. It is my sincere hope that with this much forewarning, we can get a better turnout from the churches and ministries and that they may serve the students in an even bigger way next year.
[alt], the alternative to Oktoberfest after-parties and excess, is also coming up Friday, October 10th. We are excited to run it again this year, and though we think it will be even bigger than last year, it will still likely be smaller than it was years ago. As such, we are presenting next month before the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance about the concept of coming together to do [alt] more heavily in hopes of making it bigger and more impactful next year—possibly even holding a concert like we once did. All of that, though, is up in the air for the future.
It has been a good time for one-on-one ministry with a few events, though I really can't share details on here due to confidentiality. Please keep young people in your prayers, though—especially their love-lives and their desire to know not just about God but to know God.
Over the next period of time I would request prayers that those with broken relationships turn to God and grow stronger together, that those who do not know God get a desire to, and that all of us with doubts and fears ask God for His help and hear His response. May we all walk closer to God in this upcoming fall season. Thank you again for your prayers, for your support, and for being a part of this ministry.