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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nimz Ministry Newsletter August 2015

August is always an intense change-of-pace for the ministry, and we’d love for you to be praying for us especially this month. We are actively preparing for an interfaith lunch put on by campus Saturday, August 15th, during which we will provide freezer pops towards the meal and just chat with college students along with any other religious groups in town that wish to come. Saturday is also when Aikido of Northwest Kansas, The Gamers Guild, and Unite Common Grounds Coffee House and our small groups all change to fall semester times, which is a LOT of rescheduling!

August 17th we’ll be on campus during the Picnic in the Quad. The Unite booth will have information on our small groups, free store and food program, and community outreach opportunities. The Gamers Guild will be doing demonstrations of a large variety of board and card games so that students who may have interest in alternative behaviors to the large house parties and bars on Friday nights know about the Unite Game Night there and other activities other days of the week; also, Aikido of Northwest Kansas will be demonstrating the entire time and will have information about Aikido classes and our early church prayer meditation opportunities. All three groups will be active at the same time, and all three will be giving out small promotional items. We’ll have 30 minutes to set up all three tables and three hours in the sun (hopefully—rain is beautiful but detrimental to outdoor events). Please pray that the right help shows up at the right time and that our volunteers for all 3 entities can bond well in community and Christ.

August 27th is The Welcoming Event on campus—we invite all churches and college ministries onto campus to serve students. Please pray that it be obvious how this event is different from the other two opportunities that churches have to be on campus and that many will choose to attend this day. The interfaith lunch on the 15th does not allow us to bring promotional materials or advertise our groups, but instead it puts out its own flyer with all of our information (Christian and other faiths); however, it is a great day for churches to help students who are looking for a faith community. The event on the 17th is a promotional smorgasbord with sometimes close to 300 groups present. It’s a great way to get out promotional material, but churches and ministries will also primarily just hit students looking for a faith community. The Welcoming Event is designed for the churches and ministries to come to campus to serve ALL students with love, by welcoming them to Hays with tangible gifts and help (such as laundry care kits, food, or other direct blessings). This event is geared towards believers and non-believers; it is to show the love of Christ to any and all students who walk by—and the hope is that it will demonstrate even to non-believers at least a bit of who Christ is and who these communities claim to be.

There are even more upcoming events in August, September, and October—in all honesty, I’ll only be able to keep you lightly apprised of them for prayer as they are very numerous and range from large to small, but all are important. Sometime soon we will be doing some fundraisers for Aikido scholarships. Aikido of Northwest Kansas currently scholarships about nine students by covering part of their cost to attend our school—this has helped several excellent families bond together by practicing a self-defensive martial art and providing moral lessons. These fundraisers will give to the Aikido International Foundation, our scholarship program administrator, so that school will be able to possibly scholarship more students and so that we

will not have such a high financial burden to the program. Please pray that these go well. Also please pray that the moral lessons—especially those in the kids classes—point clearly to Godly living and help the kids truly see who God is behind the actions and attitudes that they are learning.

To help free up more time so I can focus more heavily on ministry projects that have been on the back burner for too long, I have also started a volunteer group for The Gamers Guild and Unite Common Grounds Coffee House and free store. Please pray that these form well—there is a lot of interest, and I do need to free up more time to do more ministry administration work. With scheduled ministry work (including time scheduled to meet one-on-one with students and ministers for various projects or spiritual encouragement/mentoring), I have between 56 and 76 hours locked down each week. This doesn’t include time praying or reading the Word or any ministry administrative work I have to do. In prayer it has become obvious that I critically need to change this equation—I continue to pray for discernment about how to do that, but I know establishing these volunteer groups and giving over time to them is part of it.

I will leave you with a photo showing our food shelves at the free store one day after a donation from North Oak’s food pantry and Saint Michael’s garden and then another photo the very next day. The food program continues to grow both as a free store with food shelves and as a potential site for churches to come serve monthly meals and for people who are hungry. We have some even more interesting potentials coming up—please keep this program in your prayers. It is exciting to see what seems to be God-inspired things grow—please pray for us, and consider contacting me to volunteer directly—we could use your help in the ministry work. Thank God for providence and this time to write you!

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Newsletter and Prayer Requests

Thank you for your prayers and support this last year; they have been very much felt! We've had some interesting transitions in a few parts of the ministry, so I will do my best to update you about all of them in this newsletter so that you know what you can pray for!

First, Unite is working with the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance and a few churches to start up a food reclamation/distribution program. At this time, there are several good programs in Ellis County, but the distributions are not very frequent. The Community Assistance Center gives out food four times per year, and Saint Joseph's gives out food once per month. There are a few different food pantries, but they tend to have specific clients (one at the high school, one at the university, a few in individual churches). Our program would be for anyone in the community and would be grown in a few different phases. Right now, we are meeting with a state health inspector and a few different church members, pastors, and ECMA individuals every few weeks to discuss progress and work on stage one—getting a deep freeze in the Unite Free Store to add frozen goods donated from local merchants (usually that are near expiration date) to be given out in addition to our current offerings off our free food shelf. Phase two involves improving our coffee house kitchen area slightly to allow for churches to come in and serve occasional free meals to the Hays community. Phase three involves getting a fridge and using roasters to serve food from catering companies' excess (they would get a receipt for a non-profit donation) the day that they have extra. The final phase, phase four, would involve us using state-approved cooling procedures to cool the food from the catering companies, put date/time stamps on it, and serve it for its remaining lifespan (max of 7 day after it was prepared). The vision may change as we proceed, but it is exciting to see phase 1 already happening!

Another change is that the free store itself has grown in terms of how much it is used and in terms of what we offer. Here are some updated photos of our new shelves and some of the different things that people have donated.

A variety of individuals in the community have come in to get free food, free clothing, free cooking ware, microwaves, and other necessities.

Our small groups continue to go well—they are small in number, but I believe that they are going well. Please feel free to keep praying for spiritual growth in them. We have also experienced growth in game night—enough so that we almost have spacial difficulties. We may seek to expand our space slightly by having Aikido of Northwest Kansas rent another room for its changing area and storage to free up space for the game nights and the new deep freeze for the free store. Please keep that in your prayers as it would be an extra few hundred a month to do that, and I wish to make a wise decision.

We have also had some changes in Aikido of Northwest Kansas. We were very blessed to have Professor Moser teaching his 3-in-1 martial arts, with a faith focus, in our dojo. He had to head back to New York for family reasons, though; he and we both felt that it was a great blessing to him and us to have him here for the time that he was here, though. God definitely used the situation for the Kingdom in ways that I wouldn't have foreseen or planned for. It appears that He also used this situation as a blessing for another, too. A local tumbling instructor had been in relationship with a gym owner; when they broke up, she was evicted from his gym and their shared home. Her tumbling classes and personal training were the majority of her livelihood, so it was critical that she find space to continue them. Thankfully, God had left us open to allow for her to use the times that Professor Moser had been using, plus a few more slots, to make space for her and her tumbling kids. We feel very blessed to be able to get to know her better and to support her in this difficult time. I feel that it is also a blessing to have her with us, as she is very well liked by the children and parents due to her caliber of instruction. We will hopefully have her and a few parents join us this week in our early morning prayer meditation on Thursday. She and a few of them are interested in giving it a try, which excites me. We may also be joined by a professor at Fort Hays State University who has begun more heavily supporting the Unite free store in its efforts to reach out to the community.

Beyond that, life continues to be surprisingly busy, with many small projects all across the board in the ministries; Tella and I always appreciate prayers that we stay in God's peace as we work and that we keep focused on Him and His Kingdom. I also have been personally trying to 're-surrender' to Him and His will to experience the freest life possible in this busy ministry time. Thanks again for your prayers and support; also, please send us any prayer requests that you have!