Sunday, December 8, 2013

Trust in the Lord.

"Dot your leader night" at AWANA.
Every time a child said a bible verse, they put a dot on us!
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 has not always been an easy verse for me to swallow. I tend to think my way is the best way; I like to be in control and I like to have a solid plan.. After all, I am so wise and full of infinite knowledge. The truth is that I don’t like to make mistakes, but who does? And no matter how hard I try, I will still end up making quite a few… I will let people down, I will say mean things, and I will make bad choices. If I did not make mistakes; if I was always put together and perfect, Christ coming to die for my sins would be pointless. Traveling across the world to share the Gospel with military children would be meaningless. And that is surely not the case. Because Jesus Christ did indeed die for me and everyone else for that matter, my life has purpose, Matthew’s life has purpose, we all have a purpose.
Matthew leading Large Group
There have been times on our journey of support raising where I wonder if our full support will come in and where it will all come from, if we will ever have the opportunity to minister to military children or if we will be “stuck” in Virginia for the remainder of our lives. When those thoughts begin to creep in, I am taken to the very words spoken by God, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13). God did not promise to give Matthew and I an easy, happy-go-lucky road/life. God promised that His way will not harm us and that His way will cause us to depend on Him. It is in this dependence we will learn to trust Him fully. In this life, we will have smooth travels, ride on bumpy roads, get stuck in traffic and maybe even have a little road rage. But one thing is for sure, if we trust in the Lord, He will make our paths straight. And this path will one day lead to military ministry.
            As Matthew and I continue to rely on the Lord and watch as His plan unfolds, we will continue
serving in our church. On the Sundays Matthew and I don’t lead a small group, Matthew has been helping co-lead large group and I have started to learn more of the “ins and outs” in leading children’s ministry. We have had an amazing opportunity to connect with a church body that has encouraged us, strengthened us and taught us so much! It will be hard to say goodbye when we head to the field, but we know we will always have a home here in Virginia.
            Matthew and I have big hopes to have 100% of our support by the end of next month (January 2014). As of right now, Matthew and I have 14 people who are giving to us on a monthly basis, which is averaging 25% of our monthly goal. We would love to have 72 more people pledge $75/month or 54 people pledge $100/month. Join us as we pray for God to send more people our way! Maybe you are one of them!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Auto-B-Good Event

A few weeks ago Matthew and I helped one of our friends, Susan, with a super fun children's event, The Auto-B-Good Event. I previously saw an idea similar to it on Pintrest and wanted to host the event for our future ministry, so getting to help first hand was great experience!
Auto-B-Good is an animated series for kids to learn character lessons!  For the event, each child started out with a normal cardboard box. By the end, they all had awesome cars to watch the Auto-B-Good TV show in!!

In order to make their cars, there were five different stations (Pit Stops)! Each Pit Stop was designed for the kids to add something new to their car. After they completed each Pit Stop, they were given a bible verse bumper sticker that corresponded with the new accessory.

Pit Stop #1

Pit Stop #2
At the first Pit Stop, the kids decided what color(s) they wanted for their cars! They were able to wrap their cars in gift wrap, add fun sticks, paint.. they were able to be as creative as they wanted!! The verse for this station was 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"

I helped with Pit Stop #2, where the kids received their steering wheels (red paper plates)! The bumper sticker here was Psalm 23:3, "He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name sake."

Pit Stop #3

Matthew was at Pit Stop #3, this is where the kids received their wheels (black paper plates)!! After putting on all four wheels, Matthew gave them the bumper sticker with Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Pit Stop #3
After leaving Matthew's Pit Stop, the kids got their headlights (yellow paper cups)!! At that Pit Stop, the kids were actually given TWO bumper stickers! One with John 8:12, "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." And Matthew 5:16, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

The final Pit Stop was where the kids received their license plates!! The kids put their names on their license plates and then fastened them to their cars! Then they were given their final bumper sticker with Isaiah 43:1 on it, "I have called you by your name; You are Mine."

After completing their cars, the kids were able to have a "drive-in movie" experience!! As they watched Auto-B-Good, the parents brought around some snacks and let the kids enjoy food and the movie!

It was a fun time had by all and we were soo excited to help out and gather ideas for our future ministry!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kid's Quest Camp

About a week ago, Sarah and I went to Camp Kid's Quest with our Church!  There were about 27 counselors and 120 kids at camp.  A couple of days before camp, the Kids Quest staff held a meeting for the counselors that were going.  We learned each counselor was in charge of around 4 to 6 kids.  I was picked to have a special group of boys for the week; whose names are Kevin, JJ, Javier, and Diego.  I was introduced to Tim Gardiner, the one who invited these boys from his public school.  It was truly a God thing that they were able to come.  Tim told me that these boys had a rough childhood and they didn't attend church on a regular basis.  He told me about their different personalities.  I was getting more and more excited to meet these boys and share the love of Christ with them!  We prayed that the Lord would rock their worlds!

Large group time!
                The first day of camp arrived!  It was a busy day of figuring out what was going on and meeting our campers!  My boys arrived and you could tell that this week was going to be fun!  They were full of energy, ready to do things!  While they went and put their bags down, I introduced myself to Diego's family, they brought all four of my boys. The parents didn't speak much English, but I let them know that I was going to take care of her boys and that they didn't have to worry about a thing.   Later that day, after setting up our cabin and eating dinner, we went to "Club"!  The message, funny skits, and worshiping took place here.  It was interesting to see how the boys reacted to worship.  At first, they were very timid and shy, not wanting to stand up and sing with everyone or do any of the motions.  During the second song, I encouraged them to stand up and sing so they stood up and tried to learn the motions.  By the end of the week, they were jumping up and down singing all the words and doing all the motions!

               The theme of the week was on how God has had a plan from the very beginning.  The first night we talked about the magnificent garden and how sin entered the world.  After every club, we had small group time.  We each led our groups in a discussion about the club's message, how the kids were doing and what they thought.  My group talked about the relationship Adam and Eve had with God and that sin broke that relationship.  I was blown away by how fast these boys absorbed and understood the message. The following messages were about Abraham and Isaac, the Israelites being saved from slavery, and the lost tribes.  Each message emphasized that God keeps His promises and that He was the only way the world could be saved.  I could see that the Lord was working on the hearts of my boys by their answers to the small group discussion questions, especially Javier.

Me and my boys!
                On the last night, the message was about Jesus and how God's plan has come together to save the world from their sin.  It was a powerful presentation of the gospel and made my kids start thinking and asking really good questions.  They asked how to get into heaven giving me "what if" scenarios such as, "what if a man pushes a lady out of the way from getting hit by a train, would the man go to heaven?"  We went through about 10 different scenarios before it clicked that Jesus is the only way for to get into heaven. They understood that by admitting you are a sinner, believing in Jesus Christ, and choosing to receive Jesus meant that your relationship with God is restored and you have eternal life.  Javier was excited to share that he had done this and that Jesus Christ was his Savior! I was super excited for him; we celebrated by doing a dance!  Diego and JJ were still taken back that the people in the scenarios didn't go to heaven and started to become distracted.  Kevin became quiet as he started to think about it really hard.  Later that night, we had a bonfire where kids could share their experiences of being at camp.  At the end, the host gave an invitation to all the kids to accept Jesus into their hearts by saying a simple prayer.  with everyone's eyes still close he asked everyone to raise their hands if they prayed that prayer.  At this moment, I had to see if any of my boys did; so I peeked and saw Diego's and Kevin's hands were up! PRIASE THE LORD, I thought to myself!  What an exciting way to end camp!

Friday, July 12, 2013

The End of Our First Year!

Me listening to a memory verse
  Ministry at our church, McLean Bible Church has been a great time for both Sarah and I! We have helped lots of kids with learning bible verses, core truths, and made lots of friends.  The ministries we volunteer in are Kid's Quest and Awana! We enjoy the ministry at McLean and hope to incorporate into our ministry one day. One thing that I really enjoy about the Kids Quest ministry is the leadership team that is in place.  The director, Mary Scott, does a fantastic job communicating the vision of the church and leading her coordinators.  Her coordinators are Yasmin (Large Group) and Ana (Small Group), they do an outstanding job bringing the kids great material that is engaging!  Yasmin’s team tells the bible story, do funny skits, and sing interactive songs.  Anna’s team leads the kids in a more in depth study of the story. We are both on Ana's team. I am going to join Yasmin's team this summer!  I hope that we are able to construct a leadership team of volunteers wherever we are stationed.

Sarah and I lead the kindergarten small group.  Recently, we had to say good bye to our kindergartens as they are moving up to 1st grade.  We are going miss them!  We taught what the bible says about compassion, friendship, truth, faith, mercy, wisdom, and many others!  As small group leaders, we lead them in scripture memorization and dug deeper into the large group message.  My favorite part of the small group is the scripture memorization.  Our favorite way to memorize a verse is by putting it on a white board and erasing one or two words at a time.  When the words are all gone…everyone knows it!  We meet our new kindergartners next week; we are super excited!
Sarah  hanging with the kids
During the spring, Sarah and I had to get jobs. Sarah got a job working a Chick-fil-a. It is her second passion right after missions.  She enjoys working there but is really excited to start our future ministry! I started substituting and I really enjoyed it!.  I substitute all the grades, K through 12th. The elementary age is my favorite! They all call me Mr. A because I don’t want them mispronouncing my last name just like when I was in school haha.  A few of the classes asked me what the “A” stands for, but I tell them its my secret. As a response to that, they picked the A to stand for Awesome!  It is quite the ego boost when I walk down the hall and hear a bunch of kids say “Hey, Mr. Awesome!” followed by high fives!

For the rest of the summer, Sarah and I are finishing our growth plan!  This means that I need to finish school as well as read a few books.  I am very close to being finished; I only have 4 more sections to complete! Yippee! Sarah is reading the same books as well as setting up dinners with potential supporters and working!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rock that Rolled

This past weekend, Matthew and I helped with our churches Easter celebration, The Rock That Rolled! There were so many different activities the kids could do, from cupcake decorating to a petting zoo! Matthew and I helped our small group coordinator, Ana, with egg hunts! We had four different egg hunts and hid 24,000 eggs!

Matthew and one of his AWANA students getting ready to hide eggs in rooms! There were eggs filled with bouncy balls, tattoos and of course some were filled with candy!

We scattered some eggs on the floor, so they were easy to find for the little ones.

Before each egg hunt, Matthew went over the rules and safety precautions with the kids and their parents. During the hunt, we made sure everything ran smoothly and every child had a chance to get their 10 eggs.

After the egg hunts were over, we helped clean up! We had barriers set up so there was only one way in and out of the hunt! Matthew had the joy in running through the barriers while breaking everything down.
It was a great turn out and we were so glad we were given the opportunity to help!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Our First Support Dinner

   Matthew and I have recently had our first support dinner! My brother and sister in law invited a few couples over to enjoy a dinner with the two of us and learn more about life as a military child and our ministry! At the start of the evening, each person attending selects a "child" they will follow through three different countries throughout the evening. We start eating salad in the United States, move to a different room in the house- known as Germany- for our main course and enjoy dessert in Asia, in yet another room of the house! With each move, they will find out how their child likes/dislikes their current home. As we wrap up the evening, we share what each child is up to now and how Cadence had an impact on their lives!
   Matthew and I decided to make lamented  place cards to represent the kids!

We made boy and girl cutouts using his moms Cricut! I love that thing and I love our cutouts! =)
Matthew cut them out while I typed up the info about each child and printed them out on card stock.

After Matthew cut out the boys and girls, he cut out the names we used. I had the joy in gluing each letter on each card.. looking good, right!?

While I was still gluing the many letters, Matthew lamented each one. We don't own a laminator, so it took him a little while but they look great! =)

Our last step was to make them stand up! We cut one inch tabs and laminated them to stick in the middle of each card! Now they are complete! Yippee!

We are very please with how they turned out and can't wait to use them more in the future! =) 
If you would like to know more about our dinners or are interested in hosting one, please let us know! =D