Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happenings, Updates and Celebrations

For the most part, this is a fun update to write. Just to get it out of the way, the “unmost “ part – the non-fun portion – is that I’m writing it as the muscles in my upper back and shoulder are spasming from an injury a week ago. That wasn’t going to keep me from sharing what’s been happening on this side of the globe, though. That’s just how I roll – pain, shmain…

These last two weeks have been a lot of fun from the church and trust perspective. Just to give you a taste of what’s in the following bullets, we’ve been involved in youth ministry, cooking, policies, and have heard back on one of our funding apps (Hint – it was a good response…). Caleb and Aedan have been able to reach out to friends and we’ve made creative progress towards some of our funding goals. But, enough of teasers – read on for the full-course meal.

What’s Happening with the Reynolds:

• At cession|community (the church), we’ve been working through what youth ministry looks like for us. This is a old and new role for me – old because of my youth ministry years but new because now, I’m also a parent. We have 4 students in the intermediate age and relationships with 10 high-school age students at our facility but outside of the church. We don’t want these kids to be overlooked and find ourselves in a cool spot – the kids want something more and we have a team of leaders who want to work with them. I’ve been asked to act as a consultant to this process and help the church pull together their ministry strategy and plan. It’s been awesome to be involved with teens and leaders again and be able to feed into their development.

• We launched a new programme this last Monday – Depot Masterchef. About two months ago, a leader at cession birthed this idea over coffee. She’s a professional chef and wanted to help youth and adults see how they could cook/eat better. As the idea developed, we saw a fit with the alternative school we share our facility with. On Monday, we cooked our first meal. Many of the kids were used to just cooking instant noodles or toast but, on Monday, they made homemade pasta, meatballs, homemade sauce, and pear cobbler. It was awesome to see the relationships begin to develop between the students and leaders present. Our hope is that this programme gives the students real life skills while opening relational doors with the leaders involved.

• Policies – yes, to some of you (me included), I just said a nasty P-word. Part of investing in the trust so it is sustainable is developing policies for how we run our programmes – funders and government agencies want to see practical policies that apply to our programmes. Because we’ve submitted 2 significant funding applications for trust programmes, we need these in place. Believe me, this has been work for me – I need to do it first thing in the day or I’ll keep putting it off for more people aspects of my role. But, it has been a huge leap forward organizationally for the trust.

• We heard back from one of our funding applications (a small one) – AND IT WAS SUCCESSFUL! BP gives fuel vouchers for volunteers and we applied for some this year. This was our first successful “funding” application for the trust (that was your queue to stand up from your chair and do a little happy dance). This allows us to appreciate people who give so much of themselves so the trust can connect with our community. We don’t have the blessing of having a volunteer appreciation budget – this is it – so it’s huge for us!

• Caleb and Aedan have been able to reach out to their friends. Caleb invited a few boys from his Jujitsu gym to youth group and they said yes! Last week, two were there and they’ve said they’ll return this week as well. This is pretty significant – Caleb’s instructor is also the youth pastor for this youth group. Caleb’s willingness to ask these boys opened the door for his instructor to share more as well! Both boys help me out with Mainly Music each week. A few weeks ago, another boy showed up that was Aedan’s age (Mainly Music is for toddlers – kids Aedan’s age are in school). It turns out this was another home school family who was new to the area and the two boys have really hit it off!

• Funding Update – We are still underfunded for our term but have seen God move in incredible and creative ways. God has been providing our support like manna – just in time for when we need it – for the last six months. This month, our goal was $3,000 by September 15. Right now, we are about $900 away from that goal. This will secure October for us.

In addition to this, we’ve been able to pick up some contract work for DaNae (and I). Houghton College is coming at the end of October as part of a semester-abroad programme and we are acting as the on-the-ground coordinators. In addition, we may also have the opportunity to be relief parents in a special needs respite home for two weeks (this would be an awesome opportunity to love on some really cool kids). Assuming we’re able to fund this next target, both of these opportunities significantly help fund November and maybe even December!

• DaNae just celebrated five years of being cancer-free (another queue for a little happy dance). We’ve known she’s been cured but it’s nice to know that insurers in the US now see it that way too! We had several celebrations of Gods goodness in the last month, Rob had his birthday, we celebrated 20 years of marriage and our sweet Aedan turned 7!

As you can see, a lot’s happened since we last wrote. Most of these things are things that wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t here. AND, we wouldn’t be here without your partnership. I hope you can see how that investment is rippling outward!