We have been so busy this summer that we have barely even had time to rest much less update our blog, so I wanted to share with you all that the Lord has been doing in our lives and in the lives of our neighbors as well.
This camp was one of the highlights of our summer so far! Many volunteers and coaches from local high schools and colleges that belong to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes spent an entire week of sports camp with the kids from Countryside!! I cannot even express the joy that I felt watching these adults, teens, and college students pass along their love of sports and their love of Jesus! Each day the volunteers shared huddle times with all the kiddos and it brought me to tears to hear some of the words that came from their mouths. Sharing ideas about courage and strength and who we get our “power” from. And boy did we need some power to get through!! One day it was 109 degrees out there on the basketball court. But the volunteers did not waver!! This week truly was a blessing!
Vacation Bible Schools
This summer we have been a part of 2 Vacation Bible Schools so far! The first was at Pleasant Dale Baptist Church. Here, Jason and I were able to go and speak to the children about local missions in the Missions Rotation. Then, we were blessed with an offering of snacks, juices, and paper products that the church had collected that week. These items are things that we use throughout the year as we minister at The Connection. I was amazed at some of the questions that the children had about missions and about our daily lives in Countryside.
Next, we were invited to teach the youth class at Hyde Park Baptist Church. Hyde Park ran buses to our community each night and the children from Countryside went right with us to Bible School! We went through games, and snacks, and Bible story each night and, I can tell you that all of the children came home with their bellies and their hearts FULL! They learned many concepts about God and his POWER! To say that this WEEK was also POWERFUL would be an understatement. It was a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ loving, teaching and caring for others. We had so much fun and 3 of our Countryside FAMILIES came to parent’s night to see the kids sing and have some cake and ice cream afterward. We could not have been more excited to see this happen and we were even able to meet a neighbor that we had not met yet!!
I mentioned before that we had a neighbor living with us but I was not able to go into detail about this special situation. Our neighbor, grew up in foster care and had recently become homeless. Now, I need to preface this by saying that this situation is not unique. We have personally met 3 of these young adults in our short 8 months at Countryside. In fact, many of these young people will not even admit that they are homeless (mostly because they have friends with couches, so, since they have a place to crash they do not consider themselves homeless). I began to research this and the statistics for these teens/ early 20 year olds are alarming to say the least. Let me share some statistics I read….Each year 25,000 kids age out of foster care in the United States. Within 18 months, 6,850 of those children will be homeless. They simply do not have the skills or the family support to succeed on their own. Jason and I have seen this over and over again this year and realized that God kept showing us this so that we can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!
INTRODUCING>>>>>> THE HOPE HOUSE!!!
As a family, about 2 months ago we began praying that we could start a place that would help some of these young adults get on their feet. Specifically, God had told us that we needed a place that was close to us so we could be involved in the day to day lives of the tenant there. He also gave us a name for the house as well. It will be called the Hope House because our hope and our help comes from the Lord and no person is ever so far from HIM that they do not have hope!! I felt like God was telling me that it would be the house behind us even though that house was currently rented out. WE prayed and prayed for the Hope House and just this Monday got a call from our landlord that the house behind us was empty and ours if we want it!!!! Isn’t God amazing!!!
The Hope House is just in the beginning stages but we are so in awe of the way God works that we have just been even more encouraged by being a witness to it! He provided our 1st tenant BEFORE he provided the house and he will provide for all of the needs of this house as well. Our vision is that this house would be ran and supported by the local churches and even businesses in our area! Please pray for direction and provision for the Hope House!!
NOW FOR OUR BIG NEWS!!!!
As of October 1st, we have new part time jobs!!!! Jason will be the Youth Minister and I will be the Children’s Minister of Hyde Park Baptist Church. God has been working THIS plan out for many, many, years now in our lives. We have served as youth leaders and AWANA commanders and everything in between in our own spare time for years, but we will now actually be on staff at a church in Lancaster! We see this as a great way to involve HIS people in the work that He is already doing in our community! This is also a way that God has provided for us to earn some of our support for the year as well!! After an exciting week of VBS with over 200 in attendance on the last night, we could not be more ready to see what the Lord has in the plans for both Hyde Park and for our family!!!We already know that HE is up to big things as the Holy Spirit is so evident there that it is just hard to describe!
So…..that was a ton of info but God has just been moving powerfully and we are holding onto our seats!! Please continue to pray for us over the next few months. Pray for our family as we transition AGAIN (this time to a new church family), pray for our ministries at Countryside as well. Pray for the lives that will be touched by The HOPE HOUSE and for direction and vision for this part of our ministry too! We love you all!!!
-Jason and Nancy