Florida greetings to all our Friends, Family and Former Team Members!!
The weather is getting warmer, the Big Top tents are going up, and the mosquitoes are out in full force. Boot Camp is coming!! This is an exciting time of the year as we wait in anticipation for all of the young people to come for training at the Lord’s Boot Camp in June. It takes months to complete all of the preparations for the five Boot Camps: Mustard Seeds, ages 4-6; Peanuts, ages 7-9; Preteens, ages 10-13; and an Early Boot Camp and Super Boot Camp for teens, ages 13-19. The amount of registrations is higher this year than the previous year. This is a huge answer to our prayers. With the economy fluctuating and political unrest across the globe, we feared that the number of participants may be affected. But all things are possible with God!! Please pray with us as we head into this intense time of ministry.
In our last newsletter we had shared with you the many changes that had occurred in our lives. We are overseeing the Teen Missions Florida Free BIBLE, MISSIONARY, & WORK Training Center (BMW), as well as the Teen Missions Conference & Retreat Center. While working with the students has proven to be a challenge and a blessing, the Conference & Retreat Center has begun to take a lot of our time. Andy completed a course in pool management. Although we tease him about being the “Aquatics Facility Operator”, it really has proven to be quite a job maintaining the chemicals and cleanliness of the pool in the middle of a swamp. The proceeds from the Conference Center go directly to the operating expenses of the property and the running of the BMW program. The students all have their times of serving as kitchen help, lifeguards, retreat host, security, or fire starter (bonfire) for the many work groups and retreats that stay on the property. Recently we have been blessed by three different work groups representing Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia. They have accomplished so much work, giving a fresh coat of paint to almost every painted surface!! They have also set up many areas of the Obstacle Course, helped install air conditioning units in the chapel, and put up the Mustard Seed tent, to name a few. And it wasn’t just their work ethic that was so amazing, it was their attitudes. They encouraged all of us!! Thank you to all of you who worked so hard to make a difference. You made a difference!!
We have certainly been busy in our new areas of ministry. Although Andy still works in the Print Shop when needed, he has also been cooking breakfast for the Conference Center, providing maintenance on the Lodges and pool, and on occasion, counseling with the BMW students. I have added duties that weren’t exactly listed in my job description as the Coordinator for the Bible School. I often find myself not only a disciplinarian, but also a nurse, counselor, teacher, and mom to the students. We absolutely love ministering to the nineteen BMW students. This change has been a ‘good fit’. After having been students ourselves (now almost 12 years ago), we can provide a sympathetic ear but also a “tough love” approach. Please pray with us as we seek God’s wisdom and guidance daily in the running of the BMW program and Conference Center.
As we shared before, we will be leading a team of teens to Hong Kong. We have thirteen young people and two other leaders registered to go with us. The team members for this Super Boot Camp Team will begin arriving on June 24 for a Missions Conference and then training in puppets, music, evangelism, drama and basic construction classes. We will commission on July 11th and immediately begin a several days’ journey to the other side of the world. During our travels we will have a layover in Amsterdam, Holland, with some time to tour the historic city. Once we arrive in Hong Kong, we will be very busy sharing the Gospel in local schools, social centers, youth groups and on the streets. If time permits, we hope to paint the large Youth for Christ (YFC) building. We are excited for this new challenge. We will return to the States on August 9 for a brief time of Debrief. After the team departs, we will then fly to Illinois to pick up Bekah and Drew who will have spent the summer with relatives. We hope to share about our summer experiences with many of you at that time. Please pray for us and the team members as we prepare for this extensive time of training and ministry. Please pray for good health, safety and for hearts to be open to the Gospel.
We had shared previously that our monthly support was quite low and we had debt from last year’s team.
We are praising God for the debt being paid off and an increase of several hundred dollars of monthly support over the past few months. Praise the Lord!! We are so grateful to all of you who pray for us and support us through your finances and friendship. You are a very important part of our ministry here. Thank you for being a blessing in our lives and those we are reaching with the Gospel.
Because He first loved,
Andy, Carrie, Bekah, & Drew