Dear Friends and Family,
It has been a busy and rewarding summer and we’re excited to share with all of you about our first summer as staff members with Teen Missions.
On May 25th we arrived on Teen Missions property in Merritt Island, Florida, to prepare for the arrival of our team. We spent the first month and a half ministering to the kids who were participating in a variety of Teen Missions programs. Erin’s responsibilities included watching staff kids ages(1-5), so you can imagine that many hours were spent swimming in the pool, visiting local sights and playing with the kids. In addition to his role as “The Dish Line Guy” Ryan worked on various projects with the maintenance crew and had several opportunities to be the primary speaker at the evening rallies.
On June 24, the Belize Work Team arrived at the Lord’s Boot Camp. We were so excited to meet the 25 team members, who, combined with our family and two other adult leaders, rounded out the team size to a total of 31! While at Boot Camp our “staff” responsibilities provided us with only limited contact with the team, however we give total glory to God to have had such wonderful assistant leaders who worked so hard and did a wonderful job at organizing the team, maintaining discipline and beginning to build the vital relationships with the teens during the this critical part of their summer experience.
Belize – The country, people, work, and team
On July 12th we arrived in the English/Spanish/Creole/German-speaking country of Belize, formally known as British Honduras. Belize is Central America’s version of a “melting pot.” Three major people groups call Belize home: first the native population who trace their ancestry back to the Mayans, then those of African decent and finally German-speaking Mennonites. This cultural diversity has made Belize a unique country in the Central American landscape. Our project was in the small fishing village of Copper Bank in northern Belize, near the Mexican border. Belize, being a developing country, has very limited resources and modern conveniences. As such, we lived in tents, bathed in buckets, and had virtually no access to electricity, running water and all of the amenities that come with them. In addition to the natural beauty found in its tropical environment, we were surprised to discover that Belize has the highest rate of the HIV-AIDS per capita found in any country outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Most attribute this to very high incidents of sexual abuse frequently inflicted on women and children.
Our project was to build a hurricane shelter that would also double as a Bible College for the Copper Bank Evangelical church. Ryan quickly discovered that construction in a developing nation, located in the tropics, was easier said than done. Upon arriving and getting two days worth of work done, the pastor we were working with came to us and told us that the town council was shutting down the project. After four days of prayerful consideration our pastor was able to humbly approach the town counsel and request that we resume work, but not without having to make commitments to build a bus shelter for the town with church monies. We resumed work and continue to pray that God will provide the monies to build the requested bus shelter. Resuming work involved working around tropical rainstorms and having most of the team battle a nasty stomach flu, but we were very excited to get most of the foundation laid for the 60ft x 30ft hurricane shelter.
Our team grew in amazing ways this summer. One of the most encouraging things for us this summer was to watch the spiritual growth in our team. We saw three of the teens make initial commitments to Jesus as Lord of their lives, witnessed others develop a passion for reading the Word of God and continued to be amazed as we saw other team members dedicate their lives to full time Christian Service!
Return to Portland
At the end of August we returned to Portland and then packed our bags headed halfway across the country to Sioux Falls, SD to attend the LifeLight Music Festival. Here we set up a booth and hoped to share with the over 300,000 attendees about Teen Missions. We were amazed as God allowed us to hand out over 2,500 summer team brochures. We thank God as a young girl came up to us on the second night and explained how after talking with us the night before she had gone home and registered for a team!
We returned to Portland on Labor Day, just in time to send Micah off to his first day of Kindergarten. He was very excited to be able to ride the bus to school and enjoys recess & lunch… typical boy! Abby continues to enjoy getting into everything and is constantly learning new words to add to her growing vocabulary. She also loves to color. More than once she has taken the opportunity to demonstrate this joy by displaying artwork all over her body and the nearby walls.
As we look ahead we are excited about the opportunities which are unfolding in front of us. We will be sharing about Teen Missions at three upcoming conferences in September and October. Additionally, we are preparing Ryan’s speaking schedule for an upcoming trip to Colorado. Ryan will be in the Denver area October 16th – November 6th, if you have a group or location which you believe would like to hear about Teen Missions, please let us know.
We wanted to thank all of you for your prayers for us this summer. It was wonderful! We realize even more that we are exactly where God wants us and that’s an exciting place to be!
God would continue to expand our opportunities and effectiveness is sharing about Teen Missions
Micah as he transitions into kindergarten. That God would keep him safe and he would continue to learn the things that God wants him to learn.
Health & safety of our family as we travel
Wisdom and guidance for Ryan as he prepares to share at various mission conferences about youth and short term mission opportunities.
16032 NW McNamee Rd.
Portland, OR 97231
503-201-0421 – Ryan’s Cell
503-201-0127 – Erin’s Cell