Dear Friends and Family:
We are back from our travels to Russia and beyond and can’t wait to share with you about all the miracles that we have seen God do throughout our travels. This summer, after two weeks of intense missional training at the Lord’s Boot Camp, God took our team of eight teens, four leaders and Micah & Abby off to Russia. Our team was sent to Russia to assist with the Teen Missions in Russia Overseas Boot Camp and participate in sports evangelism. Additionally, while in Russia, we had the opportunity to work with the local church and various local ministries to see people commit their lives to Jesus.
This summer’s team was the first team that we have led whose primary purpose was evangelism. Whether it was halftime presentations at local soccer games, being invited to come and do skits for children attending a vacation bible school, or literally being asked minutes before a service began to come and preach, we watched as God provided seemingly endless opportunities for His Word to be proclaimed. We are so excited to report that while we were on mission this summer for the Lord we saw at least 23 people profess faith in Jesus Christ and many others renew their passion for Him. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Russian: God’s Question
While on the field this summer I (Ryan) often found I had to be “on my toes” when it came to preaching, as many opportunities presented themselves with very short notice! On one such occasion the Lord laid on my heart to ask the audience the same question that He asked Moses in Exodus 4:2, that is, “What’s that in your hand?”. Now many of us are familiar with the ensuing story as Moses threw down the staff and it became a snake and how God uses this as the means of bringing the Israelites to believe that God appeared to Moses. What struck me was how God used a staff to bring people to a belief in Him, a belief based on the hope of salvation, the very salvation that Jesus would bring to all of humankind over 2,000 years later. So I asked the small crowd of 45 Russian teenagers and nine adults the same question, and probed them to think about what they had that God could use to bring people to belief in Jesus. The response was amazing, as 15 youth came forward to receive Christ and several others (including some adults)
renewed their faith in Him. So I ask you the same question, “What’s that in your hand?” What do you have that you could be using to serve the Lord to bring people to faith in Him. Could it be as simple as a car or a house? Could it be your time, your kids or your life? I may not know what it is that you have, but I do know that each of us has something that we need to yield to God so that He might use it for His glory to bring people to belief in Him.
Trinidad: An Unexpected Adventure
As many of you are aware, through our emails this summer, upon concluding our mission trip to Russia our director sent me to join the leadership of a team in Trinidad. This team was genuinely struggling and had to send two of the team members home, because of policy violations. To be truthful, while on the plane flight over, I was immersed in prayer as my own fears and concerns about the difficulty of this situation were very overwhelming. Yet when I arrived I found a team of 22 teenagers, three adult leaders and a local church that were ready to receive me. I did not encounter a spirit of rebellion, but instead a team that, while struggling at times, genuinely wanted to serve the Lord. I was humbled as God provided opportunities time and again for the seeds of the Gospel to be planted in people’s lives. I continue to rejoice over everything I saw the Lord do in Trinidad. While on the team I saw two of the team members make commitments to Christ, witnessed four of them recommit their lives to Christ, and saw three Hindu’s come to Christ, as well as one drug dealer! I wept as I watched seven of the team members go forward to “Bridge the Gap,” where team members commit to a life of missions or ministry, at the end of Debrief.
For all of you who interceded for me on behalf of the Lord, here are a few of the miracles that I bore witness to while in Trinidad:
Trinidad: An Orphan from Russia
When I first arrived I met a young lady on the team whom I was immediately drawn to. God laid it on my heart to pray for her and talk with her, and no
matter what to never give up on her. Her story started ironically in Russia (where I had just gotten back from) in an orphanage where she was adopted from when she was 9 years old. She now found herself in her mid-teens and was going through a time of rebellion. It broke my heart to hear her share her story and explain how she wasn’t a Christian and didn’t really want to have anything to do with God. Prayer… lot’s of prayer. On the third day that I was in Trinidad I was working with her on one of the memory verses, I John 1:9. I shared with her how deep the love of God was that no matter what we had done, or had done to us, we could be made pure in God’s eyes if we confess our sin to Him. As we reflected on this verse together she looked over at me and said “Wait a second… are you preaching to me?!” We had a good laugh as I told her “yes,” but I knew the seeds had been planted. Four days later she prayed to receive Christ!
Trinidad: An Impressive Encounter
If you were to meet Christian you would probably be very impressed. Heading into his senior year in high school he had his life all in order, knowing what college he was planning on going to and a ROTC scholarship to cover it, not to mention a chosen career path. Additionally, Christian loved God and had plans to serve Him all his life. Thus the reason I met him on the Trinidad team serving the Lord by building a much-needed house for the Pastor of a local church there. Christian was faithful to witness to his fellow team members and even be the primary catalyst for leading one of them to faith in Jesus Christ! But on the very last day of the summer Christian was asked a difficult question, “would he be willing to stand in the gap and devote his life to full-time missions or ministry?” This was a tough question for Christian, but he stood up and acknowledged that wherever Christ was leading he was willing to follow. In the suddenness of that moment when Christian embraced the very words of Jesus from Luke 14:33, that is to willingly give up everything he has in order to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, Christian’s faith grew exponentially and he would never be the same. Yes, Christian has chosen to follow the path God has for him into fulltime ministry and has walked away from a career and a scholarship that would have paid for it all. What an amazing thing to witness, the power of the Holy Spirit as it shaped this young man’s life.
On the Home Front
It is hard to believe that Micah’s is entering 2nd grade and Abby is starting her second year of pre-school. Additionally, we are excited to announce that a 3rd Fast child is expected to arrive around the 1st of February 2013. It is a little boy, who affectionately goes by the name of “the little avocado” for the present time. However, Micah keeps on telling us that he wants to name his future little brother “Luke Skywalker Fast”. God has graciously provided for us on some other much needed fronts as the remodeling phase of the house finally winding down. If the Lord wills, we plan to be moving into it by the end of September.
God’s Provision, Our Prayers, and Looking to the Future:
We continue to be amazed at God’s daily provision for our lives and we want to thank each of you. Please pray for us as we really need to raise our monthly base of financial support by about $500.00 in order to provide for our latest Fast Family addition and meet the rising needs of our family as a whole.
Please continue to pray for Ryan as he plans on taking off on a promotional trip to Colorado & Wyoming in October and then joins the West Coast tour of Winter Jam in November. Finally, he will head to Northern California for more promotional activities in December. If you find yourself along our paths of travel we would love to get together and share more in detail about where God has been leading us.
Thank you again for all of your prayers this summer. Never before have we experienced so clearly the power in prayer as we did this summer. Thank you also for your support that you have provided to our family in both tangible and intangible ways.
We pray daily that the Lord will continue to bless all of you.
Until Next Time,
Ryan, Erin, Micah, and Abigail
1. Financial support,that God would continue to meet our daily needs by raising our monthly support.
2. Pray for the 130+ youth that have already signed up with TMI for mission trips for the summer of 2013. Pray for spiritual growth, financial provision, and a vision for the lost and unsaved.
3. Pray for the right contacts to be made for our upcoming promotional season. Ryan will begin to travel again in October and is looking forward to speaking and teaching at Christian schools, youth groups, home school groups and churches throughout the USA.