Dear Friends and Family:
What an amazing Fall this has been for us, seeing youth sign up in record numbers for summer mission trips and witnessing others respond to the seeds of the Gospel planted in their lives! Because of this we can’t wait to share with you just how incredible it has been to be on a mission for Jesus Christ.
A Whirlwind of Travel:
I (Ryan) hit the road in early October, making first a trip up to Seattle to recruit at the Seattle Missions Fest and then hopped on a plane out to Denver. In Denver, I traveled all up and down the Front Range going as far north as Gillette, WY and as far south as Colorado Springs, not to mention a trip across the Rockies to Grand Junction. During this time I had the opportunity to: share at six Christian schools, teach seven Bible classes, share at six Chapel services, and speak at six different church services/youth groups. These travels resulted in speaking with nearly 1,500 people about Teen Missions and seeing six sign up for summer mission trips (so far).
I returned to Portland for three days with the family and then Erin and I hit the road with the West Coast tour of the Winter Jam Concert series. Some of you may remember us doing this tour last year. Over the course of 10 days, we toured to seven different cities (LA, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Boise, Portland where Erin stayed behind with the kids, Sacramento, and Fresno in that order!), getting up on stage and inviting kids to stop by our booth to talk with us about coming on a mission trip with Teen Missions. As a result we introduced over 74,000 concertgoers to Teen Missions, we are excited to report we have seen 28 registrations for summer mission trips… and we are still praying for more!
The week of Thanksgiving went by far too quickly and before I knew it I was off to Northern California to recruit there. Between speaking at several churches, schools, youth groups, and homeschool groups, I had the opportunity to pray with five youth to receive Christ and see six youth and one adult leader sign up for summer mission trips! I truly praise God for the fruit that He’s allowed us to see as a direct result of participating in His mission to go and make disciples!
On the Home Front
Micah is now halfway through 2nd grade and we can’t believe the academic and spiritual growth that we have witnessed over the past few months. He has discovered that Math is his easiest and favorite subject and that reading can be a pleasure, not just the chore that is used to be. Also in the evenings, when the kids sit down with Dad to read the Bible and learn more about what it means to walk with Jesus, lots of engaging questions are getting asked and prayers humbly submitted before the Lord.
Abby continues to be our little “social butterfly.” She is making lots of friends at preschool, as well as becoming really good at coloring, painting, and putting stickers all over her clothes (the latter is a habit we are trying break). She is very excited about her new baby brother & is asking daily when he is going to come, so she can play with him.
By the time you receive this newsletter we anticipate that we will have met our third child, Ezekiel “Zeke” Mark Fast (yes, we finally settled on a name). He is due on February 2nd, although the doctor anticipates that he will arrive sooner than that. Erin has been experiencing more and more signs that birth is imminent, so we are looking forward to his arrival very soon!
We are really excited about some of the upcoming opportunities that God has for us. During the first two months of the year Ryan will stay close to Portland in anticipation of Ezekiel’s arrival. He’ll be networking in the local community and participating in one of the largest missions conferences in the Northwest. In late February He will rejoin the Winter Jam tour, which will then be touring throughout the mid-west and eastern USA, and continue recruiting until the tour ends in San Antonio, TX, on March 30th. In April we anticipate taking some time of deputation to visit some of our supporters and to prepare for the summer of ministry that the Lord has for us. If you would like us to come speak to your church, youth group, or Sunday School during the month of April please contact us and let us know!
Haiti Here I Come!
Ryan has been assigned to lead the team to Haiti this year. This team will be traveling to the town of Ouanaminthe, Haiti just across the border from Dajabon, Dominican Republic. Here the team will build a shower facility for the House of Hope orphanage and also a security wall around the property. The team will have opportunities to share with the Haitians through drama, puppets, singing and testimonies. With the arrival of Zeke, Erin will be staying home this summer with Micah and Abby while Dad goes on this mission trip. We are praying that the whole family will have the opportunity to travel together down to Boot Camp to help train the teenagers going on mission trips with TMI.
Additionally, Micah has signed up to participate in the Nehemiah Trusses building team where he will get to be a carpenter for Jesus at the Peanut Kids Camp! During this camp Micah will continue to learn construction skills, be trained on how to share the Gospel using music, puppets and the Wordless Book, and have an opportunity to do a presentation when he visits a local nursing home.
Our Current Needs
We thank God daily for the ways that He has been demonstrating His provision for us in ministry. As many of you are aware our monthly support levels have decreased significantly over the past few months, but along with that we have had the opportunity to witness His provisions in ways that we probably would have never seen before. Individuals, both known and unknown, have provided small gifts in times of need or gift certificates provided at just the right time. We praise God in this time and are learning daily what it means to rely upon Him for our every need.
As we look towards this summer we are grateful that we do not have the need to raise support for the kids’ travel expenses overseas, as Erin and the children will remain in the states this summer. But we still have the desire for Erin and the children to travel to Florida in June to minister in the Boot Camp program and allow Micah to participate in the Peanut Camp. Will you join with us as we pray that the Lord will raise up individuals who would be willing to contribute towards our travel expenses to and from FL. If you feel lead to participate please complete the form below.
Praising God For:
1) His provision of a good used family minivan for our use, as well as a wonderfully remodeled home to live in!
2) The opportunities that Ryan has had to preach the Gospel this Fall and as a result pray with five to receive Christ as their Savior as well as 90+ youth signing up for mission trips from the nine western states we primarily recruit in.
3) The amazing recruiting season that Teen Missions has had to date with over 450 signing up for teams so far.
1) For the first time since becoming missionaries, our financial support has dropped below our monthly expenses. Please pray for us as we seek to wisely navigate this experience.
2) Pray specifically for the Winter Jam Concert Tour that Ryan will be traveling with to promote Teen Missions in late February and March. Pray that each person he talks with will seek to actively engage in God’s call to go into all the world and make disciples.
3) Pray for the Haiti team that Ryan will be leading this summer that even now God will build up a burden for the lost and spiritual maturity in each of the team members’ lives.
Thank you again for all of your prayers and financial support. It is our heart’s greatest passion to work with the teenagers of today and teach them how to go into all the world and make more disciples. Your support, both in prayer and finances, facilitates our path into vocational ministry. Each and every day it is truly a privilege to be on mission for God in this manner. If you ever have any questions about the nature of our ministry, what we do and how we do it, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop us a note. We’d love to connect with you.
Ryan, Erin, Micah, Abigail, and Ezekiel Mark
The Fast Family
Our new address: 19600 NW Morgan Rd., Portland, OR 97231