Dear Friends and Family:
It is such a blessing to share with you the things the Lord has been doing in our lives since we last wrote. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The Lord laid this verse upon our hearts as we dedicated Abigail and Ezekiel to Him this past May at our church. Then Ryan reinforced these principles to the Former Team Member class that he taught at Boot Camp. On the field in Haiti, he witnessed his team members discover the truths found in this verse. And again the Lord is bringing him back to this verse as he prayerfully prepares for his promotional engagements this Fall on the West Coast. It is exciting to bear witness to where God has brought us from and where He is taking us!
Highlights From The Lord’s Boot Camp & Haiti:
This summer was marked with times of ministry together and apart. In the middle of May, Ryan headed down to FL to prepare for the arrival of the team members at the Lord’s Boot Camp. For Ryan, a highlight of this time was learning to operate a well-drilling rig which Teen Missions will be shipping to Africa to assist in the work over there. He enjoyed using some of his engineering skills as they learned how to drill for water.
I, along with the kids, was able to come down and spend about three weeks with Ryan during Boot Camp. I worked in Munchkin Missions where I helped care for the staff kids during the workday. While in Florida, Micah attended Peanut Camp for a second year. His team, Nehemiah’s Trusses, learned construction skills as they built trusses, which will be used on covered sidewalks throughout Boot Camp.
Upon the conclusion of the Boot Camp training, Ryan and a team of 23 students and five adult leaders, traveled to Ouanaminthe, Haiti, where they worked with a local church building an orphanage. Their primary projects consisted of assisting in the building of a security wall for the church and orphanage, digging a waterline to help provide clean water for the local community, digging a large sump hole for the shower block, placing the concrete slab for the second story of the orphanage, and various landscaping projects. Ryan was struck by the church’s decision to halt progress on the completion of their church building in order to ensure that the orphanage was completed first. Additionally, he was fortunate enough to witness the church’s first baptisms. Again and again, Ryan witnessed transformation in the lives of the Teen Missions teenagers and adult leaders on the team as two of them came to Christ and 19 of them committed their lives to full-time ministry or missions.
While Ryan was sweating it out with his amazing team in Haiti, I & the kids returned to Oregon. At home the kids were able to participate in two separate Vacation Bible Schools, Micah attended summer camp at Camp Tadmor and they joined my family in a week-long trip to the Oregon Coast. It was difficult to be separated from Ryan during this time, but I was grateful for family and friends who stepped up and helped me out while Ryan was away.
“Ryan, how do I become an ‘on-fire’ Christian?”
This was a question Ryan was asked by a young lady on his team while we were training at Boot Camp. As I listened to her story, I discovered that while she had grown up in a Christian home and attended church all her life, but she had never once committed her life to Christ or even read a Bible! She was like someone who had lived outside a house, always longing to participate with the family that was living inside of it, but never quite able to join in. As they walked through the summer together praying, teaching, and experiencing God together she began to travel the path of repentance. One evening, in front of the whole team, Ryan asked her a very potent question, “Are you finally ready to surrender and live in Christ?” With tears in her eyes, she prayed to receive Christ right there in front of the whole team! What a beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit’s transformational power in the life of a young lady.
Back On the Homefront
In the middle of August, we were reunited as a family. The transition went really well and we felt your prayers during this time of acclimation. During our first week together, we had the opportunity to participate in a week-long family camp at Lake Retreat in Washington. This was a special time for us to learn about Christ and play together in a camp setting. Ryan was fortunate to be asked to lead the worship for the youth.
The kids seem to all be growing up too quickly! Micah, who is now in the 3rd grade, was excited to return to school in September. It is so much fun to see him growing in his reading and love for learning. Daily he arrives home with little facts, which he has been learning in school, to test our own knowledge.
Abby has begun her second year of preschool, which she is now attending three days a week. She absolutely loves her time there and now can recognize numbers 1-10 and is slowly learning her letters. She comes home every day singing little songs, which many of us learned in Sunday School when we were children. When I begin singing along with her, she looks at me and asks, “How do you know that song, did you go to my preschool?” When I explain that we sung those same songs when I was a kid, she stares at me in disbelief.
Zeke is growing up way too quickly. Today he started showing signs of crawling and I’m sure by the time you receive this letter, he’ll be cruising around the house. He greets everyone with a smile and laugh and it’s such a blessing to have a child with such a joyful spirit.
Ryan’s Corner – Ephesians: An Improbable Path of Study
In January of this year God laid on my (Ryan’s) heart to read the book of Ephesians for my devotional time. Each time I would finish reading the book, the Holy Spirit kept on telling me to keep on reading, keep on studying, keep on learning more from that book. So from January – May of this year, I traveled a very personal, yet somewhat improbable, path of study in a very specific book in the Bible. God had a purpose in it all! When I arrived at Boot Camp, I was asked to teach the Former Team Member (FTM) class. This class, comprised of 50 team members who are returning to Teen Missions for a subsequent trip, took place for an hour each day. As soon as I was asked to teach the class and given the liberty to, “teach whatever you want, Ryan,” I felt the Holy Spirit confirm within me why He’d been having me study the book of Ephesians! In preparation for the class, I put together over 40 pages worth of material on the subject and read and studied more than I ever have on a particular passage in the Word of God. I have never had such a positive response from a group of students that I’ve been responsible for discipling. As we journeyed through the book, we learned so many important lessons together. Such as:
• Distinguishing between asking Jesus into your heart vs. actually being “in Christ”
• Knowing what Jesus saves us from is key to leading others into relationship with God
• Understanding that the wrath of God is something we are in fact saved from
• Wrestling with the difference between worshiping a God who is love vs. love as a god.
It was truly a wonderful opportunity to teach this class and share what God has taught me with so many other young people.
As we reflect on what God has been teaching Ryan through Ephesians we are excited for where He is leading him during this upcoming promotional season as we begin to spread the word about the 2014 mission trips with Teen Missions. Ryan really believes that God has lead him to some specific passages within Ephesians to share with the youth that he will encounter this year. Please pray for Ryan as he embarks on trips to Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon in the next two months. Pray that the Lord will soften the hearts and open the doors for young people to participate in the ministry opportunities with Teen Missions. Also, please pray for Ryan’s safety as he travels throughout the region.
Praising God For:
1) His financial provision for us as a family in vocational ministry!
2) The opportunities that we have had to be on mission for God over the course of this school year. We’ve seen nearly 150 sign up for mission trips, many from the 10 Western states we recruit in!
1. Wisdom and safety as Ryan shares about Teen Missions throughout the
2. Wisdom as we raise our children, that they will understand what it means to be “in-Christ”
3. Discernment as we make plans for future ministry opportunities
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 and it is truly a privilege to be on mission for God in this manner.
Ryan, Erin, Micah, Abigail, and Ezekiel Mark
The Fast Family