Once again we find ourselves back in the Pacific Northwest after a summer filled with seeking the presence of God, seeing His kingdom alive and working, and participating in ministry overseas. We can’t thank the Lord enough for providing safety while we traveled to and from S. Korea; and likewise how grateful we are to each of you for holding us up in your prayers and supporting us while on our mission trip. While it is always a daunting task to try and capture a summer of seeing the Lord work on two pages of a newsletter, we will attempt to do our best!
Training the Team
On June 27th, the South Korea English Camp Team arrived at the Lord’s Boot Camp in Merritt Island, FL. We were so excited to finally start the second round of training with our team of 20 teenagers and four adult leaders. Our training emphasized evangelism outreach methods and TESL (Teach English as a Second Language) methodology as our project was to teach a series of ESL camps with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) in Choenan City, South Korea.
It is always amazing to see the Holy Spirit work during Boot Camp, as evidenced in the life of Lynette, one of our team members. At Boot Camp Lynnette shared with us how earlier in the school year her father had died and how this had impacted her life. But somehow in the midst of all this pain and tragedy her church family and friends had introduced her to Teen Missions and she had felt led to come on a mission trip to S. Korea. While at Boot Camp, God really began working on her heart and she finally put her faith in Christ! What a delight to see God drawing Lynnette to Christ and to play an active role in discipling her and the 19 other team members on our team.
Off to South Korea
The Mission: This summer our team had the pleasure of partnering with CEF assisting them in their existing evangelistic efforts. We did this by teaching English and sharing the Gospel in four separate camps. These camps included preschoolers, afterschool programs for disadvantaged youth, grade school ages and a Jr/Sr Highers. Each morning we never quite knew what the day might hold, we just knew that God was in control and we were there to serve Him.
Korean Culture: From taking your shoes off when you enter a building, to the communal nature in which they eat, Korean culture was truly intriguing. While in Korea we learned that they are a very family oriented culture and education is extremely important to them; consequently Korean culture is very relational and community oriented. This is demonstrated in many different ways, from their preference to living in high-rise condominium where everyone knows their neighbor, to how they eat their meals, where it is not uncommon to have the food placed on a central plate that each person serves or eats from. Through understanding their own culture, the CEF staff successfully integrated our team again and again into relationally relevant educational opportunities where we could teach English and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How God Used Our Team: Sometimes we’d show up and perform a puppet show, teaching them the accompanying words and choreography to help them with their English. Other times we’d play story telling games or “Simon Says” requiring them to listen and repeat basic English phrases. The reality was that every day was different than the day before as God taught us to be flexible with whatever it was He had for us to do. CEF provided translators for us, so when it was appropriate we could speak through them presenting Christ in story and song to the Korean students. Probably one of the most fruitful nights of ministry we had was when we were asked by the CEF staff to host a game night with the 20 students attending a CEF English Camp. While we were playing games with them, the CEF staff would ask one student at a time to come over to a side room and would present the Gospel to them. Later we learned that of the 20 kids attending 16 of them prayed to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior that night! To God be the glory for everything He does and continues to do in S. Korea!
The Team: We can’t tell you how delightful it was to lead this eclectic group of young people from all over North America. They all came with such a hunger and thirst to learn about God and explore what it means to share about Him in another cultural context. While at Boot Camp we saw two of them come to Christ as a direct result of the ministry of the various speakers and we saw the team as a whole grow in unity and strength through the transformational work of the Holy Spirit. In S. Korea their love for the children was very evident. They were gentle, patient and kind with the children while they taught English and shared the Gospel. Additionally, it was a real joy to see our own children, Micah, Abby & Zeke, along for the ride. Frequently they too would join in with the team teaching English and learning more themselves about Jesus and the great things He has done!
On strictly a personal level, a real highlight for me (Ryan) was the time I spent alongside my assistant male leader discipling the young men on the team. Four to five times a week we separated the guys and gals on the team and took them through different curriculum designed to examine what it means to be a man or woman of God. I can truthfully say that I have never had a group of guys be so responsive to the Gospel and eager to learn what it means to live in Christ, be His disciple, and how best to prepare for being a Godly husband, father and leader within the church. What a delight to see God work in the lives of these young men and I am so excited to see where God will take each of them as they explore what His desires are for their lives.
This Upcoming Fall
Hard to believe that our fall speaking and sharing schedule is already filling up! We have plans to visit and share in Seattle, Vancouver, BC, Denver, and California. If you are interested in having us visit and share with the youth in your area please drop us a note at [email protected] and we’ll see if we can make it happen.
Erin and the kids are settling in at home and have their schedules already filling up. Both Micah and Abby are still at Skyline Elementary and playing soccer this Fall. Zeke continues to be a wonderfully mischievous kid, full of smiles and laughter and keeping both his parents perpetually on their toes. Erin is looking forward to resuming her Tuesday morning Women’s Bible study that was so supportive of our trip to S. Korea this year by providing easy-to-read children’s books that we distributed to the kids who attended the ESL classes we taught this summer.
–Please pray for the over 600 teenagers and preteens who have returned to their communities after their summer missions trips. Pray that they will continue the mission, being missionaries in their own communities and that they would continue to seek the Lord’s leading in their lives about a lifetime involvement in missions and ministry.
-Pray that God will lead us to the right geographic locations where we can be most effective in recruiting teens for summer mission trips.
-Pray that we will continue to learn how best to reach out to today’s teenagers with the Gospel of Jesus
-Pray that we will continue to be effective in the ministry that the Lord has led us to.
–Please pray for our family, that Micah, Abby and Zeke would continue to learn about Jesus and share His love with their friends and neighbors, and that Erin and I would continue to grow closer to each other as we continue to eagerly pursue Christ.
Know that in Christ we love you all deeply!
The Fast Family
Ryan (age 39), Erin (not a day over 30) , Micah (age 10), Abby (age 6) & Zeke (age 2)