As you welcome in the New Year, we pray God’s fervent blessing over all of you. It is always amazing to me how each year goes by more quickly than its predecessor. Yet here we are, looking forward to another year of ministry and grateful to be able to share with you about what the Lord has done since last we wrote.
The fall and early winter have been full of wonderful opportunities to share with folks about the ministry of Teen Missions. Most recently, Ryan completed a 15-day, 3,500 mile road trip which encompassed eastern Washington and Oregon, the Bay Area, the Sierras and much of the Central Valley of California. Over the course of this trip, Ryan had opportunities to share with over 4,000 people, speaking at Christian schools, churches and youth groups and connecting with many Former Team Members. We continue to be really encouraged as we see teens signing up to come on summer mission trips with Teen Missions and stand amazed at the opportunities that God opens up for us to share with them about how they too can go into all the world and make disciples.
Life in Portland appears to be returning to some sense of routine. Micah continues to develop a very active imagination. He has recently began taking drum lessons at a local community music studio and we are enduring the “music” that is coming from the living room where our rented drum set is currently sitting. Abby is our “social butterfly,” as she likes to refer to herself. She spends much of her free time doing crafts or playing with dolls alongside her cousins. She has returned to swim lessons this winter and is becoming more and more independent in the water. It’s hard to believe that Zeke will be three in January. He seems to always be smiling either out of joy or mischievous intent. He keeps us on our toes as he runs throughout the house. He loves to play with his cars and build with his Legos.
For many years we have been interested in all that the Lord is doing in China. So it is with great excitement that we have been asked to lead the trip to China this summer. Our team will be working as camp counselors at an English camp about 12 hours from Beijing. The teens will be teaching English, coordinating camp activities and much, much more. We are so excited to have the opportunity to live in such a way that those who don’t know Jesus will see Him in us, as we use “friendship evangelism” to witness to the many campers and locals who attend.
While it has been exciting to take our kids with us on mission trips all over the world, it’s a little bit different when your child comes to you with the request to go it alone on his own mission trip. Consequently, Mom and Dad are nervously excited to announce that Micah is getting ready to fly solo this summer. He has chosen to go on a Preteen trip with Teen Missions to Prince Edward Island. This team is a bicycle evangelism team that will navigate part of the 170-mile Confederation Trail across Prince Edward Island. In addition to the many opportunities they will have to share the Gospel along the trail, they will also have a small work project at a local church and encourage them with team presentations. Micah is excited about the opportunities before him and has already been spending a lot of time learning as much as he can about the Prince Edward Island area.
The Fall season is often the tightest time for us financially each year. But in the midst of this we always see God work in incredible ways and this year was no exception. God’s provision has been very evident over the last several months, as we have been blessed to have several new members added to our support team as well as a new church partner start supporting us. Additionally, we had some regular supporters provide funds which allowed us to replace the tires on our much-used mini-van. We praise God and marvel at His provision. We want each of you to know that we are so grateful to God and you for supporting us throughout the years.
As we look ahead to next summer we continue to have expenses that we need to cover in order for our children to participate alongside us. We need to raise $5500 for Micah to go to Prince Edward Island and for Abby and Zeke to travel to China with us. If you feel the Lord leading you to support our children’s summer expenses, please fill out the form at the bottom of this newsletter or you can also donate electronically by going to: https://www.teenmissions.org/donate/ and write “Fast Children Summer Expenses” in the comment section.
The next few months are very full on Ryan’s schedule. He has numerous missions conferences and speaking engagements in British Columbia, Southern CA, Nevada, Arizona and Idaho where he will be sharing about Teen Missions, as well as several local speaking engagements. Ryan is excited to be working locally to develop an annual Youth Missions Conference here in Portland. He has been working with local youth pastors and has been blessed to see the high level of interest that many of them have. The dates have been set for November 4-5th of 2016 and a local church has graciously opened up their doors to host the conference. So pray for Ryan as he continues to partner with many local churches in the Portland area to see God move youth towards a heart for missions. Coordinating a conference like this is a big undertaking but also has huge potential to become a launching point for the next generation of young missionaries.
• Please pray for the teens and preteens whom Ryan shares with. May they continue to respond to the call to “Go Into All the World and Preach the Gospel!”
• Pray that Ryan will be effective in his sharing and that teens and their parents would prayerfully consider a trip this summer with Teen Missions.
• Pray for safety for Ryan as he travels throughout the Western USA
• Please pray for our family. Pray that Micah, Abby and Zeke would continue to learn about Jesus and share His love with their friends and neighbors. Pray that Ryan and I would continue to grow closer to each other as we continue to eagerly pursue Christ.
• Pray that the Lord will provides the finances necessary for Abby and Zeke to travel to China and Micah to go to Canada this upcoming summer.
We can’t tell you how blessed we have been over the recent holidays receiving pictures and letters from so many of you! Thank you so much for all the updates and know that you are often in our thoughts and prayers. Blessings to you all!
With hearts full of praise,
The Fast Family
Ryan, Erin, Micah, Abby & Zeke