Dear Friends and Family,
Just as springtime holds all kinds of potential, so the Fast family is in a season of anticipation. It seems like much of our lives is consumed with making plans for upcoming summer trips to China & Canada, but still so much else is going on! So we are excited to share with you this ministry update of all that the Lord has been doing.
Since January, I (Ryan) have traveled more than 7,000 roadway miles, mostly traveling up and down the I-5 corridor. These travels have allowed me to preach at Christian schools from as far north as Vancouver, BC to as far south as Los Angeles, CA. Along the way I have spoken at several different mission conferences and ministry fairs. I have also had the opportunity to connect with churches, youth groups, and pastors. The primary message that I’ve been sharing as I’ve traveled comes from II Timothy 2:22. In this passage Paul challenges Timothy to flee sin, pursue God and to do so in the company of other believers. While certainly a fairly “elementary” message, I’ve been amazed to see how the Holy Spirit is using it to convict and draw teens to himself. I’ve also been acutely aware of my own need to not just preach, but to also live the message that I preach. God has really been doing some digging in my own life, reminding me of the importance of pursuing him and the people around me with the same kind of love that He pursues me with.
Erin and the kids are doing quite well. Swim lessons, soccer practice and learning how to play the drums have been keeping Micah quite busy. Abby is having fun learning how to read and raising baby chickens with her cousins, who live next door. Zeke is always on the go, curious about life and constantly learning about new things. Most recently, thanks to some time well spent with Grandma B (my mom), he discovered that he really likes the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh! Our most recent adventure as a family took us for some deputation time with our sending church, New Life Christian Fellowship, in Mariposa, CA. Scheduling this over Spring Break allowed us to make some good memories as a family. We were able to visit the valley floor at Yosemite National Park, traverse the Golden Gate Bridge over the San Francisco Bay and camp amongst the soaring Coastal Redwoods of Northern, CA. It was sweet to fellowship with our Church family in Mariposa and make new memories as family.
Over the last few years I (Ryan) have had increasing problems with energy levels and have noticed significant struggles with weight gain and memory loss. My primary care doctor prescribed a “sleep test” for me, which revealed that I have severe sleep apnea which was causing my oxygen levels to drop below 80%! This is very bad and can lead to all kinds of other health issues, like heart failure and strokes! Subsequently, they put me on a CPAP machine and almost immediately I noticed a dramatic change. I felt much more rested in the mornings, have a ton more energy and have started losing weight! I praise God that the doctors have been able to figure out what the problem is and that I am better able to serve Him thanks to the increased energy levels and the loss of weight!
As most of you know we are going to be leading the Teen Missions team to China this year. Between renewing passports, filling out visa applications, and purchasing the necessary supplies to travel abroad we are slowly getting ready for the summer. Most recently we found out more specifics about what we’ll be doing this summer. Our team will be assisting Joy in the Journey Camp where our project will range from small construction projects to cleaning and preparing the facilities to be used as an English Camp. Our team will then work as camp counselors, English teachers and activity coordinators at the camp as local children come and attend! We are really excited to work with our team as they participate in “friendship evangelism” to witness to the many campers who attend.
While we are in China, Micah is going to “go it alone” this summer on a Teen Missions Preteen mission trip 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. Please keep him (and his parents) in your prayers as he goes on this mission trip this summer.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to each of you who have given to support Micah on his mission trip and help cover the costs of taking Abby and Zeke with us to China. We started earlier this year with the daunting task of raising $5,300 to cover this and we have around $1,000 remaining!!!! Thank you to all of you who have given and appreciate your continued prayers as God provides the final amount.
This will be the last newsletter we send out before we head to China and we would be very grateful if you would partner with us in prayer over the following:
• Praise God for his provision thus far for Micah, Abby and Zeke to go on mission trips this summer. Pray for the final outstanding support to come in.
• Pray for our team of teenagers and adult leaders who will be going with us to China. For the teens—please pray for spiritual maturity, a love for the lost, for the necessary financial support to come in and safety in travels. For the adult leaders, and for us—please pray for wisdom, discernment and faith as we disciple the teens and travel with them this summer.
• Pray for Micah as he travels to Canada this summer on a mission trip, and is away from Mom and Dad for over a month! Pray also for Mom and Dad as this will be the longest time they’ve been away from Micah!
• Pray for Erin and the kids as Ryan will be heading down to Florida on May 2nd, to begin the necessary preparations for the training phase of the summer. They will be without him until they join him down in Florida in the middle of June.
God bless each of you and know that in Christ we love you all deeply!
The Fast Family
Ryan, Erin, Micah, Abby & Zeke