Dear Friends & Family,
It is hard to believe how quickly this school year has gone by and that our summer of ministry is nearly upon us. We are excited to share with you the Fast family “going-ons” as well as keep you up to speed on the ministry that the Lord allows us to participate in with Teen Missions Int’l (TMI).
Recruiting this spring has been spent in the Northwest. We began the new year with one of our favorite missions conferences, “Mission Connexion” in Portland. We were able to gather a team of FTM’s locally who helped us as we shared with Portland area youth about mission opportunities. One of the highlights from this conference was having the opportunity to hear Francis Chan speak. He even used the movie “Madagascar” as an analogy for the “American church”, which we found amusing since that is where we’re headed this summer. Our second highlight was having the opportunity to recruit our male assistant leader for our team this summer. This was a wonderful and unexpected surprise.
THANK YOU to each of you who pray for me (Ryan) as I travel. Already this year I’ve had the opportunity to present at four different mission conferences and speak at a variety of Christian schools and churches. Traveling the west coast preaching and challenging students to be on mission for the Lord both here at home and around the world are truly a delight. We are blessed to see fruit from each of these ventures. Please keep on praying that God would continue to bring His laborers into His harvest through the ministry of Teen Missions International.
Fast Family Update:
Life at home continues to never be dull. Micah is finishing up 7th grade. He continues to have a passion for making movies. He can often be found recruiting his cousins to come act in his latest movie idea. He recently took some youth classes at the local public access TV station and is now certified to use their video cameras and movie editing software. He and his cousin Cooper have taken the opportunity to use the equipment and are producing movies for their YouTube channel. Additionally, he enjoys participating in Boy Scouts and is currently working on numerous merit badges.
Abby is growing up faster than we could imagine. She recently got her first pair of glasses and is adjusting to wearing them. As some of you are aware, Abby loves school but has struggled from the beginning with reading. She was recently diagnosed with a learning disorder which identified that she had significant deficits in her short-term memory. Since this issue was identified, she has begun to receive specialized reading assistance and she is thriving. It is exciting to begin to see her learn to read! At home she has decided to begin playing the ukulele. She can often be found in her room practicing the latest worship song. She is hoping to bring the ukulele with her this summer.
Zeke is finishing up his last year of preschool. Last month he had the opportunity to attend a kindergarten informational meeting at Abby and Micah’s school. Since going to this meeting, he has continued to ask when he can go to kindergarten and wants to show me “his classroom” every time
we enter the building. He is so excited! He also talks nonstop about going down to Teen Missions and seeing all of his friends! He has been watching episodes about Madagascar on “Wild Kratts” (a kids show on PBS) and wants to tell me all about lemurs.
This year, when not on the road speaking at a mission’s conference, or preaching at a church, Ryan has decided to pick up a new hobby. That hobby is painting! He says he’s not very good at it, but he does find it very relaxing to sit back and paint a landscape or two. Of course, then the dilemma comes up about where to hang it. For some odd reason, I don’t always like them hanging all over the living room Go figure!
I continue to hold things down at the home front. As the kids get older, I feel like I’m spending more and more time in the car. During April, I once again headed up the used book sale at the kids’ school. I love being involved in this event and meeting and talking with the other parents at the school. When I’m not volunteering at the school, I am preparing to head to Florida. This year we have decided to take the kids out of school a few weeks early and travel as a family down to Florida on May 1st. I will be homeschooling the kids until the end of the school year. I am looking forward to being together as a family and teaching the kids for this short period of time.
MADAGASCAR: HERE WE COME!
We are VERY excited to be leading the Eyeglass Medical Team to Madagascar this year. This will be our first trip to the continent of Africa! While in Madagascar, our team will be traveling to rural villages to conduct basic vision clinics. While a portion of the team is assessing people’s vision needs, the remainder of the team will minister to people in the community through songs, puppets, dramas and English classes. This year Micah will be joining our team as a team member for the first time and Abby and Zeke will be accompanying us as well. We do appreciate your prayers as we and the team members, begin to make preparations for this mission trip.
Thank you to many of you who chose to bless us monthly with your prayers and support. We are so grateful for this. We have been asked by numerous people to compile an Amazon Wish List which identifies some of our specific material needs that we have for this summer. If you are interested in reviewing that list or purchasing an item for our family please visit (http://a.co/a9NENPX). We have really been overwhelmed and humbled by your generosity and how many of you pray for and support us. Specifically, we wanted to share with you how amazed we were at God’s provision of over $7,500 to cover all of the costs for Micah’s mission trip and for Abby and Zeke to travel with us to Madagascar. Thank you all for your generosity and participating with us on the mission that the Lord has lead us to be involved in this summer.
Our hope is that through this newsletter we will convey to each of you, as our partners and co-laborers in Christ, what God is doing around the world in and through the lives of the teenagers that we work with. Our prayer is that each of you will be able to share in the joy we have in participating in God’s kingdom and seeing disciples being made. Thank you so much for supporting us and know that in Christ we love you all so very deeply!
The Fast Family,
Ryan, Erin, Micah, Abby & Zeke