Greetings from Florida to all our friends and family around the world!
So much has happened since we last wrote. After our amazing summer in Madagascar, we returned to the Pacific NW to continue recruiting for summer teams. In October, a new Director, Richard Barber, was brought onboard at Teen Missions. Immediately after he took the position of Director, he contacted us and asked us to consider temporarily relocating down to Florida to train and develop the Promotions Department. After much prayer and seeking wise counsel, we could not ignore the clear direction of the Lord to transition our ministry to Florida for the time being. Following His lead, the Fast family moved down to Florida in early November where Abby and Zeke have enrolled in school and Micah continues to do online education through a school district in the Portland area.
Fall Recruiting Highlight: Student Connexion
Before relocating to Florida, we had to finish up much of our recruiting efforts out west. This made for a very full season of ministry, traveling throughout the western USA and carrying on with ministry in the Portland area. One of the most rewarding opportunities we’ve had this fall, in terms of local ministry in Portland, has been to coordinate a mission conference called Student ConneXion. Coordinating this event has really opened up some amazing doors to share with people about the ministry of Teen Missions, as well as the overall goal of mobilizing youth into a missional lifestyle. What a blessing to see God work at Student ConneXion’s “CREATED FOR CHANGE!” Mission Conference this year. We saw God bring 381 attendees from 19 organizations and over 50 churches. As a direct result of the conference, four students came to believe in Jesus as Lord of their lives and 26 stood to commit their lives to full-time missions or ministry. If you’d like to see students from your church attend this event, which will happen again November 1-2, 2019, please encourage your pastor to check out the website (http://studentconnexion.org) or email [email protected] for more information.
A Day in the Life of the “Florida” Fast Lane
Our days in Florida are very full. Most mornings start by getting up and out the door by 7:30 AM where Erin and I part ways. Micah and I head to Teen Missions’ Headquarters to participate in the 8 AM chapel while Erin drops Abby and Zeke off at their school. Abby and Zeke continue to enjoy making new friends; of course Abby often reminds me that she especially enjoys the classes of “lunch and recess”. Erin then arrives at work and we both spend our time coordinating the recruiting, marketing, and promotional activities for Teen Missions, as well as overseeing Micah and his online schooling.
The kids are beginning to settle into life in FL. They enjoy spending their winter days in shorts and we have even taken an occasional trip to the beach which is fun! Abby and Zeke can often be found out riding their bikes and scooters on the street where many of the staff families live and play. Micah has started practicing for a play through a local homeschool co-op and Abby is taking ukulele lessons locally.
Staffing at Teen Missions is very lean right now and many of us are wearing multiple “hats”. In addition to overseeing both the Promotion and Video Departments, Erin and I are on the Program Committee. This committee is providing recommendations to the Board of Teen Missions in regards to revisions to our policy manuals, re-looking at how we train both staff and summer leadership, updating much of our curriculum that we use for training teens as well as assessing the schedule for Boot Camp. Erin is also working diligently at selling on the internet vehicles and equipment that Teen Missions no longer uses. Erin and I continue to be very grateful for the opportunity that God has given us to immerse ourselves in this work. If we are honest, we do feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of work there is to do. However, again and again we see the Lord’s steadfast provision in our lives, and find our energies renewed by His mercies, kindness and grace. We continue to find great joy in the work we are doing and thank God for preparing us for such a time as this.
Even though we are working earnestly in Florida, our ministry in the NW does not cease. Over the Christmas break, we had the opportunity to host a team reunion for our Madagascar team in Portland. Over 20 team members and leaders traveled to Oregon to spend four days together reminiscing about the summer, exploring the Oregon Coast and focusing on God and what He has done in and through them since the summer. In January, we had a booth at the Mission ConneXion Missions Conference in Portland. It was a great opportunity to share about the ministry as well as network with other ministries in preparation for the Student ConneXion Conference next November.
Looking to the Future: Summer 2019
As we look ahead to the summer, we have been asked to lead the “Leadership Development Academy” team this summer, which we are really excited about. This team will be composed of Former Team Members (FTM’s) who will have the special task of working behind the scenes at the Teen Missions’ Boot Camp in Florida as servant leaders. After the Boot Camp Commissioning, we will head up to Saskatchewan, Canada, to be a part of building a Boot Camp.
Additionally, Micah has decided to participate on the TMI team to Fiji this summer. While in Fiji, he is going to be doing work projects at the Sabeto Youth Camp, visiting local schools sharing the love of Christ with the students, many of them from a Muslim or Hindu background, as well as visiting a local orphanage for more ministry opportunities. As a family, we are really excited to be a part of these ministry opportunities this summer and would appreciate your prayers as we begin to prepare for it. As many of you know, every year our children raise their own financial support to go on their teams or accompany us on our team. This year we need to raise $5000 to cover these expenses. Please pray about joining our prayer and support team for our children this summer. If you would like to give a donation to these expenses, please complete the coupon on this newsletter and mail it in.
End of Year Giving
We praise God and thank Him for each one of you who participate with us in ministry through prayer and financial support. We are excited to report that, thanks to some very generous end of year gifts, we were able to finish the year in the black. God continues to demonstrate His faithfulness even when we doubt.
- Please join us in prayer for the following needs:
- Praise: God has brought several new members to our monthly support team.
- Pray: More monthly financial supporters to join our support team, as our regular monthly needs remain above our current support level.
- Pray: For the Board and Director of Teen Missions as they seek the Lord through this leadership transition.
- Pray: For wisdom for us as we work with the staff and Bible school students, coordinating the recruiting activities for Teen Missions.
- Pray: For the Fast Family, as Zeke, Abby and Micah continue to make adjustments to living in Florida.
Ryan, Erin, Micah, Abby & Zeke