Dear friends and family,
It’s hard to know where to start, this past summer was unique for everyone in the family and we all learned and grew through the experiences. For Ryan and I, we lead the first-ever “Leadership Development” team to Canada. This team was designed to train up former team members who were interested in leading in the future through a targeted leadership training which took place a week before Boot Camp. After this training, our team helped with various jobs during Boot Camp to keep the program going. We had team members helping in the kitchen, teaching classes, working in the video department and cleaning bathrooms. Everyone learned a lot about servant leadership and the team members discovered what is entailed in running a Teen Missions Boot Camp every year.
After Commissioning, our team traveled to Outlook, SK, Canada where they invested the next five weeks refurbishing a camp in an effort to operate a Northern Boot Camp in the near future. There was a lot of work that needed to be done at the camp from cleaning up vandalism, clearing brush, and repairing buildings. Many long days of work were put into the camp and I think each of our team members felt like they left a part of themselves there. The people in Outlook are very friendly and the team really enjoyed partaking in community wide events. They were able to participate in a local outreach at the senior living center, running a mid-week missions night at a local church and were even able to host a youth gathering at the camp.
Because Saskatchewan is much closer than any of the other summer destinations we have traveled to, our children had the opportunity to spend more time at home in Portland this year. Abby and Zeke spent the last half of June at home in Portland with their cousins and grandparents. During this time Abby attended Trout Creek Bible Camp which was a real highlight for her. In July, they took a road trip with Grandpa Fast up to Outlook and joined our team. Grandpa Fast decided to stay around and help on the project for a few weeks, which was much appreciated. Abby would tell you that her favorite part of the summer was spending the occasional afternoon at the local community pool with the team. Zeke enjoyed exploring the camp grounds as the team worked. He could often be found collecting scraps of wood to build a fort or trying to sneak up on the mule deer that called the surrounding woods home. Zeke also attended a 5-day Bible club put on by Child Evangelism Fellowship, at which he prayed to receive Christ into his heart.
Micah went on his second teen trip to Fiji this summer. These are a few of his thoughts about his summer:
This summer I went to the amazing islands of Fiji. With it, I had a pretty cool team and an amazing group of guys. During this summer I felt God teaching me about maturity and responsibility. I learned this through different aspects of the team and the jobs I did throughout the summer. This summer we were working at a camp in Fiji. It was beautiful! We built a front fence for the camp and dug up an old pipeline in order to replace it. There was a LOT OF DIGGING. Thank you for all of your prayers and support for my trip this summer.
After the summer we all returned to Oregon for some time of rest and relaxation with family and friends. A highlight of this time was the opportunity to take a family roadtrip to Yellowstone National Park. It was wonderful to be together and process our summers as a family. The kids became experts at spotting bison and elk, and they absolutely loved seeing the geysers erupt. We had the privilege of stumbling upon a couple unexpected eruptions, which made everyone’s day. On our way home, we followed portions of the Lewis & Clark Trail and visited Hells Canyon, which was very impressive.
This year we are continuing to split our time between Oregon and Florida. Ryan continues to guide and direct our promotion and marketing team while making strategic speaking engagements on the West Coast. Because we are continuing to split our time between our “two homes” in Florida and Oregon we have decided to homeschool all three kids. This has been a huge adjustment for us, as Erin is taking on the primary role as teacher. After a few weeks, we are all beginning to fall into a good rhythm. When Erin is not huddled over a child trying to explain a concept they are learning, she continues to support Ryan on the promotions and marketing team.
As we look ahead we are excited about the many ministry opportunities before us. We will be returning to Oregon for the month of October to prepare for Student ConneXion, the student missions conference which Ryan coordinates. We would love to have West Coast people join us Nov. 1-2 at GracePointe Church in Milwaukie, OR for the conference. On the East Coast, we will be partnering again with Teach Them Diligently for SEVEN homeschool conferences they host in the spring of 2020. We are seeking volunteers at all of these events and we would love to have you join us. Please contact Erin directly ([email protected]) if you’re interested.
Again, we want to thank all of you who have continued to pray and support us during this new chapter in our ministry with Teen Missions. It hasn’t been without its bumps in the road, but we have appreciated all of you who have joined with us in prayer, reached out and just walked alongside us. There are many new opportunities for us with our transition into work in Florida and we have felt God’s presence throughout. Thank you again for all of you who partner with us in our ministry to the youth of today.
Ryan, Erin, Micah, Abby and Zeke
- 1. Safety as we travel promoting the ministry of Teen Missions.
- 2. Erin and the kids as they homeschool.
- 3. Student ConneXion Mission Conference would be well attended and an effective means of mobilizing an Acts 1:8 Generation