Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bonjour de Belgique!

Here we are! Belgium. We have both said several times this week how surreal it feels to be here. It's incredible to see so many months and years of prayers and preparation come to fruition. This is very much the realization of a dream!

We arrived in Brussels on Sunday, February 7th. Our bags, however, did not get here until about a day later. When we did get them, Katy's bag had broken open, and apparently spilled because we are missing several items. That was an understandably discouraging way to kick off our time here, but thanks to a little ingenuity on Austin's part, the bag is now fully operational again!

Despite the somewhat rocky start, God is good, and it is evident that this is truly where we're supposed to be. This leg of our journey is the first stop on our nearly three-month commitment with MCYM (Military Community Youth Ministry). While in Belgium we are working with the Club Beyond staff on S.H.A.P.E. (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe). On Tuesday afternoon and evening we had the opportunity to experience our first clubs, which are full out youth events that happen on a weekly basis. The Junior High club meets shortly after school, they do a snack, several games, and a Bible message. The Senior High club is much the same except with supper, since they meet later in the day. We were privileged to hit the ground running and serve in many aspects. We even had the privilege of running a couple of the games! It was a great way to get to know the youth, and exciting to see what God is doing through MCYM Club Beyond!

During the rest of our time here we will be chaperoning some of the youth from both the Junior HIgh and Senior High groups on different service projects throughout Europe. The rest of this week has been full of preparations to take the Junior High group on their service project to Kaiserslautern, Germany. Here is an excerpt from their support letter which explains what we will be doing there:

This year we are going to Kaiserslautern, Germany from February 14-18 to work with a church called City Mission. City Mission clothes and feeds over 800 people each month, by sending out 20,000 lbs of food to 9 locations. They work alongside four German businesses (including “Toys R Us”!) in an effort to take care of the poor in the community. Over 25% of the children in their immediate community live in poverty. Many of the homes they minister to lack even basic toiletries and will even burn wood inside their apartments for warmth without the use of a proper fireplace. Each day we are there we will go into surrounding communities where the residents live in poverty. Many of the people in these neighborhoods lack even basic necessities like toilet paper and food! We will take vans filled with donated food into these neighborhoods to distribute to the families. But we won’t just give them food! We’ll have a chance to spend time talking with them and showing them that we care about who they are. Each afternoon we will participate in service projects at churches around the area doing projects like painting, organizing food and clothing pantries and cleaning up trash in neighborhoods.

Service projects are also a great time for the kids who participate to grow spiritually, and some even come to a saving knowledge of Christ as a result of these trips. In addition to serving the people of Kaiserslautern, they will also have devotions every morning and chapel time and small group discussions every evening. The speaker's theme for our time is "Reflecting Christ." We are very excited and expecting God to work in big ways!

Thank you so much for standing with us in prayer as we continue to press on in this work God has given us! Here are some of our specific requests:

* Austin's health - he is on anti-biotics battling a serious chest cough this week, and is hopefully on the downward slope of it!
* Safe travels - we will be transporting all of the youth and leaders for the service project via the autobahn on Sunday afternoon.
* Service Project - for a safe and fruitful time in Kaiserslautern
* Baggage resolution - the airline told us that it can take up to 5 weeks to be compensated for our lost/damaged items
* Continued financial support - as we assist those individuals who are also financially supported as full-time missionaries our desire is to not create a burden for those who have asked us to join with them. As a result we continue to provide our portion of service project expenses, transportation expenses, food and housing expenses, etc. This can only continue to happen with the continued kindness and generosity of our financial supporters!

Praise the Lord for all of the safety and provision we have received thus far! God is so good, and we are so humbled and honored to get to do his work throughout the world!


Phil 2:1-11

* tax-deductible donations can be sent to:
Harvest Bible Fellowship
5567 Painted Rocks Road
Woodland Park, CO 80863