Friday, September 01, 2006

End of Summer 2006

Well happy readers, sorry its been so sparse here. We've had our first week of school, I thought I should spend a little more time on my career and getting up in the middle of the night with the puppy has been - er - interesting. Anyway, the school year has started and SPACE is going to change a bit like I alluded to in a previous post. I'm excited to try a few more new things.

Since it's now September, I thought I would officially close out the summer with this post. Most of you know our summer was phenomenal. We took SPACE to a new level this summer and it wasn't just incremental change - it was scary change. This new plateau is based on a few things. The two biggest things were almost doubling the number of students we sent on summer teams [and the associated financials to support these teams almost doubled as well] and implementing Mission Advance - a weekend away to prepare kids and build their teams. Both were huge. The other aspect to this summer was the trip to Cameroon. I think we broke new ground with the level of risk and unknown we allowed student teams to embrace. The idea of a student team going to Africa was a big emotional block for many, me included. But this summer proved it could be done if all the right circumstances lined up for it. I'm not saying that our students should now go anywhere and everywhere, but I think the mere sending of a team to Africa will open up our imagination even more for the future.

Finances have been foremost on my mind this week - trying to close the summer and ending up in the black. Our total expenses were broken down by something like this:
Cameroon - $30,103.41
LA - $10,463.53
DC - $6,840.00
Merge - $4939.00
Grand total - $52,345.94
[The LC team is a self-funding team since we don't pay hardly any expenses to go and serve there and the kids pay a flat fee to go.]

When I got home from Cameroon, I was really worried about our financial status - we were way in the red. My beloved wife, who has this weird gift of faith when I don't, was always confident. And the good news is that we are very close - less than $400 I think. And rumor has it that at least that amount came in via GCC's general offering for summer missions. And overall support raising for the summer included over 630 individual contributions. Amazing.

If you gave financially or prayed for a team or hung out with a student or thought about me or read this blog - THANK YOU - you were a huge part of what we did this summer and you invested a lot in the future.

Besides the standard mission team stuff, you should be proud of these two investments:
- a hotel room in Paris so a bunch of students could tell me, "That was the best shower I have EVER had," after ten days in Africa.
- a full scholarship for a leader to help lead his team after the sudden passing of his father this past spring.

And two more stories...
Our team in LA...
CUt said he had been praying about the trip and a name kept coming to him, Miguel. Wouldn't you know he met a Miguel the first day that he really connected with. They became best of friends, having conversations in Spanish sharing stories, Miguel telling CUt his plans and dreams, playing soccer and basketball and just hanging out. The way CUt loved on Miguel and other kids you sensed that he belonged there in many different ways. God speaks and CUt intently listened.

Our team in DC...
One of our team leaders along with the CSM host got into a slight scuffle at one of the ministry sites - and one of the other parties had a gun. The gun was never fired, everyone was totally safe and it was quite an interesting situation. Luckily, none of our students were there and our leader handled it great. CSM also did a great job with the DC police and making sure our team was both physically and emotionally healthy. After our team was told about the incident they were given the option the next day to go back to the same ministry site where the incident happened or to a different one. They all chose to go back to the same place, because they felt compelled to be light in the dark. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. Prov 11:25

Photos: all of our teams at the beach; SF, Miguel, and CUt; KQ tutoring.

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