Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Christian Challenge New Fall Semester Update 2015!

     Wow, the beginning of the semester is upon us already! It's always an extremely exciting time for us in collegiate ministry! The students are back. New ones are coming in. Christ is ready to do amazing things on the campus of Fort Lewis College!

     Before we get to that, I wanted to give a quick update on Peru. There will be a video and longer update to come but for now, I just wanted to give the highlights. It was an amazing trip! We saw the most divine appointments we've ever seen on a trip! Our team was able to lead around 20 people in putting their trust in Christ! We were able to give out just under 100 New Testaments to people who didn't have God's Word! Again, it was such an awesome trip and I'll have more in-depth stories in the next update!

     During our time in Peru, there was a lot of travel time where I was able to listen to an audio book on the life of Hudson Taylor. One of the things I came away with was the great need for prayer in any ministry. I've always known that but it really challenged me to be in prayer more for our ministry and to challenge our supporters to be in prayer more for the ministry.

     So without further delay, I give you guys the Christian Challenge Prayer Challenge. I want to challenge you to give 5-10 minutes a day praying for the ministry. If that sounds like not much, go for more. I suggest praying for it during your morning so you don't forget. If the ministry comes to mind later in the day, pray for it then too. I'm challenging you to do it for 14 days. If you can make it that far, take it another 14 days. I know I might be asking a lot but it's so important and so worth it.

     I'm going to give you the normal prayer requests section below but here are our event dates (which could change a bit) you can be praying for as well:

Aug. 26th...Student Leadership Retreat
Aug. 27th...Freshman Move-in, Prayer Walking Campus, New Student Club Fair, Frisbee, Cafeteria Dinner with Students
Aug. 28th...Prayer Walking Campus, Lunch with Students, Football in the Quad
Aug. 29th...Larping Event on Campus, Dinner and Free Garage Sale (Giveaway) for International Students
Aug. 30th...Brunch, Drive Students to Church, Campus Pizza Party
Aug. 31st...First Day of Class, On Campus All Day, Nighttime Slacklining and Hang Out to Meet New Students
Sept. 1st...On Campus All Day, Christian Challenge
Sept. 2nd...Day of Rest
Sept. 3rd...All Student Club Fair, Family Dinner, Freshman Q&A

Sept. 4th...Bible Study, Night Hike
Sept. 5th...Lunch with Students, Discover Durango
Sept. 6th...Brunch, Church, Jumping Waterfalls

     After this, we settle into our normal schedule being on campus most of the week discipling. Christian Challenge will be on Tuesday nights. Once we talk with the international students and find out their schedules, our conversational English class will get scheduled in. We're hoping to have it before Family Dinners. Family Dinners will be on Thursday nights. Here are the rest of our big dates for the month:

Sept. 8th...Christian Challenge
Sept. 10th...Family Dinner
Sept. 11th-12th...Fall Getaway (First Retreat)
Sept. 13th...Brunch, Church
Sept. 15th...Christian Challenge
Sept. 17th...Family Dinner
Sept. 19th...Game Night
Sept. 20th...Brunch, Church
Sept. 22nd...Christian Challenge
Sept. 24th...Family Dinner
Sept. 25th-26th...La Plata Canyon Camping and Hiking Trip
Sept. 27th...Brunch, Church
Sept. 29th...Christian Challenge

     Hopefully, those are more specific things you can be praying for throughout the month. Look below for our normal prayer request section.

     Now, I just had an idea come to me as I was writing all of this. If it's terrible, my feelings won't be hurt if you discard it...but it might be kind of cool to do. If you're on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, post the time, date and hashtag it #prayingforFLC every time you pray for the ministry. This would remind our staff and students that we've got people praying for us when they get on social media. And hey, maybe it gets others who see it to pray for FLC as well. If you're not into the social media thing, no worries but still be praying.

     Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give! We are super thankful for that! Keep us, the ministry, and the FLC campus in your prayers!

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel

If the Lord is leading you to give, follow this link to our giving options:

Prayer Requests:

- Last year, we had a great group of solid students who eventually became leaders in the ministry. It was a big answered prayer. Pray that we would have an awesome group of student leaders again this year.
- As the semester get busier, it's easy to neglect things big and small. We get so focused on ministry that we lose track of the things that help keep us going. We lose track of taking care of ourselves. Pray we have energy and get good sleep throughout the busy semester.

- With as many things as the ministry does, it's easy to take on way too much and get burnt out. This is especially true in the first month. By the end of September, we just sort of expect it. Pray that we would be good stewards with our time so that we don't fall into burnout.

- Throughout the year, the semester can wear on you and it can be easy to find yourself discouraged at times. It happens in just about any ministry at one point or another. Pray that God would keep us and our staff encouraged throughout the year.

- Being Christians, we are in a spiritual battle. When you do ministry, you become a bigger target in that battle. Keep praying for us and our team that God would protect us this year from any spiritual attacks. Pray that God would give us the strength and encouragement to endure. Also pray for everyone praying for our ministry because when you pray for the ministry, you become a bigger target as well.

- Atheism is a big belief system at FLC. On any given year, about half of the students we work with are atheists or non-believers. Pray that God would open doors for the Gospel to be received and understood. Pray that the Holy Spirit would be working on the hearts and minds of the students we are going to meet.

- Over the years, our staff has had a lot of health issues that can really be a discouragement. Our most successful years have been when we have good health. Pray that God would keep our staff safe and healthy.

- Though we have been underfunded at different times in our ministry, things have been especially tight over the past 6 months. We trust God to provide but would appreciate you praying as well that the funding needs would be met. If you would like to give for the coming semester, there is still time. Go to: Give Now!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mission: Peru Pre-Trip Update 2015!

     It's finally here and boy, are we stoked! July 13th-28th, we'll be on mission in Peru! Though we've had a busy summer, our mission trip to Peru with Climbing for Christ has always been on our mind. With all the training we've done for the trip, it's good to keep the mission on our mind to get us through the difficult workouts. When you remember you're doing it for God, you can endure a lot more.

     This will be my second trip to Peru and Rachel's first. Last year, our team traveled to the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Huayhuash of the Andes. This year, we will be focused exclusively on the Blanca. We will return to areas we have been working in and push deeper into unreached areas of the Blanca. There is still a lot of uncovered ground. There's a lot of work to be done for the Gospel.

     The people group we will be reaching are the Quechua people. They live in many different areas of South America but ours specifically live and work high in the Andes Mountains at elevations of around 9,000-16,000 feet.

     Religiously, there are many different beliefs amongst the people. Some believe in Jesus. Some worship animistic spirits. Many worship both Jesus and the spirits. The Jehovah Witness folks seem to have a strong presence in the area as well. That surprised me last trip that the JW's had made it there already. Also surprising to me was the fact that too many others in the area had never even heard the name of Jesus.

     Despite the differences of beliefs, the common thing amongst almost all the people is that they don't have Bibles. So like last trip, our goal is to distribute as many Bibles as possible. Though we will be ministering in many towns, a lot of the people we reach will be literally too far from any church to attend it and get fed spiritually with God's Truth. They need Bibles in their hands to learn that Truth and protect themselves from being deceived.

     Along with giving out as many Bibles as we can backpack in, we will be putting on church services, encouraging those who are already believers and seeking out divine appointments to share the Gospel with those who need to hear it.

     Last year, God brought divine appointment after divine appointment in our path. It was amazing. I've never seen soil so ready for the Gospel. I truly can't wait to get back and see what God is going to do this year. I can't wait to see how God has grown the seeds that were planted last year. We saw a lot of people come to Christ. I'm stoked to see where God has brought them in a year's time.

     I'm also stoked for our team this year. We had a really solid team last year and, even though some faces have changed, I think we're going to have a really solid team this year.

     Jordan Rowley and I will be returning members of the team. Jordan works for C4C at their headquarters in Rochester, NY. Then, of course my beautiful wife, Rachel, will be getting to join us this year. We also have Larry Demejo from the Rochester area. Fort Lewis student Kevin Atkinson will also be joining us. Rounding the team out will be Peruvians Jaime Jesus Servat and Edwin Milla. Jaime is our local missionary on the ground there. He is the one who returns to each area we visit to followup and disciple those God connects us with. Edwin is a professional climber and our guide for the trip. Feel free to click on each underlined named for more info on the team member.

     Here are some other links that might be of interest to you:

Mission: Peru Daily (for the most part) Updates

Mission: Peru Prayer Bulletin from C4C

Info on past Mission: Peru Trips

     Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give! We are super thankful for that! Check out our prayer requests below and keep us in your prayers!

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel

p.s. I apologize if there are any spelling or grammatical errors. Running on very little sleep and very little time but wanted to get this in your hands before we left. Thanks for understanding.

If the Lord is leading you to give, follow this link to our giving options:

Prayer Requests:

- I've gotten very little sleep in the last few days getting everything ready for the trip. To top it off, we lost power the night before we had to be up at 4 a.m. to head to the airport. Even though we planned ahead, we didn't plan for a power outage that would leave us dead in the water and not able to get what we needed done so we could get a good night's sleep before traveling. All that said, I probably won't be sleeping tonight in order to get the rest of the stuff done now that we finally have power again. I'll be going on 4 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. Not a good way to start the trip being this sleep deprived. Pray I have energy going forward, will be in good spirits, and get good sleep the rest of the trip.

- We've been getting a lot of spiritual attacks leading up to the trip. Weird and expensive happenings at the house...being attacked by bees while training for the trip when never having an issue before with bees in that area we've run for months before...being completely run off the road by another car after coming home from training for the mission... That's just to name a few of the many things. It's nothing that God hasn't overcome but it's been wearing on us. We're excited though because we know with all that opposition, God must be going to do some big things on this trip. Keep praying for us and our team that God would protect us on this trip from any spiritual attacks. Pray that God would give us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. Also pray for everyone praying for our team because when you pray for our team, you're stepping into the battle as well.

- We fully expect God to change many lives on this trip. Pray that He would open doors for the Gospel to be received and understood. Pray that the Holy Spirit would be working on the hearts and minds of the people we are going to meet.

- On trips like this, there is always the chance of a rolled ankle while hiking or food poisoning at some point in the trip. Pray that God would keep our team safe and healthy.

- Lastly, due to circumstances out of our control, plane tickets were bought much later than we normally get them. With that, the mission is going to be much more expensive than expected or planned on for Rachel and me. We trust God to provide but would appreciate you praying as well that the funding needs would be met. If you would like to give toward the mission trip, there is still time. Go to: Give Now!

Slight change of plans...

So I had planned to put out an update on how our support raising trip back in May went.  Unfortunately, that will have to wait.  I had hoped to post it on here and get it to you tonight but we lost electricity for most of the night.  Now that we have it back, there just isn't time to get that update out before we head to the airport.  There will be the Pre-Trip Peru update coming out later tonight so be looking for that.  Thanks guys for the love and encouragement you give us and the ministry!  Keep praying!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Spring Graduation 2015!

Just wanted to post some pics of our students from graduation!  We're super proud of them and are excited for what God has next for them!  Keep praying for them as they move into their next chapter of life!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

End of the Semester Ministry Update 2015!

     Happy 4th of July! Goodness, is it really already July? It's way past time for an update. My 8 year-old Mac Book Pro is on it's last legs and really struggling. Its constant freezing up has made getting this update out pretty difficult. When I talked to a couple of computer geniuses on our support trip about how to maybe fix it, they literally laughed at its age and told me to just get a new one. Easier said than done. Until then, updates will sometimes just have to come out a little slower.

     We'll actually have two more updates come out before our Peru mission trip starting the 13th of July. One will be on our support raising trip which included a tornado nearly touching down on us while we were camping. That update will be posted exclusively to our blog. The update on Peru will be posted to our blog and sent out through email. We just don't want to bombard you with too many emails at once.

     Onto the update of the semester. What a great semester it was! I'd say it was one of our most successful yet! Obviously, we credit that all to God. There were a lot of answered prayers.

     One of those answered prayers was having a healthy staff. Another answered prayer was having a really solid group of students. By the end of the semester, our students had begun discipling other students. It was awesome to see. I really think a great foundation was laid over the past two semesters that will impact the campus for years to come. It's really exciting for us.

     Another exciting thing has been the door God has opened for us to reach out and minister to the LGBT club on campus. Their former president accepted Christ this past year and just recently got baptized! Praise God!

     It's been such an exciting and blessed year for the ministry. By the end of the year, we had around forty people at our end of the year barbeque. God has brought the ministry a long way from back in August when we thought we might have two students returning. Sadly, we'll end up losing about half of the students by next year. It's expected when a big part of the ministry is working with international students who we only have for two semesters. And then there are our students who are graduating that will move on as well. It's sad for us but we're excited to see what God is going to do in the lives of our former students going forward.


     As we wrapped up the barbeque, we got everyone together and had those who will be returning pray for those who are moving on from Fort Lewis and Durango. It was a special time and one of my favorite of the semester being able to pray for them.

     Speaking of favorite times, another big highlight was our annual Easter Eve snowshoeing trip. This is where we snowshoe up to one of the high mountain frozen lakes in the area, have a campfire, eat peep s'mores, and have a church service out there under the stars.

     I remember leading up to the trip, I was really trying to figure out what God wanted me to share that night. I started in one direction, then went another direction. Then ended up scrapping everything and went in an entirely new direction after listening to a sermon a day before that sparked an idea. Still, when I preach, I like to give background on how I got to a topic. So as everyone sat around the campfire, I gave a brief overview of the two topics I was going to preach on and then went on to talk about Peter and his interactions with Jesus from walking on water to the crucifixion to sitting around a campfire with Jesus.

     Afterwards, we had a discussion about what I had preached. I asked for things that stood out, things they could relate with, maybe things they didn't quite understand. One of our Japanese students asked if I could expand a bit or explain a bit more one of the topics I had just given an overview on. The general idea was something God had been showing me over the past year. When you truly seek Jesus and His will for your life, God will get you to where He wants you. I feel like for so many Christians, that is such a big worry when it doesn't need to be if we truly seek Him. If Jonah ran away and God still eventually got him to where God wanted him, wouldn't God guide, even more so, someone who truly desires to be where God wants them?

     I shared about my experience in Peru last year on that mission trip. How God split the team up unexpectedly into two groups, one who went deeper in the mountains to minister and one who went back into the villages to minister. In that, He moved each team member to where He wanted them, where He could use them. I shared with the students that through that, we met people in our paths, encouraged them, distributed Bibles, and saw people put their trust in Christ...people that we would have never met had God not steered our steps.

     After sharing all of that, we packed up and started snowshoeing back to our vehicles. As we got close to the vehicles, I began talking with one of our Japanese students. He said that he had a great time that night. When I asked what was his favorite part or what stood out? He said that he really liked what I had to say about Peru and what happened there. I'll be honest, that wasn't exactly what I expected to hear. It was so encouraging and exciting. It was awesome to hear that had impacted him. I pray that he could take that seed with him back home, that it would grow and continue to impact him.

     I'm so thankful that God has called us work with college students and walk with them on their journey. We are blessed to work with the great students God brings us. We are also blessed to have people behind this ministry who faithfully give their time in prayer and give financially to make it happen. You're part of the team making an impact in the lives of students at FLC. So a huge thank you for getting behind us and what God is doing at Fort Lewis! It is appreciated greatly!

     Check out our ministry video from this past year and hear from our students what Challenge means to them! See how God is using Christian Challenge to impact the campus of Fort Lewis!

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike and Rachel

If the Lord is leading you to give, follow this link to our giving options:

Prayer Requests:


Pray for all of our students working at camps and going on mission trips this summer. Pray that God would grow them through their experiences and that they would be fruitful for the Kingdom.  Check out this article in the Durango Herald on one of our students and the ministry she created to rescue children out of sex slavery in Africa:

Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to grow our students in their faith and that they'd stay strong in it throughout the summer.

Pray that God would continue to reveal Himself to the students who have not yet put their trust in Him.

Rachel and Mike-

Praise that my nasal surgery went okay. It was more annoying than painful in the recovery process but I can now breathe through my nose at night which allows me to actually sleep. Being able to sleep is pretty nice.

Pray for our house. It's got issues. If you've been reading our updates, you know this. We make due but appreciate the prayers concerning it.

Pray that God would open doors for us support raising and that our efforts would be fruitful. We have lost some support this past year and really need to make that up.

Pray that our marriage would stay strong, keeping God always at the center of it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Challenge at the Fort 2014-2015 Video!

Ministry Updates Coming Soon!

So it's been awhile since our last ministry update... Don't worry, we are still alive and well.  Things have been crazy with support raising trips and surgeries...and my computer running super slow.  We're talking frustratingly slow to where I forget what I'm even writing.  Not good for a guy with ADD.  My Mac is on it's last legs unfortunately.  So because my computer is slow, the updates are slow in coming out.  But they are coming!  So check back soon and there will be some more info...and maybe a new video if you play your cards right!