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What a Fall Season We have Had!

What a Fall season we have had!

It has been a crazy Fall season with schools starting classes and meeting new students and campus outreaches happening across the Capital Region of New York.  There is so much to thank God for!  This email update features both the stories of Steve and Rich who are two guys we have ministered to both in New York City and here in the Capital Region, respectively.  You can download our newsletter by clicking on the image below.

September 2010 Newsletter August 2010 Newsletter

Please Pray for Ellen’s talk at the Health Conference at the College of St. Rose

We hope you will pray for Ellen’s talk she will be sharing with St. Rose students on Wednesday (11/3) morning (as mentioned in the prayer requests in the September letter, see link above).

A Fixer upper… a personal update…

God has blessed us with a house with personality! We knew what we were getting into, thank the Lord, (since we rented out the downstairs apartment in our house first before buying) and yet the learning process for painting, scraping, and installing doors and windows to replace drafty ones (while tax credits can still be obtained) is a journey full of surprises, sweat, and hard work.  We want to thank so many people who have been able to help us work on it and all that but also thank the many more people who prayed for us while we went through the first stage of changes in our home.  God loves us through people like you!


Ellen looking through new door we installed

God Speed,

 

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How do we get to Heaven? “By doing the best [you] can to lead a good life”????

How do we get to Heaven? “By doing the best [you] can to lead a good life”????

Not quite. As you will read this month in our New York City Summer Project Newsletter’s page 2 highlighting our Campus Track, our friend Max didn’t quite understand God’s grace for us.  Max thought he simply had to do his best to earn a place in Heaven.  The truth is that Jesus has already earned it all by going to the Cross for Max.

We’re Back Home in Albany!

Our summer has been quite an adventure.  We were leading 21 students in the Campus Track out of 60 or so total on the entire project for the 5 weeks that they were in NYC.  We teamed up with the other segments of our project including the Arts Track, Bridges Track (International Student ministry), Epic Track (Ministry to Asian-Americans), and Inner City Track (ministry to homeless and children in NYC).  Of course this diversity of ministry is to be expected in a city so diversely populated!  The truth is that there are so many more areas of ministry in the city that I wouldn’t have time to mention them all here if I tried.  Please enjoy our project’s newsletter attached.  Our Campus Track is featured on page 2.  Ellen and I are hiding behind the word “Campus” at the top of the page!

Page 2 of NYC Summer Project 2010 Newsletter

Our Continuing Adventure: Home Ownership and Fall Semester Planning!

It's Good to be home in the Neighborhood!

Our adventure picked back up again only 2 days after we returned from our 6 weeks in New York City when we bought a 2-family home in Albany!  We have been working on it quite a bit and reconnecting with supporters and planning for the fall outreaches coming up ever since!  We have enjoyed the Albany weather since coming home. It was much hotter in New York City!  We will update you on some more personal stories from our work in the city with our next newsletter coming soon!

With the help of many friends and family, we have finished both phase 1 and 2, as we call them, of patching up cracked walls and moving out the kitchen cabinets and repainting all the walls and cabinet doors!  Phase 2 has been sanding and refinishing the floors.  We will be moving in within a couple days (though the work in the kitchen and bathroom is not complete yet).  Attached are some pictures of our new place (where we rented the downstairs apartment for 1 year until last month, ironically)

Our New Home

Ellen and a Friend painting

John Scraping old floor up in Kitchen after cabinets removed

A Big Thank YOU!

You may remember our prayer request in our last online post from July 1:

“You may have read about our project in NYC this summer and meant to pray or meant to give but haven’t taken the opportunity.  You can partner with us today by praying and giving financially.  We are trusting God to bring in the remaining 30% (or $1500) in the next couple weeks that we need to serve to our fullest in New York City.”

Well GOD PROVIDED! Only a couple days short of 2 weeks after our last post, a generous donor filled the gap we had between where we stood and the need we had in NYC.  We are so grateful and thankful to have people and churches like you who pray and people and churches like you who give to make sure that the work continues in this ministry.  We know first hand how so many people heard the good news and others began their walk with Jesus for the first time because of what you did so far away.  We are honored to be partnered with people like you.

Fall Outreaches require God’s people to (Please) PRAY

Please pray as we plan out the details of these critical Fall outreaches and launches on the campuses of the greater Capital Region.  Specifically, all the major schools in the area start on 8/30 except for Siena and a couple others.  We will start most outreach events within the first few days of classes.  One early Freshmen outreach is already planned on 8/27 and our Kickoff gathering event for our upperclass Real Life students is the same day and 8/28 as well.  Our first large group event called City Wide is on 9/2.  Please pray that God works in our student leaders to come to the kickoff event in force and to galvanize around the cause of Christ in reaching the lost, especially focusing on Freshmen, who are very very open to the possibility of connecting with Real Life students and with God (last year 50% of UAlbany students and 40% of RPI students surveyed indicated they were open to talking with other students about how their life purpose and knowing God go together).

God Speed,
John and Ellen

Big Break: Serving With Others For Haiti Relief

We were assigned to haiti meal packing on Wednesday afternoon. I had asked a few ppl on the beach to come help us and many seemed unwilling to come.. even thought the weather was poor and there weren’t that many out that day..
As we were walking back onto the property to just go help (they told us to try inviting spring breakers with us and then come back if you didn’t have anyone) I prayed asking God to show us IF there really was someone to come with us.. I even saw Amanda (a RPI student)  run down the beach looking!
On our way in.. there were 4 guys trying to get in to the Edgewater(the hotel/resort where the conference was).. and being told no.. I quickly asked “Bro, we’re going to pack meals for haiti on Edgewater, wanta come with us?!” The first guy said wow that sounds like fun! the other 3 were less excited.. but When I told this guy Cypres he could still come just him the others were in! We all walked together to the conference center.. Standing there almost brought me to tears! there were people working to make meals and at the same time a guy asking who wanted aprons.. I watched as these 3 spring break girls (who came with UCONN girls) looked around embarrassed at first realizing that they were half dressed while many actually had clothes on! watching further you could see how they wanted to turn around and leave, but one of the UCONN girls smiled and said come on lets get hairnets and clean our hands.. the guy at the front “offered” an apron “IF they wanted it”.. which of course they did! .. just after this.. I realized I saw this so I could help our four spring break guys.. they put their beers down and looked around uncomfortably and I immediately grabbed the hand santi stuff and started putting it in their hands and passing hair nets.. John even offered them aprons!
We ended up letting Jason and John take on the guys and the girls all went together to work at one table.. There was pumpin music blasting and we all got super into screaming random things in excitement when we finished a box or 2! I was overwhelmed at the love these spring breakers experienced and the acceptance that I saw the body of christ displaying! This scene of the Big Breakers welcoming and loving on spring breakers while serving like Jesus is definitely one that I will not forget! I wish you all could have been with me to experience this!

Big Break: Really?! It Is And Can Be Natural To Talk About Jesus!

As we were playing ultimate Frisbee 2 guys named Jake and Joe were on the team with me(Ellen) and Amanda (and a couple UCONN students too). It was a close game but we won by 1 point! yay!
After the game Amanda, myself, 2 UCONN girls and these 2 guys Jake and Joe sat with us. I asked question about them and before we knew it I was talking through spiritual things.. I learned Jake’s parents are going through a divorce and that he was Lutheran until his parents stopped going when he was maybe 10.. Joe’s dad’s brother is a reverend and his aunt is budist! I mentioned how we were using tools to ask spring breakers questions about spiritual things and even asked if any of them had a chance to talk about sprititual things on campus during the year… they said no! I turn briefly and Amanda had already gone to her bag and whipped out the Soularium (to which the RPI students keep calling it a “game” .. haha.. we’re still working on that.. ) The guys engaged with us and when asked on a level of 0-10 what’s their desire to know God.. (after telling them they couldn’t pick 0 because they were already talking to us about spiritual things!) they both said 6 and 8! I told my story and presented the gospel! I did bring out the KGP (Knowing God Personally booklet)to ask which circle they were (the point of decision in the booklet) and Jake said he had been trying to get to the circle on the right (a life submitted to Christ) … after sharing he didn’t have to “work at it” the gospel was presented and I challenged them to make a decision for themselves!
The BIGGEST win for me was when Amanda and I were walking back to the van.. she said she learned something huge about this.. the guys STILL wanted to talk after presenting the Gospel.. she had thought it would have been awkward to just go back to talking after all that.. but it wasn’t and she realized how “natural” talking about Jesus can be! I’m so honored that I had this opportunity  to  see Amanda realize an important life lesson! When you’re a follower of Christ, it’s normal to talk about Jesus!

Jason and “God Space” on Big Break 2010

On Tuesday night Jason went out with some UCONN students to share the gospel. The group prayed a few times to connect with spring breakers and didn’t see anyone really respond.. a bit discouraged they went to the Waffle House and “hung out”; while hanging out.. God Space (relational space for spiritual content- also a great book we’ve read with students) was created as they sat and talked amongst themselves. One of the UCONN students named Becky had a ton of reservations about the week and even more specifically why things weren’t biblical.. like why is it really “wrong” to get drunk.. what’s the big deal? Jason came over for lunch on Thursday and he told us the story of creating space for God to uncover what it was in Becky’s heart.. she hadn’t really trusted Jesus with her life! What ended up happening was Jason and the other UCONN students went through the Knowing God Personally with Becky.. at first she was embarrassed and didn’t want to “do the prayer” with the group. But later that night she went on the balcony and cried.. and told Jesus she desired to know him and the following day read the prayer with one of her roommates! Jason engaged with someone who said “I’m a christian” and yet wasn’t completely surrendered.. and he used God Space to engage and see someone trust Christ! We’re so proud of him and the UCONN students with him!

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