Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. (Psalm 90:1-2)
Greetings from Colorado! I arrived in Estes Park on the 22nd of May, and I will depart from Estes Park on the 22nd of July. So it’s crazy to think, as I write this letter on the 23rd of June, that we’re already more than halfway through our time at the Collegiate Church Network’s Leadership Training program! What a summer it’s been!
I keep thinking about you — the faithful members of our ministry team, who are providing the spiritual and financial support to make this summer experience possible — but it’s been challenging to get the requisite time on the phone to connect or behind a computer, even for a simple prayer letter. The mountains of Colorado are certainly beautiful — but they’re not great for communications! Earlier this week, I spent about ten minutes walking around a large field trying to get through a telephone conversation, saying “Can you hear me now?” Eventually I found a spot by the volleyball courts here at the YMCA of the Rockies where we could hear each other pretty well if I crouched down and sat on my heels. ?
Other than the communications piece, though, there’s really not that much to complain about. We’re all doing well here in Colorado: hiking two or three times a week in absolutely gorgeous natural surroundings, getting into deep conversations with the students from Kent about what God is doing in their lives, sharing the Gospel regularly… Honestly, the summer has been even better than any of us thought it was going to be. Elliot is doing really well with his first job as a part of the Housekeeping Department for the YMCA of the Rockies; in fact, he comes home from his shifts seeming more energized than when he went in for work! Olivia and Cor roam the grounds of the YMCA of the Rockies pretty freely and especially enjoy time in the Craft and Design Center. Even on days when Marci and I are in meetings for hours on end (Tuesdays and Thursdays seem to be especially so), they never seem to get bored or lonely. This is really an amazing place for families.
The LT ministry environment is also amazing. Today, for instance, I started with a one hour video conference with one of my former colleagues in Amsterdam — checking in on how things have been going back in the Netherlands (these calls are a regular occurence, throughout the year, but it’s been especially encouraging to see the ways that I’ve been able to cultivate and cross-pollinate interest in missions among various Collegiate churches here in the United States). After I finished with the video conference, I drove into Estes Park with a young man from Texas, where we got fresh donuts and then drove across Trail Ridge Road (which climbs up to 12,000 feet above sea level), talking along the way about developing intimacy with God, learning to communicate more effectively, and discovering our spiritual gifts. Upon our return to the YMCA of the Rockies, I had another video conference with our staff team from H2O Kent — debriefing our outreach efforts from the past school year and strategizing about the coming year of ministry. And all of this happened before noon!
Over lunch, Marci and I got to sit together with a young couple in church leadership and mentor them on topics of balancing work and rest, managing staff, and practicing vulnerability with each other. Over dinner (after banging out this prayer letter), I get to meet for staff management with a brand-new Reliant staff member from back in Kent (who’s having the time of his life leading worship for our LT sessions). After dinner, it will be time for our “American Culture and Conversation” session, in which we reach out to meet practical needs and build relationships with many of the international workers from here at the YMCA of the Rockies (last week God coordinated things so beautifully to allow for exactly 19 American LT participants to pair up with exactly 19 international friends from Colombia, China, Thailand, and Turkey!). And when our time for American Culture and Coversation is finished, we’ll bring many of them with us to the main LT session that takes place in a Chapel right here on the grounds of the Y — worshipping God with reckless abandon and being challenged by teaching from the Bible.
It really feels like an ideal environment. We feel so thankful to be granted the privilege of living and working here for the summer. Thanks, again, for partnering with us. Please keep praying with us for God’s grace in making the most of these opportunities. We’ll be in touch…