What he has done for me.

I love Christmas and always have. I was one of those kids who could hardly even sleep on Christmas Eve. I love spending Christmas with my family, because they are the funnest people I know, and although Christmas was a little different for me this year, it was just as special.

This year I wasn’t able to spend Christmas with my family back in Kansas, I was able to spend Christmas with an incredible, loving family that Father has given me on this side of the world. As I look back over the past 6 months and remember all these people have done for me here, I am overwhelmed with love. I have experienced and seen on a daily basis a love that is not of this world. I am so incredibly thankful for the people that have been placed around me in my time here. Christmas this year was unforgettable.

Being here for Christmas also gave me all kinds of opportunities to love people and to share with people. You can’t get away from the meaning for Christmas and I was constantly reminded of that during this holiday season. I am humbled by thinking about the Mighty King coming in such a way. I am brought to tears when I think of why he came and what he did. How can you not share this story with people around  you? How can you not long for others to experience the love and mercy that comes from Dad? We were given the greatest gift of all time and I got to spend this Christmas telling people all about it. How undeserving am I? But how good is He?

I wish I could convey, in a way that is understandable, the experience that the last 6 months of my life has been, but it can’t be put into words. The things I have learned, the ways I have grown, the ways I have been challenged, the ways I have been blessed and the ways He has been glorified! He was proclaimed and people began to follow after him, and for some reason, I was allowed to be a part of it. He is good.

Now, my journey here comes to an end. How can I say goodbye to this place, to this work or to these people? My heart is so full because of everything the Father has done for me in this time; I can’t even fathom what leaving will be like. I ask that the Father will continue to show these people the price he has paid for them and that he will call hearts towards him. I ask that as I leave, he will show me what the next step he has laid out for me might be. Where is he calling me? Where can he be glorified?

 

“Oh! Praise the one who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead!”

Thankful.

So cold! That is how I would have to describe life recently. I think I discovered a long time ago that Father made me to live in some place like Hawaii because I am always cold. However, I would have to say that the Holiday spirit that kind of comes along with the cold weather is a plus.

A lot has happened since my last update! We had an incredible Thanksgiving day with so much delicious Thanksgiving food! We ate, we watched football, we played football and we watched cheesy Christmas movies…it was so great. I am constantly thankful for the incredible and loving team the Father has placed around me while I have been here. It was so rich to spend Thanksgiving day with them. We were also able to have a few Thanksgiving parties with our friends and share with them the things we are most thankful for and of course show them the greatness of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pie!

We also had another one of our friends join our family! Charles is a friend who just recently started coming to study with us. At first he seemed very disinterested, but after hearing a few things that some of the brothers around him had to say, he really took an interest. It wasn’t long until he had decided to follow JC with his life. It was really cool to watch the Father change his heart. Charles is a friend who actually didn’t make a decision during our study, it was actually after he continued to think about some of the things we had studied, he then decided during the week when we were not around him. I think this was encouraging for us as it showed us that Father is working in these peoples lives, even when we are not with them.

We have had a few new friends begin to come to our study. Father is constantly providing opportunities. He is putting other students in our paths that we are able to share with and love well. You can be lifting up our friends Mat and Zorro as they are two that we can see Father really stirring their hearts. PR that they would understand and that Dad would draw them closer and closer to himself.

The holiday season is upon us, which makes me so excited! I love this time of year! It is so fun to listen to holiday music and watch holiday movies. We of course had to add some decorations to our apartment, even if they were hand made since there isn’t that big of a selection of decorations to buy here. It is also exciting to talk with our friends about the true meaning and happiness behind the holiday season! Please be lifting up time with our friends over the next few weeks as we host parties to show them how and why we celebrate this time of year.

I ask that you also remember me in your PR’s as my time here draws to a close. Ask that I would be diligent with the time I have left, ask that I would be able to finish well and that the Father would prepare me to leave and would prepare everything back home.

Enjoy some pictures from some of our activities over the past few weeks!

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Our Winter Wonderland scene.

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Olaf was an addition to our Winter Wonderland scene because everyone loves warm hugs!

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A Thanksgiving Party with some students at a nearby University.

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What is the Holidays without football, right? We taught some of our friends how to play “American Football.”

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Slipping into a food coma right after Lunch on Thanksgiving!

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Annual Turkey Bowl with all the foreigners! My team won.

 

Speaking to the heart.

There has been so much that has gone on since my last update! Let me take you through some of those things.

First, we have had a whole group of friends that have started to come to our different studies and show interest in the Good News. Zorro, King, Charles, Irvin, Matt, Justin and Caesar are just a few of the friends who have been excited to study with us over the past few weeks. As we have devoted more time to spend on campus in study groups, Father has been faithful to use those groups to reach students.

Second, we had the opportunity to travel to another city and work along side some of our friends there! It was so fun to experience another city and watch what the Father was doing among those people. We had fun exploring the city and making new friends. We caught up with old friends and talked through common struggles and experiences that come along with this work. There is nothing quite like fellowship with friends that Father brought together under these circumstances. Traveling to and from that city, we rode a sleeper train, which was a blast!

Third, the same day we returned from our trip, we had some other friends who came to our city for a visit! They were able to work along side us here for a few days. It was such an incredible encouragement to watch them come along side us and share Father’s love with those in our city. Showing them around our city was so much fun  and we had so many laughs together! We also had a chance to talk through some of the emotions that come along with these next few weeks as all of us will begin to wrap up our work here. It seems like just yesterday we arrived and soon we will be saying goodbye to friends and to this place. All of us were in agreement that we don’t want to leave! I can’t describe what an encouraging group they are, it was truly a blessing to us and to our friends to have them here, even for a few short days.

Fourth, this last Sunday, during one of our study groups, we welcomed our friend King into our family! King is friend I was able to share with a few months ago who, at first, seemed very disinterested. However, recently, he has been coming to our group and it has been incredible to watch as the Father softened his heart and work in his life. It was so cool that our friends who were visiting could also be part of this!

Fifth, not only did we welcome King into our family, but we watched as Dad began to stir hearts of several of our local friends. On Saturday we watched a movie with a group of our friends and it was all about the life of JC. At the end of this film all of them were visibly moved and touched. One of them even said, “If JC is that perfect and did that(referring to his death) for us, how could I not trust in him.” We are excited to continue to follow up with them as we can see Father speaking to their hearts!

As you can see, it has been busy, but so incredibly good! I can’t explain how much the Father is teaching me every single day! Coming here and doing this has forever changed me. I am so thankful for the time I have had here and ask Dad that he will continue to change me for his purposes.

In His name,

Kyle

Blank Check

When you begin to follow the Father and you treat your life as a blank check, that he can fill in, you sign up for a journey that is like none other.

Someone said to me as I was coming here that, “the work here is messy.” Oh how true that is. Things hardly ever go like I plan or like I want. However, I want to start everyday giving JC my life as a blank check. Knowing that he could totally scratch the plans I have for my day. Knowing that someone who I planned on meeting with or planned on studying with might just not show up, but also knowing, that I am not the one in control. To me it might seem like the work here is messy. To the Father, things are going just the way he wants them to.

Sometimes it is hard to have a drive or a motivation when one person shows up to the study group you were expecting to include 10 people. Sometimes it is hard to want to talk with people. Sometimes it is hard to want to read the Book or PR. I don’t want to romanticize everything that happens here. Sometimes, it isn’t romantic, it is just frustrating. Trust me, faithfully following doesn’t get automatically easier because, you are overseas for him. Sometimes I find myself asking, “Can I have that blank check back? I want to put a few stipulations on the back of it.”(Kind of defeats the purpose of a blank check, right?)

Despite all of this, I can tell you, that if you are faithful to give him a blank check by saying, “Whatever, wherever and however,” he will show you that he is in control. Let me share a story with you from this last week.

I met up with my friend Elliot, who is a brother, for our weekly d-ship. Every week when we meet up I always feel overwhelmed with the amount of things I feel like I have to teach him. I feel like his relationship with the Father depends on how well I can teach him the things he needs to learn. Well this last week we sat down and began to talk. As we talked through several things we got on the subject of his girlfriend and he proceeded to tell me that this last week, they had broken up. He said that it was hard and it made him sad, however, he also said that Father had been faithful to show himself. Elliot said that had this happened before he knew JC, he would have spent the rest of the week skipping class, drinking and sulking around in self pity. He continued by telling me that he knows he is suppose to love Father and love people and he knew he couldn’t do that if he was sulking. He said that in a week when he typically would have been upset and sad, he had actually been able to find joy. After talking through some of this he said to me, “I was happy because I knew that having JC is better than anything else I could have.”(Most of this is my own words, but that is a direct quote!) I got chills after he said that.

In the midst of all my worrying that,what I could teach him wouldn’t be enough for him to grasp who JC was and what he does for us, Father showed me that he had been faithful to work in Elliot’s heart. That wasn’t something I had every said to Elliot. It showed me that, although Father is working through me, it isn’t me who teaches and impacts Elliot’s heart. But because I was able to say, “Whatever, wherever and however,” I am able to be part of what Father is doing in Elliot’s life.

Elliot understood that offering up a blank check and getting JC in return, is better than holding on to anything that is of this world. Now I understand that if I say, “Whatever, wherever and however,” Father will use that to do incredible things.

What do you think? Are you offering up your life as a blank check? Are you saying, “Father, whatever, wherever and however.”

In everything we do, He is there.

I sit in a beautiful little coffee shop in the heart of our city and look back on the last two weeks. As I do, a smile can’t help but creep onto my face.

As October began, school ended. The first week of October was a National Holiday and because of this, no one had class. You can imagine how excited all the students, including myself, were about this. We took full advantage of this time! We had friends over to teach us how to make some delicious local food. We had another friend over while we attempted, and somewhat succeeded in making granola(yum!). We also had friends over to watch movies, play games and eat more food!

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On one of the days we set out on an adventure to acquire some more winter clothes, as it is beginning to get colder around here. We saw the full effect that the holiday had on our city as we went down town. Everywhere you went it was complete packed with people, yes even more than it usually is in this country! While we were downtown, we ran into the parents of our friends! Which, in a city of 10 million people, is quite a coincidence! Our friends parents treated us to a delicious dinner of a special local dish.

As the holiday came to an end and all of our friends began to pour back into the city, we decided it was time to take a little trip, because, when in Roman(or East Asia) right? CW and I had a great opportunity to travel to the capital and to another city in which we have friends who are working. I can’t express to you how much of a blessing it was to see our friends. Not only was it a chance to get perspective for our work, it was also a chance to see the incredible things Father is doing in another part of this country. We asked each other all kinds of things and related to the struggles of being foreigners in another country, and talked through white people perks(WPP) or the little benefits you get by being a foreigner in another country. We had so much fun together, doing some sight seeing and enjoying the fellowship together and laughing, there was lots of laughing!

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We also were able to experience the greatness that is the sleeper train! A 13 hour train ride isn’t too bad when you fall asleep in one city and wake up back home! We like to refer to it as the Hogwarts express though. We enjoyed our little compartment.

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However, that is only half of the exciting things that have happened. The day we got back we had our weekly Book study with friends. During this time our friend Jack, became our brother! We have been lifting him up and asking the Father to help his curious heart become a convicted heart! Father was faithful to call him into a relationship and we were so stoked to be a part of that! Please be lifting up our weekly study and our new brother Jack!

On Monday nights I usually teach an English corner at a local book club, so this last Monday was no different, except it also happened to be my birthday! So like any other Monday, I headed to my English corner, greeted all the friends who came to learn and began teaching. However, this Monday, about 5 minutes into the English Corner about 30 of my friends came storming into the book club! Totally taken by surprise, I was overwhelmed with the love I felt from my friends and teammates. If you have to have a birthday away from home, having 30 people attack you with hugs and birthday wishes is the way to do it! There were so many friends, so many presents and so much cake! Which mostly ended up on peoples faces later, as a food fight broke out! Needless to say, it was a great birthday!

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Sorry for the length of this post, however, when I describe the way Father loves me, and shows me how He is working, I could go on for days. He is good and His love is absolutely overwhelming. He is doing so much in my life through this little stories.

In His name,

Kyle

 

An overflowing cup.

I am not sure how I can accurately convey to you the power I have witnessed this last week. It has been exciting. It has been humbling. It has been exhausting. It has been amazing.

Over this last week I have witnessed the Father bring two of my dear friends into our family! Every Saturday evening, we are having a study at our University for a group of guys who have shown interest in the Good News we have shared with them. Last Saturday, we began our study. That night we had excellent conversation about who JC is and what He did for us. While we were walking through what it meant to have JC at the center of our lives one, of our friends, Elliot, said that he wanted to make the decision to have JC at the center of his life! The joy was explainable. We had watched as the Father had been pulling on this guys heart and it was overwhelming to watch as he responded to the work that was being done in his heart.

This last Saturday, we again gathered with a group of our friends at our campus to study. This time a friend of ours, Giving, who has heard so much about the Father, decided he would come study with us. As it worked out, Elliot, brought a friend who had never heard the Good News, so we began to share with Elliot’s friend, however, when we asked for a response, Giving was the one who responded. He said that he was ready to make that decision and he understood what it meant. It was incredible not only to watch Giving make that decision but to watch as Elliot asked him if he knew what it meant to really follow JC. We have been lifting up Giving continuously since a summer team shared with him and last Saturday we were able to witness our faithful Father answer us.

Another friend of ours who has been coming to our study it Jack, and it is obvious that the Father is doing a work in his life. I have never seen anyone so hungry to learn about The Word. Jack continually asks questions. He hasn’t made a decision to join our family, but he is so interested in learning more. He has told us that he wants to believe in the Father but sometimes he finds it hard. We have been answering any question he has and encouraging him in anyway we can. We are continually lifting him up and I ask that you would do the same.

Please be lifting up all of our friends. Specifically, Giving, Elliot and Jack as we continue to love them and show them truth. We have had many other opportunities to meet with students and share, these are just a few of the things that Father is doing here. Father is faithful to use us when we are faithful to trust Him.

Please be lifting up myself as well as the rest of our team. With everything that is going on, it is easy to try and find strength in ourselves, however, I have seen and experienced that when we do not draw strength from the HS, we quickly become exhausted. I want to abide in the Father so he is my source of strength and endurance. I thank you all for your continued partnership!

In His Name,

Kyle

The desires of my heart.

I feel like there is always a song that I can particularly identify with, a song that relates to what the Father is teaching and what He is doing through me. Recently that song has been “Give Me Faith.” There has been so much going on here recently, with classes in full swing, it is easy to loose sight of Father’s purpose for my life. This song is always good at bringing me back to the feet of JC and reminding me that this work is not being done by my power, it is only through him that I am able to love and share with these people.

The Father has answered so many PR’s! We have had so many opportunities to meet students and to share with students who have become friends. Along with that comes hard things also, it always floors me when I am able to share with someone who says they have never heard about any of the things I am telling them. It is also hard to watch someone have no desire to respond or learn more about the Good News or the Word. My heart breaks for these people because brokenness is so evident all around us here, my deepest desire is for people to know the hope that can be found in JC. I want everyone to hear and I want everyone to respond immediately. The Father is teaching me that He must first do a work in their heart before they can begin to respond to His story. I can only trust and rely on the HS to use me in whatever way He can.

There are several friends who have really showed an interest in the story we have told them. This next week we will begin to study The Book with 4 of our friends, these friends are very new to the Good News but seem interested, particularly one of them. Please be lifting up this time and these friends!

Everyday we are getting together with friends and continuing to show them the Fathers love. We share with them more and more, we lift up that the Father would use something we say to take hold of their hearts. We eat a lot of meals with friends, as it is a great time to sit and talk about life and why we live the way we do, plus I have fallen in love with the food here, so eating is always good!

I have noticed in my writing that I am referring to “we” a lot. Although I do work alongside a great team, it isn’t always “we” doing these things. I think I have started to adapt to the culture here. It is not an individualistic society like back home. Whenever I ask for a response to the story I have shared with them, it is very typical to get a response like, “Well we think that Science is the truth.” or “We all believe in…” Most everything is done in a group and referred to in a group context. You can imagine the barriers that can cause to the Good News that I share. Lift up these people and this country, that these people wouldn’t be closed off to this story about JC because they don’t see it as part of their culture.

I also ask that you would continually be lifting up the people we have and will share with, that these people would have their hearts changed by the Father and that they would have a desire to know the Father deeply. PR that Father would lead us into friendships with people that He has already prepared, people who will be willing to respond to the Good News.

Thank you for your continued support and PR’s!

#LifeInEastAsia

Hope you guys enjoy some of these pictures! Just a small look into what life looks like here!

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We had an opportunity to go see a movie with some friends. It was completely in their language, with only English subtitles. I still am not totally sure what it was about.

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We had some friends invite us to their house for Hot Pot! Hot Pot is exactly what it sounds like, you have a pot full of boiling broth and you add whatever kind of food you want to it. So fun!

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With these friends we were able to enjoy a fun evening of KTV! It was a blast!

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This picture is from one of the days we had lunch on campus with a big group of friends! It was so great to meet new friends that day.

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Eating mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival at a friends house.

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Eating Hot Pot at a friends house for Mid-Autumn Festival!

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We have roof access in the building we live in. On a clear day the view is spectacular!

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Looking out over our city.

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The weekend before classes started, our team was able to get away for a retreat in the mountains, we were also able to do some hiking while we were up in the mountains. It was absolutely breath taking!

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We hiked up a trail that had 9 different magnificent water falls.

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Josh and I near the top, looking down through the fog.

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Of course you have to get a team selfie during your hike.

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Our great group of guys that serve on our team!

 

Answers.

Have you ever had a moment in which you gain a whole new understanding of something, you thought you already perfectly understood? You have? Good. Welcome to a typical day in my life here in East Asia. 

It has been a month and a half since I set out on this incredible journey and every day presents new challenges, new lessons and new insight to who our Father is. I have been following JC for more than 7 years and in that time He has taught me so much about him, one of those things being, we never stop learning about Him or His Word. However, there are some things that I feel like, as a follower, I have gained a solid understanding of, lifting things up to the Father for example. Over the years I have talked with Father and asked him to do things and provide things, and He has been faithful to show up in those areas of my life. Well the Father does something when He asks you to travel to the other side of the world, trusting that He will provide. He not only shows up in ways you have experienced before, but also in ways that are beyond comprehension. 

With most of the students gone for the summer break, things have been kind of slow around here. However, in the midst of that our team has been committed to lifting up these students and campuses, knowing it is just as important as sitting down and sharing with a student. We have walked these campuses and asked that the Father be working in the hearts of students who will also walk these campuses. We ask that the HS would be present and always moving. We ask that the Father would do far more than we could ever imagine over this next semester. Over this last week, as some of the students have started to return to their campuses(YAY!), I realized that what I thought I knew about PR was nothing compared to what Dad taught me about it. 

A few days ago we were able to head over to our campus and meet up with a friend to play some basketball, which the students here LOVE to play. As we headed over to the courts we were able to connect with a bunch of students we were playing with. The Father didn’t just provide one contact or one friend, He provided a whole group of students for us to befriend. It was fun to play with them, but the part that was the most fun was after, when we were able to stand around and talk with them. We were able to really start to get to know who they were. They were so eager to be our friends, to tell us about themselves and to learn about us. 

So fast forward a few days, I was able to go back to campus and have lunch with 4 of these guys. Having already started a conversation about the Father with one of them via message, I was so excited to talk with them. During our lunch I was able to lay out the Good News to 3 of them who had never heard of it before, and one who had. Immediately, they had so many questions and so much interest in who the Father was and what he had done for them. They even wanted to continue to meet together and study the Book! 

I knew that the Father would provide opportunities on this campus, because we had asked it of Him, but I never could have expected the excitement He would give the hearts of these guys. I have seen the Father answer PR’s before, but never in such a powerful way. The first day students come back and the Father provided us with this group of guys, who not only were willing to listen, but excited to learn more. 

This journey has been one where the Father has continued to humble and teach me. He never ceases to amaze! I ask that you be lifting up this group of guys as we begin to meet and read through the Book, ask that the Father would continue to work in their hearts and they would realize their need for JC. Continue to lift up all of the campuses in our city, as they will very soon all be filled with students again. Ask that the Father would continue to provide opportunities to share and relationships with students. 

P.S.- Good luck to everyone back at KSU as you head back to school! Cheer really loud for me at those football games! #EMAW #Istillbleedpurple #Cats

From reeling to reliance.

I can look back over the past few weeks and think of several things. The first thing that comes to mind is, “Wow, how have I already been in East Asia for a month?!” While another is, “What did I get myself into?” Still another has been, “Father, you are faithful even to meet me on a bus ride across town.”

There have been so many fun times since this journey began. Over the last few weeks we have hiked up an exhaustingly huge mountain, explored this city of 10 million people, gone shopping at an Asian Walmart, eaten strange things, shared with people and met new friends. The adventurer in me loves every second of it. I learn new things about these people and this place every day and it is through this, that the Father is giving me a love for this place.

It would be nice to say that everything has been fun and exciting, but the truth is, sometimes I seriously do wonder how I can get through the next 5 months of living here. The heat is exhausting, the people are numerous and the culture is radically different than ours. Then there is the whole, they speak another language, thing and this week, that has been challenging. I love people. I love meeting people, I love talking to people and I love learning about people. Just a few days ago I was hoping to go out and meet some new friends and maybe even go to lunch with them, however, that didn’t happen. The fact that I am very limited in who I can talk to here was made very clear to me. It was a discouraging thought to think, that there is only certain people here I can talk with, share with and get to know, especially for an extrovert like me. I felt limited in the impact I could have for the Father.

Confidence is not normally something I fall short of(not always a good thing), however, what the enemy was using to tear me down, the Father used to build me up. You see, the enemy was telling me that I can’t talk with everyone here, I can’t share with every university student I see, and that means my  being here is worthless. In the midst of those thoughts, I took some time to come before the Father. The first thing He did was bring me to the foot of the cross and say, “Here is where you belong, here is where you stop trying to do this your way and through your strength.” Dad encouraged me and loved me, He showed me his heart for his children. He brought me from a place of confusion to a place of total reliance on him. It isn’t through the things I can do here that people will come to know him and there also isn’t anything that will stand in the way of His will, even a language barrier. He continues to be faithful in teaching and using a tool like me, even as confused as I can be sometimes.

This week Philippians 3:8-11 has been on my heart. Even in the midst of trials, there is nothing more sweet or satisfying as knowing JC. This passage expresses perfectly the desire of my heart. I want to know Him more and I want to understand his death and resurrection in a way that drives me. I want my life to be centered around Him. I want to consider everything rubbish compared to being in fellowship with Him. This has been an encouragement and challenge to me over this past week. Lift me up in this way, pr that this would be the desire of my heart.

Be lifting up this place and these students to the Father. PR that Dad would humble in a way that nothing I do or say is by my efforts, but that I am surrendering so that He may work through me. Lift up our team and the brothers and sisters here. PR that the HS would be here and working all the time, but most of all, take some time to experience the Father’s incredible love this week!

Thank you for all your PR’s!