Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our Fall Retreat

I apologize for not posting earlier. I needed some time to debrief and evaluate.

I believe the retreat went very well overall. It was tiring and challenging, but good. One of my main goals was that the students would be able to build relationships with one another and that we (staff) would be able to connect with each of them on a deeper level. God graciously permitted that to occur! I feel like I know the students so much better, and knowing them is vital to being able to minister to them.

There were a lot of challenges, but I was amazed again by God's faithfulness in bringing about good things in the midst of the hard times. For some reason this group of students seemed to be particularly cruel to one another at times. But there were at least two different instances when a student's feelings were hurt by someone else and then several other students showed care and concern for the hurt person. I loved watching them show love to one another as they sympathized and cheered each other up. It was so beautiful! One evening we were worshipping together and some of the students were being rude and distracting, which led me to believe that they were not really interested in worshipping. But when I stopped playing, they apologized for talking and kept requesting songs for another 20 minutes!

I was struck (once again) with the fact that all of my planning and preparing really has very little to do with the good things that will happen. God was faithful to work in the hearts of these kids through their peers as well as (and some times in spite of) the leaders. I pray that the times when we loved the kids well they would see the love God has for him and that the times when we were impatient they would see as our own human weakness.

Please continue to pray for the group, which has changed significantly over the past two months. We have increased in size (basically doubled), and shifted to a much younger average age. We are also seeing more students from broken homes and unchurched homes. I feel that our group (despite being located in Gresham) has become an urban ministry. I'm pretty sure that urban ministry should look different than suburban ministry, but I haven't figured out yet how best to minister to this different group of kids with different problems, hurts and needs. If you have any ideas, feel free to let me know. In the mean time, join me in praying that God would continue to draw students to himself.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Only God Can Do It

Wow, I guess technically it's Friday now which means that we leave on our youth retreat this afternoon. I've got so many things left to do to prepare--and one of them is to sleep, so I'll make this short.

Although tonight we had a record-breaking number of students at youth group, we have pretty low attendance on the retreat due to (a) it being near the hollidays and (b)all the older kids being afraid to sign up because they didn't know yet if their friends could attend. Consequently we're taking a small group, but it will be very young and very new (1/3 are students who I have never met or met only once or twice). We're not sure what to expect, really, but I keep seeing God's hand in preparing things for which I could not have planned. He obviously made room for each student he wanted to attend. I'm trusting he has a purpose and praying that he uses this weekend as a tool to draw people closer to himself--which is something that I cannot facilitate no matter how prepared I am. Only God can work in people's hearts, so pray that he does this weekend.

Please also pray for: safety, growth, kindness (students), patience and wisdom(staff), and plenty of fun. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thanks, Kristi

Friday, November 10, 2006


I am so thankful for people--more specifically for true fellowship. Tonight was one of those nights at youth group where everything went crazy beforehand, and just when I thought I had stabilized, the kids showed up and everything went beyond crazy. It wasn't the greatest night. I lost my patience. I lacked love. I found myself unable to see the kids the way God sees them. If I had come home to an empty apartment, I know just what would have happened: I would have put on my mix CD with songs for hurting and healing, turned off the lights and curled up on the couch with my face pressed against it and cried--probably until I fell asleep clinging to the back of the couch.

My melancholy plans for the evening were thwarted by my friend Jessica's simple request at the end of youth group, "Can I come over afterward and pray?" Ah, what an idea! Of course, my tear-stained evening would have included prayers, but they would have been the borderline accusatory prayers that come when I'm exhausted and at the end of my rope, uncertain what to do and feeling all alone. Instead, Jessica came over and we debriefed for a couple hours, and then just prayed (along with my roommate Nikki, who had come home by then). There was something so beautiful about our fellowship tonight. Sharing frustrations, heartache, disallusionment, hopes, goals, insights, and then in the end coming humbly before God confessing our inadequacies and entrusting to him the hearts of the students we serve. Now I have peace. I don't feel great, or enlightened, just at peace.

And I am so thankful for the godly women whose friendships have enriched my life and whose hearts have both inspired and challenged me. God has been so good to bless me with wonderful friends.

Saturday, November 4, 2006


Hi everyone!

So...pretty big news. It's looking promising that I will finally get to be an auntie! Trisha & Mark are in the process of trying to adopt their two-year-old nephew, Gavin. Yesterday Gavin's mother signed the papers releasing parental rights. His father has indicated that he is willing to do the same, although he is currently out of the country. Anyway, this is very exciting news for Mark and Trisha who are eagerly rearranging their lives and schedules to become parents! It's also exciting news for me, as I have been hoping for someone to spoil for quite some time now!

The other exciting news is...my little sister is getting married! Bethany is now officially engaged to be married to Chris Storlie (Sorry, Chris for posting your name on MySpace.). They haven't yet settled on a date for the wedding, but I'm guessing it will be in the first few months of 2007. This is exciting two-fold as well! (1) We are all extremely happy for the young couple, they are both so awesome! (2) I get to help coordinate the wedding details, which will hopefully relieve stress from Bethy as well as be fun for me! (For some reason, I like all that planning stuff.)

Well...nothing really is going on in MY life, so to speak. But I'm pretty stoked for my siblings, whose lives seem to be growing in enrichment by leaps and bounds!