Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Merry Christmas from our Encounter family!

We are so grateful for all of you and what you do to make our ministry at Encounter possible! Please do not hesitate to let us know how we can be praying for you and your family during this season!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Transition and Direction for Helen

It's been a long time since there's been an update on here, but this update is very exciting and we're pumped to share about this new transition that Helen is making!! 

In August, I (Helen) will be transitioning to be the College Community Resident on staff with McKinney Church. For the past year and a half, I have served part-time as the administrative intern for the college ministry. My work as the intern has included organizing volunteers, planning logistics for events, and a few discipleship opportunities. Throughout this time serving with Encounter, the Lord has put a passion and a call on my heart to work in ministry developing and discipling believers long-term. Specifically, I want to pursue outdoor, experiential education and ministry. I will explain more about that passion and how the Lord has opened my eyes to the power of outdoor ministry below. However, I am very excited to step into this role at McKinney as a resident as it will give me opportunities to further develop in this passion and calling.

My role as the College Community Resident
As the resident next year, I will be in charge of vision and planning over three areas of our college ministry: 
  • Discipleship/community- the heart beat of Encounter's ministry is our leadership team. Currently composed of 30 leaders, these students are responsible for leading community groups on their college campus throughout the week. We meet to train and equip these leaders every Sunday, and I will be responsible for the program and planning behind these meetings. Our goal is to equip, shepherd, empower, and develop these students to be leaders for Christ on their college campuses and for the rest of their lives!
  • Freshman Missions Week- this happens the week before the fall semester kicks off in August. Our entire leadership team will arrive five days before classes start and be split into squads to focus on the 7 freshman dorms on campus. We will spend those days helping freshman move into their dorms, invite them to explore Ft. Worth with us, help them buy their books, etc. Anything to meet these new freshman and help them get plugged into community. My role will be to plan the logistics, training, and the vision behind this week. I will work to set up our leaders for success and they reach out to the 2,000 new freshman on campus. 
  • Campus Outreaches- finally, I will oversee the mobilization and outreach of college students to the college campus. Outreaches include football tailgates, camping trips, sand volleyball games, Sweet Sammies runs (local ice cream favorite)- any event that gets new students involved in community and provides opportunities for Gospel conversations. In this role, I will essentially be a missionary to TCU's campus. I am excited to both mobilize and get to participate in evangelistic events to reach the 90% of students attending TCU who are not believers.
Outdoor, Experiential Ministry
How does this relate to my passion for using the outdoors to teach? Let me tell you!
I am passionate about discipleship and spiritual development. I am gifted in teaching and shepherding and working for the past two years at McKinney has used my gifts and confirmed my passion. Additionally, throughout my college years at TCU I worked part time at the Rec Center leading outdoor trips. I fell in love with the backpacking, paddling, and everything outdoors! Any time I led a trip, I would talk about how I could "feel my blood pressure lowering as I drove out of the city". Those four years of experience taught me that being outside is restful physically, emotionally, and spiritually for people. Outdoors, experiential ministry combines these two passions of mine into one.
Experiential ministry is based on the premise that we learn best through experience. I believe that nature is one of life's best teachers, in it we must immediately face the consequences of our decisions, and we deeply experience each moment. If it's climbing up a rock face all day and then sitting around the fire to talk about trust, or paddling on a river against the wind all day to later debrief about obstacles and perseverance, the outdoors presents multitudes of real life opportunities to learn from.
I want to create programming and opportunities for outdoors adventures that help students of all ages grasp Biblical truths on a heart level. Moving into the position as a resident at McKinney will provide me with even more ministry and discipleship experience as I move towards this goal. I am excited to find ways to include outdoor adventures in outreach events and leadership training weekends as I learn about myself and develop the passion God has given me.

Your Part
I will be serving in a part-time position as a resident, so my goal is to raise $1,900/month in support. As I begin this new role at McKinney, there are several ways that you can partner with me:
  • Prayer. Please pray for provision and favor! I am spending time in April and May support raising before we leave for another 7 weeks leading a summer project to China. When we return in July, I hope to finish support raising and start the new school year in August fully funded!
  • Financial support. I would ask that you prayerfully consider coming on my support team. If God has laid this on your heart please don't hesitate to send me an email or visit our "How to Give" page and I can give you instructions on how to set up giving to me!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Year of Marriage and Ministry!

It's hard to believe that almost a year has passed since we stood at the altar and committed our life to each other! Nine months since we started serving in college ministry. People keep asking me what I've learned, what's been the hardest thing, and what's been the best thing. It's a little overwhelming to think about the whole year. But here are our Top 10 favorite moments; 

1. A support-raising road trip! Amazing to see the Lord come through so faithfully by providing for us and our first year of ministry!

2. Kicking off the fall semester with dorm move in, volleyball, and meeting lots and lots of new faces!

3. Being discipled by this wonderful woman and her husband. They  have been a comfort, example, encouragement, and priceless resource to us!

4. Kicking off our community group. Loved living life alongside these freshman and sophomores all year!

5. Celebrating Birthdays!! cookie cakes on cookie cakes on cookie cakes!

6. TCU Football games

 7. Graduating from college!! Real life, here we come!

8. Starting Community Group up again. Welcoming new friends, developing leaders for next year.

9. Celebrating Easter with close family and friends

10. April Crawfish Boil! Celebrating another incredible year of ministry and life together with our college leadership and volunteer team! So thankful for each of these people. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Honduras - Living Water

For Spring Break, we took a group of students to Saba Colon, Honduras with Living Water International. We had a great team and a wonderful week! Here's some pictures of our trip!

The team just before we flew out on Friday night.

Our Honduran friends picked us up at the airport in San Pedro Sula, and we started the 4 hour drive to the village we would be drilling the well in. We made a brief stop at a fruit stand, we got to try "lychee". Funny looking, but delicious!!

We traveled to Saba Colon to the village that needed the water well. We dug the well in a school yard of an elementary school. Here's a few shots of the classrooms, school yard, and toilets of the school. 

The guys spent the week helping the Honduran team drill and build the water well.

While they were drilling, we did hygiene lessons and Bible stories with the kids. And during recess we got to play lots of soccer and jump rope.

On Thursday, we finished and dedicated the water well with the entire school! The principal of the school thanked our team, and he began his speech by saying, "water is life". What an incredible reminder of the importance of what we got to do for this village. Provide clean, living water both physically and spiritually (John 7:38).

It was an incredible trip and we were so grateful for the opportunity to serve this village and learn from our Honduran brothers and sisters.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fullness of Joy

I woke up this morning feeling a bit out of sorts. Nothing specific had happened to make it a bad day, I just wasn’t feeling super happy. So I cuddled close to Sam and whispered good morning. I got out of bed when I wanted to instead of to an alarm, because it’s Saturday and Saturdays are our rest days.
I had a breakfast of homemade granola and a banana. Spent some time reading my bible, and finally got down on my knees to pray, still trying to shake the blues. 

As I sat there trying to focus my brain and talk to the Lord, I grew increasingly more frustrated with myself. Why can’t I just be joyful? “Maybe I’ll get up and make some hot tea, it would fit a rainy day like today and it might make me feel better” I thought to myself. But as I began to stand up, I remembered something I’d read the night before. It was a line from Psalm 16…

“In Your presence is
fullness of joy”
Ps. 16:11

Here I was again. Looking for joy in all the wrong places. In my husband’s arms. In a homemade breakfast. In a day off. In a hot drink with a mug so perfect it deserves an Instagram post. And it wasn’t even intentional, it was just my knee jerk reaction to “I feel blue”.
It’s so simple, so easy, so obvious…and yet I miss it every time.

He whispers, “In my presence is fullness of joy”. Are we listening?

Where have you found yourself looking for joy lately? On a cold, rainy day, is your instinct to look to Christ or somewhere else?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

An Intentional Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and things are beginning to slow down a little bit. But only a little bit. As I’ve watched December speed by, I keep running across reminders of what this season is really all about. A sermon on Sunday, a gentle reminder from my mentor, a blog post. 
Christmas is all about Jesus.
I know, I know, you hear that all the time. But do you take it seriously? Do we really act like Christmas is all about Jesus? I definitely don’t. I put up the tree, the lights, and the decorations for tradition, or to make our house “feel Christmassy”. I buy presents because that’s what you do at Christmas time and people expect it. I make gingerbread men because those are the Christmas cookies and I love the way they make my house smell. None of these are bad things, but they are missing the point. What if instead, everything we did this season we did to celebrate Jesus?!

What if we bought presents and remembered how He has generously given to us. And then we gave presents with the hope and prayer that people's eyes would be turned to the Giver too?

What if we decorated our houses so that they are beautiful for Him? Just like I decorate the house for Sam’s birthday to recognize him and make him feel loved.

What if we took time to anticipate His coming and stopped doing things just for the sake of tradition and memories. What if we instead had Christmas traditions with the purpose of remembering His coming?.

What if we actually went to Christmas parties with the intention and purpose of celebrating who He is?! Instead of celebrating ugly Christmas sweaters and white elephant presents?

Because He is worth celebrating. In fact, He’s the only thing worth celebrating. His birth brought the greatest joy and the greatest hope! And celebrating anything else will ultimately leave us empty and disappointed on December 26th.

I bring you GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Luke 2:10-11

And then there’s that last line in verse 10…”for all the people”. The first challenge for me this Christmas has been to actually celebrate Jesus. And the second has been to tell others why I’m celebrating! Christmas presents us the best opportunity to speak about Christ because everybody is already thinking and talking about Him. But it is also the time of year that most of us are the most busy and most likely to pass up opportunities to share about the hope and joy we have found in Christ.

So this Christmas I’m striving to be intentional. I want to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday this year, recognizing that His birth brought the greatest hope and the greatest joy into the world. And I want to take opportunities to explain why I’m celebrating.

The funny thing is, a lot of my actions will look the same. We still have a Christmas tree, we’ve gone to 4 Christmas parties, and I’ve made 3 batches of gingerbread. But my heart is different. The tree and decorations are recognition that He deserves decorations and celebrations on His birthday. The parties were to celebrate who He was with people I love. And the gingerbread is a chance to deliver cookies and ask my neighbors how I can be praying for them this Christmas season. Continuing to pray for a focused, joyful heart, and eyes to see the opportunities He gives me.