Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the year recap, part deux.

- July: This was the month we were supposed to go to Mexico for our annual mission trip, but the violence had gotten so bad in Juarez that we had to call it off and go to Nogales, Arizona instead. This was also the month that Troy began as Del Sol's Youth & Young Adults Pastor. On Sunday the 6th, we had one big patriotic service, then left for Nogales on the 7th.

I taught at the Mix on Christian denominations and Roman Catholicism, and the Socorro school district started up classes again. Aside from that, I don't think too much really happened in July.

- August: For the first time in several years, I took an extended vacation time - 8 whole days at the beginning of August. Most of the Del Sol staff also took vacations in August, then Walter started preaching a vision casting message series, which was great because it's always good to recast vision over and over and over again. Promotion Sunday was in August, as was another all-day staff meeting, several weddings, and several other important meetings.

And in Juarez, the violence kept growing and our hearts here on the borderland kept breaking.

- September: At the beginning of this month, my friend Bob Cossel had a retirement party after serving our great country for 27 years in the military. Now he's teaching and will be leading our Celebrate Recovery program at Del Sol. What an incredible man with an incredible, humble heart. We had our semi-annual church-wide leadership summit, started up a new year of Youth for Christ at Hanks High School, started remodeling our Firehouse youth center expansion, and formed a youth welcome team.

- October: This was the month that brought incredible change into my life. We had a church-wide service project, a mother/daughter retreat, a youth leader fellowship, a youth band field trip, our annual Fall Freakout halloween party, and a staff potluck lunch at the Firehouse, among other things - but those weren't the life changing events.

The two major life changing events were my college graduation, and the events that led up to my departure from youth ministry into multi-site church ministry. It was so sudden and unplanned; it was clearly a God-thing when we had a staff meeting where God interrupted and led us to pray about being a people who embrace risk and failure, and God led us to take steps now to become a multi-site church instead of waiting another few years.

Very quickly after that meeting, Walter and I talked about my involvement in this experiment, he talked to the church council, and they gave me the privilege and responsibility of leading this new site launch.

Wow ...what a life changing month October was!

- November: It was an amazing month at Del Sol Church and Fire Youth Ministry. We had a bunch of stuff in our calendars, but what amazed me the most was how the Del Sol Church family really stepped up and did some incredible things to serve literally hundreds of people through giving for Thanksgiving baskets, giving to restock our food pantry, and committing to give over 300 Angel Tree gifts for needy kids this Christ-mas.

I've written over and over and told people over and over that it's amazing how God is working in the hearts of the Del Sol Church family, and I'm so humbled and feel so privileged to be a part of this movement of God in our local church.

Oh, and the 30th of November was one of the most difficult days I've ever had; that was the day that I talked to my youth about my transition, how I'm being sent out of the youth ministry into this multi-site church experiment. That was one of the most difficult things and it was so weird because it was such good news, but still very sad at the same time. I've been grieving over this since it was made official in October, but I know this is God's will and that's what drives me every day.

- December: What a busy month December always is! Christ-mas parties, service projects, three packed Christ-mas Eve celebration services, my family coming in for Christ-mas I don't even know how to describe December or this holiday season, except to say it was different. There were difficult times, there were sad times, there were lonely times, but there were also some incredible moments that I wouldn't give up for anything (you can read about them

So 2008 is over and 2009 is about to begin in an hour here in El Paso. It's been a very different, difficult year nationally, in Juarez where over 1,600 people have been murdered, and in my life. Yet through it all - God has been good. Though my dad lost his job in July and our rental home is still vacant after a year and a half, though my brother was arrested right before Christ-mas on DUI charges, though I've had to begin saying goodbye to the ministry I've known for 4 & 1/2 years, though gas prices skyrocketed - God has been good. And I'm so excited to see what He'll so and how He'll bless us in 2009.

"For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." - Psalm 100:5 (NIV)

"I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." - Lamentations 3:24-26 (NIV)

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