Monday, December 1, 2014

Art Day

For me, the highlight of the month was the art day.  We had about 35 children and 10 teenagers.  We also had all our staff and 11 Volunteers which helped make the day go very smoothly.  I noticed early on that ALL the kids we had were calm.  Everyone was going with the program, there were ZERO meltdowns, and everyone was having fun, and just enjoying themselves. It was great!  We had 45 kids from White Swan doing art for 4 hours without any incident.  As an aside, pretty much every Sunday, there’s a kid or several who has trouble going with the program, but on Art Day, everything went smoothly.  

Some of us spoke afterwards, that we may have given a false impression to the volunteers.  The kids struggle to regulate their emotions, with following directions, with interacting with adults, with completing tasks, in feeling successful, and are often emotionally “fragile.”  But for four hours, they had fun, successfully completed projects, and were able to just be kids having fun making art.  Maybe next time the volunteers come, they’ll see a different side to the kids, but that’s ok.  Empowering the kids, building relationships, deepening trust, and giving them little moments of success go a long way towards helping them heal and pointing them to Christ.


Drawing Cartoons:



Carlisle Indian Industrial School

Wendell Lee and I went to Carlilse Indian Industrial School. Here are some pictures.

Jim Thorpe Went to Carlisle.  Here's a portrait and statue (with an oddly shaped head)

Jim Thorpe Gymnasium (built by Indian children):

Indian teenagers exercising in the Gym:

Old Carlisle Uniform:

The Hessian Powder Magazine (During the Indian School days, it was the jail for "unruly" children; think about that.  A Jail.  For children):

Sample jail cell: 

Students in front of Captain Pratt's house:

 The Pratt house today:

The cemetery:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Herding Cats

We have D Groups (Discipleship Groups) every Thursday and it often feels like herding cats when I have all 6 of my guys.  As soon as we arrive and the van doors roll open, they scatter and I can sometimes get frustrated tracking them down and trying to keep them on task.  So, when we thought up the idea to have the D Groups build "fair-style" games for our Open House, I was understandably worried that my D Group guys would crash and burn in royal style.

But I was pleasantly surprised over the past four weeks as we planned a game, built it, and painted it.  They worked hard, stayed on task, and did a great job creating our game, and did an even better job leading the game and making it fun for the kids.  We had our open house last night and it was a huge success.  For every game played, the kids would receive tickets and then turn those tickets in to spin the Prize Wheel and win either: candy, t-shirts, toy cars, kids jewelry, art supplies, stuffed animals, or a small toys.  Not only did everyone have lots of fun and it was safe, but we were all REALLY proud of the youth! They led all the games (with smiles and fun) and were eager to help and lead. It makes it easier for us as a staff to pull off a big event like this, but it also is a good sign of future leadership and ownership.  It's also the result of emphasizing for so many years that at Church, we serve and help each other. And the Open House night was nothing like herding cats!

The Prize Wheel:

 Eating an Apple on a String (I won! And it's very hard)

The Fishin Hole:


Cotton Candy!!!

Pumpkin Chucking (Basically A Pumpkin Catapult)

(Note - the pictures are from Felicia Tillequots and Heather German - thanks!)

Friday, January 24, 2014


“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.” 1 Corinthians 1:27

January is a time to look forward and back, and here are some of the highlights from the last year:

  • Some of our teenagers are growing older and leading small groups with the children on Sunday and doing superb!  They do an infinitely better job than I and truly love the children like family. 
  • We added an additional Kid’s Club this last summer and had combined record turnout at our four locations!
  • The Church building is almost done and hundreds of people volunteered to get it finished! It was amazing to see so many people from so many different Churches contribute to a Church for White Swan.
  • We had some great special events for the kids last year: A Sledding Day and two Art Days, all of which were hugely successful and beloved by the children.
  • We’ve had forty-one people sign up to sponsor our children.  Not all have come through with their pledge yet, but many have and are committed to and praying for children here in White Swan!
  • The eighth and ninth graders stepped up in a huge way this summer! They did a great job working at the Church building and I was so proud of them at Kid’s Club.  These guys who grew up coming to Kid’s Club are now playing with the little ones and loving them like Christ.
  • The Lord continues to use small things build His kingdom!  It’s mind boggling to see how God uses sidewalk chalk, jump rope, bubbles, food, hanging out, playing games, broken and fearful leaders, and simple Bible stories to build faith and followers of Christ.  I don’t’ understand how we have so many people eager to be part of the Church, but it’s all due to Christ and His mercy.

 Things I’m looking forward to in 2014:
  • We’re going to actually be in our own Church building (hopefully in March)! It’s really exciting to think of all the new ministry opportunities and chances to share Christ.  Here are few:
    • We’ll have more time with the kids on Sunday.
    • We won’t have to cancel Church because facilities are double booked.
    • More special events at the building.
    • A larger after school program (and an after school program for the youth)
    • And a summer day camp (it’s coming, if not this year, then next)
  • I’m wrapping up the licensure process.  I’m taking the second test next week, and shooting for the third and final written test by the end of February.  My goal is to go to the next Presbytery meeting in May and be approved. 
  • I’m excited to see what God’s going to do with the Youth Discipleship Groups as we have 10-15 youth ready to add into new Groups!
  • More children coming on Sunday as Jesse Dempsen gets his CDL and drives a bus, expanding our outreach! 

There’s a lot of great things happening right now and it’s due in large part to your faithful giving and prayers.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart and may God richly reward you this year!