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The 2012-13 academic year provided many opportunities to speak and lecture in a variety of venues and ministries.
In January I had the privilege to fly to Long Island, New York, to speak to a group of young adults from the Coptic Church. The Coptic Church is the church that started in Egypt in 65 AD after the apostle Mark brought Christianity there. It hasn't changed throughout all these centuries. So if we want to see what the early church was actually like, the Coptic Church gives us one of the clearest pictures. I spoke on the topic of forgiveness. (This is a big deal, because I was the first "non-Coptic" speaker these 20-year-olds had ever heard.) Wow, God truly moved and it was an incredible experience to share ideas and differences, and see the love of God move among these young adults in such new and powerful ways.
In April I flew to Chicago and spoke to Young Life college leaders from the Midwestern division. My presentation, "What Is the Story We're Telling?" explores why unprecedented numbers of college students are walking away from their faith. I tried to help students see that while we agree that "Jesus is the answer," this post-Christian generation needs to understand Jesus within the bigger picture of God's redemptive story. This generation needs to not only hear what we are "saved from" but also what we are "saved for."
This year, 65 freshman students took my Foundations for Christian Ministry class. These students are being exposed to various opportunities to help in numerous ministries and organizations, while being trained in leadership skills in order to serve. A big part of the class is eight small groups that are led by Whitworth seniors and adults in our community. This class has been such a blessing. We have placed over 40 of these students into ministries including Young Life, Youth for Christ, church youth groups, and campus ministries. I was particularly excited about one of our small groups from the class that decided as a group to take on the challenge of starting a brand new Wyldlife Club, YL for Jr. High Kids, at Glover Middle School, in Northwest Spokane. God has opened the door at this school: at their first club in March there were over 90 middle- school kids in attendance! What an opportunity!
My wife, Linda, continues her work with YoungLives, which is a ministry to teen moms. There are over 70 moms ages 13-18 that come each month to the program. A year ago Linda and Shauna, our other YoungLives coordinator, began praying for a house that could house 5-6 teen moms and their babies, is close to a bus line, has a separate apartment for house parents, and is central to the city. In November they shared this vision with a businessman in Spokane who fell in love with their vision. In December they found the perfect house, with a big yard, five bedrooms, an upstairs apartment with an outside entrance, on the bus line and central to the city! And...this man graciously offered to buy it for YoungLives! So now Linda is developing a YoungLives Teen Mom House!
We are in the process of lining up an incredible array of contractors and builders who are generously donating their time to refurbish the house for the moms and their babies to move into. Praise God!
So we continue the good work and are very grateful.
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