Letter from the Editor

WHEN I HEAR “REVIVAL,”

I think about going to church camp.

Starting in sixth grade my parents would throw a bag together and drop me off around 6am for an hours-long bus ride to some remote Bible camp with my friends.

I’ll be honest: My friends and I never went on these trips to experience revival…or really any awakening. We were far more interested in riding the banana boat, playing pranks on each other, and, most importantly, trying to predict who was going to get pied that year and how we could avoid that fate. (more…)

A God Nudge

I watched the rain roll in sheets and the leaves tumble across the pavement blown sideways by the unrelenting wind of the Pineapple Express. Ah, November in the Northwest! It had been blustering for two days now. My husband and I stopped for a cup of coffee at Starbucks to ward off the chill before continuing our Saturday errands. Against our routine, we decided to order inside and take a respite from the weather. We bumped into a neighbor of 30 years with his grandchildren and chatted with others as we waited in line.

A father and his young girls opted to sit in front of us. We were taken aback by the way he was ordering them around in a rather loud voice and how much they scrambled to please him. We also took note of a still, slumped figure, hood down over his face, apparently sleeping in a remote chair by the drive-in window to escape the elements. I felt a “God nudge” to speak to him and offer to buy him a sandwich and a cup of coffee. Unbeknownst to me, the manager of the coffee shop had spoken to this young gentleman while I was in line, and asked him to leave if he wasn’t going to make a purchase. (more…)

Revive

Before my grandma passed away, she spent some time in and out of the hospital. Each time she was admitted, the family gathered thinking that this might be it. This time might be when we would have to say goodbye to sweet Grandma Ann. On one of those occasions, she was in the hospital and unconscious. We gathered in her room and said, “I love you,” goodbye, and shared stories with one another. A cousin of mine had the idea to sing one of Grandma’s favorite hymns. We knew she probably couldn’t hear us, but we did it anyway. We circled her hospital bed and sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” And the most amazing thing happened. She woke up. Somewhere between the words “all I have needed” and “thy hand hath provided,” she woke up. She knew where she was, and she knew who we were. Grandma talked to us for a bit and then slipped back into an unconscious state. It was such a gift to our family, and we were so surprised. Somehow those spoken words of truth revived her, even if only for a few short moments, and it’s a memory I’ll never forget.       (more…)

Revival Culture

few months ago I drove down to Bethel Church in Redding, California, and found myself at a conference for a day. I didn’t know it at the time, but before I left, God was teaching me a lot about culture. I kept hearing things from people like, “Say what you want your culture to be so much you get sick of saying it. Because when you get sick of saying it, that’s when it starts to stick.” So I asked God, “What kind of culture do you want in my department at BelPres?”

When I got to Bethel, I realized that the conference was called “Salt and Light: Kingdom Culture Overflow.” How’s that for God’s timing when he answers prayer? God wants a culture of his kingdom even for my team’s workspace.

The following are four points about revival and kingdom culture that God highlighted to me during the Kingdom Culture Conference. (more…)

A Missional Adventure

I’ll be honest from the start: I am not a huge fan of missional communities. Or at the very least, I wasn’t all that excited about the idea when I first heard about it. The very name itself feels like it’s trying too hard to be relevant. I mean, each word is already tough enough to define. It’s not like putting them together makes it more appealing. And worst of all, it just sounded like another thing to do.

But I want to be a team player and so I’ve tried to give it a fair shot. I’m encouraged by what Scott Dudley has been reiterating these past few months: Missional communities aren’t about doing the next big thing, but instead they’re about doing what you’re already doing, but differently. It’s asking, “What am I passionate about and how can I invite other people into what I’m already doing?” (more…)

No Direction

Growing up in the south and central plains, porch swings were part of what made a house a home to my husband and me. When we moved to the Pacific Northwest, we were surprised that so few homes had covered porches. With our abundant rain, this architectural feature seemed like a no-brainer. A few years after moving into our home, we decided to remodel, adding a covered deck large enough to accommodate a porch swing, as well as space for our daughters to play outdoors protected from the rain. Our architect pointed out that due to the low angle of the sun in our area, we would most certainly want skylights in this space or we would eliminate most of the natural light coming into the back of our home. The addition was lovely, providing not only a space to enjoy the outdoors in all weather, but also a wonderful framework for fragrant climbing roses and wisteria vines. (more…)

Acres of Diamonds

Every night, more than 20,000 people go to sleep homeless in Washington. About half of those people are families: moms (sometimes dads) and children—lots of children—with no safe place to lay their heads and little hope to break free of the entanglements that got them to this place. Without something to break the cycle, they are stuck. And it is ugly. It certainly is not the life they were created for. It is up against these tremendous odds that Acres of Diamonds offers hope to the women and children who have the courage to try and change their destiny.

Imagine if growing up, you never felt safe. Your parents are sometimes loving and other times angry and neglectful. Eventually, your dad starts hitting your mom, and you, too. Mainly when he was drunk, but mom isn’t much help: She just lets it happen. At some point, dad just disappears. You know to survive you have to figure out a life for yourself. You can’t rely on anyone else because they can hurt you when you least expect it. (more…)

Introducing the BelPres Elder Class of 2019

Our elders are church members nominated and elected by the congregation to share in the leadership of the church and to act as liaisons between Session and our ministries and departments. They help keep us focused on our vision and mission to participate with Jesus to revive the Eastside and beyond.

Tricia Schroth
Belong + Grow

Tricia and her husband, Ted, have attended BelPres since 2006 with their two children, Sophie and Luke. During that time, Tricia has taught Sunday school, helped with family club and mission trips, served in various roles and volunteered at Jubilee Reach. Tricia also helps lead a women’s group called The Anchor, building faith and friendships. She is also very involved in Young Life. Tricia splits her time between volunteering and hanging with her family.

FUN FACT:  She loves playing tennis, mountain biking, reading, and cooking.

(more…)

Behind the Scenes

IF YOU’VE NEVER MET RON BAILEY, YOU NEED TO!

He’s that remarkable. Lucky for you, he’s our highlighted volunteer this month, so I’ll give you a bit of a glimpse. He’s a transparent individual with lively eyes, much like a jolly Santa’s would be. He’s undertaken a myriad of tasks at our church, such as deacon, elder, and mission trip participant. He has served on all kinds of committees—Personnel, Planning and Evaluation, and Finance. A favorite of his is the Jubilee Service Team where he’s partnered with other servant giants like Gary King, Dave Brasher, Andy Tabor, Tom Wilkinson, and Tyrone Mortenson. You should know I mentioned them all because that’s important to Ron. They are part of the team that he says has motivated his contributions to our church. (more…)

Transformation Stories–King County Youth Chaplaincy

Editor’s note: Here are two stories recently shared by the King County Youth Chaplaincy folks, who have their annual benefit on Sept 29. Both are really powerful, but I wanted to call your attention to the second: From Gang Member to Peacemaker, because we’ve been sharing prayer requests for Victor in the ENews, and I thought it would be fun for us to have a fuller picture of the young man we’re praying for. May these stories encourage and challenge you today. –Nan

From the Streets to the Path of Righteousness

DeSean was known as “Hot Boy” because of his quick temper and his notorious street activity. When I met him in the detention center a few years ago when he was a 15-year-old boy, he wore an angry look on his face. His reputation and behavior from the block followed him into juvie as he got into fights and other trouble, letting his inner rage get the best of him.

DeSean shared much of his upbringing with me: his move from Chicago to Seattle, his unstable home life, and his undertakings as a gang member. He often expressed thanks to still have breath as he recalled times when death got very close. I remember asking him, “Why do you think God still wants you alive?”

“Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that.” Even at 15, DeSean was a deep thinker.

In subsequent conversations, he expressed a desire to change. “I don’t want to be ‘Hot Boy’ no more,” DeSean stated. He then began to transform. Just before he was sent to a long-term prison, he achieved honor level, the highest tier in juvie that allows for privileges, such as extra snacks and going to bed later.

I eventually lost touch with DeSean, but never forgot about him. I put a daily reminder in my phone to help me remember to pray for him.

A few months ago, I reconnected with DeSean at a group home while I was visiting another young man. I didn’t know if it was DeSean at first–it had been over two years since I last saw him. But we soon recognized each other and got to catch up.

As I visited him over the following months, I saw no signs of “Hot Boy”. Conversely, I saw and still see one of the kindest and most generous people I know. One afternoon, when he brought some pizza back to the group home, he made sure all the other youth got a slice, even though it meant fewer slices for himself.

A few weeks ago, DeSean saw a distraught youth with a broken CD player. DeSean approached him, put his hand on his shoulder, and said with genuine compassion, “Don’t worry, I’ll buy you a new one.”

When I asked DeSean if he would want to perform a rap at our fundraiser, without hesitation, he replied, “Yeah.” Because he had to work that night, we shot a video of him and played it at our event.

It feels good knowing God loves all
cuz all the stuff I done I shouldn’t have love at all.
Thank God that I found you . . .
my life ain’t perfect,
but one thing I know for certain,
is that I’m worth it.
Don’t be a follower,
be a leader . . .
guide yourself into the path of righteousness.

As I watched the video, I was reminded of God’s power to transform. I praise God for transforming DeSean from “Hot Boy” into the man he is destined to be.

 

From Gang Member to Peacemaker

As chaplains, we get to witness God do some significant, transformative work in our youth. One such youth is Victor, an intelligent, friendly, and very humorous 17-year-old. Though he has been incarcerated for over ten months now, he generally maintains a positive disposition. Victor is a completely different person now than the one who was wreaking havoc as a gang member.

In his words: “I used to think I was God. I thought I had it all. I thought I was invincible.”

“But when I came into juvie, I lost it all, I was broken. I had to put my pride aside and ask for help. I turned to God. I read the Bible, specifically the story of Job, and it moved me. I really appreciate talking with the chaplains and really like the church services; I look forward to it every week.”

“Now I have faith and hope. Me and God, we’re rockin’.”

Additionally, Victor now sees himself as a peacemaker and has taken to heart Matthew 5:9, where Jesus states:

 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

He often stands up for youth who get picked on and also prevents guys from getting in trouble by helping them keep their cool. Victor recently recounted how after talking another youth out of fighting, the other youth said, “Because of you, I won’t fight that dude.” Victor recalled, “I was so happy and proud when he said that.”

God has transformed Victor. “I wasn’t even thinking about Jesus before this. Now, I know he is here for me, and I’m putting all my faith in him.annualbenefitdinner

Broadcasting Hope: First Response Radio

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Following the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in Indonesia, people were desperate for information to rebuild their lives: “Just tell us what is happening!” they urged.

We felt it was important to get a radio station on the air, but had never done this before in disaster conditions. First Response Radio (FRR) got its start in the aftermath of the tsunami. It took a month to get the radio station up and running in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. While that was a great achievement in difficult conditions, we didn’t think it was fast enough as we missed the whole Emergency Phase of the disaster. We subsequently made it our goal to set up a radio station within 72 hours of a disaster striking and start broadcasting critical information to the affected community.

FRR is not a company or an organization. It is a network of networks made up of radio broadcasters, NGOs, and government partners. In each country, it is also a network of responders.

Our strategy has improved dramatically since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the approach of FRR now is to buy equipment, train teams, and practice in disaster prone countries such as the Philippines, India, and Indonesia before disaster strikes. The equipment is then left in the country, and the local team responds to the next disaster.

We refer to the equipment we leave as the “Suitcase Radio,” which is really three suitcases or bags that include: a complete studio, FM transmitter, and an antenna. Each case is less than 45 lbs and can be checked as luggage on any airline. If set up properly, this station can reach a radius of 12 mi or more. However, the real secret to our success is not the equipment, but rather the training we provide.

We combine radio, NGOs, and government staff into a team and lead a five-day training workshop where they learn to run a radio station in a disaster zone. The NGOs learn from the radio announcers and vice versa. While the training we have given to people has been important, the “magic” really happens in the three-day field trials that we conduct. This enables us to put things into practice in a disaster-prone area under realistic field conditions. Sometimes the next disaster even strikes during the training event! FRR spends more time and resources on capacity building as that is the key to a good response.

An independent research paper (1) showed how FRR broadcasts in 2013 helped members of the community to recover following Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines. In summary, the disaster radio (FRR) provided reliable information that decreased fears. Through an understanding of what was happening, community members developed a sense of control and the ability to adapt:

“If you know what is going on . . . it is much easier to do right.”

“You could get information on what was going on, how I could rebuild my house.”

“They told us . . . to get food . . . and they told us about roads . . . and so on.”

Hearing voices and music played over the radio reminded the survivors of normality and offered moments of rest from the fight for survival and recovery. Some participants expressed that the joyful music played influenced them so much that they could feel happiness, and endure:

“I think that the music also . . . it made me feel . . . like normal . . . for a while. To rest my brain.”

 “It was a kind of silence that is deafening. And the radio broke through it, someway. The music and to hear another voice, in the middle of the night, that made me able to hang in there for one night more.”

Also following Typhoon Haiyan, Alexandra Sicotte-Lévesque, at the time the Advocacy and Communications Specialist for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said:

“Well done to First Response Radio! We have been going around radio (stations) in Tacloban talking about our (mobile) medical missions for pregnant & breastfeeding women . . . every day in a new barangay – we identify these women in advance in each community, but it’s not possible to identify everyone of course . . . so radio really helps. When our nurses went on First Response Radio the turnout was incredible – 250+ women showed up in one morning (compared to only 40 the previous day).”

Since 2004, our FRR teams have responded to 20 disasters with the most recent being the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Typhoon Koppu (Lando) in the Philippines, the South India floods, and the Afghan-Pakistan earthquake.

Out of catastrophe in Indonesia, we developed this network to empower victims of natural disasters. We hope to continue our field trainings and provision of equipment, which allow these countries to not only protect the safety of their citizens through the dispersal of critical information but also to provide comfort and hope in the midst of disaster.

(1) Karin Hugelius, Mervyn Gifford, Per Ortenwall, Annsofie Adolfsson, “To silence the deafening silence”: Survivor’s needs and experiences of the impact of disaster radio for their recovery after a natural disaster, International Emergency Nursing (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.ienj.2015.11.009

 

Cameroon Bible Translation Update

This afternoon I received word that the long-awaited dedication ceremonies for the Nugunu and Yambeta New Testaments in Cameroon may have to be postponed. While the Yambeta NT may possibly be delivered a few days after the scheduled November 26 celebration date, it appears that the Nugunu NT may not even be printed (in South Korea) before their recently rescheduled celebration date of November 20. At this point, we don’t know whether the delay is due to unexpected circumstances within the publishing house or problems elsewhere, but the important thing is to pray that God will be in control of the outcome.

Humanly speaking, this seems to be a huge set-back. The translation teams have been working hard to prepare the churches and communities to receive the Word in their languages, and momentum has been building for months. Historically, dedication services are occasions not only for great rejoicing, but for motivating great numbers of people to buy copies of Scripture and to begin reading right away. Understandably, the enemy makes an effort to hinder this from happening.

On the other hand, God may have a strategic purpose in delaying these dedications for even greater effect. Please pray that:

  • the Nugunu and Yambeta translators and other decision-makers will have wisdom in deciding what to do about (re)scheduling the dedications
  • the NTs in these languages will be published, shipped, and delivered to their destinations at God’s appointed time
  • eagerness to receive God’s Word will continue to grow in these communities
  • God will be glorified, no matter what happens

My trip to Chad and Cameroon will go forward as planned in November, since I will be working with other translation teams anyway. Please pray also for Wycliffe colleagues in the U.S. who have bought tickets just to go to the dedications in November, that their sacrifices in purchasing airfare may not be wasted and that they will know what to do.

Many thanks for your prayers,

Keith

Back to School, Back to Whole

I recently posted an entry to my Facebook page: “Back to school task 1,573,826…hair braided…” Getting your kids, and let’s be honest ourselves, prepared to return to school after summer can be a monumental task. I am a mom of many, and several of my own cherubs have special needs. Already, in the month of August, I have been in perpetual meetings and conversations with talented school professionals, mental health professionals, and support teams. As a result, I have become all the more grateful for the ministry I get to be a part of at Eastside Academy.

Through my own parenting journey, I have recognized that accessing services for a child with special needs can be overwhelming and time consuming. For the courageous and beautiful families we serve at Eastside Academy, we have tried to eliminate some of that struggle. As a wholistic school, our goal is to address as many needs as possible in one place.  While we are a high school, we have recognized that challenges outside of the classroom can frequently interrupt progress IN the classroom. Thus, our students are provided with mental health care, recovery services, and a mentor, all in one location. In addition, we have eliminated what is notably one of the most frustrating tasks for parents/caregivers/guardians everywhere…school supply shopping. (I feel like there should be looming music playing every time those words are uttered. Ugh.) Every one of our students are provided with the school supplies needed to enter their classes; if a child needs one, we also supply backpacks. While this may seem insignificant, as a mom I can tell you, if I could eliminate this task in my own family, I would be singing the hallelujah chorus!

And honestly, that is how we try to approach everything at Eastside Academy: How would we want our own children to be treated? What support would I want or need walking through the situations our students and families face? While we are not perfect, this is definitely the heart to our approach.

I have shared with our team before that no one walks through the doors of Eastside Academy for the first time without having experienced some type of hurt or loss. Students and families come here because something didn’t work out the way they had hoped and dreamed. Our goal is to remind them, or sometimes tell them for the first time, they do not have to carry this heavy burden alone. We have a God who sees every need and has equipped His people to respond. By wrapping our arms around the educational, spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical needs of our students, we desire to model the love we have each been shown through our Savior. A love that knows no boundaries. A love that makes sacrifices while speaking truth. A love that pursues, forgives, and seeks redemption and reconciliation for all.

I am amazed that even after 10 years of working here, that there are still so many times this ministry just takes my breath away. We are so grateful for the support and investment that this community puts into our students, families, and the work that God is accomplishing at Eastside Academy. Could we ask you to join us in prayer for the precious lives that will walk through our doors this year? Additionally, Eastside Academy’s Dinner and Live Auction is being held on October 22, at the Meydenbauer Center. We invite you to join us as we work to provide everything from backpacks to counseling to housing for our amazing students.

If you would like more information about enrolling a child, getting involved with this work, or attending our auction, please contact us at 425-452-9920 or visit our website at www.eastsideacademy.org

 

10th Annual Auto Angels Car Show-N-Shine!

Do you ever come up at a red light with some shiny, rumbly, vroom-vroom kind of car next to you? If you’re like me, you might roll the window down a bit to hear the purr of a fine engine. I’ve always been a classic car fan, since I was a kid, vacationing at my aunt & uncle’s place in Boise, where Uncle Ron always kept his Model A & Model T under dust covers, AutoAngels_Acebut was always driving some chromed-out, baby blue, metal-flaked piece of American muscle art. I will never forget tooling around Boise with my cousin Mary in Uncle Ron’s Model T, Hoyt Axton blaring on the Walkman in the seat next to us. How cool would it be to drive a Model T to your high school every day? But I digress.

The reason I’m talking about shiny hunks of metal today is because in just two weeks, the Auto Angels 10th Annual Car Show-N-Shine is on! September 17, 9am-3pm, right out in the BelPres Lower Parking Lot.

Everyone is welcome to attend and it’s free to the public! If you have a set of wheels you would like to shine up and show we invite you to participate. Registration is easy, and being an entrant brings a new level of fun.

Some of the highlights of our show include:

  • Unique & rare collector cars
  • Lunch grilled to perfection by Brief Encounter
  • Make ‘n Take model building fun for the kids
  • PPG coloring books
  • Door prizes and raffle items
  • Awards and dash plaques for entries

In addition there will be seminars on Lubricants and Car Detailing by the professionals from Chevron and Griot’s Garage.

If you have attended one of our car shows in the past, you won’t want to miss this one! Never attended before? Invite a neighbor and friend to come with you and of course bring the whole family for a day filled with fun. You may want to check out the 2015 award winners along with a link to their photo.

There’s even a parade of the winners at 2pm! Our family never misses the Auto Angels Car Show, and it’s going to be a special one this year, for the 10th Anniversary. See you there!