Endeavour

Isn't That Great?

Isn’t that great?

This past Sunday was so encouraging as the Student Team led the morning. They were involved at every level, from entertaining to explaining, to challenging, to testifying, to singing, to preaching to calling us to love the way Jesus loves.

Isn’t that great?

We have so many student leaders with gigantic hearts that selflessly give of their time, treasure, talent to be in the lives of these students with such passion and integrity. They see what is “going on here” and they feel compelled to do their part to stand guard for these students.

Isn’t that great?

We as a church family get behind this ministry by creating space for them, by helping where we can, by giving money, by supplying resources, by applauding and encouraging.

What isn’t that great”

When the lights go out in the auditorium after a morning of joy, it’s what isn’t great that we must remember and this is where we as a church family get to be great in a crucial way.

We know the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy the younger generation so we must pray. We must pray in the morning, we must pray in the noon-time, we must pray in the evening because these students aren’t tucked away safely in the corner of the week. We must be so acutely aware of what they are facing that isn’t great…

  • What isn’t great is we have students who feel their identity slipping away from them because the world is deliberately confusing. The enemy nudges this along so that they literally do not know who they are and what their purpose is. Instead of hearing the kind and affirming voice of the Father, they think they are a neutralized pronoun without GOD-given shape or form or purpose or uniqueness. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students who hurt themselves because they are hurting during the week and this self-inflicted pain seems better then that pain they have no choice over. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students seeing things they counted on, erode before their very eyes so that they don’t feel a firm foundation under their feet. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students who fear, who doubt, who crave, who cave, who watch, who want. Oh how we must pray!

There are so many things that aren’t great that we better be great at prayer; there is so much at stake! Don’t let the lightness fool you, many of these students are navigating things that aren’t great. Let us not fail them as a family. Let’s adult; let’s pray and not just when we are prompted.

Pray with hope and expectation. GOD will advertise His goodness through their lives and we will live to see it and

Isn’t that the greatest?

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 




One Little Note

Do you have what it takes to BLESS others? You may be reading this and thinking, “What have I got to offer?”

This is the perfect question to ask Jesus and I guarantee you, He will show you what you have to offer and to whom! He has already told us in His Word in John 14:13 “You can ask for anything in My Name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” Will blessing someone else bring glory to the Father? Yes. Pray with confidence about what He would have you do, this is one of those “sure to be answered” prayers. You will not be stuck for ideas for long, because the Spirit will whisper instructions:

“Try this…”

“Say this…”

“Get that…”

“Go there…”

“Give this…”

“Sit with…”

“Write this…”

“Help them…”

“Cook this…”

“Buy this…”

“Invite them…”

“Listen to…”

Before you know it, you will have done something simple and sometimes sacrificial that will fill you with pleasure at having partnered with Jesus to do some of His favourite things with his favourite walking, talking breathing creation who are made in His image!

Recently our students and Student Min Leaders went to Mexico to build a house. They were there to bless others. On the way back, they made a stop, came back to the van and found this note on their windshield wiper.

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Now you tell me. Who was blessed in this story? The students were blessed. The leaders were blessed. The woman who wrote it was blessed. I was blessed to hear about it and now you are blessed reading about it. One little note, written quickly on some notepaper. One little bit of time. One little surprise for those who would find it.

I am picturing her in that parking lot. She sees a van drive up. She sees the kids tripping over each other to get out. She hears the laughter. She sees the logo on the van. She puts two and two together and that could have been it! But no…she listened. She listened and felt the nudge of Someone telling her: acknowledge this. Acknowledge what you are seeing and take 1 minute to bless this team of strangers.

We need to be that pen in GOD’s hand. We need to be that voice in His service. We need to be that smile, that servant, that one who will.

SunRidge…who is the Spirit nudging you to BLESS today? Let’s be passionate about our obedience to BLESS. Let’s be Disciples who are of good use to our Father!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Behind the Fun

There were balloons…hundreds of them!

There were costumes…all kinds and all colours all mixed together!

There was lots of loud and lots of laughs!

Moms and Dads got right into it…

And a dance floor filled with EVERYONE: toddlers, kids, teens, young adults, and….adult-adults. One big mix of happy!

When it was over…it wasn’t over. If there was music, there was dancing, even while the clean-up was well under way! Sometimes you just can’t stop having fun.

This is the Goofball, but there is more! It’s the more you need to know to understand why we would even host this event. The Goofball is a complete goofy, fun-filled celebration of childhood, but it has a serious vision. The Goofball exists to create space for joy and to affirm each child’s GOD-given identity. This year the main point was to not live under the pressure of a label. From the stage, on-screen and around the tables the message was that each person is unique — they can be themselves and let other people be who they are! We don’t need to give in to pressure to be something else or do what everyone else does. You can enjoy a whole variety of things, and that just makes you interesting! Kids were challenged to listen to the voices of people who truly love them and have their best-interest at heart and put negative influences waaaaaaaay in the back row of their lives.

After the food (including Nikki’s hilarious cupcakes), the games, the pep-talks, the prizes…all that was left was dancing, and did everyone dance!! So much freedom and happiness, fuelled on pure fun…is there anything better then that?

The next day I was still grinning, thinking of all the spontaneous, crazy, goofy, lovely things that happened all evening.

If there was ever a time to cheer the next generation on and feed them hope and encouragement, this is it! So thanks to all of you who did all the behind the scenes stuff: the hours of planning, the decorating, the set-up, the cooking, the serving, the dish-washing, the sweeping, the wiping down, the putting away…

Yay SunRidge, I love your attitude! Thanks for getting behind the fun.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 



Three Kinds of Pie

When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” 
― C.S. Lewis

A little about what’s behind the Goofball (happening this Saturday). Just over a year ago, Holly and I were out having coffee together, talking about Out of School Care (OOSC) and all the kids. There is always lots to laugh about when it comes to our OOSC kids but there is a lot of heaviness too. It was this heaviness that we settled on a bit and talked about how, at younger ages it seems, children are becoming so self-conscious. At a younger age children are giving up child-like things. At a younger age the conversations they are having are less and less care-free and innocent. What ever happened to loving being a kid?

Me as a kid. The one time it was cold enough in Richmond to make a backyard rink. I really couldn’t skate and I always, always had “holes in my knees.”

Me as a kid. The one time it was cold enough in Richmond to make a backyard rink. I really couldn’t skate and I always, always had “holes in my knees.”

We talked about our own memories of being awkward and nerdy and all the things we loved to do that don’t seem to be a part of many children’s day-to-day now. We talked about how it should be, how kids should just have the chance to be goofy, to explore lots of different kinds of play, to be creative, to make-believe, and to be who they are and not be so image-aware. Out of this came the idea of an evening to just celebrate childhood and to affirm childhood.

Conversations rabbit-trail…we also talked about why you have to wait until a wedding to just have a good fun dance-party with your friends. What if we could bring those two ideas together? And out of this was born the idea of the Goofball.

Jesus celebrated children. He also poked at adults who had lost the ability to remember the spirit of childhood. It’s a good thing to lift childhood up and say, “hurray!” So that is what we are doing on Saturday — just throwing away our more conservative tendencies and having fun with a pile of kids!

Do you still know the joy of childhood?

Our students and student ministry leaders do. They all just came back from the Mexico House Building trip and it is something that is saturated in play. Oh the stories! When they share about their trip, DON’T MISS IT, because it will do you good!

Small groups are a great place to practice play too. We take time off to do things just for fun. This week our group celebrated a birthday with loads of food and laughs (maybe a little prank thrown in) and great conversation. We had not one but three kinds of pie just because we could (or, more accurately, because Marcella could) . One was even baked with a great big smile carved into the crust.

I happened to be reading in John 2 again this week about the wedding in Cana and I just can’t stop chuckling about this miracle. Was Jesus being a bit mischievous? The guests have all been having a great time, such a great time that they run out of wine. This celebration has obviously gone on for a while, everyone has had their fill but when asked to help with the issue, Jesus goes big. He has them fill 6 cisterns that are 20-30 gallons in size with water. Let’s go with 25 gallons each — that is 150 gallons or 567.812 litres which is approximately 757 bottles of wine. What an un-conservative, ridiculously excessive thing to do. One might even say “childish.”

Come on Saturday and leave your “adult” at home. Come and appreciate jumping around and noise and not being self-conscious. Come and appreciate the wonder and wealth of childhood and celebrate all their goofiness just the way GOD made them.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

This Is The Way It Starts

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of sitting down with two of our students to do a little mentoring on “how one writes a devotional guide.”

Every year the students start their Mexico mornings doing devotions and in the evening they have a discussion about the topic. I have had the privilege of writing these for the past few years and this year I decided to grab a few students to join me. The reason I chose these two girls was the interest they expressed after I spoke on prayer one evening at a Youth event.

They were so encouraging and inquisitive, and that got me thinking: next time, I will invite them to help.

They gave up a chunk of their Saturday to do this with me. We met at a coffee shop and went through some “framework things.”

  • How do we start this? By praying and being with Jesus, and listening to His Spirit

  • Who are we writing for? Let’s think about who will be on the team. What do we need to be mindful of? Who is our audience?

  • Our topic for the devotions was “Hearing GOD” so we spent quite a bit of time talking about our own questions about hearing GOD. We jotted these down.

  • We talked about some of the fun and creative aspects we could include in the evening — as usual, some ideas are hilarious but never make it into the plan. Other ideas are hilarious and they do make it! Brainstorming: ideas spark ideas.

Both Martine and Grace had such interesting perspectives, feedback and ideas. They had a good pulse on what works and what doesn’t. They were so honest about their own lives too.

The next step was to meet after the rough draft was put together. We met on another Friday and walked through the details. Again, both girls had lots of valuable things to say and brought their personality to the table to shape what has been sent along with the team!

This was a first step in learning how to prepare something like this. I was thrilled to have the opportunity and my heart was filled once again by how the Lord works in the hearts of the young. The Spirit of GOD can make them wiser than their teachers (I am counting on this!) and can call them to such deep things so early on.

This is just a reminder to love and encourage and NOTICE the children and youth. It really matters that they feel a part of this family — and the way we do that is through kindness, encouragement, relationship and making ourselves available to them. Really, it is doing what Mike has called us to do — to B.L.E.S.S. Don’t be afraid to include them in what you are up to…it is the way they will learn and, it is the way we will learn too!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 


Malawi and Back

Recently Jon Batisarisari and Don Greer flew to Malawi to see what GOD is doing through an amazing YWAM initiative there. Jon’s parents — Villi & Judy — are missionaries there, so Jon and Don had a great couple of weeks visiting and tagging along with them wherever they went.

When they got back, our Small Group invited Jon’s small group over and our two groups got to hear their report while it was still fresh!

Jon showed a great video, showing us the new church building and the Sunday school facility in Buli Village. What is extra exciting is that Don was a part of seeing the Sunday School building come to reality, so he got to witness the Grand Opening and tour the facility with a lot of excited church members and kids! At the grand opening there were around 150 adults and around 60 kids. In the crowd were 17 chiefs from neighbouring villages. It was a big deal!

Notable, on the edge of the church property is a Witchcraft Hospital. What a perfect place for a church to sit. Pray for them and their ministry in a dark and broken community with unique challenges!

Jon and Don got to see many of the orphanages and crisis centers that Judy and Villi minister at. At one of the homes their role is just to hold babies. This sounds so simple, yet babies die if they are not held, so this simple act of love is saving lives and extending care to the most vulnerable!

They also got to see the beginning stages of Villi & Judy’s co-worker, Delia’s, dream. She has been working in the area for over 10 years and she is trying to establish a crisis center for girls in trouble. This will require a financial input she does not have, yet she is determined to see this happen. There are girls who get pregnant and have nowhere to go, or experience other kinds of abuse and trouble. If they have a place to go, they can have a second chance at life!

While there, Jon got the chance to preach and help with communion and Don shared his testimony as well — in front of those 17 chiefs, what an honour!

The church in Buli is full of passion; just like us they are learning what it means to be disciples of Christ — not always getting it right! Sometimes the pastor has had some training but not a lot of training and there can be some need for correction in doctrine and practice, to really understand the heart of the Gospel. When this ministry comes to mind, please pray for there to be wisdom and understanding and that the church would be led by the Spirit of GOD into all truth!

Don and Jon described the church as full of celebration! Long services with lots of singing and dancing, lots of improvisation, lots of prayer.

Standing on the campus looking at the new Sunday School building, Jon had commented to Don, “Look what you have done for them, Don.”

And Don said, “No, look what they have done for me.”

Isn’t that the truth about these things? When you know GOD has allowed you to participate in something greater than yourself, the blessing turns around and blesses us more than we could have asked or imagined.

Thank you Don and Jon for sharing your stories with us. It was encouraging and challenging! May SunRidge be filled with people who are “living mission” locally and globally!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

It Is Better To Have Tried

This past Sunday our Mexico Team students made coffee for “half time” once again to help raise money for the house building project coming this Spring Break. This time, there was a special feature. If you weren’t there on Sunday you missed a pretty hilarious and heartwarming announcement by Kyle, our Youth Pastor about the “eats” being offered along with coffee. Last year, Garnet (pictured on the right) made a name for himself in Mexico for his passion for Churros! He ate buckets of Churros.

This year, he was committed to bring his Churro obsession to the Coffee fundraiser. He and Thomas found a recipe and whipped up a batch but…the product didn’t quite meet their expectations. Here’s the thing, they brought them anyway. Garnet was quick to say, “These were our first try, come next week, they will be better.”

I decided to try this week’s so I would have something to compare next week’s to. They may not have looked quite right, but they actually weren’t bad. They tasted like a doughnut.

Here is what I love about this story:

  1. That there is a story to tell of two young men who had an idea and tried it out. How many times do I talk about trying something but don’t?

  2. When it didn’t have the intended results, they brought them anyway. They weren’t perfect, but they weren’t a total fail either. Gotta have some pride in that. How many times do I think what I offer has to be perfect. How many times do I judge myself too harshly or stress over things having to be “just so”?

  3. The joy and humour with which they offered their smallish, brownish Churros. It made me happy just talking to them about it. Sometimes its just good to joke around. Isn’t a good laugh, an amusement, a funny moment worth so much?

  4. Their effort and their intentions and the heart behind it. This is what counts isn’t it? It is better to have tried and failed then to have not tried at all. How many times do I not even step into the ring?

I say A+ for effort and for bringing the fun. Full marks for DOING SOMETHING and being a contributor and having the attitude of a difference maker. Here and on the field, these guys have set an example.

Can’t we learn a lot from these students? I love this generation. I have so much hope for them!

churros.JPG

If you haven’t had a chance to bless the troupe, don’t miss the opportunity!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho To Mexico We Go!

If you aren’t already feeling the energy, you will starting this Sunday! Student Ministries is preparing for another Mexico outreach and their first Coffee Fundraiser is on for this Sunday! SunRidge loves getting behind this great endeavour and we are already looking forward to seeing the blessings pour out on our young people.

Our Youth Pastor Kyle and the students have already done a good job hyping the event, but in case you have missed the on-stage updates and videos, I thought it might be interesting for our blog-followers to read a bit about the story of Amor. Amor Ministries is the US-side ministry we have connected with for over 15 years. We love them! We love what they do! Catch the vibe yourself by reading up on them. You can go straight to their website, or read what I have cut and paste here!

The Amor Story

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(You can read the full story of Amor if you order their book from Amazon: “Disrupted” — Click here )

More than thirty years ago, Gayla Cooper felt reluctant to spend even one day ministering to children in a Tijuana orphanage. However, after meeting a group of children from a Mexican orphanage, Gayla's heart was touched so deeply that she decided to pack her bags and move to Mexico to work in the orphanage full-time.

Meanwhile, Scott Congdon traveled to the very same orphanage with a community service group from his college. The children had such a profound impact on Scott, that when he returned home, he began collecting food and clothing for the children, returning to deliver the collected items.

Together, Scott and Gayla soon discovered that they shared the same dream of ministering alongside the poor in Mexico. In March of 1980, Scott and Gayla founded Amor Ministries. That fall, they recruited their first ministry group to participate in a building project at a Tecate orphanage.

One year later, Scott and Gayla were married and four more missions teams traveled to Mexico with Amor. The Ministry continues to live out the Congdon’s initial calling and provides homes for families each day. Today, more than 300 missions groups take part each year in short-term Mission Trips with Amor Ministries! Each of those trips is part of the bigger mission of the local communities.

Scott and Gayla, along with the full-time Amor Team, carry out their commitment and passion for helping the poorest of the poor in Mexico, South Africa, and, increasingly, other locations around the world. They mobilize volunteers and work with local churches to respond to the physical and spiritual poverty throughout the world.

When groups come and provide a home, it becomes much more then that:

It Keeps Families Together

Having inadequate shelter provides stress for a family that can lead to separation with individuals looking for work in other cities. Inadequate shelter can also cause parents to decide they cannot care for their children which could lead to institutionalization of the children, children being sent to live with friends or family members creating separation of parents and children, or outright abandonment. A home keeps a family together and a job that provides a living wage allows a family to care for itself.


Promotes Health & Education

Having a cement floor and shelter that protects a family from the elements dramatically increases their health. Kids are more likely to attend school when they aren't sick, and with the solid foundation of a concrete floor they aren't as sick as often. A home helps children get education that could break the cycle of poverty.

Averts Trafficking

Human trafficking, in many parts of the world, is a migration problem. When people are separated from their community because of their need for work, they are vulnerable to traffickers. A home allows a family to stay intact.

For more information of how a simple home benefits the family and community, click here.

Check out SunRidge’s Mexico Trip page and get involved by helping them get ready (they can always use an extra hand), by supporting them through prayer, by getting behind them financially, and by encouraging them personally.

Let’s love and invest in the next generation and high-five them for serving Jesus beyond our borders and their comfort zones. It is a real stretch for most of them, so let’s go out of our way to fill them up in anyway we can, the way a family does!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Things We Do (Over and Over. Part 3)

There is something we have done for 16 years at SunRidge, over and over, because sixteen years ago we looked at each other around Christmas time and asked, “Do we really need a Christmas Banquet for ourselves?” As we considered what we were putting our effort towards at Christmas we thought about how most of us were well provided for, well fed, and well cared for in a loving community. That was the year we decided our Christmas party wouldn’t be for ourselves.

Every since, we have hosted a Community Christmas Dinner and have filled our building with whoever comes. Our guests may be neighbours from down the street, someone new to West Kelowna, friends we are connecting with at the Westbank United daily Lunch Program, those who may top up their shelves at the Foodbank, strangers we bump into and invite on the spot…its a wonderful collection of people mixed in with our own wonderful community.

Every year we plan out a great meal, decorate the “house” from top to bottom, gather up door prizes, put together gifts for each family, plan fun games that anyone can play, sing songs, and have wonderful and entertaining conversations around the table with new and old friends . We have had many repeat guests — some have come every year! We have celebrated birthdays, given hugs to those who have lost loved ones, staged free portraits for our guests (and their pets), laughed a lot and eaten well. Who comes to serve? Everyone from soft-hearted Senior Citizens to our sweet and spirited students; there are even places for kids to practice loving others.

There are lots of ways to connect with the wider community in big and small ways, and this is just one way. It is one way to say, “No matter how well or how little we know one another, let’s be together and have a lovely time.” It is something we have invited over and over, for sixteen years.

This year our kitchen team cooked up an amazing Ukrainian meal (home-made pirogies, cabbage rolls, meat-balls, orzo salad…). It was a hit!!

Thanks to Lisa K. for being the lead-lead for our 16th Community Christmas Dinner and thank you to all those who worked on this weeks ago, who showed up days ago, who came early and stayed late. Thank you to all of you who looked people in the eye, hosted a conversation, took a photo, brought a cup of tea, sang your hearts out, loaded a dishwasher, swept the floor, and closed the doors at the end.

Merry Christmas!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Stepping In

In case you didn’t know, SunRidge partners with Westbank United Church to come alongside in serving lunches to those who need them in our West Kelowna community. And who needs lunch? There are those who have experienced a turn in life that has left them homeless. There are those who have lost their job and a lunch here and there brings relief to the budget. There are seniors who might not be cooking a hearty meal for themselves. There are young people who are sorting things out and some warm food and some warm words are helpful. There are a lot of different kinds of people who come to a hot meal (three times a week) and sandwiches on the off days.

This requires

  • a lot of organization (Nancy is a force to be reckoned with),

  • a home base (thank goodness for the centrally located United Church facility and their compassion for the city)

  • food (donations come from all over our city from churches, businesses, farms, and concerned individuals)

  • volunteers (lots and lots)

This week we were short-handed on Monday and it highlighted again how many people it requires to keep this work going. So today I am highlighting people who “step in.” I know there are many who do — lots of faithful behind-the-scenes servants who help with no fanfare. There are people who send lovely home baking — the guests LOVE the home baking. There are people who go around finding donations, people who serve once and twice and three times a week. There are people who buy last minute groceries, people who wash dish after dish, people who give hugs, people who cut onions and…there is one beloved person who even comes to tenderly cut and style people’s hair.

If you would like to get involved in this practical, love-your-city, mission email our rep Randy at lunchprogram@sunridge.org or contact us here. There are on-site opportunities and other things you can do if you can’t do that! We also have a grocery list at the Connect Centre. Pick one up and add a few things to your list each week. You can drop off at SunRidge or at the United Church.

How did our shorthanded Monday go? Thanks to Mark P., Kim R., and Lindsay W. and some others from outside SunRidge who all “stepped in”…we got’er done! Go team go!

At the end of our shift, I like how Mark summarized things:

Why is Mark wearing oven mitts while stirring Coleslaw?

Why is Mark wearing oven mitts while stirring Coleslaw?

“A kitchen filled with love and servants hearts. People of all ages and backgrounds banding together to do their part in order to make a HUGE difference to show those less fortunate in our own community that they are loved, cared for and matter so very much. What an honour to be a part of it.”

Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen