Thursday, April 22, 2004

A Great Place For Mission Trips



Jasper Speaks:
Three years ago I started out on a quest to find a good place to take teens on a mission trip. I looked at several groups and organizations that sponsor these trips but I couldn't see paying the fees that came with those experiences. Mostly because they included on a couple of meals a day and a t-shirt. Everything else was on top of the 300-500 dollars they charged.

So even though I am no longer in an SBC church, I went to the Studentz.com website and started looking. Now I wanted to find a place close to Maine that would offer a positive ministry intensive trip for our students. Our church's history with mission trips were almost exclusively construction trips. I know those have a place but I wanted our sheltered rural kids to have an experience that would push them to grow spiritually.

So I found a site that was in North Carolina. That's on the east coast. So it must be close to Maine! (It is actually about a 16 hour drive). The organization is called MISSION RALEIGH. Little did I realize that God would use my lack of geography sense to forever change our youth ministry.

We put together our first team in the summer of 2002. We took 15 students and 5 leaders. We set off on the trip with hopes that God would do something extraordinary. Did He ever! That week was the most life changing I have ever been a part of. The students in our ministry changed COMPLETELY in one week.

The people Mission Raleigh serves are those in the inner city housing complexes of Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina. The first day we were there we were escorted to Chavis Heights, a housing community in Raleigh. From the moment my kids stepped out of the van their lives were never the same. It was a wonderful cross cultural experience! The students saw God move as we saw souls saved. The students came back with a greater appreciation for their parents, homes and church. That change didn't stay in Raleigh as is the case many times with such trips. Our students came home and the youth ministry changed in a powerful way. I attribute much of the growth (both spiritually and numerically) in our group to our trips to Raleigh.

Last summer we took twenty one students and seven adults. The results were just as dramatic. This year we are gearing up again and I expect to take even more. Two of our female students are going to spend the entire summer in Raleigh serving as missionaries to Mission Raleigh!

If you are looking for a place to serve, I recommend MISSION RALEIGH highly. I have been a youth pastor for fourteen years and have never seen such a return on a week of service.
My Mom, Lack Of Money and Why Am I Here?

Jasper Speaks:

It can be so hard to be so far away from our loved ones. My mom is going in for some pretty dangerous testing this week. She is a diabetic who has undergone two amputations in the past ten years. She is the strongest person I have ever known and such a fighter. Now there are some blood flow issues in her "good" (relatively speaking) leg. So they have to do a dye test on her to see where the blockage is and the best way to help it. I know God is in control but I wish I were close enough to be there for her.

Also, my parents are struggling deeply financially. My dad is an inner city pastor. He literally makes $95 a week. That is all. He has pastored the church for 45 years. Now he is trapped in the position because $95 is small but take that out of their income and they really can't survive. He is afraid he could not find another job (he is 74) and so he keeps plugging along at a church that has more than breathed it's last breath. It is hard for me to see that happening. I want to help them financially. Right now that isn't an option as our rent just went up by $200 a month and the promotion my wife was supposed to get at work just doesn't seem to be happening.

I know I am called to be here. Just it never seems to be easy to stay. These feelings make me sometimes feel like I am being a traitor to where God has me now.

I am just more blue because I just got off the phone with my parents. I know God has a plan and my dad just kept saying that he knows the Lord will provide. They have exceptional faith. I just wish I was as faithful.

UPDATE 4-27-04
Mom came throught the procedure great. They are going to have to do an angioplasty sometime very soon. She goes to the office on Tuesday May 3rd and we should know more then. Thanks for the support and prayers!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

My Life According To A Band

Jasper Speaks:


If my life could be explained by any band I think most acurately it would be:

Band:

Rich Mullins and A Ragamuffin Band

Are you female or male:
Boy Like Me, Man like You

Describe yourself:
Everyman

How do some people feel about you:
The Maker of Noses

How do you feel about yourself:
Alrightokuhhuhamen

Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend:
It Don't Do

Describe your current girl/boy friend or spouse:
One True Love

Describe what you want to be:
Heaven In His Eyes

Describe how you live:
Verge Of A Miracle

Describe how you love:
Could Be A Celebration

Share a few words of wisdom:
Let Mercy Lead

-OR-
Band:

Steven Curtis Chapman

Are you female or male:
Busy Man

Describe yourself:
King Of The Jungle

How do some people feel about you:
You've Got Me

How do you feel about yourself:
Living For The Moment

Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend:
You Know Better Than That

Describe your current girl/boy friend or spouse:
Heaven In The Real World

Describe what you want to be:
Got To Be True

Describe how you live:
Live Out Loud

Describe how you love:
Go There With You

Share a few words of wisdom:
Hold Onto Jesus

Do you want to play? Email me with your life as a band!