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After the One

But Jesus always leaves the ninety-nine to chase after the one. He always searches for the one lost coin.

Heidi Baker

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates!

Unfailing Love

I truly do not post enough updates on what is happening in our ministries and I really need to because God is doing big things here on the Iron Range and we need to celebrate the victories.

This week has been a memorable one for sure. In the midst of the chaos of all the planning and preparing and changes, sometimes God will throw in a little encouragement, a reminder that he is still there. Between our Elevate Youth group on Sunday evening, Campus Life on Tuesday, and a little fill-in at Open Door Church, we saw eight students either make a first time commitment to Jesus, or recommit their lives. What an incredible experience! This year has been so difficult for students. The isolation, anxiety, and depression brought on by the unknowns of Covid and the divisive nature of this last year has truly thrown students for a complete loop with nowhere to turn. Yet, God is moving. This week has proven that. In the midst of everything, God is still present, he is still working, and students are reaching out to him. We are constantly telling these students that they are loved and that if they turn to Jesus, He will make a way for them. We as leaders truly believe that each student is important and that God has a plan for them. As we connect with students who raised their hands this week, please join us in lifting them up that this truly starts their lifelong journey as followers of Jesus.


Be encouraged that even if you are still struggling after covid to get back in the swings of things, or still dealing with the repercussions of being isolated for so long, God is still there for you. His unfailing love has never walked away nor have you walked too far from him that he will not take you back. Each day is a new opportunity to connect with Jesus, you just have to run into his arms.

Please join us in prayer as we ask that God continues to use us to reach students who have lost their hope and that we can encourage them to pursue the one who is full of hope. God is moving on the Iron Range and it is starting with the young people. We can’t wait to see what is in store next!

2020: Coming to a Close

2020 has been a year for the history books. We have seen so many unexpected things happen. The perfect plans we had laid out, all the goals we had set, and the trips we had planned never happened. Everything changed in the blink of an eye. Yet, Mesabi Range Youth for Christ has worked hard to lay groundwork for what we believe is going to be the most powerful year yet. 2020 may have brought challenges, but we have embraced them and used to time to rebuild and lay a solid foundation for 2021.

Following the shelter in place which brought many zoom calls, care packages, text messages, and Facebook live videos, we remodeled our entire office. From the end of May until the end of August, we painted, cleaned, sanded, sweated, and decorated our student center space. This transformed our space into somewhere where kids feel comfortable, welcome, and safe. We wanted to show them that they mean so much to us and deserve the best we can give them.

We launched in September with a bang by having an epic color war, and from then on we did our best to make the most of our time together. We did fun (and sometimes disgusting) games at club, had a spooky Halloween party, and just really made memories whenever we could.

Brad and I were also hanging out in the ERATS school, providing snacks and brain breaks to students there. This was definitely a highlight of our school year.

And then everything got shut down again and it was back to square one for us. But here is the best part: MRYFC is still going strong. While stuff may look different in 2021, we are committed to providing that fun, safe space for the students on the Iron Range. We will be opening as a student center in January with hopes of resuming Campus Life activities when the schools reopen. We are not shaken by the setbacks, we have grown stronger because we know God is preparing us for something BIG!

We cannot do these things alone. We need YOUR help to be able to continue. Like many other businesses and non-profits, MRYFC has missed out on many opportunities to fundraise. As our year has come to a close in December, we have had a generous donor offer to match donations up to $10,000, meaning a total of $20,000. This is a game changer for our organization! Would you be willing to partner with us and help MRYFC end with a big finish?

Here are some ways you can partner with us:

Pray for our students, staff, and the organization as a whole.

Volunteer to help out at our student center. We are looking for people willing to assist a couple hours a week to just be there for students.

Give:

Online at mesabirangeyfc.givingfuel.com/reaching-teens-with-the-gospel

Mail in a check to Mesabi Range Youth for Christ
P.O. Box 474
Virginia, MN 55792


Text the amount you wish to give to 218-296-9966

Consider joining alongside us as we fight to the finish! Let’s end 2020 with excitement for the coming year!

Quarantine Day 103

I’d be lying if I said this quarantine thing was easy, that I am thoroughly enjoying myself. While some things are fun, the endless walks with my dog, deep cleaning my house, attempting a full youth group FaceTime etc. other things are not so fun. We have spent two weeks away from students, attempting new ways to do our jobs. Sometimes the things we try work, but most of the time they don’t. It’s a ton of trial and error. We were also planning on painting our office, but when the shelter in place came down, that was paused. It has felt like all of our plans have fallen through. But there’s something really encouraging that we can take from all of this: God is in control.

God didn’t wake up one more in the middle of all this, lean over to Gabriel, and say “hey man, what’s going on down there on earth? Where did all the toilet paper go?” No, you see, God is/was fully aware of all the situations we are currently facing. He knew that Covid-19 was going to come, He knew things were going to be shut down, He even knew who was going to buy all the TP at Walmart. God knew what was going to happen and He has a plan. Families are coming together, communities are supporting one another, there has been an outpouring of prayers coming from unexpected places. The world has banded together to fight against our current situation. It’s incredible. And God is in control through it all. This is a scary time, I will not deny that, however we need to rest assured that God is going to take care of us.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” We should not be afraid in this season of unknowns. We should be wise about our choices for the sake of others, but we should not be fearful. God will protect us and keep us. He will care for us in our time of need. He keeps His promises.

In this season, take time to listen. Take time to seek Him out and deepen your relationship with Him. Maybe that’s something you’ve been putting off to the side for the sake of “more important” things. I don’t know. What I do know is this time we have been given is a gift. We can grow deeper with Him, we can discover new ways to do ministry, to learn, we can have fun with our families. There’s so many great things that can come out of this. Focusing on what we are afraid of might cause us to miss out on something God has for us.

So read a book, put together a puzzle, do something creative with your family, start a new devotional, count all the toilet paper you have in your house. Whatever you do, be assured that the God who created the whole world is watching out for you. He will always keep His promises, He will always make a way, He knows why this is happening, and He cares for you.

Awaken

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, people were encouraged at the start of 2020 to pick a word for the year. This word would set the tone for the duration of the year, designed to keep disappointment at bay when it was day two of January and lofty goals to hit the gym had already gone to the wayside. Words like growth, maturity, surrender, and other powerful words were chosen by people all over the world as their focus as they forged ahead in the promise and possibilities of a clean slate of the new year.  This special word would become the theme to guide the 2020 journey of life from January to December.

While it didn’t start out that way, the word for 2020 God began stir in me was “awaken”.   As I planned new events, set new goals, and dreamed new dreams, I knew God was beginning to awaken something new in my heart.  God lead me to Ephesians 5:14 which says: “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”  My desire is that Christ is experienced more deeply as He awakens new life in me, in Youth for Christ, and in our students. It is the theme for our future 218 Youth Conference and has become the theme for life for this year.

Because of His stirring, my growing desire is that God will awaken new passion that begins with us!  Passion that spreads through Youth for Christ to reach the young people in our area.  Passion that ignites in our students to blaze with desire to share Christ with their family and friends.  Passion that arises as God rouses us from the slumber of our comfort zones as we, in turn, obey Him when He calls us to wake up and go. Rise up and see all God has to offer!  Answer the call of God, and be a part of awakening the revival God has promised for this area. 

Agree with us in our simple prayer: God, awaken your people, awaken our city, and destroy strongholds. May Your name arise above all else as you awaken us to experience the newness of your plan and the fullness of your love. God of revival, awaken us!

Galentine’s Day

Galentine’s day. A day to celebrate friendships between gal pals. A day to each food, have fun, and be creative with one another. This year, the ladies at Youth for Christ put together a Galentine’s dinner for our young ladies, to build relationships with them and inspire them to care about one another. Galentines is a time to really focus on the girls you call sisters and friends and build up your tribe. Not only do they build with one another, but they learn that we are also going to support their girl gang through it all!

A huge part of this event was the food. In deciding what food to have, a teacher that we work with had mentioned how a lot of students don’t often get a homecooked meal. So I took to the drawing board to decide what kind of homecooked meal I could come up with to make the night special. We ended up having frittatas and heart shaped waffles. I had food for days after but hey, the girls loved in and were already asking what we will be having next year. Shout out to Rachel for cleaning up the big mess I made in the kitchen during the day (and believe me, I made quite the mess).

These girls are always blowing me away with their creativity and willingness to have fun! We had a table set up to make Galentines, or Valentines whichever they please. Pictures were drawn, hearts were given to leaders, one of the girls made her hat look like a little bee! Each of their unique personalities came out in the fun of designing special cards for the people they care about the most. A huge shout out to our creative volunteer, Melody, who brought along some cool craft kits and really poured into the girls while they worked on their projects. Kendra, another star volunteer, encouraged the girls to play our Valentines-themed games that included a word search, a little trivia, and more. Just another fun activity to round out our night.

Probably one of my favorite things that happened throughout the night were the pictures taken at our photo booth. So much laughter and so many smiles! I loved how excited they got to be posing with their girlfriends and giggling the whole time about the silly faces they were making. Betsy, our photographer extraordinare, spent so much time encouraging the girls to be themselves and have fun in these photos!

This is truly the best part of my job. Planning events and hanging out with the students who comes. Things don’t always go as I’ve planned or maybe I’ve even planned to much, but I always know that the students who show up, God ordained them to be here at that time and we as volunteers get to be here to see these students grow! What an amazing thing to be a part of.

Hillbilly Christmas Shindig

YEEHAW! What a rootin’ tootin’ shindig! Monday night we hosted our Campus Life Christmas party. For the first time ever, we hosted it at Virginia High School, and wowee! Students kept piling in, one after another, until over eighty-five students joined the shenanigans that was the Hillbilly Christmas Party!

Our night involved mini games including jingle bell jam, a candy cane drop, and a toilet seat toss made with a tv box, a toilet seat, and some duct tape. All of the decorations and a majority of the small games were made from recycled goods.

We played games, we laughed, we snacked, there were prizes. It is definitely a night we will remember. We played a game called “3 in a boat” where students would be given a direction such as three hunting deer, and they had to group up and act out the scene! We also played a round of link tag. Then came the best part. Above is pictured a ball of saran wrap. Within the saran wrap was a number of prizes, and at the middle was a McDonald’s gift card. The students sat in a circle needed to roll either a seven or doubles with dice to get the ball and start unwrapping. It gets really intense. Now, I spent an hour and a half EACH BALL making these and the students demolished them in minutes. But it was SO MUCH FUN to play the game and see the surprise on their faces as prizes flew out while they were unwrapping the ball.

Through this last week, we have seen God’s continued faithfulness shine through. From the number of volunteers who willing gave their time to be a part of such large events, to the school opening their doors and allowing us to use their facility to host this party. Not to mention every single student that walked through our door was just proof that God is faithful and He is moving on the Iron Range. Our last two events have just turned out way better than we could ever have imagined and we are seeing so many students come through the doors at Youth for Christ. This is such a fantastic time to be a part of this organization.

Huge thank you to the volunteers who came and dressed the part and celebrated this Christmas season, as well as became a part of a monumental Youth for Christ event. Thank you to those who donated treats. Huge shout out the the Virginia Subway for donating platters of sandwiches to us! Thank you to our Youth for Christ staff for all the hard work you put into this event and for rolling with the punches. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a rootin’ tootin’ Christmas complete with popcan Christmas trees this year!

Girls’ Night!

Glittery nail polish painted onto neatly places fake nails, face masks on everyone, DIY lipgloss gracing the lips of the makers, and carefully crafted ornaments designed by creative hands. In the background, you can hear ‘Let It Go’ being belted out by a confident singer while her friends yell encouragement from the couches. To round off all the fun activities, there’s an excited buzz as someone starts to dish up ice cream to build your own ice cream sundae. Once the excitement dies down, everyone settles onto a couch to watch a chick flick. This is a classic girls night.

These are the scenes from last night’s Campus Life Girl’s Night! Thirty-four young ladies in grades 5-12 came over to the office to have some fun. It was so cool to see the girls’ faces light up when they walked in. We had four different stations. Our first station was Nail Polish Roulette, where girls spun a spinner and whatever color it landed on, that was their new nail color. A special thank you to our amazing nail artist, Mia, for assisting with the manicures. Our second station was a design-your-own ornament station. We saw girls really show off their creative side in taking the time to diligently design and add details to their ornaments. Our creative specialist, Melody, stood by and encouraged the girls to continue to expand their imagination when it came to their ornaments. Next, we had our facials station where girls had fun laughing at each other while waiting for their faces to become totally rejuvenated. A huge thank you to Mary who made sure to keep my carefully color coded masks in order. We had a very special station next. Autumn, a local artist, designed small henna tattoos, unique to each person who sat down in her chair. Our final station was one that required a bit of science and experimentation. Girls had the opportunity to create their very own lipgloss out of kool-aid, water, and coconut oil. The ultimate scientist extraordinaire, Kennedy, guided the girls through the recipe and we saw so many unique blends and tasty (yes, it’s edible) lipglosses appear. While young ladies moved around to the different stations, we had open mic karaoke. Man, do we have some talented young ladies! What a blast to have local, young talent entertain at our girls’ night. They are all so confident and I think karaoke was my favorite part of the night. Seeing the young ladies be courageous and then seeing them support one another was just incredible! We rounded out the exciting night with build-your-own ice cream sundaes and a classic girly movie, Sleepover. The girls loved the movie that I loved at their age. Most of them had never seen it! So cool to share that with them.

This was definitely a successful event and I was blown away at the response of the young ladies. So many of them told me they loved the event, one of them said it was the best one she’s been to all year. What???? I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this event, but I was just completely blown away by everything that happened. Praise God for helping everything run smoothly and thank goodness for the students who were so excited for the event, they invited all their friends. This event could not have gone any better.

Our next event is on Monday and I’m hoping it is equally as successful as this one last night! God is good and we continue to see Him shine through our events. Reaching teens isn’t easy, but with God, it certainly gets a little easier.

Youth for Christ: Give Edition

Recently we sent out our support letter in hopes to raise our support as stateside missionaries. We have a goal to be fully funded at $5,000 a month by next December. During this season of giving, if you feel lead to support Youth for Christ financially, please do! There’s nothing like being a part of a movement like this one that relentlessly pursues the next generation. Or if you feel lead to support Youth for Christ by becoming a volunteer, please feel free to contact us!

Check out our letter, see what Youth for Christ is all about and during this season of giving, consider YFC. Thank you!

You can give at: mesabirangeyfc.givingfuel.com/reaching-teens-with-the-gospel

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