Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Cat is a Potty Mouth

You may not know this, but I have a cat. In light of this fact, people sometimes ask me if I'm a cat person. Well, I grew up with cats, yes, but I'm still more of a dog-lover personally. Anyway, Adrienne found this little kitten in Atlanta this summer, and she asked me if I'd take her in. So, being the good boyfriend that I am...I have a cat. Her name's Beyonce, and she's from the Dirty South. Last night I found out that she's also a potty mouth. Check it out...

Demolition Derby at Hope Ministries

Last night was our first Community Impact event of this school year. The high school Impact Groups teamed up and went over to Hope Ministries in South Bend to do some grunt work at their Family Life Center. We helped clear out an area that will soon be renovated to provide more housing for homeless men. The room was filled with old furniture that needed to be dissembled/destroyed and discarded in dumpsters. For this task, we were given pick-axes and sledge hammers (no joke!), and we had ourselves quite the demolition was awesome! Check out the pics below:

Note: only one sledge hammer was harmed during the demolition process (my bad), and only three people went home bleeding last night (I'm really hoping my tetanus shot is up to date!!!). Despite those few minor setbacks, it was a GREAT night serving a GREAT organization that does so much for the "least of these" in our community.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

¡La Clase de Español!

One thing I love about St. Mark is that we are a church that is passionate about world missions (kinda makes sense, as we are a Missionary church). Each summer it seems that we are sending teams all around the globe to minister. Many of the countries where we have been ministering or supporting missionaries are Spanish speaking (i.e. Ecuador, Paraguay, Mexico); unfortunately, most members of our missions teams who minister in these countries each summer know little to none of the Spanish language. For those of you who are familiar with short-term mission trips, you know that the language barrier can be frustrating and difficult to overcome in the short time a mission team has in that different culture.

THE PROBLEM: People need to learn Spanish!

About a year ago, I became aware of the desire for many of our mission team members to begin to learn Spanish. Although I would consider myself far from fluent, I did study Spanish for 5 years in high school and college and have spent a decent amount of time overseas in Spanish speaking cultures. So, when I heard of this need, I got excited about the opportunity of helping out in any way I could. However, for a number of reasons last year, this project got put on the back burner.

Then, this past summer, I traveled with a team to South America, where we spent the majority of our time in Paraguay. During this trip, I saw first-hand the need and desire for this group of people with a heart for missions to learn Spanish. I knew the problem (see above), and God laid this simple solution on my heart:

THE SOLUTION: Start a Spanish class!

Duh. Why didn't I think of that?!

Well, it took a little effort to get off the ground, but last night was week 7 of La Clase de Espanol! We meet every Monday night for about an hour and a half, and we have been having a blast. I teach alongside Diane "Dino" Matteson, our office manager here at St. Mark and a very proficient Spanish speaker herself. Our class consists mostly of a couple families, with parents and their children learning the language together. They have taken incredible strides in the past couple months, and I'm so proud of them! Here are a few things I love about teaching this class:
  1. The people. I love spending time with this group! They all have great hearts for Jesus and for the world!
  2. Practicing my language skills. It gives me a chance to keep up with the Spanish language (previously I had been neglecting my Spanish studies for a couple years). Also, I've found that learning a new language and teaching a new language are two very different things. I have had to focus much harder to understand how to best teach others a new language.
  3. The excitement of watching others learn. Last night, I sat with a group of 5 children as they asked questions in Spanish and answered them in complete Spanish sentences! Wow!
  4. The focus on missions. This group doesn't simply want to learn another language for the sake of learning another language--they want to learn another language so that they can minister to others!
  5. The focus on prayer for the nations. Each week, I've been wearing a different soccer jersey from countries around the world, and then we spend time at the end of class praying for that country. I have the kids show me on a map where the country is located, we spend some time identifying the needs of that country, and then we pray for them. So far we have asked God to reign in Ecuador, Paraguay, India, Brazil, Mexico, and China. I was touched last night to hear an eight year old girl pray that Christians in China would be able to go to church and that the pastors there would be let out of jail. God heard those prayers!
God is definitely doing great things here at St. Mark, and He is raising up a people with His heartbeat for the nations! Amen!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Still Alive and Kickin' It

By now, you might be wondering, Is MaxAC still alive? Fortunately, the answer is: Yes, I'm alive, and living life to the max! Here's what I've been up to recently:

  • going to a lot of youth sporting events
  • teaching a Spanish class (more on this later)
  • dealing with some drama in the youth group (of the teenage girl favorite!)
  • not sleeping enough
  • trying to keep up with my new house
  • leading an awesome student leadership team
  • spending lots of time with my girl
  • preparing for a long trip overseas (more on this later, as well)
  • not blogging
Life never stops, but unfortunately sometimes blogging does stop. However, there is much to share, so look for more from MaxAC in the near future!!!