Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons, Parenting

No Sarcasm Saturday

I’ve found it!    What, you ask? The secret to building up your savings account? The cure for cancer?  The gumption to train and complete a marathon? Oh no my dear friends that’s all cupcakes and fluff.  I’m talking about THE most difficult self-imposed discipline outside of diet and exercise…No Sarcasm Saturday.   I know, I know this raises many more questions like “what on earth would motivate you to do such a thing?” or “Why?” or even “How long did you make it?”  All in good time my dear friends.  First let me give you a little background.   It all started way backlast week sometime.  I was trying to watch one of my favorite HGTV shows called “ Love it or List it”.  However, during the show one of my children (who shall remain nameless for her, his, ahem it’s protection) was just deriding these poor people on the show.  I found myself getting more irritated by the moment.  This child sounded so mean, so hateful, so judgmental and uh…so much like me!  Sarcasm is one of our main sources of humor in this family.  2nd man and I love watching Food Network, HGTV or even ESPN shows and totally deriding the logic behind which most of the decisions are made.  Truly, this is just a coping strategy for our own lusty jealousy.  Hmmm do I want the brand new house with five bathrooms and all new appliances that is $100,000 over budget or do I want to stay in my mid-century “bungalow” with it’s outdated electrical system, bowing floors and cracked foundation without a dishwasher?  Ah the decisions people must face.  It’s sad really.  We watch and shoot out scathing remarks about how materialistic our society is and how there are people starving in other countries living on floating shacks along rivers (funny though, they still have smartphones and reception –true story I saw it on TV too).  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, the degradation of our American society.  Like I said, I’m basically just jealous and get a kick out of the whole process. However, listening to my own kid doing the same thing sounded so harsh and critical.  I went from being irritated to being strongly convicted.  She/he sounded like a bully on a playground.  If I had caught him/her doing this to someone face-to-face I would be mortified and then I’d lay into him or her about apologizing and how we don’t treat others this way.  I’d probably go into how that person is one of God’s creations and therefore we have no right to be so critical.  All of this is true.  However, somehow people don’t seem as real to us if they’re on TV so a freedom of expression gets exercised regularly. We’re sarcastic with each other as well.  I’d say 95% of it is truly meant in good fun and humor.  However, there are those days when someone gets their feelings hurt.  But, mostly it’s how we relate to each other in a humor filled way.  2nd man and I often find ourselves even having the same sarcastic thoughts about different situations.  But, as a friend of mine explained to me, it can all be taken and given in different spirits depending on the people involved, so sarcasm must be handled delicately.  For instance she is a choleric personality and tends to go from humorous to critical in a quickly falling landslide; whereas her husband, who is very sanguine, keeps it on the light and humorous quite easily.   This made a lot of sense to me.  I know there’s a lot of debate about the validity of the whole personality thing, but I’m a believer in how it plays out in people’s lives.  My choleric child sounded scathing and harsh, but my own sanguine/melancholy personality keeps it on the humorous or sometimes overly-sensitive side.   So, with all of that said, I approached 2nd Man and told him I thought we should have a “no sarcasm day.”  He thought it was a good idea, but didn’t do anything about it immediately.  Then, Friday evening at the dinner table I made some kind of sarcastic remark and he pounced.  “Your mother and I have been talking about something lately, kids.”  He said.  To which thy replied, “are we in trouble?”  “No,” he said, “but we’re going to try to have a No Sarcasm Saturday tomorrow.”  Our oldest was instantly worried. “But it’s outreach day at church and, well, we teens speak in sarcasm.”  “I understand that.”  Replied 2nd Man, “but we’ll have to make do the best we can.”  We determined that everyone would start out with 100 points and the person with the most points left will get a dessert treat of their choice at a special place on our vacation in a month. I have to be honest here.  It was hard.  I woke up with much trepidation, scared to enter public with my family, wondering how ashamed I might be.  But, overall it was a good experience.  I caught myself having sarcastic thoughts all day long.  The hardest part of the day was going to Wal-Mart (did I mention we did this on a Saturday?)  I was never so thankful to go to the grocery store ALONE.  Even in the parking lot where Honey Boo boo’s mother’s look-alike about rammed my car to get a space she thought I was going to get to first. (You must understand how hard it was to even write that last sentence.  I had to wait a day so as not to get docked points.)  We had one daughter who tried hard, but was honest when caught.  Daughter number two kept docking herself and was about out of points when we confirmed that you had to be caught by someone else, and then our youngest son didn’t quite ever get the concept of what sarcasm even is.   However, it was a good exercise in discipline and learning to be kind.  We really didn’t have a winner at the end of the day.   We’ve actually decided to do it again perhaps next week.  I’ll confess I’m not willing to give up this form of humor for a lifetime – I don’t think that’s possible.  However, temperance is never a bad thing, so I’ll take it one challenging Saturday at a time for now.  

Posted in Parenting

Love that boy!

Jarod Reece in all of his glory

 Today’s post is primarily for the sake of the grandparents, so please bear with the adorableness of these pictures.  I don’t really have anything very profound to say today except….LOVE THAT BOY!  Does anyone else’s boy ever do this kind of thing?  I mean, we gave him the talk about not wasting the time of the Olan Mills guy or our money, and how these aren’t pictures on our camera, and how we really want some good pictures of our kids and this is what we get. 

It’s like he oozes personality and can’t keep it in.  It’s some kind of third child comedian thing going on.

In his defense the photographer was being rather silly and probably instigated it, but really?  Seriously?

Thankfully, we got some good shots as well.  Again…LOVE THAT BOY!

You break this heart -I break your thumbs.  Love, Momma
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Parenting

Question for Mothers of daughters

 I’m supposed to be putting the finishing touches on my lesson for tonight, but I got a little sidetracked with a thought that I just had to get written.  One of my last points for this evening’s lesson is to challenge the girls to include their parents in their love life.  Sounds kind of weird and hokey huh?  However, this really got me pondering my own motherhood and wondering what some other moms thought about this.

  It’s a little late in the day to get the feedback I suppose, but if you have a minute please do give me a comment or email me, or FB me, or something.  If you find yourself reading this later than today Feb. 29, then I’d still love, love, love to hear your thoughts.

So, here’s my question for Moms of daughters; What would you say would be your response if your teenage or college age daughter came to you confessing that she had messed up morally?

Ok, I know what the pat answer would be, but I challenge you to actually put yourself in that position for a minute or two and really ponder this.  Not just what you hope you’d do or what you picture yourself doing…what do you really think your response would be?  I ask because I’m quite sure from the past fourteen plus years of working with teen girls, that many of them don’t know or worse, they expect a terrible response.

Thankfully, this doesn’t include all of the girls I’ve ever worked with, or even really a majority of them.  I praise God for having come across some very engaged parents that keep an open line of communication in this area.  Some parents who are able to reassure their kids that God loves them unconditionally and so do they as parents.  Of course there would be disappointment to deal with and heartbreak involved as well.  We all (I’m taking liberties here I know) want what is best for our children.  We desire their happiness, and I’m hoping we desire their holiness just as much. 

“So, why are you even asking this question then?” you may want to know.   Well, I’ve also talked with many girls through the years that simply won’t talk to their mom’s about such thing.  This includes of course girls that have gone through our youth department, as well as girls I’ve met while volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center.   When I do encourage these girls to go to their mothers, they look at me as if they’d rather take an ad out in a newspaper confessing their faults than to actually talk to their mom!

 As a mom, of two daughters, this leaves me absolutely confounded.  My girls are only just now on the brink of “teenagedom” and I’m feverishly working to open new lines of communication, as well as keep old ones clear.  I’m constantly asking myself if I’ve shut them down in some way and how can I correct that if I have.  My oldest and I have had a few talks so far about the changes coming her way.  So far she doesn’t seem too traumatized by it.  However, when her Doctor asked if I’d given her any “talks” yet; I responded with, “yes, well, some talks just prepping her.”  He then proceeded to encourage her to save sex for marriage.  “I guess I should have been more specific with him,” I thought to myself as my wide-eyed 11year old sat staring at him without blinking.  Needless to say, we had an impromptu talk on the way home from that appointment.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m so very appreciative to have a Christian doctor who would care enough to talk to her as both a doctor and a daddy himself.  However, we hadn’t gotten to the part of the talk about WHY the changes would be happening. 

Anyway, this morning I came across a book we’ve had for a while called “Stay in the Castle” and decided to use it in place of Bible time for school.  It led to good discussion on how their dad and I pray that they would trust us to help guide them through their single years to find not just a good guy, or even a great guy, but the right guy for them. (if any, as my middle daughter is still declaring her vow to singleness so as to be just like Amy Carmichael).

Truthfully I’m full of thoughts and apprehensions of how these two very different personalities could go astray.  I’m a perfectionist, so at the first sign of bad attitude – I have a tendency to picture my sweet, beautiful, innocent daughter in a gutter somewhere having thrown her life away.  I try not to let this show through, but the tendency itself frightens me because I don’t want them to sense any fears that might creep into my unguarded mind.  I want them to see me as confident that God will take them and do something wonderful and beautiful with them.  I know this is true, if they will stay under Gods guidance and ours.  However, I also want to be prepared to handle any missteps in a godly way.  I want them to feel confident in coming to me with confessions or questions.  I want them to be confident that I’m not going to totally flip out on them (even if I’m flipping out in my head).   So I’m striving now to build the bridges and to keep my responses appropriate to the “little” things.  Who knew that raising kids would mean so much work on ME!?  I rest in the assurance that as long as I follow God and strive to honor and please him in my parenting; he will help take up the slack of my blind spots and reveal them to me as needed.  It’s a humbling position in which to be. 

I’m positive that those reading this, who are part of our church, have already seen holes in my parenting and/or flaws in each of my children.  You’ll never hear me claim to be doing it flawlessly.  However, my aim is to do it humbly and godly with sprinkles of praise and blessing along the way. (I love sprinkles!) 

So, there’s my challenging question for the day; any thoughts or advice on the matter?
Posted in Daily Musings, Parenting

Daddy’s Magic

We try to have “family night” at our house periodically.  Our schedule is so very busy (just like most people these days).  Evenings where we have nothing planned come few and far between, so we try to make these evening memorable for our kiddos.  Some are more memorable than others by either watching a movie together, to playing putt putt golf or going fishing.  However, last night Daddy (a.k.a. 2nd Man) made it really memorable for the kids by making it a magic night.

            Years ago, before we even had kids, 2nd man had included some magic tricks into his repertoire for teens and Bible schools.  For those who are sensitive to the topic you can also use the term “illusions”  (disclaimer: no dark magic or satanic technique was used in performing any of these tricks.)     He hasn’t used them in quite some time as you don’t want to overdue the tricks or perform them more than once for an audience, especially an audience of kids trying to figure out the trick. 

            So, last night I suggested that 2nd man do some of his old tricks for our kids. He decided to do three of his favorites.  For Mr. Jarod man he started with a table trick.  He began by telling Jarod that he was going to actually use the saltshaker to pound some money through the table.   Our daughter, Megan provided the coins in question, which was a concern for Jarod.  Before anything was done he had to express to dad, “Dad, will you promise to pay Megan back for the money she provided?” 

Then he began to ask for “magic words” to make the trick work.

None of them seemed to work.

Then he “remembered” that it was the saltshaker that was supposed to go through the table.  He pounded on the napkin covered saltshaker and it went through the table!

Jarod was impressed…

…And intrigued.

Next, Daddy poured some salt into his fist

And it disappeared….

…No wait…it reappeared!

Then came the piece de resistance…the floating money

2nd man started by working up the static on Megan’s hair

Then he worked it…

…and worked it…

and wala!  Floating money!

 

The kids were duly impressed.  As were we when we first learned this trick. 2nd man actually learned it off of an old college friend whose spirituality we questioned when he performed this one for us.  Thankfully he appeased our fears and now it has worked wonders with our children.   Perhaps we’ll keep them wondering about Daddy for a while and use this power for good in obedience enforcement tactics. 

Or maybe we’ll just enjoy their expressions of awe for a while.

Posted in Homeschooling, Parenting

Home School Tip: Give Blood to Get Free Field Trips

Ok, I shamelessly must admit that I’ve become cheap. After the hilariously horrible financial year we’ve had, I’ve become more creative in my modes frugality. So that is why the 2nd man and I have become blood donors, (oh and because we want to help save lives too, of course). I’ve now learned to tag that last line onto my own sentences about this whole thing.
It really all started while we were doing the fireworks stand this past summer and we saw an advertisement for a blood drive. They were giving away free tickets to baseball games, the zoo, free ice-cream cones and a t-shirt to boot! Well, my head started working and in the middle of the most stressful week of 2nd mans year, I dragged him down to the blood drive and made him do it. “Honey it’s free field trips right here!” I urged him. He just laughed at me and mocked the fact that I left out the part about saving lives too.
So, we did our part, stepped up to the poke and got our freebies. So, last week we decided to use the zoo tickets for a field trip day. (and to let others know we helped save a life of course). We packed into the car with 2nd mans Mom and the kids and all headed to Tulsa for the day. Overall, we had a good time. One of the advantages of home schooling is that we get to go places on weekdays and avoid the crowds. One of the disadvantages was that there were so many zoo exhibits shut down or animals that couldn’t be found. I think we finally spotted an animal after being there about 15 minutes or so. As usual our kids ended up being more excited about a squirrel running across their path than the rare watch-a-macallit in the cage. The real highlight of the day was when we were nearly finished, but still far from the entrance and found an abandoned wagon near the giraffes. The kids rejoiced at the fact that they could ride out of the zoo instead of having to keep up the endless walk. Here are some of the highlight pictures of the day:

The playing bear was very fun and cute.

Everyone loves a giraffe.

The petting zoo was nice.

I think this is some sort of pelvic bone…I chose to avoid explanations and just humor him with a picture…, which leads me to this question, “I gave my blood for this?” Oh right it was to save a life, of course.

Posted in Parenting

Growing Girls

There’s a lot of growing up going on around our house lately.  These two beautiful girls of ours have hit us hard in the pocket book as well as the heart lately.  As you can see daughter #1 got glasses just recently.  I feel kind of sheepish about this one because I didn’t realize the need.  Instead, people at church kept walking by her making comments like, “look at her squinting, does she need glasses?”  or “girl, can’t you see anything?”  After about a month of this, I finally realized I should get her checked out.  Poor girl has worse eyesight than I do. 
            Daughter #2 has an under bite and needs the braces to correct it.  According to the orthodontist it’s either this or we’re looking at jaw surgery in her teen years.  Thankfully she’s only 9 and thinks that braces are cool and kind of pretty.  So, on went the braces.
 I still think they’re beautiful girls.  Can’t believe that they’re growing up so quickly.  I’m trying to deal with it, but it seems like it’s coming so fast right now.  Why is it we’ve been in youth ministry for over 14 years, but all of a sudden I feel a little ill equipped?   Not the time to panic though.  It’s the time to reassess and make sure we’re covering all of our bases and reign in where needed.  God has been good and we’ve proven him time and time again through their early childhood.  I have faith in Him that He’ll see us through these upcoming tween/teen years and again we’ll find him faithful and true.  It’s an exciting time to watch God work.I probably better make this a short post before I break out into a chorus of “Sunrise Sunset.”  I also need to figure out how to make a buck or two to pay for all of this.
Posted in Parenting

What’s-His-Name’s Birthday

We finally had a birthday party for our son this past week.  We had to put it off a couple of weeks because of the busyness of the fireworks stand.  Yes, he really does have a name, but right now I call him “What’s his name” This is due mainly because his name seems to change by the hour right now, all depending on what video game he is playing or what super hero outfit he’s wearing.  What’s really great is the description that goes along with this imagination of his.  At any point during the day he will enter the room I am in and insist that I listen as he tells me something like, “Momma Momma I’m a green Bowser with a blue head and white spikey thingies and….”  Or it may go something like this, Jarod –“Hey Momma should I be Captain America or Superman?”  Me – “How about Superman.”  Jarod – “Nah, I think I’ll be Captain America.”  This leads me to wonder why he even asks and is this beginning of some weird reverse psychological rebellion. 
            So we decided to have a Captain America party.  Believe me this changed a few times before we settled on one character.  He seemed pretty happy with it though.  
Boys are fun.  I bought these cheap little water launcher things at the Dollar Tree and had his party at our church picnic pavilion.  It’s been in the 100 + range lately so the water was a good idea.  You’d think I’d bought them something really big or something.  That’s what I like about boys…they’re easy to please. Well…at least when they’re five.
    
His real name is Jarod Reece. I like this name.  I picked the Jarod off of a TV show character that I really liked some years ago (I know I know real spiritual huh?)  The spelling is different.  I didn’t think this would be a big deal, but it has caused some confusion since day one.  When we were in Pennsylvania one year and he split his head open the E.R. nurse came out and called him “Jay Rod” she kept calling it and calling it until I realized that she was calling us.  From then on there are some in the family that have kept calling him this. 
He’s been such a great addition to our family since day one.  After several miscarriages, 2nd man and I figured that we’d have no more children.  One day while in his prayer time 2nd man asked God if he would please bless us with a son.  I had finally come to a place in life where I was content with our two daughters since it seemed like we kept having losses.  About two weeks after 2nd man prayed this prayer I came to him and told him I was pregnant. I thought he was going to pass out.  I didn’t know about the prayer at that time.  I actually didn’t know about it until five months later when we went in for a sonogram.  When we saw that he was a boy we both cried.  Don’t get me wrong we adore our two daughters, but the desire to have a boy too was strong in the both of us. 
          



 I was in a panic the day of this birthday party.  I’ve been trying to get my house back in order after two weeks of fireworks stand work and before leaving for Chicago.  His birthday was already put off.  Then, the day just seemed to speed by.  As I was frantically trying to ice his cake 2nd man came home to my announcement that there would be no dinner. Just cake.  This was when I realized I didn’t have enough powdered sugar for the icing.  I did the best I could with what I had.  Not exactly my best masterpiece.  I cried to 2nd man about how we don’t do big parties for every birthday, just big ones.  I don’t want my son to remember his first big party as a time when his mother totally had an epic fail in planning and threw it together.  Thankfully, Mr. Jarod man came out at this time, took one look at his cake and with a big “WOW!” gave me a kiss…’nuff said

I love that boy!
Posted in Life Lessons, My Interests, Parenting

Voice of the Martyrs and Meeting Gracia Burnham

A-mazing!!   That’s what Saturday was.  One of the things I was looking forward to (as mentioned in a previous post About the 4Ts of aniticipation Feb. 16, 2011) happened this weekend.  2nd man, our two daughters and I went to the headquarters of Voice of the Martyrs for a national conference.  I knew it would be a good day and would probably be a blessing.  But, I was so moved beyond tears that I’ve had a hard time even settling down enough to try and describe it.  Seriously, this is my third attempt at trying to put it into words.
I was a little taken aback by the fact that you couldn’t have cameras.  It drove home the reality that some of these people have to be careful because of the dangerous persecution that they could be under or could put others from their own countries under by association with them.  I would try to describe to you all of the wonderful, moving and heart wrenching stories these people shared, but it would take all day, and it did while we were there. 
We were impressed and amazed by a young, beautiful woman who goes into the dangerous jungles of Columbia with her father to spread the gospel.  She was fearless and full of faithful confidence in her Lord.  Wow, to have that boldness.  Then there was the gentleman from China who shared story after story of persecution of the Chinese.  Not stories from the past, but stories that are going on today, now in our world as we are going about our day.
Our children had quite a treat too.  The staff at Voice of the Martyrs had created a whole underground church for them out of boxes that were painted.  There was a secret tunnel to get inside there and even a prison cell.  Several of the speakers talked to them as well.  My girls were so impressed by Gracia Burnham, Tom White and the Columbian missionary’s daughter.  They got to make parachutes for the Columbians to drop over the jungle delivering radios set to Christian stations and Bible tracts.  They told me later that it was great and almost better than Bible School, which is a lot in my girls’ opinions. I was truly impressed with the level of excellence that the children’s program delivered.
Then of course there was Gracia Burnham.  The one who drew me to the conference in the first place.  Meeting the Pioneer woman a few weeks back was fantastic and exciting.  However, meeting Gracia was humbling, convicting, inspiring and just flat out awesome.  Not because of her alone, but because of what she has done through Christ.   I most certainly don’t ever wish to have the schooling of faith that she has been through, but I yearn so greatly to be so usable for Christ in such an amazing way.  Her ongoing prayer for those who were her captives is admirable as is her testimony of the entire event and how God has worked in her life since.  2nd man was impressed that even after all this time and multiple chances to share her testimony and so forth, she still gets moved by talking about her late husband and his testimony.  She challenged us to pray more and do more.
  2nd man and I had to go out to the car at the break that followed and just debrief a little.  Are we doing enough?  Does God really want us here? Or does he want us to go?  Where?  Japan?  Africa? Philippines? South America?  We’ve always tried to pray that we’d be willing to go wherever he leads.  But are we really meaning it?  Do we need a supernatural sign or a swift kick out of the plane to go?  Or does God just expect us to do it? 
One thing we know for sure is that wherever we are we need to be doing more no matter if we’re being called away or made to stay.  Honestly, it sometimes feels like we’re spending our time trying to convince Christian teens to act like Christians.  Not to mention ourselves, and all the adults around us too.  We are such a spoiled people here that we can get caught up and passionate, but it feels like it’s usually about our own selves instead of the souls of others. 
I found myself today praying so passionately for those Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are in prisons or captivity around the world today and truly being able to enter into their needs.  What sweet time I was able to spend with the Lord and feeling like I was doing something, fighting for something in a real way not just routine.  How freeing it feels to be able to truly commune with God and have a real sense that he is there, listening and responding.  It’s almost like a part of my faith had been missing, lost in my utter selfishness.  For all of the complaints I have about life and little worries from day to day, I hope God will forgive and still use me or at least my family in some way to further his kingdom.  Across the world Christians are facing death of body by some terrorist or evil government, while we here in America are only asked to face death of self and so many (myself included) are unwilling to face that kind of death.
Gracia Burnahm and me after I’d been crying most of the day .

On a lighter note I have to give you my impression of meeting Gracia Burnham and her daughter too.  Can you say gracious?  Just like her name suggests.  I found myself just melting into her arms at first.  Here was my big chance to say all these wonderful thoughts about her and I was like a blubbering idiot.  Really, I’m so embarrassed by it.  I wanted to explain how I’d heard about her book from a missionary’s wife that was going into a persecuted nation and how it had touched me so deeply.  How I had left off all that I was supposed to do that day and just read through the entire book in one sitting etc.  But, there I stood feeling so overwhelmed by inadequacy that thankfully 2nd man stepped in and saved the day.  He started talking with her and they were like old friends.  She was so engaging and didn’t act like she was in a hurry to get away or anything.  She signed both of my books and hugged me again.  Wow!!  Sometimes you meet people like this and they want to be that way, but they’re just time constrained and too many people are around all wanting a piece of them so they are almost forced to act standoffish.  But she didn’t I was so honored to have bent her ear and to have my children meet her too!  Oh, I pray the impression will be burnt in their minds and memories. 

Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Parenting, Teens

Teen Outreach

            My oldest daughter asked me this morning, “Momma, why is it that we have to take two full touring busses to camp, but only the little shuttle bus on teen outreach?”  A poignant thought coming from a 10 year old, I think.  My only response could be what I gave.  “Honey, outreach means reaching outside of yourself, giving time, and attention to others, whereas camp is about getting.  You get good preaching and lots of fun.  Unfortunately most of the teens…and adults too, are more interested in the getting than the giving.”    Sounds like a negative tone for the start of a blog post doesn’t it?  However, it’s not all bad, and her question got me to really thinking about outreach.
            When I was younger and growing up in church, I didn’t really know what outreach was all about.  I heard the term church visitation, but my family didn’t really go and it all sounded so intimidating.  My inner impression was,  “They expect me, a 7th grader, to randomly knock on someone’s door and be invited in with open arms, show this random person who was awakened from their Saturday morning sleeping-in, how to get to heaven?  Does that really work?  What if they totally yell and chase me off with a shotgun or something?”  I know these were the thoughts of a stretched imagination, but nothing in me wanted to go.
            Fast-forward about 10 years when I find myself in Oklahoma, married to a youth pastor who wants to take kids on visitation.  The first few years of our marriage, I had the attitude that this was his thing and ministry and Saturday was my only real day off, so I would have to stay home and do some housekeeping.  Later, after the kids came along, I was able to use all my babies as excuses.  Then, one day the Lord got a hold of my heart.  No. That’s to gentle of a term.  It’s more like he yanked it up toward his chin and inserted major conviction.  If all these teens come faithfully, certainly, I could give it a try.  I was convicted as a mother as well.  I didn’t want my kids to grow up witnessing fear in their mother to invite someone to church or tell them about the Lord!
            So, one Saturday I packed up the kids and surprised 2nd man by announcing that I would start coming to outreach, even if I had to push a stroller.  You know what? It was easy!   I should have trusted my 2nd man, well, and my Lord, the whole time.  He didn’t throw teens to the wolves and expect miracles.  Teen outreach is simply about easing them into the idea of reaching out and passing out tracts or invitations to our church.  We walk neighborhoods and put the tracts on doors without disturbing anyone.  If someone does happen to be outside or open the door we talk to them and either engage a witnessing opportunity or simply invite them to our church.  Some may think it’s not “real” outreach, but I think it’s giving the teens an opportunity to serve God and, hopefully, giving God an opportunity to stretch and use them.  Lets face it, people don’t just open their doors very prevalently anymore, it can be dangerous.  Not that we don’t do it at all, there are times when 2nd man will choose someone to go along with him and actually knock on the doors looking for opportunity to share the gospel.  However, by training them as a group this way, we’re hoping it will build their boldness and drive. 
            2nd man even makes it kind of fun.  He drives us all around and lets us off in groups of at least 3 or four and gives us a few blocks at a time.  The other youth worker ladies and I usually end up with the “kids” group.  Between us, we have about 6 of our own kids that aren’t in the youth department yet.  These kids spread like mercury out of one of those old glass thermometers.  They can cover a neighborhood in no time flat.  After a few pranks of 2nd man driving by our awaiting group and pretending like he’s forgotten us, we usually go out to lunch to wrap up the morning. 
            I know it’s still intimidating for many of the kids.  That’s why I try not to be too harsh on those who don’t come, at least, the new ones who’ve never tried it.  Our goal is to have 20 kids come.  We don’t always reach that goal, but it’s the goal nonetheless.  I actually find myself more in awe of the ones who do choose to come.  I’m impressed with the teens in our youth department who choose to serve the Lord at such young age even if it isn’t “cool.”  I wish I had been that way and I’m excited for them at the possibilities this could open up in their lives as they grow and serve the Lord.  What blessings they will get to experience that those kids now that don’t come, and I, won’t ever get.  I’m excited, also, for my own children who will think of it as normal and not such a scary deal as they grow older.  It’s good training and especially exciting when we’re able to share with them that someone came to church because of their reaching out.