Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I am a great caddy!

I have successfully survived Golf Marathon--and the unofficial figure for $$$ raised yesterday was $65,000 for YD and Reachout, and $2500 of that will go towards my personal support! So praise the Lord for some great provision.

My duties for the day were fairly simple--to help with food prep--for lunch and snack! YUM! Although, I won't be eating any ham and cheese wraps for awhile!

But in the middle of the afternoon, it turned out that one of the Arlington Area Golfers was without a caddy! He still had forty holes to golf and only about three hours to do it! So I said, "I will be a caddy" and we embarked on the great adventure of running forty holes as fast as we possibly can...I felt like I was manning a getaway car! My golfer would grab his clubs while the cart was moving, jump out as I slowed down to the tee, and then would jump back in with a running start as we glided down the fairway at top speeds. BUT--he got his 100 holes in, and I helped caddy FORTY of them, and I was beat, so I have no IDEA how people honestly golf 100 holes! It's just crazy--that's like, a thousand swings. at least.

I got to spend time with some of my YD and Reachout coworkers yesterday too, which was great, because I have not seen most of them since I arrived in Washington. AND it was an encouraging reminder that I do have great friends in the Pacific Northwest--they just don't all happen to live in Arlington. Four of my coworker friends are even going to drive down for a party that my roommate and I are having on Saturday, which makes my heart happy that I have friends to invite to a party! hooray!

You're all invited too. It's Saturday at 7pm at my apartment. Be there!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Golf Marathon!

Please be praying this week and throughout this weekend as we prepare for Golf Marathon! On this next Monday (the 30th), Dr. Mark Spencer of Arlington will be golfing 100 Holes to raise money for my personal salary support! His goal is to raise $25 per hole--being $2500 for the day. 7 other golfers are also raising money just for Arlington Youth Dynamics. The day promises to be long, but exciting, since all of the money raised will directly be used for Arlington kids this year.

My responsibilities for the day will include helping with meals and perhaps caddying for a bit. So--I don't need too much prayer. BUT, the golfers definitely need prayers for energy and stamina, not only for Monday, but also as they are working to gather pledges this week and weekend. Be praying that God uses these eight men in a powerful way to raise resources to give kids Jesus!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Today, my first official missionary newsletter was put in the mail. I am certainly excited about that!

If--within several days of reading this entry, you have not received a wonderful newsletter in the mail, it may mean that I have incorrect information for you or that you have been mistakenly left off of the list. Please drop me an email if that happens, so I can make sure you're in the database for next newsletter.

My Monday Night Gang.

The boys at Monday Night Bible Study never leave me at a lack for interesting stories. Last week--it was the disco in heaven....this week--it's confronting our need to be in Christian community.

This was the first week I was the facilitator for our Bible lesson. As it turns out, this week, none of the girls showed up (meaning it was me, 2 male adult leaders, and six 8th-10th grade boys!) The theme of the lesson was "Fitting In" and the Scripture for study was Acts 9--Saul's conversion, and Paul's acceptance by the disciples.

These boys--everytime Bible discussion starts, it's a cacophony of conversations, none of which are focused on the lesson itself. There's also disco boy (who always has a tangential question) and the note-stealer boy (who stuffed my lesson notes in his hat and refused to return them.) We talked through Saul's conversion, which led to another tangent of "Can I be saved if I don't have a donkey to be knocked off of?"

After realizing that six different boys were going six different directions, I returned to the theme of "Fitting In" and asked, "So where do you guys fit in? Do you have a place?"


The conversation took on a new tone, still scattered, as everyone confessed that they have a group of friends that they fit with...but they don't necessarily fit in in their families or at school.

And finally--I was able to tie it back in with Saul and ask them how they would go about moving from one group of friends to the other, just like Saul moved from the Pharisees to the Apostles--like, what happens if you're a Boarder, and you wake up one morning and realize you want to be in the Choir. How do you switch groups and gain acceptance?

And eventually asking--what happens to you as a Christian? How do you make that transition to "Fit In" as a Christian?

Suddenly--the boys got focused and serious, and some amazing discussions followed. One of the boys shared that he does not talk about Christ in his current group of friends, and that he doesn't see a need to. Another boy shared that he is a Christian, but for the most part, he dislikes people in the church, and he knows that we do not have to go to church to go to heaven.

Four of the six boys confessed that the church is not a place where they fit in.

The hardest part of hearing them say that is knowing why they say it. All of them are craving something open and genuine and honest--where people openly confess their struggles and admit their wrongs and seek the Lord honestly. They feel like they can't fit in with a church because they don't act and look like a church kid--they might swear, they might wear an offensive shirt, or in a few cases, they smoke. They love Monday Night Bible Study because it's in someone's living room and they fit in--yet how am I to respond and to challenge them to move outside of this comfort zone because it is YD's goal to see them integrated into a local church? They are definitely already members of a Christian fellowship and a Christian community on Monday nights, but they have not yet bridged the gap into a local church...and how do I see that it happens?

This is Bronco and I's biggest area of prayer right now--asking, "Lord, give us your vision for integrating these kids into the body of Christ..."

We are involved in a very relational ministry, therefore we see relationships as the key bridge-builders. If kids and adults who are already integrated into local churches develop relationships with these disconnected Christian kids, there's huge potential. So how is that going to happen? There are ideas rolling around--but it will take prayer, and committed individuals with a shared vision...

Monday, August 23, 2004

*Rainy Days and Mondays*

For three days in a row now (and at least three more to come), it has been an overcast, rainy 60 degrees. I now feel like I am a true Northwesterner, and I am beginning to understand the need for espresso stands. In fact, I think I'm going to stop for a caramel latte this morning.

*Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down*

church yesterday.

Ashley (*name changed*) and I had a great time visiting the Lighthouse Fellowship yesterday. It happened to be a communion Sunday, and she had never even heard of communion before, but she was excited about it. I was praying for her all throughout the service, because here she was, a baby Christian, never really attended church, and we're singing worship songs together without an overhead projector (meaning that she didn't know the words and had to just sit there.) I was worried that she would be uncomfortable and nervous. As it turns out, she listened to everything the pastor said, followed along as he talked through the Scripture and commented on what a funny speaker he was!

So, silly me for worrying about her, because she had a great time. She even shared that her mom wants to start attending church regularly with her...

After church, we went out to lunch with our friends at "Faye's Diner" where Ashley ordered a pancake--and I swear to you that this pancake could set a world's record for size. It was about 2 square feet, and took up this humongous platter! She couldn't even finish it. In fact, the family we were having lunch with shared two pancakes between all three of their kids.

So--if you come to visit me in Washington, I promise that I will treat you to the world's most impressive pancake.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


tomorrow i'm taking one of my girls to church with me. we're going to be visiting the church home of our owyhee river guide and his family. she's never had a church home before (and i don't have a church home right now either) so we're going with his family. she seems to be looking forward to it, and i just pray that she feels comfortable and enjoys the service!

please pray for her! my #1 goal right now is to get her connected to a church home, because she accepted Jesus about a month ago and hasn't been to church yet....

Friday, August 20, 2004

The future of "The Mud Hut" hangs in the balance.

Yesterday, my supervisor (Bronco) and I had a meeting with a youth pastor and youth volunteer from one of the area churches to discuss the future of "The Mud Hut." For the past several years, Arlington YD has partnered with this church to open up a coffeehouse/drop-in ministry for kids ages 12-18. By last spring, it seemed that several problems had escalated:
1. inadequate staffing--full-time staff were burnt out and there was a high student/adult ratio.
2. difficulties monitoring what happened outside the building ("The Mud Hut" is on the 3rd floor of the American Legion building)
3. problems with loitering (kids hanging out on the 1st floor in front of the American Legion means that the American Legion is in violation of their liquor license)
4. vandalism (because of the first two problems, unmonitored kids punched a hole in the stairwell.)

So "The Mud Hut" was shut down for the summer, to repair the vandalism and to also take a break and evaluate the future of the center. All month, Bronco and I have been diligently praying about what to do with "The Mud Hut" whether to relocate it, to revise it, or just to abandon it...and since we're partnering with this specific church in keeping it open, it has to be a more community decision.

In my opinion--the youth center is a vital part of bringing kids into the ministry. Kids will show up at a drop-in center that would never show up at a church, and several kids are now integrated into the local churches and have given their lives to Christ as a result of being at "The Mud Hut." But--up to this point, "The Mud Hut" has been devoid of solid guidelines and adequate staffing. This has to be amended before we could re-open. We're going to continue to talk with other area pastors over the next few weeks and keep praying for direction. In two weeks, the four of us will meet together again to perhaps make some more clear-cut decisions. (because there's also an option of utilizing another local church's youth center for more open community activities, which we want to explore. it's a better location and a bigger facility).

It seems as this point that if God does not give us a go-ahead, or if we cannot recruit passionate, committed volunteers to invest in the lives of kids at "The Mud Hut" that we may just lay it to rest. Whatever decision is made though, Bronco and I are united in the fact that we can't just plan and go ahead with our plan and ask the Lord to bless our decision--we have to ask the Lord for His vision.

So for now, we wait and pray.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

i'm popular!

okay--maybe not popular, but yesterday we took a group of 18 kids up to a Water Park in Birch Bay, Washington. It was a fun day I suppose. Our group had 3 girls and 15 boys, and I'm definitely looking forward to building up the core group of girls YD is reaching this year.

Anyways. After we arrived back home, I was talking on my phone in the YD office parking lot, and there were still about 6 of the 15 boys hanging around. Since I was not paying attention to them and since they were bored, high school boys, they began pelting me with ice cubes from across the parking lot. The boys, overall, have been treating me like I'm a big idiot, but when they began pelting me with ice cubes, I thought, ha HA! I'm victorious! I'm popular! They want me to pay attention to them! So I yelled out "stop it!" which they of course did not, and I felt very happy to have received the official teenage boy stamp of approval--being worthy of their annoyances.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

"the disco part of heaven"

last night at the Monday Night Lifeline Group (Bible Study and Fellowship with about 8 kids) we were discussing the Proverbs referring to "taming the tongue," watching your words and such...

at one point one of the boys in the group said, "why do we have to do all of this work to get into heaven? I thought it was supposed to be easy--you ask Jesus into your heart, and that's it."

"Well, yes, that's true," the adult leaders respond in unison, "but there's also your opportunity to respond and decide to live well with your time on earth...because we are still here for now..."

"So," our young inquisitor asks, "Does that mean I don't have to have a job to get into heaven? I can just sit around and be lazy?"

"Well...you could..." we say..."But if you live well on earth, you're working towards a reward that you won't get until you get to heaven..."

"Yeah," he says, "maybe if you're lazy and don't work while you're on earth, you don't get to go to the cool part of heaven. You have to go to the lowest rung of heaven, that they reserve for all the bums--it's like--you have to go to the disco part of heaven."

apparently, to a 14-year old boy in 2004, eternity in a disco is on par with being a bare-minimum reward. i wonder how john travolta feels about that?

p.s. if you're wondering if eternity in a disco is for you, please follow this friendly link, which was provided by the blogmaster Nate Shorb: Disco Dance Lessons

Monday, August 16, 2004

3 Exciting Things

#1- Saturday, I became an official member of the Seattle Art Museum. I've never lived within driving distance of such a quality art museum, therefore it was mandatory I become a member (plus, if you're a member, you get 15% off all the books in the bookstore! Hooray!). The special exhibit at the art museum was a Dutch collection, featuring a lot of Van Gogh (also hooray!) Including: "Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum at midnight" and "The Garden of the Asylum at Saint Remy". My favorite piece, however, was by the Dutch Artist Johan Thorn Prikker. The painting, called "The Bride" was rich in Dutch and Christian symbolism (you can see the crucifix, the crown of thorns, and tulips in the painting)....ahhh...it was one of those paintings that you gallavant around the whole gallery and find yourself still staring at an hour later...LOVELY.

#2- Arundhati Roy, whom I once wrote about on this blog, (as the author of The God of Small Things) will be coming to Seattle on Tuesday to speak, and I now have a ticket to see her! Hoorah! It is becoming quite apparent that I love being within driving distance of the city.

#3- I had a wonderful time in worship yesterday with the people of Arlington Free Methodist Church. I have not yet decided if this is to be my church home, but yesterday, when I walked in the doors and saw a few familiar faces, I thought--this is very nice. I actually know about ten people that attend this church, which is about as many people as I know everywhere else combined--so...we'll see...it was a solid, Bible-based, dynamic service, and I liked it.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Post a comment!

If you are reading this blog and enjoy the things you read, or question the things you read, I want to hear from you! Under each posting I make is a little blue link that says "Comments." If you click on comments, you can write a response to something I write. If "Comments" has a number next to it, it means other people have posted comments that you can also read if you click on "Comments." It doesn't have to be anything flashy, but please know that however short, I would enjoy interacting with you about the subjects of these entries, and if you have questions or comments or additions, or reflections, it would be great to hear from you! It can also turn into a very funny way to interact with my friends/family/supporters.


The Transition and Its Distractions.

This week I am just beginning to realize how scattered I have felt ever since arriving. I may not have admitted that I was scattered, or even known I was scattered, but now that I finally have a phone line in my office and my computer hooked up to DSL, I know that I have been scattered.

There are lots of things to be distracted by, I suppose: new office, new apartment, new coworkers, new responsibilities, new driver's license, new grocery store, new personal budget, new side of the country, new roommate, new friends, new church, new license plates, new speed limit, new car insurance, new address, new post office, new schedule, blah, blah, blah, you get the point.

The main point is that within the last few days, a few of my close friends used the word "distracted" to define the events in my life right now, and I feel like I've just woken up out of a trance to realize, "Hey! Heather! You just raised support and moved to Washington State to do full-time youth ministry! Remember?!" and I think to myself--"oh....yeah...YEAH! Hey! I'm in Washington! I'm a youth pastor! Hey! I want to be here! Hey! Kids! Jesus! They're why I'm here!"

So, I feel like I have passed some first rite of passage of the cultural flow chart of "how to transition to a new place." I have finally recognized I'm in a new place, that there are things about the new place that are becoming familiar, and that a new place means a new lifestyle and new goals that are not yet routine--meaning: I need to be a bit more consciously aware of how I structure my daily life. So...beginning today, I'm telling the blog community: I set the goal to spend the next few weeks diligently focused on setting goals and gaining a clearer understanding of what it is I am to do here. I'm not saying the distractions are gone; I'm saying I want to stop being distracted.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Jazzola Spaceship

So this afternoon, me and my Arlington kid--we'll call her Ashley for the sake of this public domain--we went to the "Hot Spot Coffee Shop" espresso stand by the highway (as I said we would)...and it was beyond even our wildest dreams of how wonderful it could be! First of all, the ten-foot tall stainless steel coffee pot really does look like it could sprout rockets and take off into space...it really resembles one of those module pods that the astronauts are in when they land in the ocean...and it had a Washington State License Plate that read "Jazzola," which makes me think that secretly the "Hot Spot Coffee Shop" is supposed to be my new home.

And, to make it even better, the man who owns the "Hot Spot Coffee Shop" has a mohawk and was wearing red pajama pants. He not only made us our trendy blended fruity drinks, he brought us ice water and extra mints at our spot in the hot sun an hour later. Way to go mohawk pajama man! Our drinks were amazingly wonderful, complete with technicolor sprinkles.

And the point of this little meeting is that Ashley is really excited about doing a girl's Bible Study. She just accepted the Lord on the Owyhee River trip, and she's been reading her Bible since we returned and has lots of questions. Today we talked about geneologies, because she seems fascinated by the fact that Matthew starts out with a list of names, and she asked me what "Son of Judah" meant, so we had a basic lesson in Old Testament history. Finally, she asked, after I drew a family tree of the Patriarchs, "How do you know this stuff?!" I was like, "Um, I don't know...I guess I've just been learning about it my whole life, especially the last ten years." She seems overwhelmed by the amount of stuff she doesn't know, while I'm already overwhelmed with the amount of stuff she asks questions about.

She and I are going to try out a new church together next Sunday, and I'm excited that she wants to go to church. Today, she asked, "What do I wear?" And Monday, she and I and her cousin are going on a picnic to visit our River Guide friend...right now, I just so enjoy my time with these girls, and it's so awesome when she asks, "So what's your job?" as we're sipping our Raspberry Cream blended drinks, and I can say, "This is!"

Cooking out by the Stilly!

The Stillaguamish River, just a half a block from my apartment, was the site of the official "Owyhee River Kayaking Trip Reunion Cookout" Woohoo! I got to see seven of the eight kids who went on the trip and our three river guides again...we had a great time hanging out and talking (and eating), and I was just soooo glad to see my three girls again. I mean, we had an amazing week on the river together, and since then, I had only talked with one of them...So I was able to make plans to hang out with the other two this week and next week, which makes me very, very glad....because this follow-up thing is super hard! You get one week with them when they're focused, and then they come home and scatter, and it's a lot harder. I have to be like "So, which day are we hanging out? How about Wednesday? 2pm? Great. I'll pick you up. How about the espresso stand by the highway? Do you want to go there? Great." I feel like I'm selling knives or something, just trying to set up appointments with kids and not taking no for an answer.

So one of the girls and I are going to the espresso stand by the highway today. (Please make a mental note here the Washington countryside is littered with thousands of espresso stands. Every local business sells espresso or has an espresso stand in their parking lot. I think there are approximately 30 espresso stands in Arlington, with only 11,000 people. It's crazy.) We picked this one, because unlike most of the espresso stands (which are basically plywood boxes with a drive-thru window), this espresso stand has an outdoor sitting area, AND, it's shaped like a humongous stainless steel coffee pot! It deserves our business just for being pretty to look at. AND, yesterday, when I got a drink there, a man shouted out to me across the parking lot, "How's your drink?!" So, they're a friendly espresso stand too...

Monday, August 09, 2004


On Friday night, Bronco and I got together for a meeting with our volunteer advisory committee in Arlington. This is a group of people that helps us to make good decisions about the ministry of Youth Dynamics in Arlington. As it turned out, only one of our volunteers made it to the meeting, so the three ended up talking and sharing Arlington kids for a few hours.

Best of all--was that we spent about 45 minutes praying for the kids in the ministry and the direction of the ministry this year. It was great for me to see and experience a huge amount of prayer behind a ministry, because I'm very accustomed to shooting up a quick 5-minute prayer and then starting the planning session, and then praying at the end for God to bless it.

This time, we only prayed and talked and did NO definite planning, even though I had come to believe this was a planning meeting?! Meaning that the "plans" that were discussed will continue to be prayed and thought over for the next few weeks, and definite plans may not take shape for awhile, as we kind of sit back and wait for God to plant in us a definite direction. How exciting.

Something that I'm certainly praying over is an All Girl's Bible Study, headed up by me--which would potentially reach girls that would not be reached as easily through our existing two co-ed Bible Study groups. Right now I'm praying for vision for that group--and for God to show me which girls to approach about the group. I already have three solid ones in mind, and another two names have been shared with me since mentioning the ideas....so....we'll see.

I'm not a failure!

Just so you know--on Saturday morning, I showed the Washington State Department of Licensing who's boss--I passed their silly exam, and therefore I received my very own Washington Driver's License. Not only did I pass their exam, I received 20 out of 20...so HA!

I would like to let you know that my final question was: "When riding a bicycle at night, for what length of distance should the front headlight be visible? 200ft, 300ft, 500ft, or 600ft." The correct answer is 500ft, and it's a good thing that I memorized the Driving Guide booklet, because just think of how many cyclists would have their lives endangered by me not knowing that the front bicycle headlight should be visible for 500ft instead of 600ft...

Friday, August 06, 2004

The Washington State Department of Licensing.

Do seven years of driving experience and no moving violations count for anything anymore?


In Washington, all that the Department of Licensing cares about is "Can you pass our ridiculously tricky computerized driving test?"

The point of this rant: I have failed my written exam for a Washington State Driver's License. Some of the tricky questions include the following:
1. When driving on a four-lane highway with a median separating the lanes, when you approach a school bus with flashing red lights, what should you do? (pass it unless children are crossing the road)
2. What is the fine for parking in a handicapped zone without a permit? ($250)
3. If you are the cause of an accident which results in injuries requiring hospitalization, death, or more than $700 damage to a vehicle, within how many days of the accident are you required to report the accident to the state highway patrol? (4 days--I said 2 days...don't you think that if you're in an accident where someone dies you should maybe call the police sooner than four days later?)

It is important to note that I read the entire State Driving Guide Booklet and read the fine print, and there were not very clear answers given throughout the book.

It was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I kept talking about how I would fail the test, and then this morning, I couldn't find the booklet to do some last minute cramming...I'm convinced this is all an elaborate scheme to keep me humble. I will go retake the test tomorrow.

P.S. you don't have to pass a test to get new license plates, which is good, because Mt. Rainier now graces the front end and back end of my vehicle. Whew.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

the local scoop

today i stopped to have ice cream with one of the girls who went on the Owyhee River Trip with us. we went to "The Local Scoop," Arlington's own local ice cream shoppe, and i was astounded to discover that you can purchase a double scoop waffle cone for $5.99! This thing was HUGE, and i was thinking that no one could eat that much ice cream--oh, but the petite teenager that i was with downed the whole thing. i was so impressed that anyone could consume that much ice cream in one sitting!

we had a great conversation, and best of all, she's excited about the idea of doing an all girls' bible study in Arlington this year (we currently facilitate two co-ed bible study groups)--which i would be excited to lead...so it's just in the brainstorming phase right now, but it has lots of potential--and it could be a great way to integrate some new female volunteers and new girls into the ministry....so....i'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

email and an oil change

since when can you check your email at the texaco station while you're getting an oil change? oh! since today! because i'm doing it. amazing.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

when does school start?!

HEY! When does school start? It needs to start soon! I have spent the last three days in the office by myself, and I am booooooored! Okay, that's not entirely true...I had a few fun hours painting the walls of my office, I rearranged the furniture, I hung pictures, I called the girls who went Kayaking with us, I wrote some articles for newsletters....

But it's officially been a week since I've seen any kids in the ministry, and I miss them! I want to talk to them...I want to see how they're doing...I want them to sing a really annoying song over and over or make monkey sounds for four hours straight, but the kids are not around...they are on vacation...they are swimming in the river...they need to come back and go to school, so that they will all be in the same place at the same time, and I can go there and hang out with them and listen to them complain about their homework. Come on school! Get started! Sooooon!