Isn't that an encouraging title?! Weeks of hope! Who wouldn't want to have weeks of hope? We all need hope and without it get discouraged, get grumpy, get overwhelmed or sometimes without hope we just give up.
Hope is so important and so it is that every summer we looked forward to serving as a host site for teenagers to come and volunteer at Soaring Wings Ministries through a program called Week of Hope. For 5 weeks this summer we will have a different group of teenagers and their adult leader helping out with Soaring Wings Ministries. I can hear you now asking "What will they be doing?". Each week will be different but also similar. Different in that each week there will be different jobs for the teens to do. Our list of jobs this year include roof repair on some of the sheds, building outdoor benches, filling in a trench, cleaning the siding on the porch, repairing a broken outdoor chair, staining picnic tables, pulling weeds, planting a garden, demolishing an old chicken coop....the list goes on. That is just a sampling of some of the jobs they will be doing. Even though the jobs will be different each week, the schedule will be the same as each Wednesday we will have the teens put together Blessing Bags and then we will all go down to Fort Collins to give out the Blessing Bags to the homeless. At the end of each week, on Thursday afternoon, we will say thank you to our teen volunteers with a cook out for lunch.
Our first group of teens and adult leader will arrive on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. We have not yet met them and each Monday morning through the summer we watch a van drive down our long road and into our driveway and we wonder what the teens will be like who will be stepping out of the van and spending each day with us for a week. I can tell you that each group is uniquely different and I can also tell you that 99.9 percent of the teens are very hard and enthusiastic workers.
As we have been anticipating the arrival of Week of Hope we have been preparing for their arrival. We have our list of jobs ready and we have also made sure that we have all the materials ready that they will need to complete their jobs. We also have our kitchen stocked with food for the picnic each Thursday. We have been praying for the teens that will arrive and I know that God is preparing us and the teens for the summer here at Soaring Wings Ministries. Once again you probably are wondering, how do you know that God is preparing everyone for the summer of Week of Hope? I know because God speaks to me and all of us through scripture. I spend time reading my Bible every morning and last week each devotional that I read led me to the exact same scripture verse....Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven". It is no coincidence that everything I've read spoke about being a light in this world that shines for the glory of God.
My prayer for the upcoming weeks of Week of Hope is that we can all be a light for the glory of God. Ed and I want to be a light to the teens and to the homeless and we want the teens to be a light to us and to the homeless as well. We pray that everything that we do during the next 5 weeks will all be done for the glory of God. We want other people to see Jesus when they see the work that is being done.
I ask that you pray along with us for our summer of Week of Hope. Pray for the teens that they will have fun, work hard and be safe. Pray for good health and energy for Ed and I. Pray for our interactions with the homeless. Pray that our light will shine before men in everything we do so that they will see our good deeds and give PRAISE TO OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.
With all Praise to our Heavenly Father,
Soaring Wings Ministries
The last time I wrote a blog, May 21st, it was snowing! As I sit at our computer this morning writing this blog I can look out our window facing east and I am happy to tell you that it is not snowing! In fact it is a beautiful spring morning with bright sunshine, green grass and a clear sky. We are seeing lots of signs of springs here on the prairie. We don't have fragrant blooming bushes here or budding flowering trees but nevertheless the signs of spring are quite evident. Mostly we see it in the activity of the prairie wild life. They are quite busy this time of year! The rabbits are quite plentiful, as are the prairie dogs. The antelope are always a joy to watch as they leisurely walk through our line of vision. We quite frequently see a fox and a coyote wander through on the upper ridge before our dogs quickly let them know that they are not welcome here. It really is a very beautiful time of year and my heart is always full of gratitude for the blessings of living on the prairie.
Spring is also YARD SALE TIME! Yesterday we spent the morning at a yard sale to benefit Soaring Wings Ministries. We have wonderful Soaring Wings Ministries Board Members and yesterday one of them sponsored a yard sale and donated the proceeds to Soaring Wings Ministries. All total there were three families who donated their unwanted treasures to the yard sale. It was a win win situation for everyone! Some families were glad to clear out their homes of unwanted items, shoppers were thrilled with the treasures they found and Soaring Wings Ministries received a generous donation. For Soaring Wings Ministries it was also a wonderful time to tell some of the shoppers about Soaring Wings Ministries and to spend the morning visiting with our Board Members as we sipped coffee, tea and water.
So, my purpose in writing this blog is to ask you, Do you have some unwanted items that you would like to get rid of? Would you sponsor a yard sale and donate the proceeds to Soaring Wings Ministries? Many people say that they would like to get rid of some things around their house but just don't have enough for a yard sale. It really is very easy and very nice to sponsor a yard sale and open it up to neighbors, friends and family to donate some items to sell as well. All you need to do is pick a date, let your friends, neighbors and family members know to donate household items ( I would suggest the you not accept electronics, couches and mattresses as they are hard to sell at yard sales) and ask if any of them would like to help with the yard sale. It really is a very nice way to spend time with your neighbors, friends and family and to clean out your houses as well.
As I shared in my last blog, the bulk of our budget comes from our friends and family. This is an expensive time of year for us and it is also the time of year when our donations from friends and family are at their lowest. Will you host a yard sale to help us with our expenses? If the answer is yes, please let us know. We will send you some small posters to put up around your yard sale so shoppers will know that the proceeds are going to support Soaring Wings Ministries. We will also send you some brochures to have available as needed. We would love to see some pictures of your yard sale and hear the stories that will surely come from your interactions with neighbors, family, friends and shoppers. Yesterday at the yard sale we met a young couple who were soon to become foster parents to a teenager. We loved hearing their story and loved encouraging them on their road to becoming foster parens as they encouraged us in our work with the homeless through Soaring Wings Ministries. We also met a gardener who purchased all of our colored glass vases. We asked her what she was going to do with them and she showed us pictures of her lovely garden decorated with beautiful garden art made with bright purple and blue vases.
Thank you in advance for all your support of Soaring Wings Ministries. We are blessed to have so many wonderful encouragers and supporters. We can't express how much you all mean to us and how much your help makes our work at Soaring Wings Ministries possible. As I close this blog I see that 3 antelope have wandered into my line of vision. Two of them are grazing peacefully and the other one is laying down for a rest. God's blessings are indeed many. May each one of you see God's blessings in each day.
Soaring Wings Ministries
Hello from snowy Colorado! Yes, that is correct. Today is a snowy day here on the plains in Colorado and anytime there is a significant snow fall my New England roots kick in. Snow falling heavily from the sky and accumulating on the ground causes me to cancel all of my plans and hunker down inside for what we New Englanders call a "snow day". I love snow days because it gives me an opportunity to slow down. So far this morning I have had extended time for prayer and Bible reading. I have also had the pleasure of lingering over 4 cups of tea and two breakfasts (they were small breakfasts!). The snow forces me to put all my outdoor chores on hold.....no weeding, trimming, planting or raking. There is also no point in spending time housecleaning on a snow day because of all the snow and mud that gets tracked in from cats, dogs and humans. The best part about a snow day is having time to spend with my family at home. Time with family truly is a gift as we are usually rushing off in many different directions. So today in Colorado, I am doing what any well trained New Englander would do on a snow day....hunkering down, being thankful for some time at home and enjoying the day.
Operating at a slower pace during my snow day at home causes me to have time to reflect. As I have reflected on our life in Colorado and on Soaring Wings Ministries.....I am thankful. I look out our window at the beautiful, peaceful snow and my eyes are drawn to the addition. The combination of the clean, bright white snow against the bright, clean, gray siding of the addition is stunning!!! I am SO THANKFUL for our hard working, generous and wise volunteers who spent their Sunday afternoon putting up the siding on the addition. They were very wise to start with the sides of the addition that take the brunt of the wind blowing down from the north out of Wyoming as on the plains we are completely exposed to the weather. The wind can be very harsh at times and so we give a heartfelt THANK YOU to our volunteers who not only made the addition strong and snug, but also beautiful!
I am also very thankful for my loving heavenly Father and my personal relationship with Him. We have been hit very hard this winter and spring with multiple and significant health issues. The health issues seemed to come one one right after another. It was like strong ocean waves determined to pull us down and drown us. But I am SO THANKFUL that God hears and answers our prayers for healing and good health. With God's help we have persevered and are moving forward and ready for the next phase of Soaring Wings Ministries.
So, what is the next phase of Soaring Wings Ministries? We have clear and concrete goals and I am happy to share them with you. 1) We have two exterior walls on the addition that need to be have siding put on them. 2) We have flooring that needs to be installed in the addition. 3) We have trim work that needs to be put up around the windows and doors. 3) We also have kitchen cupboards and cabinets to be installed. 4) We have closet doors that need to be put up. 5) We have a dirt road that needs to have rocks brought in and then graded. 6) We need a septic system installed before we can use the addition for bedrooms.
There are many other chores and tasks to be accomplished at Soaring Wings Ministries but the six that I have listed above are the most immediate ones and the ones that we are looking to have accomplished this summer. All the tasks that we look to accomplish this summer take time and money. As I sit here at the computer Ed and Meredith are busy working on grant requests that will soon be submitted; however, all that we have learned from professionals in the field of non-profit fund raising indicate that the bulk of the funds for small non-profits do not come from grants. They are absolutely right!!!! The bulk of our budget since the inception of Soaring Wings Ministries has come from family and friends who believe in the work being down here in Colorado and who see the progress that is being made and who want to be part of the amazing miracle of Soaring Wings Ministries. The checks that Soaring Wings Ministries receives in the mail are mostly $25.00, $50.00 or $100.00. Those checks are our bread and butter and over the past 3 years they have helped to build the addition for a homeless family. So please keep those checks coming! Please do not think that any check is too small. Remember the story in the Bible of how God took a meager 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and fed 5,000 people. (Matthew 14:13-21). God is able to do much with a little! Truly Soaring Wings Ministries is a miracle because the founders, staff, Board Members, donors, supporters and prayer warriors are ordinary people. The miracle is that God can use ordinary people to accomplish much! It is so exciting to see how he has provided and grown Soaring Wings Ministries. We do indeed serve a loving, powerful, gracious and faithful God.
To each one of you who have had a hand in this journey of Soaring Wings Ministries we thank you! God has used you in a mighty way! I pray that each one of you will draw closer to God and see more of Him and what He is able to accomplish when we relinquish our will to His. I also hope that if you have not yet been out to Wellington, Colorado to see Soaring Wings Ministries that you would be a able to find some time to come out for a visit. We would love nothing more to tell you and show you all that God has done!
My snow day is quickly winding down. (The snow never lasts long where we live in Colorado!) As I finish writing this blog the sun is pushing hard to break through the clouds and the snow on the ground is already getting heavy and slushy from melting. I am so thankful that I was able to spend part of my snow day with so you through this blog. My snow day and my time spent writing this blog has been a blessing to me and I hope that it is a blessing to you, the reader, as well.
May God bless you all and most importantly may He guide you all into a closer relationship with Him.
Soaring Wings Ministries
499 Trinity Lane
Wellington, Colorado 80549
Have you ever had it happen to you that as you read your Bible, listen to a sermon or read a book, that you notice a "coincidental" theme? It really gets your attention doesn't it?! I really believe that it is not a coincidence at all but rather it is one of the ways that God communicates with us and guides us in our daily lives.
This idea of a "theme" has happened to me over and over again recently. The "theme" that I have heard for several months could be titled...."Stay The Course". I have found it very comforting and very reassuring in light of our work for Soaring Wings Ministries and our work with the homeless in Northern Colorado. Recently the Bible passages that I have read and the sermons that I have heard have focused on obedience. As we are obedient we can expect that we will be required to take risks and yet in our obedience and risk taking we can depend on God's faithfulness and provision. This theme on obedience carried on for several weeks in my Bible reading and devotional readings. Our obedience to God's plan requires us to stand firm, to continue on and to do so without fear. Our obedience to God does not require perfection. It doesn't require that we have everything all planned out from beginning to end. We can be assured that God has a plan and that he will guide us as we are obedient to Him. How comforting to me and all of us at Soaring Wings Ministries that our God is so mighty, so powerful and so faithful that He works through us, even in our weaknesses, to provide for Soaring Wings Ministries!
I can tell you that from the very beginning, our journey to grow and develop Soaring Wings Ministries has been a journey of obedience. It has also been a journey of risks as we ventured out to be obedient. We have never had all the answers or known how God would provide. What we do know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is that God has a plan, God guides and God provides!
As we move forward to complete the addition for two homeless individuals we still face unknowns. Who will God bring along side us to help put up the exterior siding on the addition? Where will the money come from to install the septic system? How will God guide us to the people who will be living in the addition? These are all unknowns to us but we know who we serve and we know Him to be faithful. So we remain obedient and we remain steadfast in our work at Soaring Wings Ministries.
Very soon we will be entering into spring and summer which are always busy, fun and expensive months for Soaring Wings Ministries. We look forward to these months and can't wait to see how God will continue with His plan for Soaring Wings Ministries and to see how God will answer our prayers for provision and guidance. Please keep Soaring Wings Ministries in your prayers. Also please come and visit us on the beautiful plains of Northern Colorado. We would love to show you with tangible evidence that indeed God is faithful and indeed God does provide!
I want to close this blog with these Bible Verses from the first chapter of Joshua. Beginning in verse 7 it says, "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever we go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go".
What does that verse mean to me and to all of us at Soaring Wings Ministries. It means STAY THE COURSE!
Soaring Wings Ministries
Our days here at Soaring Wings Ministries are busy and full. Most days it is hard to find time to get everything done that we need and want to do. Because of our busy days I often get up very early in the morning to read my Bible and to spend time talking to God. It is usually quite early in the morning, sometime between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. I truly love this time, in the quiet of the early morning, spending time alone with God.
I have found that as I read my Bible, God will speak to me through His word. My Bible reading recently took me to Isaiah 58. The words in Isaiah 58 are convicting and also comforting. I loved reading this passage because I had just finished praying for Soaring Wings Ministries This Bible passage reassured me that we were on the right path with Soaring Wings Ministries and that we should be encouraged as we continue on with our work here for God. It was also very comforting to know that if we follow God's ways and are obedient to what pleases Him then He will guide us and He will satisfy our needs. I also felt convicted reading this passage because it told me how important it
is to God that we care for those in need....that we care for those in need well...not just with minimal effort. After reading Isaiah 58 I prayed that our work here at Soaring Wings Ministries would be pleasing to Him and that we would truly care about and care for the needy and the oppressed around us.
I am sharing Isaiah 58 with you as I believe it is best to let God's words speak to you rather than my own words.
"Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house or Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. 'Why have we fasted', they say, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?'
Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chose, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob". The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
I pray that God will help us to be faithful in our work here at Soaring Wings Ministries as we seek to be pleasing to Him in all that we do. I also pray that God will bless you and guide you as you follow His ways. My prayer is that God will be pleased with all of our lives and that we will all find joy in our work and joy in the Lord.
Soaring Wings Ministries
Five years ago today we left the deep woods of New Hampshire and began our journey out west to Colorado. As I reflect back on our journey, I remember that it was a hard one. It was very difficult to say good-bye to everyone and everything that was loved and familiar. It was even more difficult because we were heading to a place that was totally unfamiliar and to a place where we knew no one.
Fast forward from August 27, 2013 to August 27, 2018. Today we are quite settled in Colorado and completely appreciating the beauty of our surroundings. We have a vast view of the Rocky Mountains and skies that are painted with beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The peacefulness of Soaring Wings Ministries is quite striking to just about everyone who comes here. We have a small, cozy house on the prairie and we quite regularly see antelope grazing from our porch or window. If we travel down the road a short distance we can often see buffalo peacefully grazing on the prairie grasslands. We are often treated to the comical site of a jack rabbit loping across the road. The jack rabbits are fast so we don't get to see them very long but their huge feet and huge ears always make us laugh. When we left New Hampshire 5 years ago I never imagined that we would live in such a beautiful, tranquil area.
Not only has he given us a beautiful home for Soaring Wings Ministries but He has blessed us with so many, many wonderful new friends. These friends have welcomed us into their lives. They have encouraged us, supported us and believed in our work here at Soaring Wings Ministries. That these friends would accept us and our work so openly is a huge deal because most of them have lived here in Colorado all their lives and they have lovingly made us part of their lives. We've also made new friends from all over the United States, not just Colorado. When we lived in New Hampshire, I never imagined that we'd have good friends from Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are so blessed to have such wonderful, supportive, encouraging friends from all over the west!!!
We have also been blessed by so many visits from friends and family back east. Each time one of them comes for a visit our spirits are lifted. We laugh about all the differences between Colorado and New England......frozen lobsters versus fresh lobsters right off the boat, all the ice cream that New Englanders eat year round, Dunkin Donuts coffee versus Starbucks. It is as if our visitors bring a little bit of New England to Colorado with them each time one of them comes to visit. They also leave us with encouragement to keep going and to complete the work that God has given us to do.
I think one of the biggest blessings that we have received over the past 5 years is that we are all walking closer with our Lord. When everything and everyone is new you quickly learn to depend completely on God for everything! I could tell you story, after story, after story of how God has answered our prayers. There have been so many times when all we could do was to leave our needs and requests at the feet of Jesus as they were beyond our means and capability and then after praying to trust in Him to answer our prayers according to His will. When we first arrived to Colorado and needed a home for Soaring Wings Ministries that we could afford....God provided. When we needed an architect to provide building plans free of charge....God provided. When we needed a team to put up the framework for the addition....God provided. When we needed volunteers to help with the building of the addition....God provided. When we needed the roof to be installed before winter.......God provided. When we needed protection for the unfinished addition throughout an entire winter......God provided. When our funds were depleted during our busy summer months and we needed more funds to continue......God provided. When we needed a plumber......God provided. When we needed an electrician.....God provided. When we needed to borrow a backhoe......God provided. When we needed help installing wallboard.....God provided. When we needed funds to purchase the siding......God provided.
Over and over and over again God has proven himself faithful. I can tell you without a doubt that we serve a living, loving , faithful, powerful God. Do not ever question whether God exists.....He DOES! Do not ever wonder if God hears your prayers.....HE DOES! Do not ever think that God doesn't care.....HE DOES! And if God calls you to something bigger, beyond your capabilities, as He called us to Soaring Wings Ministries do not doubt that He will guide you each step of the way.....HE WILL!
In closing, I want to share this Bible verse with you. It is from Lamentations 3:22-23 "The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never ceases. For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness". We absolutely know God's word to be true. We have tested it with our very lives and know that indeed God is faithful.
His servant on the plains,
It is hard to believe that my last blog posting was in April of this year, but that should be seen as a positive fact rather than a negative one because since May we have been busy, busy, busy working on the addition. We had a total of 72 volunteers here at Soaring Wings Ministries this summer which resulted in a total of 1, 192 volunteer hours. That is a lot of volunteers and a lot of volunteer hours and we are so very thankful for each and everyone of our volunteers! We praise God for blessing us with hardworking, generous and cheerful volunteers! Because of them, Soaring Wings Ministries SOARED this summer! The addition is no longer looking like a construction zone but it is looking more and more like a home.
You know the saying, "One picture is worth a thousand words" so I am sharing some pictures of what the addition looked like back in April and some pictures of what it looks like today. In the pictures you see below show that the walls are up and ready for paint. Installing the drywall, mudding and sanding was a huge, slow, tedious, time consuming project and we are so grateful for our determined volunteers! They worked hard, did not give up and with finishing touches from a professional drywall company the walls came out beautiful! The shower was also installed which may sound like a simple project but the first shower did not fit through the door and so it had to be returned and another shower purchased. We were also able to purchase all the interior doors and they were installed by one of our summer volunteers. Meredith and Ed worked hard to install the bathroom floor as the toilet was being installed by our friends from Albuquerque, New Mexico who gave up some of their vacation time to install both the toilet and the shower for us. We truly were blessed to have so many wonderful, generous people serve here at Soaring Wings Ministries from all over the country and from Colorado. Now that the flurry of summer is over and the volunteers are heading back to school, college and work we have a few moments to reflect on all that was accomplished this summer. We love walking through the rooms in the addition just to look at the walls. They truly are beautiful and we are filled with gratitude as we look at the addition and see all that God has accomplished. We do indeed serve a mighty God!
Please continue to be in prayer for the addition and for Soaring Wings Ministries. We need to purchase and put up the outside siding on the addition before winter. We continue to remain debt free in the building of the addition and we move forward with the addition as God provides the funds.
If you feel led to make a donation to Soaring Wings Ministries for the siding it would be greatly appreciated. A check can be mailed to Soaring Wings Ministries at 499 Trinity Lane, Wellington, Colorado 80549 or you can make a donation via PayPal at this site.
We are so very excited for all that God has done this summer and we are so very grateful for His blessings and guidance over Soaring Wings Ministries.
To God be the glory for all He has done.
Soaring Wings Ministries
My last blog posting was March 9th and at that time we were getting ready to head back to our home in Colorado after spending time with our family in Florida. Since we returned home we have been involved in a whirlwind of activities for Soaring Wings Ministries. My daughter, Meredith and I, prepared and hosted our annual Ladies Afternoon Tea as a fundraiser for Soaring Wings Ministries on Sunday, April 8th. We had a lot of fun planning the menu, shopping in thrift stores for little tea cups, preparing the cookies and tea sandwiches to serve and setting the table with all things tea. It was a lovely time, as always, to spend the afternoon with friends over cups of hot tea and goodies. This year we had the pleasure of having 8 little girls at our Ladies Afternoon Tea. They were daughters and granddaughters of the ladies who attended the tea. I have to honestly say that at first I was apprehensive about having little girls, ages 3 to 8 at the tea. Would they enjoy the tea? Would 8 young girls be too active and not let the ladies enjoy a leisurely afternoon? I have to say that any apprehension that I had about the young girls attending the tea was gone in about 5 minutes after the girls arrived and sat down at their table for tea. They were absolute young ladies. They sat nicely at their little table, which Meredith and I set with real glass tea cups, little spoons and plates for of goodies. It was so sweet to see them in their dress up clothes, sitting nicely at the table and enjoying each other's company. The older girls helped the younger girls prepare their tea in their tea cups with cream and sugar. There was not one spill of cream or tea as each one of them was a perfect young lady with impeccable table manners. Each one of the girls was a testament to the wonderful job their mothers and grandmothers are doing in raising them. I have to share that the biggest hit at the little girls tea table was the sugar cubes. Each small tea cup received about 4 sugar cubes per serving of tea! When the tea party was over and I was washing the tea cups I had to laugh when each little girls tea cup had sugar caked in the bottom of the cup! I literally watched sugar dissolve in the bottom of each cup with the dish water!
One of the things that I realized from this Ladies Afternoon Tea is that nice things matter and that taking the time to make things nice is important. Meredith and I spent hours combing through thrift stores looking for just the right size tea cups, the right size and the right color for little plates. We also searched for little children's chairs that weren't too big or too small and looked through fabric stores searching for just the right material that would be sewn into a tablecloth for their table. We could have given the little girls paper plates and plastic silverware to use along with a plastic table cloth but we knew that just as the adults were having nice things the little girls had to have nice things too and so we put in the time and effort to make things just as nice for the children as for the adults. I do believe that our efforts paid off as there is just something about drinking tea out of real tea cup that causes children to slow down, to take their time and to act gently.
Nice things and taking the time to make things nice tells children and adults too that they matter. It tells them that they are important and that they are valued. Since we returned home from Florida we have also been busy with Work Days on the addition and we also served about 350 homeless people at Project Connect in Fort Collins where the community comes together to offer goods and services the the homeless in Larimer County. Soaring Wings Ministries gave out school supplies to the children and socks to the children and adults as well. We did our best to make sure that our table at Project Connect looked bright and welcoming to the homeless and that the school supplies that we gave to the children were bright and brand new. Why? Because nice things matter and taking the time to make things nice is important. The homeless people, in seeing our table, knew that we cared about them and that they mattered to us by the effort we put into making things nice for them. There is just something about making things nice for people that brings out the best in people along with taking the time to talk together and to interact with one another.
Don't get me wrong. Making things nice for people does not mean that you have to spend a ton of money. You can make things nice for people with just a little bit of care, thought and effort. This care, thought and effort goes a long way and it tells people that they matter and that they are important.
Our goal here at Soaring Wings Ministries is to create an environment that tells people that we care about them and that they matter. This summer we will once again be partnering with Week of Hope as a host site for the teen volunteers that will be coming from all over the country to serve in Larimer County. Each week, for 7 weeks this summer, we will have 6 to 8 teens and an adult leader serve here at Soaring Wings Ministries. They will be helping us with landscaping, painting and outdoor projects to help with the maintenance and improvement on the grounds of Soaring Wings Ministries. Why? Because nice things matter and taking the time to make things nice for others is important. We look forward each year to Week of Hope and look forward to meeting the teens who will be serving here this summer. We are so grateful for their help, their hard work and their enthusiasm that they bring to the projects they will be working on..
Our days since we returned from Florida have been busy and full but oh so very good and we have delighted in making sure that the effort that we put forward in all of our work here is our best. All that we do is done for God's glory and we pray that our work and our efforts are pleasing to him. In closing, I want to invite you to come and visit us here at Soaring Wings Ministries. We also have our tea cups and tea pot ready to serve you some afternoon tea or if you prefer we would love to serve you some coffee. Either way it would give us great joy to sit down and visit with you and to show you and tell you about all that God has accomplished here at Soaring Wings Ministries. We look forward to seeing you!
In all that we do for His glory,
Soaring Wings Ministries
Have you ever wished you were a super hero? If you were a super hero which super hero would you want to be and what would be your special power as a super hero? I've never had any desire to be a super hero until lately as I wish I had the special power of being in two places at one time! If you read my last blog you know that Ed and I have been spending some respite time down in Florida and also spending time with Ed's mother and our son. Our time here in Florida is quickly coming to an end and I feel absolutely torn between Colorado and Florida. I am excited to get back to Colorado to continue our work with Soaring Wings Ministries, to see our daughter, Meredith, son-in-law and granddaughter and to see our very good friends. At the same time I know that when we leave Florida we will not see Ed's mother and our son until possibly next winter.
Even though I have never been a true fictional super hero fan, I have enjoyed seeing some movies with super heroes in them but I am far from being a die hard, fanatical fan of any super hero. Rather, I have several true life heroes that I look up to as role models. They are people that have encouraged me and guided me in my Christian walk. Some of these heroes are Elisabeth Elliot, Corrie ten Boom, my parents, my aunts and Billy Graham. These people are heroes in my life because they dedicated their lives to the service of other people and gave up their own wants and desires to serve Jesus by serving others. Most of you reading this know that Billy Graham, an American evangelist for most of his life, recently passed away. In memory of his life a program aired on television called "Billy Graham: An Extraordinary Journey". It was a fascinating story that told how God used an ordinary farm boy to become a world-renowned evangelist. Billy Graham traveled the world sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to over 215 million people. His commitment to sharing the gospel to the world caused him to leave his home and family in Montreat, North Carolina many, many times throughout his life time. In the television program that aired there were clips that showed Billy Graham saying good by to his wife and children. He would kiss and hug each one of them good bye and with suitcase in hand he would walk down the road to do the work that God had given him to do. From clips of his life, Billy Graham shared that saying good bye to his wife, children and home was one of the hardest parts of his ministry and that each time he left, he left with tears in rolling down his cheeks.
So, doing ministry and doing God's work is not easy, even for Billy Graham. I was so glad that I took the time to watch this television program about Billy Graham. It was so encouraging and comforting to know that one of my heroes was also human. He struggled with saying good bye to family and to a place that he loved and yet he did so willingly and without hesitation because of his love and commitment to serving his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am not by any means a world-renowned evangelist, but I do know how hard it is to say good by to home and loved ones and yet, I do so willingly like so many of the true life heroes that serve as my role models because we know who we serve and we know the Bible to be trustworthy and true. I prayed and asked God to help me resolve my conflict of being torn between Florida and Colorado so that I would feel at peace. As I prayed, God heard my prayer and gave me several Bible verses to comfort me. Philippians 4:11 says ""Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content". 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says, "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!". I Thessalonians 5:18 says to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus". These verses were so comforting to me and assured me that no matter if I was in Colorado, Florida or somewhere else that God was with me and that my comfort and peace comes from Him rather than from my circumstances or location. and "the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard yours hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7.
Greetings from the sunshine state of Florida! No, Soaring Wings Ministries has not relocated to Florida. We are still located on the beautiful prairie land of Wellington, Colorado and things are still in full swing serving the homeless in Northern Colorado. My husband, Ed, and I are spending some time here with Ed's mother and visiting our son. We are enjoying our time with family very much while at the same time moving forward with Soaring Wings Ministries. We are so grateful to our daughter, Meredith, for keeping things running smoothly on site at Trinity Lane and also very grateful for modern technology which allows us to keep up with our work for Soaring Wings Ministries.
One of the things that we have continued while far away from Colorado is the ministry of handing out Blessing Bags. Colorado does not have the market on homelessness and as we have traveled across country and spent time here in Florida we see people in need wherever we go. We keep our truck well stocked with Blessing Bags and have had to make some trips to Walmart and to the Dollar Store to keep up with our supply of Blessing Bags. As is always the case in handing out Blessings Bags there is always one homeless person who captures my attention and my heart and reminds me why we are in the business of reaching out to the homeless.
Most recently we were traveling through Orlando after dropping family off at the airport. Since we are not familiar with the area we turned on the GPS to help us find our way. The GPS did not direct us to any highway but rather took us on SR 50. State road 50 is a very nice rural route in some parts of Florida but SR 50 traveling through Orlando after leaving the airport at 5 pm was not a good route. There was heavy traffic with one stop light after another and the road was not taking us through a very nice part of town.
As we were stopped for a traffic light in downtown Orlando we saw a young man with a cardboard sign walking down the middle of the three lane road. He was a younger man in his 20's and he had on dirty jeans, a T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over his head. As were were stopped for the light he was quickly approaching our truck and I have to honestly say that my first instinct was to make sure that the truck doors were locked. Here I am one of the founders of Soaring Wings Ministries and my first reaction, as a homeless man approached us for help, is to make sure the doors are locked. I am so thankful for my caring, thoughtful and generous husband who first thinks of others rather than himself. His first instinct, in seeing this homeless young man, was not to lock the doors but rather to reach in the back seat for a Blessing Bag. As the homeless young man approached our truck window, my husband, Ed, rolled down the window. I thought to myself, "What in the world is my husband doing rolling down the window! I am trying to lock the doors and he is rolling the window all the way down!! Can't he just crack the window a little bit and shove the Blessing Bag out through the crack!". Here we are in a lousy, unfamiliar neighborhood stuck in traffic at a traffic light and my husband is rolling the window all the way down to help a person in need! Before I knew it there was a young man with his hood pulled up over his head standing outside of our truck window. I could see his face clearly and it is in that moment of looking directly into his face that I saw not the issue of homelessness but I saw a homeless person....a homeless human being. As I looked into his face I saw a handsome face and a kind smile but it wasn't his handsome face or kind smile that impressed me but rather that this young man looked directly at us with clear, blue eyes. That this young man would look directly at us to thank us for the Blessing Bag made a huge impression on me. He was so very grateful for the Blessing Bag and was especially grateful for the socks. His comment to us was, "Wow...socks. I really needed socks." He thanked us for the Blessing Bag and walked away to what I assumed would be the next car but as the light turned green and we pulled away I saw that this young man was no longer begging with his sign. Rather he was walking on the sidewalk with his cardboard sign tucked under his arm and he was looking at the contents of the Blessing Bag. Once again we had reached out to someone in need with the simple gesture of a Blessing Bag and once again this simple gesture had given someone a few moments of reprieve from their homeless life style. As we drove away and continued on SR 50 we left the congestion of busy downtown Orlando and made our way out into the rural area of Florida. I was so grateful that my husband had taken the time to roll down his window to help this homeless young man. As always, I wished that we could have done more to help him but I will never forget his face, his smile, his gratitude and his manners for looking directly into our eyes to say thank you. I pray that God will watch over this young man and that God will protect and bless him. I also pray that God will bring people into his life who can walk along beside him and help him to be released from his life of homelessness and poverty.
I learned some lessons from our quick interaction with this homeless young man on SR 50 in downtown Orlando. I quickly learned that even after all of my interactions with homeless people the world of homelessness still makes me feel uncomfortable. I still want to pull away from the world of poverty, the world of people wearing dirty clothes and the world of people who don't smell good. Downtown Orlando was not a world that I enjoyed seeing even for a few miles and when God brought that world up close and personal to me via a homeless young man, my first instinct was to lock the doors instead of rolling the window down to help someone in need. I pray that someday I will be able to love the homeless as God loves them without fear or hesitation.
I will remember the face of this homeless young man for a long, long time. I will remember his smile, his gratitude and his clear blue eyes looking directly into ours. I will remember that for a few minutes we were able to release him from his world of poverty and begging with the contents from a Blessing Bag. Looking into the face of this handsome and needy young man I was also reminded why Soaring Wings Ministries exists. Soaring Wings Ministries has been called into existence not to address the entire huge issue of homelessness but rather to reverse the issues of poverty and homelessness by truly caring for and truly loving homeless people as individuals. I truly believe that Soaring Wings Ministries is on the right path, that as God loves each one of us individually as unique human beings so likewise we are to love and care for the homeless as individuals and uniquely created human beings.
May God Bless each one of you as you travel through each day and during your travels may you remember to reach out to those in need around you.
Soaring Wings Ministries
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries