I couldn't decide if I should write a blog about prayer or about the roof on the addition. I asked my husband, Ed, what he thought and he said, "I don't understand why you would separate the two. The roof on the addition and prayer go hand in hand". He is absolutely right!
To begin I have to say that everyone here at Soaring Wings Ministries absolutely and without a doubt believes in the power of prayer. We believe that God hears our prayers and answers them according to His will. There is no doubt in our prayers. When we pray, we pray expectantly knowing that God does hear our prayers and that He will answer them.
I absolutely love looking at the addition. I have said before that it stands as a testament to God's faithfulness and to His answers to our prayers according to His will. When I look at the addition I remember that each step of the building process has happened because we prayed and because God heard and answered our prayers. When we needed an architect for professionally developed building plans....we prayed and God provided the plans with no charge to Soaring Wings Ministries. When we needed excavation work completed...we prayed and God provided with the excavation work being completed at a reduced rate. When we needed the framing to be completed...we prayed and God provided with volunteers from New Hampshire and Colorado. When we needed a plumber to complete the rough-in plumbing...we prayed and God answered with a professional plumber from Albuquerque, New Mexico who donated his time and services to get the job completed. When we needed a back hoe to dig a trench....we prayed and God provided through a local man who donated his time and back hoe to get the trench dug. When we needed an electrician to complete the rough in electrical work....we prayed and God provided a local company who completed the work at a reduced rate. When we needed people to help us with installing windows, sliding glass doors, insulation and house wrap....we prayed and God provided wonderful and hardworking volunteers from New Hampshire and Colorado. When we needed funds to move forward on the addition....we prayed and God answered with generous donors from all over the United States.
Most recently, in fact just this past week, we absolutely had to get the tar paper and the shingles installed on the roof. Our nice, dry summer weather had come to an end and it was beginning to rain steadily and frequently. Every time it rained, the inside of the addition was getting wet. We could not go through the winter without the roof in place to keep the addition dry and protected....and so we prayed. We planned a Work Day for Saturday, September 23rd and prayed that God would send us volunteers for the Work Day. God heard our prayers and sent us volunteers from New Hampshire and Colorado. They worked very hard that day and had a lot of fun too but there was just not enough time to complete the roof as it began to rain at the end of the day. The work was stopped because the roof was getting slippery from the rain. We praised God for the work that was completed and trusted Him for the rest. For the rest of the day on Saturday and all day Sunday it rained hard. On Monday, the rained had stopped, and so my husband Ed and our daughter, Meredith, woke up determined to continue the work on the roof. After breakfast they climbed up the ladder and began to lay the shingles down and pound the nails in the roof to keep the shingles in place. I admired them for their effort and so appreciated their work that they accomplished but we clearly needed more help to get the roof finished and so I prayed. They pounded nails on the roof and I prayed. God heard my prayers and the very next day on Tuesday we had 4 volunteers from here in Colorado who came to help with the roofing. It was a perfect day for installing a roof. The sun was shining, there was no wind and the temperatures were cool. The work continued on the roof all day long except for short break for lunch. By the end of the day the entire roof was covered in tar paper and 2/3 of the roof was covered in shingles. The very next day the rain started again and it has been raining every since. We praised God so many times and so often for the good weather we had on Saturday for the Work Day and for the perfect weather we had on Tuesday when the volunteers came to help with the roofing! We walk into the addition now and with all the rain we have had the addition is protected and dry!!!
I can't think of any other way to end this blog except to say that GOD HEARS AND ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS ACCORDING TO HIS WILL! God has been so faithful and has provided for every single need that has arisen with the building of the addition. The addition continues to stand as a testament to God's faithfulness and what He can do when we pray, when we trust Him and when God works in the hearts of people all over the United States to accomplish HIs will. We serve an amazing God and we praise Him and thank Him with all of our hearts.
Soaring Wings Ministries
One of the things that I have always enjoyed doing is looking at before and after pictures. I don't care what the pictures are of, I just love looking at the transformations that have taken place. It could be pictures of kitchen makeovers, new hairstyles, weight loss or backyard makeovers, it doesn't matter, it is just amazing to me how something or someone can be transformed into something beautiful. I think one of the reasons why I enjoy looking at before and after pictures is that they inspire me. From looking at the pictures I know that someone put in a lot of time and effort to make the transformation take place and the pictures inspire me to put more of an effort into my own life and projects.
When we first saw the Soaring Wings Ministries property back in October of 2013, we immediately saw the potential that the 40 acres offered to create the warm and healing environment that we envisioned in our minds eye for hurting individuals. We knew that with hard work the property could be transformed into place that welcomed broken, tired and discouraged people We saw not only a property that would be transformed we also saw people that would be transformed. As soon as Soaring Wings Ministries purchased the property on Trinity Lane in Wellington, the work began to create a warm, welcoming and healing environment for hurting individuals. It has been hard work but thanks to hundreds of hardworking and determined volunteers we can see the transformation beginning to take place. Yes, we have made much progress over the past 4 years but there is still more to be done as our main goal at Soaring Wings Ministries is not to transform grounds and buildings but to transform peoples lives. To that end we continue to work on the building addition to house two homeless individuals. We have made much progress on the addition this summer and our goal is to have the addition completed by the end of this year or early next year. We do need your help to get the addition finished so we can truly begin our work here at Soaring Wings Ministries. You can help by coming to our Work Day on Saturday, September 23rd. We will be putting on the roof, installing insulation and installing two sliding glass doors. We will be serving breakfast at 8:00 a.m and lunch at 12 noon to all volunteers. We cannot do this work ourselves and we do not have the money to pay professional workers. We are so thankful for Gods' provision in that Soaring Wings Ministries has incurred zero debt with the building of the addition. We hope that you will come and join us for the Work Day on September 23rd. Don't forget to bring a hammer!!!
You can also help by donating to our Match Grant which runs through October 5th. All donations made to Soaring Wings Ministries from now until October 5th will be matched and all donations will go directly to Soaring Wings Ministries to help with the cost of finishing the addition. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to have your donations matched. All donations are tax deductible. You can send your donation to Soaring Wings Ministries by mailing a check to 499 Trinity Lane Wellington, Colorado 80549 or you can make a donation through Pay Pal at this website.
You can also help by continuing to pray for Soaring Wings Ministries and the homeless in Northern Colorado. We absolutely know without a doubt that God hears and answers our prayers. You can also help by coming to visit us here at Soaring Wings Ministries. A visit from supportive friends and families is such an encouragement to us.
I could verbally describe the transformations that have taken place but I think it is best that I let the pictures do the talking for me. I hope you enjoy these before and after pictures and I hope that you see them, not as a finished project, but as a work in progress. All of us at Soaring Wings Ministries hope that you will become involved in the amazing transformation taking place here at Trinity Lane, not only on the ground but in peoples lives and our biggest hope is that God will be glorified in all that is accomplished here at Soaring Wings Ministries.
Soaring Wings Ministries
499 Trinity Lane
Wellington, Colorado 80549
I love summer! I don't love summer just a little bit. I love summer with a passion! I love the long hours of daylight. I love the summer flowers and vegetables. I love sitting out on the porch. I love swimming and I even love the summer heat. We had quite a summer here at Soaring Wings Ministries and now that summer is winding down I have some time to share about all that transpired here at Soaring Wings Ministries.
Our summer activities began on June 19th and continued through August 3rd. We partnered with Week of Hope through Group Work Camps out of Loveland, Colorado and during those 7 weeks we served as a host site for the Week of Hope Campers. Each Monday morning through the summer a van would pull into our driveway with about 12 Week of Hope Campers. The campers were here to volunteer and we were ready for them with a list of outside jobs, repairs and projects that needed to be done. They worked everyday Monday - Thursday from 9:30 am. to 3 p.m. They repaired shed roofs, built a pergola, cleaned outdoor furniture, washed the siding on the house, weeded, put in new garden beds, built a swing set, stained picnic tables, cleaned out the barn, organized the tool shed, put up a garden fence, built two shed doors, built an outdoor bench, repaired outdoor furniture, sewed cushions for outdoor furniture, built a firewood box, worked on the plumbing in the addition, baked cookies for the homeless, put together Blessing Bags and served the homeless in downtown Fort Collins.
The Week of Hope Campers spent Monday and Tuesday working on their assigned tasks. On Wednesday mornings the campers would spend the morning putting Blessing Bags together and baking cookies. On Wednesday afternoons we would all go down to Fort Collins and give out the Blessing Bags, cookies and water to the homeless in Fort Collins. Thursday mornings the campers would work finishing up their projects and we ended the week with a cook out of hotdogs, watermelon, chips, brownies, ice-cream and iced tea on Thursday afternoon.
The campers and their adult leaders were hard working, cheerful and willing to tackle any project. They never once complained about the relentless summer sun. There is hardly any shade to be found here on the property at Soaring Wings Ministries and so for the most part the campers worked out in the blazing hot sun. I never saw people work so hard in hot sun and keep at their work without one thought of slowing down or quitting. We were so very grateful for all of their hard work. They accomplished tasks that would have taken us forever to accomplish or that we would not have been able to accomplish on our own at all.
During the summer we also saw much progress being made on the addition which will house two homeless individuals. The plumbing was worked on with our friends, the Hausermanns from New Mexico, leading the Week Campers on installing pipe. How excited we all were to see the piping for the plumbing being laid in the ditch and ready to be hooked up to the septic!!!!! We also saw the electric work being worked on and were beyond excited when the electrical worked passed the first state inspection!!!!!
I thought it would be fun to close this blog with some numbers. I hope these numbers will give you some idea of all that transpired here at Soaring Wings Ministries during the summer.
*78 Week of Hope Campers served at Soaring Wings Ministries this summer.
*1,560 volunteer hours were donated to Soaring Wings Ministries by the Week of Hope Campers.
*200 Blessings Bags were made by the Week of Hope Campers for the homeless.
*60 dozen chocolate chip cookies were baked and given to the homeless by the Week of Hope Campers.
*220 homeless were served in Fort Collins with blessing bags, cookies, water, Bible tracts and care notes being given to each homeless person by the Week of Hope Campers
*252 hotdogs were grilled on the grill here at Soaring Wings Ministries along with 49 pitchers of iced tea, 21 bags of chips, 294 squares of brownies, 7 gallons of ice cream and 7 watermelons being served with the hotdogs.
It was a great summer!!! So much was accomplished here at Soaring Wings Ministries to create a warm and loving environment and all the work was done joyfully and for God's glory. Here at Soaring Wings Ministries we try to be honoring to God in all that we do and to live by God's word. I believe that was accomplished here this summer. The verse that stayed with me all summer was Ecclesiastes 2:24 "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God". This summer was a blessing from God and we are so very grateful to all of the hardworking Week of Hope Campers, the staff from Group Work Camps who made sure Week of Hope ran smoothly and to all of our supporters who prayed, loved us from afar and who supported us financially. We saw first hand this summer that much can be accomplished for God's glory when we all work together. A HUGE thank you to all of you!!!
Soaring Wings Ministries
Yikes! I can't believe that it has been early May since I last wrote a blog! That is way too long! Meredith, Ed and I often wonder if it could possibly get any busier here at Soaring Wings Ministries and I do believe that the answer to that question is "YES"!
Our days are full and we fall into bed tired every night but it is a wonderful feeling of being tired. Each day is filled with doing God's work here in Colorado so when we fall into bed at night it is with a feeling of joy, accomplishment, gratitude and peace rather than a feeling of exhaustion or discouragement.
You may be wondering, "What do Ed, Anita and Meredith do each day at Soaring Wings Ministries?" There are so many things that go into a typical day here at Soaring Wings Ministries. For one thing, we have continued with our grant writing to about 17 different foundations. They are quite time consuming as much thought and detail needs to go into each grant proposal. Our greatest joy continues to be giving out Blessing Bags, water, donuts and coffee to the homeless in downtown Fort Collins. The homeless are always so grateful and it is a privilege and a joy to serve them in the name of Jesus.
We have also been getting organized for the Week of Hope teens who will be arriving here this coming Monday on June 19th. For seven weeks this summer we will have a different group of teens volunteering here each week from Monday through Thursday. They will work on repairs, grounds maintenance and landscaping projects here at Soaring Wings Ministries. Some of these projects will be replacing roof tiles that blew off of our sheds during the winter months because of high winds, weeding, planting and moving dirt piles. They will also give out blessing bags to the homeless in Fort Collins each Wednesday afternoon.
We also continue with the building project to house two homeless individuals and we also work to raise the funds to get the building addition completed. We have been working to find an electrician who is able to do the work at minimal or no cost and we have been blessed with a generous donor who offered to match funds that are donated to Soaring Wings Ministries. In addition to the building project we work each day to keep up with the mowing and trimming. It seems that the prairie grass grows faster than we can mow or trim! Meredith and I have also been planting flowers and putting in vegetable plants. So far all of our plantings are doing well and it is looking bright and cheery here at Soaring Wings Ministries with the time we have put into gardening.
Another one of our greatest joys is visits from friends. Recently we were blessed when two east coast friends stopped in for an overnight visit. We LOVE when friends and family come to see us so if you are traveling through Colorado this summer or if you want come and visit us please know that we would absolutely love to see you!!!!! The rule around here is that not everyone will have a bed to sleep in...it depends on your age!!! The older you are the better chance you have of sleeping in a bed. The chances of you getting a bed decrease as your age decreases. If you are young your chances of getting a bed rather than sleeping on the floor are slim! We would love to have you visit us at Soaring Wings Ministries. No matter your age we will always give you a place to sleep if your are an overnight guest and we will always give you plenty to eat.
Besides grant writing, giving out blessing bags, visitors, outside work, building an addition and preparing for teen volunteers we have our everyday chores that all of us do....laundry, pets, grocery shopping, paying bills, dishes and some, but not a lot of, vacuuming and dusting. We also have exercise classes that we go to and Bible Study groups that we try to attend each week. Our days are full indeed and each morning you will most likely find us starting our day by having breakfast together. Part of having breakfast includes spending time reading God's word and praying together. It is a very good way to start the day. Individually, we also spend time with God in prayer and reading our Bibles. For me, my time with God is early in the morning before anyone else is awake. It is so quiet in the house and I treasure this time early in the morning with God. I am so thankful to have a personal relationship with Jesus and so thankful to know that He also treasures me and the time that I spend with Him. I know that God is pleased with the work we are doing here for Him here at Soaring Wings Ministries because we are giving him our best effort and we are working for Him. "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men"...Colossians 3:23. Even though we are working heartily here for the Lord, God's greatest joy is not the work that we do but rather that we love Him with all of our hearts, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" Luke 10:27. Our days are busy and our work is pleasing to the Lord but that time that I spend with God first thing in the morning, just Him and I, when the house is quiet is the most pleasing and precious to Him.
I know that Soaring Wings Ministries does not have the market on busy days. I know that all of you have days that are filled to the brim. I encourage you to take joy in the work that you are doing, as we do, and most importantly to find time to spend alone with God. He loves and longs to spend time with you. He is waiting for you.
All for Him,
Soaring Wings Ministries
499 Trinity Lane
In a few hours I will be boarding a plane out of Denver and flying to Philadelphia for my niece's college graduation. I am so very excited to be able to attend her graduation and to spend time with my sister and my other nieces. It has been way too long since I have seen them and I am looking forward to our week together.
As I have anticipated and looked forward to the trip I have thought about the plane ride across the country. I don't mind flying as long as it is a smooth ride. "As long as" are the key words here. I do not like to fly when there is turbulence or bad weather. Recently our daughter Meredith and granddaughter, Payton, flew back east to visit friends and family. I asked her how the plane ride was and she said it was horribly bumpy the entire flight. I asked her how Payton did on the flight and Meredith's response was that Payton had slept the entire time. Aaaah.....the blissfulness of youth! But wait, maybe it isn't the blissfulness of youth as much as it is pure trust. Payton did not have a care in the world because she trusted. She trusted her Mom to take care of her and she trusted that her Mom would not put her in any dangerous situation. All Payton had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride.
I have thought about Payton flying on the plane and thought about trusting, relaxing and enjoying the ride. As we move forward on building the addition I know that is exactly what God wants us to do.....to trust, to relax and to enjoy the ride. Once again we don't know all the details of how the building will all come together. We are still looking for an electrician and we have materials that we need to buy with limited funds to buy them. Will God provide? Will it all come together? Will we arrive safely to our destination? I honestly do believe that the answer to these questions is absolutely YES!!!! God will provide. It will all come together and we will arrive safely to our destination.
Just like Payton sleeping peacefully on a very bumpy plane ride because she trusted, I choose to trust. I choose to trust God in unknown situations and to enjoy the ride. The ride of building an addition to help two homeless people is quite an adventure and it truly has been a wonderful and joyful experience. It has brought us joy to see how God has provided in the past and to see how He has brought so many wonderful people in our lives to help us build the addition.
As I board the plane this morning in Denver, I totally expect that I will arrive safely at my destination in Philadelphia and as we move forward to get the addition finished I totally expect that we will arrive at our final destination of having two homeless people living here at Soaring Wings Ministries. All I have to do is follow the example of my 4 year old granddaughter during a very bumpy plane ride.............. trust, relax and enjoy the ride!
Soaring Wings Ministries
This past Saturday we were in Fort Collins giving out Easter blessings bags that we had put together for the homeless. The Easter blessing bags were a small cellophane type Easter bag and in the bags were socks, paper, pen, kleenex, granola bars, a comb, deodorant and an Easter devotional about Jesus' death and resurrection. We had 25 bags to give out.
This past Saturday we also had the pleasure of working with two Middle School girls. They had chosen to work with Soaring Wings Ministries for a class project and had raised money to purchase and fill 45 backpacks. All together we had 70 bags to give out to the homeless. You would think that it would take a long time to give away 70 bags but that is not the case. As usual, the blessing bags went quickly and we finished giving out the bags within an hour. As usual, the people were very polite and very grateful to receive the blessing bags and as usual we were blessed to give out the blessings bags as much as the homeless were blessed to receive them.
As usual, there is one homeless person or family that stands out in our minds and captures our hearts in a special way. Usually, it is the most vulnerable of the homeless and in this case it was a little girl who appeared to be about 8 or 9 years old. She had blond hair, wrinkled clothes and a slight frame. She was with an older person who was her caregiver. I don't know how this person was related to her but it was obvious that this person was watching out for her and also watching over her. The girl was shy and did not say much. I had a child's sweatshirt with me that I was looking to give to someone and it looked to be just her size. I asked her if she would like to have the sweatshirt but she didn't answer me and didn't say anything. I told her to take it because it looked like it would fit her perfectly and I wanted her to have it. She took the sweatshirt from me without saying a word. We gave her one of the adult Easter blessing bags and we also gave her a child's blessing bag filled with candy, a child's Bible card game, some crayons and a pad of paper. We also gave her and her caregiver some water. They said thank you but that was about all that they said. We saw them walk back to their vehicle and as usual we saw that they quickly opened the blessing bags to see what was inside them. I was so glad that we were able to reach out to this young girl and her caregiver. As usual, I wish we could have done more.
As usual, some wonderful friends had donated blankets, sweatshirts and jackets for us to give out to the homeless. This past Saturday we took the 5 jackets and the 1 blanket that we had left hoping that we could find someone who needed them. We never know how many blankets or jackets we will need or if we will even run into some homeless who will need them at all, but as usual, God has everything planned out for us. All we need to do is to be obedient and faithful in reaching out to the homeless. We saw a group of 6 young men sitting on the ground, under a tree in downtown Fort Collins. We gave each of them a blessing bag and then we asked them if they needed a jacket, sweatshirt or a blanket. Each young man took a sweatshirt and one of them took the blanket. As usual, they were so grateful to receive them and as usual we had just enough sweatshirts and blankets for the 6 young men sitting on the ground under a tree. As usual, we once again realized that God had completely and easily planned the distribution of our hand full of blankets, jackets and sweatshirts.
As usual, our time spent in distributing the blessing bags in Fort Collins was a huge blessing to us. We ended our time there feeling that we had once again, in a small way, lifted the spirits of some very needy people. As usual, it felt very good to be on the giving end of the blessing bags and as usual it felt very good to be reaching out to the needy in Fort Collins.
As usual, we were blessed and encouraged to have others share in our work of reaching out to the homeless. We were so happy to work with two teenage girls who were giving of their time and money to serve the homeless in Fort Collins. We knew that there were so many other things they could have been doing on a beautiful Saturday morning but instead they chose to help improve the lives of some needy people. It was such a blessing to see them use their time and talents in such a meaningful and unselfish way. We know that they were also blessed to be on the giving end of their blessings bags school project.
We left downtown Fort Collins having reached out to over 60 homeless people with a blessing bag. As usual, we left with the wonderful feeling that we were doing exactly what God wanted us to do and doing it in exactly the place where He wanted us to do it. As usual we left downtown feeling very blessed and very grateful for the opportunity to serve the homeless in Northern Fort Collins. As usual, we know without a doubt that there is no better place to be than living in obedience to God and that there is absolutely nothing usual in the "as usual".
Soaring Wings Ministries
This past Sunday we hosted our 3rd annual Ladies Afternoon Tea at Soaring Wings Ministries. It is a spring time event that I always look forward to and this recent Ladies Afternoon Tea was, as I expected, a very special time. There is just something about sitting down with friends and enjoying each other's company while sipping hot tea and eating tea cookies and sandwiches that is nothing but delightful.
There are many things that I enjoy about "having tea". The special little cookies and sandwiches are always delicious and I love drinking tea out of a dainty tea cup, but the thing that I enjoy most about "having tea" is that the pace of life is slowed down for just a short little while. "Having tea" just cannot be rushed. "Having tea" requires that you take a break, relax, linger, enjoy the moment and enjoy the company of those who are "having tea" with you. Have you ever tried to rush through tea while sipping tea served in a tea cup on a saucer? It is very difficult. "Having tea" in a mug (or horrors of horrors, a styrofoam cup!!) isn't the best way to drink tea because a mug or a styrofoam cup usually implies that something else is going on at the same time. When I am working on a project like grant writing, or cooking in the kitchen I will grab a mug of tea for a pick me up, or if I am out and about doing errands I will sometimes grab tea at Dunkin Donuts or Paneras and the tea is served to me in a paper cup because I am on the go. But, when someone serves me tea in a tea cup with a saucer I have no other inclination but to sit down and enjoy the tea and the person having tea with me.
"Having tea" almost always lures you into putting aside all other distractions and focusing on nothing but the moment. Meredith and I both said that one of our favorite things about this past Sunday's Ladies Afternoon Tea, wasn't the food or the tea itself, it was instead the fellowship and the time that we had to enjoy the company of our wonderful friends. There was nothing to distract us from the pure joy of enjoying each other's company. No cell phones beeped, buzzed or rang. No one had their cell phones out checking Facebook or looking at text messages. No one was watching television or reading something. We were nine ladies of various ages, various stages in our lives and from various towns in Colorado who sat and enjoyed one another for two hours. While "having tea" we shared the stories of our lives, laughed at some silly situations that we had experienced, shared some of our hopes and dreams for the future, talked about how God provides for us in so many ways, shared ideas for fun family times and places to visit, and as the tea ended we were already looking forward to the next time when we could all visit together again.
We also had three little girls at the tea and they only added to the delight of the afternoon. They did not linger at the tea very long as they had another agenda that was more appropriate and fun for three little girls. They retreated to our granddaughters room and entered the world of "dress up". But the agenda of the three little girls was the same as the nine ladies "having tea" and that was to enjoy each others company. Rather than "having tea" the little girls connected with each other with dress up clothes. They giggled, laughed, made up cute little songs and later in the afternoon the ladies at the afternoon tea were treated to a fashion show by three very cute little girls. Just like the ladies, the little girls were not entertained by tv, cell phones or electronic games....they delighted in being together and in spending time with one another.
As our afternoon tea was ending and we were saying good-bye to our guests, I was left thinking to myself that spending unrushed, unhurried, uninterrupted time with one other is a very good thing. I don't need to tell you that life is rushed and hectic. The Ladies Afternoon Tea, wasn't a delight because of the food and the tea....it was a delight because of the time we spent with each other. As I was cleaning up our tea cups and saucers after our guests left my thoughts turned to the story in the Bible when Jesus spent time with Zacchaeus. I thought of Zacchaeus because of the little children's song that speaks of Jesus going to Zacchaeus's house for tea. Just to make it clear the Bible does not say that Jesus had tea at Zacchaues's house, but who knows, maybe their time together at Zacchaeus's house did include "having tea". I think that Jesus was probably very busy and probably had so many other things that he could have done that day rather than go to Zacchaeus's house but Jesus, being Jesus, knew what was important and knew what mattered. Jesus knew that it was very important to spend time with Zacchaeus at his house. There is so much more to the story of Zacchaeus and why Jesus chose to go to his house since Zacchaeus was a wealthy chief tax collector, but that is more than I will be writing about in this blog. The point is that Jesus took time to be with Zacchaeus and we should follow His example.
I know some of you won't be interested in "having tea" with dainty little tea cups and saucers....it just isn't your thing, but remember, it isn't about the tea, it is about spending uninterrupted and unrushed time with friends or family and enjoying each other's company. The idea is to find something that you enjoy doing and then take the time to share that with at least one other person. If you like the idea of sitting down and spending time with someone over tea I encourage you to grab some teacups, saucers, a teapot and some teabags put the tea kettle on an invite someone to join you. I can almost guarantee that they will be so happy to spend time visiting with you over tea. "Having tea" is such a simple uncomplicated thing but it is so very nice. I know that here at Soaring Wings Ministries I am going to try to use my teacups, saucers and teapots more often. I love spending uninterrupted and unrushed time with people and I can't think of a better way to do this than "having tea" together.
Time for me to go put the tea kettle on!
Looking forward to "having tea" with so many of you,
Soaring Wings Ministries
Lately we have had not had our usual Colorado weather of bright sunshine and clear blue skies. Instead we have had days of gray, almost white skies, temperatures in the 20's with snow and light drizzle. It has been perfect days for grant writing and general office work but I am not happy about those tasks.
If you wonder what we have been doing at Soaring Wings Ministries lately I can tell you in one word. Grants. It is a slow, time consuming process and many of you know that grant writing, computer work and general office work is not what I enjoy doing. There is no joy for me in researching information on the computer or even sitting at a computer. I get it done because it needs to be done but I would much rather be outside and quite often, towards the end of the day after being inside all day long, you can find me and others putting on shoes, coats, hats and gloves as we head outside to clear our heads. There is a saying in our house "I need to go outside so I can clear my head". Even our 4 year old granddaughter, Payton, understands what that means. It means that we've had enough sitting and thinking. It is time to go outside to move our bodies and to clear our brains doing something fun and active.
Even though I do not like working on a computer or researching information, I have to admit that I have found some of the statistics on homelessness quite unbelievable. For example, did you know that according to the U.S. Census date, Colorado's poverty rate has risen steadily since the late 1990's. That means that instead of people moving forward in life, more people are falling further and further behind in being able to provide for themselves and their families. Did you know that Fort Collins, Colorado is one of the cities with the least amount of available affordable housing in the entire United States? The average rental rate for an apartment within 10 miles of Fort Collins is $1, 245 a month. There is no way that families, especially a single parent, working at a minimum wage job can afford any housing in Fort Collins. How about this statistic for the Poudre School District in Larimer County of Colorado? There are approximately 1,000 students in the Poudre School District who are homeless every year. That is one thousand, ONE THOUSAND, children with no place to call home or at the very least a safe, adequate place to live.
It isn't only Colorado that has a problem with homelessness and poverty. Did you know that in the United States there are approximately 3.5 million people who are homeless? When I read this statistic I wanted to wrap my brain around 3.5 million a little bit more. How much is 3.5 million people? Well to put this number in perspective the State of Connecticut has a population of approximately 3.6 million people. To make this statistic of homelessness in the United States even more sobering, 1.35 million of the 3.5 million people are children! Again, I had to understand what this number of 1.35 million children looked like, so my research led me to understand that the population of Rhode Island is approximately 1 million people. No matter how you look at it 3.5 million homeless people and 1.35 million homeless children is a HUGE number.
My experience working with low income children and families tells me that having an unstable home or no home at all negatively affects children in so many ways. You don't need a degree in Social Work to know that children need stable homes to thrive and to grow into healthy adults, it is common sense. But what are we suppose to do with these staggering statistics? What are we suppose to do about 3.5 million people being homeless and 1.35 million children being homeless? Those numbers are overwhelming. Is it really possible to make a difference in these enormous numbers of homeless people?
I know that when I am confronted with a huge task that feels overwhelming the best way for me to tackle it is to break it down into smaller more manageable steps. Have an entire house to paint on the outside? How about breaking it down to getting one side of the house done. Have a mountain of paperwork sitting on your desk or dining room table that needs to be dealt with? How about first organizing it into folders marked important, file, and the best folder of all.....trash! Have a dirty house that hasn't been cleaned in months? How about tackling one room at a time? Need to lose 40 pounds? How about losing 1 pound at a time? Have 3.5 million people that need a place to live? How about housing 2 of them at a time? Two people out of 3.5 million people......it doesn't seems like very much.....UNLESS YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE TWO OUT OF THE 3.5 MILLION!
We know that as an organization there is no way that Soaring Wings Ministries can completely eliminate homelessness in the United States; however, that does not excuse us from not doing what we can to help people in need. As a Christian Non-Profit we are called to do something about poverty and homelessness. Personally, as a Christian, I have a responsibility to respond in someway to those in poverty around me. My faith in Jesus Christ calls me to action to address the issue of poverty even if it is a staggering number. James 2:15-17 says "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead".
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Words are so easy, but action is hard. Action takes time, effort and sacrifice. Action demands something of us. It demands that we get involved and getting involved can be unpleasant and uncomfortable at times. Sitting at the computer researching statistics to include with our grant applications is an unpleasant task for me, I actually dread having to spend time on the computer, but I am called to action to help the homeless and poor in Northern Colorado and submitting grant applications is part of the process. We need to raise the funds so we can finish the addition that will house two homeless individuals. I am called to action....called to do something about people living in poverty and children living without homes.
I know that everyone reading this blog wishes they could do more to reduce the statistic of 3.5 million people being homeless. It seems like an impossible task but the efforts of caring people, like you, reaching out to those in need multiplies quickly and has a dramatic and lifelong impact on those in need. Yes, the number of homeless people is overwhelming. 3.5 million is a huge number but that huge statistic should not be an excuse for doing nothing. If anything it should move us to work even harder to help even one person. One human, you, being helping another human being, a homeless person.......that is how the statistic of 3.5 million is reduced.
So what can you be doing to help those in need? How are you called to action? If you would like some ideas on how you can reach out to those in need please contact us. There are so many things you can do. If you would like to serve those in need here in Northern Colorado through Soaring Wings Ministries please let us know as there is always plenty that needs to be done. If you have any skills for completing an addition and would like to volunteer your time and skills to build a home for 2 homeless individuals we would love it if you could come and help. If you want to make a donation to the building fund at Soaring Wings Ministries we would greatly appreciate the donation. We are currently raising funds for a roof, a furnace, plumbing materials, electrical work and septic work. 3.5 million people. So many homeless people and children. Don't get overwhelmed by the number. Break it down into manageable parts....one person, you, helping one other person in need.
I hope that you can take a few minutes from your day to respond to my blog. Let us know how you are answering your call to action and helping those in need.
While I have spent the morning working on grants and doing office work the wind has died down, the sky is now bright blue and the sun is shining. Enough computer work for one day. Time for me to go outside to clear my head.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
499 Trinity Lane
Wellington, Colorado 80549
Leisurely evening walks.....just because. Quick trips to get ice cream.....just because. Swims in the pool morning, noon and night.....just because. Afternoon naps......just because. Sitting in lawn chairs talking about whatever.......just because. Rounds of mini golf.......just because. Reading a book in the middle of the day......just because. Consuming as much seafood as possible just because it is the most delicious thing ever. Visits with family and friends because you miss them and love them.
That is just a few of the reasons why I should never take another Florida vacation....... because I never want to leave! This year's trip to Florida, back in January, was even better than past Florida vacations because it was one of the most restful vacations I have had in a long time. I can't remember the last time my entire body and mind felt so relaxed. I absolutely LOVED every minute of it! Needless to say that leaving Florida, saying good-bye to friends and family and returning to Colorado was not easy and knowing what awaited us back in Colorado made it even harder to leave Florida. Before we left for Florida I made the huge mistake of not putting away any of our Christmas decorations, including our fully decorated Christmas tree. I dreaded even looking at all those Christmas decorations never mind actually putting them away. It is one thing to deal with Christmas decorations right after the New Year but another thing entirely to tackle Christmas decorations at the end of January after a leisurely Florida vacation. As we drove home to Colorado from Florida I was kicking myself for not taking them down before we left.
I also knew that upon returning home to Colorado we had, for me, the much dreaded task of applying for grants for Soaring Wings Ministries. I dreaded the task with a passion. It is a slow, tedious, time consuming task and I can't think of much else that goes against the natural inclination of my personality than applying for grants (unless it is working with Quick Books on the computer. A thank you to Ed for taking on that task and sparing me that torture!!!). I was a grump all during our trip home from Florida. I was having a big pity party and wondering why in the world we were leaving Florida. After all, Ed and I, are in our mid 60's and we were completely entitled to retire in Florida after working hard all of our lives. Each mile that we drove home took me further and further from relaxation, sprawling beautiful live oak trees, warm temperatures, seafood, swims, and most of all further away from family and friends. I was not happy. As you can see, I can complain and pout with the best of them and yes, God hears all of my complaining and pouting and yes, He can still use a complainer and a pouter.
I am so thankful that God is so very patient with me. Once I get over my complaining and pouting and confess this sin to Him I am ready to move on, push up my sleeves and get to work. This year, 2017, our main goal at Soaring Wings Ministries is to have the addition completed. I repeat this because it is so very important. In 2017 the addition has to be completed. It has to be completed not only because our building permit will run out and because it is not a good thing to leave a building half finished but it also needs to be completed because we are all more than ready to be done with the task of raising funds for the addition. We want to see a homeless family move in and begin the process of helping them soar on wings like eagles. We are tired of wondering who these people will be. We are ready to know them personally. Right now the picture of this family looks like an outline of a person's head in my minds eye. You know what I mean. It is the filler in a year book or church directory when the person was absent at picture taking time so there is just this empty space with an outline of a head. I don't know about you, but I don't like seeing those vague outlines of a head. I want to see the person's face!!!! That's where we all are at this stage of Soaring Wings Ministries. We want to see the faces of the people we will be serving! The only way for us to see these faces is to finish the addition and the only way to finish the addition is to raise more money because building an addition takes money....... a lot of money.
While I am writing this Blog my family is circled up around the television watching the Super Bowl. Not being a foot ball fan, it is a good time for my to have peace and quiet and to have the computer all to myself. Prior to game day we heard all about the pregame excitement on the radio and on the television. People were gathering in Houston for tail gate parties and other pregame events. The news shared that everything around Houston was over the top expensive because of the Super Bowl. One newscaster shared that some people were paying $35,000 a night, with a four night minimum stay, to rent a house in the area around Houston. That is $140,000. When I heard this on the radio, I cringed and gasped. Do you know what Soaring Wings Ministries could do with $140,000!!!! It didn't seem fair that some people could easily pay the $140,000 for a leisurely activity such as football without even thinking twice about it and then here we are working hours, days, weeks, months and years to build a home for a homeless family. So, since we don't have $140,000 to spend without thinking about it, we are left with no choice but to raise the funds and apply for grants to finish the addition so we can see the faces.
It is our desire to see the faces and a desire to complete the assignment that God has given us that enabled me to drive away from a place that I love, from friends that I love and from family that I love. Being a Christian calls us to be more like Christ. This means that our Christian lives, like Christ's life, will often be a life of sacrifice. I think so often of missionaries all over the world and in the United States who are serving Christ. We personally know missionaries in China, Dubai, Guam, Michigan and New York and we know that most of their lives are filled with busy, exhausting days and that so many of them are far away from places, family and friends that they love. It is a life of sacrifice to serve Christ. As Christians we don't get to do what we want to do and yet the mystery of it all is that there is no other life or place that we would choose. If I was given the opportunity to retire and have a life of leisure in Florida at this point in our lives, I would say no. We are right where we are suppose to be and doing exactly what we should be doing. Anything that would take us away from this assignment God has given us would not only be a huge mistake it would be wrong. James 4:17 says "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it". As Christians, our relationship with God calls us to be pleasing to Him in all that we do not the other way around of having God do all that pleases us. Maybe some day God will be pleased with our work here in Colorado and we will be able to "retire"in Florida, but that time is not yet. We have work to do so that we can we see the faces of the people we will be serving rather than just a vague outline of a head.
In closing, I would ask that you pray for our grant writing process. We will be submitting 10 grant applications over the next 3 months. We need your prays for God's blessing in order to have our grant requests result in dollars received for the addition. We also ask that you pray about your financial partnership with Soaring Wings Ministries to determine if you are able and feel led to support our work here in Northern Colorado on a monthly basis. Also, please remember our missionaries serving God in foreign countries and in the United States. We know first hand how much a phone call, email, hand written letter or donation means to them. Lastly, we pray that each one of you will love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and that you serve Him with all your being where ever you are.
499 Trinity Lane
Wellington, Colorado 80549
Every year I like to buy a new Christmas book to read during the weeks before Christmas. This Christmas I chose a book called " Hidden Christmas" by Timothy Keller. We were visiting our oldest daughter, Karin, and her family in California and during our visit with her we took a day trip to Solvang, California. Solvang is an interesting and quaint town with lots of shops and good restaurants. There was this very small book store in Solvang and I went in to browse through the books. My browsing time was limited as our youngest 4 year old granddaughter, Payton, was with us. I managed to have a few minutes to look in the religion section, hoping to find a Christmas book to read for the Christmas season, but interestingly enough, the religion section did not have any Christian books. I kept looking around and I found two small shelves under a counter with Christmas books. On the top shelf were two copies of the book by Timothy Keller, "Hidden Christmas". The remainder of the title stated that the book was about "The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ". The book intrigued me. I have been a Christian almost all of my life and I have celebrated Christmas as a time to remember Christs' birth, so I couldn't imagine what the surprising truth could possible be behind the Birth of Christ. My curiosity led me to purchase the book and I am so glad that I did.
I have to share with you that I have been a Christian all my life and I also have to share with you that during my lifetime as a Christian I have never felt that I loved the Lord with all my heart, my soul, my strength and my mind, and that I loved my neighbor as myself as Jesus has directed us in Luke 10:27. Yes, I loved the Lord, but honestlly could I say that I loved him with all my heart, soul, strength and mind? And what about my neighbors? I wasn't even sure that I loved my neighbors. Sure, I cared about them, but love them, as I loved myself? I don't think so. I knew that I did not love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind and I did not love my neighbor as myself. I knew I was selfish and wanted to put myself first. My needs, my wants, my ways before all else. Sure I loved God and yes, I cared about my neighbors but not totally and completely as I should.
I struggled to figure out what was the matter with me. Other Christians seemed to have it all together and here I was struggling with why I didn't love God with all my heart and why I didn't love my neighbor as myself. The desire to love God with all my heart was there and the desire to love my neighbor as myself was also there but I knew that you can't muster up love, or create it, or fake it. Love is either there or it isn't. So what was my problem?
From reading "Hidden Christmas" my problem that I was struggling with became so simple and clear. I needed a Savior to help me love as I should. I needed a Savior and that Savior is Jesus who was sent to us by God. I recognized that my sins weren't just things that I did but also things that I didn't do such as loving God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind and loving my neighbor as myself. The reality that I would never be able to love God and my neighbor within my own power was so freeing. I needed a Savior, Jesus, to help me love as I should and as I wanted to.
Some of you reading this may not think this is such a big deal. Some of you may have been blessed to get this from the very beginning and some of you reading this may not care at all, but for me this was a big deal. My lifetime journey of faith in Jesus has not come without questions, wondering, struggling, and searching but in this journey, God has always been by my side guiding and directing. The Bible verse from Isaiah 30:21 is so very real to me. It says "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way, walk in it". God has been with me and guiding me as I have wondered, struggled and searched. He was with me during this past Thanksgiving time as I searched through a little book store in Solvang, California for a Christmas book to read during the Christmas season.
I am so very thankful for the author, Timothy Keller and for his book "Hidden Christmas". It is a book that tells it like it is.... that we all need a Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so very thankful to God who always guides and directs my life to draw me closer to Himself. He wants to do the same for you too.
So what does all this have to do about serving the homeless at Soaring Wings Ministries? As most of you know we are in the process of buidling an addition to house a homeless family or young adults here at Soaring Wings MInistries. My prayer for many months has been that as we prepare a home for a homeless family or young adults that God would also prepare our hearts to love these people as Jesus loves them. Little did I know that in reading "Hidden Christmas" that God was answering my prayer. Within my own power I will never be able to love them as Jesus loves them but by confessing this sin and trusting God to fill me with His love for the homeless then I inded will be able to love them as Jesus would.
My prayer for each of you this Christmas is that you will recognize your need for a Savior and that you will "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all you mind and love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27).
Merry Christmas to each one of you from all of us at Soaring Wings Ministries!
499 Trinity Lane
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