Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winter Nights and City Lights

"Sleeping in Quincy, backcountry,and eating chocolate bars all day has stolen my heart. Winter camping was by far the coolest experience of my life. Inside our snow mound we'd shiver, sing, and pray at night. I cherish the memories set out there in our village of snow with our family of 8- I loved every bit so much. "
- Maddy Yohn.

Parents you will be glad to know that your students survived the winter camping experience and enjoyed it! We saw the Lord work out the perfect conditions for us with all our activities. With the weeks starting out in the negative tempratures it was blessing to see him clear up the skies and gives us the warm sun!

Immediately following the Winter Camping course the we traveled to Seattle for a concrete Gospel and Culture course. Senior Pastor of Bethany Community Church, Richard Dahlstrom taught our students elements of sharing the gospel in our cultural contexts. Here is a word from Brady Bowman on the week.
"Although a couple of weeks have passed since our trip to Seattle, and indelible imprint has been left on my heart and mind. I believe I can speak for all the Ventures ( and Adam & Brooke) in declaring the trip one of the major highlights of the year. The issue of engaging culture while remaining distinctly Christian is of great importance for us who claim to be orthodox believers. Initially, I was concerned that this expedition to Seattle would be little more than an interesting field trip to view secular culture. My concerns were quickly relieved as the week shaped into a focused study and observation of how to interact with the culture we find ourselves in. Being a student of Culture is so much more than an excuse to check out local shops and drink coffee- it is learning how the gospel operates in (and ultimately transforms) a specific culture. During the latter part of the week, we had the opportunity to prepare and serve meals at the Union Gopsel Mission in Downtown Seattle. I as grateful that we not only had the chance to meet a very real need, but we could also build relationships. Meeting these men in their context was challenging and stretching, but it was ultimately rewarding to establish commmon ground. Also, it pointed to the unifying theme of the week: engaging culture/meeting needs as the means to delivering the gospel. Our class timewith Richard centered on the flexibility of the gospel to culture (old wine, new wineskins). He took us through the history of human ideologies and worldviews, showing that there were common threads thoughout. At a basic level, every person is motivated by a desire to have certain needs met. Instead of discounting particular views as false, we use engagment to sympathize with people's needs and point to thier ultimate fulfillment in Christ. I've learned (and still am learning) that engaging culture helps bring me to a deepr understanding of the good news I'm trying to communicate. The gospel reaveal us all as helpless sinners who need to be transformed by God's grace. Instead of self-righteous condescensions , we can look at culture like Paul in Acts 17 when, "His spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols". Then our reaction is not to separate from the world, but to build bridges that lead people to the to the city on a hill; where Jesus is our all- satisfying joy and treasure."

We thank you for the prayers and encouragements that you have sent our way. We feel greatly blessed by the Lord in His abundant lessons He has taught us this last quarter. We have just finished spring break and many of the students attended mission trips to Idaho and Colorado. God brought everyone back safely and we thank Him for that. Currently, we are looking at the last 8 weeks of the school year. We have discussed this with the Venture students and urged them to reflect on the last semester and consider what things they want to accomplish in these last weeks. Many of them have goals to be intentional in their relationships with the students, to be consistant in the disciplines they've started, and to finish strong. We look forward to the day of graduation in the sense that we will see these young leaders go out and accomplish God's will and purposes. Please continue to be in prayer for us and these students as they desire to accomplish these last goals in their time here. Pray that they would continue to grow and learn and remain committed.