This post is just filled with a bunch of random stuff….
Because we are moving back to Great Oaks, we will be required to send out monthly support newsletters, like we have done before (when we were there from 2009-2012).
Below is the start of our very first newsletter we wrote in February 2009.
This is our latest newsletter that went out this past week!
Ready to be mailed
Here’s what it says,
Dear Friends and Family,
Callie and I are excited to announce that I will be rejoining the staff at Great Oaks Camp (in Lacon, Illinois) this November. I will be resuming the role of Program Director, but my duties will also include Guest Services, which is a new twist on my former position.
For those of you who may not know or don’t remember, Great Oaks Camp serves 225+ inner-city children and teens from Peoria (the next “big city” over, about 30 miles away from Lacon) every summer by providing a 100% free week of camp to each child who qualifies and chooses to sign-up. The weeks of summer camp at Great Oaks are divided by age and gender to help those in attendance focus on what it means to trust in a loving God and have a relationship with Him through activities, games, Bible studies, and interaction with the full-time Great Oaks staff, as well as the summer counselors. A select number of teen campers are invited back during the final six weeks of camp to participate in a discipleship program known as T.R.A.I.L. T.R.A.I.L. stands for Transforming, Renewing, And Impacting Lives for Christ. During the fall, winter, and spring the T.R.A.I.L. campers are also invited back to camp to participate in two-day retreats in order for the staff at Great Oaks Camp to continue their year round ministry and continue impacting the lives of young people from Peoria.
Great Oaks Camp has a unique approach to ministry (through inner-city camping) and although offering a free week of camp to 225+ campers can be a blessing, it can also be a tremendous drain on their financial resources as a whole. For this reason, staff salaries are kept to a minimum so maximum resources can be used directly for the ministry. All members of Great Oaks staff, from the Executive Director to their summer counselors, raise monetary support to supplement their lower salaries. When Callie and I both worked at Great Oaks Camp (from 2009-2012) any monetary support we received through fundraising was certainly welcome and was a blessing to us, as a financial “bonus.” However, as we return to Great Oaks this fall, financial support through monthly monetary donations is going to become a necessity, in order for our ministry to be the best that it can be, as well as for us to be able to support ourselves.
Our goal for this coming year is to find TEN (10) people who would be willing to give a minimum donation of $25.00 per month, in order to supplement our cost of living. (It can also be flipped the other way; if TWENTY-FIVE (25) people would like to donate a minimum of $10 a month, that would be fine, too). We are looking for at least a one-year commitment from those who are willing to donate that way.
One time donations are certainly appreciated and welcome but because Callie and I see living and serving at camp as a long-term commitment, we are looking for others to join us and support us in our ministry long-term.
Included with this letter you should have received a response slip and a return envelope, for your convenience. Please use it, as you wish. If you would like to set up automatic withdrawal, so it will come out of your checking account each month, without you having to write a check, Great Oaks can certainly help you with that. Just give the office a call at
(309) 246-4005 and ask for Tyler.
Callie and I covet your prayers, as we begin this journey and adventure.
• Please pray for safe travels as we pack and move at the end of October/beginning of November.
• Please pray we are able to get the financial fundraising we need to supplement our income each month, beginning in November.
• Please pray for Paul as he transitions into his new position and hits the ground running.
• Please pray for the children and teens that Great Oaks serves. Pray God would speak to their hearts and that they would be blessed because of Great Oaks’ ministry.
Thank you for your friendship and love.
So….70 letters went out this past week. We are praying the Lord would provide for us, through those who would like to support us each month monetarily.
On a different note, this past Saturday we went to Austin and sold Mom/Dad’s car. We’ve been driving Mom’s old car (1998 Toyota Camry) since June of 2012, when Mom got a new one. Well, we knew that we didn’t want to take it to Illinois (and didn’t really need it, to be honest), so we asked if we could sell it. So, we took it to Carmax and sold it! We were pleasantly surprised with how much we got and will definitely use the money we got to help us move!
1998 Toyota Camry
This just kind of a “funny story” but back in 2011-2012 (before we moved) I worked at our church, Chillicothe Christian. Each day I would make myself a “To Do” list for the following day, so I would know what I needed to work on/complete, etc. Well, after we had shared the news with CCC that we were moving, here’s what Bob (our pastor) wrote on my “To Do” list….
Bob’s “To Do” list for me….
If you can’t read it, it says, “Inform TX we will NOT be coming, going to stay in Chillicothe instead.”
Well, Bob….your wish has come true!
Here’s another sign Bob made for me and stuck it on my desk!!
Bob’s note for Texas!
Well, again, Bob, we’re coming home!!
On another note….we spend a lot of time (and money) at Sonic, getting drinks during Happy Hour! This sign used to hang in our kitchen (I took it down last week)….we’re going to have to get used to not having a Sonic 2 minutes away! Peoria has a Sonic, but it’s 40 minutes away!!
This past weekend (Friday and Saturday) we drove over to Hamilton to see Paul’s mom/dad/sister. Paul’s mom has chickens, which Paul had not seen, so we fed the chickens while we were there.
Saturday we drove over to Stephenville and ate lunch at Jake and Dorothy’s. (It’s a tradition to go anytime we’re in Hamilton)…..
Father and son.
Today was our last Sunday at First Baptist, Giddings. Here are just some random pictures with some of our kids….
Jasmine and me
Melissa and me
Walker and me
I like this next picture a lot…..
our last Sunday
Walker now goes to church in Round Rock with his dad, but he came back to FBC Giddings today to play with Paul one last time.
Paul and Walker playing together
I worried about how Walker was going to take us moving, but…..he is moving, too! In November, after football season, he is moving to Round Rock with his dad, who is getting married! So, it actually works out perfectly (I don’t have to worry as much)….
As I said, today is our last Sunday at FBC. We will, however, be there on Wednesday, for one last Wednesday night. So, some of our good-byes will be delayed a little bit longer!