Thursday, July 20, 2017

People of TeenPact: Mr. DeLange

P E O P L E   O F   T E E N P A C T

This is Mr. Dale DeLange from Michigan. He's a red berry farmer and a shop teacher. He lives and farms on the same land where he was raised and his father grew berries. He's a TeenPact dad and hosted us while we were in Michigan for the class.

Mr. DeLange gets up at 6 every morning to do chores before he goes to work. He's hard working and also one of the most subtly funny people I've met. I tried to figure out why I enjoyed being around him so much and then I realized it: Jesus is the key piece of his life. From Bible studies after meals to private devotions in the morning, Christ saturates everything he does. "The reason I'm so happy is because I've got Jesus." He even sacrificed celebrating his 50th birthday with his family to let them serve at TeenPact.

I've taken to asking men who are in their midlife how living over half their lives has changed their outlook for the rest of their lives. I had the chance to ask Mr. DeLange and he answered:
"Every year I give more than I did the year before and I always find that every year I have fewer needs than the years before...It's a heart issue; I've matured spiritually so that I love Jesus now more than I did last year and ten years and twenty-five years ago. The beautiful thing about the Bible is that it's so perfectly simple for the new believer and so deep and complicated for the mature believer." Mr. And Mrs. DeLange choose to live simply but are incredibly generous to everyone around them.
"I used to squirrel away money for retirement and worry about it. And then one day I realized that when I get to heaven, and see people who say the one thing they always wanted was a Bible and they never got one, and I had all this money, what am I going to say, ya know?" At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how nice of vacations or retirements we have. What matters is loving people like Jesus and telling others about the eternity we can have with him. I think we can all learn a little something from Mr. DeLange (Also, ice cream and farm strawberries is the breakfast of champions.)

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

People of TeenPact: Mr. Larry

P E O P L E   O F   T E E N P A C T
(I didn't get a picture of this gentleman, but we talked for several hours, so this picture of our view will have to do. I've also changed his name for privacy reasons)

This is Mr. Larry. Larry is a farm business consultant. He flies across the country most weeks of the year, helping farmers understand business practices. He started at the company at a desk job, but convinced his boss to let him fly and meet farmers, face to face. Their business has rapidly expanded since then. His real passion is working and connecting farmers across the US and Canada. We had a great time discussing the value of peer to peer discussions and mentorship.

"It's incredible what a corn farmer in Nebraska can learn from a cranberry farmer from another state....They don't even know what they're missing."

His business model is to get different types of farmers in peer groups together to share experiences and advice.
Larry has a fascinating story. He was born into a troubled family with a father who was rarely around. At a young age, he got involved in drugs and became a high level dealer. His mother prayed for him every day, and those prayers had an effect. In his mid 20's he had a child, and decided to try and get out of drugs. He went to TeenChallenge where his life changed. A gentleman there handed him a Bible and told him to read it cover to cover and come to his own conclusions; not to read it through other's perspectives, but rather to see what his thoughts were. He spent two years doing just that and cleaning up his life. He began teaching pastors and has trained numerous pastors all across the nation. He's now happily married with a child, and works both as a pastor trainer and consultant. He had some incredible thoughts on basic theology, most of which are too complicated to write here. We talked about the times he met John MacArthur and John Piper, and what they had both taught him.

"I was at...a conference where John Piper was preaching. I happened to sit in the row behind him, and noticed how incredibly nervous he was to go preach. I asked him why...he said he didn't want to preach something that wasn't correct or would hurt Christ's message. I've never seen someone with so much reverence for preaching."

He also had incredible stories about the people the consulting people had brought him into contact with. The love of Jesus clearly shone through everything he did, and it reminded me of all the ways Jesus can use broken people like us. 
Until next time,

Thursday, January 26, 2017

People Of TeenPact: Mr. V.

P E O P L E    O F   T E E N P A C T
I've only been on the road two weeks in my internship with TeenPact and I've already met so many great people with incredible stories and advice. I'd like to periodically share them here.

This is Mr. Keith V.
He's a race car owner and driver and a bus driver on the side. He owns a bunch of cars (He told me about all of them and their details but I honestly can't remember all the intricacies) and spends much of the year traveling in an RV, traveling to races with his family. He holds the track record at the asphalt track south of Omaha. That's his passion.
Mr. V has a long history in the military with his grandpa's in the Navy, his father in the Army and then himself serving in the Navy. He served seven years aboard a carrier before deciding to retire and become a shop teacher amongst other things. Here's his view on life:
"I don't want to have millions and millions of dollars. I wanna live comfortably with my family and help some people who need it...The problem is folks want to make millions and everyone wants to be rich. That's all they want, is to have all this stuff. How can you live in five houses at once? Live comfortably and then help those who need it."
Mr. V shared numerous stories about how he helped everyone from single mothers to D league baseball players with his advice and his auto shop. However, they're too numerous to record here. But while talking to Mr. V I felt that I had found someone who truly understood what life is about. It's not all about getting money and riches but about being generous and spreading Christ's love. It's about desiring to help others and to love his family instead of loving the things of this world. I hope we can all be a little more like Mr. V. 
Until next time,

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pastor Ty and Little Terri

I haven't written anything on this yet because it hurt to much, but tonight I feel like putting my thoughts to paper.

Pastor Ty was the youth pastor at my church, Waypoint Church. I didn't go to the Children's ministry. I was always in the main service since I was five or six and vaguely recall Pastor Ty speaking while we were members at Trinity Church. After we left, he would come and speak every few months at our Church, and I remember laughing so hard at his sermons that I couldn't stop laughing. He brought so much life to the scriptures and his message, and I was thrilled to hear that he would be joining our Church in 2013.

 I was able to hear almost every sermon he preached there. I am so thankful for that opportunity.In March of 2014, I was asked who my role model was. The first thought that came to my mind was Pastor Ty. They asked why? I responded that I loved his wittiness, and yet he got his point across and preached the gospel beautifully, letting God work through him. He touched so many people (From my perspective at the time; little did I know!) and I could see Christ through him. I loved to listen to his sermons and couldn't wait to hear him preach and re-listen to his sermons on podcast. ("If you're listening by podcast, where are you?! Just kidding.") He recommended a book called "Why Revival Tarries" by Leonard Ravenhill, from the pulpit. I purchased it, and am still working through it but the things that God is revealing through it are incredible. He and I chatted every once and a while over social media, and before my first TeenPact class as a leader, I asked him to pray for me.

I had the opportunity, about a year ago, to join the youth group that he lead. My parents had given the go ahead if that's that I wanted to do. I procrastinated and eventually declined, a decision I now deeply regret. However, even though I didn't go to the youth meetings, I still felt that he was my youth pastor. He had a "puberty spirit" and he still ministered to me.

I received the news in the middle of a conference in Ohio that Friday morning. I didn't really have time to process the information. It struck me like a train, but at the same time, I couldn't think about it or process it. I spent two hours volunteering doing political phone calls for AFP Missouri that evening and the waiting music that was set on the phone was Christian worship music. I would break down and start to cry every time one came on. I left early and went back to my hotel room.

 I was still in shock. I turned on the song "In the Hands of God" by the Newsboys. The first words that hit me were "We have raised up hopes in our City's heart, we have followed fragile dreams; but only one can take the measures of our souls. We have stumbled over the trials of life and we've wrestled the unseen but only one can calm the storm inside our souls. In the hands of God we will fall. Rest for the restless. Hope for the sinner. In the hands of God." I wept for fifteen minutes. "and when all is finished and we face the fierce-some power of death, only one has over come the gates of hell. In the hands of God." The opening of that song, I feel, describes their life incredibly well.

I remember Pastor Ty as a role model. Someone who gave his life to Jesus, and let God work through his heart. God gave him a passion, a vision, a piece of his heart to work on this earth. And he followed it, and changed so many lives. He was witty, and funny, and yet humble. I want to be that. I want Jesus to work through me. I want my gifts, my talents to be Jesus' and I "want my life to honor him and bless a bunch of other people." The way he loved his wife, the way he taught his kids, I want to be that. I want my kids to know who Pastor Ty and Little Terri were; they impacted my life forever, and they're now dancing with Jesus, because HE conquered the gates of hell.

The last altar call at my Church that Pastor Ty ever did, he had a call for those who had lived a good life, yet were still holding on, and wanted control a part of their life instead of giving it all over. He touched me through that altar call. And I pray that I'll take the baton, and I'll carry it forward. There are so many more things I could write that othershave expressed, so I'll leave it here.

"If your Bible is falling apart, your life probably isn't."
"Oh death where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting?"
Ah, Kumbaya.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Myers Great American Tour: Days 4/5/6

Hello Everyone!
 Sorry that it has taken so long for me to write these updates! We have been very busy. I have to make this short, as I am tired and are all ready to go to bed.

Day 4:
(Still in Richmond) We visited Tredegar Iron Works, where much of the Confederate's cannon power was manufactured. We also toured the Confederate White House where Jefferson Davis and his family lived during the Civil War. Afterwards, we went to a massive mansion that was nearby Richmond. It was huge and very opulent. Mom and I got to do a tour of the house and grounds.

Day 5:
(Leaving Richmond) We visited Cold Harbor, a battlefield in the Civil War during 1864. 15,000 men were either wounded or killed there, 2/3 of which were Union. We walked 2 1/2 miles through the walking tour. It was one of the coolest battlefields that I have seen. Everywhere we walked were original trenches dug by Union and Confederate soldiers. Some were very visible and others were tucked away in the forest. The Battle of Cold Harbor was the first time that trench warfare was used in the United States. The battle lasted two weeks, and much of the battlefield is still intact.
Afterwards, we drove south to Yorktown Battlefield. This is the place where the final major battle of the Revolutionary War was fought. We got to hear a park ranger speak (One of the best ranger talks that I have ever heard.) as well as do a car tour throughout the battlefield. We saw where the British earthworks, the French Lines, the American Lines, as well as several of the batteries. We also got to see Redoubts #9 and #10, two of the most famous parts of the battlefield. Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette planned and executed attacks on the two small forts. The fall of the forts caused the fall of Yorktown. Finally we got to see the place where the British and German forces surrendered. Afterwards we stayed in Yorktown.

Day 6:
(Leaving Yorktown for North Carolina) Today, we drove from Yorktown to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We stopped to see Kitty Hawk and the place where Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the first airplane. It is constantly windy here, and you can see why it was a good place to practice flying. After visiting the park, we headed to the northern area of the Outer Banks, to our hotel. It is right on the beach, and it is just a two minute walk over a large dune to the beach. The three boys spent several hours in the water this afternoon, dodging waves. It is really pretty here.

Now I'm caught up! In the future I will try to be more regular in my posting. we are staying here through Wednesday morning, before we head to Washington DC for the convention of the National League of POW/MIA Families. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Myers Great American Tour: Day 3

Hello Everyone!
 Today we traveled six hours to get to Richmond Virginia. Instead of going a few more hours to Fredricksburg, we chose to stay in Richmond.  We spent most of the day driving. When we got to Richmond, most of the museums were closed, but we were able to walk around the riverfront  of Richmond and see many of the sights there. We saw numerous moorings of bridges and buildings that the Confederate Army blew up on their way out of town. We also saw one of the largest cannon foundries that was in use during the Civil War in the south.

The bridge just a few days after it was burned in 1865.
If you look behind us in the picture, you can see the remains of the bridge.
(Look above Jake's head but below the current bridge.)

Tomorrow we will stay in Richmond. The plan is to visit The Confederate White House and the Museum of the Civil War in Richmond, before heading out to the Cold War battlefield. The battlefield is about 15 miles north of Richmond. This week is the 150th Anniversary of the battle, so there will be re-enactors and a ceremony. It will be cool. I promise I will have more pictures tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

The Myers American Tour: Day 2!

Hello Everyone!
 Sorry this is a late post. Yesterday was a loooong day. We got pummeled with storms at the hotel, and even lost electricity for two hours! The storm was moving the same direction we were, so we waited to leave the hotel until 10 AM. We drove through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, where we are staying. We arrived around 8 PM eastern time. (We're now in the eastern time zone.) Just as we started unloading, the storm that had been behind us that we had been out running started pouring on us. It was incredible the amount of water that came down in those 20 minutes. (Omaha, friends, I have a feeling you can relate.....) However, even though Dad and I looked like drenched rats, we managed to get all of the luggage into the hotel.

Today we are not sure what we are doing. The original plan was to go to Fredericksburg Virginia, which is a Civil War battlefield. Unfortunately, most of the park is under renovation. So, it will be interesting to see what happens. We will drive into Virginia and I'm quite confident we will find something interesting to see. Check back later for tomorrow (um, today's) update! Thanks for reading!