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God is continuing to make
His desires our desires. The West Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia is our home and our mission field as we serve at Urban Hope Training Center and Community Church.

Philippians 2:13

Nearing The End of a New Beginning

Nearing The End of a New Beginning

The last post to this site was made in the beginning of this year...many things have changed. This may be a long one. So sit back or maybe even grab a snack or a cup of coffee. I'll do my best to keep you entertained for the next few paragraphs.

I first want to apologize. I ended the last post with a commitment to post something every other week. I did not. And for this I extend my deepest apologies. So now that my conscious is clear lets get to the AMAZING THINGS GOD DID THESE PAST FEW MONTHS....we could forget about my failure to post consistently. Forgiveness right?

Amber led the kids of Salt and Light in a very special Valentine's Day shadow box performance (check out the video HERE) where the guest list consisted of only the family of the kids who were a part of Salt and Light. Afterwards dinner was served and members of Urban Hope had the opportunity to fellowship with the families of the children! 

Salt and Light Continued it's performance schedule of Easter with an original play/dance/puppet show "Ali, TJ, Joey and the Malfunctioning Time Machine."  Amber and I wrote the performance and with the help of UH interns voice acted the the puppet parts! View 15 minutes of the performance HERE! Easter service was also a blast with a special service and egg hunt for the kids!

Spring kicked off with the Urban Hope Spring Carnival Weekendl! #UHSC17! I worked along side our community event coordinator and lead pastor to organize this event. On Saturday April 22nd, Philadelphia Eagles Safety, Chris Maragos, and former Eagles Wide Receiver, Jordan Matthews, joined us to speak about their faith in Jesus Christ. Local community organizations also joined in on the fun. OH.....theres a video! (Amber shot 95% of the footage and photos!) 

A few weeks after the carnival God surprised us with this.

Yes this image happened in June but its the best representation of the situation...just go with it.....okay? Alright.

Yes this image happened in June but its the best representation of the situation...just go with it.....okay? Alright.

Trying to explain our emotions would be pointless. There was no explaining them. We did not really tell many people this but near the end of October in 2016 we had experienced a miscarriage. The feeling of hopelessness after the loss of our first child was overwhelming. We learned that a miscarriage wasn't something that we could simply tie off and forget but something we have to constantly give to God. There is no understanding or figuring out the answer to the question, "Why?" By the Grace of God the Body of Christ surrounded and supported us through the high seas. 

Now we are praising God for the renewed hope of new birth in the form of a little boy, who--by what Amber tells me and what I could feel--is a little ball of kicking and spinning energy. I couldn't tell you who he could possible get that from. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in January of 2018. So we are nearing the end of his new beginning!

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So we decided to take a week long "baby moon" (we didn't call it that at the time, but thats definitely what it was) to New Hampshire before we started a busy summer at Urban Hope. We got the best pancakes in the world at Polly's Pancake Parlor--with a name like that the pancakes better have been good. That is also where I feel in love with their coveted Maple Spread. MMM MMM DELICIOUS! Amber was impartial to their oatmeal pancakes. Our little Subaru Impreza also ascended and descending Mt. Washington twice--Amber won't let me put the "This car climbed Mt. Washington" sticker on the our bumper. On the way back home we took a walk through Historical Boston! I'll let the photos do the talking...er...showing.

I suggest you take a break for a second. Go outside. Say "Hello" to your family. Get some more snacks. But come right back because there is more.

I'll wait.

...

You back?

Great!

Here we go.

Kingdom Kids Daycamp took a trip the amusement park this year with "The Ride" as it's theme! Kids learned how following Jesus is like riding a roller coaster. There are ups and downs, but in the end it is the best decision you could ever make. Kids memorized and rapped Ephesians 2:1-5! Grace Student Ministries Bath Campus and Northwestern Chapel were the volunteer teams that week where 375 kids learned about Jesus!

We paused in between to celebrate Amber's birthday on July 3rd and our nation's birthday on July 4th with my family...

Then it was back to ministry with the Streetwise conference at Urban Hope. Sean McDowell lead impactful sessions on how to share and defend our faith different people groups. Attendants took part in homeless ministry, prayer walks and they visited a Islamic Mosque. At the end of the week Kingdom Kids threw--Amber organized--a Splash Party and that Sunday church was held on the block with outdoor baptisms!

Then we hopped back on "The Ride" with another week of Kingdom Kids Daycamp with Wooster Grace Students as the volunteer team! We learned/rapped/memorized Ephesians 2:6:10! So if you do the math, if a child attended both weeks of Daycamp they memorized Ephesians 2:1-10! Now that was amazing to hear!

Amber and I travelled to Indiana Wesleyan University with ROCK--UH's youth ministry-- to Momentum Youth Conference for a week. The theme this year was "The Comeback." While Amber served as a youth worker with ROCK, I served on the videography team. Check out a highlight video from the week...(give me a call and I'll show which shots I filmed...there's a good amount of them!) Over 200 students gave their lives to Christ that week!

Then it was time for Kingdom Kids at Camp Conquest where we learned how to pray God's way by studying and memorizing "The Lord's Prayer." Amber led the troops as Camp Director and I was a dean. Watch this video!

And right when we got back from camp we closed on our house. So if you know anything about home buying it takes more than one day. Long story short, we did all those things I explained during the summer while going through the home buying process and doctor's appointments for Baby Besson. WHEW!

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I proceeded to spend the whole month of September--with the help of family and church family--painting, repairing, preparing and remodeling our home. At the end of September it was time for the Urban Hope Carnival of Hope Weekend! We had special Puerto Rican musical performances and Urban Hope gave away a car. Amber ran our Polaroid photobooth and I was the MC on stage. In my honest opinion it was the most well organized carnival ever. The highlight of the day was when 5-10 people responded to Gospel message in some way.

After the dust settled from our busy Winter/Spring/Summer we finally moved into our home on Thayer Street. There are many kids on the block that I pick up for Kingdom Kids and know very well. God gave us the opportunity to move their to have an impact on the families of the children who do not know Jesus. I'll tell the story of Thayer street in more detail in my next post.

Praise God for sustaining us this Summer. Praise His Glorious name for the many changed lives. Pray that the Lord would use this new home as a beacon of light for His purposes. Praise God for a baby boy and pray that he remains energetic and healthly. Pray that Amber and I can reach our financial goals for the year. Praise God for all of you who love us and support us with prayer and finances.

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Closing 2016 and Starting 2017

Closing 2016 and Starting 2017