Thought I’d take a minute or two to thank each of my teammates for these first couple weeks of YMV’s… below I have listed the Youth Leader/Team Leader for each of the mission towns and something I appreciate about them and their ministry. These are great folk, take the time to praise God for them!
Jeff Hawkins (Chehalis; led the team to Simms, MT): Jeff and Sarah strike me as a “Mom and Dad” type of Youth Pastor. They have a large family of their own and very much see their youth group as an extension of their own family! Jeff gives freedom to the students where it has been earned and certainly can tell it like it is when he needs to as well. I am very much encouraged by watching his own kids and the way they are following in Mom and Dad’s footsteps!
Ben Lunsford (Avondale Bible; led the team to Plains, MT): Ben and Gloria (and Caleb) are much the same as Jeff and Sarah, only a little (okay quite-a-bit) younger. This young family jumps right into ministry together and though they have a newborn in Caleb, they tackled the ministry in Plains. I have enjoyed getting to know this young family at our Seattle retreat, at a Youth Pastor/wives retreat we got to speak at and on the mission. Ben exhibits strength and grace at the same time.
Jess Champers (Snohomish; led the team to Superior, MT): Jess and his wife Alisha (along with their two daughters) are quickly becoming good family friends. Jess served as my “Lead” for this trip (which means he helped me with the scout and did the Landing). Jess is a family man to the core and cares deeply for the lost. Throughout the trip he would call or text looking for another way to help motivate his students toward getting out of their comfort zone and into the lives of the lost! I love his zeal for the Lord and for the Lost. He is a nurturer at heart!
Brad Hostak (River Ridge of Lacey; led the team to Council, ID): Brad is a former intern of mine, so it is with obvious pride I speak of this young man! I love watching Brad grow as a Pastor–it is so evident he is listening to the Spirit and seeking to obey. On this trip his gift of discernment stood out. He was able to examine a situation and lead accordingly. Visiting Brad in Council brought extra joy to me in that Miki Vercammen and Nate Noble (former leaders for me at Blvd Pk) were both serving with Brad in the town where I led my last trip!
Derek Edwards (Lake Sawyer; led the teams to Cambridge and Cascade, ID): Gotta love those admin-gifted Youth Pastors! I thought I was pretty administrative, then I met Derek! This guy is quickly becoming one of my favorite guys to partner with in ministry! He has his own secular full-time job, yet finds time (or makes time) to be a great family man and part-time Youth Pastor at a large church! LSCC did the right thing in hiring Derek. His teams were well trained and executed so well! I loved seeing him in action and it was evident his leaders serving with him were in tuned with all that was happening!
Joe Monto and Mike Gerspach (Calvary South; led the team to Crouch, ID): Joe and Mike are so different, yet their gifts work so well together. This team from Calvary exceeded all expectations and I believe are coming home with a new heart for their community. My prayer is that Joe and Mike will have the “trust factor” needed with the teens now (they are both relatively new to their positions). They did a fantastic job in Crouch! Mike is one of the hardest working guys I have ever been around and Joe’s gift with music almost matches his heart of compassion!
Rob Holster (NW Bible of Spring, TX; led the team to Riggins, ID): I wish Rob and Michelle lived in the Seattle area; I know the Aabys and Holsters would be kickin’-it quite-a-bit. They are a fun couple who have stepped-it-up in their ministry just north of Houston. They obeyed the Lord on this trip and in preparation for this trip. Their group was so well prepared and in-step with the Holy Spirit the entire time. Southern hospitality was delivered to Riggins, and I know God was glorified through Rob’s leadership of this team!
Wow, I am blessed to have served with this bunch, not to mention the number of volunteer leaders these teams brought with them. I am glad God chose these teams to go to these towns!