Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our New Ministry

God has blessed our family with an exciting ministry opportunity. We've had it on our hearts since we moved here to find a way to impact the college students/players that He has put in our lives. And the idea could have only come from Him because it hit Dash and I both at the same time and the details are falling too perfectly into place. Below is an e-mail I sent to families in Tyler today, but as our friends and family, we ask that you pray for this program: for the impact it makes on our community, the families and players; that God chooses exactly the right families to participate; that His will be done and not ours; that we find ways to give Him the glory through this program, even though it's by definition a 'secular' program; and specifically for me over the next month as I organize all the details and recruit families.
With joy,

Some of you have heard a little about the ministry we are starting, but I’ve included more background for those who have not. Please forward this on to anyone you think might be interested. Since this is the program’s first year, we can use as much help as we can get from people spreading the word!

Dash and I knew that God had plans for our family when He opened the door to Dash’s new job as TJC Assistant Tennis Coach last year. While Dash loves building relationships with his players, there is a fine line that is difficult to cross as a coach to really make the most significant spiritual impact on their lives. Just recently, God put it on our hearts to involve the community (our friends, church, tennis supporters, strangers with a desire to serve) in impacting these players for His glory. So, that’s where this plan came from…

This coming school year, starting in September, we are launching the first year of the “Adopt an Apache” program. This program will match up college athletes (just tennis for now but we have a great desire to expand it in coming years) with families in Tyler that ‘adopt’ them for the year. Adoption is this case means treating the player to one meal a month (home-cooked or eating out), attending a couple of their FREE tennis matches to cheer them on and building a relationship. Of course, it’s not limited to these but that’s the minimum we are asking of the adoptive families. Not too much, right?

At least half of the TJC tennis teams are international students that come to Tyler without a friend, car or much money. They often cannot leave for the short college holidays (like Thanksgiving and Easter) and stay in the empty dorms. While it’s easy to see the needs of players from places like Paris, Greece, Brazil, Israel and Russia, the tennis players from Lubbock, Abilene and Franklin are searching for ways to get involved in the community just as much. Having our 18-month old son around the tennis players for the past year has been such a blessing for our family. They all run to play with him and we love that he gets exposed to other cultures within the confines of the Tyler city limits. College is such a critical time for many – when many of us made spiritual decisions that would affect us for eternity – and our prayer is that through the adoptive families, this is an opportunity for our community to impact the nations and these players in His name.

Other details (in a nice, concise list!):
-A mixer and optional FREE tennis clinic for adults and children will take place in early or mid September to introduce the families to their adopted Apache
-Families will receive a bio on their Apache before the mixer
-A monthly reminder e-mail/newsletter will be sent out with suggestions and success stories
-A facebook fanpage will be set up to easily find out about upcoming matches and TJC tennis news (like the fact that both the men and women’s teams won the National Championship this past year!)
-Families can request a male or female player, if they have a preference.

We have over twenty players coming in just a few weeks and our goal is to have families ready to make an impact on their time here in Tyler. Please pray about your commitment and let either of us know if you have any questions or concerns. Or if you are ready to “Adopt and Apache!”

With joy,

Thanks for your support. We look forward to sharing successes and struggles as we get the program off the ground and running.

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