In Between

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Brothers and Sisters,

A blessed Advent to you. As we inhabit this intentional season of waiting and anticipation for Christ’s coming, we invite you to rest in the waiting and to see this time as where God is at work. Let’s not hurry to Christmas. Let’s not miss what He has for us along the way.

You’ve journeyed with our family in our call to Agape Year for a while. You’ve waited with us to see Agape Year come to be in flesh and blood. You’ve prayed, encouraged, and offered hope while the ‘waiting’ seemed so long. Since the inception of Agape Year, our family has spent many hours traveling, in flux, inhabiting the in between. We’ve been eager to get to the destination: Agape Year’s first cohort. And, we hurried our way there.

Then, Caleb and Lucas, our first fellows, came and started to inhabit the plans and prayers that came before them. But, we still felt this hurried drive toward the ‘destination’ of transformational discipleship. As we shared life with Caleb and Lucas, it was easy to rush to a service project then rush home to study together and then rush to prayer. Nate spent much time with our fellows in our faithful Subaru and I was side by side with them in the kitchen multiple times a day. These, along with others, were our ‘in between’ times. On the way to community group or ESL tutoring, Nate’s been able to have frank conversations, listen intently, and pray with our fellows. While washing dishes or prepping meals, I’ve heard our fellows share their hopes and fears for the future, chatting theology, and learned much about rugby and robotic battles. And, in these ‘in between’ times, we’ve been surprised by the Spirit’s movement, reminding us that the ordinary is indeed sacred.

We are continuing to tweak and shape the curriculum and formation of Agape Year to meet its goals. But, as we do that, it is easy to lose sight of how discipleship happens along the way, in between the books, projects, seminars, and service. In the gospels, Jesus stops to heal the bleeding woman while on his way to raise a girl from the dead. Jesus shares the words of Life with the Samaritan woman at the well on his way to Jerusalem. Jesus heals a servant’s ear on the way to the Cross. These examples, along with others, remind us that to be His disciple we must allow Him inhabit all places of our lives, even those stray, throw away moments of the day where we are waiting for the next thing. This Advent, while we wait and groan for His coming, we pray that you’ll be surprised by His peace and joy in the ‘in between’.

We are also living in an in between spot financially. We’ve grown in our partners and support as Agape Year has started. We are still praying for God to provide monthly partners as we are currently at 50% of our need to be sustainable for years to come. Would you join us along the way? Would you consider a year end gift to help close this gap? Please also join us in prayer as we seek partnership with churches. We hope to have three churches join Agape Year’s vision by financially supporting our family.

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Mission at Home: Mentoring Millennials

Mission at Home: Mentoring Millennials

SAMS will be seeing you at the Anglican Church of North America’s Assembly 2017: Mission on your Doorstep. Who is our neighbor and how are we to serve them? How is God calling us to mission right where we are? Learn about staff member, Nita, and her calling to local mission. 

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7 (NASB)

Staff member Nita Dempsey is the SAMS Office Manager. What you may not know about her, though, is that she has a call and a passion for youth. What started as a casual conversation to offer some extra help to the youth ministry turned into almost a daily commitment for Nita as a mentor for high school students. Now five years later, she leads formal Bible studies, takes students on retreats for relationship building, and travels to West Virginia every year on a mission trip with them.

“We go to the same town and help the community with restoration,” says Nita. Restoring homes isn’t the only thing this youth group is doing; they are building lasting relationships in the name of Christ. “As a youth group, we built relationships on our first mission with three sisters in the community that have grown through all these years. Although they knew Christ when we met them, these women shared their difficult background and struggles. The one sister is working towards being a paralegal and another sister is involved in ministry work. Our youth over the years see God at work in the community and in our team as they reach out and participate with God and each other. Last year after our mission, we had seven youth give their lives to Christ. It was beautiful and humbling to see how God had touched these lives.”

Inter-generational ministry can be good for not only youth but also those who engage with them. Christianity Today explains that people over 40 years old experienced meaningful service, worship, and connections when their church focused on inter-generational ministry. How do we engage with youth in our church? Nita says, “Youth respond to how invested you are in them. There is a lot happening at that age, and they are confronted by many things that challenge their faith. They want to feel like they belong to a community, someone to listen to them, and someone to challenge them to step up and take the lead in their spiritual growth and in their community. You might even be surprised how much you learn about yourself and your faith along the way.”

 

Of Weeds, Soil, and Waiting

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Nate and Henry marvel at the California Redwoods

Most Tuesday mornings you can find us at our community farm, Ballfield Farm.  Henry finds a friend and Annie sleeps in the stroller while I attempt to rid the outfield of thistle and weed and Nate moves large amounts of soil or wood chips or compost in a wheelbarrow. We are joined with a slew of folks who have come together to give what they can to make this patch of earth bear all kinds of harvest. But the harvest we anticipate this year is a result of hard, back-breaking labor of folks, many of whom we don’t know, who saw potential in the fallow ground of an overgrown baseball field.

As dirt gets into my fingernails and I fight to make a patch of soil hospitable for seed, I am reminded of our brothers and sisters who are also planting and waiting for harvest. These past two weeks, our family was encouraged by visiting churches throughout Texas and California, most of which are in their early stages of growth as church plants. We heard a repeated and faithful refrain from several rectors, saying “We don’t expect to see the flourishing of the our work now. Perhaps are children will.” We were amazed by this faithful, sacrificial vision while laboring in at times hostile soil. Friends, your brothers and sisters in San Antonio, Austin, Plano, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Modesto are witnessing God’s kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven. Pray for them to be encouraged in the Spirit that unites us to each other.

Similarly, we press on to root Agape Year in the Kingdom for the life of the world. While there are times the soil looks dormant to our eye, God is at work! We have accepted our first applicant. Praise God! We are growing in our own support! Praise God! These sprouts of growth remind us of God’s ever-growing, ever-living work while we rest in His faithfulness.

We continue to trust God for a few more participants for this Fall. Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest will bring those He has called to pioneer Agape Year with us.   We’ve seen God surprises us with His provision for our family while still trusting Him to call senders to come around us in this call. Is He asking you to join in this particular field? Consider giving a monthly donation of $40.

S’more Summer Sundays!
Would you join us this summer for fire, s’mores, and prayer for mission?
We’ll gather the fourth Sunday of the month in June, July, and August at our home, 2623 Linwood. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, or musical instrument if you like. We’re excited to see you!
Mark your calendars for June 25, July 23, and August 27.

Love,
The Twichells

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Flying with 2 children is no joke!

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Some lighthearted things to think about

A  wee bit of Historical knowledge for YOU related to our old sayings

Early aircraft  throttles had a ball on the end of it, in order to go full  throttle the pilot had to push the throttle all the way forward into the wall of the instrument panel. Hence “balls to the wall” for going very fast. And now you know the rest of the  story.

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During WWII, U.S. Airplanes were armed with belts  of bullets which they would shoot during dogfights and on  strafing runs.  These belts were folded into the wing compartments that fed their machine guns. These belts measure 27 feet and contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times, the pilots would return from their missions having expended all of their bullets  on various targets. They would say, I gave them the whole nine yards, meaning they used up all of their ammunition.

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Did you know the saying “God willing and the creek don’t rise” was in reference to the Creek Indians and not  a body of water? It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician and Indian diplomat. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington In his response, he was said to write, “God  willing and the Creek don’t rise.” Because he capitalized the word “Creek”, he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe  and not a body of water.

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In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings  of  GeorgeWashington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms  and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore  painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay,  but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’  (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint.)

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As incredible as it sounds, men and women took  baths only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their hair   covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for  30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term ‘big wig’. Today we often use the term ‘here  comes the Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

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In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded  down  from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the  chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board.’

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Personal hygiene left much room for improvement.  As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by  adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over their facial skin to smooth out  their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman  began to stare at another woman’s face she was told, ‘mind your own bee’s wax.’ Should the woman smile,  the wax would crack, hence the term ‘crack a smile’. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt. Therefore, the expression ‘losing face.’

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Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in ‘straight laced’ wore  a tightly tied lace.

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Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but  only  applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’ To avoid paying the tax, people would  purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t ‘playing with a full deck.’

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Early politicians required feedback from the  public to determine what the people considered important. Since  there  were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their  assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some Ale and listen to people’s conversations and political  concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different  times. ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were  eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we  have the term ‘gossip.’

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At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank  from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to  keep an  eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the phrase ‘minding your  ‘P’s and Q’s’.

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One more: bet you didn’t know this! In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried  iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary  to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting  on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem…. how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from  under the others. The  solution was a metal plate called a ‘Monkey’ with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the  iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’

Few landlubbers  realize that brass contracts greater and much faster than iron when it’s chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would roll right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite  literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’

“any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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On The Road /On The Run

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A few weeks ago we packed the Subaru to the gills and pointed our rusty, I mean TRUSTY, steed south to the warm embrace of The Diocese of South Carolina. We had a number of appointments set up with youth leaders, rectors, and missions minded folks around Charleston, and enjoyed our time there immensely. Except for the fire ants. Lesson learned: don’t place a sandaled foot or bare hand within their reach. Lesson number two: Camp St. Christopher is a beautiful place and the people there are amazing hosts. We made some great new friends/contacts, were prayed for and ministered to in needed ways, and left encouraged and buoyed in our call to launch Agape Year. Now we are prepping for May recruiting trips that will see us in Texas and California. Being on the road with a 3 year old and a 5 month old has its challenges, and a side-of-the-road temper tantrum has a way of stretching my patience.

There are times in my life when I really need an Ebenezer, a reminder of God’s faithfulness. As Erika and I dive headlong into starting Agape Year, building a program, recruiting students, and raising our financial support there a times of great doubt that we are on the right track. But God has given me an incredible reminder of His faithfulness: my health.

Most of you know that I have Crohn’s Disease, and many of you know how debilitating it has been at various times over the past 20 years. And a few of you have seen me hospitalized or bed-bound for months on end. But just a few. Most people don’t know my story of healing (its a miracle and I’d love to talk to you about it!) so when I talk about running a half marathon, the miracle of that is lost on them.

By the grace of God I’ll run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 7th. We are raising donations here with all of the money going to Erika and my financial support. Getting up early to train on Pittsburgh’s city streets, or running in the dark on unfamiliar South Carolina roads, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness with every step. Thanks for coming along side of Erika and me on the road and on the run!

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