Of Sinners and Big Steps

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“We’re not sinners, we’re Twichells,” Henry said this morning at breakfast while we read our devotions. Trying to parse our true identity as sinners and saints with a toddler who wholeheartedly embraces literalism is quite a task first thing in the morning. As our family has journeyed toward serving fully with Agape Year we are learning to live more fully into who we are as God’s children, His beloved. Our earnest prayer for Agape Year is that its participants will allow this true name, Beloved, to resound in his or her soul with gladness.

As His beloved, we are trusting our Father for our provision. Upon guidance from SAMS, Nate will be leaving Trader Joe’s on March 5 to engage fully with partner and program development for Agape Year. This is a step of faith for us. We are both terrified and exhilarated. This step makes aware of how little our faith is at times, but are confident of how faithful God is.

We are in need of:

  • prayer! Tons of peace and wisdom as we seek to bring Agape Year to reality.
  • Financial support! We’re in need of $3000 of monthly support to continue to be sustainable as full time directors of Agape Year.
  • Participants! We’ll be in the D.C. area mid March and South Carolina early April with the hopes of recruiting both participants and supporting churches. We’d love to meet up with you or appreciate any connections you think would be helpful!

Join us in this prayer from Walter Brueggemann as we trust our true identity:

You are the God who makes extravagant promises.  We relish your great promises of fidelity and presence and solidarity, and we exude in them.  Only to find out, always too late, that your promise always comes in the midst of a hard, deep call to obedience.  You are the God who calls people like us, and the long list of mothers and fathers before us, who trusted the promise enough to keep the call.  So we give thanks that you are a calling God, who calls always to dangerous new places.  We pray enough of your grace and mercy among us that we may be among those who believe your promise enough to respond to your call.  We pray in the one who embodied your promise and enacted your call, even Jesus.  Amen.

Advent 2016 Update

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Happy Advent to you! We’re grateful for this season in the church year of anticipation, hope, and repentance.

For both Nate and me, Agape Year has been a great teacher for hopeful anticipation. Five years ago, Nate and I met on St. Nicholas Day and shared a call to mission. One year ago, we accepted the call to start and direct Agape Year from the Anglican Global Mission Partners. Often we stand in wonder of how God has heard our prayers. Often we are caught in dismay, knowing it is only through His grace we are sustained. His grace has kept us while we are developing partners and the program and living our daily life of full-time work and child rearing. This year we’ve seen God bring His vision into greater formation and anticipate seeing it more fully fleshed out this year. So, we enter this season undergirded with grace and walking in faith.

In faith, we are accepting applications for Fall of 2017 to be our first cohort. (agapeyear.org/apply). Please pass along this application to 18-21 year olds you think God may be leading to participate.

In faith, we are hopeful to have our full support raised by March 1. At that point, Nate will be able to leave Trader Joe’s and dedicate his full energy to Agape Year. We currently have 45% of monthly support raised, but are still in need of $3000 per month in support. Would you join us? Would you help us connect to others who God may be calling to be a part of Agape Year? Praise be to God, He has provided what we need for our start up costs. We stand amazed.

A few highlights from the last few months:

  • We welcomed Anne Elisabeth, 9lbs 22inches, to our family on October 31. She taught us a lot about anticipation, as she was 10 days past her due date. She’s lovely and well loved by her brother and parents.
  • We visited the D.C./Baltimore area in September to meet with potential partners for Agape Year. It was a great time of encouragement and engagement. One refrain we heard was how Agape Year is an answer to prayer for youth, parents, and youth directors! Thanks be to God!
  • We were able to participate in our parish retreat and grow in relationship with our church family and other missionaries our church supports. We were also able to meet with Archbishop Foley Beach to share the vision of Agape Year.
  • We enjoyed having lunch with Bishop Jim and Mother Shari Hobby, and were encouraged by their excitement for Agape Year and its potential for shaping future church leaders.

As 2016 draws to a close, we are incredibly grateful for the support and care our community has offered us. We look forward with great expectation to what 2017 will hold for us and for Agape Year.

In Him,

Erika

Baby Donut

As we seek to expand our family’s engagement in God’s kingdom through Agape Year, God has seen fit to expand our family! Baby Twichell #2, dubbed Baby Donut by our resident carb aficionado Henry, is due October 21st! Starting a new ministry, graduating from seminary, moving, and having a baby will make 2016 a year to remember for the Twichells! Please pray for Erika and Baby Donut, and please consider supporting Agape Year as we seek to transition into full time ministry.

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Agape Year Global HQ

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Agape Year has a new global headquarters! We are very excited to have relocated our family and Agape Year to Pittsburgh’s Perry South neighborhood. Our new home is perfectly situated for easy access to some great ministry partners, has the space we’ll need to accommodate the next generation of global church builders, and on top of that, it has a porch swing. Please pray with us that this new home will be a place where God’s Light shines brightly, His name is proclaimed, and youth come to be challenged and prepared for what lies ahead.

 

Sent by SAMS

One of the most encouraging parts of starting Agape Year is that we are being sent as SAMS missionaries. SAMS is the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders. There is so much to unpack here, but it is an awesome thing to be part of a team that understands the roles of both the sent, and the sender. We’d love to chat with you more about what it means to send and how we can partner in God’s work.

New Wineskins take two!

imageThree years ago, Erika and I attended the New Wineskins conference as a very newlywed couple…2 months newlywed! We were challenged and encouraged, and as we walked the conference grounds, we wondered how God was going to use us as we desired so strongly to be used, and to serve His kingdom in missions. And now here we are again, with a 2 year old, launching Agape Year. Please pray for our time here as we chat with folks about Agape Year, seek new financial and prayer partners, and recruit for our pilot year.