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Stories from Summer in the USA

Last Saturday, July 28th, we said goodbye to the Basque students staying in the homes of several families from New Life Church. Five teenagers – Nekane, Pablo, Irati, Nicolas, and Iratxe — (as well as their leader, Arianne) arrived on June 28 to spend four weeks with us practicing their English, learning about American culture, and hearing about who Jesus is. They came through the organization SUSA, Summer in the USA, which partners with local churches to host students from Basque Country in Spain as a step towards sharing the hope of the gospel with what is still a largely unreached people group within Europe. 

Our days were filled with big things like beach trips, hikes, fairs, and kayaking, as well as small things like berry picking, grocery shopping, and some of our normal routines. This short video offers a glimpse into a few of our activities together as a group:

We wanted to share a few stories with the church, because so many of you played a pivotal role in praying for the host families and students, sharing things like beds and food and rides with us, and welcoming them into the youth group and church while they were here. Thank you for your encouragement and support throughout this long and exciting month! 

 

"One of the many benefits to having Irati in our family was the chance to experience our normal life from her point of view. Elaine's picture to the right is more interesting to me than the one Irati was taking because it captures not only the landmark sign, but also the Basque student's interest in the sign.

We had a chance to rediscover the city, coast, rivers, and the gorge in a new way. Moreso we had the chance to think about the food we eat, the way we eat together, and the structure of our family times. Does our normal week of schedule and interactions reflect Jesus' love to each other? The language barrier was a bigger challenge then we guessed, but at the end of the day, those are just words. How do we live? How do we relate? Aside from church attendance, what makes us a 'Christian' family? These questions came into focus in a real way."

— Josh + Elaine Hochstettler


"Laughter – yes laughter filled our home and the homes of our kids when we could visit our local families! Toward the end when Nicolas played in the swimming pool with our four-year-old great grand-daughter, Ady, she told Nicolas that he had become her best friend. The transparency of Nicolas really surfaced the last two weeks in which we saw Beryl and Nicolas really engaging one another in fun verbal exchanges. Overall, we found ourselves desiring to learn more about the Basque people and wishing to be a part of SUSA again."

— Paul + Beryl Metko


"It was such a joy to host Pablo this summer! We loved getting to take him on some memorable hikes, his first camping trip, and lots of family gatherings. Towards the end of his stay, Pablo became like family to us, and we grew in our laughter, appreciation for each other's cultures, and depth of conversation.  

Surprisingly, this experience also uniquely challenged our own assumptions about our culture, the Bible, and hospitality. Even as we showed him American culture, our aim was to point to a greater Kingdom. And even as we welcomed him into our family, we sought to invite him into the greater family of God."

— Ben + Lauren Edmonds


"I think what made our time so special with Iratxe was that we all, including Iratxe, saw her as the 6th Zook daughter. Her desire to have sisters and our bountiful quiver, was a perfect match. Iratxe was engaged with us so much in our lives. We are thankful that this was a FAMILY experience that will last a lifetime and, we pray, for eternity."

— Matt + Kelly Zook


Thank you, New Life Church!

 
A Video Summary of the Slovenia Trip

There are too many stories to tell and faces to introduce, but we hope this short video will give you a glimpse into some of the incredible things God did during our time in Slovenia this summer. Thank you for joining us!

Rooted: Women's Ministry

Some stories of wisdom from a few of the taller trees of New Life Church.

Back from Brazil

Last month Pastor Scott went to Brazil. Here is a video Bruce Tissell made for the church to say "thank you!" 

Destination: Home

Here is a short recap of our two-week trip!

As I sit here in Lesce, I can’t help but think of the incredible things God has done on this trip. Doubts turned into faith. Worries turned into joy. Weaknesses turned into dependency on Jesus. 

There were so many prayers answered and we can’t wait to share some of the stories with you.

We have had a wonderful past couple of days recharging and processing the past couple of weeks. On Sunday, we had the privilege of visiting Stephanie’s church, Radovljica Evangelical Christian Church. We were thrilled to worship and fellowship with believers from a different country and to sing songs like “How Great is Our God” sung in three different languages! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a global Gospel, and I am glad we got to experience that in a very tangible way over here.

Later that day, we hosted a Slovene BBQ near the town of Bled with students. We had a blast eating, playing fun and goofy games, and following up with conversations that took place at camp. It was fun interacting with these kids back in their communities and watching them ride their bikes from town to town to meet us for the events that were planned for after camp.

On Monday morning, we had a great time debriefing the past two weeks as a team and encouraging one another. It was so cool to see how God used each individual on this team in a variety of ways. Each team member showed humility, was willing to be stretched and drawn out of their comfort zone, and wanted to interact with and love these students in a genuine way. Everyone sought team unity and was looking out for the other person’s needs before their own.

After our debrief, we headed out to Lake Bled to spend some more time with students, until later that night, when we said our final farewells. It was so hard saying goodbye because we don’t know when we’ll see these faces again, but I also felt peace knowing these kids are in good hands with the Slovene leaders. Stephanie Rogers and the other leaders here love these kids so much and they are continually reaching out to young people and engaging with them in a deep and meaningful way. 

God is at work here in Slovenia. Though the church may not seem large or the statistics promising, God is faithful and is using every opportunity for his glory and for His kingdom.  

We hope and pray this is the beginning of something great in the country of Slovenia.

Tomorrow morning we leave to head home back to the States. Please pray for safety and smooth travels. We arrive back in Portland on Wednesday at 3:15!

- Ben Edmonds (for the Slovenia Team)

Stories of Hope

"Stories of New Life" are the real life stories of real people whose lives have been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus. Each story communicates what life was like before Jesus, and contrasts it to new life experienced with Jesus. New Life Church exists to treasure God, and as a result, spread the news of His excellence, trust His promises, and give our lives away for His purposes.

Family Room Sessions

Together, Scott and Marcia Reavely have served as youth pastors, sports coaches, and music teachers. They know the joy of raising five children and the pain of losing two. Over the course of 23 years of parenting, they've gained practical, as well as biblical wisdom about raising families. 

Family Room Sessions is not a seminar simply about techniques and cookie-cutter children, but rather focuses on matters of the heart that will prepare your kids for a lifetime of following Jesus.

Session One: A Vision For the Family

Part One

Part Two


Session Two: The Spiritual Life Of The Family

Part One

Part Two

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