Busy Summer

It has been a very busy summer for the Fire Department in our area. I say this because of what Ive been told, not because I have any other summers to compare it to. This is a rural fire district that stretches down x number of miles along a windy mountain highway and one other major spur of about 5 miles of the same sort of road. We are approximately 1 hr from the Portland Vancouver metro area and about an 1 and ½ hours from population centers such as Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, Wilsonville, etc. We have three lakes that people come to fish, swin, hang out, etc. Lots of camping and hiking. Lots of people not from here coming up for the day or the weekend or whatever.

Most of the calls for the Fire department are medical in nature, as first responders. Whether its some one who has a bad back or asthma or faints or falls and hits his head or has a car accident or boating accident, we are the first responders until the ambulance gets there. In July, we had 29 calls in the 31 days of the month. But two calls we dont get very often are actual fires and drownings in the lakes.

From what Ive been told, we get a drowning call, once every few years or so. The last structure fire they had was about 5 years ago, when Jack’s a local landmark of a restaurant burned down and was not rebuilt. This year we have had 2 fires and three drownings. Needless to say, that’s been super busy, higher than average.

The fires are unusual but no one was hurt in either one. They are, however, physically and emotionally draining. The drownings however, are another story. Two young men and a little kids lost there lives this summer in the lakes and it hits everybody very hard. The responders I work with are some of the hardest, toughest, “manliest” men I know and many of them would hold back tears when thinking back on them or when talking with the family.

Please pray for these men and women who put their lives on hold when someone in our district calls 911. They rush out of dinner, out of bed and out of church when they get the call. They need and deserve some prayers. Next time you see some one in your community who is a paramedic or a fire fighter, thank them for the work they do. They really do literally save lives.

 

Casey

1 Samuel 2:9-10

Busy week with the Youth Group

So its been an incredibly busy week and a very rewarding one, especially where the youth group is concerned.

Last Friday night we did our Youth Group church lock-in. We had the kids get to the church at 6pm Friday night and told the parents to pick them up around 10 AM Saturday morning. We had 12 kids there total, and despite the heat, they were insistent on playing lots of different variations of tag out in the church yard. We brought them in and had snacks and soda out for them and then had a good lesson time on idols (both theoretical and practical) and prayer. We sent them out to have a half hour of individual quiet prayer time. After that we had good group discussion about what place in our priority listing we have God.

Once that discussion ended we played Sardines and other indoor games tell 3 Am when they got the itch to go back outside and play some more tag games. We came in around 430 and things started to wind down. We have a foosball table and air hockey table and a really cheap broken down kids pool table and they just entertained themselves for awhile. Around 530 some kids started to get ready to go to sleep. The girls moved over to the house with Hope and the Boys stayed with me. Some of the Boys laid down in their sleeping bag and the rest of us started a game of monopoly.

By the time the game ended, just about everyone else had gone to sleep or was going to sleep and it was right around 630 or 7. Hope and I were going to make breakfast for the kids in the morning, ut they were all asleep at that point. They were so tired that there was no way that we were going to wake them up.

All the parents got there right around 10 AM or so, and we went around waking up these walking zombies. The kids had a ton of fun and so did Hope and I. We were able to get closer to the kids and learn more about them.

Hope and I always say that quality time comes from quantity time. You cant force quality, you can just be there when it happens. Thats what has been happening lately with these kids. A few weeks ago, they did the worship for the service on Sunday and you could really start to see them come out of their shell. It took 6 months for them to be willing to do it once and now they are excited to do it more often. Our plan is for them to play every month when I preach.

So after the Lock-in, we had Youth group Sunday night. One of the ideas Hope and I had for the morning of the lock in was to do a prayer walk in the neighborhood of the church. There are about 15 houses or so within a ½ mile or so radius. Since the kids were sleeping, we did it Sunday night instead.

Our goal was two-fold. First was to show the kids how to do this and give them the support, confidence and know how. It really is quite simple and you can do it in a variety of involvement levels.

First was just walking the street, stopping at a house and saying a quick prayer for them. Ext was to talk to someone if they were outside and ask them if they had any thing specific they would like us to pray about. Third was going up to the door and letting people know we were praying and asking what they would like prayer for. The kids did great! And, there are a number of non-church going families in the neighborhood and they were all open to being prayed for as well. We even got to meet the family moving in just that day up the hill, that we probably wouldnt have met yet otherwise.

The second goal of this was to just let the neighborhood know that we were doing this and we got wonderful responses. One of the last houses we went to is the home of a wonderful couple in the church. He is a Vietnam Vet and has a whole host of medical problem because of his service and she is a wonderful saint who spends her life taking care of him. They are high school sweethearts and you can see the love in their eyes when they look at each other. With his health issues, many times visiting there is standing in the doorway talking to her with a few “Hi’s” and words of encouragement shouted in to him. This night we were able to pray for her and then she asked us in to lay hands on him and pray for him.

It was extremely obvious the effect this had on the kids. They were amazed at the power of prayer and while some of them knew this couple, it was an experience for them to see someone open up there home, being both vulnerable with the kids as well as enormously grateful.

After we got home that night, we saw the wife had made a facebook post about the visit. She posted this…

There is no limit to the blessings that are coming our way.
Just answered a knock on our door to find the youth group from the church. They wanted us to know we were constantly in our prayers.
First they all gathered around me outside to pray for us…then I invited them (all 16 of them) to come in. They gathered around Gary’s hospital bed, joined hands and prayed for him. What a blessing…I will never forget the power of that moment and the impact it appeared to have on Gary. Thank you Jesus, for your continued blessings and caring for us.

Well, needless to say that got us a little choked up, and then a got a message on facebook as well. I didnt immediately recognize the name, but she said this:

You may not know me but you have touched me in ways that words can not express… See I am (Their) daughter & tonight you took the youth group over to visit my parents and pray with them… You don’t know how much this means to them…

Simple hellos and anyone that can stop by to check on them is welcome – as they don’t get out of the house much anymore with how sick Gary is…

Thank you so much!

Blessings!

We shared these with the kids last night and it was a perfect oppurtunity to both praise God how he works through the actions you would never even suspect, but also to reinforce to the kids, how powerful prayer is. This reaction happened with (at that time) no prayers that the kids prayed, being answered. It was their presence, their love, their willingness to step up and let them know that they were praying for this house and their willingness to share.

God is the only who knows which prayers will be answered and which wont. But he tells us to pray about everything and to pray always. By doing this, the kids in our youth group were able to have an enormous emotional effect and be an encouragement on this family struggling with health issues. They were able to show the neighborhood that people love them and people are praying for them.

The positive effect was had bith on the individuals and households that they prayed for but on the youth themselves as well. These kids are amazing. They are going to grow up and do amazing things. Please keep them in your prayers and Hope and I as well, that we dont screw them up. Thanks all!

Casey

1 Timothy 4:12

Kickoff to summer update

Hi everyone!

First off, Hope and I want to say Thank you to all of you who have sacrificed to support Hope and I in our mission field. We are so blown away by people’s generosity, help, prayers and encouragement. You are all such a big part of Casey’s calling. Thank you all so much. The best way he knows how to thank you all is follow God’s calling on his life by serving His people, and being a blessing to those he can reach out to as you have reached out to us.

As the summer ramps up, we have a lot going on right now in the community. This upcoming Sunday, June 22, we are holding a Youth &Family BBQ before Youth Group. We are hoping that this serves multiple functions. First, for the kids, school ends on June 20th, so this will be an official kick off to summer. Related to that, our Youth group is for 7th graders through 12th graders. Starting with the BBQ, those who were in 6th grade for this school year, and will be going to 7th grade next year will be formally invited to join the Youth Group going forward, I know of a few specifically who are very excited about this. Thirdly, this is going to serve as a chance to really get the parents of the Youth involved and invested in the youth Group. There is a direct correlation in how serious and important parents view activities to how the kids view them. IF the parents buy in, the kids are more likely to as well.

We have Vacation Bible School starting on Monday, June 30th, and running through Friday, July 4th. AS many of you know, Hope is immensely gifted as a teacher in general and with kids specifically. She will be running the preschool for VBS, so Finn, Rose and Caleb will all be able to be with her throughout the morning. This being my first experience with VBS, I will be assisting two different teachers and learning as much as I can to use going forward.

In early August, we will be taking kids in the church to camp. In another great opportunity for me to learn and gain experience, I will be the main teacher for the week. Our theme is “He is my King,” based on the SM Lockridge video that I shared a few weeks ago. If you have not seen it yet, I encourage you to do so.

Last week, I registered for my final semester of School. The semester will start in September and run through into February. At that point, I will be done with school and have my Masters Degree in Christian Studies!

We are anticipating finding out about our permanent assignment sometime in the winter. We have been told to expect the internship to last approximately 12 months. We arrived here and started the internship in December, so that is the time frame we are looking at.

Now comes the awkward part. Again, I want to give our sincerest thanks and gratitude to those who have been supporting us. For those that don’t know, as a Village Missions Missionary Pastor, we are to raise our own wages, our own funds. There is much biblical precedent for fund raising (1 Cor. 9, 1 Tim. 5:17-18, Luke 10:7 and Matthew 10:9-10)

Unfortunately, we have had some supporters who have had some life circumstances go on and have been unable to continue supporting us. We would ask that you please prayerfully, carefully consider whether you are able and willing to help support us financially. If you are willing and able, there are a few different ways that you can go about it.

First, you can make a tax deductible donation through the Village Missions website. You can do either a one time or an ongoing, monthly donation. Going this route will ensure that we have our minimum amount raised accounted for and will make it easier when we are getting ready to be placed in our assigned community. If you are interested in giving online, Click Here.

Second, you can send your donations directly to us, either by check or Paypal. This is considered a gift and would not be tax deductible.

Our mailing address is
160 Mulkey Lane
Ariel, WA 98603

I have included below a button for Paypal donations.




If you cannot or will not donate, please pray (or send positive thoughts) for us. We know that not all are called to give, but we want to include all in this journey of ours. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter prayerfully and considering this opportunity. We would like to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.

Finally, please keep us in your prayers. We are doing great, but we have a lot going on. I am looking forward to finally getting out and doing some fishing in the next few weeks. I got my fishing license last week, and there are a number of men in the congregation and the community that I will be able to spend some time getting to know be joining them out on the lake. Hope is growing our garden and finding a ton of wild growing, edible plants, herbs, etc growing in the area and is having fun with that. Caleb is basically days away from walking, Rosie and Finn are enjoying being able to wake up, have breakfast and just run and play outside all day. And please let us know what we can be praying for you guys as well. We love and care about all of you and if you would like, this congregation is a wonderful praying congregation. We can either share your requests with them, or keep them for our own personal prayers. Thank you all for your prayers and support, for caring about all of this, and we pray for you that God is working in your lives and hearts, blessing you with His grace and mercy.

Love you and God Bless,

The Holenciks
(Casey, Hope, Finn, Rose and Caleb)

 

Thank you all for your prayers, well wishes and your moral and financial support!

Great things are happening!!!

Hi! We wanted to give you all an update about what God has been doing in our little valley in WA.  And, it was recently pointed out to us that we have not been posting or updating as much as we could/should be, so this is the first step in fixing that, thanks for the patience and understanding… now, on to the cool stuff!!!

I (Hope) have been teaching an after school bible club for the elementary kids every week, and this Thursday is our last day.  It has been wonderful teaching and learning from these kids the last 4 months.  One of our little guys, he comes faithfully, though his parents don’t come to church.  He is eager to learn, has the answers, and loves participating.  Recently, I got to have a great conversation with him about how when we are forgiven of our sin, God takes it away, never to return, as far as the east is from the west.  He was so happy to know that he didn’t have to keep asking for forgiveness over and over again.  What a great lesson for us all.

Another of my boys, who hadn’t liked coming, though he was encouraged by his mom, is now loving it, excited about the bible lessons and going home to share them with is parents, and is actually the encourager to his whole family to get up on Sunday mornings and get to church on time.  He is eager to hear about Jesus and His word.

Another girl, she just loves God.  She knows every answer, all the time, and melts my heart.  She hasn’t gotten the best hand in life, but she is leaning on her Heavenly father and trusting Him with a child’s pure faith that I pray carries her through her life, because life doesn’t always get easier.

When I started, there were siblings that came, but didn’t enjoy it as much.  Wouldn’t participate, sing with us, or anything else, for that matter.  now they are answering questions, smiling as they come in the door, and are right in the middle of the excitement.  I could go on about every one of these precious kids, but that would take forever.  Needless to say, I have been so blessed to work with them, learn from them, and be a better GNC teacher next fall when we start it all up again!  So during our final party on Thursday, if you hear some noise an mayhem, just know it’s us, celebrating another  Good News Club year on the books!

We also have lots of amazing things in the adult world!  We have a weekly prayer meeting with seperate men’s and women’s groups.  One such prayer has been for relatives of one of our dear friends here.  They have recently been contemplating a dangerous faith road.  Casey had the opportunity of making a connection with the man, invite him to bible study and church, and he has come to both!!!  And tonight, brought another of their relatives!!! He is searching and we are excited, knowing that God will meet him and do amazing things in his life and his family.  As an aside, the Men’s bible study, which normally runs about 10 guys has been growing, and is now at 16!!!  They are a really great bunch of guys, as Casey says, and loves that part of his job is to simply be with them, studying with them, encouraging, teaching, and learning from them.  Especially when it’s about smoking meats or learning where all the good fishing spots are.

With the sweets comes the sour.  It seems like everyone nowadays is touched by cancer one way or another.  We have a couple members of our church battling this and it is devastating to see such wonderful people suffer.  And yet in this hell they are going through, we can still see God working.  It has made our time with them all the more precious, and it reminds me of the Apostle Paul, when he talked of running the race and finishing well.  It’s easy to start strong, but these women are choosing to finish strong as well, showing faith and Grace in spades.  They are a constant testimony of God using evil for good, and trusting that true healing can only come through Christ, and physical healing may be here on earth, or when they walk with Jesus in heaven.  One of Casey’s aunts is fighting this battle as well, and is taking an aggressive faith filled and naturopathic approach, showing that only God knows when to stop fighting, and God, being the great physician, can heal us inside and out.

We are also blessed to continue working with the youth group, seeing the depth of faith and maturity in young men and women, being shown how old we really are when they don’t know who Sienfeld is, or thinking Def Leopard is classic rock.  We are getting our summer schedule together, and it is going to be awesome~ we are contemplating a weekend Christian rock concert with great speakers, as well as a overnight lock-in at the church.  We have been doing service projects around the community, weather permitting, and are about to kick off a prayer walk/ stretching our faith activity, asking people in our neighborhoods for their prayer requests, reguardless of church affiliation, belief in God at all, or anything else.  It’s part of what the ladies prayer group is doing in their individual streets, doing personal prayer while walking, praying for those around us.  We are excited to see how it challenges the kids and the neighborhood impact.

We are so blessed to be put here to help, encourage, grieve with, and serve our church and surrounding community in the Lewis River valley, and thank you all for supporting us in this, knowing that through your prayers, this is your ministry, as well as ours.  Thank you so much for all you do, helping us here, and in your own communities.

Love in Christ,

Casey and Hope

3 months in Yale!!!

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since we arrived in Yale, WA!  The months have flown by, and life is changing quickly.  In our own family, Caleb is now 6 months and crawling, Rosie has decided talking is fun and is now speaking in paragraphs, and Finn turns 4 in just two days!  We all are enjoying being out in the country, and love being outside as much as possible.

Our ministry is growing and expanding.  Casey has preached a few times, and people are shocked that he’s nervous, because they can’t see it.  He’s been helping teach the men’s bible study, as well as the adult bible study.  We have a weekly prayer time with the men and women that is also amazing.  There are some mighty prayer warriors here in the valley.  I am helping with mom’s bible study, and am teaching an after school kid’s class until the end of may for the 1st – 5th grades.  These kids are amazing and sweet.  1/2 don’t go to church at all, and are hearing some of these bible stories for the first time.  Their questions and enthusiasm are wonderful and insightful, I am learning as well as leading.

We have really been pouring into the youth group, 7th-12th grades.  We’ve shared a little about them, but they hadn’t really had much for quite a while other than some sunday school.  We have an average of 15 kids, and are growing.  We officially outgrew meeting at our house this last week and are invading the church, which is fun. These young people have lots to contend with, between home situations, school, and just being teenagers.  They are eager to learn, share, and grow, meeting our challenges to them and really taking their faith into their own hands and making it their own, knowing what they believe and why.  We just took them to the Son of God movie, and that made for interesting discussion.  They saw they knew more of the bible than they thought, pointing out missing parts of the story or conflicting events.  They are quite smart and, well, just wonderful.

We are really getting to know others in the valley, as well.  A big part of our ministry is just being with the people, visiting with them, and sharing our lives together.  One family in the congregation just adopted their 6th son, and we were able to be there with them, which was awesome!  He quickly became one of Finn’s best friends here, and our families have become close, so it was extra special to be there to celebrate with them.

There are many we are becoming close with that do not attend church, some that aren’t that interested in faith, and these are the people we have to be especially consistent with,  caring, being there when they need, and living our faith in friendship.  This is when God reveals Himself and shows His faithfulness.

We would ask for prayer for our community in some different ways.  There is not really any direct employment in our community, so jobs are scarce and commuting to Vancouver or Portland is tough on people and on families.  The kids here can spend as much as 3-4 hours a day on the bus.  Many believing women in our church community have husbands who are either apethetic toward church or outright hostile, so they are having to carry the spiritual burden for themselves and their children.  As with other older congregations, many health issues plague our church.  Cancer, heart issues, and other physical ailments keep many home instead of having fellowship with friends.  I know these concerns are not unique to our area, and your communities are facing other issues that we would love to pray for as well.  We have a prayer request page link that you could write in, or just send it directly to us, letting us know if we can/should share it in our church prayer time, here, or keep it to ourselves. This is how we can be the body of Christ for each other, no matter where we are.  Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support, which helps us do the work we feel God is giving us to do here in Yale.  We thank God for you every day.

 

Welcome to Yale!

 

Greetings from Washington!!

     So, we are fully moved in and have started working at the church.  The people are awesome, and we have gotten the best holiday cookie baskets ever! We have had snow for the last full week, and lots of fog, so the twists and turns driving have been done carefully. Small town life is fun!  We are about an hour “from town”, which is Vancouver.  Though many of the folks actually use the phrase, “down river”!!!  It’s really fun!  We are the only church in town, so we go to church with our postman, the fire chief, the local trapper, half the volunteer fire department, and the family that discovered the Ape Caves, a series of caves, well known in the area, and a great tourist destination.  We have been able to be a part of delivering Christmas baskets for the community, so we have already visited many in the area, and are getting used to the area, with roads that aren’t on the map! Casey has been out with the men, using a new toy, the log splitter. The kids are settling in well, thanks for the prayers on that topic.  There are some families with younger children, so Finn is thrilled.  There are lots of grandmas in the church, so Caleb is happy with all of  the snuggles!  Rosie is still sticking closely to mommy, but is beginning to warm up a bit. We also have the local “Mr. Wilson” next door, one of the families we delivered a Christmas basket to, and he seemed to do well with Casey, so that was a fun surprise!

2013-12-16 13.20.33

            Casey is starting to settle into his duties, which will be light until after the new year, but something big has come up…the date for his first sermon, which will be January 12th!!!  He is a bit freaked out, but very excited.  The pastor here is very good, very biblically based and a teaching pastor, so Casey’s joke is that it wouldn’t be that bad if he didn’t have to follow Pastor Rob!  He will be giving his testimony, rooted in scripture.  It will be a way for him to start off with a pretty easy topic for him, and will be a way for the congregation to get to know him.  I am so proud of him, and that his excitement is greater than his fear!

            We know that coming up we will be busy with church duties.  Casey will be preaching at least once a month, have custodial duties, we will be teaching a bible study, as well as running the youth group.  I will be working with a weekly after school kids program and helping here and there, when able. 

            We are praising God for the wonderful welcome from the church and the community, the children’s transition going well, and seeing how amazing this internship is going to be for Casey.  Pastor Rob teaches the way Casey learns and has a true heart for others, though loves to talk, so I never expect him home quite on time after their meetings! And of course the beautiful country up here is a continual blessing! We so appreciate your prayers, and are already seeing and feeling God’s answer in a big way.  Thank you so much.  We ask for continued prayers for transition, relating to people we meet, and that we can really hit the ground running.  When there’s someone new in the community, and especially with people coming to church during the holidays who normally don’t darken the door, there is a huge opportunity to reach out and connect that we really don’t want to miss.  We also pray for balance and discernment.  We have lots of ideas, want to volunteer for all we can, but we want to really be in God’s plan and be a help and blessing, without overextending or burning out. Please send us an email if there is anything we can pray for on your end. Let us know if it’s confidential or public and we will post some of the public ones here to get more people praying. The more the better.   

            Finally, thank you all for taking an interest in our calling and our activities. We are planning on posting smaller, more regular posts. Some will be stories from our mission, some stories of the family, etc. I, Hope will also be looking to post some homemade  recipes as well, cleaning supplies, lotions and such,  as well as  various homemade food ideas and successes. We love you all and thank you for joining us on this ride. 

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