After the Grind, a YWAM cafe outreach in Blackfalds AB
After The Grind, Blackfalds
I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of the sunshine! This year so far continues to be a good and growing time with us at YWAM Blackfalds. We continue to connect with our community, experience trials as some of our staff struggle with very serious health issues, and see other staff moving on to new things. We have had fresh volunteers and mission builders joining us. Through all this change the rest of us are learning to take on other responsibilities!
Our connection with the youth of Blackfalds is very positive. We are making lunches for the elementary and Jr. High schools for children who are not able to bring a decent lunch with them to school. Monday mornings I go in to make the lunches at the elementary school which also fosters a great connection with teachers and staff in the school. They are always happy and grateful when I come! The elementary school is very close to the coffee shop so I will often see them through the week also.
Throughout town I often see familiar faces, primarily youth and know most by name. As Friday night games nights continue we see a steady flow of young people coming in, giving us the opportunity to serve them and then hang out, play games or chat with them. Many youth open up and freely share the struggles of their lives, from broken homes to hard times at school and other issues. It’s a reminder to me how important it is for these youth to feel at home and safe with us, and that someone is here to listen to them and care about them. It’s a reminder to be praying for them as the population of Blackfalds grows and includes many kids, who are going to shape society as they get older.
Of course in a regular day at the coffee shop many adults come in addition to the youth; many are regulars whom we build and grow relationships with over time. Newcomers also wander in, those who are new to Blackfalds or come from out of town. As we chat and they mention that they have never been in or just discovered the place, it opens the door to share the history of After the Grind giving a natural outlet to allow them to see God in some way. We can share that we are missionaries serving God’s Kingdom, here not to benefit ourselves, but the community through the money that comes in. People are almost always exited to hear of the idea of a business that serves others in more need with the proceeds. I believe as well being with the small yet quickly growing size of Blackfalds we become more known through the community which enables us to impact the whole of the community not just specific people that find out about us.
I was offered an opportunity to serve in Russia this coming fall to lead a Biblical Core Course. I only had a week to really pray about and make this decision. The area of Russia that they are wanting to run the school in is near China, and so that and the school itself are both significant to me and near to my heart. For now, after praying through this, I feel God wants me here in Blackfalds. In the fall I know we hope to run an English as Second Language school which will have more interactive community involvement than a traditional classroom ESL. We will be busy here. At some point we also hope to take mission trips to some of the places like Rwanda that we partner with and support through the coffee shop, as well as the programs we partner with here. Saying no to the opportunity to lead the BCC in Russia seemed different to me than what I would have typically done in the past. Although I declined for now, I think they still would have me come if I was prompted to go. I feel mainly at peace with the idea of staying here but it wouldn’t hurt if I had some good solid confirmation with that and what my role will be heading into the fall with YWAM and life.
Please pray for us as at YWAM Blackfalds in regards to those who are struggling with health. On a personal note, I’m very thankful to God for my current health. I spent over a year very limited by the effects of long standing concussion, thinking it was gone then having major symptoms return and finally now I feel well enough to be exercising and doing every physical thing I would have done before with little enough side effects in my head that I can keep going.
Below are some recent pictures, then some prayer requests and financial info if anyone wants to give. Thank you very much to those who are supporting me financially and/or in prayer. There’s never just one part of the body, so thank you, as I can’t function without others in some way or another!