There is a small, clear bag in the hallway closet and it is full of puzzle pieces. With kids in the house, one can imagine that puzzle pieces are strewn across the house from various puzzle-making endeavors or perhaps a three year old who decides to dump a puzzle and pieces make their way mysteriously across the house. I don’t like to throw away puzzle pieces. What if I want to do that puzzle someday? So, they all go into a bag. Figuring out where these pieces go, how and if they fit together is a challenge, especially when you don’t always know which picture or puzzle the piece is a part of or even the details of the picture you are trying to make.
This is how starting a ministry can feel sometimes. You get to celebrate the fact that, “Yea! We found a piece” (I struggle with calling a human being a piece, but for the sake of the metaphor…). But then you have to figure out, where does this person fit? Are they even part of our puzzle? How do you introduce this person to the other pieces that you are still learning about? Sure they know you, you found them, but do they know the puzzle they may be a part of?
God has been bring us some pretty amazing people these past six months even in the midst of our primary ministry being connecting with churches and individuals to find ministry partners and raise our complete budget before we can start ministry full time. However, sometimes they feel like puzzle pieces that are more connected to us than one another and that don’t themselves quite see how they fit in yet to this picture we are trying to create called “a healthy and vibrant Chi Alpha.”
Two of the most exciting “pieces” we have “found” (or better put, God has brought) are some amazing staff members. The first moved down to San Diego at the beginning of January and will be bi-vocational and working with us part time while he develops his passion for ministry through business as well. Zach Robson was actually the pastor’s son, and a pivotal member of the youth group, at the very first church we ever worked at as full-time staff. We have kept in close contact with Zach and his family and since we have been praying about pioneering a new Chi Alpha we have also been praying that God would give us Zach as one of the members of our team. Praise God, one and a half years later, here he is! Zach even visited us for a week while we were at Stanford and wasn’t too sold, but we kept praying and we are so privileged to have him working with us. Most likely it will be for a finite time, but we know it will be fruitful.
The second new staff piece may be an even more amazing story. Christina Hack grew up at the same Presbyterian Church that Kendra grew up in, but they were 11 years apart in age. They got to know each other when Kendra was 16 and Christina was 5 because Kendra taught Christina ballet in Kendra’s first job teaching at a dance studio. 6 years later when she was 11, Christina actually danced in our wedding while Kendra walked down the aisle and we were prayed into a marriage of full-time ministry. Since then, Christina grew up and went to college at Northern Arizona University, which happened to have an amazing Chi Alpha in which she got involved. We reconnected with her in our first year in Chi Alpha at Stanford at a Chi Alpha leader’s conference because Christina had become a student leader. This year we found out God has given Christina the vision of pioneering Chi Alpha in Germany. We felt led of God to invite her to spend some time helping us pioneer at San Diego State in preparation for this call and, through these prayers, Christina’s prayers ,and a somewhat prophetic word from a third party, our relationship has come full circle as she has decided to come join us as a full-time staff member this summer!
God has been bringing us some amazing pieces like Zach, Christina, or if you have read past newsletters, students like Hope, Kelsey, and Immanuel or the many amazing churches and individuals that have been partnering with us along the way. Now is the time to begin to put the puzzle together into an amazing picture of God’s love and grace that is easily visible on the SDSU campus and hopefully gives students a vision of who God is.
I want to encourage you, God will bring you the pieces you need to do whatever ministry (however seemingly small or large) he has called you to. I also know that he will give you the wisdom on how to put them together, it just might not always be as fast a process as you’d like!
Keeping Up with the Kertsons
Peyton was cast as "Little Lamb" in the musical Chartlotte's Web with San Diego's Christian Youth Theater (CYT). She learned all 25 of her lines before the first rehearsal and has a few solo singing parts within songs. She is excited.
Kendra is choreographing Charlotte's Web as well so they have been getting to spend some good quality time together while Brandon has been getting that same time with Amber and Eden.
Everyone has had or is having birthdays this last month! Amber had a Frozen party to celebrate her 6th birthday. Eden has a Tinker Bell party Sunday. Peyton will be having a Wizard of Oz party next Sunday.
All the kids had a bout with the the flu this past week, luckily we were spared and are looking at the other side of sleepless nights.
Pray for: our puzzle pieces, continued connections with churches, the final 10% of our budget as well as our staff members who are raising support or looking for jobs, favor with the university as we look to charter this month.
We said goodbye to SDSU students for the one month Christmas break by offering them “prayer and cookies” for finals week. It was a great success as nearly every student we have connected with came by to get his or her homemade cookies and prayer. Some students even came over to help us bake them. We have not done any “formal” ministry. No meetings, no messages. But we have built a lot of relationships that will be the building blocks of what God does moving forward. Relationships are the heart of ministry anyway, so we know we are on the right track.
This past Sunday I preached a sermon at a local church as part of their Christmas series called “Pursuit of the Promise.” You can listen to it here (It is the sermon called “Pursuit of the Promise” even though it says “Tony Orlando” next to it!). It is based on the story of the Magi and talks about how we often give up on the promise of God but we have to be willing to cross deserts in pursuit of it. The greatest promise of God is his presence, particularly as seen in Jesus, Immanuel, God with Us. At Christmas we celebrate not only Christ’s coming 2000 years ago, but Christ’s in breaking into our hearts each day, and his soon approaching physical return as well. But this also includes those intimate promises God makes to us individually. Our family is pursuing God’s best for us and San Diego State and we will pursue it relentlessly, but most of all, we are pursuing the presence of Jesus and we encourage you to do the same this Christmas. Merry Christmas!
Make an end of the year donation
Looking for somewhere to consider making an end of the year donation? Consider partnering with us and our ministry at San Diego State. Your gift will help us to launch the ministry at SDSU more effectively and sow seed into a whole new generation of Christ followers.
How do you give?
You can do it online HERE
Want to give through mail? Find out how HERE
Why are we raising support?
Check out a blog I posted about this a while back
Want to know more about our ministry?
Feel free to contact us
Email us - firstname.lastname@example.org
call us - (626) 327-0011
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