The Amazing Race

Picture this...
"In the wee hours of the morning you’re standing on the east bank of the Willamette River in Portland, you’re about to cross over the Hawthorne bridge to head out through the small towns of Scappoose, Mist and Olney. On your trek to the coast you hear cows, see elk and are greeted by a spectacular sunrise. You are refreshed, you're energized, you're excited. You've exchanged Legs with your teammates a few times, and are on your final stretch. You're walking harder than ever before - tired, but exhilerated. Finally, you hit the sand in Seaside, OR 127 miles later. You cross the finish line amid cheers from your 7 teammates, family, friends, and the thousands of other supporters and teams that come out. What a feeling - there's nothing like it..."

Last weekend, I (Anne) participated in the largest walking relay race in the world - Portland To Coast. With a team of 8, in a little over 29 hours, we walked 127 miles from the eastside of downtown Portland to the coastal town of Seaside, OR. We walked morning, noon, and night, and when we weren't walking we were living (literally) in a Chevy van. My combined legs totaled just under 17.5 miles. This race (and the longer, running version - Hood to Coast) is a huge deal here, and I feel somewhat like an initiated local now that I have participated in it. There were close to 18,000 people participating in the Hood to Coast events.

I think my favorite part was my walk in the middle of the night. At first, I was dreading getting out of the van because I was exhausted, and a little nervous about walking in the dark. However, as I began walking on rural country roads, armed with flashlights and reflectors, I found myself getting really excited about my nighttime adventure. There was an amazing display of stars above and other walkers and vans (decorated with X-mas lights) were everywhere to keep me company. I had my best time on this 4.2 mile leg - 54:41.

I truly believe that anyone who has competed in this event could be qualified for CBS' Amazing Race.


More kid logic

Alex has been taking a Tae Kwan Do class this week. The other day he got in trouble for rolling around on the floor and goofing off. As Anne was taking Alex to class today, she had the kids pray in the car before they went in. Anne asked Allison if she wanted to pray, and Allison said yes.

Her prayer: "Dear Jesus, please keep Alex from screwing around. Amen."

A good day on campus

As mentioned, yesterday saw me (Adam) going to two campuses to help them launch their ministries for the year. My first stop was Concordia University. I dropped off 100 Freshman Survival Kits for them to use at their student group fair this week, where incoming Freshmen will check out clubs and groups that they can join. The Concordia campus ministry coordinator could not have been more excited to use our materials.

Next it was off to Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. Yesterday was the first day of classes, and four of us from CCC went down to meet with the CCC student leadership and help them with first-day outreaches. We gave away over 250 Survival Kits in about 45 minutes, which is amazing.

Linfield, as you can see, is a beautiful campus. Plus, they can go see the Spruce Goose anytime they want to.


An exciting week ahead!

Several of our schools launch this week, including Linfield College, University of Portland, and Concordia University. We will be busy launching in these and several other places.

This is our second year of partnership at Concordia, a very traditional Missouri Synod Lutheran school. They have found in recent years that more and more non-Lutherans and non-Christians have been enrolling there, and so last year they contacted us to see if we could help them reach out to their non-Christian students. Why yes, yes we can!

Last year we held an evangelism training for their Christian students, in order to help them communicate the Gospel more clearly with the non-Christians. It was a basic Four Spiritual Laws training. Concordia has invited us back again this year to talk more in depth about introducing the Gospel into relationships with friends and family.

At Concordia and other schools, we will use Freshman Survival Kits to get good Gospel materials into the hands of incoming students, as well as using htem as a way to meet students who would like to be involved.

I will keep you posted this week!



Staff team times

Our Metro team has been meeting this week to begin talks on how we will go about the mammoth task of reaching our city of 21 campuses and 100,000 students with the message of the Gospel. Who are these team members? See for yourself!

Our time together so far has been great. We have been sensing that God is moving in our city. It is so great to get so many people together and find out that the same impressions and desires for ministry are imprinted on their hearts.

My role as the team leader is to pull all these people together, discern God's direction, and release them into the field with the authority to minister and the freedom to be creative and minister out of their giftings. It has been an incredible week so far!


Kid logic

The other day, Alex and Allison were supposed to be cleaning their rooms. Toys were everywhere. Of course, very little cleaning was actually happening. After about 30 minutes, Allison came downstairs. The dialogue went like this:
Me: "Aren't you supposed to be cleaning your room?"
She: "I can't, daddy."
Me: "Why not?"
She: "Because of all that messy stuff in there."

She's going to be a government worker with that kind of logic.


First days

I (Adam) just got back from our first campus visit of the year today. Washington State University - Vancouver had their Freshman orientation today, and myself, along with three other men from our team, were on hand to meet interested students and try to get a group started there.

This is the first year WSU-V has admitted freshmen, so we were catching the first class, and had a good response. We talked to around 50 students out of the 180 who were there, and about 15 were interested in starting a CCC group.

Getting something going there has always been a little difficult. The school will not allow us access to campus unless we have involved students, but we can't have involved students unless we go on campus. It really is as weird a policy as it sounds.

We were able to get a foot on campus because we were invited by another Christian group to be with them today. We have an informational meeting for interested students on September 7th, so pray that goes well.


At the starting line...

Tomorrow officially starts the school year for the Portland Metro Team of Campus Crusade for Christ. In the afternoon we will be having a welcome-back BBQ at our house, where the members of the team will get together for the first time and begin the process of getting ministries started and resourced for the 2006-2007 school year. On Friday we will have an extended prayer time in the morning, and head over to Washington State University - Vancouver after lunch to host a club table at the incoming Freshman orientation. This is a unique opportunity, as WSU-V has never had a Freshman class before...it has historically been a Junior-Senior school. This is the first year they have admitted Freshmen, and we are excited to be there to welcome them.

The Portland staff team this year looks to have 14 people, which to my knowledge is larger than ever. Trying to reach 21 schools and 100,000 students is daunting, and more hands are always welcome. I (Adam) will be leading the team this year, and am really looking forward to it.

Something I'm proud of...

God has provided us with a great house to live in here in Vancouver WA. One of its charms is the unfinished basement. We have been scheming for three years as to how we will go about adding bedrooms and bathrooms. One of the big barriers has been the tiny windows, seen here:

So, the first step to having a room for people to stay in when family comes to visit was to put in new windows. I found a store in Hood River, OR, that sells used and recycled building materials. I picked up four double-paned vinyl windows for a fraction of their normal cost.

Then, my friend Shawn and I dug a window well, six feet across, five feet deep, and four feet out from the wall. I bought a diamond blade for my Skil saw, and using a spray bottle full of water to keep the blade cool, cut the cinder block from both the inside and the outside. I knocked out the wall with a sledgehammer, framed in the new window, and behold:

People sometimes ask me how I learned to do things like this. Well, my dad has always been fairly mechanically inclined, and clever, but I was a lazy kid who didn't work around the house. I think the answer is what I call "Adult Onset Y-Chromosome Assertion." Let's face it: sawing, smashing, hammering...all things men love from boyhood.


Alex's big summer

There are many milestones in a child's life. Alex hit three of them in one day last week. First, he has been working on riding a two-wheel bike. He finally got up without help. Now it is all he wants to do.

On the same day he tied his shoes for the first time.

He has also been learning to read. I (Adam) have been taking him through a course recommended to us by several friends, and he has been doing wonderfully! He is currently reading at about a first-grade level, and seeing words everywhere he looks. It is fun to watch him stare at a sign or a book, move his lips a little, and blurt out the right word.

It amazes me that anyone ever learns to read. It really is like cracking a secret code. So much meaning, so many exceptions, so many rules. It is cool to think that Alex (and Allison too, next year) will never know a time when he could not read. Our times reading have been some of the best he and I have had as dad and kid.

Anne reports that just the other day Alex read all of "Green Eggs and Ham", in about an hour. Amazing.


Summer Update

As most of you know, we normally spend our summers, when the universities are not in session, staffing various mission projects either in the US or occaisionally overseas. This summer was different for us, however.

Last year, in the summer of 2006, we were away from home for 10 weeks at once. This proved to be too long for our family. Last year, our kids slept 100 nights in beds other than their own. We wanted to change that this year and give them more stability.

So, for this summer, we were assigned to work on our financial support and to take time for me to work on an MDiv degree that I (Adam) have been pursuing via correspondence. We spent four weeks in Ohio, seeing our supporters there, and I have been working on meeting new supporters in the Vancouver/Portland area. So far God's blessing has been good.

Anyway, our goal was to have a summer where we could get some necessary work done, while at the same time giving our kids the chance to have a low-key time without too much stress and change and travel. As summer winds down, it looks like this has happened, and we are all ready for the start of another school year!

A new job

In a few days I (Adam) will be starting a new position within Campus Crusade. For some time I have been on the Portland (OR) Metro team, seeking to establish ministries of evangelism and discipleship on the 21 campuses in Portland. Now, I will be leading that team.

My official title will be "Portland Metro Director." Our team will be composed of ten full-time CCC staff, and will be targeting the 100,000 students in our city. Portland is unique in that it is the least-churched city in the US. I will share some of our successes and challenges this year as we confront them.

Our meetings start up on Thursday August 17. Our first schools begin classes on August 21. We will be launching schools all the way through October 2.

Anne will be continuing in her role as part of the regional/national Human Resources team. She is currently planning a national conference to be held in Orlando in October to train and equip all of the CCC HR staff who review and interview applicants to our ministry.


And so it goes...

We are one week out from the start of our eighth year on campus. This weblog is our attempt to do a better job communicating with everyone in our lives; friends, family, supporters, and others we know and love. We will write about ministry, our kids, and other interesting (to us) things that happen. There is simply too much for the scope of newsletters and phone calls anymore, although we will still be using those tools too. Anne and I hope you find this site enjoyable!