Last month, we had 63 people gathered together in our Lodge to celebrate Thanksgiving. We ate too much, played hard on the football field, laughed at Charlie Brown’s excuse of a Christmas tree, and cheered on Josh B.’s grandma as she bench-pressed 45 lbs! Needless to say, there is much fun to be had when you cram that many people into one building.
Although we love the festivities, the focus quickly transitions on Friday morning. The two days after Thanksgiving are spent in general sessions and personal family counseling. What a blessing it is to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of each of these families! The dynamics of every parent gathering is different. Not only do you have personality differences, but you also have differing levels of commitment and buy-in. God was working in our midst this Thanksgiving, as we answered many great questions from the parents. The questions that these families were asking were coming from a thirst and hunger for Biblical answers. This fostered an environment of growth that motivated each family to be transparent in their needs. Each family desired to take the truths given in the sessions and work to implement them into their homes.
A truth that God impresses on my heart every time I counsel families is that I am a broken person. I may be a counselor, but that just means that I am a professionally broken person. These counseling sessions challenge Aaron and I to be the parents that we need to be. We have the same struggles; we are just in a different place of our journey as parents. We need these truths as much as the families with whom we work. Continue to pray for the young men, their families, and for us as we all seek to be conformed to the image of God’s Son.
It is amazing to see how God has provided for our needs this past year! Some years, God sees fit to provide only the bare necessities. Other years, He allows us to pursue the advancement of our property and program to better equip us to minister to our students and campers.
We had some big goals and subsequent prayer requests for 2017. We wanted to raise $2,000 to replace the roof on our workshop. God provided the money and the work team from Wausau Bible Church to accomplish this project! God also allowed us to raise $40,000 to renovate our school ball field and improve our roads! While those two things were very important to the improvement and stewardship of our physical property, we are probably most excited about the addition of a $15,000 mountain bike fleet to our outdoor programs! Not only did God provide the funds for all of these projects, but each one also represents an individual, family, church, or company that sacrificially gave of their time, effort, and money. We are so thankful for the investment that they have poured into our ministry with these young men!
Outside of the normal needs of meeting budget and sponsoring financially struggling families, we also have some capital improvement goals for 2018 that, if God permits, we would like to see come to fruition.
You may have noticed that we have completely changed the way we send out our Victory Update emails. Over the last few years, we have become burdened that we have been doing a poor job at keeping up with our donors and prayer warriors. At the end of September, we took a huge step and purchased a large and comprehensive donor management system. This has given us the ability to keep all of our supporters’ contact information together in one place, which enables us to handle mass mailings and email correspondence with greater ease. It also has given us a platform with which to create designed emails, sign up forms, and other online communications.
Like any new tool, it has taken us some time to learn the program and begin to use it. We have already sent out a couple of designed Victory Updates and have used it frequently in our cultivation of intern leads. It also now gives us the ability to take online donations and records it in our database, which generates your tax-deductible receipts that will be emailed to you. If you ever wish to fill out an online sign-up form or send in a donation on a page that has www.salsalabs.org in the URL, don’t worry. It is completely secure; it is the name of our new donor management system.
In our switch to using this donor management software, it is important that we update our contact information for you! We want to make sure our letters, cards, and emails reach you. Please take time to follow this link or QR Code to update your information! https://vfm.salsalabs.org/updatecontactinfo
We have also begun to really hone our social media communications as well. This not only is another avenue to keep you informed, but it is also a great tool to share our vision and purpose with people that don’t receive our emails. Every time that a picture or post is liked or shared, a new group of individuals are now connected to our Facebook page. More and more of our students and campers are coming from internet searches. You can really help advance our cause by being faithful to like and share things that we post to Facebook and Instagram! If you don’t follow us online, we would love to have you join our online community at www.facebook.com/VictoryFamilyMinistries.