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.
It is always a struggle for us to find the interns we need to run Victory Academy every year. The resident assistant position is a vital position, but it is temporary. Most interns only stay on as an RA for one school year and as a counselor for the following summer. Some choose to stay longer, but it is our desire to see them go back and finish their degrees, jump into a full-time ministry position, or serve God at a local church. This puts us in a constant need for interns. We are looking at some options to expand our capacity of eight students to a capacity of twelve. To do this, we will need to have five interns contracted and ready to serve at the beginning of the year. To make this a reality, we have made strides in the organization of our internship program and how we present it to potential interns. This work is far from finished, but we are pleased with the progress. Some of the strides involve new brochures, web pages, Facebook ads, videos, and carefully crafted informational emails. We are excited to get connected with those whom God is preparing to serve in this unique way. We are looking for a special kind of guy. Our internship program is very difficult at times and spiritually taxing. We like to say it is “life concentrate” – bottling five years of experience into one! However, the eternal rewards of a wayward teen making godly decisions far outweigh any difficulty an intern may face.
We are now offering a couple of internship tracks with various concentrations. We want to do everything we can to satisfy any internship or time-restraint requirement that our potential interns may have. It is our hope that the new structuring will allow for more men to serve at Victory. We appreciate your prayers in this endeavor. If you would like to learn more, visit our internship page at www.vafb.org/internship.
Director of Victory Family Ministries.
“Volunteers make the non-profit world go ‘round,” and they make great things possible here at Victory. Every capital improvement project is made possible, in part, by volunteers. We are grateful to Bay City Baptist of Green Bay, Wausau Bible Church, and several individual volunteers that have donated their time and skill set to specific projects on our campus over the course of this past year. Often volunteers come in and do things that we would have to hire out. They save us money and time. Often, the work is done better than what we would have received from hired help, because it is done with heart.
We have opportunities right now for general construction, accounting, computer networking, electrical, logging/land clearing, and vehicle maintenance. If you have a particular skill set and you would like God to use you here at Victory, please see our website for specific project details or give us a call!
There are also projects that don’t require a skilled hand. From raking leaves and moving wood to cleaning and organizing, there is always something to be done at Victory Family Ministries! Whether you want to personally come and handle a smaller task or you want to organize a work group to tackle a larger one, we always welcome your involvement. Contact our office for more information!
Perhaps you just don’t have time to devote to an on-site project, but still would like to help in some way. Capital improvements not only require a work force, but they also depend on the generous donations of God’s people. If you would like to partner with us by donating to a specific project, you can mail a check or donate online. Be sure to note the specific project on the memo line.
Thank you for being a part of God’s work in the lives of these boys and their families.
Director of Victory Family Ministries
We have had the privilege to host a couple of special programs this past month. It is always a blessing to have people come and run special program elements for us! It frees up our staff to be able to attend important conferences and meetings.
Mark Hawkins, from Hands on Deck, showed up with his handmade trunk of specialty wood-working tools earlier this month. Mark is passionate about wood, but his calling is to use that passion to minister to young people. His non-profit, Hands on Deck, is doing some great things in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Last year, he taught our students how to build a skin-on canoe. We have some great projects in mind for this year, but this month was the opportunity to learn some basic wood-working skills. Mark taught them to use carving knives to create their very own set of chopsticks! Although it was a small project, the guys enjoyed being out of regular classes and learning a specific skill. Mark did whet their appetite for what they will be working with later by starting a rustic, wooden bench. He will be coming back periodically this school year and continue teaching our students how to work with wood.
We also had seven students from Maranatha Baptist University come for a special weekend of ministry this past weekend. They organized a special night of activities for the students on Friday and worked with them on Saturday to rake the leaves on campus. What a job! We are so thankful for all that they poured into the program. We had the opportunity to treat them to some of Mark Massey’s deliciously grilled hamburgers and speak to them about our internship program that we offer at Victory Family Ministries. The interns are such a vital part of what we do. Opportunities to have men who are passionate about ministry and serving young men on-site is something we don’t take for granted. It is awesome to watch them see the ministry first-hand. It’s an experience that we just can’t bring with us when we go to different colleges to present the internship program. You can pray that God will work in these men and others with whom we are in contact. Whether they serve with us or go elsewhere, we want to see them going strong for the Lord! If you are interested in learning more about our internship, see our internship page at www.vafb.org/internship.
Program Director for WildHeart Adventure Camp
We’re so very thankful for the time God gave us at Kenu Lake. We are blessed to have the use of their beautiful land and facilities. We began the skill training in several of our core activities, such as canoeing and mountain biking. The guys also got to enjoy catching and eating some Northern Pike! Not only were the camping and activities enjoyable, but we had the opportunity to devote a whole week to the most important facet of our relationship with God — faith. Faith is more than knowing God’s Truth. Faith is more than a prayer. Faith is more than a feeling. Faith is the most seminal part our existence because it gives life to our actions, words, desires, and feelings. We do what we do and say what we say and feel what we feel because we want what we want. We want what we want because we believe what we believe about God, His Word, and ourselves. Studying this reality and showing the guys the magnificent truths we all should believe is one of the highlights of the year.
We found it necessary and advantageous to reorganize some of our academic structure and staffing this fall. Due to the low number of Junior High students, we have combined a few of our basic classes to free up a few staff hours to use elsewhere in the ministry. Whenever you make changes, there is a little trepidation - but the Lord has helped us to make those changes and engage our students in an education that not only meets a mandatory part of our program, but also serves to develop a biblical worldview that is foundational to what they are receiving here at Victory Academy. So far, the guys are responding well. Please pray that they will continue to develop good learning habits and will be stretched to think beyond the facts to the core issues with which we are challenging them.
This month Pastor Dan Raught and Ben Barrick were able to attend the Wisconsin Association of Christian School Conference in the Wisconsin Dells. They both represented VAFB and Wildheart and attended helpful and encouraging workshops meant to sharpen our thinking and skills as educators. One of the great highlights was connecting with so many people who have learned about Victory’s ministry over the years and encouraged us to keep on in this vital rescue of young men in need.