I just plugged in our computer for the first time since hurricane Irma and I thought I’d better start compiling and update for you (Yes, it has taken me a little while to complete this update). As I sat down to write, the only thing I could think to update you on was the last couple hectic weeks Irma threw at us. Luckily, the pictures on my phone do a pretty good job of jogging my memory of the time before that. While I sit here in my air-conditioned house, enjoying all the luxuries of having power and count my blessings giving the Lord praise for largely sparing us from the brunt of Irma, I can’t help but think of the devastation that has been experienced this past month from hurricanes. I recently watched a video of the damage by Maria in Puerto Rico and my heart just broke as tears rolled down my cheeks. Those people had nowhere to go. They live on an island. Their only option was to hunker down and pray.
We were tremendously blessed to have the help of family and the prayers of so many friends. I truly believe that the Lord heard our prayers. From the bottoms of our hearts, thank you. Yet, even if we weren’t spared, in the midst of destruction, God is worthy of our praise. I don’t remember where I heard this, but it has stuck with me in times of wondering and heartache, “This life is the only hell we will ever know.” If you know Jesus as your Savior, the kind of truly knowing him that changes your life, all your priorities and draws you to obedience, it’s true. We can make it through anything in this life by clinging to the truth God gives us and he will fill us with his hope and strength.
Here is a picture of our little house after the storm. Even now, we still have a big pile of debris in our yard. That debris was just a surface wound and as I drive by all the other piles in everyone else’s yard it draws me back to thankfulness that fallen trees and lost power was the majority of destruction our area saw.
Here is a quick recap of our time evacuating and waiting out the storm:
Seder and I were able to get a flight to KS the 3 days before Irma made landfall in Florida. Ethan stayed back to board up our house and then ended up driving to Orlando to stay with our good friends since they were less likely to take a direct hit. He went back down to Fort Myers as soon as he could the day after Irma hit our area. After we found out our house survived the storm, the next question was, “When would we get power?” It wasn’t really an option for me to come back until power was restored, so we just waited. Thankfully, we regained power 3 days after the storm! Crazy, because so many people we know and neighbors just down the street from us didn’t get power until over a week later. We were so thankful to be able to book a flight back and be reunited! While Seder and I were gone, Ethan was able to be full-time with Ride Nature in helping clean up and provide disaster relief around the area.
Check out this video a local organization put together highlighting Ride Nature: https://www.facebook.com/helloswfl/videos/1872532313075043/?hc_ref=ARQHS-nXju9Qvo3QAyEQvWLaZMhEGXPRNEzz1HnN6YJXkOvz3KQeHh3JeQu3RSQ6jBk&pnref=story
Before the craziness of Irma, August was a pretty typical month for us with Friday night BBQs, wake church and a special Ride Nature event, the end of summer bash. However during August, Ride Nature had 3 different trips to Costa Rica, Cuba, and Haiti. Each trip was unique to the team and country they were in and they had awesome testimonies to share when they got back.
Here are a few pictures to recap our August, along with a few pictures highlighting the trips. Some of these photos were taken by one of our interns who is gifted in photography. I’m sure it won’t be hard to figure out which ones she took. 😉
End of Summer Bash
Haiti Mission Trip
Costa Rica Mission Trip
Cuba Mission Trip
As Ride Nature has grown as a ministry, it has become clear that consistency is key. Consistency of being at the skate parks, holding wake church, and now also our weekly events at the House of Ride Nature (Friday night BBQ, backyard breakfast). However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t go through slow seasons or times that seem discouraging. We can’t make people show up or open their hearts to the gospel, but our job is to continue to be consistent and sow the seed.
“We are only servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-9
It’s not always about reaping, but it is sure encouraging when you get to be the one who reaps.
- Ride Nature is doing a fundraiser the first 10 days of October. $10,000 in 10 days. Here is a link with more information and if you would like to donate. http://www.ridenature.org/10in10/
- Please pray that we would continue to be faithful as individuals and as a team to press forward in the midst of set backs and slow seasons. “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14
We have an intern, Matthew Weber, who finished up his one year internship this month. He has a heart for missions and got to go on multiple mission trips during his year with RN. In August, he actually planned and led the trip to Haiti. Now, he is gone to Asia (India, Thailand, and Philippines) traveling for the next couple months. He will be meeting with our established partners in those countries and looking to make new partnerships. Please be praying for his travels and all the work and scouting he will be doing.
The ministry is always looking for more staff and interns. This obviously helps with our work force and helps offset the cost of rent for the housing.
Since we moved in our house and have been full blast with our renovations, we have been looking for simple ways to supplement our income. I have applied for a few nanny jobs and we invest in cars to resell. Please pray for the right opportunity to come about to help with the cost of building supplies and allow us to contribute to a monthly savings.
Finally, that we would be faithful to pursue our neighbors and other people God brings into our lives that are in need of his saving grace.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support! We are beyond honored that you would support us and that we get the privilege to be here in Fort Myers working with Ride Nature. We are praying for you and your family. Please don’t hesitate to email me with any prayer requests you would like to share!
In light of the recent tragedies and terror around the world, this verse came to mind.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” Philippians 2:14-15
Imagine if we truly did all things without grumbling and disputing, then we would be beacons of light in this dark and hurting world. Lord, help us to reflect your character of unconditional love.
In Christ’s Love,
Ethan and Sandra