Summer Happenings

GOLF TOURNAMENT
We held our golf tournament on June 10th at Valley Regional Golf Course at Rosthern.  Fifty-eight golfers participated and we raised almost $13,000 net of costs.  Unfortunately, the weather was cold and rainy.  

COMMUNTY BBQ
Leslie, myself, Carmen (YFC Staff) and our 2 summer workers (Dalen and Ashley) helped out at the Community BBQ at Carpenter’s Church on June 11th.  We served approximately 400 people including several of our Drop-In kids and their families.  It was a great day.

GRADE 8 FAREWELLS & GRADE 12 GRADS
The last 2 weeks of June were busy with attending Grade 8 and Grade 12 festivities.  Five students at Mayfair Community School will be moving on to high school.  Each have been in our Drop-In programs. 
One student from Pleasant Hill Community School has been part of our floor hockey program.  I have had the opportunity to drive him home from floor hockey. 
Adrian, one of the boys I have gotten to know over the past few years in our floor hockey program, graduated from Grade 12 at Bedford. 
One young lady just started to come to Drop-In the week before the Mayfair Grade 8 Farewell.  She talked to one of our volunteers and myself for awhile at Drop-In about her plans for the future.  She is a well spoken, determined young lady.  She was pleased when Leslie and I came to the Grade 8 Farewell at Mayfair.
Here are some pictures of the students.  The group picture shows the students with Garrett and Alex Janzen from Carpenter’s Church. 

SUMMER
We have started July off with a bang.  Drop-In continues on Tuesdays.  The Project (Bible Talk) at Carpenter’s Church has moved to Wednesday nights.  On Thursday afternoons, we are opening the YFC building for students to play video games from noon until 2:00 p.m. and showing a movie for 2:00 until 4:00 p.m.

SUMMER STUDENT WORKERS
We have 2 summer workers this year.  Dalen started in May with Ashley just starting the week of July 10th.  They are assisting with the summer programs and are working on the cleanup and reorganization of the office. 

PRAYER REQUESTS
-Please pray for the students in our programs.

Ministry Update

YFCHL
The hockey season was officially over May 31 st with our Awards Banquet. It has been a challenging year with the change in location and other interesting developments. Most of the boys I drove to hockey this school year won awards. I will miss hanging out with them although I have a couple of birthdays yet to celebrate. Pictured below is Tristen and Triston. I have been driving these 2 great young men to hockey for a few years now. Also, there is a picture of the group of some of the guys I have driven for the past couple of years plus my little buddy, Avery (bottom right of the picture). There is more about him in another post.

AVERY
I have gotten very close to my little buddy, Avery. He has been involved in Disorganized Sports, Drop-In, YFCHL and The Project almost every week. He has also assisted me with concession at hockey when he is not playing. His older brother, Elijah has also been a part of these programs. I recently received the news that Avery and his family are moving to Winnipeg. I will be sad to see him go. Our Youth for Christ chapter in Winnipeg has a floor hockey program so I hope I can get him connected there. Please pray for Avery and his family. Pictured below is us at hockey.

DROP-IN
Our Drop-In has been a little different this year with more younger kids coming with siblings. One of the little girls will melt your heart. She has the biggest smile and loves to colour. She showed me a picture she had coloured a couple of weeks ago. I told her she should colour a picture for me to hang in my office. On Tuesday night, she came up with the biggest smile and brought up a picture for me. It was hard to hold back the tears. I complemented her on how pretty the picture was and got it hung up in my office.

Ministry Update

DROP-IN
After a fun filled Christmas Banquet night in December, there was a 3 week break from our normal Tuesday night activities. January started off with some strong attendance of 40 plus every week. Menu planning continues to be interesting. Two of our students were baptised January 29 th at Carpenter’s Church. One shared her struggle withmental health issues.

THE PROJECT (CARPENTER’S CHURCH ON FRIDAY NIGHTS)
A normal night at The Project includes games, a lesson, small group time and food. Attendance is 25 plus on a weekly basis. I lead the Junior Boys’ Small Group. Last Friday night, we had “Small Group Wars”, a night filled with different challenges and games. My group worked hard, but didn’t win. Our team color was blue. There are some pictures I took at this night. This coming weekend, we are planning a number of activities for Friday night and all day Saturday with a sleepover at various locations around the city.

YOUTH FOR CHRIST HOCKEY LEAGUE
I continue to drive a group of boys on a weekly basis and take care of concession. It has been great to get to know some new kids this year.
This past weekend, there was Boot Camp where our staff and volunteers took 45 kids to Redberry Bible Camp for a weekend of hockey, great food and a speaker. This is a highlight for a lot of these kids each year. I was able to slip up on the Saturday in time for lunch and watched some great hockey.

PRAYER REQUESTS
- Please pray for this coming weekend. There is a lot jammed into 2 days. Please pray for safety as we drove around the city, play some games at a school gym and do the trampoline at Apex.
- Please pray for Leslie and I as we are into a heavy workload and aren’t getting the rest we need. We need strength to keep going.
- Please pray for our kids in all of our programs.
- Please continue to pray for my health.
- Please continue to pray for financial support for me personally and for the Drop-In.

Ministry Update

It has been a busy fall so far and Christmas is coming fast. This means an increase in activity up to Christmas.

A huge thank you to those who attended our Banquet on November 6 th . I hope all those who attended enjoyed the evening. Thank you for your financial support for YFC that night.

Three of the young men from Drop-In were baptized on November 27 at Carpenter’s Church. That makes a total of 13 of the young people from Drop-In being baptized since August. Attendance continues to be strong at Drop-In with 40 + young people out on a weekly basis. Attendance at The Project on Friday nights is increasing.

As for the YFCHL, I am still driving the boys and working concession. Attendance is around 60 kids on a weekly basis.

Coming Up:
-Our last Disorganized Sports morning at Mayfair School until the new year will be December 6 th -Drop- In Christmas Banquet on December 13th with turkey and all the trimmings. As we have in past years, we will be doing up goodie bags with socks and mitts for those in need. If you can help out with a donation, please contact me.
-YFCHL Christmas Banquet will be on December 21st .
-I will need to get together with the hockey boys for our annual lunch one Saturday before Christmas.

Prayer Requests
-Please pray for health. I am dealing with some medical issues with a number of appointments coming up.
-Pray for our kids. Christmas is difficult for most of them with a lack of resources for food and gifts.

Thank you for your support financially and prayerfully. Leslie and I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Highs and Lows

On the afternoon of September 26 th , I received a call from Todd Berg (the principle of Mayfair School). He told me that Chris had died. Chris has been part of our Drop-In for over 4 years. I was in shock. I advised Garrett from Carpenter’s Church and then went and told Leslie at work. I broke down when I told Leslie. We picked up some food and with Garrett and Alex went and visited with Chris’ mom, Sherry and her partner. We found out that Chris committed suicide.

We decided to keep things normal so we held DS and Drop-In the day after the suicide. These were sombre events, but we also heard a lot of laughter. Our attendance jumped to 47 that night and has been over 40 ever since. We were averaging 30 to 35 before this.

Chris’ memorial service was on October 7 th at Carpenter’s Church. The new pastor of Carpenter’s, John Morris, asked me to speak. It was tough to write something down. I wrestled with what to say and rewrote it several times during the week. That was tough to speak, but through the Holy Spirit, I was able to get through it. On a happier note- On October 16 th , 4 more of the young ladies from Drop-In got baptized. There has been others who have asked to be baptized so we have more services coming up.

Pray for Chris’ family. Also, pray for the kids affected by this.

Baptisms

On September 11th four young ladies and 1 young man (all from our Drop-In) were baptized at Carpenter’s Church.  It was a great celebration as these young people took the next step in their faith.  Testimonies were recorded and played before each baptism.  Leslie and I felt like proud grandparents as we sat there and listened to the testimonies.   

The Project!

We have been looking at faith steps at The Project (new name for Bible Talk).  Some of the Drop-In/The Project kids made commitments over the summer.  A recent discussion about baptism triggered the kids to want to be baptized.  One of the boys, Ernie, moved to a reserve and wanted to be baptized before he left.  So Garrett, Alex, me and some others went to Mayfair Pool and did the baptism there during a public swim night. 

Dream Camp

From August 8-11th thirteen of our Drop-In kids went to Living Waters Bible Camp for Dream Camp.  Dream Camp was created as a cheaper alternative to regular camp.  I drove kids to the camp and then picked them up to bring them home.  Alex and Garrett Janzen from Carpenter’s Church stayed with the kids for the week.  There was a lot of spiritual growth in the kids that week.   

Football Camp

On August 7th I was able to see 2 of the hockey boys that I drive on a weekly basis, Tristen and Allan, at the Six Nations Football Camp held at Huskies Stadium.  Tristen actually injured Allan in a scrimmage.  Tristen texted me on how he appreciated me being at the camp.  Tristen was recently written up in the Star Phoenix under the 3A High School Football Preview as “a tough player with a strong work ethic”.  

Grade 8 Farewell!

 "Last week, the school year wound down with the Grade 8 Farewell at Mayfair Community School.  Four of our boys made the cut.  Pictured below are the guys plus Garrett Janzen, Youth and Childrens' Pastor at Carpenter's Church.  I was taking the picture.
 
For our Friday night Bible Talk, we went out to Pike Lake for swimming and a wiener roast.  Pictured below is the group."

Ministry Happenings!

After a great Awards Banquet night, YFCHL is over for another season. The four guys I have driven over the past few years all got awards. Pictured below are from left to right Adrian for best goalie, Eldon for most goals and most points (both records for the league), Triston for Most Improved and Tristen for the Leadership award. I must admit I was proud of their accomplishments. They are a great group of young men. It has been a great experience for me to get to know these guys and be a part of their lives. I will be keeping in touch with them this summer.

Adrian had a birthday in April and Eldon had his in May. Also, another guy I have been driving home, Alan had a birthday in May. That meant 2 more birthday parties with (lots of) food and fun mini-golfing, playing in the batting cages and two even hit the climbing wall.

The other major highlight in June was the Drop-In Family Community BBQ at Carpenter’s Church on June 7th . What a night! We had bouncy items and a climbing wall from the Farm Youth Camp plus the Mobile Youth Centre was there. We fed over 200 people and got to know parents, more kids and people from the community. A generous gift from Elim Church covered the cost of food and incidentals needed for the night. A big thank you goes out to Elim and to the Carpenter’s Church. Our partnership with Carpenter’s on our Drop-In/Bible Talk has been amazing. 

Disorganized Sports wound down at Howard Coad School with the last one at Mayfair Community School scheduled for June 28th . The Drop-In/Bible Talk will be going all summer with a slight change in schedule. 
 

June 22nd is the date for the Grade 8 Farewell at Mayfair Community School. I am planning to attend. There are a few kids in our programs moving on to high school. Please pray for them as they start new chapters in their lives this fall.

Blessings and Challenges!

Working with kids whose home lives are difficult, behaviours are poor and may be considered unlovable has its challenges and rewards. 


There is a young man named George who has been coming to Drop-In and Bible Talk for the past little while. He always comes early to Drop-In to help set up. Now, he is going to the Carpenter’s Church Sunday School. He actually shows up before anyone else gets there and helps out. 

I continue to drive a group of young men to YFCHL every week as well as run the concession there. This gives me the opportunity to hangout, catch the odd game and cheer my boys on while they do what they love. We recently finished playoffs which got pretty intense! One of the boys I’m close with made it to the final where they ended up losing in game 6. During that final game he lost his temper and threw his goalie stick across the floor. On the way home, he asked if I saw him lose his temper. When I said yes, he said “I’m sorry you had to see that”. I told him it was okay to be emotional. It is humbling to realize he respected me enough to apologize for his behaviour. 

Sometimes, I question whether I am making a difference in the lives of the kids I am working with. I wonder whether I can really be the guy that God wants to use to speak to these kids. The guys I drive to hockey have become very close to me and we celebrate their birthdays with a trip to Fuddruckers. A couple of weeks ago, one of my coworkers overheard one of the hockey boys refer to me as “their grandpa” who takes care of them and celebrates their birthdays with them. I hadn’t realized that these kids don’t have families that take them out for their birthdays, nor do they have anyone to really celebrate them. I am humbled by this and extremely grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to work with this group.

Calbreak 2016

My daughter, April, went on the 1998 CalBreak trip.  Leslie and I were a little apprehensive as she was going on her first major trip without any of her friends.  I was on the board of Saskatoon Youth for Christ so I knew about the trip more than most parents.  April came back from that trip with a lot of memories. 

Her chaperon, Heidi, maintained contact with April for some time after the trip.  She talked about the Project Serve option where the group made sandwiches for the homeless.  One particular man working at the kitchen was singing "Amazing Grace" all morning and shared his testimony with the students.  She was impacted by the fact that they turned people away when they ran out of sandwiches.   

April also has a rapport with a number of the young men on the trip as she was brave enough to ride the roller coasters with them.  The young ladies outnumber the young men on each trip, but April always had young men around her.  Gil told that story during the reception at April's weeding a few years later.  

Being Consistent!

There are 2 First Nations brothers, "Bert" and "Ernie" who starting coming to the Drop-In last summer. There is a father in the picture as the boys have asked for food for Dad the odd time over the past.  They told me last summer that Dad was taking them camping, but there was limited food for the trip.  We happened to have some weiners and buns which I gave to them for their camping trip.  Almost every week so far since this fall, they are coming out for YFCHL floor hockey, attending our Disorganized Sports program at Mayfair School and coming to Bible Talk on Friday nights.  This gives me the chance to hang out with them 4 times a week.  They are still pretty quiet, but I am trusting that God is working in their lives through me and the other leaders and volunteers in our programs.  Please pray for them and the Dad.

Ministry Update

Chris is a young man who I have gotten to know over the past 3 years at our Drop-In.  He has been able to attend on a regular basis when he is in the area as his mom lives in the Mayfair area and his dad lives in the Forest Grove area.  Recently, his school was part of the “Let’s Lead- Nikanetan” program where students volunteer at a business/organization in the city.  Chris chose our Tuesday night Drop-In as the place for him to volunteer for January, February and March.  He is helping out with setup of tables, chairs, etc., helping serve the meal and cleanup.   God has used us in Chris` life.  He is great to see him volunteering with us.  Please pray for Chris.   

Five summers ago, there was a young lady who visited our summer Drop-In program on a weekly basis.  She was 15 years old at the time and brought her little sister who was 3 years old.  If her little sister could not come, this young lady could not come as she was the care giver for her little sister.  When we were able to do the Drop-In all year round a few years later, a young man named “Sam” started to attend.  A short time later, his little sister came with him.  It happened to be the same little sister that came a few summers before. Since that time, we have learned a lot about the family- family members living at different places, Sam was the care giver to his little sister, the Mom struggles with alcohol, Sam’s older brother had some possible gang involvement.  Before Christmas, Sam’s Mom came to Drop-In to talk to Leslie about her situation.  She had some Christian influence in her life through a friend of hers.  Leslie listened and prayed with her.  It was certainly God that brought her to Leslie as I struggled with addictions and her parents had difficulty with alcohol.  Since that time, Sam and his older brother have moved into a new place with mom, Mom is attending a church and attempting to turn her life aroundl.  The only issue is the little sister who is not living with the family, but is living with her grandfather in Prince Albert.  Leslie and I continue to pray for the family.  We miss Sam`s little sister, but we know she is safe and will one day return to her family.  Please pray for this family.

Happy New Year!

We ended up December with some Christmas banquets for the Drop-In and YFCHL.  Over 40 kids attended the Drop-In banquet and approximately 80 kids attended the YFCHL banquet.  

I was also able to take the hockey boys that I drive weekly out before Christmas to Fuddruckers.  

Since the start of the new year, our programs are starting up again with strong attendance despite the weather.  I have been able to catch up with some of the kids and find out about their Christmas.  Some of the stories are heartbreaking.  There is alot going on in some kids' lives.  

Prayer Requests
-Pray for my health.  I have been fighting some reoccurring issues.  
-Leslie has been able to find part time work.  Please pray for her new job.
-Pray for the kids in our programs.

Thank you to all those who gave donations at the end of the year.  We appreciate your prayers and your support.

Becoming a Christian

For the past 3 years ‘Sam’ has faithfully been coming to our Tuesday Drop-In program. He doesn’t in particular stand out, due to his quiet and sensitive spirit. One night, he brought me a Bible he found lying around; it had been left there and was worn from use. Sensing that he really wanted his own Bible, I asked him if he really wanted an old one. We had some new Bibles that we had recently purchased, so I gave him one of those. I talked to him about good books to start reading and told him to list out any questions he might have so we could get together and I could give answers. Since then, he has become our Bible distributor to youth!  He has asked for and given away Bibles to his sister and a number of his friends. 

Over his time here, he has asked for advice on how to deal with various issues and recently about a depressed friend. We have been able to talk with him about these things and pray with him. A couple of weeks ago, he didn’t seem to be himself, so I asked whats going on. He shared that his girlfriend had moved away to live with her grandparents, which made him sad; he had tried to pray, but his prayers seemed to go unanswered.  I asked if I could pray for him, and then he asked, ‘how do I become a Christian?”  One of our volunteers came and joined me and we had the privilege of talking and praying with him to become a Christian. 

It has been such a joy to see how God has been working in this young man’s life, and for us to be able to be a part of it.


Ministry Update!

DROP-IN
-Attendance is averaging over 25 kids on a weekly basis.  
-GREAT NEWS- We had 1 young man accept Christ last Tuesday night,  
-We have also had some ladies help out by making desserts and meals.  I shared with one of the volunteers at YFCHL about needing people to do desserts.  He is the youth pastor at Cornerstone Church.  I received a text a few days later from one of his volunteers whose small group of Grade 9 to 12 girls wanted to make the full meal including dessert.  This volunteer just happened to be in the youth group at the Prince Albert Alliance Church that Leslie and I volunteered with.  It is a small world.  
-Last Tuesday night, another lady from Lawson Heights Pentecostal made brownies.  
 
BIBLE TALK
-We have had 24 out the last 2 weeks.  The kids are getting younger so we have discussed the fact of putting an age restriction on the night.  Also, we are starting earlier at 5:00 instead of 6:00.  Some of the older kids from Bible Talk go to another church for their youth group night after we are done.    
 
DS (DISORGANIZED SPORTS)
-DS at Mayfair has seen an average of 10 kids show up.  Soccer and floor hockey continue to be the dominant sports.  The last 2 weeks, we have had intense floor hockey games.
 
YFCHL (YOUTH FOR CHRIST HOCKEY LEAGUE)
-I am driving most of the same boys that I drove last school year.  These young men have grown over the past few years.  It is great to be a part of their lives.  One refers to me as his “white grandpa".    

Thank you for those you attendied our Banquet on Octeber 26.  Thank you for your financial donations that night. 
 
Prayer Requests
-Please pray for money for my support account and the Drop-In Program for feeding the kids.  
-Please pray for volunteers for the Drop-In as attendance grows.  Also pray for a female
volunteerfor our hockey program.

Rollin, rollin, rollin...

There has been a strong start to our fall programming.  Here is an update:

DROP-IN
-Attendance is averaging over 25 kids on a weekly basis since the end of summer.  Thirty-two attended last night.
-We have some great volunteers.  Garrett and Alex are back in Saskatoon from Manitoba.  They attended Horizon College last school year, got married over the summer and are now back with Garrett serving as youth and children’s pastor at Carpenter’s Church.  Kelly is another volunteer who is helping out.  Our new intern, Carmen is also helping out plus Leslie.
-The kids are dealing with some big issues.  One young man shared with Leslie and I about his mom’s drinking problem.  Carmen shared with a young lady about becoming a Christian.  Another young man was arrested for shoplifting.  

BIBLE TALK
-We have run 2 Fridays nights with Bible Talk.  Unfortunately, we had no-one come out for the first night with 6 showing up last week.  This is being led by Garrett and Alex with Leslie and I in a backup role.
-Leslie and I drove a young girl home last Friday night.  Her and her brother have been regular attenders of Drop-In and now Bible Talk.  We had some food left over so Leslie went into the house with the young girl.  Leslie put the food in the fridge which was empty except for some BBQ Sauce.  We couldn’t leave her alone so we took her over to the church where her brother was attending youth group.  
-We love these 2 kids and it broke our heart to see the house with no food and no-one home to take care of the young girl.  

DS (DISORGANIZED SPORTS)
-DS at Mayfair has seen an average of 10 kids show up.  One week, we played soccer with a volleyball and hockey nets.  Soccer and floor hockey are the dominant sports so far.
-One of our board members, David Derksen is volunteering along with our intern, Carmen.

YFCHL (YOUTH FOR CHRIST HOCKEY LEAGUE)
-I am driving most of the same boys that I drove last school year.  
-The hockey has changed locations to St. Marys.  It is a great new location with a larger gym and more space.  There are a number of new kids especially girls.  We are in great need of a female volunteer to help with the influx of new female players.  
-I am still the “Concession Guy” so I get to talk to most of the kids throughout the night.  

Fall Update

The first week of the fall programs were held this past week.  Here is an update.

DISORGANIZED SPORTS AT MAYFAIR SCHOOL
-Tuesday was our first day back since June.
-Fourteen kids showed up on Tuesday.  It was great to see some returning kids from June and some new kids.   
-They played soccer with a volleyball and hockey nets (definitely disorganized).

DROP-IN
-We had a 2 week break from the summer.
-Sixteen showed up Tuesday night.  The rainy weather kept them inside. 
-Our meal was Taco in a Bag, always a hit. 
-New kids showed up this week. 

YOUTH FOR CHRIST HOCKEY LEAGUE
-Wednesday night, we had 65 plus kids show up with almost 20 new kids. 
-We have changed the location to St. Mary's School, which has a bigger gym. 
-It was great to catch up with the young men I drive on a weekly basis to hockey.  I had seen some of them over the summer. 
-I am still the concession guy at hockey.  This gives me the opportunity to talk to a lot of the kids although sometimes it is a brief conversation. 

BANQUET
- Our banquet is coming up on October 26.  Let me know if you need tickets.  There is no cost for the tickets, but we need to know numbers to advise Prairieland Park. 

GOLF TOURNAMENT
-It looks like we will have 52 to 56 golfers for September 26.  Thanks to those who are golfing.

PRAYER REQUESTS
-Please pray for volunteers for the Drop-In. 
-Please pray for the kids in our programs. 
-Please pray for our banquet.  We are planning to have 400 attending and are targeting $100,000 in donations for the night. 
-Please pray for my financial support.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support.  Leslie and I appreciate it.  Let me know if you have any questions on my cell 306-221-9820 or emailmillsjl@sasktel.net