Saturday, November 11, 2017

Preparing for the New Year at New Life

I just want to give you all an update here on where things are at with the program and the new building. Big and exciting things.

We are gearing up to take in up to 10 students next year: up to 4 live-in (from boys homes), 4 day programming (from the community), and 2 returning apprentices (Romain & Osanie). We plan to grow our staff with 2 missionary interns (1 admin, 1 instructor,) 1 hired local shop supervisor, 1 lunch cook, and a part-time security guard, as well as a visiting counselor to come in for 1 month of the year.

We are anxious to get renovations and construction underway to move our family into the apartment and prepare for the new students. We have quite the job ahead of us, putting in 2 kitchens, 3 bathrooms, framing in bedrooms, electrical, plumbing... anyone want to come help???

We will be in MN the end of December into January for a big fundraising campaign. We will be sharing with churches, small groups and anyone who wants to hear! February and March will be renovation/construction time. And then we prepare for Spring/Summer Workshop. We plan to invite prospective students for an introductory session to give them an idea of what its all about. And somewhere in there, we need to get a team down here to finish Dell's house.

Please join us in prayer for all that is happening here. We are excited to see how it comes together and who will come together... is God calling you?

Building Opportunity

I don't ever want to take things for granted, the way something can seem like such a coincidence, how something can just land in your lap, or even manage to make it through every imaginable hoop in order to work out. Whatever the circumstances, I know that God is in the business of working things for good. But sometimes, you just have to stop in awe.

Let me share how we came upon a building for the New Life Skills Centre.

The property we are looking at, formerly called Tortuga, was a big rum cake factory with a little coffee and icecream shop. There was a playground outside and we used to walk there occasionally when we lived at YWAM. It was really the only place to walk to where kids could play. Anyways, we were super bummed when the location closed because we loved it. When the property went up for sale a couple years ago, we prayed a very big dreamland kind of prayer that maybe God would let us have the property to run our ministry from...In April, a friend of ours (we will call him Friend 1) mentioned he was looking at that property. Fighting off our own envy, we shared how great we thought the property was. Later, he informed us that he bought it. When Paul asked him what he planned on doing with it, he answered with "I was hoping you would help me figure that out." So, Paul went with him to look at it, where our friend asked Paul if he thought it would work for him. (WHAT?!) Then the next week, we all went to check it out. He is open to us renting it from him... which we thought would be out of the question because the going rental rate would be out of our reach, but he is willing to work with us.

The property has so much potential for our vision of skills training and job creation. The property location is on the outside of Mobay, (by our old neighborhood.) It is on the main road that tourists take out to Negril, so it has a good flow of traffic, and locals already know the spot. The main floor factory part is where training/woodworking would happen, with classrooms, production assembly, finish room, even a break room and showers.  The upper level could be made into an apartment for our family, with enough space to make a dorm room(s) for students and/or some staff. Then the coffee shop building would be a store for the products made, as well as some consignment items from others in the community. (Some of the ladies from the Sew Very Loved ministry at our church may be able to make and sell decorative pillows, bags or jewelry too). We could sell ice cream and coffee to employ more people, and bringing back a playground is a great opportunity to serve and connect with the community and draw people to the store.

Here is another possible piece of the puzzle.  We met with a guy from an organization that advocates for orphans, who has a relationship with CDA and the boys homes on the island, and can help to make our program available to boys aging out of the childrens' homes... which is in line with our vision. We had always hoped to offer housing to students, and this space could make it possible to meet this very big need.

If God is behind this, we want to go after it! Time to pray my friends, because this means growth is coming... A Building opportunity could very well be the bridge to building opportunities.