Saturday, June 20, 2009

What we do with teams

We're hosting a team this week and I thought you might like to know what we do with 'em. We have taken a different tack with teams - often, urban mission destinations will give a team busy work with organizations in the city (soup kitchens, clothes closets, work projects, etc.) as a way to help those groups do projects they cannot normally do with regular staff and to let the team catch a bit of missionary vision by osmosis through interaction with different agencies. We've done this but have begun to grow in a different direction.

Following YWAM's model of training then outreach, we have designed every day of a team's week to be educational with practical application. We start out with an orienting tour that tells the story of YWAM Modesto's beginnings and the issues in the communities in which we work.

Each morning is spent in worship, prayer, reflection and debriefing together plus a teaching from one of our staff members.

Early on, we provide a wide event like a community BBQ or another way to just plant in an area for a while to meet the people we want to be with throughout the week. We let the team meet the people on the street and then debrief with them to see what they would like to do with these new friends for the rest of the week.

Then we follow the team's lead to help them make the things on their heart possible. This leads to all kinds of creative ideas...some are possible and some are not but the team gets a good idea of what it's like to engage a community and try out creative, compassionate ideas with their friends.

This week, we helped a couple of people with simple but overwhelming yard projects...

... we spent quality time creating safe spaces for people to be refreshed and out of the weather...

and we threw a party on the street...

We want our teams to leave with a passion for going back home and doing something similar...putting yourself out into a forgotten community, meeting the people and letting friendship and compassion lead you into engaging that community with the good news through listening, learning, serving and celebrating.

And of course we take them for the always important cultural experience, the taco trucks!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Highlights from Josh's shots of Modesto's Grafitti day...

With commentary by Josh and Sam...

Sam: "This car was cool"

Josh: "Sweeeeeeeeet"

Sam: "awesome"

Josh: "Grease, starring Sam Travolta"

Sam: "Just like my wooden car (Awana pinewood derby)"

Josh: "ahh, I'm hungry!"


Josh: "duna nanana duna nanana BAT SAM!"

Sam: (said in a french accent) "Here we have on our menu - Le Bat on Le Bat Mobile"

Josh: "Here comes Global Warming - dootindoodoo"

Josh: "It's looking at just keeps staring at me!"

Sam: "I've been arrested!"

Josh: "Don't mess with the law."

J & S: "Isn't it beautiful, Son"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


What do you get an admitted hobo for his birthday? A chicken leg in ice cream of course. Just in case you wondered.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Sam!

Sam's 9 today...I can't believe it. These are pictures from the traditional Whitler birthday roll...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Family Newsletter...

June 6, 2009

Just so you know, the Whitlers are carrying on (in more ways than one) here in Modesto. Here's some snippets of our life and work...

Family stuff - Amie and the kids are finishing out the year's education in the next weeks. Josh is 13 and about an inch away from being as tall as me (Chris)! He loves reading, gaming and hatching plans for his next movie. Sam is turning 9 (on the 9th) and is into softball, game shows and getting his school work done as early as possible. Stella is 3 & 1/2 and likes pink things, purple things and purple and pink things. Amie and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary next week!

YWAM stuff - Our team of 7 is reaching out and continually searching for better ways to do the things God has called us to do. We are regularly downtown visiting friends we have made on the street, supporting them with listening, prayer and education about resources. We are actively mentoring a group of about 18 "at risk" kids who live in gang infested neighborhoods. This year has provided much opportunity to partner with other outreach groups and churches for training, sharing resources and support. We are not the answer, but are determined to play our part.

Church stuff - Amie has been training some young women in dance at our church, New Hope Christian Fellowship and I continue to head up the worship team. I also serve as a deacon and work with a team to facilitate the youth group. Our church has been able to send 10 members out on international missions this year and continues to be a major blessing to our work in town. We are getting ready to move into a new neighborhood at the end of the Summer and are excited about this new season of ministry for our congregation.

Thailand stuff - We continue to partner with Compasio, a relief and development organization in Mae Sot, Thailand. Folks from our team, church and community have traveled to Thailand this year to work with our friends on the Thai/Burmese border helping the street kids and vulnerable families. I am serving on the American board for this organization and hope to travel back to Thailand in the next year or so.

Global stuff - I also serve on the leadership team for Global Youth Network, an international education organization that provides opportunities for university students (and other youth) to travel and learn about the world from the perspectives of faith, justice and community. I'm managing a blog and podcast for them (you can look at that HERE) and we receive a Global team in Modesto for leadership training every year. In April, I traveled to 2 orientation camps (Vancouver and Ontario) to help train teams for their trips.

Future Stuff - This Summer, we are hosting teams from Ohio and Canada for missions here in Modesto, we are doing 2 camps with inner-city kids, traveling to Vancouver to help with a camp for native kids, and sending staff off for short term work in Thailand and working with a couple of local youth groups for local outreach. Please keep us in your prayers!

Keep in touch (we'd looooove to hear from you!) - - - -

If you would like to support our work financially, all donations are tax deductible when made out and sent to: YWAM / P.O. Box 3000 / Garden Valley, TX / 75771-3000. Our name must not appear on the check but include a separate note stating the gift is for the Whitlers in Modesto, CA. Thanks!