November 2012 Newsletter

November 30, 2012 Dear Friends,        
Oh What I Mighty God We Serve!  Anyone remember that song, well I do and it brings me to a joyous report of the great things God brings to our lives.  We are so blessed to live in this country and in this time.  Did you ever think that you could be struggling for your life just because you attend a service to worship Jesus?  Has ever occurred to you that you could be trying to live on rice and dirty water, or maybe as some have reported by literally eating mud or dirt?  Oh we are so blessed in our country to have the ability today to eat wholesome food, live in a heated or cooled structure, wear not so tattered clothing, and visit whomever we please.  Thank you Lord for the kindness and love you demonstrate for us everyday.        
Since you heard from us last month there have been a whole lot of wondrous happenings in our lives and ministry.  For starters, we want to highlight the camp recently held near Guayaquil, Ecuador.  For sure it was a fun and action packed weekend for the campers and team members as well.  From playing in the surf, volleyball in the sand, swinging on the hammocks, dancing through the night, stuffing tummies with seafood, worshipping the King in unison, to praying to receive Jesus as Savior there was little time for loneliness and homesickness.  As each of the campers delighted in the camp for giving them time to just be themselves and be accepted, the team members marveled at how they enjoyed God’s comfort and encouragement to draw closer to Him.  It was absolutely awesome.        
We here in Soldotna, Alaska are at the edge of the first Cristo Vive International Retreat right here, Nov 30-Dec 2.  In fact by the time you receive this letter, we will be either in the middle of the Retreat or just finished it.  We are so encouraged by the level of interest and support from the local churches, individuals and families.  We are set to begin the camp with 9 campers and the potential for 2-3 more by the time it starts.  Our goal was 6-10 so as you can see we should be well within that margin.  Also for workers, we are blessed with a great mix of gender and ages to support the camp.  Oh what a blessing.  We have approximately 7 local (Alaska) churches involved and we are overjoyed with that breadth of support and interested churches for the opening year.        
Right on the heels of the Retreat in Alaska follows the Winter Retreat in Osceola, Wisconsin, Dec 7-9.  This has come together a bit slower but powerful all the same.  Noele Vogt has been remarkable in her leadership to get things working to get this camp prepared and filled with campers and workers.  Please reach up in your prayers for her and others who will be engaging in that camp.  As well as pray, please consider what you can to do to help, it is needed for sure.  We are expecting to have a great report of the event, come on—let’s do our part, participate in every way you can.        
We are doing very well here as December is upon us in Alaska.  The winter has set in and we are seeing several days in a row with sub-zero temperatures however, the snow has been off to a very slow start.  We just concluded our months of birthdays in our family here and are excited that we were able to celebrate another full year of life.  Jordana continues to shine so brightly in her work environment, Gene has been quite busy substitute teaching, aide, and custodial as well as trying to keep up with ministry activities.  Osito (Benjamin) is quite a growing boy and dearly loves his first grade.  Just this past weekend, Osito joined his dad to put on some of the final touches of a nativity scene the placed display in front of the church.  It is so great to have a wonderful family to live life with.  We wish to share our love with you and know that you abound in such a rich and kind spirit.  Your continued and increasing financial support and prayers are highly appreciated and needed.
Gene & Jordana Engebretsen, and Osito