Happiness and Heat

This month has been full of youth camps, visiting family in California and a lot of heat. We had the opportunity to help run a service camp called Love Out Load with about 65 students. We were able to serve the community around us by cleaning up a local garden, repainting a local school and planting new gardens at Churches in the area. We really loved getting to know our students better and worshiping Jesus with them at the end of every day at camp.

In California we were able to celebrate a few birthdays, meet my beautiful baby niece and celebrate my nephew being cancer free! This trip was already a celebration of our 5 year wedding anniversary but we just can’t believe how much celebration we were able to cram into one little trip!  We also had a blast going to the beach, paddle boarding and learning how to play pickle ball. We are so thankful that we were able to make the trip out and felt so refreshed.

Praise Report

  • Blaire got a job as the 6th grade bible teacher at a nearby Christian School that she can’t wait to start next month
  • Chris is settling well in his new position as Student Ministries Director at our Church

Prayer Report

  • Pray that even in this crazy time of pandemic we can make deep connections with the students in our youth group
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Our First Shrimp Boil 

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 Doing some crazy weeding at Love Out Load!

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Chris feeling very confident holding new baby Hayes 

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Got to see Eric in California 

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 Building shelves at a local Church 

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Making a sign for a school

 

Favorite Quotes of the Month: 

“Apart from your grace, we are incapable of living into the fullness of who you have created us to be. This awareness brings with it the burden of shame and guilt. In our humility, we are grateful for the blood of Jesus Christ, which redeems and covers all shame and guilt, and for the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to forgive like you, to love like you, and to see others the way that you see them.”
– Prayer from Cassandra Albert in Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison

“Holy Spirit, come down (come take)
Holy Spirit, come down (come down)
Holy Spirit, help now (way down)
Holy Spirit, help now (uh, uh)
Holy Spirit, come down
Holy Spirit, come down (ayy)
Holy Spirit, help now (come down)
Holy Spirit, help now (yeah)”
– Wash us in the Blood: Kanye West

 

Settling in Winston-Salem

As we step into this new chapter of our lives the common theme that keeps up with us is that we can do nothing without the love of Jesus. The love of Jesus has enabled us to see the drastic changes in our career, location and community as exciting opportunities rather than overwhelming hurdles. That love has become even more tangible for us in the midst of doubt and uncertainty. As we move, the relationship we have with our Lord and King Jesus keeps us grounded. We know that without that relationship we would be entirely lost. So, we lean on our cornerstone and His steadfast love.

Our life in Winston-Salem is settling well, as we pour into the youth ministry and new friendships. We have been asked many times if it is difficult to live in a different state then both of our families and the simple answer is; yes. But we have also come to the realization that we are a part of a bigger family. As Christians, we have family in every state and country of this world. We have felt called to the family of believers at Reynolda Church and are so excited for the development of those family connections.

Chris’s testimony starts with a youth leader named Kevin feeling called by God to listen, care and live out the gospel. This man was a support for Chris in some of his darkest moments. If you ask Chris, he will tell you he is the man he is today because of what Christ did through his relationship with Kevin. We want to live out the gospel for these students the way that so many people did for us. We want to reach out to these students with the life changing love of Christ even in the darkest moments. (Especially in the darkest moments.) We want them to experience Christ’s love so honestly that no other experience they have in this life will sway that belief that Jesus loves them.

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First hike in NC with PA friends!!

 

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Blaire’s garden shed 

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Chris creating his man cave 

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Exploring with Louisa 

Praise Report:

We want to welcome a new member of our family, my new sweet baby niece Hayes Grace. She is such an angel and we can’t wait to hold and kiss her soon!

Chris’s mom broke her leg and we are praising Jesus that the healing is going well!

Prayer Report:

Please keep our students in your prayers! That all of the leaders can develop deep friendships and share the love of Christ!

Our Church started gathering this Sunday for the first time since the pandemic started! Please pray for our Church family and Churches across the world!

Favorite Quotes:

“Hell is a state of mind– ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind– is , in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakeable remains.” The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.” Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

 

 

Moving To North Carolina

Over the last three years our lives have been challenged and blessed by the study and community at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. In that time, we have made friends that we now consider family. W have also learned to depend more fully on such a faithful God. The month of May was filled with many bittersweet moments. Moments of sadness in leaving our seminary home and the friends that we loved so dearly. Moments of nervous excitement met with overwhelming joy knowing that we have been called to do ministry in North Carolina. For those who don’t know, Chris has taken a job to be the Director of Student Ministry’s at Reynolda Church EPC in Winston- Salem, North Carolina.

As we prayed about this opportunity we both felt so much love and peace towards the community of Reynolda Church. North Carolina has been a state that we have felt called to even in the years before we were married. The decision to take this offer was based on much prayer and a feeling of being called by God towards the ministry.

With much prayer and consideration we have also found our new home, which we are calling The Ardmore Cottage. One of the pastors here at Reynolda Church connected us with another youth pastor in the area that was renting out this home and we fell in love at first sight.

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Our New Cottage
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Nate and Brynna! Our First House Guests
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Chris’s first of many mows

We have felt welcomed with open arms in our new community and can’t wait to dive into the student ministry here! We also get to reconnect with our YWAM family, the DuPreist, and meet their new addition; who we are just in love with!

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Meeting Jaxson Bear! Just look at that cute face!! 

 

Prayer Request:

Please pray that we can make our new students feel connected with the staff and church community during such an unsettling time. Pray that Chris can have a smooth transition into his new position.

Quotes of the Month:

“Jesus is a teacher who doesn’t just inform our intellect but forms our very loves. He isn’t content to simply deposit new ideas into your mind; he is after nothing less than your wants, your loves, your longings.” James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

“Jesus sees redemption in the ruin.” Pastor Chris Lawson, Reynolda Church

Zoomin’ with the Colangelo’s

This has been a interesting season. As the world seems to be in chaos, we are still writing papers and doing classes on line. We are blessed with a strong Church community and friends that have been there for us throughout this entire process. But most importantly we have had to really trust in Jesus and know that He is in complete control.

IMG-0975Family Zoom Call Getting Us Through!

Our quarantine has been filled with zoom calls, applying to jobs and finishing up the semester strong. Unfortunately, Chris’s graduation has been cancelled but we couldn’t be more excited about the accomplishment of finishing Seminary.

Please pray that this season of transition would not be stressful and even in this tension we would feel God’s peace that surpasses our understanding. Pray that God would lead us in this decision making process of our next steps. We trust that He has a perfect plan for us. And let us all pray for our country to come out of this pandemic!

Prayer Requests:
1.) We are in full swing of applying for jobs and it has definitely been difficult during these uncertain time. Please pray that we will rely on the Lord in this time.
2.) This past week Chris’s mom broke her leg and needed surgery. Please pray that she recovers quickly.
3.) Chris will be hearing back from some job opportunities this week! Please pray that the Lord would open the right doors for our future.

Praise Reports:
1.) In this time we are praising God that we are healthy.
2.) Even during this crazy time we are praising Jesus that Chris is graduating and getting an award from the Seminary.

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“Anxiety is fear in search of an object.”
– Jim Singleton

“Leadership is the ability to maintain a non anxious presence.”
– Edwin Friedman, Model of Family Systems

“The bottom line is this: we believe that if we are to see millions of youth come back to Christ, and millions more accept him for the first time, we need both a strong ground game of local church ministry reaching one person at a time and a strategic long-term effort to articulate the Gospel in our culture.”
– The Great Opportunity; The American Church in 2050

 

Final Semester in Boston

The last semester has started! This will be our final season at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and oh how the time has flown by. A few exciting events are in the works but first we have some unfortunate news. Due to the current status of the virus globally, our Seminary has decided to cancel all overseas mission trips. This cancelation includes the six-week trip that Chris and I were going to lead to Dubai this summer. We understand why this decision was made however we were really looking forward to this trip and would really appreciate your prayers. On a much brighter note, Chris is about to graduate, and we are currently in the process of discerning what the Lord has next for us. We are very open and would also love your prayer for this too!

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We were also able to visit family in California this winter. Even though it was only a few days, we still had such an amazing time. Chris even got to go to his favorite place in the world, Disneyland. We were sad to leave so soon but so fortunate to see family. Since then we have been busy with a lot of great opportunities like leading Sunday school at our Church and leading worship at the seminary.

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Prayer Requests:
1.) Time is moving fast! Please join us in prayer that we would follow God’s leading to the right opportunity.
2.) Please pray that Chris can finish strong with this last semester and that he has time to rest with all of his jobs and responsibilities.

Praise Reports:
1.) It looks like Chris may actually graduate from seminary!
2.) We have felt so blessed and supported by all of our friends and family!

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“You’re the best! And don’t let anyone tell you different!”
– Dave from the mailroom

 

New Decade Excitement

This year we were able to spend Christmas in Chris’s hometown in Pennsylvania. This little community and all the open space can sometimes make me feel like I have traveled back in time. We had no cellphone service, limited Wi-Fi and… less stress. It almost makes you wonder if those things are connected in some way. We spent a lot of time with family and did all the Christmas festivities which was actually really refreshing and relaxing. We were also blessed by the loving community at Saint Paul’s Presbyterian Church who have supported us faithfully through our time in Mexico and now at Gordon-Conwell. This Church has incredible people and pastors that always make us feel like family whenever we are there. Needless to say, we are so grateful for this beautiful group of people.
We are also grateful for all of our weird, hilarious and wildly supportive families that God has given us!
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And a huge congratulations to the McGuirk family! It’s a Girl!!!
Now, as we look forward to where God will lead us in 2020, we are filled with excitement and anticipation. We would like to invite you to please join us in prayer for these next 6 months! We will both have extremely busy schedules while also praying about the next step and looking for a job!
This is also a time of praise in our lives. As we look back at our younger YWAMer, single selves we would have never dreamed what God had planning for us. We are so thankful for everyone who has faithfully supported us through our lives. Tears come to my eyes thinking about how many people have poured their time, money, prayer and love on us these last 6 years. We love you all and hope this next decade is the best one yet!

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“Church is a rescue mission where we hold sinners anonymous.”
– Dr. Hugenberger

“For Christ dwells only in sinners.”
– Martin Luther

“Brothers don’t shake hands… BROTHERS GOTTA HUG!”
– Chris Farley, Tommy Boy & Every time I see my brother Tony

Changing with the Leaves

This month we have been through a lot of change. Learning how to work through stress with joyful hearts and trusting Jesus in places we fall short. As we develop in our jobs, our classes and the multiple of other things we are juggling, honestly some days we both come home and collapse on the couch. But as we sit on the couch and talk about our day, we always discover how much we are growing in our faith and falling more in love with Jesus. Whether it’s what we are learning from our classes, or experiencing with our friends and church community, we are changing.

IMG-0538Gordon-Conwell at Sunset.

Prayer Requests:
We would love prayer for what God has planned for the future. Chris is graduating in May, which is very exciting. This also means we are praying and applying for jobs. We ask that you join us in prayer that we would end up right where God has called us. Chris is in charge of the mission’s conference at our church which is happening this month. Please pray that this mission’s conference would come together smoothly and be very impacting for our church community. This upcoming Sunday Blaire will be teaching adult Sunday school on the inductive bible study method in the book of Colossians. Please pray that God would speak through her and the bible is seen as alive and active to our church.

IMG-0569Blaire Leading Worship for the Chapel.

Praise Reports:
Our church has been going through a lot of change in the last couple months. The location we were previously in became no longer available and our church had to search for a new location. During this time, it has been beautiful to see our church community rally together, showing us that church is not a building, it is fellowship with each other. Thankfully we were blessed to find another building.

As always we are so thankful for everyone ho has been tracking with our journey and praying for us along the way. We would not be here without you!

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“Before the flood, people judge
They did the same thing to Noah
Everybody wanted Yandhi
Then Jesus Christ did the laundry
They say the week start on Monday
But the strong start on Sunday
Won’t be in bondage to any man
John 8:33
We the descendants of Abraham
Ye should be made free
John 8:36
To whom the son set free is free indeed
He saved a wretch like me.”
– Kanye West

“King of Kings, Lord of Lords, all the things He has in store
From the rich to the poor, all are welcome through the door
You won’t ever be the same when you call on Jesus’ name
Listen to the words I’m sayin’, Jesus saved me, now I’m sane.”
– Also Kanye West

Discipline & Discipleship

This semester is starting to look like one of the busiest but most exciting seasons for the Colangelo crew. (Why do I feel like half of these updates start with that line?) Anyway, I have been working more and more on coordinating the Global Missions Conference for our Church which will take place next month. I would say that preparing for this conference has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my time at seminary. It’s a lot of work but I have been able to practically apply a lot of the things I have been leaning in the classroom. Blaire is loving her classes on educational ministry and the Old Testament as well. She was also invited to lead worship for our school’s chapel on top of leading a small group and working part-time!

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Did I mention she ran a half-marathon last weekend and climbed two of the most advanced mountain trails in Acadia, National Park?!

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My favorite class so far is about what it looks like to actually live out the Christian life. I am learning that God desires all Christians to live shoulder to shoulder with others. This requires us to be vulnerable and honest with people and when it’s done intentionally the Bible calls it discipleship. My professor pointed out that most of the time Jesus is just inviting people to come and join what he’s already doing. It has been incredibly helpful to know that as future ministry workers, and current Christians, we don’t have to be perfect or have all the answers. We just have to love people enough to extend the invitation.

Prayer Requests:
1.) That Blaire and I would have wisdom to say “yes” and “no” to the right opportunities.
2.) That Chris’ resume would end up in the right hands! 🙂

Praise Reports:
1.) We survived the half-marathon!
2.) God continues to remind us that what Jesus did on the cross is so much bigger than our brokenness and actually enters into our brokenness to bring healing.
3.) Blaire and I have felt very fortunate in our new roles as the Resident Life Coordinators for our building.

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Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

Jerry Seinfeld to Telemarketer; “Hello… Oh gee, I can’t talk right now, why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you later… Oh, you can’t do that? Yeah, I guess you probably don’t want people calling you at home… well, now you know how I feel.”
– Seinfeld, Season 4, Ep. 3

“No Hard Feelings
Lord knows they haven’t done
Much good for anyone
Kept me afraid and cold
With so much to have and hold
Under the curving sky
I’m finally learning why
It matters for me and you
To say it and mean it too
For life and its loveliness
And all of its ugliness
Good as it’s been to me
I have no enemies
I have no enemies”
– The Avett Brother, No Hard Feelings

Final Year at Seminary

I can’t fully believe that Blaire and I are jumping into our last year of seminary this month. To this point we have spent the first half of our marriage in Mexico and the second half here on the North Shore of Boston. Needless to say, our time and experience at Gordon-Conwell has shaped us in new and unexpected ways.

One of the clearest examples of this has been the continual discovery of our unique identities as sinful but sanctified individuals in a unifying marriage. What I mean is that Blaire and I are experiencing this life-altering and spiritually challenging season together as a couple. To be completely honest, I don’t think we would be able to do it alone. We get to share everything we’re learning with each other and take on so many new and exciting responsibilities as a team. To be even more honest; we get to take turns supporting and praying for each other when it all feels like too much.

Blaire and I have loved working at our church and serving at the seminary, but I think more importantly we have loved what this difficult but rewarding work has meant for the unity of our marriage.

IMG-0457This is us enjoying a free concert on our last free weekend before the fall!

IMG_0442Speaking of rewarding work; this is the mailroom. (Starting in the mailroom is just one of the many similarities I share with Buddy the Elf.)

IMG-0447And finally, this is my fall schedule. If anyone has any questions about these classes or what I might be learning I would love to connect with you.

Prayer Requests:
1.) Graduate school can be extremely difficult without a supportive community. Blaire and I hope to create a loving and open community as the new Resident Life Coordinators for our building.
2.) Please also pray that we would finish our last year strong.

Praise Reports:
1.) For God’s intervention and provision of wise counsel regarding an important trial in Chris’ family!
2.) Praise God that Blaire and I finished our summer classes!
3.) As always a HUGE thank you to everyone who is supporting us and lifting us up in prayer.

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“Pay more attention to your Creator than your critics.”
– Unknown & Blaire Colangelo

“Consider! You were not created to please your senses, to gratify your imagination, to gain money, or the praise of men; to seek happiness in any created good, in anything under the sun… On the contrary, you were created for this, and for no other purpose, by seeking and finding happiness in God on earth, to secure the glory of God in heaven.” John Wesley,  Sermon – “What is Man”

Time in Pennsylvania

July has been knowingly eventful and surprisingly thought provoking. Blaire and I expected to wrestle the whirlwind that is summer traveling while both working and taking classes, but I don’t think we saw some of the bigger questions coming. Next summer Blaire and I will be traveling overseas for 6 weeks as the final requirement for my time at Seminary. First, we have to decide where to go but even before we go we will have to pack up all of our things and send them to… wherever we happen to be going when we get back. These are some of the things we have been prayerfully considering during the craziness of summer and we sincerely invite you to pray with us!

IMG_0566.jpg(Maybe the stress is already getting to me?)

Most recently we traveled to my home town in Pennsylvania to visit friends and family. Blaire and I both agreed that this was our best trip to Pennsylvania yet! We had some incredible conversations with my family and got to see all the yard work my parents so proudly accomplished. We were welcomed, as always, by friends and the amazing people at Pine Springs Camp and St. Paul’s Church. We were also overjoyed to celebrate the engagement of our very close friends!

img-0261.jpegWe’re so thankful for this trip and Blaire was thankful for the opportunity to rip around in this…

Prayer Requests:
1.) Peace and clarity organizing our 2020 mission trip.
2.) For discernment and ultimately trust that God is leading us.

Praise Reports:
1.) For Chris’ older brother’s new job and appartment!
2.) For Chris’ younger brother completing the summer at Pine Springs Camp before heading back to serve in Mexico for two years!
3.) Congratulations to Tyler Ott and Kate Williams on their engagement!

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“I would be skeptical of any plan motivated by guilt and shame when the gospel is one of freedom.”
– Kevin B. Hackett, MDiv, BA (Cornell)

“Here’s some advice I wish I woulda got when I was your age: Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”
– Tracy Morgen, 30 Rock (TV Series)

While others search for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give.”
– Mufasa, The Lion King (2019) & Jesus, John 3:16