Many young men and women have participated in the Kairos Stand in the Gap program over the years. Some of them discern the Lord’s call to go on doing mission for another year (or even more). Michael Koval is one such young man. He spent last year in London, serving mainly with the college outreach and evangelism there.
Mike came back to the States this past summer and we were able to catch up with him to report on his year. Mike is a certified welder, so he was using the summer to raise funds for another year on mission.
Why did you decide to take a year “Stand in the Gap” in London?
“I simply felt the Lord putting this call on my heart over time, it wasn’t a ‘snap—of—the—fingers’ decision. I was working in what I thought at the time was going to be my career, but I found myself desiring to serve the Lord more fully. As time went on, several words from the Lord, along with conversations with trusted friends and loved ones lead me to a) believe this truly was a call from God, and b) know I could trust in his plan despite my fear of leaving my roots in Michigan. The latter was one of my greatest motivations and greatest obstacles; I knew I needed to grow In my faith and I also knew that leaving my bonds of comfort was the only way to do it.”
What were a couple of highlights?
“There were many highlights, so many in fact I usually tell people the entire year was simply the best year of my life! I was able to watch the Lord tangibly work in my life; in ways I never expected or knew was possible. There were, of course, some very ‘highlighted’ highlights, the first being my experience with an outreach ministry. We went to an event called Witch Fest, which is the largest gathering of witches and warlocks in the world, numbering in the thousands.
“The day I spent with a handful of fellow Christians ministering to these people was hands down the most powerful experience I have ever had in my entire life. It is going take one heck of another Saturday to beat it! I witnessed miraculous conversions, and I came away with a completely renewed sense of God’s unconditional love for every person, even those that devote their lives in the pursuit of the evil one. God still loves them and wants them to know it. To witness a lifelong Wicken break down, admit she never knew Jesus loved her, and then immediately give her life to Christ, was, to say the least, groundbreaking in my faith.
“Another highlight I want to mention was living with a household of the Servants of the Word, a group of celibate, missionary men. The consistency in prayer and the overall structure living there gave my life was pivotal to the growth in my relationship with God that I needed.”
Can you share some thing or two that were challenges for you?
“In all of this, the hardest challenge was leaving, not my job or even my country, but my friends and family on whom I rely on so much. However, in hindsight, I can say with full certainty it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself, or rather the best thing God has worked in me. It was necessary for me to leave everything in order to find solace in a new reliance on God and a new trust in his power.”
You are going back to London for another year on mission. Why?
“I felt many times over my first mission/Gap year that God was calling me to give more of my life to him for the sake of mission. After a lengthy discernment process, I truly felt blessed to have found a place where I can help and serve in building the kingdom of God. Through that time of discernment, God wholly changed my heart. I thought the idea of serving for two years was out of the question, but after seeking the Lord in prayer more deeply, and asking for a heart like clay that He can mold to His likeness, God did just that. I haven’t a single regret or doubt that I am where God wants me to be for this time of my life.”
Knowing young men like Mike is an amazing privilege. What a servant of Christ he has become! Thank you for participating in the mission of reaching young people for Jesus; your prayers and financial support go a very long ways in helping us help them. May the Lord bless and keep you and your loved ones.
Yours in Christ,
This past summer we were able to run several junior high boys Kairos Fellowship trips. We did have to make adjustments due to Covid19 (like changing the 8th grade trip to the Adirondacks instead of Algonquin in Canada), but the trips were still a great blessing to the boys and the staff. Our two 7th grade trips to the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia went as planned. The chance to sleep under the stars, hang out next to a waterfall, experience a “big sky” while in a canoe out on the water, gaining the satisfaction of reaching a peak after a challenging hike, and worshipping the Lord with other teens in the midst of God’s creation, will be experiences that stick with these boys for many years.
Our Kairos Fellowship staff, along with our terrific volunteer staff, make these trips way more than merely a wilderness adventure. These godly men set the example of loving and serving the Lord as men, faithfully praying, and consistently joyful, no matter the circumstance.
The boys cook (and often catch) their dinners. They press on through rain, bugs, heat, and wind; they carry canoes over portages and their packs through mountains; they celebrate every successful climb and every fish caught.
They also pray together. Kairos Fellowship staff prepares scripture mediations and sets apart time for group and individual prayer. They have spiritual themes for the day to think and share about as they tackle each new part of the trip.
Thanks so much for your continual support for our youth and our programs for young people. This is a challenging time to be doing youth work. However, our God is faithful and none of this catches Him by surprise. We will move forward as the Lord leads us. The prayers and financial support of you, our partners in mission, is more important than ever. God bless you!
Your brother in mission,
We had to cancel many of our events this summer because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, our junior high boys outdoor Kairos Fellowship trips were able to proceed; praise the Lord! We hear this month from one of the dads who served as staff for a Virginia trip, Joseph Fountain.
“On the first day hitting the trail we, a group of dads, Kairos staff, and junior high boys, headed up the mountain in a downpour,” Joseph reports. “After just a few steps everyone could tell this was the start of something epic! The rain came down and the trail became a river of running water over our boots, but the great attitudes of the boys and staff were a glimpse at a group of guys who came prepared for an adventure.
“The rain let up when we arrived several miles later at our first camp (the rain stopping or starting just in time would be a sign of the Lord’s favor and grace on us for the rest of the week). We were greeted right away by the friendly wild ponies at our camp, and several were quickly adopted and given names, depending on their attitude or varied coats of hair. ‘Cinnamon’ was a light brownish pony that seemed to always be smiling, and ‘Killer Bangs’ had a bit of a mullet and an attitude to match. The boys found a couple pregnant ponies and began naming the future babies; one lucky mare even had her mane braided!
“We made our way further into the mountains, climbing boulders and navigating the scree (a mass of small loose stones that cover a slope on a mountain) that seemed to be just about everywhere on the trail. The views of the mountains on the Appalachian trail are breathtaking; the peaks are covered in a mix of evergreen trees, birch, and other lush, green summer plants. Along the trails we were able to find blueberries and blackberries in abundance and we even found some chanterelle mushrooms to add to our camp dinners.
“We came to a camp that was full of ponies and longhorn cattle and had to be on the watch, since the ponies were mischievous and inquisitive about our gear and food. We continued to our third camp that was deeper in the mountains and was a more forested site. The rain came again just in time for a mid-afternoon nap, and we enjoyed our time around the campfire listening to stories and sharing about the day. We had an epic prayer time on gigantic, ancient boulders that were right in camp.
“In the morning before lunch, we set out from camp to have silent meditations for the few-miles hike. I felt led to meditate on patience and living in the Holy Spirit, both great meditations for me as I dealt with the aches and pains of hiking in the mountains with a large backpack! I experienced the Lord being present in this time in a special way. I found extra energy and joy. I had a few moments of amusement while watching some of the boys as they hiked along, each in his own way: some running ahead and passing all of their brothers, others taking longer and struggling with the climb, but with good attitudes and keeping silent as we reflected together on Romans, chapter 8.
“We hiked to a huge grassy field on a mountainside with panoramic views of mountain vistas and valleys. From that camp we were able to take a refreshing swim in a mountain stream. Then the men watched the sunset while the boys struggled to make a 10-man pyramid. We believed they must have been successful if the whoops and hollers were any indication.
“There were many, many other great views, stories, and experiences, and through it all the Lord was clearly with us. I saw the Lord’s presence in our staff, in our health and relating, in our transportation, and in our short stays at the 4h camp before and after the trip.
“As a dad, I was proud of my son and the other boys that were on the trip; they were resilient and joyful through it all. I was grateful for the other dads that came along, and I grew closer to them and the Kairos staff after sharing stories of our vocations and testimonies of coming to Christ. The men of the Kairos Fellowship staff were great servants and leaders, and we could not have made it without them.”
We are incredibly grateful to Joseph and the other dads and volunteers that serve on staff and make these trips possible. Thanks also to you, our supporters, who by your prayers and financial gifts make it possible for us to offer these great adventures for our young teens. May our Lord greatly bless you in the months ahead.
Your brother in Jesus Christ,
Dear Friends in Christ:
We hope you are faring well in this season. We are praying for you and all Christians to “stand firm in your faith…throughout the world.” (I Peter 9)
One important way to help that is by our prayers for one another. On Thursday, July 23, we joined Kairos international for a global, 24-hour prayer chain. The intercessors were mainly our Kairos young people, around ages16-23.
Kairos Europe & Middle East championed this international effort; men and women from all of our Kairos regions have been involved in the planning for several months, soon after the pandemic brought the world to a halt.
The young army of intercessors, united in prayer, also collectively were open to hearing the Lord for our Kairos mission in these unusual days. In particular, they prayed fervently for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for the Lord’s protection for our Kairos network and for the wider people of God.
The 24 hours of intercession ended Friday, July 24, 8:00 UTC (coordinated universal time). Later that day Kairos hosted a one-hour digital event at 14:00 UTC (10:00 EDT). We worshiped together, summarised some of the prophetic senses of the 24 hours of prayer, and heard a few minutes from me, James Munk, in my capacity as chair of Kairos International Coordinating Committee.
My talk was on I Thessalonians 5:16-24: Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances. This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
I talked about what a person who really lived this passage would look like. What would it be like to know a person who lived with unassailable hope? Brothers and sisters, we are supposed to be that person for the sake of one another and for the sake of the world; that we can be “salt and light.” And, that we can only do that if we are a spiritual people, pointed to heaven.
Now this portrait – a person with unassailable hope – can seem like an issue of a personality, or will, or character.it is not. Notice, it is the will of God in Christ Jesus.And, I would submit to you, it is not possible to live this way apart from Christ.
It is not willful ignorance; it’s not stoicism;
it is hope – and a strong version of it. The Lord is with us as we go through this current trial (life disrupted, school disrupted, employment concerns, financial concerns, health concerns). But, the Lord’s primary concern is our salvation. If each of us has this as our primary concern as well, we can be confident that the one who called us is faithful, and He will do it. Our job in all this?Fix our eyes on the age to come – be a people of unassailable hope: rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks to the One calling us home.
We pray and expect this initiative to bear fruit: not just in removing spiritual obstacles that grace may flow, but also in helping our younger participants to catch a flavour of the international bulwark that is Kairos; that they have brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. Thank you so much for your support! May the Lord continue to bless and keep you now and always.
Every day, there is a scripture meditation to do and then discuss in the daily small groups. For example, here is Monday’s from the first mission challenge week:
We want to start this week thinking about the sort of decision every person has to make: will I live for God, or will I live for myself?
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
“Money” in this verse can also be translated “mammon” or riches. The point of this verse is not that money is bad (you need it to eat), but that you can only have one master.
There’s a hard decision here: will our lives be about things (mammon), or about a person (Jesus the Lord).
Only one of these choices will lead you to true freedom; and here’s the good news: there’s a better plan for your life than being a slave to things of this life.
What are the “riches” that you are tempted to make the master of your life?
Have you decided to make Jesus the lord of your life? If so, what does that look like?
We are praying that spending a week with other youth—although remotely—going over mediations like this one, encouraging each other to fully participate in the daily challenges, and building relationships with other young people and staff will be a highlight of a summer where so many things have been cancelled. Thanks so much for your support of Kairos! Knowing we have partners like you in this strange time to be doing youth work helps us immensely. May the Lord be with you and protect you and your family.
Your brother in the Lord,