Thursday, October 22, 2015

Carmen's Last Daze


I have news...

It’s with excited nausea in my stomach and bitter sweet tears in my eyes that I sit down to write this letter.
After I’ve poured liters of my own blood, sweat, and tears over the last 7 years for the lost youth of Langley...I’m leaving. The story could be told a dozen different ways and would all be true, but for the sake of time allow me to simply say this:

The Creator looked down on BC and His heart broke for the orphaned children He saw. Over 1000 kids in BC are in need of families to call their own. Lonely. Unwanted. Abandoned. The Great Father wanted His church to raise up and care for his lost little ones, and so he looked over the province and selected the one couple that had decided they NEVER wanted kids, and told them that He was entrusting them with his precious ones.
Yup, that’s right. Corey and I are absolutely convinced that God has commanded us to be parents to the motherless and fatherless. I feel like Mary being told she will carry the Messiah. So through a series of circumstances and bizarre “this has to be God” kind of situations, we are on a new journey. We will be moving to Kelowna where I will be pioneering a new ministry that reaches out to the orphaned youth there. After this ministry is established Corey and I plan on adopting (we are on step 6 of 14). That’s right, I’m going to be a mom.

I know - I never thought it would happen either.

I know you will all have many questions so let me answer a few. Yes, I plan on continuing in ministry even when we adopt. We will be adopting children that are currently in foster care in BC. We want the ones that are difficult to place; the older ones. 5-10 years old is our age range. And yes, you read that right...CHILDREN, not child. We are open to taking in a sibling group. This is still 1 to 3 years away because we want to become fully established and have our support groups in place before entering this adventure.

So why Kelowna? There are so many reasons and it is difficult to say one answer. It is where we want to raise our kids. It has one of the biggest homeless youth populations in BC. It is also a city that has ZERO resources for those youth. It’s become a real problem and the city is desperate for help. Corey has also been transferred and is now working as a full time paramedic in Summerland, which is only a small commute away. This I know: The need is great. Our God is greater. We are willing. He is sending us.

If all goes according to plan (at this moment we just have one more hoop to officially jump through), as of December 2015 I will be the Satellite Director of Youth Unlimited Okanagan. I will need a lot of help and support over the coming year. My aim is that every step of the way will be saturated in prayer. So please, pray for us as we go through this huge transition. We are selling everything and moving to a new city where we don’t know anyone. We are leaving behind friends, church, and family. One of my greatest losses is that I will no longer be able to work with the Langley YU team that have become like family to me. I’m terrified but trusting. I’ll send out more news later about how you can financially support this new ministry, or how you can transfer your current support from my Langley ministry to the new ministry. I’ll also provide instructions of how you can transfer your support from my ministry to the ongoing Langley ministry if that is where you want to continue investing. Leaving Langley is very difficult. When I told my teenagers they cried for two hours in the mini-bus, refusing to leave until I finally kicked them out because it was late. I’m grieving the loss of everything here yet am excited about the new thing God has for us.

Please pray that details about renting out our condo goes smoothly, the move goes well, all the right hoops get jumped through, that we find a support group when we get there, that God opens doors and makes the direction clear, and please pray for our kids. I can’t help but cry as I write this. It’s a strange feeling knowing that your kids are out there somewhere right now and that they are probably hurting. They are probably not safe. And between now and when they come to be ours they will have to go through a lot. Please pray for them, wherever they are. We love them even though we don’t know them.
Thank you for taking the time to read, pray, and give. I love you all!
I’ll keep you posted,
- Carmen Rempel
  
Training for our many volunteers! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Who Am I?


Today I wrote an email to a group of volunteers. At the end I signed it off:

-Carmen Rempel
Momentum/Nights Alive Coordinator

I had to pause to think about this for a moment because usually I email these two groups separately. So I would sign off either Momentum Coordinator or Nights Alive Coordinator depending on whom I was communicating to. But because I was emailing both groups I combined the two titles. 

That got me thinking about all the different ways I sign off emails. All the different roles I fill.

-Carmen Rempel
Secretary of YFC Young Leader Advisory Board

or 

-Carmen Rempel
High School Youth Worker

So just for fun I decided to write out all my different roles. You can see the result below.

-Carmen Rempel
Momentum Coordinator, Nights Alive Coordinator, Youth Worker, Young Leaders Advisory Board Secretary, YFC National Board Member, Wedding Officiant, Mentor, Volunteer Coordinator, International Speaker, Lifeteams OnTheRoad worker, Special Needs Elementary School Class Volunteer, Fundraiser, Preteen Youth Ministry Coordinator

Then what about all that other stuff I do?

-Carmen Rempel
Marathon Runner, Church Member, Self-lead Theological/Philosophy Student, Wife, Classical Literature Enthusiast, God parent, Friend, Daughter, Home owner

This would all seem like too much, and at times feels overwhelming. But that’s only when I loose perspective on who I really am. I am not titles. I am not a job description. 

Primarily, above all else, I am the adopted daughter of the Most High King and I am simply on His mission to restore this world to the beautiful place of love and harmony that it once was and one day will be again. 

I know hope for the world that keeps me laughing through life today.

That’s who I am. 


I am "Adopted by hope".

Monday, August 18, 2014

A story of a kind begger who knew some things

I was 65% of the way out of my comfort zone.

Grubby clothes, damp concrete, surrounded by the noises of Main and Hastings in East Vancouver, I sat next to my good friend and classmate and was thankful he was there with me.

We were on a class assignment. Our task was to simply sit and observe. Blend in. Just watch. Then write a paper about life in poverty cycles and addiction. I think we were actually there to learn empathy.  But right then I was just learning about boredom.

"No wonder these people do drugs. I'm so bored." I thought.

We had been sitting on the same damp corner for an hour. No book. No phone. No nothing. Our boredom was interrupted by a haggard looking grey bearded drunk man with a coke bottle filled with vodka. He offered us some. We politely declined.

"You're new here aren't you?" He demanded of us. We nodded. "Go home." He said. "I don't care how terrible it is back home, you don't want to get stuck here. Get on a bus and go back home."

He was kind.

We chatted for a bit and then his kindness continued. He said "Well you are here now so here is what you need to know. Over that way two blocks the nuns give out bread in an hour. Then the best lunch you can get around here is 5 blocks that way but you have to sit through a sermon first. Then at 2pm you can get sandwiches over there, and then for dinner there are three good options….." We listened as this expert in hunger told us exactly where we could get food.

D.T Niles once said "Evangelism is simply one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread."

I like that quote.

Evangelism has such a bad rap. It's seen as manipulating people or trying to push some religion onto them. This is sad. Because true evangelism is portrayed beautifully by this kind drunk homeless man on the streets of East Van. It's one person who is familiar with hunger telling another hungry person where the best lunch is.

There isn't much I love more then sharing my beautiful-powerful-change-your-life-love-like-you've-never-known-before- Jesus with other people who don't know Him yet. I am filled with joy when I can share the good news with the lost and lonely that they have a Father with a home  and a family waiting for them if they want Him.  

Not because I manipulate people. Not because I'm arrogant and think I know more then they do. Not because I think they are wrong or need to change…… just because I'm one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Shut up I know this is sappy

Lotion? Did I pack lotion already? Oooh! Sunscreen! The forecast says it will be hot!

I mumble and bumble around my condo packing for my week long trip to Calgary. I'm going over the opening line for my talk…. "Following Jesus is easy...said no one ever." and stressing about this and that.
Honestly I've never been so intimidated for a talk before.

First off, they are flying me in to share this message, so I feel like it has to be really quite profound to be worth the expense on their part. Gah! Stress feels like peanut butter in my veins.  (Shut up, it's not the best analogy, but I'm stressed out ok!)
Secondly I'll be speaking to over 400 leaders, pastors, teachers and faithful Jesus followers from all over the world. Representatives from over 26 countries will be there. Three languages. I'll be using three translators.
I haven't used a translator in years.

The last time I used a translator when speaking I was 17 and Elsie Welch had taken me under her wing and brought me with her to Central America. Man those were good times. I learned so much. I was so lucky to go along!

As I continued to pack my bag I thought about all those that have blessed and mentored me. I put in my  10 pairs of socks (gotta bring extra!) and my four pairs of shoes (shut up, that's me leaving 2 behind that I really want to bring.) and I thought about what else I'm bringing with me. I'm packing the experience that Elsie gave me, the opportunity that Danny and Andy gave me when they brought me on staff with YFC when others may have thought I was too young. I'm bringing the wisdom of Iona who has mentored me for years and allowed me a front seat to her work. I'm bringing the affirmation of Michele who saw me and believed in me when I was only 15 and just getting my wings. I'm packing the legacy of my parents and grandparents who brought me up to stand on their shoulders.

I throw in one more pair of shoes and think on all those who pray and support me in my ministry today and how I wouldn't be here doing this without them. Their confidence in God's hand on me gives me the confidence I need to zip this suitcase up and go.

My suitcase is full, and I don't feel as alone anymore. Because it's not just me being flown out there to give this message today…it's all those that I bring with me.

Thank you to everyone who have and continue to walk with me. Pray for me as I share this message tomorrow.

I love you all,

-Carmen


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

For the Fatherless. For the Motherless.

I wept. This video released tears of grief and hope in me.


My heart continues to break for the Fatherless and the Motherless children around me. For the abandoned and neglected children. Whether they be 13 or 30, 6 or 60 we are all children.

And I know that there is hope for the lonely.

My God calls Himself the Father to the Fatherless. And He is a good Papa.

Psalm 68:5 
"Father of orphans,
    champion of widows,
        is God in his holy house.
God makes homes for the homeless,
    leads prisoners to freedom,
        but leaves rebels to rot in hell."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For the kids with the scars

video
If you want to get involved give me a shout at carmen@youthunlimited.com or donate at www.youthunlimited.com

Monday, January 27, 2014

I see what you did there

A few weeks ago I started something I'm calling "The Motivation Project". I understand that it being the beginning of a new year my little gym will be flooded with newbies trying hard to get healthy for their new year's resolutions. I am going to help.
My little gym is no more then a treadmill, stationary bike, a TV,  and a bow flex in the common room of my condo complex. But it does have one other accessory. It's a little plastic holder on the wall intended for notices to the residents of the building and the users of the gym. It is where strata puts up warnings about fire alarm testings and complaints about leaves. That sort of thing. Well I have decided to repurpose this paper holder for a more nobel purpose. I will post a new motivational quote up there every week. I chose to put up the quote "The voice inside your head that says you can't do this is a liar. -Your friendly neighbourhood motivator" See?
video

New story that is probably completely unrelated to The Motivation Project:
I received a mysterious voicemail from the President of ACOP Canada (ACOP is what christian's call a denomination of churches. It's simply a group of churches that all come from the same original root, like a family.) asking me to call him back. I had no idea what this could be about. Well I'm going to save you the long saga of phone tag that followed and just tell you what he wanted. He was inviting me to come and speak at ACOP's international conference in May in Calgary. 400 pastors for 26 different countries. 
I told him I would think about it.
Then I hung up the phone and laughed. Me? Really? Who am I to speak to such a crowd? And what could I possibly talk about that would make sense to 26 different cultures?
I walked to the gym still bewildered. I've only used a translator a few times before, and that was years ago! And with talking to so many different cultures, it's guaranteed that not everyone will get my jokes. Or my references. Or will understand anything I have to say! If I talk about taking a teen out to Starbucks, maybe that's offensive to some countries. Maybe others don't know what Starbucks is! 
I go onto the treadmill, where I do most of my deep thinking, and started to run still turning the challenge around in my mind. 
"I can't do it."
That's what I surmised. 
Then I looked up. There on the wall was an innocent piece of paper, put there by an ignorant foolish girl. It read "The voice in your head that says you can't do this is a liar. -Your friendly neighbourhood motivator" And I started to laugh. And laugh hard. 
I had to stop the treadmill. Laughing and running are hazardous to my ankles. 

Ok God. I see what you did there.

Funny how God (aka- your friendly neighbourhood motivator) chooses to speak to us sometimes eh? 

So on that note, I'm happy to announce that I will be speaking on "Discipling the next generation" at the ACOP international conference in Calgary in May.

It's going to be fun.


ps- God you spelled "liar" wrong.