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God Sightings by Kylie Lund Comments Off on God Sightings by Kylie Lund

In July, Remix took a mission trip to Georgetown, Guyana. It was a bit of a culture shock despite the fact that English is the official language. While we were there, we hosted a youth ministry conference, organized two Vacation Bible Schools, and shared the Gospel at five orphanages. It was incredible to see the joy on those kids faces despite their immense poverty. The culture places a high value on family, operates on island time, and lives quite simply. Each day at the end of VBS, we would sit the kids down to talk about “God sightings,” instances where we can see God working. The kids would give examples of friends sharing food, mom taking care of a sick brother, or God keeping their family safe. I found my own God Sightings while reflecting through prayer and in my journal throughout each day. I found God’s fingerprints all over the path to Guyana alone. He continued to provide us with the fruits of the Spirit amidst adversity. I found a theme of God’s faithfulness sprinkled throughout the trip.

You may be asking, “Why Guyana, of all places?”. Remix went to a youth ministry conference in Louisville, KY where we met a woman named Melanie from New Jersey. Melanie loved the idea of Remix and wanted to take us with her on her next trip to Guyana. Thus, the planning began. Meanwhile, I had met Remix when they led the YMCA Summer Camp Counselor Training in June 2015 that I was being trained at. I talked to Matt after the show, thinking they would be a fun company to work for someday down the road.

Fast forward to May 2016, Remix popped into my mind as I looked for an internship. I called Matt and secured my internship location for the fall. A few weeks later Matt called me, we talked about when I was going to start with Remix. I was working with a camp until early July and looking for mission trips in late July. He mentioned Guyana and I was blown away by the Lord’s impeccable timing. It was the exact dates I was looking for and for a price in my budget. Even more, we were taking a short mission trip to New Jersey to meet the team beforehand. The dates for the NJ trip aligned with my trip to Massachusetts to see family. I could just take a train into NJ for the weekend! With prayer and attention to the divine timing, I decided to go to New Jersey and Guyana. God’s faithfulness was so evident in planning my summer.

God Sighting: The Lord is sovereign over everything. He flawlessly orchestrates events and experiences. There is no better way than to simply trust the Lord.

There were many logistical problems throughout the trip. Bed bugs, Brown running water, and canceled flights to name a few. With problems piling up, it became more and more clear that our team was operating on joy and patience that the Lord faithfully provided. We were in a new culture and had to adjust to cultural barriers and the normalcy of Guyanese life. Clean running water, healthy/safe living conditions, and access to money are privileges not rights. I learned to never “lose my cool”. I am a missionary everywhere I go; every person I encounter is a child of God. I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to share the joy of the Lord just because I am frustrated at a logistical error.

God Sighting: Through our endurance in hardship, we were able to minister to our driver, other teammates, and airport workers who saw first-hand how we responded to adversity.

On the first 2 days of the trip, we hosted a youth ministry conference. We were in a local church with 75 people involved in youth ministry from around the area. On the morning of the second day, I was given a microphone and a topic to talk about. I stood at the front of the room looking out at the dreary crowd. At the time, I didn’t have much experience public speaking or working for Remix. But instead of nervousness, energy and joy flowed out of me as the Holy Spirit supplied me with words. About an hour later, I was handed the microphone again to give an object lesson. The Lord brought a video about time management to mind and helped me adapt it to ministry and Guyanese resources.

God Sighting: He is faithful to recycle seemingly useless past experiences for Kingdom work.

The average income in Guyana is less than $4,000 USD. Though there is a money deficit in the country, joy abounds. One day, I stared out the window at a shack drenched in poverty. It was two stories, the first floor walls were made of concrete blocks. The second-floor exterior was made of old wood boards covered with a tin roof. The tin was completely rusted, a reddish brown color with black plastic bags covering the big holes to keep out the rain. There were six windows on the back of the house, each with a swinging wood covering, no safety precautions to keep someone from falling out of the windows.

I watched as a young mother of 3 walked through the backyard on a path of tires laid on the ground from the house to use the outhouse. Meanwhile, her son, wearing a white tank top and underwear, was splashing in a barrel of water outside their home. After watching the family for 20 minutes, I left my spot at the window and strolled up to their front porch. The mom insisted on having me inside their home. She showed me the cramped space where they lived, the two beds that the family of five shared, and the new mosquito nets she bought as gifts for the kids. She explained the process of putting the furniture on wood blocks when it would rain, to save the furniture from the water that flooded the floor. She eagerly showed me pictures of her family and explained that they were borrowing the house until they saved enough money from selling birds at the market. Their situation was contrary to anything I had every witnessed, yet this was one of the most content, caring, and personable families I have ever met.

God Sighting: He is ultimate provider of joy, peace, and hope to this impoverished family.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” –Lamentations 3:21-22

Whether logistical errors, feeling unequipped, or having immense joy despite financial poverty, it was easy to see God Sightings throughout our days in Guyana. It’s not always easy, but God uses us. He uses our willing hearts. The clear theme at the end of the week was God’s overwhelming faithfulness in every circumstance.

 

 

kylieheadshotKylie Lund

Remix Intern

Posted on: 11-8-2016
Posted in: Blog

6 Ways to Fight Against Substance Abuse Comments Off on 6 Ways to Fight Against Substance Abuse

By Jon Wicks

In late August, Cincinnati emergency health responders treated an appalling 174 heroin overdoses in a six-day period. On average, 4 people overdose a day in Cincinnati and in the past year, over 3,000 people have lost their lives to accidental drug overdoses. In 2015, there were 47,055 deaths from drug overdoses nationally. More people die from drug overdoses every year than car wrecks and suicides. Let’s be clear, this is an epidemic and one that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. This leaves the question: How can we better prepare youth to face the growing trend of substance abuse?

Below are six ways that everyone can use to fight against substance abuse.

For Educators and Parents

Be Real

Students are tired of having statistics thrown at them. Tell a personal experience about someone you know who was hurt because of their drug or alcohol habits. This will help them relate and understand that the consequences of drugs are too great. I often tell the story of my cousin Mike. When he was 23 he was in a motorcycle accident that took his life. He had a few drinks earlier in the night and deciding to go riding without a helmet. He was a good guy, he wasn’t an alcoholic, but that one decision was all it took.

Be Specific about Drugs

It’s easy to beat around the bush when talking about tough topics like drugs. DON’T! Be specific about drugs and why they aren’t worth even one try. Sit down with your kids and google stories, and maybe (if you’re brave enough) some pictures of what drugs can do to your body. They may only know that “drugs make you feel good, but I shouldn’t do them.” The more informed they are, the better.

Be Involved in their Growth

Encourage your kids to engage in clubs, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Sit down with them and help them set personal growth goals that they can chase after and achieve. Make sure to set and share your own goals as well. This will mean a lot to them that you aren’t ‘coaching’ them on how to live but living with them. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” is a motto we use at Remix every day!

For Students

Be Bold

If you know your friend is abusing drugs, say something. Whether they are struggling with addiction or occasional drug users, they are preventing themselves from reaching their full potential. As a good friend, you should approach them kindly, but be firm. First, let them know that you care about them and that no matter what you will be there to support them. Secondly, let them know that their choices are harming themselves and their relationships. If you’re personally struggling with substance abuse – tell someone. A guidance counselor, a parent, a close friend, someone. None of us are perfect and those people want the best for you. They will help you to get back on track to being the best person you can be.

Say Yes!

Join a club, sports team, or other extracurricular activity. Being involved in activities with your friends will help you to build strong relationships with people that will hold you to being your best. Say yes to helping out at the local homeless shelter or other charity in your community.

Set Goals

Sit down and write out some goals or things you want to do in the next year. Five years. Ten years. Striving after your goals will help you to know why you aren’t choosing to use drugs. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” is a great motto to live by everyday. Make sure you know your values and the goals that you want to achieve.

Check out These LINKS on Heroin

Learn More about Heroin

What happens after first responders save heroin users from overdose?

Facts About Heroin

Video of NJ Cop saving the life of an overdose victim

Posted on: 09-2-2016
Posted in: Blog

Letter from the Founder Comments Off on Letter from the Founder

In 2006, I had just finished my first year as an NBA mascot for the Washington Wizards.  It was the peak of my career and the dream that I had wanted for so long, yet something was missing.  Every night, I would entertain thousands of people, but for what purpose…to make them laugh? I knew there was something more. After each game, I would return to my house and feel empty. I thought I was fulfilling the purpose that God had for me, but something still felt off. During a training session that summer, I attempted a trampoline dunk – a routine maneuver for me –  and landed at a bad angle. Several appointments later, the doctors told me I had torn my ACL.  My dreams shattered – the fame of working for the NBA, being in the spotlight, a professional mascot – all gone. Years of training and work was gone. I moved back to Lexington to have surgery and rehab. Sitting. Thinking. More sitting and more thinking. That’s wNew hat I did for the next 3 months as I rehabilitated.

In February of 2007 I was asked to speak at a local celebration for a youth basketball league called Upward, I obliged. I figured I would speak to 50-60 kids and tell them my story. I was a little nervous, and then I showed up at the event… There were over 300 people there! Adults, too! My heart jumped. It was the most nervous moment of my entire life. I was used to entertaining around 18,000 people night after night…behind the mask, but 300 people face-to-face was too much. Reluctantly, I walked onto the stage and struggled through telling my testimony. Several “um’s” and pauses later, I muttered my last few words, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I am trusting God has a plan and a purpose for my life and yours.” Looking back, I’m sure God was laughing in this moment. As I walked off the stage, they handed me an envelope with $500 in it! I had not expected payment. The nervosity ended, and a thought sparked in my mind. How could I make telling my story fun? What if we used mascot skits, dancing, and goofiness and combined it with crazy fun interactive games to present a positive message and even talk about the gospel?!  God put some big thoughts in my head…

Shortly after that event, I moved back to D.C. to take a desk job with the Wizards in hope that I could walk back into the mascot position. There was hope, my dreams were alive. For seven months I continued to stay in mascot shape and work hard for them. In October, they held a tryout between myself and one other guy. I was dismissed and that was the end. Once again, my hope was crushed and I moved home to Kentucky.

Sitting. Thinking. More sitting and more thinking. Those ‘big thoughts’ started coming back to the front of my mind and I couldn’t ignore them. I talked to my girlfriend, Jenny, (now wife) and we decided to go for it. She became my business partner. We had NO idea what we were doing, but God did, and he pushed us forward towards the goal of Remix. That first year, 2008, we put on 14 programs while also working as substitute teachers to make ends meet. In 2015, Remix had a staff of 20+ people and facilitated over 275 events in 19 different states and 4 countries. We have a regional office in Nashville, TN and a Remix International plant in southern India. Jenny and I never imagined that silly skits and crazy games would take us around the world, provide jobs for more than 50 people over the years, help us raise our kids, and teach everyone involved innumerable life lessons. I know God’s not done yet, our best years are yet to come and I am eager to see what crazy twists God has in store for this ministry, this business, and the Remix Family.

Come join us. We’re on a mission to show God’s love by smiling big like He does. We want to bring fun because His Kingdom is forever joyful. We desire to teach truth because He IS the truth. If He can do Kingdom building through a seven-foot green fuzzy guy named Jiggy, I’m confident that He will use you and me to do greater things than our biggest dreams. His best always beats our best.

Matthew Hogg

Executive Director

Posted on: 08-17-2016
Posted in: Blog