Recognize. Educate. Answer. Cultivate. Help.

Where it Counts


Setting the Record Straight

I saw a countdown to Christmas the other day on someone’s Facebook post and it made me think. Everyone loves a good countdown. We love the countdown hype. How many days until your favorite movie’s sequel comes out? A favorite holiday? When I was teaching, there was this countdown at the beginning of summer until we had to return, and then another for when the student’s returned. Life is simply full of them…but what is it about them we love so much? In all honesty, I have a few theories and opinions; however, the truth is I really don’t know.

For my family, we have traveled now for what feels like months. We’ve driven from Indiana to Mississippi and back a few times, over to Illinois, and down to Mississippi, again. So far, we’ve been to 8 states in three months raising awareness for the work we hope to do in Romania in the coming months. And we’re still not through, yet.

Everywhere we go, people ask, “So, when are you planning to go?”

Originally, our answer was mid-September, but now as the first week of September comes to a close, and we take a sober look to our penciled-in numbers, we are skittish to respond with honesty. I mean, imagine us having a conversation with you, then you ask the question, and we respond, “Next week…”

Wow! Suddenly, panic mode would kick-in, wouldn’t it? What if Christmas, Halloween, Easter, a loved one’s birthday, or your wedding anniversary were next week? Yikes! You might freak a little, huh? What to buy? Where to find a costume? Coordinating family pictures? Mailing out postcards or invitations…

With this perspective in mind, there are many who have mentioned helping us go to the people of Romania. Our countdown began three months ago when we saw the needs of the small, growing school in Cimpina. Our vision was cast, our prayers focused, our steps ordered, and -now that our house is officially sold- we are ‘crunching numbers’. As our countdown nears its close, would you consider committing a number and begin giving faithfully whatever amount the Lord sets on your heart? No amount is too small to help us reach our one-time donation and monthly support goals. Simply put, we need to have a more accurate record to see where we are financially.

Currently, our cash budget is near 70% complete and our modest monthly budget is near 50%; however, these are pledged amounts, not actual. If you are unsure how to arrange monthly giving, or if our online forms are a mess, please feel free to contact us so we can help with the process.

 

 

August 2018


 

Progress

Our non-profit is up and running. This week, we’re back in Indiana to get some paperwork done. We had our first meeting recently and voted on the logo we will use. Here it is… It’s official. Our donation page is also up and running!!!

Our Goal

We are travelling and talking to churches and individuals about supporting our ministry. We are currently almost at 50% of our monthly budget. Please pray about what the Lord would have you do to help the lost in Romania. If you’d like to meet with us and talk about our vision or would like us to speak to your small group or church, please let us know. (Mike- 317 478-0903)

Romanian Stories


 

We went to the local library in Mississippi to hear a Romanian story read. We met a sweet woman named Meri, who shared with us her story of living in Romania during the communist regime. She told of how she and her family sought asylum in the US after a long wait back in the 80’s. “The U.S.,” she said, “is the greatest country in the world…”

 

Romanian Activities

 
The kids got to make crafts (keychains, flowers, and paper boats). They also played the game “London Bridge” in Romanian. They’ve been learning lots of kids nursery-rhyme songs to help them with the language. We need the practice!

 

 

Some Health Issues

Ethan and Judah both ended up having to get some emergency treatment in Mississippi. Judah had trouble breathing and had to go to the ER and have breathing treatments. He’s never dealt with anything like that…poor guy, but he’s 100% back to his normal self.

Ethan’s Accident

In the midst of all the fun the kids were having at their Grandma’s house, Ethan broke a lantern and the glass fell onto his foot. He needed three stitches and could not walk on it for a week. Thank the Lord! It could have been much worse.

 

Our Ministry Profile


The Opportunity

In November of 2008, while we were serving in the children’s ministry of our local church, God began to stir our hearts for the abandoned babies of Romania. In June of 2009, we visited and saw firsthand the needs of not only the children, but the adults, as well. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to show the people of Romania that God is near and they are never truly alone.

Our Vision – OutReach 360

Partnering with veteran missionaries in the town of Cimpina, we will assist in developing a school and minister to the needs of both street children and adults transitioning from troubled environments.

To do this we will:

  • Study Romanian culture and language, as well as the practices of Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Pray for and develop relationships with people by sharing weekly meals together.
  • Gently disciple those rooted in false teachings to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, in place of cultural pagan beliefs.

What is OutReach 360? We’re glad you asked!

OutReach 360 is our trademark through which we plan to minister to the needs of young adults around the world. Currently, we are in the process of establishing all of the by-laws and nuances of the organization; however, once it is approved, our work both in the U.S. and abroad will carry this brand name. Our vision for others is to help them reach a full 360 in their lives.

Ministry Impact

In the next three years, we believe God will use us to:

  • Recognize the needs of the community.
  • Educate the children
  • Answer the physical needs of others
  • Cultivate the emotional lives of families
  • Help others make a complete 360, to make a difference in the lives of others.

Partnership

We would not be where we are today without the partnership of individuals and organizations. From Indiana to Australia and everywhere in-between, we are grateful for those who have joined us in this great endeavor. Please consider joining our team through either a one-time donation or as a monthly encourager.

Don’t Miss Out!

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The Road so Far…


The Past Two Weeks

Cassi has posted countless pictures on Facebook and worked tirelessly to coordinate pickup times and deliveries over the past two weeks. We’re almost there. Bunk beds, shelves, dishes, toys, and even chalkboards have new homes. The thought of our treasures treasured by someone else keeps us looking forward toward Romania with a new expectation: What awaits us there?

Two weeks ago, I was able to share our vision for discipleship in Romania with City View Christian Center and to encourage them to do the same where God has planted them (share your treasure). I believe the message will not change as our remaining weeks in the U.S. dwindle and our approach to to Romania nears. We are each called to serve faithfully where we are planted. How we manage our faith and work in conjunction with one another is pivotal to the lives of those around us.

The Exact Ministry

So, what will you be doing? I think I’ve heard this question fifty times and the answer never gets any easier to convey. We know three things for certain. First, we will be serving in Campina, Romania with a wonderful missionary family who has recently established a school and are in dire need of volunteer teachers to help it grow. Additionally, we will continue to build relationships within the community, as we have always done, ministering to the needs of young adults and families. Meeting these needs allows us to engage in evangelism and grass-roots discipleship. In order to do both of these ministries, we are asking for extensive prayer and flexibility to creatively engage the community. For teens, we often start with sport’s camps for the boys and our novels for the young ladies. With young adults and families, we host Family Dinner Nights -a time of games and fellowship which, over time, evolves into counseling, prayer, bible studies, and more.

Lastly, I plan to return to the writing desk for a season. I have a handful of unfinished works to polish and many more to present to literary agents and publishers for consideration. Together, as we attempt to learn the language, live, teach, share in family life, and write to reach others, we know we can do nothing without your support to help us.

The Needs

Currently, we are in the process of establishing a more efficient online giving option. In the meantime, we are speaking with small groups of friends and family, coordinating dinners and cook-outs to share with others, and speaking at church venues. Our needs begin with a minivan or rental for summer speaking. Since our Dodge Journey was totaled by a ‘critter’, we have been in search of a temporary vehicle to use for travel. In the past, we were blessed by individual donors who supported us with this endeavor during the summer months. Please pray with us as we finish selling our household goods and search for opportunities to travel and share.

How much exactly are you guys trying to raise? This is another important question we’ve been asked. Since we are establishing ourselves in Romania during this first term of three years, we are not asking for extensive ministry funds, only enough support to live; therefore, we have factored our Monthly cost of living to be around $2,000. In order to travel and speak this summer, purchase the materials we need in order to transition from the U.S. to Romania (i.e. passports, visas, equipment and furnishings when we arrive, additional airport baggage, transportation, deposits for housing, language learning, etc…) we have calculated our Cash Budget to be around $14,000.

In summary,

The $14,000 is the funding to help us get there and established.

The $2,000 is the monthly support (faith promises from churches and individuals) to help us live once we arrive.

Thank you for partnering with us to help the people of Campina, Romania hear the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for being obedient in whatever way the Lord directs you. As you pray for your children, pray for the children in Romania, and pray for ours. As you pray for health, pray for ours. Our prayers are that everywhere we go lives are changed.

Until the Whole World Hears,

The Reaches

From Blessing to Blessing


A Week of Remembering

God has a way of reminding us who we are and where He has brought us from throughout the years. Even in the Scriptures, He reminded the people of the faithfulness of His name when He said, “I am the God of Jacob…” or “…the God who brought you from bondage…” and many other such references. He does that. He reminds us. If there is one single important thing for us to do as Christians, day in and day out, (in my opinion) it is to remember who we are because of God, and to remember who He is. I believe it is in these times of reflection we truly realign ourselves with His vision for our lives. Uniquely, we are all called from our sinful lives to be transformed into His likeness. But for what purpose? Simply put, to proclaim those two things to the world: Who we are because of Him (our testimony) and who He is (the gospel).

We get two bags each. Now, we’re packing and weighing…

This week, Cassi and I jostled our home upside down, and with the help of our four amazing kiddos, filled bag after bag with toys, clothes, and trinkets. As we watched the garage slowly fill up, and we connected with others via Facebook and messages to coordinate who had needs, we were blessed to reconnect with the very friend who blessed us with nearly all of our household goods when we returned from Bangladesh. This time, she was the one in need. My children were able to watch as their toys, clothes, and home-school supplies were loaded into an SUV to be taken to Haiti and given to orphans in need. Isn’t our God amazing?!

A Trip to Southern Illinois

Traveling with this beautiful woman…

Cassi and I were blessed earlier last week to travel to southern Illinois. Twelve years ago, in a small church in Marion, Illinois, our lives changed forever. After we met, and a series of wonderful events led to our marriage, our hearts were guided as one toward world missions. Even while we were friends, I supported her as she traveled to Kenya to lead a children’s ministry. A short while later, we began our ministry as a family, traveling church to church forming interdenominational friendships -sharing life.

Now, nearly thirteen years later, our children were so thrilled to hear the stories of the places we went, the cafe bible studies we conducted, and the path God led us on all these years. Through tough times and great times, God never failed to provide for us as we stepped out believing in Him. Whether we were serving as youth ministers or moving all the way to Arizona to serve as college ministers, God guided every step of the way. We were blessed to be welcomed by Life Source Church in West Frankfort, Illinois, where we hope to share with the congregation about our call to Romania in the future.

Home Sweet Home

This week, we have packed, packed, and repacked. We hope to finish soon so we can begin deep cleaning and staging our home to place it on the market to sell. As I am writing today, we are planning to visit our home church in Indianapolis, Elevation, and officially begin our friend-raising endeavors to share the vision God has given us for Romania. In a way, the feeling is surreal. As missionaries in Bangladesh, we experienced firsthand the joys and struggles of serving in a foreign land: the culture shock and language barriers… Yet, in the midst of everything God gave us friends who became family.

Now, as we prepare to leave and rehearse the process all over again (selling everything), we are reminded of the joys of serving Him. My friends, there is nothing sweeter, no thought or feeling greater, than knowing we serve a God who makes the impossible possible. Tonight, my babies were fed. Tonight, they have a safe home to sleep in with clothes to wear in the morning, and food to eat then, too. On our shelves, we have at least one bible for each of us in our own language. Tomorrow (and every day), we have the opportunity to stand in the gap for someone we’ve never met to be their voice to encourage the church to pray and offer them the same opportunity.

 

Thank you so much for your continued support in encouragement and prayers, as well as financially. We are blessed to work both here in the states and abroad to show the world the love of God.

Until the Whole World Hears,

Mike and Cassi

A Season of Change


Great Expectations

For those of you who truly know me, you have to chuckle at the title. You have to!

One crate. After three years of teaching English to inner-city students in the U.S., I gave most of my resources to teacher friends and packed “the important stuff” into one crate and took a deep breath. Intentionally, I saved the best and hardest for last: my board of “gifts” from students and peers throughout the year. I read every folded paper, thank you card, and post-it note until at last I compiled them all into a heap, clipped them together, and tucked them into my crate of memories. I’ve officially resigned as a high school English teacher in the U.S., and now, after a Saturday graduation at both of my schools, T.C. Howe and Emmerich Manual, with some of the toughest good-byes I have ever endured, I took both a final step and a first step. One path ended. Another has begun. Please pray as we travel this summer with the hopes of raising not only support for the coming years ahead of us, but also finances to support us while we travel. We serve a great God with plans much larger than our own. Now, one step at a time, we are moving in the direction He has for us.

 

“Mr. Reach, we’re going to total your vehicle…”

Those were the words the insurance adjuster told me a few weeks ago. After a month of waiting for the parts to come in to repair our Dodge Journey because “some critter” crawled into our engine and chewed up our wiring harness, our insurance finally determined our vehicle was simply not able to be repaired correctly. This was good news and bad news. Now, I realize there are likely quite a few people reading this thinking, “What could possibly be the bad news? You’re about to go to the mission field and you just sold your car for the maximum amount of its worth without having to get into a wreck!” True…but we still have to travel and raise support, first. Now we are in need of a family vehicle capable of fitting all of us as we travel this summer to raise support. Please agree with us in prayer as we trust God to provide during this season.

 

Moving Forward

This week has been an eventful week so far.

Monday, Cassi filed paperwork to establish OutReach360 as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization while I took our five-passenger lease vehicle in to the dealership to see if we could renegotiate for a larger vehicle. As I explained our reason for upgrading, the salesman said, “Romania? One of our coworkers is from Romania…” Of course she is… God is so funny.

Tuesday, we met with a great local auctioneer about selling our possessions, and had a Skype discussion with some of our missionary friends in Romania about life, evangelism, and discipleship. We were able to view a third perspective of life in the country, as well as another glimpse of considerations on how we should budget. We are so thankful for the relationships God has given us throughout the years.

Wednesday, we took our children on a $12 home-school field trip to Conner Prairie with Grandma. The kiddos are enjoying the change of pace, and though they miss their school schedule dearly (sarcasm), the excitement for Romania is increasing every day.

Thursday, we text and called pastor friends, spent time with Grandma, and tried to fill slots in our travel calendar.

Today, we are cleaning house; packing and sorting keepsakes; saying tough good-byes to broken toys and old clothes, and making bags of gifts for other families and the Salvation Army. Then, this weekend…to southern Illinois. We may or may not stop in Casey, Illinois along the way to see the world’s largest mailbox (I know, you’re jealous…).

We love you, and we cannot thank you enough for your steadfast prayers and encouragement. If you would like to hear about our vision to work in Romania, please leave a message below. We would love to visit and share our hearts for evangelism, discipleship and missions, both domestic and foreign.

 

Until the Whole World Hears,

Mike & Cassi

On a mission


Romania

Since our last update, the Lord has confirmed more and more His will for us to go to Romania. In response, we have talked with the missionaries we know in the country, praying for the Lord’s leading. We are excited to announce we are beginning our support raising and would love to partner with individuals and churches as we prepare to serve the orphans and street children of Campina. We hope you will partner with us in the coming months as we travel to speak and share God’s vision for the people of Romania.

Thank you so much for your steadfast prayers. In two months, we hope to find 200 people willing to commit to only $10 a month. We have already received faith pledges from friends and family. Soon, we hope to travel and share with churches from Indiana to Illinois and as far south as Mississippi. Please contact us to receive information on our plan for evangelism and discipleship. Praise God!

 

Writing

Writing has taken a backseat to teaching for the majority of this school year; however, in March our focus shifted. For the first time in nearly two years, I attended the Indiana Writer’s Workshop downtown. The all day conference exposed me to some great writing tips and techniques and I was blessed to meet two literary agents who represent Christian authors. In case you didn’t know, literary agents are the “in” for writers seeking publication in today’s market. After a short pitch of my novels (I have six still awaiting publication) both agents requested to read the manuscripts…all of them!

Please be in prayer with us as we continue to find a home for these novels. As always, they share the love of God and the light of His truth in a dark world. Statistics show more than 20% of teens and young adults are likely to come to Jesus through media outreaches such as these.

Meanwhile, at the inner-city high school where I teach, I cannot keep my published books on the shelves. It seems like every week another student asks where she can get a copy to read because she’s heard so much about them. A teacher’s assistant shared with me in passing that she has read all three of them and passed them on to her daughter, who read them, and is now passing them on to friends. Just yesterday, I had four conversations with students throughout the day about God, Jesus, and church-related issues. Praise God for opportunities to share His truth!

 

Graduation

After our return from Bangladesh, I was informed I still had educational benefits through the VA. After praying and seeking counsel from friends, we discovered I could attend Taylor University and Indiana Wesleyan University Seminary at the same time. As a result, I was able to get my transition to teaching certificate from Taylor and my Master’s degree in Ministry from IWU, and both while teaching. Thanks to the support of Cassi and the rest of the family, I’ve finally finished! What a blessing.

Reach Family Update


Family of 6

Since returning from Bangladesh, the road has been bumpy but blessed. We returned to welcome another addition. Judah was born on May 2nd and everything went well with the delivery, but what we didn’t know was Cassi had developed a vitamin deficiency from our diet in Bangladesh. This caused Judah to be born with this same deficiency, as well. As a result, he ended up in NICU suffering from numerous seizures. The neurologist’s reports said brain damage…but God.

Judah made a full recovery, and is now a thriving three-year-old!

Teaching Transition

There have been some significant changes in our lives lately. The Lord opened a teaching position at an inner-city high school and I was led to the mission field of a public school. This year, I started my third year of teaching and coached the soccer team. Beginning last school year, we felt the Lord guiding us in the direction of homeschooling, so Cassi transitioned from teaching to teaching at home. Though the parent-teacher conferences are a bit confusing, she loves it!  😉

Meanwhile, the VA offered to pay for an additional year of education. After many days of prayer, I decided to finish my Master’s degree in Ministry and in teaching. Needless to say, it has been a busy transition.
To the left: Mike took his class to a center for domestic abuse victims where they raised more than $1200 to help mothers and children.

Writing

In twelve years, I have written twelve novels, published three, and have nine more awaiting publication. For the past three years, we’ve had opportunities to attend book-signings in multiple states, as well as covertly place novels in stores and on bookshelves in schools. Last week, I watched a student carry my latest book, Waiting on You, down the hall. A member of our youth group at church held a book club using my evangelistic fiction novel, Overcome. As a result, two of the girls in her book club started visiting church with her. Now graduated, this young woman now serves as a missionary in Turkey. Praise God!
To purchase our evangelistic and discipleship-based books, CLICK on the pictures to the right.

Discipleship

Our purpose and mission as a family is to make disciples who make disciples. God has specifically placed family discipleship in our hearts, and we have continued the ministry at our home church, Elevation, under the guidance and encouragement of our brothers and sisters here. Whether leading Saturday morning men’s discipleship, welcoming weekly dinners with families, teaching in the children’s ministry, leading Next steps classes for new Christian adults, or serving as Alpha life group leaders on Sunday nights, our family has resolved to be obedient to the passion God has placed in our lives.

Romania

Eight years ago, Cassi and I felt the call to Romania. As the Lord confirmed His plan, we set out for a two-week mission trip in 2009 and worked alongside a visionary worker and wonderful woman of God. After two weeks of falling in love with the country, working with women and abandoned children, it seemed like the doors were not opening for us…yet. Two years later, the Lord opened doors for us to serve in Bangladesh for three years, but our love for Romania never left us. Confirmation after confirmation, the Lord has continued to show Romania. Please be in prayer for us as we prepare to go and make disciples.
Whether in the U.S. or abroad, we have resolved to dedicate our lives to the furtherance of the gospel with every skill, talent, and ability given to us. Please join us as we continue to invite others into the love of Jesus Christ.
In Him,
The OutReach Family