Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Review......

What a year! 2011 bought so many surprises, challenges and adventures. Each year at this time I reflect on how God has watched over me, my family and ministry. There are so many experiences to Thank God for and so I decided to do this review.

 Memorable Moments:
  • Going on Vacation with my family to Orlando
  • Going on dates with Teresa. We LOVE going to One world cafe, 30-30 and P.Heights main street 
  • Building a surprise pergola for Teresa while she was away.
  • Seeing Ethan (my son) play drum's at Mission Peoria and main Riverside services with the youth worship band.
  • Seeing Clay (my son) develop tremendously as a soccer player
  • Reading Joy's (my daughter) AMAZING God inspired songs
  • Watching Rachel Ray cooking shows with Joy
  • Taking the boys to see Manchester United play at Soldier field in Chicago (ROONEY!!!)
  • Lunch time dates with my kids
  • Mission Peoria 2011/ BackPack Peoria - so many memories
  • Going to the headquarters of Risen Drums in Minneapolis with Mike Smith from Leeland
  • Visiting Urban Ventures in Minneapolis 
  • Sitting and chatting with Amy Grant about Dream Center Peoria
  • Connecting with Bill Allison and the Palco guys monthly
  • Spending the day with Stu G
There is so many more moments but time and space will not allow.

Top 5 cd:
Switchfoot - Dark Horses
Worship Central live - Spirit Break Out
One Sonic Society - All 3 E.P's(One, Sonic and Society)
Matt Redman - 10,000 Reasons
Leeland - The Great Awakening

Top 3 books:

Bear Grylls - Mud, Sweat and Tears (Interview from Hillsongs Part1 and Part 2
Matthew Barnett - The Cause within you

Top 3 concerts/ Events:
WinterJam 2011
Jars of Clay at Riverside

Top 3 new TV shows:
X Factor
An Idiot abroad
Good Look Charlie

Top 3 movies:
The Kings Speech
Soul Surfer
Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides

Goals for 2012:
To get closer to God daily
To love, Honor and Cherish my wife, even more, each and everyday
To love and grow closer to my 3 incredible kids 
To serve people the local church as much as I can
To impact this City more than ever before


Friday, December 23, 2011

Smile. Eat. Receive - Impacting Families at Christmas Time

I just wanted to Thank everyone who was a part of Smile. Eat. Receive. What an amazing day.

Here is a few number's for you:

  • We took 287 family portraits.Each family received an 8 by 10 portrait and 5, 4 by 6's
  • Hundreds of people walked through the photo studio on Saturday.
  • Hair stylists and make up artist's helped transform people who were not ready to photographed 
  • We served 250 dinners
  • Over $10,000 dollars in gifts (1000 gifts to be exact) were give away to the children of the families
  • 100 door prizes during the dinner. 
  • Close to 100 amazing volunteers serving
  • The Hope store served over 300 clients and gave extra Christmas gifts away to each of them
  • We bused in 30 families from Taft homes that we work with every week at Metro Kids, to a special Portraits/ Christmas party/ Dinner

The stories were amazing.

One homeless gentleman(in this picture below) had not had his picture taken since 1979. He was a character that I loved having at the Dream Center.

We were shooting video all day with some amazing help from a few couples. One of the couples were Keith Brown and Tiffany Alexandria from Forward // Motion Productions. They were capturing the stories from people. They came to me at one point nearly in tears as they were hearing how people felt about the experience. The words "I feel beautiful and Thank you"  kept being mentioned to them.

We will have a video shortly of the event to show soon. 

I sat with an older African American grandfather who was there on his own. He said to me "So what else do you do at The Dream Center?" I shared with him real quick about all the kids and youth programs we did. He turned to me and said "I want to be an advocate for you guys, how can I help this younger generation?"


One of my favorite families that I personally work with are a hispanic family who come to our indoor soccer program. The WHOLE family plays with us, including the mom. I told them about it on the Thursday night at soccer and they all showed up for  pictures.....In their Soccer uniforms! They loved it! The smiles and appreciation were massive! They couldn't remember the last time they had had a family picture taken.  

But we are not finished yet, Robbie Criss and Kim Goodman (two of our youth outreach workers) delivered portraits to the families this week along with a children's bible story book ($50 value) that was giving to every family from Taft homes that were a part of the event, compliments of Hoerr's Berean Bookstore

In addition they will be giving away a 15lb ham compliments of Family Video. In the end it looks like a very successful weekend. 

Here is a  blog post from one of our 15 photographers. Many of them came to me and Jeff after they were done and were in tears. They have never been a part of something like this and want to be a part of it again. I believe we planted a seed in most of them. To show them what the Church is actually about.....GIVING!
Ricardo's Blog 

Thanks again to all who made this day possible. Starbucks, Peoria Color, Walgreens, Panera, Jimmy Johns are just a few companies that really stepped up to the plate at this event.

As I look back on the event, the day felt like the early days of BackPack Peoria. Who knows what will happen in the future at Smile. Eat. Receive