From Two to Three

On November 5, 2015, our beautiful baby boy, Griffey Tate Stiffler, entered the world. John and I were completely smitten from the beginning.

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Moving from a family of two to a family of three has been a rewarding and exhausting process.

I frequently get asked, “What’s the one thing about motherhood that surprised you the most?”

My answer: “I didn’t know I’d love it so much.”

I mean, I knew I’d love Griffey. But I thought caring for him, the relentless, hourly tasks of washing, feeding, clothing him, would wear me down a lot more than they have.

I expected to like pregnancy more and like this newborn time less. Go figure.

Of course, these first four months have been challenging. I don’t function well on no sleep and the exhaustion gets to me at times. Also, Griffey and I had problems with nursing at the beginning. It took until week 8 or 9 of his life before Griffey actually understood nursing and we had to supplement with formula until month 3. I had low supply as a result of the 24 hour labor followed by a c-section.

But, wow, I love being a mom. I love changing Griffey’s diapers, nursing him, kissing his cheeks and blowing raspberries on his belly. It’s delightful to watch him learn and grow.

 

A Christian and an Athlete

In high school, I was extremely involved in sports. I had cross country in the fall, gymnastics in the winter, and track & field in the spring. My senior year, I was captain of all three.

Now, I was fairly athletic, but not a star athlete by any stretch. College scholarships were never on the horizon for me. I loved sports, the competition and comradeship they brought into my life. Most of my good high school friends I met through sports.

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At a Gymnastics meet

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At a track meet

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That time I ran in a JV race and got first place

The problem arose between my bustling athletic schedule and church. I was in leadership in our mid-week program (Awana) that met on Wednesdays. Well, during gymnastics season, I had to miss every week. And during cross country and track, I was frequently late.

Now, I completely understand my adult leaders being frustrated with this. But as a high school athlete, I felt out of place in church, like I didn’t belong.

When I heard about an opportunity to run a sports camp with a local church, I was floored. I could combine two things that I loved: Jesus and sports. They didn’t have to be at odds with one another! Sports ministry was where God told me clearly, “I can use all things for my glory.”

YMI has a sports ministry division, Base Sports, and I just completed their 2015 Ministry Catalog. I’m pretty proud of the catalog and the opportunities I get to help people learn about Base Sports ministry.

I just think of myself in high school: a Christian and an athlete who didn’t quite know how to reconcile those two things. Base Sports wants to train those young people to use sports to share their faith.

And I get to be part of it. Praise God!

YMI Changes and Life Changes

John and I are in the midst of packing up our apartment and moving to a new place. I’m in the third trimester of pregnancy and am super uncomfortable… most of the okay, all of the time. Our life is looking pretty crazy right now, but we’re so excited to be getting closer and closer to meeting our son!

With all the things happening in our personal lives, we’ve neglected to update you on some pretty sweet things happening in our ministry lives!

Team Member for Rose
YMI recently hired a new staff member, Keith, to work with me on the creative/ marketing/ visual side of YMI. I’m sooo excited to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to increase the capacity of what we’re doing with YMI. He’s been in the office for like 2 weeks and already has been a huge help. I feel very energized in my ministry!

Renewed Focus for John
As of this fall, we’re outsourcing our daily accounting, payroll, and a bunch of tasks that John was doing for YMI because they needed to be done, but he didn’t love doing them. Now that they are being handled by someone else, there’s a huge burden off John that allows him to focus on his actual job instead of just crunching numbers.

Split Focus for John
and just when he thought he could settle into one role… John is currently the interim director for our young adult program (called MAP). We’re looking for his replacement, but in the meantime, John is once again running the program… and loving it. He has a passion for youth and college students, so he’s enjoying the extra touch with students.

If you’d like to know more about what we’re up to these days, feel free to get in touch!

Ministry and Motherhood

As we approach our Nov 8th due date, John and I both get asked more frequently about my plans after baby boy is born. Right now, I work 40 hours a week at Youth Missions International, designing all publications and running our various social media accounts.

Basically, everything that the world see of Youth Missions International goes through me. I create it, or edit it, or post it… and I love my job! It’s vital to what YMI is doing for the Kingdom around the world. I get to help people know about us and what God has called us to do!

Now, I’m having a child. And I am so excited. If you know me, you know I’ve been baby-crazy for about a year and a half before we even started trying for a kid. And now it’s here! He’s real and coming soon!

But…

I don’t want to stay home with him full-time.

Does that make me a terrible mother?

I don’t think so! (and hopefully you don’t either…) God has clearly led me to YMI and the work I’m doing here. I know that I am honoring Him through my creativity and drive.

So, the current plan is for me to go down to 4 days a week for a year. That way, I get to soak up this precious infant baby time while still completing the work that I really believe God desires for me to do.

I’m excited to have my son and continue working with the ministry at YMI!

For those of you wondering, “Why not work from home?”  Yeah, I know this will not work for me. I am a horrible multi-tasker! So if I sit down to do something with the world’s cutest, best distraction in the room? My child will twitch and I’ll be gone from what I need to do for YMI. Not really an option.

Interview with John

John, you are the Director of Operations at Youth Missions International. What does that job title mean?

That’s a great question, and unfortunately not the easiest to answer. A Director of Operations at 10 different organizations probably have 10 different job descriptions. Mine can be explained best through two roles.

The first is the working with the direction and vision of YMI, partnerships, training, and helping solve any problems or issues that come up (which, because we work in a fallen world, happens fairly often.)

The second part is kind of a catch all: HR, finance, accounting, payroll, taxes, legal compliance, etc. At some point these roles will be taken over by other more gifted and passionate about them than I am.

What would you say is your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy being a part of  problem solving and troubleshooting the different issues that come up. While situations that happen can be frustrating, I’ve seen that it’s through those moments that I get to see God do some amazing things. It’s really cool to be a part of helping create solutions that allow us to accomplish the mission God has for YMI, in spite of the obstacles that inevitably come up.

So, what’s say is your least favorite part of your job?

The nitty gritty detail aspects of that second part of my job. I can honestly say that I’ve never once had a desire to become an accountant or payroll controller. While I am capable of doing those types of things, they are never my favorite thing to do.

What helps you overcome that?

Knowing that taking care of those things is vital for the success of this organization. If we don’t keep accurate financial records, we would be very poor stewards of the many things that God has given us. I love that YMI strives to be transparent and above reproach in all we do. Remembering that those seemingly endless details are a vital part of being transparent helps motivate me to do them.

Do you enjoy working for YMI? What about their mission resonates with you?

I love working for YMI. As a student who grew up in the church, I felt like I had a really good handle on things for quite a while. It wasn’t until my experience with YMI as a high school student that I realized just how much I had been hiding and pushing aside. My own experience with YMI changed my life for the better. I love being able to be a small part of giving other students that same experience. The world is in desperate need of young Christian leaders that love to share Jesus. Everything that YMI does is towards that end.

What are some current projects you’re working on?

Right now, the main project that I’m working on is helping our different programs gear up for next year. We’re in a little bit of an awkward time, in that there’s a lot of stuff that still needs to be done to make sure that all of our students are prepared to go out and serve this summer. But at the same time, we need to figure out what our plans are to reach students in the next year. I’ve been meeting a lot with the various staff members at YMI to figure out how we can improve what we do, as well as what our goals are for next year. We’re in the final stages of writing out our five-year plan, and it’s exciting to dream about what God can do with YMI over that time.

Is there anything you’d particularly like prayer for?

We would definitely like prayer for new staff members to join our team here at YMI. As we look at what we hope to do in the next few years, there are a couple of areas that could very much use at least another staff member or two. The two most immediate areas are our Go program and the BASE Sports division. Go is a ministry where we work to equip youth pastors to train their youth groups to live out and share their faith. BASE is our sports ministry division that seeks to equip churches to do relevant sports outreach in their communities. Please pray that God would provide people to come alongside us and lead in these areas.

BABY FAQ

Last Friday, John and I were so happy to announce the news of our impending parenthood! Since not all who love us can talk to us in person about this amazing gift, I thought I’d take some time to answer some of the questions we’ve commonly been asked!2015-03-01 18.17.06

When is the due date?

Late October is when we’re expecting our little one to make his/her debut! This is funny since my birthday is in late October and John’s is in late November. We’re apparently going to be a little fall birthday family :)

How far along are you?

I’m nine weeks today! Only four more weeks until I finish off the dreaded first trimester… I’m highly aware of the possibility of miscarriage due to family history, so John and I are both holding our breaths a little bit until we can get through this beginning part.

How have you been feeling?

I’ve been feeling pretty great! We’ve been wanting to get pregnant for a bit now, so having it finally happening is such a celebration. Even when I’m losing my breakfast, John is next to me saying, “Yay, this is because you’re pregnant!”

So, I have had some morning sickness and nauseous. I am hungry all. the. time. and can’t sleep through the night without a bathroom break (on crutches!). But overall, I am just so happy that it makes everything else seem like not as big a deal.

My symptoms could easily take a turn for the worse, so I’m crossing my fingers!

Are you going to find out if it’s a boy or a girl?

We are are leaning toward yes, but have not completely made up our minds yet. We have until June-ish to decide, so we’ll know what we’re doing by then!

Do you guys have to move?

Nope! When we moved to Federal Way last October, part of the reason we moved to the specific place we did was because it had room for a nursery. So, we’re all set on our living situation to welcome the little one into our lives.


So, those are the things we’ve been commonly asked. I’m seriously can’t-shut-up-about-this excited, so I’m sure we’ll be sharing more details as things progress. Thanks for reading!!

Interview with Rose Stiffler

So, Rose, you are the Creative Director  at Youth Missions International. What does that job title mean?
I am in charge of the creative direction of Youth Missions International. This includes all printed material, social media, presentations, etc. So basically, I design things to post online and to print for promotion, trainings, debriefs, sports camps, and more!

What would you say is your favorite part of your job?
I really enjoy creatively presenting the message of YMI and trying to figure out what picture or phrase will resonate deeply with people and motivate them to join our mission of developing young Christian leaders who love to share Jesus. When I come up with a great idea, it’s so rewarding to see it used and see other staff members get more excited about YMI because of something I made.

So, what’s say is your least favorite part of your job?
Overcoming writer’s block! Sometimes, I’m working on a brochure or a flyer and I just get stuck. It’s very difficult to push past whatever block I’m experiencing to complete the project. I hate feeling inefficient, so it’s difficult for me to not just get super frustrated.

What helps you overcome that?
Going for a walk, getting another person’s opinion, and thinking about something else are all more helpful than just staring at my screen :)

Do you enjoy working for YMI? What about their mission resonates with you?
I love working at YMI. I think our mission of empowering young people is so important. In our society, too often youth are told that everything is about them, and they should be selfish, egotistical, and worldly. Even teens familiar with the saving message of Jesus have very few options to live out that Gospel power in their lives. We offer them places to do that. This was something that was critical in my own life and I love helping offer these options to other young people!

What are some current projects you’re working on?
I’m working on our mission catalog for 2016 (yes, already!). We’re combining the three programs of Mission Differently (Go- for group mission trips, Explore- for high school individuals, and MAP- deeper experiences for young adults) into one catalog. So it’s a little overwhelming trying to appeal in one item to a college student, a youth pastor, a high schooler, and a high schooler’s parent!

And next, I need to work on curriculum for BASE’s summer camps. Both the handouts churches will give their kids, but also the Bible curriculum for leaders and sports curriculum. It’s a big project coming up!

Is there anything you’d particularly like prayer for?
Just for focus and tenacity in completing my projects. Sometimes things take longer than I expect, but that I would, through the grace of God, persevere and complete excellently each project in a timely manner!

Thanks for your time! and helping us learn a little bit more about your ministry with YMI.

Mission Fusion and More

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I’m excited to share with you that John has been asked to speak at Crista Camp’s Mission Fusion weekend! I’ll be tagging along for the weekend.

Last weekend, John was asked by Crista Camps to run some Gospel sharing exercises with their mission fusion group and this weekend, he will be the keynote speaker. I’m really excited to watch him challenge young people to mission and see my sister-in-law, Katy who works at the camp.

Katy speaking at the Fusion Weekend that happened last weekend.

Katy speaking at the Fusion Weekend that happened last weekend.

Also this past weekend, YMI hosted our Annual Fundraising Dinner! It was a beautiful day in Seattle, and the best attended banquet we’ve hosted so far. It’s crazy how much God keep growing this ministry. It is humbling and exciting to all of us involved.

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It was a lovely evening. I helped with registration and John was able to share a bit of his testimony and why YMI means so much to him. I had several people come up to me afterward and gush about how well John spoke. I was a pretty proud wife.

In even better news, we met our fundraising goal for the evening! It’s seriously so exciting for people to see what our ministry is doing and decide to join with us. Now, we’ll be able to reach more young people in the next year, training them to share their faith, and thus reaching more people around the world. Praise God!


 

Foot update: I’m in a cast :( and will be on crutches for 6 weeks (5 more!) as long as everything heals well. For those of you who may not already know, on the 17th of February, I fractured the outside bone of my foot. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking and fell off a step.

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Your prayers are super appreciated. My parents graciously rented me a knee cart that makes the commute to Seattle sooo much easier than with crutches. Getting from the train station to the office with crutches was miserable, but the scooter makes it super easy! I may be taking a little too much joy from zooming down the sidewalk…

Have a fantastic day and thanks for reading!

 

Taking Time Off

Don’t you hate it when something you don’t like about yourself gets exposed? Something that I’m not proud of about myself is how I deal with stress. When I get stressed, I tend to shut-down, ignore it, and let it build.

With God’s grace (and the understanding of others), I’m working on it.

I’ve been dealing with feeling stressed at work for a few weeks. It had gotten to the point where I didn’t want to come to YMI and the smallest thing would set me off.

So, at the suggestion of my husband, and approval from my boss, I took some time off last week. I had an absurd amount of vacation days which made me realize that I haven’t been doing a super great job of pacing myself and taking time to relax.

Those days were amazing. They were very refreshing as I took time to cook, spend time with a friend, get crafty, sleep, and watch a marathon of Gilmore Girls. I also prayed and thought about my ministry and how I could get out of the rut of stress I had carved for myself.

When I came back to work, I met with my boss and we talked about how I was feeling and discussed some things I can do to help myself feel more in control of my schedule and lower my stress level.

I’m really excited about the steps I’ve taken, and think they’re going to help me in enjoying my ministry. I know that this isn’t a one-time magical fix, and that managing stress is something I’m going to have to continue to work on.

But I’m so lucky to work in a ministry that cares about me as a person and not just what I can produce.


Prayer Request: John is away this weekend at our church’s High School Winter Retreat! He’s excited for this weekend and the opportunity to dive deeper into relationship with our youth group students. If you get a chance, please take a moment to pray for wisdom and energy for John.