Friday, October 30, 2015

A Note From The Director

“The preacher man says it’s the end of time and the Mississippi—she’s a goin’ day. Interest is up and the stock market is down, and you only got mugged if you go downtown. I live back in the woods, you see. Just the woman, the kids, the dog and me.” Those lyrics are from Hank Williams Jr. a “Country Boy Can Survive.” During my high school football career, this song played every day as we suited up for practice. While I was far from a country boy (I prefer concrete and no bugs), that mentality and culture of doing it on your own is what I have tried to instill in the youth we serve. This past summer, we had 21 youth not just working to work, but earning money to help support the ministry. Then, something happened.
In late August, school started and my work force was cut by 75%. (Most of my boys are starting players for the Beaver Falls High School Football Team—the one that has buzzed sawed through most of the section so far. We are comin’ for ya, Quip!) Then, something worse happened. The State of PA legislature decided not to pass a budget, leaving us unpaid for over $100,000 for services we have already provided. Finally, an even worse situation occurred—politicians started talking. Here’s my struggle:
Pennsylvania currently ranks fourth in the nation in total revenues. (i.e. 4th highest taxes in the land) For grades K-12, our state is ranked 11th in per student spending and 7th nationally in the quality of education provided to its students with an 84% graduation rate. So, why would we need to stall the passing of the state budget in order to include more education funding at the state level? Instead, why aren’t they using more of the money earned by the multiplicity of fracking operations in the commonwealth—a veritable endless source of revenue? “Calling it your job don’t make it right, boss.”
Regardless, now I have to change my song. “Now I heard a cryin’ man is half a man with no sense of pride. But if I have to cry to keep you, I don’t mind weepin’ if it’ll keep you by my side.” If the Temptations were willing to sleep on a doorstep all night long, so am I.
I believe in this ministry and I believe in the people who work for this ministry. And I know that long after all the politicians reach their term limits, this ministry will still be here because it is built on the Word of God. So, I’m begging the people of God to help support the ministry at an even greater level during this critical time. Please know that I’m not asking for myself as, just last week, I cashed out my retirement and donated it to Tiger Pause so I won’t be a burden to you or the ministry. I want everyone to know that I’m all in. The Lord has blessed me with energy and the ability to work a second job. So, Matt Nance and his immediate family will not be hungry, unsheltered, or naked. But my Tiger Pause family needs you to, at least, pray. While some will wait on man, we will wait on the Lord so that everyone’s song will be Psalm 65:
Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.
Football, politicians, religion, and Cool Hand Luke. This will be an October to remember!
Semper Fi,
Matt Nance

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mission Trip to Costa Rica

"What I loved most about my trip to Costa Rica was seeing how friendly and happy the Costa Rican people were everywhere. I also loved trying all of the new foods. It was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to go to Costa Rica!"
- Ayanna Taylor (10th grade), Tiger Pause Work Program Employee

I will piggyback off of Ayanna’s comment; it was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to spread God’s love in Costa Rica! Along with the opportunity to minister to those in Costa Rica, I personally loved being involved in such a life changing experience with the young Tiger Pause girls, staff, and volunteers.  We bonded, worked together, and opened up our own lives to each other during our times ministering, working, and during our morning devotions.   It was incredible to see how the experience affected each person in our group in such a positive way.  

"What we saw in Costa Rica was restraint in the areas of food, clothing, cars, pleasures, appliances, things, and just stuff in general. They have everything, but they don’t have too much. Of course, in the slums and in the very poor areas, they have very little. I learned so much in Costa Rica in eight short days. My most memorable and humbling moment was at a Wednesday night prayer meeting where a young man prayed for “those who have nothing to eat tonight.” I cannot remember ever hearing or giving that kind of prayer request in all the years I’ve been a Christian. I, too, have almost forgotten the truly needy in the world."
- Fran Karczewski, Tiger Pause Volunteer 

“Joy” would be the word I would use to capture the essence of our trip. It may seem an odd choice of words when you consider some of the experiences we had. For example, in La Carpio, one of the poorest slums in Costa Rica, we walked through the community visiting homes and families who lived in structures made of tin walls and boards. In these homes, we would sit with families and pray with them. The following day we invited the families and their children to a street carnival. Our team was taken aback by how joyful and welcoming these families were to us. With what seems to be so little, the families were still joyful. Then, during our time in Glorioso Dia Boy's Home, we helped paint, sand benches, and clean. It was definitely the young girls’ favorite day. (Could it possibly be because we spent the day with young teenage boys?) Besides the girls’ attraction to the boys, they loved our time at Glorioso Dia because they were so impacted by the joy the orphaned young men showed in the simplicity of life. Laughs were endless as we played soccer and threw water balloons into the late afternoon hours.

As a team, we reflected on joy and what we consider joy to be.  Many link their happiness and joy to prosperity, but as believers, we should find joy in the Lord. “Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy. Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon.” (Philippians 4:4-5)  On our trip, we saw this joy exemplified in people who had very little.  While we went to Costa Rica with the full intention of witnessing and spreading the word of the Lord to others, the Lord spoke to us through everyone we met there.

Thank you to everyone who generously donated toward our trip! All our lives were impacted to the glory of God and we pray that He used us to plant seeds of His goodness with the joyful people of Costa Rica as well.


Erica Duffy
Tiger Pause Program Coordinator

Friday, August 21, 2015

A View from The Corner

Recently, when reading the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, I wondered if the sowers ever got discouraged as they put their talents to work for their master. Did they ever wonder if the daily grind of their efforts would produce what their master intended? Sometimes when I hear the stories of all the exciting things happening at our various programs—how children are being saved at a recent Bible study or how young men and women are being mentored in life and work skills—I wonder if my “talents” will produce what God intended. When I sit at my desk with mounds of paperwork taunting me, I can get discouraged, not truly feeling a part of the ministry work being done. Fortunately, God is faithful with timely reminders that He is at work in and through our faithfulness to put our talents to work. My reminder came during the Summer Camp Concert.
As I watched and listened to these young lives proclaim God’s goodness and love, I was encouraged. While I may not have been a camp counselor with a direct voice into their lives, I rejoiced in the opportunity to facilitate those who did. I may not have been given the talent of working with children, but I can put the administrative talents God has given me to support those who do. In Jesus’s parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the master expected a return on what each was given. For each servant who was faithful to put their talents to work for their master, he praised and rewarded them in accordance with what they were given. He did not hold them to account for others’ talents, only their own.
As I watched the children sing, I got an overwhelming sense of how much God values each one of them and I felt honored to be a small part of their lives, even if it is in the background. As a donor, please don’t ever devalue your contribution to Tiger Pause and the work God is doing through your prayers and support. I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Galatians: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9)
We thank you for your faithfulness from your “corner” in support of the work God is doing in the lives of the children at Tiger Pause. The truth of God’s love and redemption is being sown into their lives through the faithfulness of all of us putting our talents to work!

Kelly Hammerle
Office Manager

A Note from The Director

What better way to end a successful summer than with a little road trip with the boys. No matter how many times I do it, the experience of watching young men see the ocean for the first time in their lives always recharges and refreshes my spirit. Maybe because it’s awesome to see them take in God’s creation or maybe because the comradery of a trip like this reminds me of the Marine Corps. Most likely, it’s because it gives a chance for old guys to act like teenagers again as we run into waves, try to body surf, and see who will swim out the farthest. This trip was especially nice because it was my son Samuel’s first road trip with the boys and the first time he ever saw the ocean. Words cannot express the joy we both shared in two completely different ways.

On this trip, I was also joined by Rev. Bryan Crawl, Mr. Dan Duffy, Chez Anderson, and, the newest edition to our Eye of the Tiger staff, Caleb Musselman, who comes to us through Christian Coalition Outreach (CCO). After three days of exhausting work, we met on Wednesday at 9pm to start our adventure. With no incidents and not even a whine or cry from our four year-old, we arrived at 6am in Ocean City, Maryland. By 6:05am, Samuel was in a bathing suit and hitting the water. The rest of the boys needed some time, so they hit the basketball court. But, by lunchtime, all of our Beaver Falls contingency with one Fombell dude were trying to be the next soul surfer. By dinner, everyone was spent and gearing up for the long drive home. It was then that I really started to appreciate what God was doing.

As you can imagine, we are a scene everywhere we go. Not only do we have larger boys, we have a very diversified look. I couldn't get through dinner without at least 10 people telling me what nice young men I have and asking me if we were a family. “Yes,” I said. “These are my sons, especially this little one right here.” And off we went into the night for that long ride back home.

Friday morning at 4am, everyone was home—just in time to turn around and work at a moving job and clean out two houses at 7am. The boys learned that if you’re going to hoot with the owls at night, you  better be prepared to soar with the eagles in the morning. No complaining, they just went and got it done.

I felt the impact of our trip again when Rev. Crawl sent me this picture of him and Samuel (below). No matter what the paper may write, no matter what I do from here to eternity, my legacy has been sealed. I don’t care much for flags but I like what is written in Isaiah 49:22: “Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.”
Those that hope in the Lord will never be disappointed!

Semper Fi,

Matt Nance

Friday, July 10, 2015

Digging Up Roots of Bitterness

“And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: “I will not put you to death by the sword.” But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his grey head down to the grave in blood.” 1 Kings 2:8-9

When I was a young man, we had a hillside with hundreds of honey locust trees the kind with the long, thick thorns. Whenever I was in trouble or wanted to earn money, my parents would send me out to clear them out. I have very vivid memories of that hillside. It is where, after a branch hit me in the hand, I first remember cursing at my mother and her cursing me right back saying that she hoped I would have triplet daughters. As you may know, she lives with us and I have one wonderful daughter and three boys. Sometimes I remind her of those days with the hillside when I ask her to do chores like put branches in the burn pile. When I would work to clear that old hillside, she would not let me cut corners like chopping the thorn bushes at the ground—trying to make a quick buck. “No!” she said, “Roots and all!”

Now, to get out all those roots that traveled all throughout that wonderful Pennsylvania clay, you had to get your hands dirty—clearing with your fingers those stones the pick-axe couldn’t in order to expose the root and chop it off. I got $2.50 for regular trees and $5.00 for big ones. Big ones sometimes took two or three days to dig out. I had a lot of blisters which, over time, turned in to calloused hands and scars which remind me of that hillside every time I lift or dig.  Rocking a stump back and forth until hearing the crack of the root which went straight down into the earth gave me a sense of accomplishment. Now, at 40 years-old, I enjoy that same feeling as I come alongside our young workers as we lift and move heavy items. It is then I realize that God had me on that hillside and, as reflected in the verses above, is why these young men are with me now on a different hillside.

David, a man after God’s own heart, with all his ups and downs, spoke only of bitterness with his last breaths. Despite all his successes, fortune, and with beautiful, young women to keep him company, his mind was on who did him wrong. Most of these young men and women have someone closer than a heckler who has done them wrong. Yet, because of your help and support, we have offered them another summer of opportunity to show them how to dig up that root of bitterness and avoid it becoming wrath. Because, with God’s equipping and your help, James 1:20-22 is what we’re trying to accomplish in our town.

“Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:20-22

Semper Fi,
Matt Nance

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer of Stories

“So that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.”
2Timothy 3:17

Our verse this summer comes from a letter from Paul warning Timothy about the evil in the world and the hard times that Timothy would inevitably face throughout his life. In this letter, Paul encourages Timothy to continue to follow what he knows is true. 

This summer we are going to be teaching our campers the parables that Jesus taught throughout the Bible. Each week we will focus on a different parable and learn ways to apply Jesus’s lessons to our own lives. We want to equip our campers with the knowledge of how we should live our lives so that we can spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven. Life is always going to throw difficult situations and circumstances our way and our hope is to provide our campers with a foundational knowledge of Christ which they can lean and depend upon throughout their lives. Therefore, we thought 2Timothy 3:17 verse was a perfect fit for our summer verse.

I am over the moon excited for Summer Camp 2015 to begin. We have an amazing staff who all come from different walks of life and will be able to share their life experiences and skills with our campers this summer. I look forward to seeing the counselors invest in the campers’ lives and seeing how God works in the lives of all who are a part of summer camp. 

We have so many things to look forward to this summer including swimming at the Ellwood City pool, park days, gymnastic lessons, rope course challenges, field trips, and community service projects.    As we partake on this year’s summer adventure, please continue to pray for our safety and that we are able to plant seeds of God’s truth in our campers!

Erica Duffy
Summer Camp Program Coordinator

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Proclamation of Truth

One of the activities that gives me the most joy is watching the Andy Griffith Show with my daughter, Morgan. It could be because she cuddles right up to me and her head fits on my shoulder just right. It also could be because I can drift off to sleep and not have to worry about inappropriate content being shown which I would have to explain to an 11 year-old. Maybe it’s because Don Knotts, who was a Marine drill instructor, is anything but a drill instructor as Barney Fife.  (He does have nice pant creases!) It could also be that Opie reminds me of my son, Samuel. (Godzilla reminds me of my baby, Caleb.) But more than not, it is probably because Andy Taylor doesn’t wear a gun and uses his wits to catch criminals, swat the mayor’s decisions, or just ruffle some old bird’s feathers.

For a retired brawler like me, there is great admiration for a man who can do that. For the Christ-like example I want to be, that’s a great challenge for which only His strength can lead me. If you watch closely, Andy doesn’t use admonition to square off with Opie, Otis or any of the rebellious bad guys that wander into town. He doesn’t use accommodation with the politically correct mayor, the liberal women activists, or the groovy band that pulls down main street. Instead, he uses proclamation of truth to change perspectives, give insight, and keep his town safe. What a novel idea! Officers of the law, justices of peace, using truth to protect and serve. The general who picks the battlefield usually wins the war.

Speaking of proclaiming truth, we had a great opportunity to proclaim truth on the streets of Beaver Falls with our 3rd annual Rumble in the Jungle event. It was a wonderful day beginning with a prayer walk around the Beaver Falls schools and Steffin Hill Presbyterian Church camped out offering “Prayer on the Corner.” We continued with wholesome and enjoyable enterainment by Noa Jordan leading up to our Splash Pad dedication. After years of work, Seth’s Showers Splash Pad fountain park was dedicated to the Lord in honor of Dr. Jack White and in memory of William R. Duffy with prayer. We look forward to how this special park can be a blessing to our area.

Our proclamations of truth continued with our featured event—the Rumble in the Jungle Extreme Obstacle Challenge. Participants conquered difficult obstacles—each marked with a scripture reference and exhortation. We are thankful for all who attended, participated, and volunteered. We are especially thankful for the opportunity to glorify God and all He does with Tiger Pause and in our community. Let the proclamations continue!

Semper Fi,

Matt Nance