The REAL reason Thrive Church is moving to Central Michigan University…it may surprise you.

So, Thrive Church is moving! We just announced that! It’s a very exciting time in the history of our Church!!screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-9-38-03-am We’re a portable church. That means, our dedicated
volunteers roll up to a rented movie theater on Sunday mornings, unload and set up. Then, we tear down and the trailers roll away.

In a perfect world, we would find a home of our own. We’re just not at a place financially where we can do that. To either buy land or purchase an old building and renovate.

We were having some significant talks with a possible home, but in the end, we just couldn’t afford it. That’s ok, God provided an amazing space!

That’s why we turned our attention to CMU. But, here’s the deal, here’s why Thrive is really moving to Central Michigan University. Here’s the real reason:

We’re moving for our Kids and future Kids! 

Yeah, no really! Even though the auditorium will be a GREAT place to help people find and follow Jesus, we’re doing it provide an AMAZING space for kids! We believe children are close to the heart of God and because they matter
to God, they should matter to us.
So, we want to have the BEST kids environment we possibly can for our kids at Thrive Church!

That’s the REAL reason! 

Many children ministries across the nation have the tag line…’the best hour of your kids week’.

Here’s the deal. I agree with that. That’s why we’re moving. That’s why we’re raising funds. That’s why we’re others to help us.

BUT…in the long run, we really want the best hour of a kids week to be with their parents! That’s why at Thrive, we encourage and teach that parents are the primary spiritual influencer and the church is number two. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to provide the best environment we possibly can. kids-space

A Field house becomes a GREAT environment for K-5th! 

We’re going to be able to use a giant field house at CMU and its so incredibly exciting to think about how awesome our kids environment will be!

We already have amazing volunteers.

We already have an amazing Thrive Kidz staff team.

Now we have the space.

The only thing we still need is the equipment to make it happen! 

Things like…Portable Walls, Carts for the Portable Walls, Pipe and Drape, A portable stage, Carpets, Mats, Bean Bag Chairs, Toys, Slides, Play things, Tables, Chairs, a Sound System, Computers, Check in Stations, Printers and Banners.

I would be honored if you would pray and ask God if He’s calling you to help us.

If you have any questions, email me directly at jason.raitz@thrivechurchmi.cc.

If you want to give towards this endeavor, you can HERE.

If you’re a Church leader and want to donate equipment, email me at jason.raitz@thrivechurchmi.cc.

We used this space at Easter last year and this is what we were able to do with it back then.

Just imagine the possibilities of an environment where kids are loved, taught about Jesus and have a blast all at the same time!

easter-three

 

 

HUGE EXCITING NEWS and a QUESTION! Thrive Church is Moving to Central Michigan University’s Campus!! Would you HELP US?

You read that right, Thrive Church is moving!!IMG_1810

YES, YES and more YES!

We have been praying about this for over a year! Seeking God! We have been searching and searching for a new home.

Central Michigan University said YES!! 

Currently we rent a movie theater (Celebration Cinema) and its been awesome! But, with our Church growing and movie theaters really not being designed for kids ministry, we decided more than a year ago, it was time to find a new Sunday morning home! We’re sad because we love the theater, but its time!

We’ve asked our local school district if we could rent any of their buildings. They said NO, a little more NO and then a lot more NO. I’m not bitter though. Hah!

We’ve asked a few open buildings in town and they said no.

Then, we went to Central Michigan University! We’ve used CMU before (for Easter and Christmas Eve), yeah, it was awesome!

easter

CMU Said YES!!!!! 

CMU said we could move as early as March 12th! But,  we need to raise some additional funds to purchase the equipment we would need to turn part of a college campus into Thrive Church!

How exciting is that? Just think of the amazing possibilities? We can have a much better chance to reach the 18,000 College Students on campus! And, our Kids Ministry environments will be a MILLION times better and that will give us a better chance to reach families!

There are 80,000 people in Central Michigan without a Church Home! This move is needed because it will give us a greater chance to reach them!

Would you help us?

We need to raise $50,000! Or, have the items below donated! Sometimes I read that number and a wave of shock goes through my body, but then I read through God’s eyes and I know its not all that massive to Him! kids-space

Why $50,000? 

CMU is an exponentially larger space than what we use now! So, the majority of this expense is purchasing Kids Ministry equipment to turn a field house into an amazing Kids Ministry environment!

We need things like:

  • Portable Walls, Portable Carts to hold those walls
  • Another Trailer
  • Carpets and Mats
  • Portable Tents and Portable Fencing
  • Check in Stations, Computers and Printers
  • (4) Stage decks for the Kids Ministry Large Group Stage
  • (2) 55 inch TV’s and Portable Cases for the Kids Ministry Large Group Area
  • Toys, slides, climbers, bean bag chairs
  • Bibles and Supplies
  • Signs for Kids ministry
  • Signs for campus to direct traffic
  • Portable Sound System
  • Lots of Pipe and Drape
  • Drum Set, Keyboard
  • 40 inch TV on a stand
  • Cables, chords and more of that kind of stuff
  • Microphones, Lightings, Stands
  • Monitors

So, Would you help us?

You can give financially to this endeavor HERE. Just select CMU Fund.

You can email any questions to jason.raitz@thrivechurchmi.cc

If your Church would like to donate equipment, we will come and pick it up!!! Just let us know!

Thank you for considering. 

Thrive launched on October 6, 2013 and in that time 172 have gone public with their faith in baptism.

God has just showed up time and time again. But, the reality is, we just can’t make this move without you.

 

Hey Thrive…10 Ways to make this Sunday Off the Charts AHMAZING!

 
OH MY GOODNESS…SUNDAY IS ALMOST HERE!!!!

10 Ways you can make Sunday off the charts AMAZING

1. PLEASE don’t miss this Sunday!! You know, there are 4-6 Sunday’s a year where we plan for longer, invest greater and pray bigger. This is one of those Sundays!! So many amazing things going on!
 
2. Take 5 minutes and send 3 facebook messages or texts to friends about coming this Sunday! Please share info about it on your page. Please like the Thrive Church MI Facebook stuff about this Sunday! Let’s spread the word!
 
3. Would you head to Stadia on facebook and like their post about this Sunday at Thrive? It’s awesome that Stadia believes in us.
 
4. Would you pray like crazy for this Sunday? Pray for 50 new volunteers, 50 new givers. Pray for kids lives to be freed from poverty!! Pray for people to find and follow Jesus! Pray for healing for broken people! img_4907
 
5. BE EARLY! Like 30 minutes early! Come on, please. Don’t miss the CMU Jazz band. Cheer for them and clap!
 
**Be in theater one 3 minutes before it starts!! Don’t miss all the hard work the band has put in on the opening song!
 
6. Come hungry. We’re grilling! 
 
7. Wear your favorite team’s jersey. Dress your kids like super heros.fullsizerender
 
8. Sit up front, and move to the center of aisles please 🙂 Make room for guests!! Clap, sing, cheer and laugh!!
 
9. If you knew how honored I feel and how special it is for Greg Nettle and his daughter, Tabitha to be coming, wow!! Greg is a mentor and friend and this leader is the real deal! Please don’t miss him!! Say hi! Stadia, the organization he leads has been so awesome to Thrive!!
 
10. Sponsor a child! Sponsor two! We can all sacrifice! $38 bucks is all it takes and you will FREE a life from poverty! LET’s DO THIS THRIVE!!!
Check out this link for more information!
 
I LOVE YOU! I’m proud of you!
 
Jason Raitz
 
PS…Some of you have asked about giving to help with the move to CMU! That’s awesome! If just 300 of us gave an extra $166, we would have all we need to make the environments amazing! You should have received some info in the mail about this, if not, let me know!

A Beautiful Post by my wife about Winona’s Death, Moving Forward and the miracle of Kai’s Adoption.

Today is a bittersweet day for me. A year ago we were plowing through the adoption paperwork and checklists to bring Winona Mae home. We had a crib, stroller and had just bought paint for her room and had planned to paint over the weekend! Things were moving forward and we couldn’t wait to hold her in our arms!IMG_3316

The afternoon of 2/1/16 I had emailed our case worker a question about some paperwork and she replied right away with ‘are you home? Can you call me?’ I wasn’t too worried since I had requested a PHE level update on Winona and thought she wanted to give those to me. What she would tell me instead was something I never expected and still today hurts to think about. Winona had passed away…all we know is a virus was going through her orphanage and her little body just couldn’t fight it off. I was in shock, I was pacing the street in front of our house talking to our caseworker and wondering how I was going to go inside and tell the kids? When I hung up with our caseworker I called Jay and told him. We didn’t talk too much cause we were both in tears. Going in the house to tell the kids after talking to Jay was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

That night we were surrounded by friends and family who grieved with us, sat with us and held us while we cried.

The next few weeks were a blur as we tried to process the news. We questioned moving forward with the adoption process…how could we without Winona? How would we even begin to choose another child? Did we even want to move forward? Should we wait a few months, a year or stop altogether?

After praying and talking about it we decided to move forward with the home study and see what happened.

Fast forward a couple weeks and the picture of a little boy who also had PKU was sent to me by a fellow adopt parent who was adopting from his orphanage. We felt a connection to him but he was with a different placing agency and at the place we were at we didn’t feel called to switch agencies. Again we questioned the journey we were on but still felt God telling us to move forward and trust him. 邹宏凯+(1)We looked at other files of kids with our agency but neither of us felt really called to any of them (they were all precious and needing a forever family, we just knew we weren’t theirs). I was just about ready to call it quits cause it was getting to hard emotionally when I received an email and FB message late on a Saturday night from our case worker saying she had a file of a little boy on a 72 hour hold for us if we wanted to review his file. I opened the email and there was the picture of the little boy we both felt a connection to earlier! Everyone else was asleep but all I could do was look over the pictures attached to his file and smile!

The little boy in the file and pictures was Kai! The next day after a long Sunday (we had Thrive, then family over for Bek’s birthday) I emailed our case worker our LOI (letter of intent) for Kai to be sent to China. A couple weeks later we received our PA (pre-approval), and as you all know almost 2 weeks ago we brought him home!

When I think back to the beginning of our journey and how we almost quit when Winona passed away I get sad thinking of the love, joy and happiness we would have missed out on with Kai had we not listened to God’s voice and moved forward even though it hurt! Even though we wanted to stop cause it was too hard and we couldn’t see the end!

I am so glad we were obedient and faithful through the hurt and pain and and so thankful for Kai and for the love and joy he has already brought to our family in just the short amount of time we have known him!

I am excited to see what God has in store for this little boy who has captured our hearts! We still grieve not getting to hold Winona by know she is free of sickness and pain in heaven and will one day meet her! She will always hold a part of our hearts and will forever be a part of our journey to Kai!

img_3907

The CHURCH made Kai’s Adoption a Reality

How about that for a headline!?! 

That’s the reality though, without the local CHURCH, Kai’s adoption would not have happened. 

Tracie and I weren’t in a position to afford this adoption on our own. Maybe that should have stopped us from pursuing it. It has stopped many. A few people expressed that opinion to us. Well, not face to face but on Facebook and to others. But, as we prayed about it, we just felt God’s overwhelming push to move forward and to ask the CHURCH to help. So, we did. We did it on Facebook. We did it through emails. We did it on my blog. We did it Face to face. 

And…the CHURCH DID!!!! 

Here’s what I mean by that. Not one Church is responsible for Kai’s adoption or one person or one family, but MANY. 

We had 6 year olds give $5. We had teenagers give. We had families give $20. We had some who gave thousands. We had people give from Central Michigan, the Detroit Area, Grand Rapids and up north. From…PA, IND, VA, CA, CO, NV, TX, LA, NY, OH, IL, WI, WA, FL, TN, KY, DC and some I’m forgetting about. 

But, Kai’s adoption couldn’t have happened without every one of those gifts. 

And, how about this…

99% of the people that gave were followers of Jesus. 

You know why? Because generosity is close to the heart of God! I mean, HE Gave HIS Son for us! Jesus gave everything! The Acts 2 Church gave to support each other. We, as the Church, are called to give! I believe we’re called to give first to God through the Local Church and then to give as God leads us to give. 

I love what Todd Clark said about generosity…

‘Generosity will make you rich not poor’

I have found that to be 100% true in my life. Embarrassingly enough, I fought this for years. I didn’t give because I thought that because I made hardly anything working for the church and because I gave so much time to the Church, that that was the same as giving financially. I was wrong. Dead wrong. There is a very strong and compelling reason that Jesus said your treasure is where your heart is. He knew that we struggle like crazy to Trust Him and He wants our heart. If we can’t put our finances ahead of our heart, we won’t experience all He has for us. 

I can honestly say that is true. I have experienced that. When you make generosity so common in life, like breathing, and you do that over time, whether times are good or bad, one day…

You will wake up and experience a waterfall of the Holy Spirits presence in your life. I have. It’s amazing. 

THE CHURCH MADE KAI’S ADOPTION A REALITY! 

And, actual Churches made Kai’s adoption a reality. This just completely blows my mind! It’s still had to wrap my mind around!

3 Churches, who really don’t know my family or I all that well (I mean, I have a friendship with their Pastors) took offerings to help us! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?? So, we will always be in awe and so grateful to 242 Community Church in MI, New Bethel Church in IN and Canvas Church in VA. 

Then, Thrive Church in CA, who knows more of me and my Church because we’re in the same network of Churches, received an offering as well. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

Also, the night before we left, I asked some folks from my Church to gather and pray for us. And they did! And, they threw us a surprise shower to help with Kai’s clothes and toys and toddler stuff! 

THE CHURCH IS AWESOME!!!

The Church is responsible for this adoption. Of all the complaining and whining I read about the CHURCH, I’m sorry if I can’t join in! I love the LOCAL CHURCH! She is the bride of Christ. The local Church, when working right, is the Hope of the World. The Church preaches the Gospel. The Church gives people a home. The Church allows the generations to come together. The Church is a movement! The Church is the hands and feet of Jesus! The Church is the LIGHT to this dark world. 

That’s why it just shocks me that Christians have become so apatathic towards their Churches. But, that’s for another blog post. 

Here’s what I know…

A boy who didn’t have a family, now has one. A boy who didn’t have a Church home, now has one. A boy who wasn’t going recieve the level of medical care his PKU needed, will receive one. A boy who slep in a crip with 12 other kids, will now have 4 siblings. A boy on the other side of the world, one of the 17 million orphans in the world, now has a home. 

The Church did that! 

I love the Church. 

‘Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you’ ~ James 1:27

Kai and his mama

I have been up since 3am. My friends on WeChat can attest to that. 

My mind has been racing. I was praying. Then the time came. 

It was time to officially get up. Get ready. Pray. Meet our guide. 

We got to the lobby and waited. Then our guide came. He drove us to the civil affairs office. 

We waited. We filled out some forms. We waited. 

Then the time came. Before I knew it Hong Kai was through the doors. Walking and checking everything out. 

I stood back a little and I watched he and Tracie meet. 

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life

He didn’t cry. He went into her arms. I wonder if that’s because hundreds of people were praying for that moment? 

We played for awhile in the office. We met with nanny and talked about his diet. Tracie is somewhat of a PKU expert, so that’s good. 

We took a family photo and then we left. That was it. We head back tomorrow for the official ceremony. 

The moment I lost it was when…

Kai called Tracie mama. Yup, losing it all over. 

A little of Kai’s story…And how we’re going to get him as soon as we get our Travel Dates

This is as much as we know about Kai’s story. What I do know is this…his story is about to inter twine with our stories and I can’t wait for our new story. img_1729

Kai was abandoned

At 6pm on June 19, 2014, the Police received a call by a citizen who said there was an unattended male infant at the Railway Station. The police rushed to the site quickly after getting the call. The policemen did a lot of search but failed to find his birth parents or other relatives.

He was confirmed as an abandoned baby, and was sent to the Child and Welfare Institute that day. He wore a white shivering unlined clothes and was wrapped with a pink quilt.

As the Doctor was examining him, he determined that the baby boy was about 5 months old and officially recorded his birthday as January 19, 2014. He was 4.4 kg or 9.7 pounds when he was abandoned, had heart murmurs, couldn’t hold his head up or couldn’t roll over. They ran a series of tests and a week later they found out he had phenylketonuria or PKU for short. Thankfully, his caretakers started him on a low protein diet with a medical formula. We don’t know if his birth parents knew about his PKU and most likely he was off diet for those 5 months.

He loved to be held by his caretakers and he could follow them with his eyes. He especially loved when they would tease him or give him baths.

What’s he like now?

Recently, his adoption agency answered a few questions for us about Kai. He still uses a bottle and he loves his caretaker. He currently weighs 29 pounds and is not potty trained.

We’re told Kai is sensitive and relatively timid. In front of familiar people, he’s more lively. He does have a few simple words, but that’s it. And, we know he loves to play outside.

When do we get to bring him home?

We still don’t know. Ugh! Everything is done. Every form has been completed and approved. Oh, except our Visa’s, which we should have by the end of the week.

So, we are just waiting for China to give us our Travel Window. Once they do, we do not have long to book our flights and plan our ‘Gotcha’ Day.

We do that we will leave Detroit on a Friday morning and we will arrive in Shanghai on Saturday evening. We will then take a train to Nanjing. We will spend 3-5 days there and then we will fly to Guangzhou where the US Consulate is located. We will spend another 4-5 days there where we will patiently wait for every thing to be completed. Then, we will drive down to Hong Kong and fly home!

Whew! We can’t wait to meet him and to bring him home!

Thanks for praying!

Thanks for sharing our YouCaring website on your Facebook page: https://www.youcaring.com/kai-551468

Thanks for praying!