What. A. Year!
2017 was a crazy, blessed, tiring, wonderful year for the Baird clan. It seemed we all were going in different directions most of the time – at one point we were each on a different continent! – and then, occasionally, we all ended up in the same place at the same time.
Amidst all the craziness, God continued to lead each of us in the areas He has called us to serve in. Michele (Senior Director of Marketing) and I (VP of Global Resources) continue to serve at David C Cook. Taylor continues his studies at Moody Bible Institute. Garret spent a gap year in Australia with PAIS.
Here is a snapshot of our year (written by each of us)…
The Baird’s 2017 Year in Review
6 continents. 14 countries (many multiple times). 160,000 miles. That’s my year in a nutshell.
However, what that travel represents is what’s important. I have the great privilege of leading the Life on Life Project. Essentially, this is a set of resources designed to serve vulnerable and at-risk kids around the world (mostly in developing countries). We partner with ministries and denominations in these countries and work together to contextualize the resources to serve their children specifically. We are currently serving somewhere around 13 million children through our partners in about 30 countries around the world (hence all the travel!). I love what I do, not only because I get to meet some amazing people all over the world, but I work with an amazing team both here in Colorado Springs and overseas.
Aside from traveling the world for work, I continue to be as available as possible to speak at Children’s & Family Ministry conferences (4 this year), write at ChildrensMinistryLeader.com, and putter around the 5 acres that I love to come home to.
Speaking of the property, one big event for our entire family was having Michele’s mother join us in Colorado Springs. We are building a fully enclosed apartment (added on to our detached garage) for her, which we hope will be completed by the end of January.
All in all, 2017 was a terrific year, both challenging and fulfilling. I am thankful to do what I do, for the team that I do it with, for a family that loves God and is thriving, and for so many other blessings that I could not even begin to include in this update.
It feels as if this year went at Light Speed! As Greg and I ventured into ’empty nest’ mode, we found ourselves busier than ever. With Taylor at MBI and Garret finally off to serve with PAIS in Australia for the year, I seized the opportunity to do some travel of my own!
In February, I had the amazing privilege of going on a donor trip with David C Cook (and, of course, Greg, too) to Kenya and Tanzania.
In April, I ‘insisted’ on joining Greg at a conference he was speaking at in Paris, France, preceded by a stop in Germany to visit friends and celebrate Easter.
By July we all needed to see Garret so my Mom joined Taylor, Greg and I as we flew down under for two glorious weeks exploring Australia! This even included a stay in Tasmania where Greg grew up.
We no sooner got home when Garret started talking about what it might look like if I was able to join him in New Zealand before he headed back to the States in December. Of course, I said YES and made plans for my mom, Garret and I to meet up in Auckland and do a quick ‘taste of New Zealand’ trip.
Yes – it has been quite a year! I did manage to work in between all my trips 🙂 and now serve as a Senior Marketing Director at David C Cook. As we end this year and I reflect on 2017, I realize once again how grateful I am for FAITH, family, and friends. Happy New Year Blessings to all!
I am now in my third year at Moody Bible Institute. I am still loving it, and I am learning a ton—but perhaps more than that I am also learning how to continue learning the rest of my life: how to study for myself, how to think biblically and critically, and how to communicate my thoughts simply and richly.
Chicago life suits me quite well. Quite simply, I love this city. So rich and beautiful, but also dead and hurting in many ways. Just like every other place and every other person on earth, it needs the gospel. The people I have come to know and love are too many to name and describe here, but please be praying for this beautiful city and its many, many, many inhabitants!
This coming summer I will be in Taiwan through the church planting movement WorldVenture. A church in the southernmost city has asked me to come and work with the youth and young adults throughout the week and on Sunday mornings. I will be teaching, preaching, and engaging with young people both in the church and on the streets for six weeks. And God willing, I will be able to visit a few other countries in Southeast Asia. I look forward to seeing what God does.
2017 has been a big year. In 2016 I had decided to take a gap year out of high school to do missions. I applied for the Pais Program and soon found out that the whole of 2017 I would be in Australia working alongside a church in Brisbane. By the end of January 2017 I had arrived in Australia, and began my new experience.
The year consisted of working alongside a youth pastor at a church called Whitehill Church of Christ. Me and three other Pais members helped run youth nights on Fridays. During the week we spent our time studying the Word as a team with a study method known as Haverim, as well as planning weekend services with our pastor.
Along with the church ministry, Pais also works closely with local middle and high schools. As a team, we would visit three different schools, the same three every week, and run breakfast and lunch clubs, as well as after school programs for the students. The goal in this was to provide the school students and the church some sort of connection where there would not have been before. Our hope was to love and care for them so they would want to come and join our youth groups and Sunday services.
Finally, the Pais Program is big on discipleship and mentoring. Throughout the year I had some youth boys who I intentionally mentored and discipled. Week by week I would meet up and hang out with these boys, just “doing life” with them and showing them what it means to follow Jesus in our every day lives.
Of all I did in 2017, the experiences and growth in faith is what I will remember most, and I thank God for the opportunity to serve His will. As I begin 2018, I look forward to serving as the Monument campus Youth Ministry Director for Woodmen Valley Chapel (beginning January 2nd). I will also be exploring my next steps for school and look forward to continuing my education soon.
For those of you that pray for us, encourage us, and walk along side us, thank you! We are blessed by each of you and cherish both family and friends in this journey called life.
May 2018 be a blessed year for you and your family.