Exciting Phone Call

12 06 2010

Here is a video for an exciting phone call we had on Thursday.



Why I’m so confident in God

22 02 2010

was driving back from Denver this past week where I had just picked up the feasibility study and business plan in its complete form. As I drove back I realized this meant we have moved from dream to vision to plan and now into provision. I was praying for God to provide the finances for this project in a way that would be obvious it is His provision. I really want to make sure everyone knows God is the one bringing this together and He is incredible. As I prayed I realized I have a great deal of faith He will provide which changed my prayer. I began praying for other people who are praying for this project to also have the same faith I have in His provision. As I did, I reflected on why I feel so comfortable in His provision and here was my answer–Look how many times God already made things happen in this ministry. It reminded me of Elijah and his showdown with all the prophets of Baal. One guy against 450 prophets and Elijah was taunting them about how their god couldn’t do anything. Pretty gutsy for one guy against 450 unless you look at what God already did in Elijah’s life. (You can refresh yourself at 1 Kings 17 & 18 if interested.) So I felt like God was saying I should remind us all about the incredible ways He has been providing over the past 9 years to make this ministry happen so we can move into this provision phase with incredible confidence in our faith in God. So here is the list as I can best remember right now:

1. God clearly spoke to me about pursuing ministry in board sports while I was coaching at a volleyball ministry camp.
2. I only had to mention this desire and both Jenn Luby-Howard and John Wooster were ready to help move this ministry forward.
3. As the ministry grew we felt like we should pursue building an indoor skate park. After looking at the old K-Mart building on 10th street Becca felt like we should pray for a free building. So we did right their in front of that building. One and a half weeks later the owner of our current building called and said he heard we were looking for a building to build a skate park in. We are still in this building with every needed utility and building costs covered since that day.
4. While we were building the ramps we felt like God saying to just build and He would take care of the materials. Three times while building we knew we couldn’t finish the ramp we were working on. While either cutting the last board or putting the last board in the ramp someone pulled up with materials for building. One person purchased materials just feeling God telling him we needed material for the project, one person had left over wood from a project, and one person had wood that had been stored in his garage and he was cleaning out the garage.
5. We sent the dimensions of our building into a professional ramp building company for an estimate. They returned our estimate of needing between $80,000 to $100,000 to build a park that size. We were given a $5000 donation to start. We built and purchased when we needed while John took care of the finances. We built the entire park with out seeking large donations and had $2000 left over when we got done.
6. When talking to a friend about snowboarding he mentioned this carpet you could snowboard on. We spoke about how this would be a good business. Between times seeing this friend I prayed about this snowboarding thing and felt like God saying this would be a great ministry we could use to help kids stay off drugs. The next time I saw this friend he said he felt like God had spoken to him about some of the ways to use a year-round snowboading deal–he felt like God telling him it could be used to keep kids off drugs also.
7. Another week went by after talking to this friend and I had an actual vision of what the inside of the building might look like. When I saw my friend again he said he had the same experience. We started drawing the building and it was the same vision.
8. The first place we pursued land was from Redeemer Lutheran in Fort Collins. They had land they wanted to donate to a ministry that was serving the community. They asked for a proposal of what we would do with the land. I only had one day to get the proposal done by the time I heard about it. I didn’t have time to research some of the stuff they asked for–one being the size of the building. I prayed and asked God to give me the numbers I needed. I felt like the building size should be 150 meters long and 30 meters wide. After turning in the proposal I had time to do some research. Turns out I found a couple snowdomes that were about this same size.
9. During some preliminary presentations I needed some pictures of different snowdomes so people would know what they looked like. The pictures that ended up being used the most both from the inside and outside turned out to be from the same snowdome which turned out to also be 170 meters long by 30 meters wide. (They also have a curve at the top of the run making their straight part of the slope right at 150 meters long.)
10. More research turned up a snowdome operating in a town about the same size as Greeley in Tamworth, UK. This snowdome turned out to be the same snowdome as the one mentioned above.
11. During some time of research I felt like God telling me I needed to get on the internet right away and look for a snowdome business plan to have as an example of what we would need. I was doing something else but I stopped and got on the internet and typed in snowdome business plan. The first link was to meeting notes from a city council meeting where a snowdome was being proposed. A currently operating snowdome was sharing their success as an example of what could be done in this new city. Guess which snowdome this was from–yep the same one yet again.
12. We needed some preliminary drawings for the building at one point. I had just sent a prayer request out and asked people to let me know if they knew anyone who could do the drawings. I found out my email didn’t go out. While I was trying to figure out what went wrong a gentleman came into YFC during our open house coffee shop. Turns out he does architectural drawings and had time on his hands to do the drawings for us–for free.
13. We knew we needed an architect at one point. In one day I had 3 meetings with different people who asked how things were going. I shared the need for an architect and they all suggested the same person. My wife also suggested the same person that night at home. This architect had actually called me that morning for something else and I didn’t know he was an architect. He called me again that night and I got a meeting with him the next day.
14. During that meeting he let me know he had actually worked with a gentleman who develops feasibility and business plans for residual income projects for churches. I got a meeting with this gentleman in just a few minutes.
15. Turns out this gentleman is the same one who prepared the entire feasibility and business plan and also had the connections to the funding sources we are currently connected to.

I know that was a lot to read but thanks for keeping with it. I’m sure other things have happened that I’m not thinking about now but I hope you see enough to be very confident God is showing up in this ministry in incredible ways. Please continue to pray for the financial needs of this project. They seem big to us, but no larger than any of the above mentioned ways God has already moved in this project. Thank you.


8 12 2009

We are very close to having the business plan and feasibility plan done for the snowdome.  We should have it complete and ready to pursue funding in the first month of January.  In doing all our research and putting a 5 year business plan together we have found this vision from God to at least show on paper an incredible direction to move.  Both from the impact we will get to have on our community and from a financial move, the snowdome is looking to be more beneficial than even I thought it would be–and I’m super positive about it.

It looks like January will provide us an opportunity to hit the ground running with this research.  The first preliminary funding talk we have had is with a church financier.  We have given him preliminary numbers from our business plan.  Taking those numbers he has estimated we will be able to get financing for at least half the total project cost if not more.  This is financing we will need to repay, but our business plan is set with the assumption we will need to make payments on the total cost of the entire project so we are very confident this is feasible.  This funding will also give us solid footing when it comes to grants showing we are able to complete a project if a granter gives us a portion of the funding.  This is a major boost to our funding success.  In addition, we have a group of investors from Florida who heard about our project and have been pursuing us to be part of the project as investors.  We also have a few other possible leads to flush out once we have the business plan done.

We also have been asked to enter talks with a church to look at building a second snowdome.  They have land in a great location and would love to have us consider putting a second snowdome on that land.  That will obviously have to wait, but I want to keep the news up-to-date so you know what all is happening.

Please keep praying for our financing as we are getting close to pursuing this portion of the project.  I feel this is the portion of the project most people will begin to be most amazed by God, but I could be wrong about that.  Either way, it will be very amazing as God shows His hand in this piece of the project.

Thank you for journeying with us on this incredible venture.

Love, The Neels

Life is found even in the unexpedted

12 11 2009

I had a thought the other day that both thrilled me and frightened me at the same time.  I was driving out of our neighborhood and praying about the snowdome.  All of the sudden I had this thought I wasn’t sure I wanted to have.  I felt like God saying I could be used by Him as a good example of what incredible life is found in pursuing a project beyond my capabilities–even if that project were to fail.  At first I was glad to think God could use me in any way and how grateful I have been for the true life I’ve experienced in pursuing a project beyond my means.   That was quickly washed away by the last part of the ‘even if it fails’ part.

Whoa God, I’m willing to be used but that seems a bit extreme.  No need even going down the road of even if it fails was my thought.  Even as I write this my chest tightens a bit as my desire is to not fail.  But, the reality is, true failure would be to not allow God to use me.  So I will continue down the road toward a snowdome (which is still going very well and is very much in a spot of absolutely needing God to show up and He keeps doing so) offering myself as a living sacrifice as my holy and pleasing service to God.  And no matter what the outcome from a worldly perspective is, this journey has given me more life than any success I have had that didn’t need God.

I encourage you to pursue life that puts you in positions that make you desperate for God to provide because you will find a much greater joy in life than pursuing projects you can achieve without God showing up.

Love, The Neels

We all benefit

12 11 2009

I was praying about the snowdome this past month and had a pretty strong leading from God about the people that are getting the chance to see this develop.  As I prayed, I felt like their were two groups of people watching what is happening.  The first group are those watching and expecting a failure in this project because it is so large, and the second are those getting involved and expecting God to show up.  I felt like God had something to say for both groups.

The first group of those watching and expecting a failure have a lot to base their feelings on.  I’ll be honest, watching me do this project I would be one of those expecting a failure.  I recognize I can’t do this project any better than I could literally move a mountain.  But here is what I felt like God was saying about this group.  Watching this project will be beneficial for them as they see God at work.  Even when they aren’t expecting God to show up and just waiting for the project to fail, they will be surprised by God in such a way that will change their perspective on the next way God wants to move in their lives.  This will hopefully lead to greater trust in the big things God wants to do in their lives in the future.

Those getting involved and expecting God to show up are in for a much greater experience.  This group is giving the little bit of resources they can provide expecting God will take care of the things they can’t provide.  This group recognizes this project is bigger than they can pull off without God and are still willing to act in faith rather than pull back.  It is this group whose hearts will forever be changed by being a part of God moving in more powerful ways than the world typically sees.

So both groups will get to benefit from this experience, but as always, it is those who get involved who are in for the greater reward of an incredible experience with God.  Thank you for being one of the ones involved as we move forward in this journey.

Looking forward to what God does,

The Neels

The logistics of the snowdome process right now.

12 11 2009

This is an update to just the logistics of what is happening in the snowdome project.  I will also be writing a blog today about the spiritual journey of what is going on in just a bit.  But for now, here is the latest.

We were seeking the funding for the business and feasibility plan.  We now have $10,000 of that paid off which leaves us with a total of $12,500 left to pay.  The great thing with that is our business developer has decided to re-write our contract with him to say we will pay the $1o,ooo now and the $12,500 when we get it.  But he and I have already been working full force on the business and feasibility study.  We have a great deal done and will have it complete by the end of December.  That means we will then be able to start seeking funding for the project.

I can’t reveal the results of our business plan here, but I can tell you it is looking very promising as we have researched the costs and profits and projected them for the first 5 years.  Good news is there, but you would have to talk to me in person to find out what that good news is.

As for the land in Ft. Collins, we are officially not able to get that land.  The building will be too large and make too much money for it to be in that area.  The county officials gave us a very negative report as to the outcome if we were to pursue this project in that area.  The great thing is that two weeks before hearing this news I was praying about the snowdome and heard something else from God.  I felt like God was saying that even if the land in Ft Collins doesn’t work out that it was still His plan because it got the ball rolling.  I told God at that point not to worry about that cause the land was working out–turns out He knew more.  So at this point we are now seeking a couple other options for land that I actually like better.  Nothing affirmative here yet, but one of those spots is the land I originally felt like where we should go, but it was never confirmed in prayer.  We’ll see what ends up happening.

So right now we are in a place of having a great idea that is in desperate need of God showing up for it to be a success.  Finally we are in the exact right spot.  But this leads me to the spiritual aspects of the process which will be in another post.

Thanks for being with us on this journey

Love, The Neels


CAUTION: God at Work. . .keep your eyes open

24 08 2009

As we have been looking at the snowdome and moving forward, our next step is to get the business and feasibility plan secured.  This means acquiring the funds for the professional services to complete this plan.  That comes at a cost of $23,500.

I realize that seems like a lot of money, but let me show why this is an incredibly small cost for the tremendous impact and potential this gives us.  First, we can’t do a project of this size without a professional business and feasibility plan.  So we are essentially a truck with cargo to deliver but we need the key to the truck (the plan.)  We don’t move forward without it.  Second, the facility we are modeling after in Tamworth, UK sees 3,000 people each week and had a financial turnover of $9 million in 2006.  We currently see 1,000 youth a year.  This means we will triple our annual impact in just one week.  In addition, we will have residual income to allow this ministry to move into the next generation leaving a legacy of impact.  Third, I just found out the business and feasibility developer got two grant writers to agree to writting grants for our organization if we get his business plan.  These grant writers won over $30 million in grants for Christian organizations last year alone.  I believe those three reasons express the incredible importance from a business stance why it is so important to pursue this plan.  But the reason we even began to pursue this plan is because we felt like this was the direction God was telling us to go before we knew any of the above reasons.  It was following God into this pursuit when we became aware of the above reasons.  I’m glad that as we have followed God He has made it clear why this is the path He is taking us on.

So where are we?  Well, still trying to secure the funds for this plan.  We have a few fundraisers in the works that we are seeking if that is how God wants us to pay for this.  Also, we know some businesses in the snowboard industry who have expressed interest in being involved.  We could pursue them.  But, as I was praying about the path I should be putting my efforts to, I felt like God was saying to allow the Christian’s to have the first opportunity to be the catylyst to such an enormous impact.  I felt like God saying He will make it happen, but He wants to let Christians have the blessing of being involved first.  So, I have been pursuing that.  At this point we have some potential interest in this area that we are waiting on.  We have presented this opportunity to a couple Christian business people and are waiting on their response.  Please be praying for God to work on the hearts of those who have this opportunity to seek how God wants them to be involved.

On a last note, I had an interesting direction from God as I was praying about this last week.  For the first time I felt like God saying to start praying for the hearts of the people who are to come after we get the business and feasibility plan done.  I love hearing that from God.

Thank you for being on this journey.

Love, The Neels