Monthly Archives: April 2016

From Watermelons to Witnessing – #nwamembermondays

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Our Watermelon Family is diverse, yet unified in mission and purpose. Nevertheless, there are times when a greater call redirects our path and we must respond. Jonathan Mayhue, of H. C. Schmieding Produce, and his wife, have heard such a call on their hearts and plan to answer as soon as the watermelon season comes to a close.

The call to the international mission field came to approximately two years ago for Jon and Amanda Mayhue. While Jonathon was studying Missiology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and diving into the Great Commission given by Jesus in the book of Matthew Chapter 28, he and Amanda began seeking exactly where the Lord would have them go to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through a series of divine events the answer to that question would be Stockholm, Sweden.

They are honored and excited share the call God has placed on their hearts with their Watermelon Family. The Mayhue family, including their two boys, Magnus (age 6) and Atticus (age 4), plan to make the move to the Stockholm area by Fall 2016. Jon plans to continue in sales at Schmieding Produce throughout the ministry fundraising process including the duration of the 2016 watermelon season.

Stockholm is a city made up of 14 islands with an expansive suburban area. Over 20% of the population of Sweden (~2.1 million people) lives in Stockholm county. Over a quarter of Stockholm’s residents are immigrants speaking 13 different languages. The city is culturally diverse, rich in history and tradition, renowned for tolerance, equality and considers itself to be on the cutting edge of the human advocacy movement. Considering the great diversity of this city, only about 4% of people consider themselves evangelical or Christ followers. Sweden in general is increasingly disengaged with the traditional expression of church and belief in God; resulting in over three-quarters of the population declare they believe in no god at all.

Stockholm Sweeden perspective

The Mayhues are believing that God is and will continue to  grow a body of believers in Sweden walking in abundant hope and shining the light on an eternal identity in Christ Jesus. In Sweden, they will continue the work of establishing Bible study-focused, Christ-centered small groups within each neighborhood within Stockholm and throughout its surrounding towns. Jon and Amanda desire for their family to be a catalyst to teach and encourage disciples, who desire to make disciples, to further reach Stockholm and Scandinavia for Jesus Christ. This is a big task, but we serve an even bigger God.

Throughout this journey, Jon and Amanda have found great encouragement in Romans 10:13-15, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”’ The Mayhue family has seen God begin to provide prayer support and financial provision for this ministry in an awesome way! They ask that you would keep their ongoing journey to Sweden and the ministry there in your prayers. If you would like more information about this ministry and how your family can be a part of what God is doing in Sweden please visit www.GEMission.org/Missionaries/Mayhue.

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Nicole Schrader

 

Following the Facebook Frenzy #nwafuturist

 

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Two weeks ago, 9.5 million people tuned into a 45-minute live stream post to see a watermelon explode. Buzzfeed’s Facebook Live video not only had more viewers than many television shows, it was the primary focus of several talk shows and news articles. It seems the phenomenon created quite a stir. Social media specialists everywhere are modifying strategies to include live-streaming videos in hope of riding the wave created by Facebook. Although live-streaming has been around for a while, now that it has been embraced by Facebook, it’s universally acknowledged as the vehicle for future online social marketing. Facebook has apparently appropriated the audience that Periscope, Meerkat, and Snapchat had only begun to access. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is convinced that the personal connection that is made through live-video is the next big shift in how we communicate, and the company is offering monetary incentives to media agencies to create video content for Facebook Live.

Although watermelon was the focus of the extraordinary post and has gotten some favorable press, there are quite a few voices in the media that are not thrilled to follow the Facebook frenzy. News agencies are concerned that Facebook is overshadowing major news coverage and influencing popular opinion in ways that threaten their future. In her article on Wired.com, entitled, ‘Facebook has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone but Facebook,’ Julia Greenberg warns that Facebook looks at news as a commodity to be sold and an experience to share and discuss. As more people go to social networks like Facebook for news, those platforms determine the value of the stories and influence the perspective of the audience. “Facebook now tells the industry what matters most, which dictates how resources are spent and what stories are told.” Julia cautions, “Facebook has immense power. It has become a crucial distribution platform for publishers. Facebook has the audience news organizations are trying to reach, so they have little choice but to chase it there.”

You may wonder if Greenberg’s perspective is extreme. Recent evidence seems to support her claims. On February 26th, 2015, major news publications covered the threat of a federal government shutdown, Senate debates regarding Homeland Security funding, three men arrested for providing material support to ISIS, etc.,  while a controversy over the color of a dress posted on Facebook received 28 million ‘views’, 105,000 ‘shares’, 16,000 comments, and 21,000 ‘likes.’  On April 19th, while Facebook captivated 9.5 million viewers waiting to see a watermelon explode, Assad’s ceasefire violations stalled peace talks with Syria, 300 people were arrested in Washington, DC while protesting the influence of big money in politics, New York held its primary elections, and Texas sought emergency aid due to severe flooding. My news feed on Facebook that day did not include much discussion about any of these issues.

Live-streaming video may indeed be the preferred medium for news, marketing, and communications in the near future, and social platforms may provide the best forum for discussion, but be aware that the news you receive may not adequately provide the best coverage of what is happening in the nation and the world.

Nicole Schrader

Greenberg, Julia. “Facebook Has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone But Facebook.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 16 Apr. 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

The First Three! ~ New Grower Program #nwanewmembermondays

paul nuzzo's early melons Greg Wright, Galen Crawford, and Gary Cecil are the first three watermelon growers to take advantage of the promotional-partnership between the National Watermelon Association and Bayer.

The Vegetable Seeds division of Bayer and the National Watermelon Association have entered into an unprecedented partnership to attract new members into the Association. For the next two years, Bayer is funding first-year memberships to all eligible watermelon growers. Bayer and the National Watermelon Association want to spread this message to the watermelon industry: if you are a watermelon grower, we need you! We will fully fund your membership so you may explore everything the Association has to offer at no cost to you.

As the voice of its members on important issues such as trade, labor, research and food safety, to name a few, the Association stresses the importance of Association involvement from new generations of watermelon growers and being a part of these issues as they start their careers.  And not to forget seasoned growers, the partnership welcomes them as new members in the Association as well.

In order to be eligible to receive membership in this program, growers must be new to the Association.

We’d like to welcome these new members to our Watermelon Family:

  • Gary Cecil of Gary Cecil Farms in Owensboro, Kentucky, a  new member of the Illiana Watermelon Association
  • Galen Crawford of Galen Crawford Farms in Ontario, Oregon, a  new member of the Western Watermelon Association
  • Greg Wright of Prairie Harvest Organics in Byers, Colorado, a new member of the Texas Watermelon Association.
“We are elated that Bayer has agreed to fund first-year dues to all new members and therefore aid us in growing the National Watermelon Association,” said Bob Morrisey, executive director of the National Watermelon Association. “We encourage growers in the watermelon industry to share their talents and strengths with the Association and allow us to share our expertise with them.”
 
“Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds and the National Watermelon Association Partner to Aid Watermelon Growers.” Nunhems –. N.p., 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Why Are Millennials Anxious? #nwafuturisticfridays

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The root of anxiety is fear. But what we afraid of? Or more particularly, what are Millennials afraid of?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), ‘Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.’

In a study conducted by the APA and Harris Interactive, Millennials showed higher levels of stress and anxiety than any other living generation. The main causes they gave for their anxiety were work issues (76%), money (73%), and relationships (59%). Their concerns are not irrational, Millennials make up about 40% of the nation’s unemployment, the majority of them graduate from college without a job and a burden of financial debt, and they live at home longer which may cause relational frustration and hesitation to make relational commitments. These are the realities that they face. But theses concerns are not unique to Millennials, nor are Millennials the first to transition into adulthood and meet with issues that pose threat and create anxiety. So why is this generation at a greater risk to anxiety disorder and depression?

There are many varying opinions as to the causes of this higher rate of anxiety. Millennials report higher levels of stress factors in their lives and the APA suggests that they are not managing those stresses as well. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and regular meals, and maintaining a consistent exercise routine are effective methods for reducing stress and consequently levels of anxiety. But Millennials do not seem to be able to get a good handle on these routines. If not managed well, living with high levels of stress and anxiety result in very real physical disorders. Stress-induced gastrointestinal disorder, insomnia, chronic depression, hypochondria, panic attacks, high blood pressure, and eating disorders are just a few of the real consequences of anxiety that Millennials are experiencing.

There is a difference between stress and anxiety. The APA differentiates the two this way, “The difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.”

Stress is inevitable and even necessary in this life. High levels of stress, in short bursts, motivates us to get up and get moving, to work harder and more efficiently. It can be exhilarating and push us to accomplish great things. Consider the lives of olympic athletes, mountain climbers, novelists, politicians, lawyers, surgeons, nurse-midwives, sailors, etc. The stresses they face keep their senses sharp and inspire perseverance in the face of challenges and obstacles. I read that ‘good stress’ does not involve ‘threat or fear,’ but I beg to differ with that opinion. There are real fears and threats that lurk in the shadows for all of us. Athletes often face serious injury, climbers fall, novelists face writer’s block and missed deadlines, politicians sometimes face security threats, and the list goes on. About the only stress that I can think of that does not involve some threat or fear is that which you might feel on a roller coaster – but even then there is a possibility of accident. We all fear failure and do our best to avoid humiliation.

Fear of terrorist attacks, too many choices which leads to decision paralysis, FOMO or fear of missing out in regard to social media, and the blurring of reality online that creates in some an expectation that they must obtain perfection, are some specific stresses that Millennials feel are unique to their generation (and perhaps Generation X).

How we choose to react to or manage the stresses we face on a daily basis will determine whether or not anxiety and its host of consequences will result. I am sure that there are many that would disagree that they have a ‘choice’ in the matter. Nevertheless, many have found relief by changing lifestyle patterns and seeking help and support. Time with friends, healthy patterns of eating, sleeping and exercise, yoga, and engagement in religious activities have all been found to be very effective in reducing stress and relieving anxiety. I leave you with that which I have found the most effective means of reducing anxiety in my own life in closing, Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Nicole Schrader

 

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/stress