Abby Kirkham Iverson - Thrive Mission Update

September 2020


the abby update

My dear ministry teammates, 

Mark and I are so grateful to share that we are expecting Baby Iverson in a few weeks! If this comes as a big surprise to you, I'm sorry I haven't gotten the word to you sooner. With the pandemic and some fears associated with pregnancy after a loss last fall, we have probably broadcasted this news a little less than normal. We pray for our little one, that he or she (it's a surprise) would be healthy and able to come into this world with minimal complication. Our due date is October 5th so you can be praying alongside us for those things as well as the transition as our family grows and we become parents! Please read further to see what's been happening with the ministry this summer through the pandemic as well as what's ahead. As always, I'm so grateful for your partnership in encouragement, prayer, and giving!                                                                           - abby  
The Impacts of COVID-19 on the Summer Calendar
As we have all experienced this year, COVID-19 dramatically changed how our spring and summer season looked. Just as we were gearing up for our March trips with a local high school, everything went into lockdown. We as a ministry had to postpone or cancel all trips that were on the calendar at least through June. Peter and I were both disappointed and confused about how this would continue to impact our ministry for the rest of this year. Moving forward we began asking questions about how we could provide resources and services despite not being able to safely meet with people in person. We also continued in prayer that opportunities for day trips would again be safe enough to pursue toward the end of summer! Below are a few ways God was able to use us during this time of national shutdown and change. 
Virtual Rest & Renewal Retreats
In the spring and early summer, from our desire to still serve from a virtual platform, we began running several "Virtual Rest & Renewal Retreats". These two hour Zoom calls allowed for a small group of people to join us for a time of meeting with the Lord and listening to His voice. Each retreat began with some introduction and materials, then participants had 45 minutes where they logged off and spent time in scripture, allowing God's word and voice to speak to them. After the solo time, participants logged back into our call and were sent into breakout rooms to discuss what the Lord had for them in their time. Each discussion was always such an encouragement, especially during the peak of isolation and lockdown due to the virus, for people to gather (virtually) and share with one another. Here is what a few participants said about their experience: 
"Excellent job all around, I thought it was perfect for a first time experience! I wouldn't have done this type of thing without Thrive Adventure's prompting, and I would have missed out on what God was wanting to reveal to me. Thank you!"

"I thought it was exactly what I needed during this season! I’m sick of virtual life these days but this was the perfect mix- Jesus time and Zoom time."
Day Trips Able to Resume Late Summer
Though we mourn the loss of several months in which we could not take people on outdoor experiences with the Lord, we are thankful that at the end of July and all of August we were able to engage in day trips once again! Of course new safety measures have been put in place to keep our participants and guides as safe as possible, including pre-trip screening, temperature checks, six feet social distancing rules and mask usage. Thankfully outdoor activities allow for distance and are much less risky than being in contact with people indoors! Peter and I are grateful for the opportunity to serve many groups here at the end of the summer. Please enjoy the photos below of some of the trips we were able to host with a variety of groups and activities!
The 2021 Calendar
We are now beginning to book our 2021 calendar and praying for the participants the Lord sends our way. Our hope to equip and encourage the local church drives us to continue reaching out to more and more groups of people locally and beyond Asheville. In our two years of operation we have served local church small groups, high schools, colleges, summer camps, missions teams, and business leaders. We hope to continue and grow these opportunities in 2021! Please let me know if you are interested in bringing a group on an experience with us in the next year. I would love to brainstorm with you on how you and your community might grow relationally and spiritually while bringing more to know Christ and live like Him! 
Amazon Smile: A Way To Support Thrive as You Shop
Amazon has a program called Amazon Smile that allows non-profits to benefit from people shopping on Amazon. When you buy something, Thrive Adventures will get back 0.5% of your purchase! If we get enough people doing this, it could slowly add up to something that would really help us cover some operational costs!

It is super easy and changes nothing about your buying experience on Amazon! You just need to click on the following link and designate "Thrive Adventures" as your charity of choice. Then when you buy things on Amazon, just make sure that you are on the special "" site rather than just "". It will say below the search bar that you are supporting Thrive Adventures. Thank you for considering making this small change to your online shopping experience that could have a huge impact on our ministry!
Amazon Smile Link
The Iversons & Maternity Leave
We are so excited and grateful for this little one we get to meet so very soon! As you can see, Oakley may have a hard time sharing our attention, but we have a feeling he'll like getting dropped cheerios and other snacks in time! As best as possible I have prepared Peter and Thrive Operations for my approaching maternity leave. As a providence from the Lord, the timing of Baby Iverson lines up well with our slower winter season so hopefully I won't miss too much before coming back in February! I am thankful for a ministry that values family and provides time for me to begin raising our newest family member! 
Prayers & Praises 
1. Praise the Lord with us for his gift of a child who we await with great anticipation! 
2. Please continue to pray for Peter as I am gone on maternity leave, that he would be able to still serve groups on day trips as well as begin booking our calendar for 2021. 
3. Continue praying that God would bring us more staff who are called to serve in outdoor ministry with Thrive Adventures in North Carolina. There have been several new inquiries in the past month that have us excited about the possibility of adding to our numbers!
Partners in prayer and support, I'm incredibly grateful for you! Please let me know how I can be praying for you or celebrating in life with you! Never hesitate to reach out and know that I care for you deeply. Your part of this ministry is so clear to me!  
                                                                    - abby
abby iverson
director of operations, guide, & facilitator