Archive for the ‘Team Empire’ Category

Team Empire’s Last Day of Ministry

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Team Empire’s Last Day of Ministry July 25, 2010

As posted before, Friday was our day off and we definitely needed some time to relax and focus on God whole heartedly. The day entailed lots of teaching time and reading scripture. In the afternoon, the leaders yet again surprised the students with a trip to the river containing both a beach and sand volleyball court. Students were thrilled beyond measure and we did lots of swimming and playing beach volleyball. Mallory, Kiara, and Rachel took the time to still minister to people on the beach by seeking out conversations. Way to Go Girls, even on their day off they took the time to minister. For dinner, we all got to get dressed up and head to Olive Garden for some amazing bread-sticks and pasta. What a great day!

Saturday, we were still in Powell and were able to spend our last day in ministry doing manual labor of anything from pulling weeds to cleaning all the nursery toys. The morning was good but we packed up and headed to Worthington where we did our debriefing. For the rest of the day it involved students doing self evaluations and leaders meeting with each student individually for exit interviews. Then Stacie and Matt did a teaching time on what it means to be in a true Christian dating relationship. Students were sent to bed early so they could wake up bright and early for a church service with the other two teams.

5:15 am is the time we woke up and got ready to hit the road for our very last church service. We headed to West Milton where we were greeted with a down pour of rain. Tidewater and Colonial teams joined up with us to do a three team program. All the students were very excited to be together again. For Sunday School, Josh and Shane led a Bible reading time through Jonah, along with discussion questions. It was a very powerful and energetic church service and all of us leaders were proud of how well the students really set the pace. The rest of the day consisted of teaching time with TK where he explained the process of going home and the challenges that they would face. We split up again into teams where we ate dinner at Matt’s favorite restaurant Chipotle, very yummy! It is the last evening of Operation Barnabas 2010 and it is time for students to spend some time doing communion and candle light commitment time. To me personally, I love the candle light commitment time because each student and leader take the time to share with the whole group of what they are committing to when they get home. We all are making commitments and plan on having the others keep us accountable. There were lots of tears and hugs but Team Empire is ready to go home and share the love of Jesus with everyone they meet.

Well it has been a great summer and I hope you all have enjoyed the blog. It has been a stretching experience for me and glad I was given the opportunity. Thanks for taking the time to read and we hope to meet again in the future.

Our last night together at Worthington Grace!

P.S. There will not be pictures due to the fact that if the students ordered a picture CD, they will be on that.

Day of Rest!

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

To ensure that my leaders experience adequate rest on our team’s only day off, I am not permitting them to post the blog today, for scripture says “do not work on the Sabbath.” Blog and pictures from our day off will be uploaded tomorrow. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
Thank You,
Matt Wheeland
Senior Leader

Happy Hearts from Team Empire!

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Happy Hearts for Team Empire July 22, 2010

Well this morning was the earliest we had woken up the entire summer by hitting the road at 6:30 am to head to Columbus. The bus was quite quiet throughout the morning as students were trying to go back to sleep and take little naps. Those naps definitely helped because when we arrived at Happy Hearts it was time to jump in the saddle and minister.

Happy Hearts is a camp set up by one family and is used to help mentally disabled young and old children to get extra therapy through horse back riding. The horse back riding calms them down and give them a chance to use their fine motor skills. It was definitely an eye opening experience where students worked with children with many different types of difficulties, such as: autism, down syndrome, ADD, etc.

The OBers really responded well to the children and got very attached to them. They were all split up with one group doing fishing at the lake, another Tye-dyeing t-shirts and lastly another group did therapy with the children while on the horse. During lunch we got to do a program for both the kids and their families. We had an amazing time and we were very proud of how the students set the pace and made sure all the children were doing some sort of task, so Way to Go Empire!

One of the families, who brings her son to Happy Hearts invited us over to her house for an outreach for the children in her neighborhood. We had phenomenal sandwiches with BBQ pork that were super yummy. Then the students were asked to do a program in the evening! It was very humid evening but students did not let it stop them from being energetic and getting the children and adults to dance with them.

For the evening, we arrived back at Powell Grace Brethren Church where we walked to the YMCA for a shower and had two teaching times back at the church. Stacie challenged the students with priorities. They were asked to think about their lives and search their hearts on whether they were willing to be stewards for God and if their priorities involve God being first in their lives. Ashley and Stacie then challenged them in the topic of forgiveness on how it is a process, through getting the situation right with God and in our hearts before we look at that person as a brother or sister in Christ. We have to remember how Jesus forgave us even though we were still sinners. Both of these teaching times were great to listen to and great reminders before we head home.

Tomorrow is our day off and we are excited to have some time with God and get refueled.

Day of Challenges!

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Day of Challenges! July 21, 2010

Team Empire was blessed with a day to sleep in an extra hour. Students were not required to be at the church until 10 am. It was so good to see them come in so refreshed after a longer amount of sleep.

We spent the morning doing our devotions and teaching times. Ashley discussed the importance of self discipline challenging the students to think through what it really means to take up the cross and follow Christ. If they were to go to sleep at night would they be able to say they put up the good fight and have no regrets from the day or would there be regrets.

Lindsey talked about the Heart of Worship where we as humans take control of our lives and in Romans there are passages explaining that we need to surrender our whole beings to Him in order to really follow Christ. Students responded to them both in a way that made them think about their lives and how they were going to live them and our prayer as leaders is that they would live their whole lives for Christ.

The second episode of the Way of the Master was shown to the students tying in with self discipline. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron were challenging the students to think through evangelism on the next level. Yes people make decisions but how can we encourage them to go a step further in the person’s decision. This tied back into self discipline, where the students need to ask themselves did they put their full effort into the day to ensure that someone has a relationship with Jesus Christ or did they see the opportunity and ignored it.

To prepare for our program, the students went canvassing throughout the entire town inviting as many people as they possibly could to the church. One group, however, got to encourage the church some more, by finishing painting a room they had started yesterday. Later, the pastor and his wife took the team to a park where they were able to share their testimonies with the team and how God has been impacting their lives lately. What an encouragement to us, in finding out how God got them here and what He has been teaching them lately.

The evening ended with a scrumptious meal provided by the church congregation followed by a great program with lots of kids, and some were ones that got the flyers today. Praise God! Leah and Heidi were able to share their children’s stories with the group and did an excellent job at it. The cross illustration was presented by Brent as well.

It was a great day of ministry but our tour is still not done yet. Tomorrow we head to Columbus to a center called Happy Hearts, a ministry for disabled families. This stop will really be a stretching experience but we are excited to see what God has in store for us.

Saying good night from the border of Indiana and Ohio!

Team Empire ready to Set and Spike!

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Team Empire ready to Set and Spike July 20, 2010

Time to rise and shine again for a bright and early shower at the YMCA. Then we cleaned up and headed out from Basore Road Grace Brethren Church and drove down the road to Union City to minister at Daystar Grace Brethren Church. We were welcomed with open arms and a lunch of sandwiches for us when we arrived. Students spread out and got to meet a few members of the congregation and youth group. Interacting with the congregation, we were able to find out the history of the church and even meet some of the members that started the church a little less than ten years ago.

The afternoon is where students were encouraged to really shine when it comes to manual labor. They were told that leaders were dropping them off at their location and they needed to find out what needed to get done and start conversations with different church members. Students were divided up into groups where some painted, pulled weeds, and cleaned animal cages. We as leaders were proud of the students for setting the pace and making sure that the task got done efficiently while interacting with people. It was a stretching experience for the students by not having direction from the leaders but instead they took the initiative to get the job done.

After a hard day of manual labor, we were invited over to the founders of the church house where they fed us some pizza and let us play some volleyball. While playing we did encounter a bit of rain but that did not stop the students from interacting with the congregation and playing many games of volleyball. It was a great day of ministry and we are excited to see what God has in store for us tomorrow here at Daystar Grace Brethren Church.

Team Empire is Back!

Monday, July 19th, 2010

And Team Empire is Back in Action! July 18, 2010

What an amazing week at Momentum! We left last night in the middle of the last session to head on over to Dayton, OH to minister at Basore Road Community Grace Brethren Church. Here we are back together as a team and it feels great to be Team Empire once again! We have truly missed each other and today was the day to reconnect as a team but also spend a day of ministry with the Basore Road church.

This Sunday morning started off like any normal Sunday where we woke up bright and early ready to worship with the congregation. Basore Road was kind enough to allow us to do both the Sunday school service and church service. We split up into our three groups of one group connecting with the adult class, one group with the teens and the last group with the children. In both the adult and teen classes, the OBers read 1 Timothy out loud with the congregation, while they asked questions about specific verses in the passages. This is where the students really shined in understanding the Word of God by explaining what the verses meant to them and how it can impact their lives. It is clear to see that these students are really developing a heart for God by understanding His word and how it is applicable to their lives. The last group learned about flexibility with having 15 little kids through dancing and singing, but still keeping the chaos down, while Malinda shared her children’s story. It was a strong morning, so far, and it honestly felt like the students have not even missed a week of OB because the church service started and they were full of energy. Even though there were a couple glitches during the service, it did not stop the students from ministering with Josh sharing his sermon along with Luis, Rachel, Karis, and Jay talking about what God had been teaching them in both OB and Momentum.

The church was kind enough to provide a lunch of pizza and fellowship time with the youth. It was a great afternoon of fellowship time, but we as leaders decided it was time to take a nap. The students were overjoyed with this proclamation and definitely took a nap without complaining (which they never do when it comes to nap time). We woke up refreshed and ready to do some canvassing around a neighbor for our program tomorrow. The evening ended with a carry in dinner with some more fellowship time with the youth and church family. We even got some time of games of both Apples to Apples and kickball outside. Students were just thrilled to be together that they did not care what they were doing even when it came for some time of devotional time they were excited to do so. To close off the evening we played a rambunctious game of Sardines where chaos broke out everywhere but there was laughter everywhere so you knew they had a great time.

It was a great ministry day but still more days to come. Please pray for our students while they venture out to our last week of OB. Pray that the students will end the summer strong. That they will grasp the concepts and find ways to made it applicable to their lives at home. Especially as they begin transitioning from life as an OBer to life as a normal teenage kid. Tomorrow will be another great day of ministry here at Basore Road.

Saying Good Night from state where we carry buckets for our Buckeyes.

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Splish…Splash…Taking a Bath July 11, 2010

Here is Team Empire at Delaware Grace Brethren Church and ready to start a fresh morning of ministry in the church services. We spent the morning worshipping with the congregation and many of our students got to share what God has been teaching them this summer. There was a time for pantomines, Jay and Brittany singing, along with Crista and Ali singing as well. It was a great morning of ministry where the students even got to see many of their family members. For lunch, Josh’s family provided a very scrumptious meal that we have had this summer. A huge shout out to Mr. and Mrs. Petrel for opening up their home to us and willing to feed us.

The afternoon is where we are no longer were dry but wet. Every year the church does a huge water event where lots of people come from both the congregation and community. In any way imaginable you can get wet or better yet soaking wet. There was squirt guns, slip and slide, kiddie pools, etc. Students had a great time not only getting wet themselves but being able to start conversations throughout the event. Once the event was over we finally got to hit the road, with a quick stop at Starbucks, heading towards Cedarville University for Momentum. Some students are nervous about seeing their youth groups, while others are bouncing off the bus walls with excitement.

We rolled into the parking lot of Cedarville and ready to go. After a quick night’s sleep, we will be ready to hit the ground running tomorrow. Please pray for the students this week as they meet up with their youth groups. Pray that they will remember what it means to be a leader and set the pace for their youth groups. This is the last blog for a week but we will meet again soon.

On the Road Again!

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

On the Road Again! July 10, 2010

Good morning sunshine at 7:15 AM. We left Camp Albryoka bright and early this morning with some of our friends from camp waving good bye as we roll down the mountain. That is what we did today, we just rolled down the hills and highways from Pennsylvania to Ohio. It was a long bus ride but the students were in high spirits through it all. God also blessed us with having a cool day of travel.

After a long day of travel, we finally made it to Delaware, Ohio, where we met Pastor Dave at a Campground to do some manual labor. Students were spread out throughout the campsite doing all kinds of labor whether it was building a fire pit, picking up garbage or pulling weeds. A group of seven went to a place called Common Ground pulling some weeds and planting flowers. It was a quick couple of hours of manual labor that we have ever done, but we were still able to encourage others.

The evening ended with the students eating peanut butter sandwiches and headed to host homes one last time before Momentum.

It was a long day but we made it to Ohio and all of us are anxious for Momentum on Monday, but ready to do a couple programs tomorrow and hit the road to Cedarville University. Continue to pray for our students’ hearts and minds to be prepared for Momentum and also to be leaders for their youth groups.

Have a great evening from Delaware, Ohio.

Two OB alum encourage the students to finish strong

The students are excited to be in host families again

Mallory, Luis, and Kailey trim the trees at a local park

Brittney, Doug, and Leah pull some weeds

Josh pulls some weeds at the local park

Jimmy and Brent trim the trees

Mallory, Heidi, and Emily meet their host families

Stacie and Matt reunite with two OB Alum, Blake and Brian

Relentless in Christ

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

July 9, 2010

Dong, Dong, Dong! That is the sound we woke up to this morning here at Camp Albryoka and to me it definitely felt like camp. We rolled out of bed and took cold showers, yes I mean the ones where you jump in and jump out. For breakfast the camp cooks cooked us the best French Toast that some of us had ever had. Thank you camp cooks for feeding an extra 36 people, we greatly appreciated it. We then got to spend about 15 minutes in the word, where students complained it was not enough time and asked if they could have extra. To us leaders, we were proud of how they had one of our goals down and that is having a Heart for God. The students read through some more of 1 Kings talking about what special talents they could bring into their church, meaning not just singers/pastors but more into organization/fixer upper. These entries in our devotional have been such a great time for the students to start focusing on what they could bring into their church when they get back and impact their church body.

This morning is where students got to set the pace, where leaders did not do the teaching times but instead the students did. Josh, Ali, Jay, and Marissa got to share with the campers about how to share their testimonies both how they came to know Christ and the other of what God has been doing in their lives. Another group of Jimmy, Jordan, Crista, Shelby, Shane, Sam, and Isaac read through 2 Timothy with the campers and asked questions to have discussions on particular verses and passages. Both groups did a great job working with the campers and setting the pace on what it means to be a teacher and leader. The rest of the day was free time for the students to be relational with the campers whether it is swimming in the pool, playing soccer, or hanging out in the gazebo.

The evening was a time for the OBers to continue to be encouraging to the campers through having a very energetic program. These campers really got into the program and even danced with us in our favorite song “Glee”. It was a great evening and it was not finished yet because Pastor Randy gave us the option to watch a movie and it was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Many OB students were excited to watch the movie because it has been four weeks since they have watched a movie so they were quite thrilled to watch. Campfire not only finished our evening but it was the last night for the camp and it was a great time for testimonies on what God has been teaching them in their lives. But first we started with songs such as Jesus in the Boat and Fruit of the Spirit along with a couple worship songs. Way to go Jay and Brittany for leading our time in song it was a lot of fun. Doug shared his sermon and challenged us all to think about what God wants us to do everyday. Does He want you to sit around watching TV, eat, and sleep? No, He wants us to go and share our faith. Isaac than shared with the group to not have regrets, but instead live each day seeking out opportunities to share your faith. It was a great ending to the evening and week that students went to bed singing and whistling.

Tomorrow is a very early morning as we travel to Delaware, OH so please pray for safe travel but also for students to be prepared for meeting with their youth groups in a couple days. Many students are nervous and not sure what to expect, so we ask prayer over them as they prepare.

Good Night from our last day in PA!

Fill My Cup Til It Overflows at Camp Albryoka!

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Fill My Cup Til It Overflows at Camp Albryoka July 9, 2010

Rise and Shine its time to wake up and have some time with God where students were reminded of “Growing up in a Christian home, going to a Christian school, or being part of a great youth group does not guarantee God’s blessing. Godly living does.” As we are preparing to join our youth groups at Momentum this was a reminder that encouraged the students to remember how to encourage their peers. With this reminder, we got to meet in Discipleship groups discussing what each of our spiritual gifts are and how we can use them in our daily lives. This was a great way for them to understand how God has uniquely gifted each and everyone of us.

Time to say our goodbyes again and hit the road to go deep into the woods to Camp Albryoka. We were greeted not only by Pastor Randy but by one of their campers named Ashley. She was so excited to have us there and asked when she could apply for Operation Barnabas, so look for Ashley in the future OB blogs. Students dispersed across the campgrounds starting conversations with their own peers. Some students found it difficult trying to relate to their own peers while others thought it was awesome and felt they could find common interests to talk about. Sam, Crista, and Sarah really stepped out of their comfort zones and walked right into another cabin to meet some of the girl campers. The campers were touched by these OBers that the campers sent Crista and Sarah mail to be passed out at dinner.
It was a great start to the evening and even got better as we had a time of team debriefing discussing our highs and lows of the last couple of days. Shane was able to share with the group how the Holy Spirit was challenging him to think deeply on spiritual issues and that he had a chance to talk through with an atheist at the Crucified Skate Ministries about those particular issues. It was an encouraging time for students to hear about how God is working in each others lives.

The evening ended with a time around the campfire listening to Pastor Matt McCoy from Meyerstown Grace Brethren Church talk about how God is pursuing an intimate relationship with us and we need to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and do our part in order to be relentless for Him.

We are heading to bed with the sounds of nature echoing through the trees. Good Night from the deep deep woods of Pennsylvania.

Spending time worshiping our incredible Savior

Crista, Sarah, and Sam chat with campers