Archive for the ‘Colonial Team’ Category

It’s a bittersweet time…

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Thursday and Friday – July 22 & 23

The last 2 days have been full of excitement and bitter-sweet late nights for Team Colonial. Because of the late nights, we didn’t post last night! So here it goes…two days’ worth of activities!

Thursday morning, students arrived with all of their luggage at the Brookville church. After we loaded the Penske and did our hour with God, Pastor Brian “took over” as team leader for a few hours. He led the team in a few team-building activities, including trying to fit fifteen growing teenagers on a bucket eighteen inches in diameter, and shooting balloons with bi-bi guns. It was a fun morning had by all. He also gave the students an encouraging pep talk to continue their walk with God as strong when they return home as they are now.

At noon, leaders surprised students with a “fancy” lunch at Kay’s Restaurant, a local hot spot. They were very excited to eat a home-cooked meal of carved turkey and ham, green beans, scalloped potatoes, rolls, and yummy pie! It was probably the best meal we’ve had all summer. After lunch, we returned to the church to change into our bathing suits to prepare for an afternoon at the “beach.” This beach was actually a pond at a former OB student’s house, and it was the most awesome pond ever. There was a pier with a diving board, a paddle boat, a small sandy beach, and lots of inflatable rafts. We ate snacks and fellowshipped with the youth group for a couple of hours before returning to the church for dinner.

After saying our goodbyes to the Brookville youth group at the pond, we went back to the church for a dinner of homemade pizza. From 6:30-8:00 we served at My Servant’s Hands, the church’s own food and clothing bank. Students talked to many people that evening, and a young girl was even saved due to a conversation she had with Zoe! Some students helped out in the food bank by putting together bags of food, restocking shelves, and helping families find clothing in their sizes. Still other students cleaned the church bathrooms and classrooms. Our last hours at Brookville were awesome!

At 8:30, we departed the church and headed north toward Columbus, OH. We will be staying at the Worthington Christian High school for the remainder of debriefing. After arriving at the church, we had the opportunity to participate in one of the most fun nights of each summer: Girl/Guy talk! During this time, the female leaders meet with the boy students and the male leaders meet with the girls. Students can ask of leaders any question that they want to! It was such a fun time and the questions lasted well into the night.

Today we were able to sleep in a little bit and spend some time as a team this morning. Students are given evaluation forms to fill out at the end of tour each year, and today was the day for our team! After filling out these evaluations, we departed from the school and headed to Andy Wirt’s house. Andy is the senior pastor of Clearview Church, a new church plant in the New Albany, Ohio, area. When arriving at his home, we met Andy, his wife Trish, and their two sons and daughter, whom we loved! We canvassed for most of the afternoon, passing out flyers for our program this evening. At 5 PM, we went to a local pizza and sub joint for dinner. All agreed that the pizza and fellowship were both amazing.

By 6 PM we were back on the road again and on our way to the pavilion where we would put on our last program as a team. The pavilion in downtown Gahanna, Ohio, was a really neat space to put on a program. We had a beautiful stage that opened up to a courtyard area which was surrounded by restaurants, shops, and fountains. It was beautiful! Our program went off without a hitch and many attendees stuck around afterwards for snow cones, popcorn, and fellowship. It was a bittersweet time for our team knowing that this was the last time we would participate in a program together as a team.

After cleaning up the area and loading the bus back up, leaders again surprised the team with a trip to Grater’s, a local ice cream shop. It was nice to get a late-night treat before returning to the school to turn in for the night. I can’t believe that this summer with all of these awesome students is already coming to an end!

And if our God if for us, then who could ever stop us?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Wednesday – July 21, 2010

Team Colonial had the awesome opportunity to minister to Hope House today, a homeless shelter and help center in Middletown, OH. This was our second homeless experience of the summer and similar to ministering in Philly, our team left with the knowledge that the Lord’s name was glorified.

The students arrived at the church at 8 o’clock this morning and spent their hour with God before loading our program equipment onto the bus and leaving for Hope House. It was a half-hour drive to the homeless shelter and we met up there with Pastor Brian and a handful of his youth group kids from Brookville. The first hour after we arrived we spent doing a few different work projects around the home. Some students helped organize a thrift store on the third floor of the building, some cleaned the men’s and women’s sleeping quarters, and some helped make over 150 sandwiches for lunch.

At 11:30 we began setting up for a program in the very small chapel area. Many of the residents had already found seats for the program by noon, and we realized that the audience was a little bit different than we anticipated. We had planned for a good number of kids to be in the audience, but hardly any had arrived by 11:45 so we rewrote an entirely new program! The students were so flexible though and just went with it…we were so proud of them. We started our newly written program promptly at 12:15 with an introduction from Dan. We sang a few choir songs, put on three pantomimes, shared our speech choir at the end. Hector shared his sermon during the program and did very well! Lisa also did a good job with her children’s story (with the few children who were actually there!) about reflecting the light of God onto others.

After the program, a few students rushed into the cafeteria to help serve lunch which consisted of sandwiches, apples, chips, and dessert. We spent a good hour and a half eating and conversing with the residents of the home, as well as other people off the streets of Middletown. After lunch we put 40+ sets of hands to work to clean up the chapel, cafeteria, and bathrooms before heading back to Brookville.

When we arrived back at the church we met together in the sanctuary for a time of debriefing from the morning. Some students shared about the conversations they had with people at Hope House while others shared a bit about what God taught them from their day’s experience. Dan passed onto the team a message from the entire leadership: Team Colonial did some awesome ministry today. Everywhere I looked today I saw an OB student talking to one of the residents, encouraging and praying with them. After debriefing from the morning we had a leadership panel. Students love this time every year because they have the opportunity to anonymously ask leaders any question that they want to…and they asked some very good questions!

At 5:30 we ended our panel for dinner, which was made by some women from the church. We had spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, salad, corn on the cob, and a smorgasbord of yummy desserts. At 6:30, students from the youth group began arriving at the church so they could spend one last evening with us. We spent time playing games, worshiping, sharing testimonies, and most importantly simply encouraging one another to run the race that God has set before each of us individually. One of the girls who has been attending the youth group on and off for a couple months actually accepted Christ tonight and prayed with Jess and Sydney!

Tomorrow is our last day with the Brookville church and we will be spending more time with the youth group. It has really been so, so encouraging to see how God is working in the lives of other teens outside our group. Please continue to pray for our last 4 days of tour.  We could not do this without your prayers!

Wet and soapy in Brookville…

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Tuesday – July 20, 2010

It was a sunny day in southern Ohio, which matched the mood of Team Colonial perfectly. Students arrived at the Marysville Grace Church offices this morning at 8:45 AM looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Students really enjoyed their time in host homes last night. All ate home-cooked meals, fellowshipped with wonderful families, slept in real beds, and got a very full night’s rest. As leaders, we were thankful for a well-rested team and cared for team!

For the last few days we have not provided scheduled quiet time for the students because we want them to learn how to prioritize and schedule it for themselves, which they will have to do at home. This morning though, the first thing we did when students arrived at the offices was to give them a full hour with God. It was neat seeing students spread out all over the quaint office building reading their Bibles and having conversations with the God of the universe. After their time with God, we had some team time, which consisted of passing out mail and watching a Mark Driscoll video. At 11:45 we filed onto the bus and waved goodbye to the Central Ohio suburb.

After a quick hour and a half drive south and a stop at Taco Bell for lunch, Team Colonial rolled into the Brookville Grace Brethren Church parking lot at 2:30 PM. We were greeted by smiling youth pastor Brian, and ushered into the air-conditioned sanctuary. Like we do at all of the churches we visit, we had the opportunity to meet with Brian to hear about the church and the community we will be serving. We also got to hear Brian’s testimony and story about how he came to be a youth pastor. Students genuinely love chatting with the pastors of the churches we visit and always have at least a dozen interesting questions to ask.

After this meet-and-greet session, students were then divided into a few different groups to do manual labor projects around the church. Some students went outside with Brian to set up the area for the youth event we participated in later in the evening. Other students did some cleaning around the church which included washing windows, scrubbing doors, vacuuming, and trimming trees. After these tasks were done, some students tackled the tedious job of cleaning the bus. After being lived in by 31 high school students for almost 6 weeks, the bus becomes quite dirty. It is sparkling clean now though!

At 5:30 this evening, youth from the area began arriving at the church. Not only youth from the Brookville Grace Brethren Church were in attendance, but also students from two other churches who were invited to the event. By 6:30 the grills were fired up with hot dogs roasting, the tables were lined with chips, soda, and desserts, and the conversation throughout the property was full of laughter. There were 60-70 students in attendance in addition to our own team, so we had plenty of people to meet and mingle with.

The event tonight was centered around a game called slip n’ slide kickball. Therefore, after we ate we got right into the game. It is kind of hard to explain the game unless you have seen it played, but I am going to try anyway! The game is set up like kickball, but the bases are blow-up baby pools full of water and the baselines are tarps with soapy water all over them. Kickers are in groups of three, so one person kicks the ball and is joined by two others to run the bases. All three must make it into the baby pool at each base to be safe. It was so much fun watching all the kids slipping and sliding around the field and diving into the inflatable pools. Another positive aspect of the night: no injuries!

After the very wet game of kickball, all students gathered up in the church lobby for a more intimate time of fellowship. Danny and Peter led us in a few worship songs and then started us off with some testimonies. Many of the kids from Brooksville shared testimonies alongside our students, which was really encouraging. We ended the evening by splitting into groups for prayer. By the time the Brookville students left the church, all the host homes had arrived. We quickly met as a team so students could get an idea of what tomorrow’s schedule will look like, then they unloaded their luggage off the Penske and headed off with their host families.

Please be in prayer for our team tomorrow as we will be spending most of the morning and early afternoon at a Rescue Mission. We hope to bring a message of hope and love to these people!

From a comfy orange pew of Brookville Grace Brethren Church…goodnight!

Feeling Merry in Marysville!

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Monday – July 19, 2010

            Team Colonial is officially back in the swing of things! From the looks of our park program this morning and our manual labor projects this afternoon, one would never know that we were apart at Momentum for a week.

            Students arrived at the church office building this morning at 8:45 am to prepare for a morning of canvassing. We divided into groups and split up into the surrounding neighborhoods to spread the word about our program that would be held at 11 am. At 10 o’clock we transported all of our props, puppets, and sound equipment to the park and began setting up. By the time 11 o’clock rolled around, we were hyped up and ready to begin the exciting program. It was so fun to be back together with everyone for a park program! Crystal had the opportunity to share her children’s story about the Samaritan woman at the well with Jesus. Lauren Koch introduced the Cross Illustration at the end of the program, and as a result three new souls were won over to Christ!

            After we cleaned up the park and said our goodbyes we loaded the bus back up for our short drive back to the church office building. We had a hearty lunch of subs, chips, and apples before beginning our afternoon of hard work. The team split into three different groups for manual labor projects. Some students went to the homes of two different women from the Marysville Grace Church where they did lots and lots of yard work. Another group of students did some landscaping work at the church office building. Still another group of students helped to transport boxes of books from the office to a storage unit about half a mile down the road. This job was done quicker than the others, so students walked around downtown Marysville and initiated conversations with strangers. Many got to pray with those whom they met.

            All students reconvened back at the church office at 4 pm, tired but fulfilled from a long afternoon of hard work. After washing up a bit, students and leaders gathered together for a time of sharing. Students hadn’t had the opportunity until this afternoon to debrief about their time at Momentum. They were able to share about the trials, victories, and growth that they experienced at conference. We then had a time of encouragement where students could share encouragement with individuals on our team, or the team as a whole. I think this time was really helpful for our entire team so that we could feel fully reconnected for these next 7 days of tour. At about 5:30, host families arrived to pick up students for a nice long evening in their homes. Students loved the opportunity to join their host families for dinner and a relaxing evening.

            Please be in prayer for our team about a few things this week. Firstly we ask that we would be able to push hard through this last week of tour. Students and leaders are all tired, but we want to see the Lord work mightily right through until the end of OB. Also be praying for the programs that we have coming up this week. We know the Lord desires to use us to bring people to a saving knowledge of Him! Lastly we ask for prayer for our health. We want a healthy team this week so that we can serve in all we have!

            From the comfortable couch of our fantastic host home, we wish you all goodnight!

Reunited, and it feels so good.

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Sunday – July 18, 2010

It is good to be back with the Colonial Team!  Last evening we packed up our bus and Penske before Momentum’s final session and made our way to Marysville, OH.  It has been wonderful to reconnect with one another and be back into the pace of OB.  We have all learned that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder!  Today was a great day of ministry with the Marysville Grace church, as well as a great time of connecting with our host families.

We began our morning bright and early at 7:45am to prepare for our two morning services.  At 9am the congregation began to gather at the elementary school where the church meets, and we promptly began our first program.  Lauren K. & Peter were able to share testimonies of what God is teaching them, Andrew gave his sermon, and Zoe was able to share her children’s story.  Then, during one of our children’s dance songs, a cord got pulled and we had some technical difficulties, so Henry took the initiative to fill the awkward time and share his testimony with the church.  We are always learning that flexibility is such a key component in ministry.  During the second service at 10:45am, Cheyanne & Zach gave testimonies of what the Lord had taught them at Momentum.  Also, Stephanie shared her children’s story, and Alec gave his sermon.  We are thankful to report that there were no technical difficulties in the second service.  Since we are near the Columbus area, we had many family visitors today as well, so it was enjoyable to meet many of the students’ families.

 Our pizza lunch was provided by one of the members of the church who owns his own pizza restaurant.  Students and their host families ate together and enjoyed a time of fellowship with one another before going into their host homes for the entire afternoon.  Students were encouraged to take naps and spend an hour with God while in their host families, and then we met back together at the school around 6pm to go to a youth event.  As we got to the home of where our backyard youth party would be taking place, the rains came down and the thunder and lightning roared through.  Due to the weather, our event turned into a garage gathering and few pictures were taken this evening.  We did enjoy eating dinner, playing games, sharing testimonies, and worshipping with the youth group from Marysville Grace though.

What a day it has been.  It seems as though Team Colonial has been back together for a few days now, but this was just the first of our final week together.  Pray that our team would finish well in this next week, and that the things we are learning would really begin to become applicable in our lives as we process through the transitions we will soon be making back into “normal life.”  Tomorrow is a day full of manual labor, canvassing, a park program, and team time, so we all need our energy and good rest, too!

From the great state of OHIO, goodnight…

Momentum, here we come!

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Thursday – July 15, 2010

Happy Thursday! It has been a few days since our last update because we have arrived at Momentum Youth Conference at Cedarville University in Ohio. Team Colonial has dispersed as students have rejoined their home church youth groups for the week, but there are still a few things to let you in on from our last weekend.

On Sunday morning, we participated in two services. The first of the two was a more traditional service for older adults while the second was a more family-focused service. Both services at Willow Valley Grace Brethren Church were by far the largest we have been a part of, so it was a new experience for Team Colonial. Students greeted and conversed with congregants before and after each service, many gaining prayer partners for the remainder of tour. During the first service, Peter shared his sermon and _____ shared her children’s story. As usual we sang a number of worship songs, chuckled alongside church members at a few skits, and had our hearts tugged at during two different pantomimes. Andria and Henry also had the opportunity to share with the church what the Lord has been doing in their lives so far this summer.

The second of the two services took place on the lower level of the church in their Family Life Center. Children’s Ministry programs were dismissed for the morning as children were encouraged to attend the program with their families. This program was much more kid-friendly as it included puppets, some fun song-and-dance routines, and more children-oriented skits in addition to some of the more traditional elements of the program. No one would have known that this service was geared toward the kids though because church members of all ages were laughing and enjoying the program right alongside the youngsters. Jess shared her children’s story about Jesus being our true treasure while Josh gave his sermon on _______.

At the conclusion of the second service, Team Colonial quickly said our goodbyes, changed clothes, grabbed a sack lunch, and hit the road. We had a long drive ahead of us to Macedonia, OH. We arrived at Stewart Lake around 7:30 PM, just in time for dinner with the Western Reserve Grace Brethren Church youth group. They have a big lake party at Stewart Lake every summer and were very excited to have us join them for a couple of hours. After we ate dinner, some students played volleyball, others took a dip in the lake, and others simply hung out with youth group members. At around 9 o’clock our students divided up into small groups with the youth group students for a time of testimony-sharing, fellowship, and prayer. Our time with Western Reserve came to a too-quick end when we had to depart at 9:45 for our long drive to Cedarville for conference.

We had a surprise in store for students on our way to Momentum…pizza! The father of Alec, one of the students on our team, invited us to his family-owned pizza shop for an on-the-road snack. We were able to sit inside the restaurant for a little while to hear about the awesome and unique ministry the Janotka family has through their business. After praying for their family and their restaurant, we graciously accepted our pizzas and once again hit the road. It was a smooth and uneventful 4 hour drive to Cedarville University in southern Ohio, and we rolled in at around 2:30 AM. We only unloaded our sleeping necessities and crashed in the lobby of one of the dorms.

On Monday morning we arose bright and early for an all-OB meeting. Students from all 3 teams were really excited to reunite and see friends that they have missed dearly the last three weeks. Operation Barnabas students have a unique experience at Momentum because it is in the middle of our tour, so TK (Operation Barnabas director) clued them in on a few responsibilities they will have. Firstly, during registration OB students were asked to assist arriving students carry their luggage and find their dorms. Team Colonial had the first shift from 11:30-1:30, then were dismissed to spend the rest of their afternoon freely. They didn’t even know what to do with so much free time!

For the last three days it has been interesting to walk around the campus of Cedarville University and see our students interacting with their youth groups instead of our team. They are learning how to minister without the support of 30 other like-minded teenagers, and this is a vital tool that they will need when they return home. We look forward to the remainder of our tour next week, but until then students will enjoy the company of their home church youth groups.

Please be in prayer for Momentum Youth Conference this week. It is always such a powerful time for all who attend…the opportunity to get away from the norm and worship God, learn more about God, and be stretched to make difficult decisions for God. Be in prayer for soft hearts for all the students and leaders who are in attendance. Also pray that our transition back into tour on Saturday would go smoothly and we will have grown as individuals during our time apart as a team.

I probably won’t post again until Sunday night, once we’re back on tour. For updates about Youth Conference you can go to http://www.buildmomentum.org. Until then…have a wonderful week!

It’s not JUST rice and veggies…

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Saturday – July 10, 2010

This morning at 8:00, the Willow Valley church made us an awesome breakfast of blueberry pancakes, breakfast casserole, and fruit salad. Little did we know the hard work that we had ahead of us for the next 8 hours. By 4:00 PM, Team Colonial felt very accomplished: we took part in feeding 100,000 starving children today!

The Willow Valley Grace Brethren Church youth group raised $17,000 this past year so that they could prepare meals for 100,000 starving children and families around the world. An organization called Feed My Starving Children packages specially formulated meals consisting of chicken flavoring, dehydrated vegetable, soy, and rice that they send to poverty-stricken countries all over the world. They travel with their packaging materials to churches, companies, and non-profit organizations all over the country who wish to assist with this awesome ministry. Today they came to Willow Valley, Pa., along with dozens of tables, heaps of packaging materials, and barrels and barrels of ingredients.

There were three shifts of workers between the hours of 9 and 4, and the OB students participated in all three! We had a blast assisting with registration, filling bags with precisely-measured amounts of food, sealing them, boxing them up, and cheering each time a box was filled. We spread ourselves out amongst the 20 different stations so that we could meet and get to know other church and community members as well.

When the announcement came over the speaker system at 3:30 PM that the 100,000th meal had been prepared, cheers were heard from around the large gymnasium. It was awesome to know that we helped this church not only achieve their goal of 100,000, but exceed it in the half hour following the announcement. At the end of the final shift, staff members from Feed My Starving Children announced that because of our work today, 280 children around the world will have a healthy, well-balanced meal every day for the next year. How amazing is that?! Praise the Lord for this organization.

After we helped clean up the gymnasium (by the way…do you know how much of a mess rice makes?!), students were excited to find out that they would be leaving early to go to host homes. Tonight was the first night that students were in host homes for dinner. We look forward to seeing their smiling, well-rested faces bright and early tomorrow morning as we have 2 services and a long day ahead of us.

Please be praying for a safe journey for Team Colonial tomorrow as we will be traveling to Ohio. We have one more stop before heading to Momentum Youth Conference tomorrow night so please pray that the Lord would sustain us. Also ask that the students’ hearts would be prepared to learn whatever it is the Lord has to team them at youth conference this year!

From the dessert-filled kitchen of Willow Valley church…goodnight!

Take me out to the ballgame…

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Friday – July 9, 2010

            Team Colonial grew in a big way today through a talk with Pastor Rod, an encouragement circle, and a really unique evangelism experience. This update could be a long one tonight, so fasten your seatbelts because God is at work!

             After the students arrived at Echo Valley, packed up the Penske, and spent their Hour with God, Pastor Rod asked to meet with us to give us some encouragement. He led the team through “7 Terms for Life,” which were 7 tips for following Christ with our whole lives. Students really enjoyed this heartfelt time spent with Pastor Rod, which ended in praying for him and Pastor Rick and their ministry to the Tremont and Pine Grove communities.

            Before we departed for Willow Valley, Team Colonial gathered in the foyer of the Echo Valley church for an “encouragement circle.” During this time, students and leaders had the opportunity to sporadically encourage each other through challenges and words of affirmation. The team expressed that this time helped them draw closer together and feel more like a family.

            After this team time, we filed onto the bus, counted off, and made the 2 hour drive to Willow Valley Grace Brethren Church in Lancaster County, PA. Some families from the church had an amazing lunch of burgers, fruit salad, baked beans, and chips prepared and waiting for us when we got there. Students had fun hanging out with these families and their young children. Following lunch, we met with Pastor Shannon and Pastor Brad, two pastors from the church, to hear more about them, more about the church, and more about the ministry that we will be helping with tomorrow (which I will write about in tomorrow’s blog!).

            After chatting with the pastors, the team split in half to do laundry and manual labor. We were thankful for the opportunity to wash the heaps of clothes that we have sweat through the last few hot days! While at the Laundromat, students had the opportunity to journal, write letters home, and engage with other Laundromat patrons. Those who stayed at the church to do manual labor did weeding, weeding, and MORE weeding! There are flower beds all over the church grounds and all of them needed some TLC. At 5 o’clock, we all returned to the gym of the church for a fantastic dinner of baked chicken, hash brown casserole, vegetables, rolls, and an array of awesome desserts. During dinner, Dan announced to the team that we would be going on a surprise outing shortly after dinner. This left the team in an excited buzz. When they loaded the bus a short time later, Dan let them in on the secret: we were going to a Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game!

            The purpose for going to the baseball game was to have fun as a team, but more importantly to practice sharing our faith in a public and uncomfortable setting. All of our seats were really good ones, right along the third baseline…but our students were hardly ever in their seats! As soon as we got there, students disbursed and began engaging with baseball fans all over the stadium. As a result of the conversations that were had throughout the night, three people made first time decisions for Christ and many others were encouraged to make fuller commitments in their Christian walk. Praise the Lord! After the game, we had an opportunity to debrief on the bus and share encouraging stories with each other. When asked who felt like they had been stretched in a new way tonight, nearly everyone on the bus raise their hands. What an awesome experience!

            When we returned back to the church, the full team gathered in a classroom to talk about what it is going to look like to be a part of Team Colonial as a student at Momentum next week. The team discussed the difficulties that they expect they will face as they rejoin their youth groups for a week. It was a really good time together as we were able to flesh out some goals to attain to as a team next week so that when we join back together after Momentum we will have grown as individuals while we are apart.

            As for prayer requests for today, please lift up the three people who made decisions for Christ today. Our prayer is that they find a local church to connect to and grow in. Also pray for our team as we connect with church and community members tomorrow at a mission’s event sponsored by the Willow Valley church. Thank you so much for your prayers…we really do feel their effects. Goodnight!

Splish Splash!

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Thursday – July 8, 2010

            After three days of heat and hard work, Team Colonial had the opportunity to enjoy some down time today at the pool of an Echo Valley church member, followed by an encouraging evening program held at the church.

            When students arrived at 8 o’clock this morning they spent an hour with God followed by a teaching time on the concept of worship. Dan led the students in a discussion of what it looks like to live in an attitude of worship and students gave feedback of what that looks like in their own lives. At around 10:30 we changed into our bathing suits and crowded onto the bus for a short drive to a nearby church member’s house to take a dip and hang out for a couple of hours.

            We were at the pool for nearly 5 hours today, but it was 5 hours well-spent! We took part in some fun activities such as swimming, Ultimate Frisbee, cannon ball contests, and a cookout for lunch. The pool felt so wonderful after the last few hot days we have had…and the temperature was still 98 degrees today! After a lunch of burgers and hot dogs, cooked on the grill by Pastor Rod, Team Colonial spent some time on a team challenge that has been a traditional part of Operation Barnabas for years: the pole game.

The object of the pole game is for the entire team of students to lower a 20-foot-long piece of PVC piping from chest level to the ground without anyone taking their fingers off the pole. It is much harder than it sounds! After trying unsuccessfully for nearly 45 minutes, we decided to give the kids a break and let them try again at a later date.

Later in the afternoon we met in our discipleship groups. We are just past the halfway point on our tour and the students had much to talk about. They really enjoyed encouraging each other with what their fellow teammates are doing well, as well as challenging them with goals to meet for the rest of the summer.

At 3:30 we slowly loaded back onto the bus…it was hard to leave the cool relief of the swimming pool! When we got back to the church, students changed out of their swimming suits and into their program t-shirts. Before dinner, We watched a Mark Driscol video which is part of a video series we are going through together as a team this summer. Toward the end of the video, we could smell the wonderful aroma of dinner arriving. We had an awesome meal consisting of baked ham, potato casserole, green beans, corn, rice, and salad. Yummmmmmy!!! After eating, we helped clean up the cafeteria area and got the sanctuary set up for the program.

At 6:15 church members began slowly trickling into the church and finding their seats. Students were milling about the room striking up conversations with the welcoming group until about 6:45 when we began the program. Tonight’s program was focused more on adults and teenagers, so it consisted mostly of choir songs, skits, pantomimes and speech choir. Zach had the opportunity to share his sermon out of Ephesians 5:1-2 about loving others as Christ does. He did a great job of challenging listeners and communicating the message clearly. There were about a dozen children in the audience, so Leah also told her children’s story about loving and including everyone, even those who are different than you.

At the conclusion of tonight’s program, leader Dan invited members of the Echo Valley Grace Brethren Church to find an OB student to partner in prayer with for the rest of the summer. The students and attendees spent the next half hour talking and praying with each other; it was a very encouraging time. Between 8:30 and 9:00, all students had departed for their host homes for a relaxing conclusion to their day.

We will travel to Willow Valley tomorrow morning, so please pray for safety in driving. We are so grateful to have two awesome bus drivers who always get us safely from A to B…thanks Dan and Sarah. Pray also for our team as we prepare for Momentum, which begins on Monday morning. It is always a tough transition into Momentum and then back into OB, but pray that it would go smoothly for our students and that they would continue on their path of growth.

This time from my air mattress on the nursery room floor…I bid you goodnight!

We can show the world we will Chase the Light!

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Wednesday – July 7, 2010

It was a day full of meeting new people for Team Colonial. Students and leaders alike were stretched in the area of initiating conversation through passing out flyers for Echo Valley Grace Brethren Church, doing some mall evangelism, and putting on a park program for children and their families.

When students arrived this morning we had our usual hour with God. We as an Operation Barnabas organization (93 teens and 14 leaders) are reading through the book of 1 Kings this month as part of the On Track Devotional series. This helps students learn what it looks like to get into the word on a daily basis.

After hour with God, guys and girls split up into three different groups. Guys stuck around the church to do some manual labor; they patched up bare areas in the gravel parking lot with more gravel. A handful of girls worked with other girls from the youth group doing some highway cleanup while the rest of the girls went into town to pass out flyers for tonight’s program. Some girls went to the pool to hand out flyers to families there for swim lessons while others went door to door. A few more stood at the only stoplight in this small town to pass out flyers to cars stopped on their way through town. Quite a few families came to the program tonight as a result of these flyers!

After passing out flyers we all reconvened at the church for sack lunches which were all made by an older couple at the church. After lunch we spent some time as a team going over scripture memory verses and cleaning out the Lost and Found box on the bus. At 2:30 PM we marched out to the bus and headed out for Schuylkill Mall‎ to do some Mall Evangelism. Students were given a scavenger hunt with some ideas for starting conversations with people and spent the next hour in the mall seeking out the Lost to bring them the truth of the gospel.  Few students were able to present the gospel message fully, many were able to initiate spiritual conversations, and most had the opportunity to pray with those that they met. Please pray that those whom we interacted with at the Mall would be brought one step closer to the saving knowledge of Christ.

On our return trip to the church from the mall, we spent the entire bus ride praying with other team members for those we had met at the mall, and also for our park program. Before getting off the bus back at the church, we were left with the challenge of praying with a teammate every ten minutes for the next two hours leading up to the program. We returned to the church just in time for a dinner of pizza, chips, and fruit salad. Someone from the church also made us some homemade brownies, which were delicious! Throughout dinner, it was really neat to look around the room and see OB students and leaders praying with each other sporadically throughout the room. What unity we felt this evening!

Our park program began at 6:30 PM tonight, so we arrived shortly after 6 to set up. Students are getting quicker and quicker at setting up the puppet stage and sound equipment each time. The students are so good at making due with whatever conditions and environment they are given, and this really showed tonight. Families from the church and the community began rolling in at 6:30 and we finally started the program at 6:45. It went smoothly and without a hitch. Students are getting so good at this! As leaders, we enjoy watching our students taking ownership of every aspect of ministry…they are learning to be such good stewards of their talents. Everything from introductions to children’s stories to equipment set-up to the sharing of the Cross Illustration is now fully being done by students. God is so cool in the way that he stretches and uses his children! After the program tonight, students departed with their host homes to (hopefully!) get  a good night’s rest.

We didn’t get a full count from students as to how many people made first-time decisions for Christ tonight, but I know there were at least three youth who prayed to receive Christ. I am sure there were more as well, but either way the angels are rejoicing in heaven! Pray that these new believers would be able to plug into a good Bible-teaching church.

Tomorrow promises to be another hot one, but the good news is that we will also be spending some time at a pool party. Woo Hoo! It’s time for the leaders to hit the hay as well though, so from the preschool-sized picnic table in the nursery of Echo Valley Grace Brethren Church, goodnight!