Archive for the ‘Orientation’ Category

Orientation is wrapping up…

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

June 19, 2010

Teams and leaders are revving up to begin tours, which start tomorrow! It has been such a crazy week of preparations and practice, but the week is now over and teams are ready to head off in their separate directions.

Students were given the privilege of sleeping in a whole half hour this morning…from 7 AM to 7:30 AM. They hit the ground running with lots of energy for a full day. Students had “3 group” in the morning where they put the finishing touches on their puppets, skits, clown dances, and pantomimes. Students were 100% focused as the pressure was on to get everything done by the end of the day.

Lunch today was a special, traditional meal that happens each year during orientation. During the “Etiquette Meal,” students learn the how-to’s of eating meals in a host home or out in public. Rules such as keeping elbows off the table, saying “please” and “thank you,” and passing the salt and pepper together are emphasized and discussed.  This year, leaders Ryan and JR played the roles of obnoxious OB students in a host home and displayed what NOT to do during a meal. Students then put into practice their new table manners during the etiquette meal, which was cooked by families from Grace Church.

After lunch, students had one last hour to prepare their puppets, skits, clown dances, and pantomimes. At the end of this hour, teams got together and presented all of their “stuff” to each other. It was an exciting time for all because the realization that tour begins tomorrow really began to sink in. It was also a time full of affirmation as students saw all their time, energy, and hard work finally come together into a program.

Following dinner, the OBers began the process of packing up the buses and luggage vehicles. The buzz in the air was one of great anticipation! After pulling out clothes and necessities for Sunday, students packed their suitcases into the luggage vehicles, leaving the sleeping rooms looking quite empty. Tour is coming so soon!

To end the night, the young men and women of Operation Barnabas 2010 met in their discipleship groups for communion. This community experience set the tone for what promises to be a fantastic and God-honoring summer.

Tomorrow morning, students will sing during all three Sunday morning services here at Grace Church. The 10 AM service will stream live on the Grace Church Lititz website, which can be found at Please feel free to log on and watch!

One prayer request that students have is for the people that they have met this week through team outings. There are at least two people who have told students or staff of Grace Church that they plan on attending services this weekend because of the kindness and love displayed to them out in public by OB students. We ask that you would pray for these two individuals, that their lives would be changed this weekend and they would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. God is at work!

Laundry Day!

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Laundry Day! June 18, 2010

The best days of the summer are laundry and Walmart days. Today was the very first day of this and we have never seen students so excited to go to Walmart or see a laundry mat. Students were very excited about being able to finally wash their clothes and have fresh clean laundry in their suitcases.

Of course, students were reminded of looking out for opportunities and we were impressed with the students who took the initiative to do such a thing. While one group did laundry the rest of them worked on drama lines, puppet signs, etc. Colonial team was given the opportunity to be the first team to do a program for the child daycare here at Grace. Way to step up to the plate Colonial! They did an awesome job and we are all very proud of them.

After another great lunch of sloppy joes along with, of course, chocolate brownies with ice cream. Yummy! Again thanks to Grace Church you have been such a blessing to us with such wonderful food and hospitality.

We are in full swing of finalizing our choirs, puppets, dramas, etc and we are proud of how much the student’s enthusiasm stays up throughout the day. After a hard afternoon of work, students were beyond excited to go to “The” store that will brighten our days throughout the summer and that store is called Walmart. Wow! You never realized how much students enjoy going to this store until you watch thirty one teens running to the entrance of the store. The Tidewater team got to go to dinner on $1 they had learn to work as a team to make a meal that will feed 31 students.

To close up the evening TK (Timothy Kurtaneck) was able to share with the students the true meaning of Servanthood. TK defined the nature of a servant as “a servant rises the interest of others above themselves.” Meaning, students need to be willing to help others without compensation and without necessarily being asked. They were challenged to really think through their hearts to find out if they were ready to be servants of God. This is a skill that TK told them they would learn throughout the summer and a skill that can be applied to the rest of their lives.

Well tomorrow is the last full day of orientation and students are itching to hit the road for tour. Please pray for our senior leaders to have wisdom as they finalize details of every stop. And also for students to develop the attitude of wanting to serve others.

From Lititz, Good Night

Everybody do the CRAZY dance…June 17, 2010

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Today was so busy and so crazy it is literally a blur.  It has been said that a day on Operation Barnabas actually feels like a year…and right now, rolling out of bed this morning feels like a lifetime ago.

True story.  With orientation in full swing and only a few days left before the tours start, every waking minute was filled with a frenzy of preparation.  If you walked down any hallway at the Lititz church you would inevitably see that every single room was filled with students  singing choir songs, reciting speech choir, making puppet signs, practicing skits, performing pantomimes, dancing around like crazy people and memorizing scripts.  However, despite the frenzy and the exhaustion, the students were having a blast developing their programs for the summer and learning how to share their faith joyfully and boldly.The Colonial and Empire teams participated in “Dinner on 2 Dollars” this evening.  Each student was given two dollars (and for at least one of the teams, only one dollar!) and dropped off at the grocery store.  They had 15 minutes to buy food and be back on the bus.  Both teams decided to prepare spaghetti for dinner and they bounced out of the store laughing and carrying bags full of the goods for a delicious pasta dinner.  It was a fabulous exercise in team work and decision making.  The students loved bonding with each other and spending time together without their leaders.

The Tidewater team went to Arby’s for dinner and made an attempted run to Wal-Mart…however, due to random and absurd traffic, the Wal-Mart trip was cancelled for the time being.  The Tidewater students did an epic job of starting conversations and praying with their fellow Arby eaters.

It has been a crazy long day…crazy but productive and awesome.  We had so much fun together as teams and can’t wait to get this show on the road.  Please be praying for diligence as we enter the home stretch here at Orientation…there are only a few days left before we each depart for our tours and there is still much to be done.  We are so thankful for the hearts of these students and the work that God is already doing in their lives.

From Lititz, PA…Goodnight!

It’s day five! June 16th.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

 Students began their day this morning learning how to share their testimonies. Matt W. taught them the difference between a testimony to be given in a church to encourage believers and a testimony that can be used to lead another person to a belief in Christ. Students then had the opportunity to write their testimonies and practice them with one another.  Students then split up into their three teams for choir and speech choir practice.

After lunch, students had choir yet again, then split into their three groups for some practice with puppets, skits, clowns, and pantomimes. By the end of the week, students will memorize five skits, five puppet songs, two pantomimes, and two clowning songs. It is a lot of work! Students were tired by the end of this nearly four hour practice, but they pressed on into the evening as they had dinner and ministered to local youth groups.

Team Empire traveled to York, Pa., to have dinner with and visit a youth group there. Students took initiative to have conversations with the students at the York Grace Brethren Church. They joined in on some games, followed by an interview of Brent and Amber by the youth pastor. They were able to share with the youth group details of the coming summer as well as prayer requests.

Team Tidewater stayed at Grace Church here in Lititz and joined the youth group for their end-of-the-year bash. They enjoyed a dinner of walking tacos, a crazy game of “bucket ball” with the students, and a refreshing time of working in the newly-built café. Team Tidewater ended the evening by resetting tables and chairs in the café as a way to serve the church.

The Colonial Team traveled about 45 minutes down the road to Willow Valley Grace Brethren Church where they learned how to take the focus off themselves and place it on others. The youth there were very excited to interact with the OB students in a small-group setting as Brad, the youth pastor, asked thought-provoking questions to be discussed between the two groups of students. They then treated the team to an ice cream sundae bar and sent them along their way with an encouraged farewell.

After all three teams returned back to Lititz safe and sound, they joined together in the main meeting room where they were challenged with a session about having a godly perspective of money and possessions. Students had the opportunity to discuss what they learned from the video in their sleeping rooms after getting ready for bed.

The days seem to be getting shorter and shorter as tour grows nearer and nearer. The days ahead promise to be full and busy. But for now, it’s lights out and goodnight from PA!

Sing, Sing, Sing

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Sing, Sing, Sing June 15, 2010
What a perfect way to start off the day through having an Hour with God. Tidewater leader Amy K. took the time to share with the students the importance of our time with God and allowing them to have that experience.

Well another day of orientation has begun and our teams are in full swing. With all the excitement of finding out our teams we are now finally able to really bond as a team through choir. Lots and lots of both speech and regular choir were ringing throughout the Grace Church the entire day.

Students were given the opportunity to go to Lancaster Bible College (LBC) for a free lunch and of course a free T-shirt. Throughout the LBC cafeteria, you were able to see many students interacting and sparking conversations with new people. And of course, we were given the best ice cream from Turkey Hill. A great shout out to LBC for a wonderful and fun experience over at their campus.

The afternoon consisted of some more three group practices where students are frantically learning lines for skits, puppet songs, etc. And of course Grace Church provided another great meal with chocolate brownies, our favorite. Opportunities was again after dinner where students are really getting the feel of how to make the church “OB” clean. What great students we have with their willingness to serve and help out in any way possible.
The evening ended with, of course, more choir practice where the students pulled through with strong voices. Their talents continued throughout the night where students showered the rest of their teams with talents that blew us away.

What a great day of praising God for His grace and mercy. Please continue to pray for the students to have the energy and strength to make it through the next few days before tour.

Well this is Lititz saying…Good Night!

The Day We’ve All Been Waiting For…June 14th

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

For the past three days the biggest question here in Lititz has been, “What team will I be on and when will I know?”  The answer has always been, “We don’t know…and you’ll know when we tell you.”  Well today…the students finally got their answer.  Needless to say it was quite an exciting day…and it feels like Operation Barnabas has now officially begun.

The morning started off quite typically with breakfast, devotions, an outreach lesson from Ed Lewis and of course, some choir…twice.  It just wouldn’t be OB orientation if we didn’t have multiple choir practices in one morning!  Despite the repetition of choir songs and epically long practices, the students are still singing with enthusiasm songs of praise to the Lord.  And they love it…why?  Because here on OB, we love everything!

A very special thanks goes out to Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana for supplying a gracious lunch for our students this afternoon.  A pizza, soda, and chocolate cupcake party all at once…what more could a high school student ask for?? Grace College is a partner and co-sponsor of the Momentum Youth Conference, which is presented by CE National. CE is very proud of its relationship with Grace College and encourages OB students to consider attending Grace when seeking a location to further their education. TK (Timothy Kurtaneck) – the director of The National Institute (youth ministry major at Grace College) and Tidewater Senior Leader Todd Shoemaker – a recent Grace grad and student body president, shared their experiences at the college and were available to answer any questions.

The school also provided each OB student and leader with a Grace College T-shirt, which was accepted with much enthusiasm from the students. Many of our leaders have graduated from The National Institute program that CE National runs in partnership with Grace College.

After the pizza was consumed and t-shirts were picked up, the students departed for their daily opportunities.  With joyful spirits and gracious hearts, they modeled the character of Barnabas by serving each other and the church.  The cafeteria was cleaned, the trash was gone, the floors were vacuumed, the weeds were pulled, the tables were wiped…you get the picture.  We are so proud of the character we see developing in these students!

Immediately following opportunities, the students were instructed to report to the gym for a time of games.  Stacie led the students in playing games that can be used for youth groups and children during our summer tours.  What the students didn’t know was that the groups they were assigned to actually were some of their team members.  The final activity was to run out to the buses and clean up the lovely toilet paper decorations that former OB students so lovingly surprised us with overnight.  Once the bus was clean, the students all stood outside with one hand touching the OB logo.  As soon as all three buses were finished, the leaders simultaneously shared the news that this, in fact, was their team…and their bus.  Cheering was heard from all three buses as students jumped with joy, hugged friends, and screamed.  We are so thankful that God has placed each of these OBers on the exact team that He had planned for them…these groups of students were placed together for His perfect purpose and we are so excited to see our stories unfold.

The rest of the day was spent meeting with our new teams, changing sleeping rooms and preparing for our summer.  The students broke into their 3-Groups to work on puppets, skits and pantomimes for upcoming programs.  This is the time of the week when Orientation gets CRAZY as we quickly learn all of our songs and skits…Crazy, but super fun.

Many thanks to the three homes that hosted our team pool parties this evening.  It was lovely to spend some time interacting with each other and building connections that will carry us through the summer.

This evening, Tim A. blessed us with a beautiful song…he even received a standing ovation…God has given him an amazing voice and he uses it to glorify His Lord.  After a challenging teaching time from OB Leaders/CE Ambassadors Stacie and Sarah about having no fear in life, the students placed their fears and failures at the foot of the cross letting go of the things that hold them back.  We finished the night with one last team time…casting vision for the summer and setting goals for our students.  It is evident that God is already working in the hearts and lives of these students…and we are confident that this summer will be used for His glory.

We thank you for your prayers as we have yet another crazy busy day tomorrow…actually, it will probably be our craziest yet.  We.  Are.  Excited!

From Lititz, PA…Goodnight!

Students Praying during main session

Andrew S, Henry T, and Shawn O. writing out their fears

All the students fears thrown at the foot of the cross

The Tidewater team getting to know their leaders

Thanks Grace College for the pizza, it was great!!!

Mitchell G. and John P. cleaning the bathrooms

Students clearing out the children's playground from debris

Samantha F, Hector R, Josh P, Elizabeth S, Brent B, and Faith on brach removal during opportunities

arren G, Zoe S, Dan N, Cari Cox, and Amber P. pulling weeds during opportunities

Teams have been announced

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The Operation Barnabas teams have been announced.

Find the listing here.

3rd Day’s a Charm

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Today was a day full of practice, practice, practice. From engaging strangers in conversation to singing choir songs, students spent much of the day practicing skills they have learned during the last two days. The skills they are gaining are being fine-tuned and tweaked as they learn more and more about what the summer ahead of them will hold.

It was an early morning for students as they rose at 6:40 AM to get ready to depart for Lancaster County Bible Church where they attended Sunday morning services. Before unloading the buses, all 92 students were given the challenge of cultivating a conversation with two people they have never met before. As the leaders milled around the large “plaza” of the church, students were seen engaging strangers in conversation everywhere. Many even sat with their newfound friends during the service and continued the conversation afterward.

After reloading the buses after the service, students went to one of three different fast food restaurants for lunch. There students were encouraged to greet and sit with other customers with the goal of starting spiritual conversations. Many individuals, couples, and families were blessed by these conversations. John S. and Lauren S. talked with an elderly couple at Burger King who, when they left, thanked them graciously for eating and conversing with them.

After returning to the church and changing out of church clothes, the guys and girls divided to work on either their sermons (guys) or children’s stories (girls). After an hour of tweaking these presentations, Ed Lewis led the fourth session on outreach where he walked through the steps of the Cross Illustration, an object lesson used by students throughout the summer to share the Gospel. From there, students transitioned into an hour-long choir practice before a dinner of chicken, mac & cheese, salad, and a sundae bar, which was cooked by a small group at Grace Church.

After dinner, students had the awesome opportunity to practice the outreach skills they have learned with their leaders, who role-played unbelieving members of the community. To close up the evening, Ed led a challenge hour which included a process called “Heart Searching” in which students went through a survey of questions in order to get their heart clean before the Lord. It was a great way to end a very full day.

Rachel A. and Samantha F. meeting a LCBC church attendee.

Sara P. practices sharing her children’s story.

Singing a beautiful rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Kailey M.

The guys are hard at work preparing their sermons.

Rich G., John P., and Josh P., sharing their sermons with one another.

Melanie S. perfecting the cross illustration.

The students enjoy learning new songs with our choir director, Dave.

Making a joyful noise to the Lord.

Rise and Shine! And Give God the Glory

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Students were buzzing around Grace Church of Lititz, PA bright and early this morning with reminders that the day was going to be full of amazing things, and it was!  Right away we had a great time of worship and study through 1 Thessalonians 2 where TK reminded the students “a thankful spirit is the mark of a mature servant.”

During three sessions, Ed Lewis presented many different techniques of outreach and the students responded well by working with their peers.  In the first session, Ed challenged the students to really think about how important it is to really share their faith.  With much laughter and story time from Ed he explained that “’results’ may not happen always but it is our responsibility to cultivate (the soul), plant (seeds of the gospel) and prayerfully seek a harvest for our sharing.’  You could see the students really thinking through different friends, family members, etc. from home, that they could start planting seeds of the gospel to.

With another fabulous meal from our friends here at Grace, the students were able to take the opportunity to do different projects around the church everything from mopping the cafeteria floor all the way to taking the trash out.  You could really see the students beginning to have a willing and helpful hearts.   Many students were beginning to ask if there was more to do or took the initiative to come up with their own project.  What a great opportunity for students to start working on their leadership skills.  After our projects we were able to lift our voices again in choir and then right back to another outreach session with Ed.

After much sitting, students were relieved to be introduced to the art of clowning and puppetry.  Students were divided into two groups learning how to design their clown face for the summer and understanding how sore arms can get after a song with puppets.  Students’ laughter carried throughout the church while they practiced their skills of puppetry.  Again the church provided us with another meal with this time being scalloped potatoes and ham.  To me it was like Easter dinner all over again.

Another session with Ed we learned different ways to really start conversations with many people.  Students now know to always remember:  FORM, SHARE, and KFCS.  The students were even given the opportunity to try the techniques on their peers, getting the chance to meet new people.  With the last choir practice for the night, you would think the students were exhausted and would not sing.  However, that did not happen these students lifted their voices up to the Lord with all their heart and praising God for how deep His love is for us is.

With no complaining, students went to the last session for the night where Ed really hit the core of our hearts with the challenge to be submissive to our authorities.  Ed really challenged us to think of the authority figures that God has placed over us and to really think of ways that we can be submissive to them and seek forgiveness for disobeying them in any way.  He also challenged us to understand that God is working to teach us and make us successful as He works through these authority figures.

Well it was definitely a full day of activities but all the students did it with a cheerful heart and did not have a problem laying their head on their pillow and going to sleep.  Tomorrow is a big day with opportunities for students to remember the different techniques that Ed has taught us and use them with people they meet.  Please continue to pray for these students as they start to blossom into the evangelists we know they can be.

What a great day!  And we are very excited to see what God has in store for us tomorrow.

Goodnight … all the way from Lititz, PA

Welcome to OB 2010…June 11, 2010

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Today was the first day of the best summer ever!  Operation Barnabas 2010 is officially underway and we couldn’t be any more excited.  This morning, as leaders energetically buzzed around Grace Church of Lititz, PA making final preparations, the students were driving and flying from all over the country.  For some, the journey took all of five minutes as they drove across town; but for others the journey took MUCH longer…flying from places such as California, Florida and even Germany!  As can be expected, there were a multitude of emotions as the students made their arrivals.  There was some bouncing off the walls excitement, some nervous laughter, some quiet introductions…but hardly any tears!  After a tour of the building (Shout out to the former OB students who graciously and energetically greeted the new OBers.  Way to be a Barnabas!!) the parents dashed into an informational meeting with TK and the students released some energy while playing ice breaker games before the goodbyes.

We immediately hit the ground running with our first choir practice.  The first of approximately a million to come…these students will sing more this week than they have in probably their entire lives…and they will love every minute of it!  There’s nothing quite like 100 voices singing praises to our God…it’s basically just awesome.  We took a quick break for a delicious lasagna dinner…many thanks to the Lititz GBC!  But then it was right back to the choir room for round two.  After only a few hours of practice, these students are starting to sound like a real choir!  Way to go OB 2010!

During our main session tonight many students were given the opportunity to share how God has answered prayers and opened doors for them to participate in OB this summer.  Kate H. shared how God gave her the strength and wisdom to finish school well.  Jessica I., Elizabeth S., Jared R. and Tarran G. shared how God provided above and beyond their financial needs even at the last minute.  What a blessing to see how He has orchestrated lives and answered prayers to allow these students to be here this summer.  Praise the Lord for the blessings that He so lavishly bestows upon us!  After a time of worship, Rachel A. signed a beautiful song reminding us how much God loves and provides for us unconditionally.

The message of the main session centered around the life and character of Barnabas.  TK and the three senior leaders lead the students through various passages in the book of Acts to discover that Barnabas was a giver, a greeter, a groomer and a groaner.  Students were encouraged to develop character like Barnabas by giving above and beyond, by taking the initiative to be friendly and greet others, by encouraging believers and by longing to help those in need.  Barnabas means “son of encouragement” and he set an incredible example of what the life of an encourager looks like.  This summer, OB students will strive to become a “Barnabas”.

After a full day of travel, goodbyes, singing and laughing the students quickly fell into bed and are probably dreaming to the soundtrack of their choir songs.  7am is coming quickly, along with another jam packed day here at OB Orientation.  Please be praying for these students as they embark on a life changing adventure…that they will fall more in love with their Savior, develop a heart for the lost and become an encourager like Barnabas.

We are oh so very excited to see what God has in store for our summer.  No doubt about it…it’s going to be incredible!

From Lititz, PA…Goodnight!

Students and Leaders getting to know each other

Rachel signs a song during session

Jay reads Scripture during session

Kiara and Lauren get to know each other

Kate sharing how God provided for her

Heidi and friends practice choir songs

Chelsey and Stephanie in choir

Hector and Luis singing