Wet and soapy in Brookville…

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!

Here We Go Again…July 20, 2010

July 21st, 2010

Day two at the Mid Summer Blast was, in a word, incredible. And while this is not an exhaustive list…here are a few reasons why:

1) The temperature was cool.

2) Over 20 new faces showed up for the fun…which means over 20 new faces heard the Gospel message. P-awesome!

3) OB students were described as, “extremely hard workers”, “ready to dive in”, “energetic” and “encouraging.

4) Everyone had a blast…and since that word is in the name of the event, it is practically necessary that people have a blast. Three cheers for a super fun blast filled event!! Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray!

5) One child prayed to receive Christ…and word came back that two children prayed yesterday! Praise the Lord for new brothers and sisters!!

We ate at Wendy’s for lunch…and wow, what a testimony Tidewater students had in that little restaurant this afternoon! Literally every single person was in conversation with an OBer. Rachel A. and Gabi B. were seen praying with a family of four. Shawn M. and Cydney V. were falling out of their chairs laughing uncontrollably during a conversation with a local pastor who happened to be eating lunch. He. Was. HILARIOUS. Ashley K. invited a woman to the program here at Hope Community tomorrow night and we are pretty sure she was genuine when she said she’d be here. So not only was lunch delicious…it was also glorifying to the Lord and stretching for the students. Check! It is awesome to see the OBers truly understand what it means to love others as Christ would love them…and then to put that into action. So awesome. SO SO awesome.

After lunch, leader Sara taught on placing our identity in Christ and not in anything else. We talked about the importance of knowing who we are as sons and daughters of the Almighty God and what a life lived in that truth looks like. Sara shared her testimony of placing her identity in grades, friends, success, family etc…and struggling through the exhaustion that comes along with that. She challenged the students to examine their hearts and seek to place their identity 100% in Christ…because as Ephesians 1 states, we are chosen, forgiven, justified, adopted and loved by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. What more could we possibly want or need??? Students were challenged to see their lives as instruments of the Lord and not as a personal little story that they want to write out because a life lived for the glory of the Lord and submitted to Him is ridiculously freeing compared to looking for identity anywhere else. True story.

Then…we painted…and painted…and painted…and painted some more. Jared R. and Nathan P. finished cleaning the windows. Gabi B., Chelsey S. and a few guys worked hard making the outside courtyard look brand new. And the rest of us…well…we all painted. We painted a plethora of walls, a few t-shirts, Rachel S’s hair, Bekah K’s face, Tim A’s face, and who knows what else. They had fun, they worked hard and they finished all of the tasks that were set before them. Way to go Tidewater.  Way to be a Barnabas.

Tonight we celebrated Jelly’s birthday (and Rachel A’s birthday which is tomorrow) with a DELICIOUS dinner courtesy of Mrs. Adriensen. And an even more delicious birthday cake that had our team picture on it!! WE LOVE BIRTHDAYS!!

The students are all currently in a time of prayer for our team, our ministry, our health and this church. Thank you for joining us in this! We are battling some colds right now and need all the prayer for strength and endurance that we can get!

Tomorrow is our final day of Mid Summer Blast…praying that it is even better than today!!!

From Columbia City, Indiana…Goodnight!

Feeling Merry in Marysville!

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!

One to Ten

July 20th, 2010

Shout out to Caleb, Henry, Cassie, Adriane and that lady from Utah.  Rock on.

Play, Paint, Party…July 19, 2010

July 19th, 2010

One day down…two to go!  The first day of Mid-Summer Blast was a smashing success.  And by smashing success…we mean RADICALLY AWESOME!  No joke.  So maybe the temperature was soaring…but so were spirits and energy.  Tidewater OBers were quick to jump into service this morning and helped set up the playing fields quickly and efficiently.  Tim and Rachel S. worked the registration table and greeted the kids with an enthusiastic smile.  From there, the kids went to the first activity of their choice…then an OB program…and then to a second activity of their choice.  Options included volleyball, tennis, basketball, kickball, T-ball, golf, crazy games and awesome magic tricks.  Chelsey and Rachel A. were in their element swinging their tennis rackets for the first time in months as they helped little kids learn the sport.  Sara got some much needed practice time on the volleyball court as she was her crazy energetic self teaching some volleyball tricks.  Nathan is a self proclaimed “beast of basketball” and loved dribbling around with the little ones.  Mitchell assisted on the golf course and did an awesome job.  Gabi was overcome with joy when she found out she would be tearing it up on the soccer field…kids and soccer = two of her favorite things.  Zack and Elizabeth lead the crazy games…thank goodness they paid attention during OB Orientation and knew some crazy games!  Shawn O. did a RIDICULOUS card trick that we are STILL attempting to understand…and Kari C. wore a wedding gown to tell the story of Jesus turning the water into wine in John 2.  Kari playing dress up in an outfit SUPER girly…now there’s something we thought we’d never see!!  But she was awesome!

The kids all had a blast and all heard the Gospel message.  Tidewater OBers were seen talking about Jesus all morning and sharing the cross illustration.  They had good discussions with the kids at Mid-Summer Blast and started to build relationships that will carry through the next three days.  May God work in the hearts of these kids and may He use Tidewater to help His Kingdom grow this week.  Many props to Hope Community and their partner churches for organizing such a fantastic event…we are excited to have two days left!!

This afternoon Todd and Sara lead a discussion and teaching time on spiritual gifts.  Each student took a little test/survey to see which gifts God has blessed their life with…we talked about how to properly use the gifts to bring glory to the Lord and become more like Jesus.  Many students had never discovered their gifts before and were excited for the insight…may they now go forward using these gifts to the best of their ability as they live a life serving the Lord with everything they are.  All the glory to God as we, the church body, work together to accomplish His will…

The final part of our day is none other than a much loved afternoon of some hard manual labor.  As this blog is being composed in the hallway of Hope Community there is a swarm of activity in all directions.  To the left, John P. is high up on a ladder washing one of the hundreds of floor to ceiling windows.  Straight ahead, Mitchell and Rich are outside in a courtyard washing even more windows…and apparently talking about something hilarious because they are both laughing.  To the left Gabi, Tim, Bekah, Janna, Jess and friends are painting a hallway.  And a few minutes ago…”Our God” came on the radio and the halls of this church were immediately filled with a plethora of beautiful voices singing praises to the Almighty God.  Now…they are singing puppet songs.  It’s not often you find 30 highschool students so joyously doing chores and hard work…but Tidewater students aren’t any old highschool students.  They love the Lord…they love others…they love serving…and they love having fun.  Praise God that they are able to serve with such joyful and energetic hearts.  Right now they are completing work that would take a few people WEEKS to accomplish…and they are having so much fun.  They are an encouragement to everyone around them.

Today has been a good day…correction, a P-awesome day…may God continue to be glorified in and through us as students go home with their host families in just a little while for dinner and fellowship.

Thank you for your continued prayers…a few of us are battling colds/coughs and we are praying that they disappear as quickly as they showed up this last week.  We are also praying that even more kids come to the park tomorrow for Day 2!

(Special shout out to Janet, the BEST host shower for leaders EVER in the history of host showers for leaders.  Thank you SOOOO much for your overwhelming hospitality and generosity.  The gifts, the card, the omelets, the cinnamon rolls, your cheerful spirit, your Godly example, your encouragement, your prayers…you are a blessing!  Words can’t express just how much Tidewater leaders grew to love you this morning…God used you to encourage us…know that we will continue to pray for you.  You are seriously the BEST.)

From Columbia City, IN…have a rockin’ awesome evening!

A Day in the Life Of…July 18, 2010

July 19th, 2010

Tidewater Morning:

We weren’t even at Huber Heights for 24 hours…in fact, we were barely even there for TWELVE hours…but my oh my did they treat us well.  With a late service time of 11am, we were able to sleep in (clarification…”sleeping in” on OB means waking up at 7am instead of 6:30am…) and have a little time to recuperate from a long week at Momentum.  With warm showers to clean up and a delicious breakfast to eat up we hit the day running.  Nathan P. gave a sermon on the importance of prayer and Brittany H. shared her children’s story.  We are so SO proud of both of these students…Nathan, you overcame your nervousness and did a fabulous (and hilarious) job opening the Scriptures.  Keep up the good work…live out your faith in a passionate way!  And Brit Brit…wow!!  You have FAR surpassed our expectations this summer…and you were awesome at your story…even when that little boy wouldn’t stop talking about the TV in his room that keeps him from being scared of the dark.  J  Nate…Brit…you rock.  We loved interacting with the Huber Heights congregation…they were super fun and crazy friendly!

Tidewater Afternoon:

MEXICAN FOOD!!!!!!!!  Leaders Sara and Amy, as native Southern California girls, have been CRAVING a good Mexican homecooked meal for weeks.  Literally.  And today was the day!!  Muchas gracias to our new amiga, Jessica, and her remarkable cooking abilities.  Also…muchas gracias for being from Texas and knowing how to make enchiladas.  They.  Were.  DELECTABLE!!!  Best lunch ever.  100% true story.  After our tummies were full of Mexican goodness, we boarded our home away from home, Big Blue…said adios to the Buckeyes and hola to the Hoosiers…survived a remarkable thunder storm (well…everyone/everything survived except for one poor windshield wiper that fell victim to the harsh rain.  Sad day.)…and rolled into Columbia City, Indiana.

Tidewater Evening:

MEXICAN FOOD!!!!!!!  Leaders Sara and Amy, as native Southern California girls, were CRAVING a good Mexican homecooked meal ever since lunch!!  Literally.  Two perfect meals in one perfect day??  Awesome.  This time it was Jeremy & Tonya Wike who came to the rescue with the tortillas and the salsa.  Hurray and gracias!  Also, gracias Tonya, from being from California and knowing how to make tacos!  We spent the rest of the evening going over our plans for the next few days.  This stop is going to keep us busy in the most awesome of ways.  Hope Community Church is partnering with three other local churches to run a day camp in the park.  Tidewater students will be assisting with volleyball, tennis, T-ball, golf, crazy games, basketball and programming for the three day morning camp.  It sounds super exciting and we are anxious to see what God has in store for this event!  Hope Community has been diligently preparing and planning for Mid-Summer Blast for months upon months…and it’s finally here!!  Tidewater is stoked to be a part of it!

Tidewater Late Night:

Host homes, bouncy balls and craziness.

We are praying that a multitude of children come to the park this week for Mid-Summer Blast and that they will be open to hearing the Gospel and will understand Jesus’ love for them.  We are praying that Tidewater students will overflow with the love, peace and joy of Christ as they interact with the children.  We are praying for gorgeous weather here in Indiana…and for health and safety as we do crazy athletic things in the gorgeous weather.

From Columbia City, IN…Goodnight!!

Team Empire is Back!

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.

Reunited, and it feels so good.

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…

Reunited…And it Feels So GOOD!!…July 17, 2010

July 18th, 2010

Momentum is over…and Tidewater is back on the road.  Can you even believe it?!!?  We sure can’t.  Not only has this summer FLOWN by, but this past week at Momentum was over in seemingly record time.  And now…in quick recap fashion, please enjoy a brief synopsis of our past week…

Sunday, July 11 – Question…how long will it take us to get to Momentum today after our Sunday morning program at Penn Valley Grace???

Answer – Well…Dillsburg, PA is about nine hours from Warsaw, IN.  Columbus, OH is three hours from Warsaw.  Subtract three hours because we are not going all the way to Warsaw.  Add one hour because we are going south of Columbus.  Add three hours because we are three hours east of Dillsburg.  Add four hours because we will be driving in a bus.  Subtract 2 hours for….um…something.  Add three hours for lunch, dinner and breaks.  That comes out to…we have NO idea how long it will take!!

Monday July 12 – Friday July 16 – We eventually DID make it to Momentum in the wee hours of Monday morning.  After sleeping in a lobby for a few short hours we jumped right into the activities and excitement of Momentum.  The theme was “Pursuit…let the chase begin!”.  We learned that life should be about pursuing righteousness, love and peace while fleeing from the sins that we are so easily entrapped in.  Students were challenged to live a life that is fully submitted to the Lord and to lay at the foot of the cross all of the fears, worries, challenges and sins that plague their young souls.  Tidewater did a fabulous job mixing and mingling with their youth groups, new friends and conference speakers.  They also set the pace in servanthood and exemplified what the pursuit of righteousness looks like. 

Saturday, July 17 – After an INCREDIBLE Momentum closing session celebrating communion and the marriage supper of the Lamb…we hopped back on Big Blue…reunited and it feels so good!!!  While it has been nice to have a break from the crazy ridiculous schedule of OB and to sleep in the same place for more than two nights…we sure did miss each other immensely!  It is now well after midnight and Tidewater students are still jumping with joy at the sight of each other.  A weeks worth of hugs and laughs take a lot of time to get through!

We are now snuggling into our beds to get some quick sleep tonight so we will be well rested for our last Sunday morning program as a team tomorrow. 

We will now return to our regularly scheduled blog for this, our last week of tour.  LAST WEEK!!!!  Where has this summer gone?!!?!?!  Seriously.  Ridiculous.  Praise God for the things He has done in and through us for the past month…may He continue to be glorified this coming week…may Tidewater students jump right back into ministry and serve their Savior with everything they are. 

We missed you dear blog family…good to be reunited.

From Huber Heights, Ohio…Goodnight!!!

Momentum, here we come!

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!