Category: Peninsula Team
Go Ye Therefore… July 25, 2011

We’ve come to it… the last day of Operation Barnabas for the Peninsula team.  We began our last day by waking up at nine to an hour with God and a nice breakfast prepared by us leaders… at least… I think it was pretty nice; pancakes, bacon, and fruit beats pop tarts any day in my book.

After breakfast, our team got in their swimsuits and headed out to a member of Grace Church’s congregations house to swim in their pond and hang out as a team for the last time.  During this time, we as leaders lead our kids through their exit interviews which consist of the student’s D-group leaders and another leader reviewing the positive aspects of the summer, the things they need to keep working on, and looking to see how a student can bring what they’ve learned on Barnabas home.

It was so encouraging and heart warming to look at these students and see how God has used them in these past couple of weeks in amazing and crazy ways.  God has been able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine for these kids and He loves them more than we ever could.  Which is saying something because we love these kids SO much!  Thank you again to those responsible for these students for giving us the gift of knowing and investing in these awesome young men and women.  It is seriously our honor to see them wake up and delight in the Lord everyday.  It will be hard to say goodbye and not see that everyday.  But they’re in the Lord’s hands and that is the safest place they can be!

After the lake, we headed back to the church where Sarah gave a teaching time on discipleship to the students helped by some girls (Morgan and Leah from the Powell Church) who she disciples.  It is going to be so important to see these kids held accountable by wiser and older men and women who are willing to invest in their lives and see them grow in the Lord every day now that they no longer have OB.

After the teaching time, we headed to Chipotle for dinner and had some neat conversations with some people (even some kids who some of our students knew!)  After dinner, we went to the mall to spend time with our team, but as always, to establish conversations of intention about Scripture and lead some people to the Lord.  The grand total of souls won for the Lord this summer as of yesterday now sets at 147!  It has been SO awesome to see the Lord work through this group to see almost triple our team come to a saving grace in Jesus Christ!  ALL GLORY TO GOD!  We are so humbled and honored to have been used in such a mighty way and pray that God will continue to multiply His kingdom through the Holy Spirit working in our teammates at home.

After the mall, we headed back to the church again to speak of going home again, share communion, and hold a candle light service to make public dedications of what it is each student wants to accomplish when they go home.

I want to personally take this last blog post to thank each and every member of the Peninsula Team, including my leadership team, for the awesome and humbling summer I have had because of your willingness to let the Holy Spirit work through you.  You’re reading this now at home, back with familiar things and surrounded by those you love and whom God has called you to love!  I beg you to remember how much you have grown in faith, love, purity, and life this summer.  You have seen God and now you have the responsibility and privilege to see Him glorified by letting Him work through you to add new names to the Book of Life.  Remember how much we love you and how much we cannot wait to see what God will do through you beyond what you have even seen this summer.  We look forward to the day we get to be all together again with our Lord.  But for now, above all, remember that our Father has a season and a time for everything.  He gives, and He takes away and always knows what is best for us.  Claim that promise and rejoice in the Lord that He has planned out a perfect and beautiful path for you in Him if you would just continue to love Him, sprint after Him, read the Word, and be in constant prayer.  We love you, but He loves you more.  Thank the Lord because He is the one who is always with you and who is at your side now!  ALWAYS in prayer for you!

Thank you and love you all!

Sarah, Ashton, Cody, Brandon, and Katie

Is This the Girl’s Bathroom!!!??? – July 24, 2011

At the risk of sounding redundant… I’m going to attempt to make this blog post as brief as possible.  All of the teams were together today for ministry and programming so all of our blog posts are going to be SUPES similar.  SO..

Well, the day finally arrived… our last Sunday of ministry on Operation Barnabas.  But what a way to go out!  All of our students came together from the Peninsula, Blue Ridge, and National Team to run the morning services at Big Grace in Columbus, Ohio.  The OB teams ran two services with choir songs, skits, dances, pantomimes, and puppets from each team.  We had an amazing time praises our God who binds us in commonality.  It was so awesome to hear all of the testimonies of the students today.  To hear what God has done in each one of their lives in these weeks was an encouragement beyond words.  We as the Peninsula Team have had the most amazing summer we could have possibly had this year… my team is precious to me and God knew from the start where each of us needed to be and I have seen amazing fruit come of that.  But to be reminded that, ultimately, the God that has blessed the Peninsula Team is just as present and real and living in all three other teams and in the hearts of every believer was invaluable for our students and for us as leaders.  He is so amazing and His love is sufficient!

After the two programs this morning (where, by the way, Luke and Ian did an amazing job with there special music… shoot… God spoke through the boys… so proud of the work He has done in and through them) we headed off to Wooster to run the opening sessions of CE Nationals adult conference.  Before that, however, we stopped at a BK for some food!  We got to have some conversations with the people there and left ready to do our hour with God on the bus and take a quick nap before the next program.

When we arrived at Wooster, we helped set up what was left at the conference and changed back into our Sunday outfits after our sound check.  At the conference, our teams mingled with the attendees and encouraged them in sharing stories and testimonies of what God had been and continues to do through OB 2011.  We had dinner with the group and then moved into the main session where Peninsula performed their speech choir, National performed a pantomime, and Blue Ridge did some children’s programming.  We all sang a few choir songs together and backed up the worship band at the conference vocally.

We’re back at Powell now for the night… in bed… ready to face our last day of tour tomorrow.  It’s going to be fun… but the prospect of leaving has a lot of our students in a conflicted place right now.  Being in a community of believers for this long that so diligently encourages you to grow in your faith and share it and then being taken out of it just as suddenly isn’t easy.  But continue to pray that the Lord will condition these students hearts to love and serve the Lord with all their hearts.  God has now ordained that this be our last day together tomorrow… but by no means will this be the last time we are together.  As Tori said tonight “I CAN’T WAIT FOR HEAVEN!”  We look forward to that day when we all rejoice together in fellowship with our Lord… but until then, “let us run diligently the race marked out for us.”  For many of us, God’s path is taking us in very different directions… but what’s encouraging is that we all end at the same finish line!

Good night everyone!


Cain May Have Killed Abel… But He Also Can Make Some MEAN Chicken! – July 23, 2011

We had to get to the church a little earlier this morning… unfortunate but not altogether unpleasant.  I must say our OBers were troopers and arrived on time, ready to do their hour with God and ready themselves for the day ahead of us… and let me tell you… it was a doozy… but a good sort of doozy… so DON’T WORRY.  I know you were… I could see it in your eyes.  After all of our students arrived at the church, we loaded them on the bus as they were still doing their hour with God and started making our way towards Big Grace where we would meet the other teams for a sound check for tomorrow’s services we will be running together tomorrow.  It was nice to see the other teams and to come together to work towards the common goal of sharing the Gospel of Christ as one unit.

After the sound check, we had the opportunity to sound check a duet of “I Am Not Ashamed”  by Aaron Keys that will be performed by Luke and Ian tomorrow!  We’re so so so so stoked for God to be glorified tomorrow through these guys talents!  Pray for them as they prepare and let the Holy Spirit remind them that tomorrow their voices will be lifted in praise to no one but the Creator of the universe and the one who makes us unashamed as new creations in Him!  I may cry tomorrow… we’ll see… probably… It’s such a sweet thing to see your kids praising God with the talents and gifts He has layed upon them.  And that goes for all these students!  God has blessed them ALL in such rich ways that seeing those gifts given back to the Lord is not only beautiful… it’s AWESOME!

After the sound check, TK went over the debriefing that needed to be done with all three teams concerning what the students should and might expect when they go home on Tuesday.  It was a great reminder and informative as to what these students will encounter in their church, high schools, colleges, and families when they return back to the world outside of the little “OB bubble” they have been in for two months.  It’s a scary thing for sure… and exciting.  But what we need to remember is that the God who is here and real to us now is the same God that stands by us at home.  I was reading in Acts today that God literally stood with Paul through all of his missionary journeys.  LITERALLY!  These students need not expect anything less from the God who has revealed Himself to them this summer.  They can grab hold of that promise and claim it as their own!

After debriefing… we went to lunch at this little place called Cain’s.  I had never had it before… but again… it was deli-icious!  Thanks so much to Cody and Ashton who went ahead to get all of it ready and ordered for us so we could go straight from the restaurant to Encounter church; a church plant off of Grace Church Powell.  Once there, we met with the pastor of the plant, Sean, and he briefed us on the ministry we would be doing in a low income area around Columbus.  We went door to door asking people to come to the park program (aka… front lawn/parking lot program) that we would be doing.  GOD PROVIDED SUCH AN AMAZING MINISTRY TODAY!  I saw first hand the awesome workings of the Holy Spirit today and the awesome work He is able to do through those who are faithful and love Him enough to obey and carry out His commandments.  Several people came to the Lord today and the encouragement for us as believers and other believers there abounded!  We couldn’t have asked for a more successful last day of community ministry!  God just used His own time table… it’s incredible the way He works and never stops working!  Be sure to ask your OBers about today at Encounter when they come home!  You will hear some INCREDIBLE things from them about God’s glory and saving grace!

After our program, we made our way back to Sean’s house and met his wife Melissa and his kid’s  Sean filled us in a little bit more about the condition of Encounter church right now and opened the field to any questions the kids may of had but specifically about full time vocational ministry.  It was so awesome to hear from such a Godly couple that is following whole heatedly the calling God has for them and their family.  Even their fifth grade twin girls just finished up leading a two month Bible study out of their home with girls from their school!  How awesome is that!  So encouraging!

After dinner with the family and questions, we got a chance to shower at the local YMCA. got ice cream at UDF and then made our way back to the church.  The students filled out self evaluation forms about how they felt their summers have gone which will be used on Monday in their end of tour evaluations from us leaders.  Pray for us as we need discernment and wisdom to speak to the hearts of these kids before they leave and we place them in the Lord’s hands!  It’s bitter sweet for sure.


This little boy was very hot, but very interested!

Becca C. and her new friend.

Kaira dancing.

Amy getting to know a new friend.

Tori visiting.

Andrew J. sharing the cross illustration.

Kristina sharing the gospel with some sisters.

Emma talking with two boys.

Some of our girls getting to know Melissa Spoelstra.

Colin asking Sean Spoelstra some questions about church planting.

Crazy bus rides.

Andrew M. hanging out with our team mascot.

Preston’s handmade creation.

“POW” ell – July 22, 2011

I am clever.

Today we had a huge thunder and lightning storm in Powell… and the first syllable of “Powell” … I don’t know if you know this… it’s “POW!”  So, you see it ties in quite nicely with the happenings of the day…. being a thunder storm in Powell… making “Pow” noises in a city that just happens to contain the same sound in it’s spelling.

Today, OBers showed up at nine A.M. to begin their day with an hour with God.  I’ve said this before… but we have LOVED being able to start our day in the Word.  We have given these students an hour with Jesus every day… but there’s just something about starting you day off remembering how good our God is and how much He loves us that makes the rest of your day that much easier to live to the fullest.  After all, He’s the only one who fills our cups until they overflow!

After our hour with God, Andrew Siders and Luke Helmth (both OB alum from the Powell Church) talked with the students a little about some of the things they will experience when they go home in three days.  It was great for these students to hear from some younger guys (who’s experience is fresher in their minds than us ancient relics) about what to be praying over and to be in intentional thought over as their summer draws to a close.

After that panel, the students ate lunch and memorized some more Scripture (like they’ve been doing over the entire summer.)  It was awesome, Luke had actually just encouraged some of our students to be intentional about memorizing Scripture after the summer was done… so the timing could not have been more perfect!

After the verse time, we headed out to our last manual labor projects of the summer.  Most of the team stayed at the church and moved cubbies out of classrooms (super heavy… believe you me), painted, cleaned toys, organized closets and storage rooms, and picked up some trash.  A group of other students, including myself, visited the house of a family from the church – the Moores.  We spent manual labor time staining their deck… PURPLE!

After our afternoon of manual labor we made our way back to the church to eat City BBQ provided by the Hornback family.  THANKS GUYS… IT WAS DELI-ICIOUS!  We quickly changed out of our manual labor clothes and got ready for a program inside the church… good thing because as I mentioned; the storm.  The program was fantastic as we got to know some more people from the church, meet some kids and play with them, AND lead a couple more to the Lord!  Pray for these kid’s hearts as they have made a life changing decision.  Pray that it will not be just a one time prayer but a life change that will be followed up on by the Lord placing mentors in their life to guide them towards Him!  Also, pray for our students that they will continue to focus and push hard through the coming days.  We love them and all we want to see is a passion for ministry, service, leadership, and above all a heart for the Lord that spills out of them.

Andrew and Luke talking about life after Barnabas.

Luke, Colin, Ian and Shane listening intently.

Becca C. and Tori working hard.

Dan moving a rug.

Sam, Shane, Cassandra and Ian working with Dustin to move sets of shelves.

Ethan organizing a closet.

Amanda taping off a ceiling before painting it.

Preston showing off his carpentry skills.

Skylar vacuuming.

Jessie painting.

Megan and Holli are proud of their work.

Bekah H. staining a deck.

Kaira busy staining.

Andrew M. and Caroline having fun and working hard.

Kristina sharing the cross illustration.

Cori getting to know new people.

Luke sharing the gospel with a new friend.

Andrew M. and a friend talking about the cross illustration.

These Are Some Quality Apples! – July 21, 2011

We found ourselves this morning, faced with a warning.  This warning presented the prospect of today being one of the hottest days ever in Columbus Ohio… and what were we planning on doing today?  Just spending seven hours outdoors… no. big. deal.  Heres the deal… it wasn’t that bad… but I take back any complaint I had for the humidity in Florida or Georgia because Ohio… well let’s just say Ohio is most probably the location of the lost city of Atlantis because most of the time… I felt like I was completely submerged in water today.  BUT We had an excellent day!

The Peninsula Team showed up at Powell for their second day of ministry here with shining faces at nine A.M.  They immediately began their hour with God and went straight into a teaching time from Cody on the fruits of the spirit after.  Students were split up into teams to find examples of each fruit in scripture and elaborate a little bit more on what each entailed.  It was so awesome to find not what we describe or define each fruit as at a first glance… but to go a little deeper and find what God has to say about each.  Praise God that He has given us Scripture and chooses to speak to us through it!  I think we take that for granted FAR to often.  After the teaching time, we split up into discipleship groups and had discussions about what excites us and worries us most about going home.  Please be in prayer for these students (as they are for each other) over the ministry that God has for them when they return home.  However, another thing we talked about is how the Lord has still ordained that they be with us a little while longer and that He has great and mighty things already planned out for them to do.  Pray for focus, intention, wisdom, and discernment in these students heart as they push and do everything as to the glory of God in these next days.

After discipleship groups, we broke into lunch and handed out mail.  What’s that?  You want to know who got mail today… well O.K…. I’ll tell you I DID!  It may or may not have been a three pound bag of gummi bears…  it was.  ALSO!  Today when we handed out mail (like we always do) we had our students do some crazy stuff to get it.  Dan got a package so we made him eat “ice cream” really fast… yeah… it was chip dip.  He took a huge spoonful too… apparently he thought it was cookies and cream… psssshhhh… crazy kid.

After lunch we headed over to a clinic that Grace Church Powell is affiliated with that does free service for the community in Columbus.  We canvased the neighborhood around the clinic inviting everyone we could to the VBS/Program we would be hosting later that night!  We had some EXCELLENT conversations and opportunities to show God’s love by asking not just if we could pray for these people providing for their spiritual needs, but provide for their physical needs as well by seeing if there was any sort of service project we could do around their place.

After we passed out fliers… we spent some time in prayer for the program, people back home, our ministry back home, our attitudes, our remaining days on OB, etc.  After this, we headed over to McDonalds for dinner and to meet with some people and talk.  We ate pretty fast, but we had some good opportunities and encounters with some of the local people eating their Big Macs.

After dinner, we scurried over to the clinic to set up for the program and start initiating with the kids and families that were showing up even early!  We played games with the kids, served pizza and fruit (Shane got to use his gift of splitting apples BY HAND today because we couldn’t find a knife), put on a program, and shared the Gospel through the cross illustration.  SEVERAL KIDS AND YOUNG TEENS  ACCEPTED THE LORD TONIGHT!  It was SO encouraging to see our students beaming with the joy and happiness that only the presence of the Holy Spirit could bring.  God is so faithful to answer prayer!  Praise Him for what He has done through us and that He is mighty to save!  Oh my word… I can’t even say… it was just incredible tonight… I’m still smiling… and I will most probably fall asleep with a smile on my face… something I’m sure will alarm the others leaders to wake up to… just sayin!

Good night everyone!


Dan reading some Scripture!

Andrew spending some time with Jesus!

Caroline doing her OTD!

Dan, Jesse, and Amy chattin it up!   (Photo Cred: B. Riel)

Angie, Emma, Amy, and Kaira making a friend at McDonalds!

Colin and Kris with a mom at the VBS Program!

Caroline and Megan with some small new buds!

Cassandra talking with a kid at the clinic program!

Kris, Rochelle, and Luke performing a dance with some guest stars!

Skylar sharing the cross illustration with some kids!

Andrew praying with some boys!

Amanda sharing the Gospel through the cross illustration!

Preston talking and presenting the cross illustration with a kid at the program!

Rochelle loving on a girl she met at the program!

Cassandra, Tori, and Andrew chatting with some friends!

Becca and Amy talking a a man at the VBS program at the clinic!