As told by Preston York
The last day of VBS was today all the junior high leaders are trying to find the last bit of energy that they have left in them to serve the Lord and make sure that these kids learn about Jesus and what he has done in our lives. None of this would be possible without the help of Agape, the school that we are currently using for our VBS, allowing us to use their school was extremely kind and none of this would have been possible without their help. This is my third year to go on this mission trip. I went in fifth grade because my mom and my sister were going so I could go to, then I went my sixth grade year and this year is my seventh grade year. What has amazed me every time I have gone, is how much the kids remember you which really shows how big of a difference you make in these kid’s lives. If you help bring a kid to Jesus they will never forget. Jesus will be a part of their life forever and I think sometimes we lose sight of the fact that, that’s why we’re here, we get caught up in the fun of going to Main Event, the movies, Gabe’s house and Schlitterban that we forget to tell the kids about why they are alive and free because Jesus Christ sacrificed himself and died on the cross for our sins and we have been saved. I love this mission trip and I can’t wait to come back again next year.
As told by Hadlee Gilliland
Today was the last day of VBS and this week the junior high students have been working very hard to spread the word of the Lord. I will admit we all are much drained of energy and sleep but that hasn’t stopped anyone from dedicating their hearts and everything they have to these sweet, yet loud kids. I want to thank Agape Christian School for giving us the opportunity to teach Gods word to the kids this week. I also want to thank Melody Lane Retreat Center for letting us stay there this week. This year was my first year and I am very surprised and very thankful for new friends and the children I met this week. I also want to thank our leaders this week. They have taken time out of their summer to drive 7 hours with junior high students and help guide us this week. We also did some fun things like the movies, Main Event, Gabe’s house, and Schlitterbahn. I don’t want to leave! Let me stay!! PLEASE!! I cannot wait to come back next year. I will definitely miss it.
As told by London Kjos
Today was our last full day here in Mission, Texas. This was one of the best days to me because it was water day, and seeing the smiles on my 1st and 2nd graders faces was priceless! Today I had to hang out with a kid named Ian that speaks mostly Spanish and that has a special need, and he is just the sweetest little boy when he’s not acting up. The thing that really made my day was seeing how happy Ian was during the water time, because he never is that smiley and happy. Hanging out with Ian made me realize how lucky and blessed I am and that I can be confident in sharing the Lords word. When I did get to hang out with the other kids, they seemed like they didn’t want VBS to end. They had the best time and so did I! I got to share the word and love of god today with a bunch of friends/students! We didn’t really know if we were going to go to Schlitterbahn today but that didn’t matter to me or any of my friends, because we think sharing the love of god is more important than any waterpark that we can go to any other time. When we were on the way to Schlitterbahn people were playing music in the front of the shuttle and we jammed out to it! I hung out with Carrington, Annmarie, Hadlee, Jordyn, and Grace at Schlitterbahn. They were a really fun group for the day! We met some more people at Schlitterbahn and we had fun with them, but then we got separated on a water slide!! To conclude I am pretty sure that I accomplished my hopes for this mission trip, and I’m really excited to come again!
As told by Grace Newman
Today was our last full day! It was exciting and sad all in one! We had water day at VBS and afterwards we got to go to Schlitterbahn! I have Pre-K and Kindergarten so the look on their face was fabulous when they got to play in the water! When all the kids went home we hurried to the vans for our hour and a half car ride to Schlitterbahn! On the van we were so bored we jammed out to our childhood favorites so loud that I lost my voice. It was so amazing to get to love God and love people but still have a great time. When we got to Schlitterbahn I saw so many faces that made me think of my absolute favorite Pre-K class! Schlitterbahn was a great experience to share love with people we didn’t know, but also have lots of fun. I was hanging out with London, Hadlee, Carrington, Jordyn, and Annemarie. While we were floating down the lazy river we met some people and had fun hanging out with them, they were really nice! After a while of floating down the lazy river we went back to get some food and saw some of the guys sitting at a table, we talked to them for a few minutes, then got food. The lady at the counter in the restaurant had a really straight face and you couldn’t tell if she was happy, mad, sad, or anything, it was so funny. She ended up forgetting three of our orders. When we were leaving Schlitterbahn there was a couple of girls that had salt rash, so it was pretty amusing to watch them walk to the car. Overall, I’d have to say this was by far the best day ever! However, right now a shower sounds really nice;)!
As told by Ashlen Herrin:
Hi this is Ashlen. I’m in the 7th grade and this is my first time on the mission trip. I was assigned to REC and at first everyone had been telling me how awful Rec was, and how hot I would be, and to be honest that made me really nervous. I had prayed often about my experience and I had asked God to help me to be able to reach the kids and to be able to go out of my comfort zone to love on some other kids. God really answered my prayers today and I had a blast in Rec, I honestly think that it was my favorite part of the day. God has really shown me some of the ways that I can connect with all the kids in VBS and I now feel very prepared to take on the rest of the week.
As told by Tyler Griffin and Colton Washington:
Today was a great day for learning about Jesus. The kids were very excited and engaged in the worship and lessons. The connection we had with the kids was outstanding. We had a good amount of kids for each grade level. We learned that we are God’s masterpiece. The fifth and sixth grade class I had was having so much fun painting and learning that we are a piece of art. The worship was an amazing experience for the kids. We jumped for joy and sang at the top of our lungs for the Lord. Recreation was great, all of the grades were engaged in the games and activities. We played red light green light, kick ball, chalk, and played on the playscape.
Child with special needs in the 1st and 2nd grade
Kids that aren’t interested in participating would join in
For no one to get discouraged and keep the energy up
That the kids will all take something away from the week
Clouds for the Rec Team
The Holy Spirit to guide what we say
Boy in 1st Grade whose mom is having financial difficulties
Elementary girl who doesn’t have food at home
As told by Macon Boyce:
Today was probably one of the hardest days in junior high mission trip history. We canvassed for what felt like for years, but it was all worth it at the end to see all the kids at Party In The Parking Lot that were excited to go to VBS this week. I worked the bouncy house with Rachel, Ava, and Carrington which was really fun except it was really hot and it felt you were going to drown in your own sweat, but it was really fun playing with the kids and talking to them. Before all of that we went to the church service PIB Mission had and it was really good. They showed us the video from last year of the high school kids working on Victoria’s room. Victoria is a girl that had leukemia and she really wanted a new room. Just seeing the before and after was amazing cause I didn’t get to see it last year cause I wasn’t serving there. It made me cry just seeing how happy she was and her room looked amazing, then I looked over to Brett and he was just a hot mess and you really know there is an impact when you look over and you see a grown man crying. I can’t wait to see the kids tomorrow and get to talk to them and know them.
As told by Tucker Case:
Today wasn’t an easy day for our youth ministry. It was supposed to be hard in the first place with canvassing in the hot sun for an hour and a half. We had the most trouble when we started Party In The Parking Lot. We didn’t get half as many kids to come as we have in the past, and that was a problem because we couldn’t form as many bonds as we could if there were more of them. Brett talked tonight and he said God doesn’t care if there are a hundred kids there because what matters is that we love them and help them to strengthen their bond with Jesus Christ. At the start of today I was worried that there wouldn’t be as many kids as there would normally be. Now I rest assured that it will be okay if I have twenty kids or five. We went to church today and in the sermon the pastor talked about a girl named Kaitlyn, she has cancer and the doctors say there is nothing they can do for her. I feel that the only way she can be healed is through Jesus. We will be praying for her and others with cancer throughout this week and we hope you will too. I also pray for kids to come to VBS tomorrow so their hearts can be touched and molded by god. All in all the day still came out great with seeing kids with smiles on their faces at party in the parking lot and having a good time making them happy I hope we can achieve that and more tomorrow!
Brandi Roppolo’s knee
Kaitlyn – young girl from Mission with cancer
Kids to come to VBS tomorrow
For the Holy Spirit to move through us
Energy for tomorrow
Victoria – young girl from last year with cancer
Axel – young man from last year with cancer
Andrew Anderson flying home from Ireland tomorrow
Colleen Dundas not feeling well
As told by Jessica Roppolo
Today is my 13th birthday, and you only turn 13 once. Just thinking about spending the day traveling in the church van to Mission, Texas, exhausted me. My mom, Brandi Roppolo, came with me to this mission trip. She surprised me after the extremely long car trip, where my best friends kept me entertained all of the 6 hours, by buying cupcakes for the whole group. Everyone sang, “Happy Birthday” to me. Today was long and tiring day and tonight made me realize how much I love my mom. A question came up today that asked, “Who is the person that influence you most?” I knew that what my mom did for me tonight, that she was the person I look up to. She would do anything to make me feel happy and is very nice and kind to others. It’s my hope that our youth group is nice and kind and shows Jesus to people this week.
Jack – fever
Justin – Uncle having some legal
Tyler B – Dad out of town for work and mom not feeling well
Safety and health on our trip
Bo-Rec team to go smoothly
Trey-The Lord would give us wisdom and the words to say to kids and adults
Jessica-Kids will attend VBS & we will do our best
Anderson-For God to use us as salt & light to speak to the kids
No rain and to be open to what the Lord wants to do on this trip.
Pray for Mrs. Inman’s eye that is swollen
Keep perspective for why we are here and not get distracted
Be the light of Christ for the kids here
My final day in Mission was one I will never forget. My group (who worked on the trailer house for the 16 year old boy with cancer) still had quite a bit of work to do. We headed out around 7:30am. We were determined to get the job done before it would be presented to Axel and his family. As the family pulled up, we were finishing the steps to his house. It was the first time they had seen the house in a week. With tears rolling down their faces and eventually giggles and excitement about the new house we had worked on for the past three days it gave me some time to reflect on the week. At times this week it was difficult to remember all the circumstances surrounding the house and family. I’m usually not emotional in front of other people, and so I did not think a lot about Axel this week, I just put my head down and worked until it was time to leave. Seeing him today softened my heart and helped me understand that you can be emotional and use that emotion to your advantage as you attack the tasks at hand. I will never forget that moment from one of my favorite trips of my youth group career. I will forever cherish the memories of long car rides, bunk bed trash talk and the amazing leadership represented first by the adults and followed well by the students. My heart is full this week!
As told by Micah Downs
Today was our last day of VBS. it was full of smiles and tears. We started off the day with a game of “Find the Treasure” with the 1st & 2nd graders. Once everyone was signed in we read the story of the resurrection. We gave them a cross necklace to represent the cross Jesus died on, a stone to represent the boulder in front of the tomb, a cloth to represent the cloth Jesus was wrapped in, and lastly a jewel to represent that Jesus is our present. Also, today was our fun-day for VBS so during Rec the kids got to go on bounce houses! Right before Rec I had a little girl named Ruby ask me about Jesus, so we sat down and started talking about what it means to accept Jesus in your heart and if she was ready for that. We prayed together and she excepted Christ! It was one of the most incredible moments of my life! I also had a little girl named America pull me aside at the end of Rec and ask me about Jesus. So we went aside and started talking and prayed. She gave her life to Christ too! It was amazing! While we were at lunch we went around the table and asked everyone if they had accepted Christ, and if so, when. Some kids already had and some hadn’t, but that moment was probably the best moment I had had with the kids because after that I think the kids started to take the bible story more seriously than they did. We had worship soon after and that was the best worship we had all week. All the kids were dancing and singing and praising the lord! When the day came to an end lots of kids didn’t want to leave which made me happy but made me realize it was really time to go home. We all said our goodbyes and gave each other things. This trip was very eye-opening, yet so inspiring! It really made me realize I’m so blessed with what I have and that I should take the little things for granted. It was an amazing week and I couldn’t of asked for a better week with any better people! “Love God, love people”
As told by Molly Posey
Well, it was an incredible next-to-last day for us junior highers. We started off with our VBS, of course. I have been working with fifth and sixth graders, and my group and I were determined to share Jesus with these kids today. After we completed our Bible Story skit on “Daniel in the Lions’ Den,” we split into four small groups and discussed what it meant to give your life to Jesus. Out of our four groups, we had five children give their lives to Jesus! Praise God! Afterwards, we continued with a craft and headed to lunch, then worship. Worship was incredible – the fifth/sixth graders and youth usually just stand there, but they were dancing their hearts out today! Later at rec, I got the opportunity to talk with a girl who didn’t understand much English. After chatting for a bit, I learned she wanted to give her life to Jesus, but didn’t know how. Using Google Translate as an aid, we were able to communicate. I answered her questions, then got the amazing experience of praying with her to accept Christ! It was the most incredible thing.
After a long but fun morning, our VBS completed, we headed to an afternoon of fun at Schlitterbahn. All of us middle schoolers had a blast going around the lazy river, riding the rides, visiting the beach, and buying over-priced food. The weather was perfect, and it was such a great time with friends. When we returned to Melody Lane, we had our share time with the high schoolers. Personally, I think it was our best yet! Everyone was engaged, and it was full of encouraging, funny, and heart-tugging stories and experiences. We got to hear about all the ways the high schoolers are serving and how us junior highers are impacting the kids. This trip has been absolutely stupendous-everyone has grown spiritually in some way. I can’t wait to see what our last day brings!
As told by Roxy Odiorne
This morning I woke up bright and early to a super great devotional about how it was never promised to us that sharing Jesus’s love with other people is an easy thing to do. Struggles, obstacles and trials are used as roadblocks during our day, but we can totally use that as a way to show people the strength that you get from God through everyday stuff that we go through. After doing my devotional, I loaded up onto the bus with 7 other high schoolers and headed to the VBS that we have been holding this week. On Monday and Tuesday we had between 10-15 kiddos come, but today we only had 5 show up. They were outnumbered by 3, so 4 of us left to go work on other jobs. I was kinda bummed that I was being taken from this work site because I really love working with kids and I feel like I would much rather build relationships with these littles than to go move things in a church or paint. We got to our new work site, a church called Conway Avenue Baptist Church where we would move things from one side of the little campus to another. Anyone that knows me would know that lifting things is not exactly my forte, but I put all my energy into it knowing it was our last full day and wasn’t being used for nothing. Brett asked me to finish painting a room we had been working on the day before, so I went and sat alone in the simple white room with my paintbrush and my music. Though I was a little bit sad that I was away from people because I love talking to people and building relationships like I said earlier, I soon realized that I could use this time to my advantage. I decided I was going to have some one-on-one time with Jesus and work on that relationship, which is much greater than any other earthy relationship I could’ve worked on that day. I turned on Rend Collective and spent some time in the quiet. It was really peaceful and relaxing and so very fulfilling for me to have that time with God, especially with how busy life can get. After working at Conway for a few hours I went to a Chick-Fil-A and we hosted a free car wash. We covered ourselves in soap and water during the process, which quickly went from refreshing to a little bit annoying and sticky feeling. It was an awesome day down here in Mission, Texas and I can see God at work in so so so many different places. Keep us in your prayers tomorrow as we finish the work that we were brought here to do and drive the long way back home!!
As told by Gracie Bridges
Today some of the high school students went to Agape Christian School to run a VBS for the second day. It was a great day that the Lord made and the smile on the kids’ faces when they found out we were having a water day was priceless. After VBS we went back to Primeira to help move their stuff out and into storage. It was hard work but a lot of bonding time and getting closer to some great people. After that long day we went to Gabe’s for an amazing dinner and just to relax and have a good time. Overall today was a great day and I’m thankful for the amazing people on this trip and the people that put this altogether. Most of all happy to serve the God I love.
As told by Bryson Prather
Today junior high students went to the church to have VBS when all the kids had arrived we played games, sang songs, and had Bible study. It was so amazing to see how God’s love works in these kids’ lives. Then we went to The Zone and had so much fun playing games. Then we went to Mr. Gabe’s house were we swam and ATE THE BEST FOOD EVER!!!! It was so nice of them to open up their home to all of us and show such great hospitality. Today was a really fun day!
As told by Colleen Dundas
Today was amazing!!! It was our first day of VBS and we built great relationships with all the sweet the kids! At VBS the kids learned about the creation story. After that that we did rec which was super fun and the kids were smiling so much!!! Then we went to worship and music which was so fun. I’m pretty sure all the kids LOVED getting the chance to sing and dance and have so much fun with Tito (the puppet). Once we were all wrapped up and all the kids went home all the middle school kids went to go see the movie “Minions.” The movie was a fun way to relax and cool down before we went back to Melody Lane to eat dinner and “chill”!!!
As told by Grace Newman
Today, all of the high school students split up to tackle the first day of many different projects. These tasks ranged from a Vacation Bible Study in the park to renovating the house of a 16-year-old boy with cancer. The day was long and very hot, but we also got a lot done. Several of the groups will continue working on the same projects throughout the week, and everyone will have their hands full while we’re here in the Valley.
I was assigned to the VBS in the park. Primera Baptist Church, our partner church, is currently in the process of moving locations. They’ve purchased about 15 acres in another area of Mission and they’re going to build from the ground-up, which is awesome! In the meantime, however, they will be holding services at Agape Christian School. Our team is hosting a free VBS this week at the school for children living in the new area to which PBC will move very soon.
Everything about this VBS was (is) unpredictable. We planned it a few days before we left – with the assumption that kids would actually show up. We didn’t know what to expect today, but (spoiler alert!) God always comes through. We had about fifteen kids show up and everything ran smoothly and successfully!
After the park, the VBS team split up even further. One group left to paint another local church, another group left with our middle school students to invest in them while they went to see a movie, and my group helped with the process of moving Primera. We unloaded a large shed full of years of church furniture and supplies, loaded as many items as possible onto a trailer to be taken to a storage unit, then loaded everything that couldn’t fit back into the original shed (oh yeah – and it hit 100˚ today). We also swept, caulked, and weeded the basketball court. All in all, a very productive day.
On a personal note, God is definitely showing me what it’s like to have a “servant’s heart.” I was assigned to the two things I’m absolutely the least comfortable with: heavy lifting and kids. But the truth is that’s not really the point; in fact, it’s not about me at all. Service is about others: the children we’re playing with, the parents of those children, the family of PBC, the future members of their congregation – these people are the reason we are here. And, honestly, that’s an infinitely better reason than my personal comfort level or satisfaction.
So as we continue to serve Mission, Texas, we would greatly appreciate your prayers. Specifically for stamina, servant-minded attitudes, peace amongst our – very large – team, and that no one would get a heat stroke (you think I’m kidding).
In Christ’s love,
Today was long and hot, but I think that everyone would agree that it was completely worth it. After an awesome service at Primera Baptist Church, We had lunch and planned on canvasing in the local neighborhood. Unfortunately, our supplies were locked in the church and we had to wait for someone to let us in. Despite a late start, we still covered the entire neighborhood. We canvased for about an hour. It was scorching hot, but everyone kept a good attitude. Then we set up for vacation bible school. We figured out what games we are going to play, what songs we are going to sing, and then decorated rooms. After getting some snacks we set up for the party in the parking lot. The party was a lot of fun and the kids really enjoyed it. After we cleaned up and had some pizza, we started to head back to the camp. We had small groups then we typed this.
Written by:Dylan Cahill & Jack Hellmann
As I’ve made my way back down to Mission, TX for the fourth time, I cannot express the excitement I’ve felt for the past day and a half. Today was a busy day full of tears, sweat, and a whole lot of Jesus. All though Sunday is probably the most tiring day of the trip, it is also the most rewarding in my eyes. No matter if this is your first year or your seventh year like some of the kiddos on this trip, Sunday is a great day to just take it all in, and get a first glimpse of how God is working here in a Mission, and how you as a student will continue to work through him. To be specific, Sunday is my favorite day of the trip because we get to attend a church service at Primera Iglesia, making this morning by far my favorite Sunday morning of the whole year. It’s unbelievably humbling to see a group of people with this much love the Lord. I love being able to come down and feel the Lord’s presence in a place that’s not Austin, TX. If you happen to be reading this, I ask that you say a prayer for all the kids and adults on this trip. Pray that we will have peace and patience in all of our actions, and to take each day one day at a time with open arms and happy hearts. Specifically I ask that you say a prayer for Brett. Pray for patience and a smooth road ahead. God could not have chosen a better man to be put in charge of all 98 people in this crazy, God filled setting. Check back tomorrow for stories about our first days at VBS for middle school, and first day of work sites for the high school. Lots of love!
Written by: Rylie York