London 2018: Day 7

FB_IMG_1521230033628As told by Jared Pierce of Team Jon: Today, Josh Palmer and I got picked up from our host home early in the morning and headed to the church to discuss what it was we were going to be doing that day. Josh and Reagan had a busy day of door to door and taking care of young children. Kylee and I, along with Kathleen, and some help from people from the church started right away with door to door evangelism. We were in a different area than the first time we did it, and it was much more encouraging. Although we still met very few people who knew Jesus and we still had a fair share of rude people, we had some great conversations with some of the people from around Woodford. Shortly after we wrapped up, we ate a quick lunch, and headed to the high school where we had the opportunity to hang out with a club of students called The Christian Union. Mostly, they were just very interested in our culture and wanted to know more about Texas, but we also got to talk to them about some awesome things God had done in their lives. After finishing at the high school, we went right back to street evangelism and talking to people from the community. We later had a prayer meeting with many people from the church where everyone prayed for us as we went back to our lives in the States, and then headed into town to get just a couple hours of sleep before we had an early morning to catch the plane. Overall, it was a very successful and encouraging day for us, as we got to see God working in the lives of people from all the way around the world, and I’m sad that we’re leaving and hope to make it back soon.

As told by Amanda Maglich from Team Scott: Wow- words cannot describe how amazing and life changing this week has been!! Before coming to London, anyone I talked to told me that it would change my life. Little did I know, this mission trip would impact me in so many ways. I felt God’s presence all week, and the most important thing I took away from this week was that God’s love is SO big and so unwavering!! I met people who hadn’t come to Christ, and I met people who were so on fire for God! I think I can speak for my whole group when I say that the immensely diverse culture we witnessed at St. John’s Wood Baptist church was so amazing, and had us all in awe. We went to multiple services, such as Brazilian, Arabic, and more. We attended one Bible study where people had just come out of practicing Islam and found Christ and we heard their testimonies. Scott, our pastor, told us that when some of these people were told that, unlike their god, our God’s love is so abundant, and he loves us no matter what, people would break down and cry. Heather Vickers, our “international mom” for the week, said that she feels like we take our amazing God for granted- which I think is so true. We don’t take enough time to acknowledge how he loves us, when some people don’t know his love.
Another thing that I took away from this week was that no matter what language we speak, we all worship the same god. I’ve always known that God is everywhere, but traveling to London and being outside of my little bubble allowed me to see that in full swing. Tuesday morning after the English class, I stayed for a Bible study with a few of the students. One woman from Japan ended up asking Scott if she could have a Bible in Japanese for when she went back to Japan. It gave me chills to know that even people not fluent in our same language were being reached!
This week we also did some street evangelism. We talked to people on the street and handed out pamphlets about Jesus and fliers about stuff going on at the church. My favorite thing we did was walking door to door to say hi to people and invite them to what was going on at the church. We handed out fliers for the Tots class, English class, Cafe39 (a little social with refreshments on Sunday afternoons), and fliers about knowing God, for people we came across that didn’t know him. We came across a few people who seemed interested, a few who were Muslim and not too into the idea, and some people that were genuinely thankful for our knock on the door. One woman I met was named Jean and she started crying because she hadn’t talked to anyone in so long. Some people even said they would attend Cafe 39 on Sunday or bring their kids to the ot’s class!!
Thursday morning, we had the privilege of helping out with the Tot’s class! Moms brought their kids, and we just got to play with them while the moms relaxed and talked! The moms who attended came from different religious backgrounds. After the class, my team and I prayed with Scott that through a Tot’s class, moms/kiddos would come to Jesus through conversation and exposure to his love!!
To summarize this week, there was lots of walking, lots of laughter, some tears involved, digging into the word of Christ, and witnessing the Lord do amazing things in people of all different backgrounds. I wish we could stay longer and she how the church grows, and lead more people to Christ!! It was so hard to say goodbye to everyone at the church, but I know God will be doing BIG things for them! Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us, this week truly was life changing.

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As told by Cole Newman of Team Rigney: Today started off with being able to sleep in because it is our free day. Our day started off with going to the Rigney’s house to have breakfast and do the Bible plan of the day. After that we went to go ride the largest slide in the world we went to try and get tickets but they were booked until 1pm. So we went to a local mall to get something small to eat to kill time. After we eat we went back to the slide and got went right up with no problem. When we rode the lift (Elevator) the call it a lift in London. They had us put on arm guards and a helmet to be able to get on the slide. Once you were getting on the slide you go in a bag type thing and slid down this twirling slide. After the slide we went to the Tower of London which was fun to see all of the old stuff and learn a little about London from a thousand years ago. The we went to the London Eye and we got to see all of London from a different perspective. After the Eye we went back to the Rigney’s house ordered pizza. We all sat in the living room and talked about our week our most memorable parts about it. The we sang a song together and eat brownies before we had to leave for the hour and 30 train ride to the hotel to get ready to head home.

As told by Bo Holubec of Team Mark: Today was our last day to work. We get on the plane tomorrow morning early. We finally got to see everything come together. We completely finished three big vegetable beds – dirt, top soil, and plants. We had four more smaller ones made and had everything ready, but we ran out of top soil. It was great to see all of our hard work that had been done throughout the week finally get finished and turn out the way we wanted. Mark is planning on starting a gardening club for the people of the sheltered accommodation using the beds we made. 

Our group also did things other than finishing the beds today. We did what Mark calls a kids club. We just played different organized games and ate with the kids for about an hour and a half. Some people from our group went and washed windows and cars, too. 

It was cool for us to see how we overcame adversity and got what we needed to get done done. I truly believe that our work can open up so mane doors for Mark and Laura to speak with people and help lead them to Christ. I think that we were a great encouragement to Mark as well. It was like we had known him for 3 years when we were saying goodbye. I will miss working with him for sure and I think he will miss us too. He and Laura are doing great things for the people in the Grove and I’m so glad our team got to be a part of it. I can’t wait to hear from Mark about how the lives of the people on the Grove were impacted. 

As told by Katryna Patterson of Team Armacost: Last day in london!!!! Today was full of bittersweet memories for everyone who came on this trip. for me, our goodbyes began last night by saying goodbye to the people of St. Luke’s church in West Norwood. They each taught me something so crucial this week that departing from them was an emotion-filled experience. Reverend Donald, Gemma, Sherri, David and The Armacost’s all are amazing examples of people loving God, loving other people, and helping everyone do the same. As Thursday morning fell upon us, Elise, Burke, Jessica, Mr. Palmer and I all had the same feeling. We all REALLY didn’t want to leave. Ben and Judy walked us around West Norwood once more after a time of worship at the church, and as we stood outside The Twelve House (where we were staying) we said probably the hardest goodbye we had to face this week. Ben and Judy Armacost are such amazing people who have the COOLEST job in the world (in my opinion). living on mission for a week in West Norwood the way they do everyday gave me an epiphany; we are all called to be on mission, and sometimes we’re called to places like London, which is amazing, but i think we often forget the fact that georgetown needs people pouring into the lives of the lost as well. i will never forget this week. ever. BESTEST WEEK EVER!!!!!

London 2018 Day 6:

29178192_10216017210244027_7124002369015532911_nAs told by Lane Phillips of Team Scott: Today was a huge milestone for me personally. This morning we did street evangelism, knocking on people’s doors, and not only did I knock (a huge accomplishment for me), I actually talked to them. I am normally very, very socially awkward, and yesterday when we went to do something similar I had a panic attack. But today, Jesus cast out my fear with His perfect love and I spoke. To real live actual people. We met a really interesting woman named Susan who really seemed lonely and in need of companionship. We had almost skipped her door, but we knocked, and I’m so glad we did. Susan was in desperate need of someone to show we care, and I really hope God will use the work of our hands for His glory. We prayed for her right then and there, because she’s having a breast exam on Friday and they think she might have an abscess. She lives alone and I really hope Jesus sends her the help she needs.  We’ve had a few really weird, scary, and hectic experiences today, but I rejoice in the hope that through all of it, God has still worked through us today.

29133252_10216156406851018_7207712918127771648_nAs told by Jessica Roppolo of Team Armacost: I’ll be 100% honest. I was very spooked to be put on the “hardcore” evangelism team. Today, I was so very happy to be hand-picked for Team Armacost. This morning, we talked about changing your name, and how God changes you or your occupation because He changed you in a spiritual way. It was his way of saying, “You’re mine now. Leave your broken past behind, and come join Me.” It’s one of those ‘drop everything and come let’s go’ kind of relationships. Mr. and Mrs. Armacost are missionaries in West Norwood and they actually gave up everything to follow Christ. These relationships are very hard and my team has been constantly talking about them and if we’re really up for leaving everything behind and following Jesus.

After we had our little small group with some people (who we would later be doing street evangelism with), we then had our evangelism meeting where we went through the process of going out and planting seeds in people, growing the seeds, and then harvesting the seeds. We had a very interesting conversation about skipping steps in this cycle, and how is can cause your spirit to wither and die, so we have to make sure we always move constant in the cycle.

After lunch, we spent the whole afternoon throughout town evangelizing the community.  The first hour, Kat talked to people of two different faiths. They were Muslim and Jehovah’s Witness, who both listened to Kat and then shared about their faith. Burke met a young man who (if he had one million pounds) would buy a house for him and his mom to live by the country side. This man also wanted prayers so he could practice sobriety. He then talked to a young mom named Diane that had two kids. She would like us to pray for health for her children, because they both have a disease. Elise and I were together and we talked to a wonderful women who works at the local library. She loves her community and working in it. We also talked to a security guard at Sainsbury’s who was strong in his faith and shared it with us. The second hour involves us changing up our groups, so I was with Kat, and Elise and Burke were together. Kat and I talked to a mother named Rose who wants us to pray for her children that they are doing things for themselves and not to please others and safe travels as she goes to Spain in the next couple of weeks. Burke and Elise met people who used to have faith and someone who thought the whole world was his. Literally. The entire world was his if he says so (he also thought if you think ‘hey that dirty shirt is clean’ it will be clean). The third hour, Elise and Sherri (a local who goes to church at St. Luke’s) prayed over a homeless man and encouraged a believer. Kat, who was with Reverend Donald, the Reverend at St. Luke’s, talked to a homeless woman, a Brazilian man, and talked to someone that was exactly like Burke when he was role playing an atheist earlier that day for training. I got to be with a man named David, who handed out “a million pounds” and got to have a few conversations with believers and non-believers. We also talked to another man and introduced him to the Gospel. Burke and a lady named Gemma, were a group together. They actually got to lead someone to Christ tonight. She was a mother who prayed, with Burke and Gemma cheering her on, and accepted Christ into her heart tonight. Everyone out of all the groups was truly moved when Gemma and Burke came back after we were done evangelizing and told the group what amazing thing happened tonight. Everyone was truly moved and grateful that we could experience God moving like that. I’ll be honest again, I really did not think that that would happen tonight. Or any time on this trip. God put this in experience in our lives to show other people, and ourselves, that He is in power, that He is great, and He is good.

29179022_10216017195643662_8605754561820499910_nAs told by Grace Newman and Emma Hellmann of Team Mark: We started off with worship in the common room. Then we divided up jobs and split into a couple different teams of cleaning, window washing, vegetable bed building, and mulch moving (which we have done 18 tons of this week). After working a few hours on that, we finally sat down to eat lunch. Then we cleaned the grill, moved more mulch, and had craft club with the elderly residents. After everything wrapped up, we ordered pizza and then ate it in the bus on our way to “Wicked.” It was a really nice play and we enjoyed the quality time with the team. I am so thankful for all that has happened and it is crazy to see how God has worked through our team to make a huge difference at Gurnell Grove.

29101823_10216156412691164_9073394136815501312_nAs told by Kylee Downs of Team Jon: Today started very early, especially after a late night last night. We all had to be at the church at 8 am to start our day. From the church we walked to the school we would be working at for the day. The grades in England our different from ours back in the US. So their Year 5 would be our 4th grade. Ray Lodge Primary School consisted of Nursery (our pre-k) all the way to Year 6. 

I was picked to give a Bible lesson and teach the moral of the story. This was a little difficult for me because I had never fully come up with my own plan before. This was also very nerve racking because public speaking is not my most favorite thing to do. This morning when we met with Jon, the pastor of Woodford Evangelical Church, he read a passage in the Bible about how we should be confident in what we do because it’s all for God. This really helped me calm my nerves and realize God is in control and I have nothing to worry about. 


At 9am, we began the first assembly of the day. It was Years 2-6 and had about 350 kids. I led the Bible story and then Jamie and I led the Macarena. This was kind of a fail because of the big group of kids and because we didn’t have a loud speaker. But it was still fun to see the front row of kids with the smiles on their faces. 


The next group was Recreation (Kindergarten) and Year 1. This group was a lot smaller. Probably around 250. I did the same lesson that I had done before. Then Jamie and I led the Chicken Dance and the Macarena. This time it was a lot better with more room and it was played over the speaker system. 
I was really happy with how my lesson had turned out since I had so many fears going up to it. 


After the assemblies, we split up into groups of two (Kathleen and I; Raegan and Jamie; and Josh and Jared.) The girls went into classrooms and gave slideshows about Texas culture and life as a teenager in Texas. It was so fun to exchange different things we do and learning things like how they pronounce stuff differently than we do. For example, crisps here are chips in America. That’s just one of the many words that are different with the same meeting. While we did the lessons, the boys taught the children how to play American football. From what I heard it was a great success!! Before lunch we had a tour around the school. I was amazed at the things they offered and how much they valued the students. They made sure to do their best of meeting all of their needs. It was really cool to see. 


I went into the school without knowing what it would be like. I left really pleased!! The school was very polite and so kind to let us come in and talk about our life in Texas. My favorite thing from this was when little girls would come up and give me a hug or give me a high five because I gave the story at the assembly. Later on in the night, at Texas Night, two little girls came up and said that they saw me. It made me feel like all the nerves I had leading up to it were worth it to get to share something that’s so important to me, to young children that will hopefully make them want to know more. 


After we left the school around 3pm, we went to James and Angela’s to get supplies for our Texas night. Then we headed over to The Ray Lodge Estates. It was a bit of a bummer because for the first 30 minutes no one showed up. But then a girl who was 14 years old came in with her 2 sisters and their neighbors, which were 3 little boys. The manager of the building and her son soon came after that. We all went outside and the boys threw the football while the girls played with the babies. This was about all the people that came so it definitely was not what we were expecting. Our plans quickly changed. But I didn’t mind because it was fun getting to know some of the girls that were there. 


We cleaned up quickly so we would have time to catch a train into the city to eat dinner. I really

enjoyed this time we all had together since a lot of the trip has been busy and most times having to be split up. It was nice to get a few hours just to hangout, laugh, and not have to rush our time spent together. At the beginning of the week I was pretty sad that I wasn’t with some of my close friends and was a little nervous that it would be odd all of us together, since I had really only known Jared before the trip. But I’m SO glad I was put in this group. I’ve gotten to know Josh and Raegan pretty well and we have all four really worked well together. 


It’s crazy that the trip is coming to an end. I’m thankful for this trip since it has taught me stuff about myself I wouldn’t have known before. I’ve overcome some fears as I have done door-to-door evangelism and have talked in a large group of people. These are really big steps for me and I’m so excited to see how God is going to use me further on in my life with things I have learned on this trip. 


Please pray for us tomorrow as we go door-to-door again. Last time we did this, it was a little upsetting seeing just a small glimpse of how many people don’t believe in God. But tomorrow is a new day and I’m excited to see how He will use me during this time to connect people with Him. Later in the day tomorrow, Kathleen, Jared, and I will be going into another school to have deeper conversations with a few kids about their faith. Pray that we can be open and honest even when it’s difficult for us to.

London 2018: Day 5

20180313_142516As told by Roxy Odiorne of Team Rigney: Yet another day in beautiful London! Every day has been so incredible, and I am falling deeper and deeper in love with this city!!! Today was a work day for us, helping our outstanding missionaries Chad and Lynsi by doing various projects up at their church. The boys mission was to repair a fence that had been knocked over a few weeks prior and the girl’s job  was to repaint the doors and wall trim in their upstairs room. After doing our morning devotional, the ladies got straight to work, unscrewing metal plates off doors and sanding the doors in order to paint them. Brett and Chad also came to be with our group today, and jumped right in to help us out. We worked for several hours, beginning our painting project and getting subsequently coated in sawdust and splashes of paint. About halfway through the day, we stopped for lunch, going to a kebab place for lunch. While there, my group got to have an excellent conversation with the two guys making our food, allowing us to share about our lives and explain what we are here to do. After getting our lunch and saying good bye, we headed back to the church to eat and get back to work. Our group worked for a few more hours, getting all the trim done and nearly all of the doors done. The guys were incredible, fixing the entire fence so it was standing once more. It was such a blessing to be able to come out and work for the family who has so lovingly welcomed us and works so hard to share the Gospel. After wrapping up for the day, we headed back to the hotel to clean up before taking the train into Central London for dinner. We ate at a place called Wahaca, a delicious Mexican restaurant, and then went to an amazing ice cream place for dessert, Milk Train. The place featured soft serve ice cream with a cotton candy cloud, which was incredibly delicious. After finishing up our treats, we said goodbye to Chad and Brett and headed home to debrief and go to bed. I am so utterly blessed to be here. It is such a beautiful thing to be able to do things to aid these missionaries who are giving their life to help a country lost from Jesus’s love by sharing of the goodness of our Lord. Something that hit me today is that it’s not about painting doors or fixing fences – it’s about sharing Jesus. And while making an orange door blue might not exactly be sharing the Gospel, it allows us to create a better space for Him to be shared and for that church to be encouraged. And I am so grateful to have the opportunity to love on this church community, through relationships and labor. Thank you sweet Jesus for giving us all the opportunity to serve you and love you all the way across the world.

29177916_10215492637254158_9200860605722918912_nAs told by Hannah Pogue of Team Mark: Today our group was still split into two groups. My part of the group was working at The Grove putting mulch down and clearing weeds. I was helping with the mulch. Later on around 3ish we destroyed an old shed with a dead fox in it and then cut a bunch of bushes so we could pick up trash that was stuck in the bushes and the shed. Then the other part of our group came back and we unloaded 300 50lb bags of soil and flowers. It was pretty tiring. God is definitely helping me have patience and strength as these are difficult tasks and I am a small, lazy, but hardworking person. Also, our host, Mark, has helped me to see that there are different ways to approach mission work and that I need to let go of things and give them to the Lord to be able to receive things in return. I hope God continues to work in my group and the other groups as we continue on this journey in London.

29186888_10215492636654143_8920286047431032832_nAs told by Josh Palmer from Team Jon: Today my group went site seeing. We had a tour through the Tower of London, where Kings and Queens lived for a span of more than 500 years.  One of the things that I thought was very fascinating was about the prisoners that were held at the Tower of London, and how they were some of the worst people out there. We got to ride in the top of a double decker bus on our way to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Riding on a bus like that was one of the things on my bucket list, so it was really cool being able to do that. St. Paul’s Cathedral was flat out beautiful. The architecture was astounding and the art was breathtaking. As a group we went up to the whisper gallery where you can stand with your ear against the wall and another person can stand on the other side of the room and you’re able to hear them. It was so cool to see (or hear) the brilliant minds that brought that together. After that we went to the TOP of St. Paul’s cathedral that overlooked the entire city of London. We got to see the shard (tallest building in London) and the London Eye from that vantage point. The height was 111 meters up (364 feet and 2 inches). Needless to say, I was a bit scared. After site seeing, the church along with my group hosted a Texas Night where we had tacos made for them along with a 40 question quiz about Texas and America. One thing that was very encouraging was that one of the older ladies there told me that this was the best trivia night she had had at Woodford Evangelical Church. Later I felt even more encouraged because I was told that she was one of the hardest people to talk to about Jesus, and she took the gospel of Mark home with her which was very encouraging. Shortly after the quiz, everyone left for the night, and I returned to my host home to get a good night sleep, and prepare for the next day.

20180313_192945As told by Burke Bridges of Team Armacost: The moment I got placed on the “street evangelism team,” I had some worries and some assumptions. Based off of what I had heard about street evangelism, I assumed that I would be handing out tracks or reciting a scripted gospel sharing technique that involved symbolic hand gestures, and I wasn’t too excited about doing that. I also assumed that I’d be doing evangelism in a certain part of the day on a street corner and be eating and touring in London another time. Thank goodness I found both of those to be inaccurate predictions.

Ben and Judy, our missionary contacts, have been employed by the International Mission Board for enough time to gather experience and wisdom in building God’s kingdom around the world. I guess that they learned yelling at people to repent doesn’t work, because they are not the people who warn you of the apocalypse tomorrow that you must be saved from. I was really pumped on the first day to finally get to see how they go out into the mission field and turn on their “missionary superpowers,” but I wasn’t given that. Instead I was given what I believed to be a trip to the Crystal Palace and a talk with an old man on the way over there on the bus. What I didn’t catch was the important difference between me and these veteran missionaries’ thought process. They started conversations with anybody they could, all with the same goal to get to understand the person’s spiritual life and how they could help them. Ben and Judy explained and demonstrated the “conversational dance” that allowed them to have a captive audience, rather than a fleeing one. Their eyes were always watching for people that weren’t momentarily occupied in anything that could stop a conversation from starting.

When my time came later that day to try it out, I noticed that in order  to effectively talk to someone, I had to change how I thought. The moment my thought process changed, I understood what an evangelical lifestyle can be like. Thankfully, my group has had the privilege to take our mission on buses and on the street wherever we go.

Today we went to a small town outside the London metroplex called Shere. The trip made me feel like I was on vacation, but we actually were using it as a time to talk to anyone we could while we were touring the town. In fact, at a stop that looks out over the surprisingly vast English countryside, we talked to an atheist man reading a book on the 2nd World War. Though we didn’t have the privilege to get immediate results, we sure got him to think about what it means to have faith.

Tonight as I write this blog, much later than I am supposed to, I am still most excited about the tools that Judy and Ben have given me during training to change the people around me, and live a life that makes me walk with a purpose of creating disciples.

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As told by Gracie Bridges of Team Scott: Our stay in London has been incredible, but today held some of my favorite moments so far. The host home we are staying at are actually Texans that moved here because of work a couple of years ago, and when I realized this I was a little bit bummed because I wanted to experience a little bit of the British culture side of living, but I have absolutely loved it. They know where we are coming from being thrown into this new culture and can help us out where we need it. They also have tortilla chips! Heidi, the wife, walked with us this morning to the church for English classes she helps teach every Tuesday that we all got to join in on. It was such a neat experience. I was nervous for it… how would we teach English if that’s the only language we spoke, but it went so well. I was so encouraged by the people going there to learn something new even though they were at a place in life where it would be hard to. They all had different things to drive them – their jobs, their families, or just to make life easier for them in general. Their determination was so inspiring and honestly made me a little bit emotional. It was a very humbling experience and one of my favorite I’ve had so far. I love that the church is meeting that need in the community. They offer a Bible study after, but you can stay or you can go, and that’s it. The option is open. They are meeting people where they are at and building those relationships, earning the right to be heard. In the afternoon, we did street evangelism work. We went out in pairs to busy streets with surveys to ask the people of London on their religious views, needs that need to be met in the city, etc. I was very excited about it going into it and was expecting at least a couple conversations to go somewhere, but it didn’t really happen that way. I was able to talk to a few people, but nothing really further than the surface level questions. We are going out again tomorrow, and I am praying for flourishing conversations tomorrow and for God to begin to move in the hearts of people tonight that I will be talking to tomorrow. We had dinner at Scott, our missionary’s house, tonight, which was a real treat. Amy and I walked with him to go and pick his kids up from school, which was so much fun. We all ate lasagna together, and for dessert we tried about 7 different British chocolate bars that we don’t have in the States. The meal was filled with laughter and Scott’s 2 year old son went crazy over broccoli and chocolate. He was ecstatic. We ended the night with a group gelato date. We got to splurge a little since we didn’t have to pay for dinner, so we all got our scoops of gelato and a fondue bowl to share with waffles, brownies, strawberries and blueberries. It was delicious and I’m stuffed!! I have found it hard to be present the past couple of days because of how crazy life can be in our own little worlds, but today I felt I was able to let go of that a little bit. God is working through this church in incredible ways and I feel so blessed to have a front row seat and get to watch it all.

London 2018: Day 4

20180312_163400As told by Elise Whorton from Team Armacost: Hands down, London is one of the most interesting cities in the world. We started this morning with training done by Ben and Judy Armacost. They gave us some tools to use when we interact with people and engage in spiritual conversations. We also learned about the different kinds of disciples and how each category lives out there faith in relation to the great commission. Even this morning, I did not know what kind of evangelism we would be engaging in. However, the confidence and experience that Ben and Judy have is comforting and impressive.  During the training period, they were also able to tell us more of their personal stories and past experiences. It was nice to learn about them as Missionaries and even learn from their mistakes.

After a very yummy lunch of sandwiches and cake, we boarded a bus and headed downtown. I found it very strange to get on a bus and have goal that was greater than getting from point A to point B. I have never looked so intentionally at other people around me.

At home, I know the people who do not have a relationship with God. Here, it is a guess and check process. The first man we talked to was named Steve. He was a street cleaner and a very nice man. When the conversation headed towards spiritual matters, I begin to wonder what he thought of us. However, the conversation wasn’t able to become super deep, before we left the Twelve House.  Ben and Judy did tell us that it isn’t often that somebody will be super interested in hearing the gospel or reading the Bible.  Despite this lack of interest, we are still being faithful to God by telling others about him. Who knows, maybe in a few days, weeks, months, or years, the Holy Spirit will choose to touch that person’s heart.

Once we got off the bus, we broke up into different groups and walk around in open market and tried to strike up conversation. Even though I was not part of any conversations that turn spiritual, it was great practice to find people to talk to.

After the market, we made our way to the Tower Bridge and walked across it.  Then we took a bus that got us close to Buckingham Palace and then walked up to see it. Another part of the trip I have loved is getting to know my team better.  Each person is so amazing and we genuinely love spending time together. They are proof that God works in the big and small things. It helps each of us to be part of a team that loves God. If this were not the case, we could become easily distracted from our goal of being here and serving others.

IMG_20180312_165248_757As told by Hadlee Gilliland from team Rigney:  Today has been very, very tiring, I’m not going to lie, but I’ve learned so much on this trip and couldn’t be more blessed. I love our group and I could not be more thankful! Today we did a lot of walking and when I say a lot of walking – I mean a lot of walking!!! We had to pass out flyers for our leaders church (The Village) which meant walking around from door to door putting them in the letters slot!  We did that for an hour or so before lunch! Then the exciting part of our day as Americans . . . we tried fish & chips! It was so good!! After we had finished eating we went back out and passed out more flyers and met more people. One man that my group met was named Carver, he was hilarious and the sweetest old man I had ever met, but he was a little crazy! He never stopped talking from one thing to the next to the next!! It was an experience! Once we had walked around in the rainy and cold weather we had extra time so Chad (our group leader) took us out into Northern Greenwhich! It was really cool being on the double decker bus getting to see new things and cool stores! Once we had reached Northern Greenwhich we wanted to ride the gondola but sadly it was closed:( Even though we made it all the way over there we rode back and got off early to walk back to Chad’s which was so much fun honestly! Our group has gotten really close so we have a lot of jokes and games we play! I mean we constantly cannot stop laughing and have a lot of fun together! Once we got back to Chad’s we had curry for dinner. If you did not know, curry is London’s thing while Texas loves our Mexican food! I still haven’t decided if I like it or not! It was very interesting. After we ate dinner we played games for probably 2 hours and laughed some more they taught us their games and we taught them our games! We learn new stuff about them everyday and we do the same it is crazy!! I love it and cannot wait to see what the rest of the week holds for my sweet group!!

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As told by Lane Phillips of Team Scott: Today was really cool. It was our London sight seeing day here on Team Scott, and we enjoyed it to the fullest. We saw Buckingham Palace and saw the changing of the guard there. That was super fun and I got a really good video. We walked a lot. As of 11:45pm, I have walked about 12 1/2 miles according to my Fitbit. We rode the London Eye and met a fun woman named Georgie, who acted as our tour guide for the rest of the night. I thought it was a super cool God thing that we met her, because one of the other teams is working in her church this week. She took us to Covent Garden, and from there we walked to a late showing of Wicked. I got very excited because I’m a huge musical theater nerd. It was so good. Anyway, we saw a lot, walked a lot, and now I’m very tired.

29136742_10215483981077759_1177752033394950144_nAs told by Jared Pierce of Team Jon: Today started off with Josh Palmer, and I waking up to a prepared breakfast by Paul and Brenda, an older couple generously letting us stay with them while we are in London. Paul is very much of a talke and as we ate proceeded to tell us all the news that he had read that morning in the paper. From there Josh and I went to the church that we have been working with to get ready for a busy day of door to door evangelism. This was something I was very nervous to do because I had never done it before, but I for one enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone from time to time. The questions we planned on asking were very simple. “Do you own a Bible? Do you read your Bible? Would you like a free Bible?” However I was extremely shocked at some of the reactions from people when they answered the doors. Most didn’t answer the door even when they were clearly home and almost everyone that did answer quickly turned us away when they found out what it was we wanted to talk about. This was very difficult for me because a lot of the time I took it personal and felt like I was failing at the task at hand and had to constantly remind myself that I was doing my best and it was in the hands of the Lord. Later that evening the church, along with our help, hosted a Bible School for younger children where they played with Legos, sang songs, and were taught a lesson and memory verse by Kylee. This was very fun for me to be a part of because I love children, especially when they’re in a state of happiness and filled with energy. Each day I’m learning more about the culture in London, the people around me, and myself, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store.

London 2018: Day 3

FB_IMG_1520813137149As told by Kylee Downs of Team Jon: This morning started off by Raegan and my host home cooking us breakfast. Queena is a very generous young Chinese woman who has opened her home to us for the week. She is so sweet and funny and I’m so thankful she has let us come stay with her! We soon headed over to church where we had tea and pastries before the service began. Interesting thing we learned: England has a different Mother’s Day than the US does and it happened to be today. So at the service Jared talked about what Mother’s Day means to him and Raegan gave a Mother’s Day quiz (we also found out they’re really into quizzes lol). After that we sang some songs and then I got up and shared my testimony. The preacher, Jon, gave the message. This is my second international trip to go on with the youth and once again it amazes me to see people across the world worshiping Him just like we do. Getting to be apart of that experience is very cool! After church we ate pizza with the youth of the church then spilt into groups to begin our scavenger hunt around London! I was grouped with Megan, an American who is living with the pastor of the church for a semester; Corbin, a 16 year old boy from London; Joel another boy from London; Macie; James and Angela’s youngest girl, and Josh Palmer. We got on the train and began our fun afternoon. We saw Kensington Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Big Ben (which is currently under construction) :), London Bridge and a few other things along the way. This being a scavenger hunt, we were unable to really look at this things so I am hoping to get to do that on our tour day which is Tuesday. We were running low on time which forced us to have to run to the train station about 20 minutes away after walking all afternoon. If you don’t know me…this was a real struggle lol. We arrived back at the church 30 minutes late but we didn’t care because we had won the competition!! Our reward was delicious cookies from a place called Ben’s cookies. We had a light dinner then headed in for the evening service of church. After the service, Raegan and I headed back to our host home where Queena had cooked us dinner. I love being able to go on these trips and experience the different culture people live in. The strangest thing in London so far has been driving. For the most part, we take trains to get us to places. But our Queena, the woman hosting us, has a car and has driven us multiple times to different places. They drive on the opposite side of the rode and the steering wheel is also on the other side. They also have narrow lanes and to me, very complicated traffic signs. It’s really weird but it is also cool to talk about the differences between our country and hers. It was a long and tiring day but I am excited to get to work tomorrow!! Please pray for me and my group as tomorrow we go door-to-door sharing the gospel, then at night sharing His word to young children at a Bible Club.

FB_IMG_1520813159091As told by Amanda Maglich of Team Scott: Today was Day 2 in London, and it was even more amazing than the first. Each moment I’m here, I feel more and more excited and blessed to be here.

Prior to this trip, I was a little nervous as I wasn’t with my normal group of friends that I’m usually with. But as time passes, I feel myself growing closer with the girls in my group, and it’s such an awesome feeling! God knew exactly what he was doing when he placed me in this group.

We started the morning off at the church we’re involved with this week, St. John Wood, and helped put together some bouquets of flowers to pass out to the mothers for Mother’s Day. We got to talking to someone who attends the church, Alexandria, and it was really cool because we talked about her “small” church and our “big” church. Before service started, my team and I stood outside of St. John’s and passed out little pamphlets about the church and who Jesus is.

We went to the first little bit of service and got to worship with them, and then we took the kids upstairs for Sunday School. It was so fun getting to just hang out and laugh with the kids, and talk to them a little bit about the Last Supper.

Once church was over, we had refreshments, followed by lunch. This was probably my favorite part of the day. We just got to sit around and have genuine conversation with the people at the church, and it was so awesome to get to know each other a little more, and talk about our time here in London, and how life is back home. People have been so welcoming, and conversation is never hard to find!

In the afternoon, we attended an Arabic church service. During this service, God was so present to me. He showed me that no matter where we come from or what language we speak, we still worship the SAME God. God is so big, so present, and so awesome all throughout the world. It was so cool to witness how they do their service. One man in the service had just gotten back from a trip to Egypt. He told of a few stories of people he had known there who were fighting for their faith. One man he told us about is currently in prison for following Jesus. When given the option of not following God and being set free, or following him and being imprisoned, he STILL chose to follow God. Every story that he told was so eye opening. We typically aren’t involved in issues like this, and it amazes me how people still stand so strong in their faith, even when the repercussions of their personal decision to walk with the Lord may put them in a situation that isn’t ideal.

Once we finished at the church, my team and I struggled for a little bit to find somewhere to eat that wasn’t closed. We eventually ended up at a diner-like place, where we laughed super hard, had some awesome conversation, and cried over how good the red velvet cake was (oops). It warmed my heart to people to sit there with a small group of people that I wasn’t super close with just 48 hours ago and laugh harder than I’ve laughed in a long time. I am so excited to see what God has in store for us over the next five days.

This trip has already opened my eyes in many ways. Seeing all of the different cultures around London has been incredible, and it continues to amaze me how across numerous cultures and languages, He is still so present. God is so big & so so good!!! Yea London!!!

FB_IMG_1520813181375As told by Connor Lancaster of Team Rigney: Hello readers! It’s Sunday night at 11:12 here in Greenwich and I’ve had an amazing day. We, the guys staying at a church member’s house, started off the morning by picking up the girls from a nearby hotel at about 8:30. From there, we went to the Rigney’s house to have the cereal that we bought the previous night. From there, the Americans got sent to a traditional Anglican Church to gain a little perspective on what the English idea of “church” meant to the locals before we went evangelizing on the streets the next day. The service reminded me strongly of a traditional Catholic service in most every way that we observed from the songs, to the old building, to the way everything was structured out of a pamphlet. From there, we went and grabbed some street food out of a big market that was pointed out to us down an ally, which was good. With some time to kill before the next item on our schedule, we climbed our way up a massive hill to reach a museum placed along the exact line of the prime meridian. From our hilltop vantage point, we had an amazing view of London that beat any other view of the city I’ve seen so far. After this, we met up with the Rigney’s at their church that they had planted a few months before, consisting of about a dozen members, including the five Rigneys. A few of the students, myself on guitar included, had the pleasure of being a part of the praise team today with hosts. What an amazing experience. Even though there were few of us in the room, I have never in my life heard Oceans sang so loudly. “You called me out upon the waters. The great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find you in the mystery, in oceans deep my faith will stand.” What a beautiful image of what we are here to do. Called across the waters to let the word of God be known to the world. I play in the worship band on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday nights nearly every week and today was definitely in the top three most powerful worship services I’ve ever experienced. There’s something raw and personal about having little practice time with a small band and singing with a small group of believers. We stayed and chatted and played games at the church until about 8:30 before heading back to the house. We had a lot of laughs and more than a few wrong turns along the way in the dimly lit streets. After arriving back, one way or another, the four of us in the house ended up on the floor of Rodrigo’s bedroom having spiritual conversations about how and when we were saved and what Christ looked like in our own respective cultures. Rodrigo is originally from Brazil before moving as a missionary to Italy and now living in England. These two hours on the floor may be the highlight of my whole trip. The amount of encouragement just from stories being told back and forth was incredible and it’ll be a point of the trip I hope I never forget. There are many fallacies that short-term mission writers fall into, one of which is saying that “God is the same here as in America. It’s amazing!” which is obviously true, but cliche to say. But who cares about cliches. Our God is the same God in England as in Brazil as in Italy as in America. A God beyond any of our conceptions of what our plans or, bigger than the fears we have of expanding our comfort zones, and farther than the waters that he calls us upon. It’s not even the first time seeing God’s love span borders, but it still amazes me every time. My prayer for tomorrow is that we can evangelize without fear, that we stay safe, and that we have a good time while doing it. God is doing big things in England yesterday, today, and tomorrow and he will be every day after we leave.

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As told by Emilie Burnham of Team Mark: We first went to a small cafe down the street from the hostel, where we all ordered various varieties of European pastries and hot drinks. It was an adventure finding the church and navigating the London bus system, but when we finally arrived it was a surprise to hear that it was Mother’s Day here in London. Little kids came up and read short poems about mothers, receiving ‘ooos’ and ‘awwws’ from the audience.

We walked to the Tate’s flat (apartment), which was inside a community of apartment buildings all arranged around a central playground/field.  After walking around the estate, we gathered materials to have a cookout for the community. We strung up banners and a lot of decorations…covering the bland walls with rainbows of color.  We expected a large number of people to come, but only a few showed up. Even though only a few people showed up, I pray that the few interactions we had were encouraging.

We all felt more at peace about the conditions of the hostel we’re staying at, so we are thankful for that. We’re looking forward to the rest of the week and we pray we keep God at the center of everything we do, even through our struggles.

London 2018: Day 1 and Day 2

Day 1 was a travel day and it rolled right into Day 2 when the plane landed in the morning on Saturday.  I (Brett) and currently on 34 hours without sleep and a lot of walking in between.

pic 1As told by Kat Patterson of Team Armacost: 2 hours of sleep doesn’t do you a whole lot of good, but let me tell you all I’ve seen today is good. God is already moving in so many miraculous ways in my team and in those around us. We’ve had many opportunities on the train rides and throughout our touring and learning the ins and outs of London to tell people why students came all the way from Austin, Texas to show God’s love. We also have an amazing opportunity here in team Armacost’s house to love on two girls who are here from the Czech Republic! The big thing I’ve learned today is that despite the melting pot of cultures that are around us, we are all the same in that we are loved by an almighty God who created us in his image. While some may not see that entirely, it is true. THAT’S the reason God has called us here this week and put us in the place that we are in. It is to show people that we are all different and unique yes, but that one thing can bring us all together. I’m clinging to Proverbs 3:23-24 today, in faith that God will keep us safe as he already has while we are in London and that we will have some sweet dreams tonight ( God knows we really need them!!! ) Howdy Howdy Howdy from London, England. Let’s see where God leads us this week, I’ve got a feeling that it’s gonna be amazing

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As told by Katelyn Anderson of Team Rigney: Today was day 1 in London! We used today to go sight seeing. We saw the London Eye, Big Ben, and sat in several trains. I learned that the people of London walk around 3 miles each day. I’ll definitely be getting my steps in this week.

Not only did I learn that people around here walk a lot, I also learned about how certain things work differently over here. For example, all doors lock automatically when you close them, the lights in the hotel only work if you insert your card, and although people here drive on the left side, they still walk on the right side.

Overall, today has been amazing. I’ve absolutely adored every second. Everything here is so beautiful and I can’t wait to explore more. I’m definitely looking forward to what God has in store for us this week.

As told by Madeline of Team Mark: Today is the day we got to London! We met James and Angela and they had goodies for us and sent us on our way! We loved exploring this big city and walked all over the place. Some of our highlights were walking through a few beautiful parks, riding in the London Eye, and even getting to see some of our youth group as they explored also. We are ready to meet our team leader tomorrow at church and can’t wait to see what God has in store for us this week!

 

pic 3As told by Amy Solheim from Team Scott: Woweewowwow. God is SO big. Tonight my team, Team Scott, went to a Brazilian church service, and before the service began we had about an hour and a half that we spent with the youth and young adults who attend the Brazilian service. and. it. was. so. cool.

We just shared life with one another, and they asked us questions about being Christians in America, and we asked them questions about being Christians in London. All of them except one girl, Sarah, were immigrants from other countries: Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, we were Christians from all over the world!! As we started to get to know each other and share stories of how we met Jesus and things that we faced as Christians, I realized something crazy!!! Our stories were so similar!!! Even though there were some big cultural differences between life in London and life in Geogetown, I related so much to their stories!! When one boy, Phillipe, shared his story, I got the chills. I felt like crying and I don’t even know why, except that I felt like I really connected with his story WHICH IS CRAZY because he’s moved from Brazil to Portugal to England & I’ve never even lived anywhere but Georgetown, and my life is very different from his! I found his faith and his honesty so inspiring. and it is just the coolest thing that even though we are all different & come from all across the map we can find common ground in Jesus!!

I am so thankful for the brief time we spent w those youth and young adults. We aren’t supposed to see them for the rest of the week, but during the small time we had with them they were so sweet, welcoming, vulnerable, wise and inspiring. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I had thought we were going to be giving advice to new believers or giving them advice on how to grow their youth department, but I feel like the tables turned and they ended up offering us wisdom and kindness, and they were so so encouraging when we discussed things we struggled with in America! Instead of us inspiring them they ended up inspiring us!!! I shouldn’t be surprised that it went so well and that we connected with them so fast and that they ended up being the ones to help us, but that was a really fun surprise!! Normally I say I hate surprises, but I’ve decided I love it when God surprises us and I hope there are lots more awesome, inspiring surprises throughout the rest of this week!

Another moment that left me with goosebumps was during the worship during the service. They were singing in Portuguese and we had sort of just been swaying, listening but when the 3rd song started, Gracie and I immediately recognized it to be the song “How He Loves” so while the congregation sang it in Portuguese we sang along in English. AND IT WAS SO AMAZING because we have traveled all the way to England and then here we are singing the same worship song we often sing NOT JUT with English people, but with Spanish, Brazilian and Ecuadorians!! AHH!! It was so cool! GOD IS SO BIG!!! GOD IS SO PRESENT!! That big, present, magnificent God LOVES US!!! OH HOW HE LOVES US!! O como lee nos ama!!! At the end of the song the lyrics on the screen turned to English and we all sang in English together and it was so cool to hear. It was a really neat moment where even though we are all from different places all over the world, with different cultures, different stories, and speak different languages we all came together to worship!

Mission, Texas – July 12, 2017

20032063_805800183815_6875218690313323372_nAs told by Samantha Acuna

Hello, my name is Samantha Acuna and I’m going to be a freshman at East View High school. I would like to point out how life changing this mission trip experience is not just for me, but for many students. I was working with the 3rd & 4th graders during VBS and just seeing how much they wanted to be there, learn more about God, and Jesus Christ and what they did, and how they wanted to get out into the world and serve just left me speechless. Out of all the kids I have met, there’s this young girl who I got very close to named Gabriella. When we were sitting at lunch yesterday, I had asked her how close she felt with God and the more we talked the deeper the conversation went and eventually we  had shared our testimonies with each other. At some point I just had to ask her “Gabriella, would you share your testimony again?” and when she said “of course I would” it made me realize how God brought me on this mission trip to step out of my comfort zone and share my faith with others of all ages and to make a difference in these kids’ lives. Since tomorrow is our last day, I automatically know it will be hard to leave, but at least I know that we didn’t leave not doing something. This was a great week with a lot of friendly faces and I can’t wait for the next trip we take.

Prayers: We get enough energy and strength to give it our all of our last day of VBS and we have a safe trip home.

Shout outs to: Brett, and everyone who came to help serve the lord and others.

19894890_10155593719703826_3072567288289771024_nAs told by Grace Inman

Hello, my name is Grace Inman. I am going to share with you what I did today. Today, I was on the paint crew. This week we have been painting a house for a family of five that has been living in a two person trailer. We worked on finishing the trim of the house and working on the fence. Today was my first day being on the paint crew and I loved it! It was an amazing experience and it really opened my eyes to how blessed I am and how many things I take for granted every day. After we finished painting and everyone else finished VBS, we went to Schlitterbahn.  It was so much fun and we also went to the beach.  All in all, it was such a great trip and am so thankful for everything I have learned this trip. I think one of the things that God showed me this week is not only how blessed we are, but how much of an impact we can have on one familiy’s life or one kid’s life just in a week.  I encourage you all to pray for us  tomorrow as some of us teach VBS, and some of us finish up painting. Also, I ask that you pray for a safe trip home and that we take the things we learned on this mission trip and apply it to our lives at home. That we continue to serve people every day whether it’s on another mission trip or just at school. Thank you all for all the support, prayers, and love you have shown us this week.  We are very grateful.

I would like to give a shout out to Matti Palmer.

Mission, Texas – July 11, 2017


19884140_805513144045_6113434814149713360_nAs told by Blair Ferguson

Today in the 3rd and 4th grade room, we had about 17 kids come, which was more than yesterday. We started out by having them play the game Ships and Sailors, which was where we taught the kids some simple motions, and whenever we said certain words and phrases, they repeated the movements. It was by far their favorite thing of the day – and so far, the week – and asked us the rest of the day if we could play again. I played with a young girl named Kayla, whom I’d met the day before, and she continued to open up to me about her family and relationships. We spent most of the day together, even in Rec and Music.

During the craft, Kayla began talking more and more, and it felt so great to know that she trusted me enough to share with me these things. In Rec, she always wanted to be by me and play the games with me, and tetherball always got her to laugh and smile. It just so happened I had to go in early to help with serving lunch, and when I told Kayla, she spent the rest of her Rec time begging to go with me. It showed me that she really loved me and didn’t want to be without me, and that was the kind of relationship I’d been hoping for.

At lunch, her face brightened  when she saw me, and she didn’t eat until I’d sat down with my own food. When music time came along, she got all into the motions, and although she didn’t sing, it was obvious she was having a great time dancing with me. The puppets were her favorite thing – she laughed at everything they said, and during some of the songs, she’d ask, “When are the puppets going to come out?”

When it came time to leave, she looked up and me and said, “You’re going to come  back tomorrow.” It wasn’t a question; it was a statement. She wanted me to come back tomorrow because she wanted to see me, to play with me, and to dance with me. It made my day to know that I’d established a relationship with her so strongly that she dreaded leaving and pretty much made me come back the next day. It’s been the most amazing thing about the trip so far, and I can never wait to see her again the next day.

I also was given the opportunity to share my testimony with Kayla. We were walking back to the classroom from a trip to wash our hands, and I asked her if she knew how to get to heaven. Her first response was “When people die, they go to Heaven,” and I started to explain to her that accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior was the way into Heaven, she made no response and kept walking. I tried again a couple other times, but she just changed the subject. I was a bit disappointed at first, but I realize now that she just wasn’t ready to accept Him yet, and I had to respect that. I’ll keep trying tomorrow and the day after, and hopefully God will open her heart to hear his good news and that He’ll use me to guide her and help her start her relationship with Him.

19959182_805592320375_7406953578346469383_nAs told by Colleen Dundas

Today was our second day of VBS. We have had a great group of kids all week and I really feel like they have learned a lot, in only two days. This week I have seen the kids running, jumping, playing, and learning about Jesus. Today we taught about Noah’s ark in third and fourth grade.  At the end of our Bible story we asked the question “What would you do if God asked you to do a really big job?”  At first we got pretty basic answers and like, “I would say yes!” And then one student raised his hand and had an amazing answer. He said “I would say yes because God has done a lot for me. He saved my family and he saved me from my sin, so I owe him this.” I was astounded by that answer and it hit me, wow, this kid really gets this. After a fun day of VBS we went to Gabe’s house for THE BEST FOOD EVER!!!! We ate and swam and had really good talks about the VBS. I really enjoyed hearing the stories about other groups and how God was moving in their lives this week. Overall VBS has been so wonderful and I am thankful for this experience.

Mission, Texas – July 10, 2017

19884099_10213698193275735_7063923277265833011_nAs told by Drew Boyd

So today was our first very successful day of Vacation Bible School! We had 73 kids registered today and we talked about Jesus , ate snacks, played games , and got to know the kids.  I am in recreation and we played a lot of games with the kids like dodgeball, soccer, bubbles, chalk, and many more fun games with the kids.  When all the kids left we had a dodgeball tournament and the 8th grade beat everybody. When we finished we all headed to Main Event to bowl, eat, play laser tag, and play games.  It was nice to chill and reflect back on our day.  So all in all it was a really successful first day at Vacation Bible School and we will probably reach 90 kids by tomorrow!

19894755_10213703303123478_2928435120865337983_nAs told by AnnMarie Walling

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were the Lord, not people.” (Ephesians 6:7) Why is it so much easier to serve someone better than you; they aren’t the ones in need of it. Why is it so much easier to serve the Lord rather than people you see with your own eyes, people you feel with your own hands. It can’t be because those people serve you, otherwise us kids would be living to serve our parents.

This week, even just one day into it, has been so special and enlightening because we all found the drive to serve everyone one around us, treating them like children of God, not children of the Earth as we all often do. Today, while many of us were building relationships with the kids and singing in the air conditioned gym, a few out of the middle school youth were drafted to paint a house in the heat of the day without breaking. Want to hear the most amazing part of that? Those drafted kids were excited to paint for hours in the heat of the day! On a good day we would all roll out of bed, grunting to do that work, for pay. That’s the power of enthusiasm when we accept the GIFT of service from Christ, that’s the power of a community wanting to serve. Even more, that’s the power of perspective when you realize service is a gift, not an obligation. God’s purpose for us isn’t to make bright area’s brighter, it’s to illuminate the darkness with the heart of Christ and service that glows in us, if we allow it to. We were all reminded of that important lesson in the service on Sunday, and I’ve allowed it to illuminate my time here, and any darkness inside of me felt so powerless because of it.

I was in charge of the lesson today for my group (6th – 8th grade kids). We talked about how God loves you because He created you. Then I explained the formation sin, and then salvation. Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, but we keep it in the world. That’s what God put on my heart to share to these youth and it humbled me so much. But what humbled me even more was when a certain kid in my group shared with me that they have had struggles with blaming sin on Adam and Eve and even other people in their life, and that what I had said cleared them of a lot of anger. They told me thank you and that my words really impacted their life, and I said if they liked my words they should start talking to God more, because I give all the credit for those words to God. That moment in my life blew to pieces the darkness inside me, and showed me that service is a gift that actually reaps rewards; double threat. And it inspired me to continue with passion for the day and week. I hope that we all come home and remember these hearts of ours right now, as they are hearts of God, so that we may plant, water, or harvest a seed in the kingdom of God. It’s crazy how much you can learn from teaching others, and how much you can gain from giving a piece of you. Remember that; hold it tightly to your heart like God holds us tightly to his, it means more than words can express. It’s easy to know these things on a level that doesn’t challenge you, but you can’t comprehend them until you put them to the test in your own life, and you should, everyday.

Mission, Texas – July 9, 2017

19554658_805149283225_5176073873522319380_nAs told by Macon Boyce

So today we went to PBC Mission and the service was really good.  I really liked the worship, and Pastor Eli talked about how it was “a church for everyone” and I thought that was really cool. They showed us the video from 2016 of FBG and PBC painting and making this huge Shopkins world for a girl named Kaitlyn that had cancer.  When they brought her name up I immediately remembered last year when Eli told us about Kaitlyn and her condition, but Brett got emotional again this year.  We also canvassed today (and it was so hot), but when we got done we went to the Stripes gas station and got slushies.  It felt like a little piece of Heaven. This year we didn’t do the party in the parking lot, but we did a block party in the park.  We had hot dogs, played Ultimate Frisbee, and lots of other stuff.  I got to see a few kids that I was with last year and it was really cool to see how they grew.  It was really cool that they remembered me. Well that’s it for my blog, but if you’re wondering it is 10:27pm and Brett and I are fighting about which Oreos are better: mega stuff or thin . . .  and just by the way thin Oreos are the best.

19959176_805066169785_8687970897187472_nAs told by Anderson Inman

So today we woke up and got ready for church.  We get the opportunity to worship at the same church that we get to help serve at.   We worship at Primera Baptist church and the pastor, Eli, preached about what they stand for as a church.  Their motto is “a church for everyone”.  What this means is it’s a church for Christians and saved people, but just equally as important it’s for sinners.  He talked about the history of the church (it’s 97 years old) and how they started out in a little house and slowly grew.  Eli talked about this point in the churches history were they became “comfortable”.  They stopped being a church for everyone and became a church for Christians.  Eli said that, as Christians, we are the light and sinners are the darkness.  He said there came a time were the light grew afraid of the darkness.  They were having a church service for Christians only.  They were trying to cram as much light into a room as they could and there was not enough room for the darkness to even get shown the light.  So he felt that God was calling him to move his church into a location where they could go out into the community and be the hands and feet of God to people who don’t know about him.  Overall the church service was GREAT!  The music was awesome and the message (by Eli the pastor) was outstanding!  They showed a video during the service of a girl named Kaitlyn who was battling cancer.  Last year we helped convert the gym into a HUGE Shopkins party.  Kaitlyn passed away this year, but she got to experience what we thought was a little mini-Heaven on earth party before she got to go home.  It was so cool to see how happy she was in the video!  After the church service we went out and canvassed  the neighborhoods (which is passing out flyers telling the community about our VBS which is going to be AWESOME)!  Right after out canvassing we did this giant block-party were Nate, Lance, and I grilled about 250 hotdogs, while everyone else was playing football and Frisbee with the neighborhood kids. We all had a great time and are REALLY excited to get to have the opportunity to share the gospel with kids who may not know about God.  If you are reading this and you are not down in Mission with us, your prayers are always wanted!