Tuesday, July 1, 2014

CONFESSION, community, camping

The Camping trip has an intentional time of confession on Saturday night. The last night of the camping trip we spend time in worship, and then break off into youth groups for their leaders to lead their group into this time.

This year we had the privilege of hosting two youth groups in the same week. Forest Hills Bible Church, and Immanuel both came this past week.

As Immersion staff, we take a step back for the youth group to be able to have it's own time. Derek and Chris play guitar, and we keep the fires going.

They all have the opportunity to confess, throw their paper in the fire, and have their youth group pray over them.



What I was able to witness had me in tears.

One student shared what he was struggling with, and started to cry. He was extremely vulnerable, and wanting God to heal parts of his heart. Another student came around him and held him as he cried. His youth leader came behind him and started to pray for him. As he was praying he was crying over his student. The compassion this group had for one another was so powerful!

Confession, COMMUNITY, camping

For this past Immersion, we hosted two youth groups. In years past it has always been one youth group at a time, but we decided to spice it up!

Forest Hills Bible Church came with 13 students&leaders.

Immanuel Reformed Church came with 15 students&leaders.

We got to cram those 28 people in the Lincoln with 5 Immersion leaders and myself. It was so fun!



the trip started out a bit awkward. Both groups standing on opposite sides of the room to chat, riding up in separate vehicles, sitting by their groups around the fire, etc. But as the week progressed that slowly changed.

The guys started hanging out together, long boarding and late taco bell runs.
The girls led drama's for KidsGames together.

soon the youth groups were meshing tables for meal times.

everyone was getting along, hanging out, and enjoying the new dynamics of meshing youth groups.


But the best was Thursday.

response night.

A night dedicated to laying idols down, worshipping together, praying for one another, etc.


What happened that night was awesome!

Kids were going to other students that weren't in their youth group to pray over them. Hugs were exchanged between youth groups. And we all got a taste of the unification of the body of Christ! When it doesn't matter what church, what denomination, or what specific struggle, but instead everyone can support anyone.

Saturday night was another testament to the unity possible in the church. Families from both churches came to Saturday night worship for their child. At the end of students sharing testimonies we have a time of prayer and sending. The two churches prayed over the students as one group of students, one group of their kids, one group of the generation.

then goodbyes.

It's easy saying goodbye at the end of the week when you'll see them tomorrow in church. But for the friendships formed between the two youth groups, the next hang out time is scheduled, and goodbyes are a bit harder.

Overall, combining two groups this week opened my eyes to unity, the body of Christ, and fellowship!

I love these two youth groups, and even though it was only 10 days I feel like I knew some of these kids way longer. I was shocked for the week to end so quickly.






















p.s sorry for grammatical errors. I don't re-read and my grammer & speech are terrible to begin with. hopefully you still understand the message :) basically, Jesus is moving in the hearts of young people, and in the West Side!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Confession, Community, CAMPING

Each Immersion trip we start out with 3 days of camping at Nordhouse Dunes. Its 3 days dedicated to building community. We have teachings on hearing the voice of God, times of solitude, times of games, and times of worship around the fire.

Before all of that.....we have to hike out to our campsite.

1.7 miles

some dunes, some sand, some woods

no big deal!

So Derek asked if I would set the pace, lead the group, etc. I started out right on schedule. We were moving nicely, following blue ribbons tied in the trees to mark the path. Josh and Chris (two co-leaders) went out earlier in the day to reserve our spots. We were hiking along and soon we could see Lake Michigan through the trees. We were getting close!! We get out of the trees to a peak of a dune. I look to my left and to my right. This wasn't a dune I had been on before. I make a turn to my left and keep the kiddos moving. Shoot! Where were we? Why didn't this come out near our camp? I call out for a tick check and a water break, set my pack down and go sprinting over the next couple of dunes. It had to be right over this one......more unfamiliar dunes. I keep running, and start shouting, "Josh! Crispy!" Soon a reach a campsite I recognize! This is the campsite we stayed at two years ago!! Dang it, this is the campsite we stayed at two years ago, we still have 15 min of hiking. I sprint back to my group on the beach. We all get our packs back on and start hiking. Up and down sandy dunes. Finally we reach Josh and Chris, who lead us a little further to our camp. Somehow, we were still early.....mission accomplished. I asked Josh about the blue ribbons, he didn't set those out. Oops!

The hike back was a lot easier.
First we loaded up my dad's deer sled with a guitar and Jenny(co-leader with a broken leg). We had 45 minutes to pull her as far as we could before she had to crutch the rest of the way while Chris and I ran the sled back for a big party tent we bring in case of rain.

This deer sled.... 3 feet wide, 4 feet long. A single loop of a black rope to pull with. We put a log through the rope and then stood behind the log while it rested about hip height. 1, 2, 3 PULL! it was like huskies pulling a dog sled. Kelsey and I started while Chris would push from behind to make it up steep hills. We would switch for water breaks. We got her almost al the way back, and then we ran back to the students with the sled so they could pull the giant tent.

I got to hike back with Kenny, and we made back in 34 minutes. The students all loved a 30 min hike over the hour hike out :)


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stretch marks

Stretch marks.

I'm guessing a post pregnancy woman just popped into your heads.

Her abdomen stretched so rapidly with the growth of the little baby she was carrying that her skin stretched and left behind off color hues of purple or red but helped produce a precious life.


So my last week - though painful at times, was all worth the life produced in my heart.

Yesterday ended the first week of Immersion. Immersion means we host youth groups for 10 days. 3 days camping for community building, confession, and hearing God speak. Then the next 7 days having teachings and ministry.  I was in charge of launching KidsGames, a global program similar to VBS. KidsGames was the ministry opportunity for our Immersion students.


I started planning in May. Emailing partners, attending events to promote, scheduling meetings and deadlines, canvasing the neighborhood, and collecting materials to launch.

After a month of work, I had 20 kids signed up. I lined up enough volunteers for 100 students, and 6 days before the event I was about to have 20 students. It was stressful. I felt God saying we would have 100, yet we only had 20.
We ended up having 70+ kids Day 1. Immersion students all had a place and a purpose leading the little kids. Day 1 was no easy task though. Sharing the vision, explaining the outline for the day, coordinating and delegating 23 antsy high schoolers, and creating an efficient registration process for the parents and kids made for a long first day.

By day 3, the staff had a meeting to check in on each other spiritual, physical, and emotional health so far. I summarized my health like this,

"I have had my faith stretched and expanded and deepened each day this week. I had to trust God to bring the students He spoke about. I had to trust that He would equip high schoolers with the ability to lead West Side kids well. I had to trust that each day would happen how He wanted it to. I had to trust God's conviction on things I needed to change about how I was leading. I had to trust God with it all. And as I did that each day, He blessed me in new ways. Seeing little kids so engaged with the gospel presented through an evangicube, praying, singing 'Trading my sorrows" on the playground to themselves. I prayed that God's kingdom would come to the West Side and His will be done and I am seeing glimpses each day."



I compare my week to stretch marks because even though the week was exhausting, challenging, even painful and uncomfortable at times I wouldn't trade a second of it because of what God did in my life. He breathed more life into my heart this week and is continually transforming me.


There is so many more things about Immersion I wish to share - hopefully I can update different aspects of this first Immersion while leading up to the beginning of Immersion#2!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

LOVE

When does love become more than an emotion? When does love become more than a feeling towards people who already care for you? When does love become more than something given when it's easy and convenient?

When does love become an action to all, not based on your needs or wants?
When does love become something given to all because of an excess and a knowledge of an overwhelming perfect love received from the Most High and Almighty?

I don't have answers to these questions yet.

(A quick update from May 25 I gave at Crossroads Bible Church. Just a few minutes long)

Love is something God has been teaching me a lot about. With a million students coming for immersion, and with running kids programs for kiddos, I want to be able to love them all, and love them all well. I also want to be able to love well my family, friends, and this neighborhood!

I have been chosen and loved. Praise the Lord! Out of that reality I want to be able to love others as we as disciples are called to do. But it's hard!

I don't want to love someone for selfish reasons; for my needs to be met, or to get something from it.
I don't want to love someone out of obligation to 'be a good person'.
I don't want to love someone to boost my reputation, or any prideful reasons.
I don't want to love someone out of my human limits.
I don't want to love someone to find acceptance.

I want to love because Christ loves me and it's overflowing.

I want to love because God has called us to love.
 
I want to love because God first loved me.

I want to love with the fullness Christ's love.
 
I want to love because I am accepted as God's.
 
 
 
 
 
 
My word for the summer is conduit.

con·duit

noun
: someone or something that is used as a way of sending something from one place or person to another
 
 

Imagine a vase, on a slight tilt, with water being poured in from the top. Once it is full, the water from the top keeps pouring in, but now it also is pouring the excess water from itself down into more vases. Or! Imagine when you try to put your big water bottle under the sink but the sink is too small. You have to squeeze it in, but it can't stand upright so you can never get it all the way full without water running out and spilling over.

I believe that can happen in our lives. When we realize how much our Father loves us, and start to understand the depths of love, then we can really love others with Christ's love. Not out of a place of need or wants, but out of a place of God first loving us.

I'm learning this. I am far from perfecting this love. I am selfish, and I base decisions of my pride or my desires. But this is one way I hope to grow this summer.

I want to be a conduit of God's love. His good, perfect, and incomparable love!
 
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

KidsGames!

We are hosting KidsGames this year!!
 
KidsGames is a faith-based movement using experiential games, sports and creative giftedness to teach children character through Biblical principles, wellness education & prevention, and the next generation of youth leadership. Kindergarten through 5th grade will be able to come and participate from June 23-27 at Sibley Elementary! 
 
 
This has been consuming large chunks of my time this past month, organizing and coordinating the event, but I have been loving it!

If you want to help, we still need:
  • little plastic cups for water
  • 2 whistles
  • airhorn
  • ball pump
 
 
 
 
 
Other things that have been going on!
 
I've been learning a ton about loving and serving others out of an overflow of being first loved by God! And learning to serve my community, neighborhood, and family not out of needing something from them, but just because I have been loved so I am going to love. Here is a snipit  of my testimony sharing this! May 25 - Life Story/Anna Hill 
 


I hope to write a better update soon!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Transition

And the First Bridge Street Mission School of 2013-2014 officially comes to a end.


God is faithful.
Through moving to a new place with new people.
God is faithful.
Through establishing a community amongst strangers.
God is faithful.
Through speaking things to each person.
God is faithful.
Through death of loved ones, cancer, hardships.
God is faithful.
Through sticky situations and danger.
God is faithful.
Through traveling to Guatemala.
God is faithful.
Through safety and seeing what He is doing there.
God is faithful.
Through us not having all the answers or solutions.
God is faithful.
Through speaking identity to each student.
God is faithful.
Through sending each student out.
God is faithful.

Alex: back to High School, excited to tell other students returning about Jesus.
Chris: Staying around for Immersion, then heading to Taylor University.
Brandon: Wheaton for a degree in business.
Jeremy: Kuyper for Youth Ministry.
Mitchell: working and considering more mission options.
Sarah: Indiana Wesleyan for nursing
Vicki: working and considering more mission options.

Each student has created a Strategic Action which, in brief, is a packet that says what God has been speaking to them, how He has changed them, and where He is calling them to.

These students are fully equipped to live missionally where God is calling them, to make Jesus known, and to continue growing&learning. I am so excited to keep in touch and see where they end up. God has called each student higher and is challenging them to live a life worthy of the calling they have received.



Now we are launching into Immersion Prep.
 
 
 
 
We will have 5 churches sending high schoolers to us;
Forest Hills Baptist
Immanuel Reformed
Res Life Grandville
Bella Vista Church
and one other I am forgetting.

There will be 3 weeks of Immersion and I will be taking a lead on Kids Ministry!

We will be partnering with KidsGames for one week, and the other two we will be creating a curriculum. I am very excited!
Immersion will be a May-August endeavor and then I will be again staffing the Mission School from Sept-May.


Well that's a boring update, I will post pictures soon!
Thanks so much for all your support!!