Thursday, May 29, 2014

In Cloud 9

Today marks the halfway point of our trip. A lot of wonderful and challenging things have happened but a lot more are still to come. We are in the midst of another workday at Shofar.  A few of us had to sprint all of the laundry upstairs to hang on the porch just in time for the torrential downpour.  During the rain, we also experienced the clouds moving in all around us so we couldn't see the neighboring islands anymore.

Other projects included sweeping and wiping tables in the school, making slideshows for the concert, sorting through nuts and bolts, testing outlets, making a new safe/not safe sign for the boiled water, scrubbing and painting the grill, and running into town for business and a little bit of shopping, to name a few.  From these housekeeping tasks at Shofar to being in the heart of the city passing out posters, God is surely teaching us how to serve whenever, wherever, whatever, and with whomever.

We've also lived with each other long enough now that we start dressing alike.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Preparation Day

Maayong Gabii from the other side of the world!

Today we worked on quite a few tasks to get ready for the upcoming concert this Saturday and did some cleaning up around Shofar. I'll try to remember what I can. A mass text was sent out to those who came to the youth camp inviting them to the concert. Work was also done on a fantabulus slide show to help tell people about who we are, from street level to WOTS magazine. The giant banner was laid out in the main area for inspection and to work up a hanging plan and I have to say that I cant wait to see it hanging on the stage in the auditorium at Emall. We are all very exited to be a part of what God is doing and going to do through this concert! Other groups worked at cleaning up around Shofar, from the dishes used at the camp to the screens, windows, and curtains. They did a great job as they discovered that the screens were in fact not rusty but just dirty! You can see that Tyler dived right in to cleaning the giant WOK used to cook our meals during the camp out. A couple of us worked some technical duties today from installing an cell phone signal booster to working out the technical setup and packing list for the concert on Saturday. All in all it was quite a busy and productive day today!

Thank you for all of your support and prayers! Me and the giant gecko in the corner say good night/morning.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Coming soon to an Emall near you.


Concert prep began today. We were able to take a tour of the auditorium, sign the last bit of paper work, and go to the neighborhoods near the mall hanging up and passing out posters. We split into three groups and headed out to three different Universities within the vicinity of the mall. Adam, Sacia, Becky, and Tyler's group got enter a University and hang up posters on every level, on walls, bathrooms, and display cases. Tom & Susie's groups were able to unload most of their posters on the streets to groups of students. Tim & Sharon left us from the mall and went to take care of business for Shofar. All walking in different directions, with an afternoon of putting some miles on our sandals in the city. The ride home was full of laughing and singing and Tim swerving making us laugh even more. We finished the day at Shofar early with garlic rice and roast pork. It was a very good day to say the least. Miss you all, thank you for all your prayers...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Open House/Testing Day

Hey everyone, today was another beautifull day here.  There was an open house/testing day at the school, so kids and their parents began arriving around 8 am.  The teaching staff at the school handeled most of that but we got to help a little by grading tests.  We had a chance today to really take a breather and absorb everything that has already happened on the trip.  It was also a good time to get some house cleaning done.  We are starting to get prepapred for the concert going on this weekend in Cebu.  Some of us were getting ready with word on the street stuff while others were working on burning dog radio stuff.  Kelsey and Sacia had a chance to go walk down the road to mingle with the neighbors and were chasing kids around apparently laying tag.  Some of us climbed the hill next to Shofar and were in awe of the view, it was a great time to get some good pictures.  Tonight was a a lot of fun as we sat around to talk and laugh together as well as eat cake and celebrate Kelsey B and Susies birthdays.  Challenges continue to come up but God is at work here.  It is amazing to see what God is doing on the other side of the world.  Hope you guys are having fun at the campout and thankyou for all the prayers and support.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Chunks. It's the only way to do it.

Hey there! I almost don't know where to begin. So far we've been together at Shofar having roughly the same experiences but today we were all over the place! I'll need to break this down into chunks. They still won't be able to cover everything that has happened today (of course!).

Chunk 1: Tim & Sharon headed over to take care of some business in different towns and took in a Cebuano-speaking church service.

Chunk 2: Tom taught Sunday service at Freedom In Christ

Chunk 3: Corey and Kelsey B shared their testimonies before Sunday morning Service at FIC.

Chunk 4: Adam and Sacia helped with the FIC (Freedom In Christ) kids during the service. They got to hear a Bible story in Cebuano and play games with the kids.

Chunk 5: The folks at FIC do an outreach to people living in a small community near the copper mine. After church Susie and Kelsey B were able to attend their weekly venture out there with some leaders and got a first-hand look at what God has called FIC to. They also experienced some authentic Filipino travel ;-) On the way back home some of the roads were so wet their experience turned into somewhat of a Wisconsin Dells Duck tour.

Chunk 6: FIC was nice and let us help out with their older youth group after church. We showed a video about courage and split into two groups (lead by Claire and Tyler) to discuss. Quite a bit of the ideas discussed at camp came up. That was awesome.

Chunk 7: Back up the mountain we went, dropping off various Filipino children as we went. We all met together and shared about our day as we prepped to do it all again tomorrow!

Today was a good day, guys. It wasn't perfect, but it was really good.

We can tell you are praying and we're SO thankful for it. It already feels like we've been gone a long time so it might be tempting to forget, but keep praying! We love you!





Saturday, May 24, 2014

Camp has Ended; but not our Mission

After a long couple of days, camp has come to a close. It was great to experience God's ministry in a variety of churches and denominations throughout this part of the Philippines. Not only were we able to meet them and learn about Jesus, but we were also able to share in His kingdom and be bonded together through communion. Up in the heat of Shofar's third floor, we broke bread, dipped it into a cup of juice, and ate in our King's name. And we did it alongside these wonderful, smiling, children of God. 

After our time of remembrance, we all spent some time cleaning the grounds and school after the masses had stampeded through. When Shofar was restored, we began the true joy of the day; the act of remembering such an event - photos. 

We took a group photo for our sake, and then the kids swarmed to the box of previously confiscated phones and began asking everyone to take a photo with them. Relationships had been created and the campers wanted to remember them. There was laughter, and smiles, philippino giggles, and an exchange in phone numbers. In these few days they had made new friends, and hopefully, brothers and sisters in our Family of Believers. Hopefully they will continue to look back and see that God has a plan for all of us that were here.

Shofar Youth Discipleship Camp 2014

Hello from the mountain top!


After two days of Bible study, games, and delicious Filipino food, Shofar Youth Discipleship Camp is almost over already! Youth from different churches around the area gathered at Shofar on Thursday. It was awesome to hang out and get to know them before our sessions began, and to see the differences/similarities in American and Filipino culture. We split up into small groups and went through two sessions of curriculum called SOUL, based on the book of Mark. On our first night we covered how Jesus is the main point of Christianity and what His identity is. We also go to play some trivia before bed with everyone, and found out that Filipinos may know more about the US than some of us Wisconsnites do (do you know off the top of your head which four presidents are on the face of Mount Rushmore?).


Today we woke up early, read devotions with our teams, ate some breakfast, and started our day with a session on Jesus' mission. We also covered four other sessions on the meaning of the cross, why it is important that Jesus rose from the dead, what purity is, and one session on God's grace. For lunch we got to eat lumpia (think Filipino spring rolls), and during dinner we roasted hot dogs over a bonfire! It was really awesome to swap different aspects of our cultures with one another. During the middle of the day, we took a break from our sessions and did team olympics involving a rubber-band shooting range, photo contest, riddles, a giant spider's web and more. Overall, it as been a huge blessing to laugh together, learn various Cebuano words, and talk about Jesus.


Tomorrow we will hang out in the morning, go through our last session, and then say goodbye to each other (sadly!). Please continue to pray that the messages of the sessions will change us and the youth, and that God will use us here! We miss you and are praying for you as well.

Until next time!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hello from the Philippines!

Maayong Gabii!

We've arrived in the Philippines without problems! We stayed at a hotel in Cebu the night (or should I say morning?) we flew in. This morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel, got groceries at the supermarket, and drove up to Shofar. The ride through town all the way up the mountain to Shofar was incredible, from the people to the scenery. As a newcomer, I was (and still am) in awe of the beauty this country contains. The only words to describe it is as Tim commonly says: "Good job, God!"

Once we made it up the mountain (without any trouble, I might add), we took a quick tour of Shofar, and then got straight to work preparing for the camp taking place from tomorrow until Saturday. It's really cool to be at Shofar and to see the amount of work that has gone into this place from previous trips, as well as to see everything from our own eyes rather than a photograph.

Starting tomorrow, camp will begin. We have been studying the Soul series, which goes through the gospel of Mark. We have used this material in Street Level, covering the first four sessions in small group discussions, which has helped us prepare for this event. There are 7 sessions total in this series, and we will also cover a video on purity. We're all excited to meet the youth with whom we'll be going over this series, as well as seeing how the Soul series impacts them and their relationship with God.

Thanks for your prayers up to this point, and continue to be in prayer for us as we go into the camp, and that we can build meaningful relationships with those attending.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

ARE WE THERE YET?

The 'advance' team has arrived safe and sound. Let the games begin...  

Friday, May 09, 2014

TWO VANS COMIN' HOME

We made it back to Sikeston safe and sound. We were all very sad to leave all our new friends in Cary, but now that we are on our way back, we're looking forward to seeing all of you back home.  On the way, we ate some catfish, hush puppies, and po boys. Good stuff! We also finally found a coffeehouse which we are convinced is the only one in Mississippi. Aight then...can't wait to see y'all!

HOMEWARD...BACK TO SIKESTON

Today we finished a couple projects, cleaned our CCC dorms, and are heading back toward Sikeston. 

We have been so extremely blessed to have been part of Cary Christian center...and we can't wait to share our stories with everybody back home.  Thanks so much for your prayers.  God has been very faithful and merciful to our Team. 

We will post some more pictures tonight. See you Sunday!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Final Touches

Well...all good things must come to an end and two of the projects have come to an end.  We just have a few things to do at one more house and around the center.  That's just the work, or vehicle, that God used to touch lives.  We have made short and long term bonds with so many people that there is not enough space to tell of his good God is! Please continue to pray for us that we finish well.

GETTING CLOSER TO THE END

Today was our last morning of group devotions with the staff here and they blessed us by singing a goodbye song to us as we all held hands. It made us all sad to think we're leaving tomorrow just as we're starting to really get to know people. Then we headed off to our three sites trying to finish up some jobs. We've learned that the work here will never be done so we just need to work as hard as we can with the time we have left. Please pray for all of us to finish well.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

ALLIGATORS AND GATOR BITES


After a short but productive workday we headed into the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge to view some wildlife, specifically alligators. Then we headed into Vicksburg for some wonderful southern cooking. Looking forward to another wonderful day serving Christ in this community tomorrow!

GOT $20.00 IN MY POCKET

Today we started the day doing devos lead by Ryan where we talked about being lead by the Holy Spirit as we go about our day. For work we split in three groups some doing laminated flooring, some were getting ready to lay tile in the thrift store and the rest were finishing up a bathroom,  Thanks for all your  prayers as we continue to minister to the people around here especially the kids that are here every night playing basketball and softball!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

HALFWAY DONE

Today we continued our work in each of the houses. One team worked on laying ceramic tile, and the other finished painting and will start laying floor tomorrow.

We've been getting lots of opportunities to hang out with kids in the community. Today a little boy walked over and ended up helping us paint. Then a bit later he brought his cousin over and we were able to hang out with her too. And turns out they are both related to the lady whose house we are working on. We are hoping to be able to build relationships with these people, share the gospel and leave a lasting impression of Jesus' s love.

We are enjoying out time here, but really feel like time is flying. Please continue to pray for us!

NEW ADVENTURES


This morning we did group devos with the Cary staff we went through John 12 & 13. We talked about how there is nothing more important then serving Jesus and everything we will leave behind. The group split up in many different directions. Today four ladies went on home visits, someone went to the thrift store, and we continued to work on two houses.

Everyone down here is amazing and it has be a bless to even be apart it!! We miss you guys!

Monday, May 05, 2014

THE CLOSE OF OUR FIRST WORK DAY....



Today was a good day. We were able to get quit a bit accomplished, but there is still much more to do. The people at Cary Christian Center are great to work with! They are all about helping us make the best impact on not only the jobs that we are doing but also for the people that we come into contact around here. Here are a few pictures of what we were able to do today. Aren't those kids cute? 

Off To Work

We began today doing devotions with the workers at the Cary Christian Center. It was neat to see that they sing some of the same songs we do for worship.

Then we the team split up into groups to work on different things. Some of the group went to a home to paint. Others went to work on installing flooring, a bathtub, and toilet. Also, we were able to do vehicle work.

It has been a fun day meeting new people, and of course enjoying the 85 degree sunny day.

Thanks for all of your prayers. Please continue to pray for us to build relationships with the people here.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

ORIENTATION

Hey ya'll.

Thanks for your continued prayer and support of our team and our mission here in Mississippi. We are fresh off our orientation tour of the Missions Center, and we are fired up to see what God has for us. It is very clear to us that the vision of their Ministry and our Ministry mesh well. The model phrase around here is, "breaking cycles of poverty through relationships, one person at a time." We saw the facilities (dental, class rooms, engineering rooms, thrift store warehouse) and will see the purposes of them in action in the coming days. These people truly have a hand in everything in the community and truly reflect what the Bible says about fruit that lasts. In fact, a number of the staff first came to Cary Christian Center to receive care and in turn, some, many years later, grew up and now work there. Please continue to pray for us as we dive into the work tomorrow and that this trip would have a lasting affect on the lives we encounter and also our lives. I truly believe everyone on the team here is looking to go to the next level God has for them and that he wants us to see that if we are willing he is ready to do radical things with us personally and as a group.

Thanks

MT. OLLIE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH

Today, and I say today because it took ~4hrs out of the middle of the day, we experienced the wonderful family at the MT. Ollie Baptist church just south of Rolling Fork, MS. I LOVED it so much.
We arrived while Rev. Wille's son was finishing the adult bible class. The service started at about 11:30. We particpated the the swaying worship sang throughout the entire service. The msg was from 1 Peter 5 and hit me where my devos did today, humility. We particpated in the communion and recieved much love.
We have orientation tonight and start work tomorrow. Today we are focused on the Cary community fellowship.
Thanks for your prayers! We love you so much!

DELTA NIGHTS

A little bit of sleepy singing


HELLO FROM CARY

 

Saturday, May 03, 2014

MORE PICS


CARY

Well, we made it to Cary today! We are excited to go to church down here in the south tomorrow - and have our orientation!  Please continue to pray for us and our interactions with people that we would bless the people here as God wants us to.  

Thanks for your prayers!

HEADING SOUTH...


We are heading down to Cary today...after a pleasant drive to Sikeston MO
yesterday.
Thanks for praying for us....we are all very excited to get to Cary
Christian Center today and meet all the people there!

God has blessed us so much so far! I'm sure this will be amazing. Love
y'all... see you soon.