Saturday, July 21, 2012

Winter Youth Camp

No, it wasn't snow camp, although there was intricately cut blue snowflakes adorning the walls and while it did warm up enough in the afternoon to open the pool, it was chilly enough at night to gather around a bonfire for testimonies and good ole american s'mores with marshmallows freshly imported just a few days earlier by Pastor Robert's daughter. 

A new group of thirteen year olds entered the world of youth group and camp.  Youth camp with teens from age thirteen up into the mid-twenties and even thirties can create an interesting dynamic.  No matter the age, God works in hearts just the same. 

This year the theme was I Timothy 4:12.  Four of the local pastors brought messages from God's Word.  BJ was able to share the importance of being an example in the faith.  Each pastor spoke on a different part of the theme verse. 

Some highlights for our kids were helping to set tables and ringing the dinner bells.  Myla was made an official kitchen helper by one of the pastors so she enjoyed drying dishes with the teens after meals.  All of the kids roamed the grounds picking flowers, chatting with the teens, watching game time and just having a good time out in nature!  As Daniel said, "when you are at camp, you play lots and lots of games!"

As many pastors and their families that are able to, come out for the camp.  It is such an important thing for the teens to see christian families in action and for our families to see the importance of serving in every area, not just at church.


Thursday night we had a unique opportunity.  Two doors down from the church is an auto school that has been in that location for the last 44 years with the same owner.  His name is George.  He has cancer.  He knows this neighborhood like he knows his auto school manual. 

George has come to church several times when he feels well enough to sit through a service.  He loves to say "hello" to our children in english.  George likes what we are doing, likes the impact we are making on the community.  In fact he told us that the whole neighborhood is talking about us and they all finally came to the conclusion that our church being there was of God.  Interesting that unbelievers would come to a conclusion like that.  He said before our building was the church, it was a bar and before that it was a night club.

Violence was the reputation of the building, now we are trying to establish a reputation of peace. 

Thursday night was George's birthday.  True to culture, he threw his own party complete with soda pop, cake and salgadinhos (fried appetizers served at EVERY party!).  Also true to culture several speeches were made.  George had asked BJ ahead of time to please come and do a small church service.  He wanted to use his birthday as a way to share the gospel with his auto school students.  George himself is not sure of his salvation, and yet he wants to share with others. 

Please pray with us that God would bring some of those students to our church.  George made sure each one knew exactly where the church is located!  It was an interesting experience but afterward we felt certain it was exactly what God wanted us to do and so we trust Him with the results.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Youth Rally

Tonight was the big night...the youth rally we had prayed for, planned for, passed out invites for. A sister church drove an hour or more with seven young people to help us pass out invitations, share special music and be an encouragement to those who would come from our neighborhood. The famous hotdog sanwiches, cake and pop for 25 people had been prepared.

 And we sat down to start the service...with just ourselves. Swallowing my tears I let the song service put my focus back where it needed be...on Christ Alone. My ever optimistic husband stood to preach a message he spent hours on geared for the skeptical unbelieving teens we had faith would arrive. Said he was not discouraged because we had planted seeds and seeds do not grow overnight.  Why do I always forget that, think that with miracle gro they will be flowering bushes the next day?

Praise the Lord for the faithful ones who came to help, support and be a part of. Praise the Lord that His ways are not our ways. Praise the Lord that someday we will see and understand all the twists and turns the road of church planting takes. Praise the Lord that He is in control no matter what!

ps - we forgot the camera...hence no pictures!