Reflections on D.C.

Praise the Lord!

What a week! Praise after praise after praise. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 wraps beauty and glory around what our middle schoolers did this week in Washington D.C: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those is any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

IMG_6798The longer I live in Indianapolis, the more I’m amazed at our church and the way the Body of Christ nurtures the faith and fun of our youth. Did you know not every church has members who take off weeks of work to participate in camps and mission trips? Did you know our kids on these trips stand far and above other groups in attitude, behavior and faith? We are a body of believers who live out Psalm 78:5-7: “He commanded…to teach their children so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they would in turn tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” I stand in awe as I’ve chaperoned this group. They would not have been able to live out their faith, the Gospel and the comfort of God, had you all not been praying, teaching, mentoring, loving and supporting them throughout their lives and this week.

As I stand before the throne amazed at what He has done and at the comfort and love He has provided to others through these 12- to 15-year-old vessels, I invite you to glimpse their experiences. Below, you’ll find short testimonies of the week the Lord gifted us in D.C.

“This week was full of different experiences. One particular ministry our serving group wentIMG_6797 to was Our Daily Bread. This was a place where people in the community, no matter who, could come enjoy a meal and a Bible study together. We got to prepare the meal and serve the people who came. We also got the pleasure of talking to the people. It was a really neat experience because once I began talking with a man that I met, I learned that he had recommitted his life to Christ because of Our Daily Bread. He also showed me his Bible, his first Bible.” —Mo Hart

“This week we encountered many new people. One person stuck out to me in a special way. I met a man named Mike at Our Daily Bread. I greeted him and served food to him, but I was too nervous to start a conversation with a stranger. Then I felt God’s presence when Mike walked up to me and showed me an article in the newspaper. We talked about the article, which led to me asking him some questions. Eventually, I learned all about his life, his kids and his walk with Christ. He even asked me questions. He asked me what job I wanted to pursue and about school. The whole 30 minutes we talked, I felt God speaking through me. The fact that I cannot physically see God has been hard for me the past couple years, but this experience opened my eyes to see God in a new way. The faith He has given me has revealed Him in a new way!” —Sydney Davis

IMG_6800“Going into D.C. at the beginning of the week was pretty nerve wracking. Traveling to an unfamiliar place and being trapped on a bus for 12 hours with a ton of other middle schoolers was not the best. I became nervous, yet hyped, to be in the Nation’s Capitol. Little did I know the following days would get harder for me, with a grumpy stomach, headache and sore throat. I kept taking medicine and praying that I would not have to go home. Day after day I repeated this process, but on Day 5 I woke up feeling perfectly fine, no sore throat, nothing! I was surprised and shown how God actually does answer prayers!  He got me through!”  —Ben Massey

“Through my D.C. mission trip, God really pressed on my heart that this trip was much bigger than me, and that God already had this trip planned out from the beginning. With stress and sweat and headaches, God showed us that He had us in His hands and was answering our prayers just so we could serve Him. We prayed for energy, and God gave it to us in the least likely of ways … kids. Simply by driving up in the parking lot, kids were trying to get into the car, trying to hug us and were just thrilled that we were there. Though we had gotten up and been serving at other places all day, God let the kids’ joy and excitement renew our strength and joy. Overall, God has held us in His hands and provided for us with His divine and well-planned trip!” —Rachel Hoffman

“Washington D.C. taught me a lot about myself, the city and the incredible people who call it home. One of the biggest and most impacting moment was when a man named Adam was sitting at a table in Charlie’s Place. He was minding his business, and I just walked by him. Then he asked me, ‘What did you do to your leg?’ Little did I know this simple question would spark a lively conversation and the start to a relationship. I could see God speaking through him, and I saw the Lord in His eyes. He emphasized staying away from those friends who tempt you. He encouraged me to focus on school and, of course, Christ. Despite his fairly heavy accent, it seemed as if God made his voice clear, and the meaning in his words stood out boldly.” —Colin Badgero

“This week we went to a daycare/VBS. It really made me have to get outside of my comfort zone. I say this because the moment we pulled in, the children were screaming happily and climbing into our van. It was a really cool experience getting close to the kids and learning some of their stories. It was hard to tolerate that quite a few kids did not have a good home life. God really opened my eyes to life outside of Indianapolis. These kids had so much joy and spirit and brightened my mood every time I entered the daycare. They helped me realize why I like serving: joy. I say joy because whenever I helped someone, it ended in joy. I feel blessed that God brought me to D.C. to show me this.”

—Kate Evans

Isn’t it so like our God to reveal more to the hearts serving than to the hearts being served? We often enter these trips expecting to be used and make a special impact on someone, yet day after day I heard from our students about how loving the way Christ loved us had more impact on them than anything else. Rather than going to change and love D.C, we returned changed and loved by our good and gracious God.

 

 

Magic Kingdom

What do the Magic Kingdom, Nine Square and canoeing all have in common?  Well, they are all part of Camp PYOCA 2017!MagicKingdom

Campers are enjoying morning and afternoon competitions to earn points for their cabins. They also memorize Bible verses. Campers especially enjoy getting to know one another over delicious family style meals and during their free recreation time.

The whole camp went on a five mile canoe trip today.  Campers worked together to navigate the river and enjoyed God’s beautiful creation!  Everyone survived and had a great time, too!

IMG_5013Our Magic Kingdom experience started out in Frontierland where we learned we are all searching for meaning and frequently we think it is all about “me”.  There is a big difference between what God tells us is important and what the world tells us!  From there, we went to Fantasyland where we learned Satan wants us to believe we can be like God. The world continually draws us in directions which don’t point toward God.  Liberty Square is our next destination and it will show us Jesus is the only way that we can be cleansed of our sin and truly be free.  We cannot cleanse ourselves by doing good deeds, and we cannot keep ourselves from sin. Only Jesus’ grace can do that. We were made to glorify God, and we have to make a conscious decision to follow him and to accept his gift of salvation.

Please pray for campers and staff to have a safe rest of the week, to get enough rest and most importantly to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord!

The Adventure Begins

IMG_1551Sunday we officially kicked off our Great Adventure. We hope you plan to partner with us this summer by going on a trip, praying, volunteering, or bringing in donations. Our church is so blessed to have many opportunities to change the world around us, and we want everyone to be a part of it!

It was encouraging to see all the trip donations coming into church yesterday. We will continue to collect donations next week. Our camps depart on June 3rd, and many of these supplies will help lead our elementary and middle school students.

If you haven’t received a shopping list, they are still available on the Great Adventure display in the Gathering Place. There you will also find the book describing each trip and their prayer requests. Lastly, take a bookmark and put it somewhere as a reminder to pray for our teams.

IMG_1552Continue to check this blog and listen for updates from the pulpit as our teams depart. The display in the Gathering Place will be a center for information throughout the summer, and members of our teams will be available to answer questions when they return. Thank you for helping us put the Gospel in motion this summer!

Coming Soon!!

You can’t go a day without seeing or hearing something on the news that makes you question if there is any good left. It can be hard to see the videos of conflict, children living in extreme poverty, or people hurting.  Sometimes we like to pretend these issues are more prevalent in far-away countries, but often we can find them in our own backyard.

The world needs Jesus in a big way. Humanity needs to be reminded of the love and care of their Savior in a time when we are hurting more than ever. As Christians, this is part of our calling. Even in the Old Testament, servants of the Lord traveled to other places to teach others about His incredible power and loving mercy. In 1 Chronicles 16, David has traveled to Gibeon to appoint priests and leaders in honoring God. He even taught them how to bring offerings and praise God. 1 Chronicles 16:24 says “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds to all people.”

The idea of changing the world seems impossible. There are 7.5 billion people in the world and we are only a church of 700, but like a rock being thrown into a big lake we can make a huge ripple. This summer, ten teams will depart SPC and go out into the world. They will serve, build, teach, collect, pray, and proclaim in the name of God. The impact of these ministries can be felt through entire regions and across generations of people.

Be a part of our Great Adventure. We hope you grabbed a shopping list at church yesterday. They will be available for the next few weeks so you can fill your cart with snacks and supplies for our mission teams. Below is a copy of the shopping list. Take a Great Adventure booklet and bookmark on May 21st and pray over each team and the people they will encounter. Like the gears in a clock, we each work together and propel one another forward to accomplish our purpose. Together we are putting the Gospel in motion. Changing the world may seem impossible, but we serve a God who makes all things possible.

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