Monday, August 20, 2018

Fully Restored

I'm in the middle of trying to wipe and restore a phone. It's so much fun...

But, it reminds me of how we misunderstand forgiveness. In talking with people over the years it seems many see forgiveness from God as simply wiping the slate clean. The problem is, it's so much more.

Imagine I gave you a brand new phone. But not just any phone. It was personally set up by me. I put hundreds of dollars of the best apps possible on it. I went and put your pictures and videos on the phone. I downloaded (legally) all your favorite songs and movies onto the phone.

Then it gets a virus.

Your phone needs to be wiped. So you wipe the phone. It's back to factory settings.

Yes, the virus is gone, but that's not true forgiveness. The phone needs to be restored.

After the virus I restore your phone back to all it's former glory. It has all the apps, videos, pictures, songs, everything back on it that it once had. That's proper restoration.

When we are forgiven by Christ we are not set back to zero. We are not factory restored. We are put back to where God views us, as His child, His spirit living within us, all the perks that come with being His favorite. We are restored back to where we were before sin entered.

If we understood that better, we'd probably live differently, even after we've been forgiven. This is why we need to know Jesus and love God so much more every day. It helps us realize just what we have been restored to, and how we can grow even more in our relationship with Christ.

Christ isn't just offering forgiveness, He wants to restore you.

Now to do the same to this phone...

T

Monday, August 06, 2018

Silence...

You know what drives me crazy (and in turn drives my family crazy)? When I ask a question and there's no response. Why don't you answer?

My wife and I have had discussions about this and now I'm starting to do this with my daughter. And usually they think I'm being annoying because I think they aren't listening to me. Usually, that's not it. I don't know if they heard me. So if I ask something and there's no answer or a blank look (or sometimes they don't even look my way) my gut response is to think they didn't hear me and ask again louder (and sometimes more annoyingly).

Do we think that of God too? When we ask and don't hear an answer do we think He can't hear us? Except we know He can, so is He choosing not to hear us?

Except God chooses to be silent. And sometimes that can make us (me) even more aggravated. But that doesn't mean He's wrong. Sometimes He needs us to wait or even ask again.

Maybe God's silent for a reason. If only we knew what it was at the time...

T

Monday, July 30, 2018

Back To Reality

Last week we had all sorts of wonderful mission trip stories. And it was a great trip and Jesus did lots of amazing things.

But it's back to reality.

There are ways to serve Jesus every day, even at home with your family. There are ways to give to Jesus, love Him, share Him, all the things we did on the mission trip we can do at home.

So will we?

What will you do to have a mission trip at home...?

T

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Eastern Shore - Day 5/6


Our apologies these blogs are a day late. The footwashing ceremony went over two hours last night and our decompression of the trip tonight was about 2.5 hours. This has been a great trip and we thank you for all your support and prayers.



On Thursday, our group went out to Manna Café to take part in the biannual deep cleaning of the kitchen and main serving area. While the place was kept in relatively good shape, there was plenty of dust, corrosion, and all sorts of gunk that had to be cleaned off the equipment and the general area. Afterwards, our group had time to visit the NASA research facility at Wallops, VA which is home to many rocket and aircraft tests for the climate and atmosphere that have been done for a good amount of time. This fall I plan to attend Purdue for engineering so the only reaction I had at that visitor center was me obsessing and nerding out over the large history of rocket development and tests the Wallops center had. There was a radar plane (I believe an E-2 Hawkeye) that kept on doing touch offs on the runway on the main base. I was even more impressed when I learned that Project Nike from the 50’s to the 70’s was based at the Wallops center. To my knowledge my grandfather, as an electrical engineer, worked on some of the technologies involved, and a member of the church worked at the base during the lifetime of the project. I’m not for certain that I plan for an aerospace degree, but I can’t deny being impressed by the massive development of planes and aircraft in the last century and a half from simple hot air balloons to missions in outer space. God’s people are capable of incredible things and I want to harness the sciences and details that God put into this world to make technologies that can better the lives of many whether in a small town or the entire globe. This entire week has been an interesting transition, but I am ready to move on and use the gifts God gave to pursue my passions to help further Christ.
-Connor


On Thursday the 19th my group consisting of multiple people, worked at Una Familia and at the Youthworks kids club. Una Familia is a program dedicated to tutoring kids. I hanged out with some middle schooler who told me a lot about geography and countries they would like to visit. After they learned they got a snack and could play games like connect 4 where we had a big tournament that got really close. Afterwards we worked the Kids Club I worked specifically with a kid that had a special need just to be supervised constantly and he wore me out. I resumed my role as “the king of pb & Js.” And worked on water day where we cooled off the kids while having a little fun. After work we had our final gathering where we did the foot washing ceremony and I prayed for my brother and started balling since he is leaving for college soon. Also after the footwashing ceremony we seemed to bond all together in our faith and become a big group of friends instead of loosely connected associates. Friday was much easier as we traveled to Uniontown, PN to stop and debrief for the trip and we all had a lot of fun and laughs and we talked about the highs of the trip and we all took some time to remember on the lows and the amazing work that was going on in Eastern Shores and how the community there really is close and works together. They freely trust strangers with their children knowing they are with Youthworks and they trust their neighbors to help with their kids. After we were done remembering we had some more laughs as the newest member of the youth group talked about how much they have grown into the group over the week.
-Carson


Today we started the drive back home. The hours in the car and time spent talking at the church allowed for me to reflect on this past week. Working with kids the entire time was an unique experience, and one I enjoyed. One memory that stuck out to me in particular happened yesterday at Kid’s Club. There was this girl named Carly who sat down at the table I was at and didn’t speak. She seemed very shy and was just watching us play cards, but I noticed the ends of her hair were pink. I struck up a conversation and pointed out that my hair was also pink, and her face lit up. The rest of the day she stuck with her ‘pink twin’, and it was wonderful to see God use that to help me connect with a kid that otherwise might not have opened up to me. My friends also know that I tell really cheesy jokes, a lot, and I was able to use them as ice breakers this week to get to know the other kids in the community and from the other church. Some people even told me afterwards that though they may have groaned at the jokes, they brightened their day. I’m glad I can help spread the joy and love of Christ in all these ways and so many more. As someone who just graduated, this mission trip reminded me of the joys and advantages of getting to know people and serving them, and I look forward to seeing where He will take me next.
-Sabrina

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Eastern Shore - Day 4

Hey everyone, here are the stories from Wednesday. We have only one more day of serving, keep praying for us please!

Troy



Today, I went to Agape to help with preschool age kids. The theme there was the Shipwrecked vacation Bible school we had at our church. When we arrived, the kids were sitting to begin watching their video, however, we did not stay inside for a long time. We headed outside and did some yard work. Delaney, Liz, Jacob, Morgan, and I pulled weeds and broke off dead trees around the sign in front of the place. When we finished, the kids were outside playing and we went to play with them. They were all joyful and loved playing with us. Afterwards, the kids went inside for lunch and we helped the volunteers there to serve the kids. As the kids ate lunch, we went upstairs to eat our own lunch and had an extended break because the kids were taking a nap. Once the nap was over, we went back downstairs to talk to the kids while they ate snack then headed outside so they could have their boat race with the boats they made during crafts. We then left to have dinner and showers and have an early gathering. Later we went to the beach and I didn’t get in the water, but I watched everyone else enjoy the water and watched the sunset with Emma. We then returned to the church to conclude our day.
-Rachael


Today my group went to Agape, which is a free preschool childcare place. We spent the day playing with the kids and helping in the yard as much as possible. After that, we went to the showers and went back to the church to eat dinner early so we could have as much time at the beach as possible. We spent a couple of hours at the beach for our evening activity, and then our church went and got ice cream. To end the night, we came back to the church to rest up for our last day of service tomorrow.
-Morgan


This mission trip so far has been interesting. I have so far worked exclusively with kids, the first 2 days I worked at kids club. Working with kids was nice because they are full of energy and these kids were pretty well mannered. Today and tomorrow I will have also been working with kids at Agape, a church camp, and also helping them out with yard work. It has been pretty interesting because like I said I enjoy working with kids and it has been a good experience all around.

My experience on this mission trip has not just been limited to my worksite I have had fun and learned a lot during other parts of the mission trip. On Monday we had a cookout with the locals and it was fun to connect to the community through playing soccer matches and eating food. I also learned a lot on Tuesday Veronica, an immigrant herself, talked to us about some of the challenges community members on the eastern shore face. As it turns out a lot of the eastern shores population consists of migrant workers or immigrants and so it is a pretty tight nit Hispanic community.

Over all it has been a good time and I do enjoy helping out at the eastern shore. I’d like to thank the people who helped us get here, the church, my parents, and of course Liz and Troy. I feel as if I have made an impact on my faith and in the lives of others.
-Jacob




Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Eastern Shore - Day 3

Our apologies this blog was posted a little late, but Troy and the internet are not playing nice and things just didn't work out. But it was our second day of worksites and here are some stories.

T



Hi my name is Noah Lipscomb. I am here to tell you about my fantastic day! The first thing I did today was go to a church and paint the walls. The second thing I did today was I went to the lighthouse shelter and I helped paint furniture. Thanks for reading!
-Noah


I had an amazing day today. We started the day to go to a summer school type program. I met this girl. She demanded me call her princess. So, Princess started to work on her work book. She zoomed right through it. We probably did 20 pages in an hour. After the first hour, he had a snack. After snack, we all played games. I played matching / memory with princess. After the fun game of memory, (Princess won)   we said goodbye. I hated saying goodbye. Although, I knew I would be able to see her at Kids Club.

After we got back, we ate lunch. When we finished lunch, kids started rolling in. I kept on looking for princess. When princess arrived I was not playing attention. I was playing Uno with the kids that already arrived. When she arrived she tapped me on the back and scared me half to death. We played Bananagrams and had gotten bored real quick. So, we got out Apples to Apples. Princess is 4 years old. She was on my team. We played and played until snack started. When snack started, Princess was very picky. Well, after snack we started stations. When we did stations, I was put on Games. The outside, sweaty, humid games. We were going to play Capture the Flag / Cone, but the kids thought otherwise. So, I played on the playground with the kids. We played out dies for a good hour and then went in.

When we went inside, we did more choice time. We played some Uno and said bye to princess. She started tearing up and said goodbye. After Kids Club, we went to the showers.

After showers, we talked to this person and she talked about immigrants since she is one. After that we had Free Choice time. We walked around town and I got cheese fries and Pepsi. A little taste of home although I prefer Coke. Anyway, we went to the playground. We played and brought out our inner 5 year old. After that, we had our prayer meeting. We sang songs and learned lessons about Jesus. We had hearts to write down what we cared about and I wrote Princess. I will miss her. At the end of the prayer meeting we had or church group. We invited the Greenlee family (coincidence) over to our group. We talked and had a good time. To end the night, Troy asked us to write a story for the Blog and I volunteered. And that is basically it.

Anyway, that is Trevor Greenlee signing off.
-Trevor


These past two days I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer at the Agape Community Christian Preschool. They were doing a VBS program that they had stretched out to last 6 weeks. I was able to perform all kinds of activities with the kids, such as singing songs, making crafts, and playing zombie tag around the playground. One of the highlights of my week was seeing the adult workers at the preschool and witnessing how much they cared about the kids. I later learned that several of these children had absentee fathers and unstable home lives. The women working there explained that their goal was to be the strong parental figure that these children need. This led me to reflect on the impact I could be making back home. I thought back to how much of an impact my parents had on me and how without their support I would not be the person I am today. This helped me to realize how much of an impact these women could be having on the children I had played with today. I currently work at the Fishers YMCA as a child care aide and knowing these children’s situations helped remind me that I’ll never know how stable a child’s home life is. Witnessing these women’s love has made me strive to make a conscious effort to show love to the children that I work with every day because I’ll never know the difference that it can make.
-Hannah

Monday, July 16, 2018

Eastern Shore - Day 2

Today was our first full day of serving, followed by a community cookout at a Spanish church and a time of decompressing all together and as a church. Enjoy the stories!

Troy



Wassup world,

I woke up this morning, went to brush my teeth, and managed to explode an entire tube of tooth paste all over my shirt and hair. However the day got better as I walked downstairs and was greeted with Liz singing Happy Birthday to me, which was the first time of many today. After the mini celebration we went out to serve for the day, which was our first time getting to go out and serve in the Eastern Shores community, and my group, the Wonder Woman crew, was assigned to serve at a site called Manna Café. The way it works is everyone in the community is invited to come and eat a free hot lunch every Monday in the year. Even if it happens to be a holiday. The organization stands to provide a place for many people who are food insecure, to be able to get a fresh hot meal, while still being able to maintain their pride and not feel as though they are a part of some charity. The organization runs entirely on donations and feeds 400-600 mouths every week. Not only does Manna Café provide hot meals for many, but it also provides a place for fellowship. When we first arrived at Manna Café, we were greeted by Fran, the woman who started the operation, and she explained to us everything we would be doing, and what stations we would be manning. I was lucky enough to get to hop around and work at every station which included working drinks, the take table, busing tables, holding doors open, and washing dishes. This allowed for me to get to not only meet, and serve so many community members, but also made it so I could get to know the other volunteers at the café and learn more about why they choose to volunteer each week. It was amazing to get to see a community come together and share a meal today, as we ended up serving 469 guests. If you want to check out more about Manna Café their Facebook is @MannacafeCI #plug. After a day of serving we went to showers, and then to prep the community picnic. When arriving to the church where the cookout was being hosted I was greeted by many of the people from our church handing me balloons and singing me happy birthday, for the about the 20th time, which was a really fun surprise, but sadly we didn’t have quite enough balloons to make me fly, although we were close. Overall it was an excellent first day and it was clear to see God working through so many smiling faces all day! #mintyfresh
-Kaili


Hey.

First day is done. YAY. So yesterday we got to the worksite and met the other church and work people. I was surprised at first because the other churched looked way younger than us. They told is the age group was 11-18 and I was shook. I can defiantly tell who is younger and who isn’t. The kids from the other group created a Squad and they don’t let anyone in which I don’t care cuz I’m original but they wouldn’t let people in their own church in their group. So God moment. One girl from the other group was crying when I went down stair to get a drink I asked if she was ok. She then said that she was so thankful of me being nice and inviting to her. Then she told me that she was surprised that our Church group was so close and friendly to each other. Then she proceeded to tell me about her worries and troubles about her group. I told her that let it go cuz your time on this mission trip is short and by being angry and annoyed with these people she might miss God’s signs. I told her some other things but oh well. Today We went to children ministry. They were doing VBS which was the same as our theme “Shipwrecked” Since I have a broken ankle I couldn’t do most of the things they did but I did swing a lot and help with activities.  It was Kaili’s Birthday today so yay. 1 more year till she can do adult things.
-Emily


Buenos noches familia!

Para la primera dia yo tuve la oportunidad para trabajar con los ninos de la comunidad. Esos ninos hablan ingles y espanol. Una famila que ir a el clubo de ninos prefieren hablar en espanol. Cuando yo no hable en espanol los ninos no escucharon los instrucciones y causaron muchos problemas. Porque yo puedo hablar espanol, los ninos escucharia a mi. Porque de este habilidad, yo forme relaciones con este ninos. Fue una experiencia increible y unica.

So back to the English you were probs expecting, I was basically saying that for my first day of service I was able to work with a Kids Club with a majority of the participants being of Hispanic descent. Five years of Spanish classes actually paid off and I was able to connect with a family of 2 girls and 1 boy who spoke primarily Spanish. This experience was so incredible because I was able to work with a young boy who had been causing troubles all day and speak to him in a way that made him feel more comfortable. It was awesome to see God using an ability of mine to connect with this family and help brighten their experience at Kids Club!

After working at Kids Club we had a cookout with the community. I was a bit skeptical of having the cookout on the first day of the trip because in my experience the cookout was always the last day, however having the cookout today ending up being a blessing for me! I spent my time at the cookout with a 9 year old girls and her 11 year old brother. I was able to just hang out with them and chill for the whole time (I gave her my snapchat so you know it was real). By the end of the night they were hugging me goodbye and were sad to see me go, and I was sad that I only had this short time with them. However, this gave me the opportunity to invite them to kids club tomorrow, which they excitedly agreed to! So, after talking to their mom we were able to figure out a way to get them to Kids Club to hang out with me tomorrow! I am so pumped to hang out with all of these great kids tomorrow!! Adios!!
-Katie