By Sara Galyon
Bright and early (After wrapping up our work day in Starke, FL) we headed to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. The kids could hardly wait to get the van unloaded before bathing suits were on, towels were grabbed and they were headed to the water. After some fun on the beach they came in for some dinner at a local restaurant, and then it was back to the hotel for our final worship.
In the final worship session the camp director talked about God being the Prince of Peace. After worship our group had a chance to talk about the things that separate us from truly following God. We were given nails to symbolize the things that kept us from following God and were told to nail them into the cross when we were ready.
I am so proud of our kids, and maybe not for the reasons you’d think. Some of the students expressed the feeling that this exercise was just that, an exercise, or a symbol of something else, and didn’t truly mean anything unless you really had something you needed to symbolically let go of. So we decided that there would be no pressure to nail anything to the cross, if some wanted to it was fine, but if others didn’t because they didn’t feel this experience deepened their relationship with God, they didn’t need to.
I’m proud of them because they are learning how to discern the workings of God in their own lives, without being told how to recognize them. This is a huge step in our walk with God, and one that teenagers should be encouraged to make. No one criticized anyone else’s choice, we simply waited for each other to finish, and then headed out to the beach to once again experience the vastness of God’s creation.
The following day we spent time on the beach, eating lunch at a local burger joint, and enjoying our last day together. On Friday we headed home with some seriously sleepy teenagers, and some adults ready to return to our families. And the day ended, dark and late.
I encourage you to ask these students about their amazing experience in FL this summer, and hear their Temple Talk on August 6. Ask them how they participated in God’s work in the world, but be prepared for them to ask you how you participate in God’s work in your own world!
By Anna Flowers
Our final workday began bright and early, but it started in a much different way than the three previous days. Instead of getting up for breakfast, we got up early for a short prayer service on the lake. During this service, Sara mentioned the way the fog was covering the lake, and how it resembled the breath of God. In that moment, surrounded by the serenity of nature, I believe we all felt God’s presence very deeply. It was a great way to start our last day.
After a quick breakfast, we headed to our usual worksite for our final day. The entire day was a frenzy to finish as many projects as possible. Some people continued painting and some worked to finish building stairs to the shed. While we were determined to do as much as we could, we also remained wary about beginning anything we couldn’t finish, so the day’s work alternated between very fast and slow.
Throughout the week, I have realized how much God works in the details. Whether it is in the kindness of strangers, a person facing their fears to help out a friend, or a sweet little girl, God was present to all of us this week. We all grew closer not only to God but also to each other. I am glad this trip could be my final one as part of the Senior Youth, because it gave me a new and wonderful perspective on God and all of his creation.
Morning prayer at its best.
A last minute deck on the back of the shed. No big deal for this crew.
The painting crew.
The day started out bright and early. The group ate breakfast consisting of biscuits and gravy that we ate quickly in anticipation to get back to our worksite after a day break of being at the children’s home. We got to the worksite and quickly got into the rhythm we established on Sunday.
Dylan, Zach, Anna and Danie painted while Christina, Will, Andrew, Shane, Bridie, Brendan worked in a shed on drywall. Zach painted the shutters while Anna and Danie held the ladder while Dylan climbed into precarious places to paint. Danie faced her fears of heights and even eventually climbed the ladder to paint some eaves! When putting in drywall, everyone finished up the boards covering it using drills.
Afterwards, we all went to Sonic and were treated to drinks and slushes. Unfortunately, the slush machine broke halfway through making drinks. Everyone was getting irritated, including Sonic staff. We ended up tipping the staff about $10 and turning it into a God moment because of the way her face lit up. It felt good to make someone that was upset, so happy.
We then had dinner served by a local church and worship. It included a really touching story by a staff member about home and family life that made us really want to reconnect with our homes.
Shane and Mr Ryan build new stairs for the shed
Brendan the Posthole Digger
Anna climbs to rescue to finish the painting before the end of the day!
Paint for days
By Zach Armstrong and Christina Zarazua
This morning started bright and early with some pancakes made by a group from a local Church near the camp. After breakfast we headed to the work site which was a Baptist children’s home.
Once we got to the children’s home we split up into two groups. Some of us stayed inside and played with the kids, and my group went outside to do work around the campus. We helped pull weeds around the trees on campus. After lunch all of the kids left, and both of the groups worked outside.
When we got back from the children’s home we had some free time, and a few of us went swimming in the lake. Then came dinner, and after dinner came worship. Worship tonight was great.
After worship came small group time. And that’s when I saw God today. I saw God building a scaffolding around all of us as a youth group and bringing all of us closer together.
I saw God when I witnessed how the environment at the children’s home was; there were shelves of toys and games lined up against the walls of the chapel. One thing that really stood out to me was the fact that Christian pop music was being played (a few of them we sang during prayer earlier in the week!)
Many of my peers, including myself, occasionally forget how amazing God is, as well as their supporters. I feel it is important to go on these mission trips to feel His presence everywhere, not just at home and in church. This day has given me a new perspective on life and God, for He is our Father and has a plan for us. We just need to have faith.
Bridie and her God moment.
Hard at work landscaping the property at the Children’s home.
In the words of Claire Strand “A biiiiiiig tree”
By Bridie Ryan
July 16, 2017
We started off the day bright and early at 7:30 with breakfast and morning devotion. The verse read to us was John 21:2-14. It was the story of Jesus revealing himself to the disciples by the sea of Tiberias. After a long day of fishing they caught nothing and were about to give up. When they got back to shore Jesus showed himself and told the disciples to go back out to sea and throw out their net. They followed his command and caught 153 large fish and the net was not torn. It was the 3rd time Jesus revealed himself to the disciples after he raised from the dead.
After discussion about the verse and about the day ahead we closed with a prayer for our safety and loaded up on the busses to head to our mission site in Starke, Florida. We worked at a lady’s house doing several different things.
We had William, Christina, and Shane working in the shed hanging drywall, Brendan, Zach, and I worked on building the deck. Danie, Dylan, Andrew and Anna painted the trim outside of the house. Everyone had something to do. We worked from 10:30 to 3 with a half hour lunch break in the middle. We stopped often for water breaks to make sure we were hydrated but other than that we were working hard.
We ended up packing up all our supplies and getting in the van right as it started pouring rain. We drove over to sonic for some half-off slushies on our way home because who doesn’t love slushies after a long day of work. After dinner we had free time and then worship. We talked about our theme for the summer which is “scaffolding”.
Scaffolding is a temporary structure on the outside of a building used by workers when they’re building, repairing, or cleaning a building. This relates to God because God is strong and steady and we can lead on him whenever we need it. He surrounds us while he works on us. Then we talked about how Jesus is our “wonderful counselor”. Jesus always knows what we’re going through and the right course of action for us to take. He always supports us by his counseling, guidance and love.
We ended the night in small group with the question “where did you see God today”. My answer for that was giving everyone a job on the mission sight so that everyone was working and nobody was just standing around. We accomplished a lot today and I’m really proud of everyone in our youth group.
Some pictures from today:
Ready for breakfast and morning devotion
Hard at work
Deck rail master
Paint paint paint
When the work day ends early for rain… We go to sonic!
Dylan at chapel talking about where he saw God on the mission site.
By Dylan Irvin:
Saturday morning I woke up bright and early, which seemed like the worst morning I have had since school ended. So I forced myself to wake up, shower, and head out of the house with the luggage I packed the day prior. When we got to the church and unloaded our belongings, and ten minutes later the group was playing Tetris loading the back of Sara’s van to the roof.
We departed from Messiah around 7:30 A.M in a van that smelled…different. We were on the road for a few hours stopping once before we picked up lunch from Chick-fil-a and Wendy’s. We eventually arrived to our lodge with a van full of cramped teenagers ready to get out. We found our rooms unloaded and headed to orientation and chapel.
We played icebreakers and went over the rules of camp, after we sang and praised God. When we left chapel we headed to our rooms to get ready for bed and plan for our mission work the next day.
This page is to help keep our parents and Messiah Lutheran church family up to date on the happenings of our summer adventures. Each day a different youth will update the folks back home with the day’s exploits. 2017’s trip takes us to Jacksonville FL with TEAMeffort’s mission camp Pivotal. Pivotal is a combination mission trip and beach retreat and we are looking forward to a great week.