We are underway!

Today was the first day that we worked with the kids!! What a day! I don’t think it mattered what group we were in, Morning Clubs were busy and intense. Learning names, getting used to how things are done, controlling crazy kids- that was just a few of the things that we had to handle today. But it was a great day.

In addition to Morning Clubs, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of both weeks we have what is called an Afternoon Extravaganza. During this time we organize some games and fin activities for the kids of the community can participate in, regardless of age group. Each day is different. Today we had what is called the Tide Fight, we get into teams and build huge mounds on the beach and when the tide comes in we hope that the mound we built is the last one standing once the tide comes in. It was great fun to build the mounds, but the tide took too long to come in and most of us never found out who won. It was a bit of an anti-climatic end to an otherwise fun afternoon.

After dinner, we once again prepared for an evening event with our respective age groups. This some that we only do on Monday and Wednesday of both weeks and is mainly a time where we can spend some extra time with the kids.

Tonight we had another Epilogue, tonight I felt was especially meaningful for a couple of us which led to some great conversation afterwards.

Pray for another successful day in morning clubs. Pray that we can get some rest as some of us are already feeling weary and tired. Pray the relationships that we are building with not only the children, but our fellow workers as well. We are definitely feeling your prayers over here, they are greatly appreciated.

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One more day

Tomorrow is the first day that we will be spending with the community kids. This is what we’ve been working hard and preparing diligently for. Monday ends up being the most hectic of all the days, so be sure to keep us in your prayers as we all try and work through this first wonderful, busy, exciting day.

Much of today was planning and preparing but we still had a little down time where we were able to build relationships with new people, and for those of us who have been here before, continue to maintain relationships that have basically been on hold (because of the distance) for a year.

Tonight was also our first Epilogue, which is a worship service that is held on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Epilogue is one of the most powerful and meaningful parts of this trip, so I am glad that we were able to get one under our belt already.

We’re all looking forward to tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for.

I was unable to post due to no reliable internet connection yesterday, but I wrote a blog and posted when I had the chance today. Be sure to read yesterday’s post as well.

Hello Birchington

Well we are all here and excited to get started, even though most of us have been going the last 40 on just a couple hours of sleep (if that). But we all are able to get to meet our host families early and we can get settled in and ready to go for our first day before everyone gets here.

We have 5 returning members of the team: Regan, Rylie, Elin, Drew and myself. Joining us will be 7 new members: Danny, Meagan, Jackie, Shelby, Elizabeth, Abby, and Justin. We have such a great team and I am excited I get to spend my last official event as youth ministry intern with this group.

The arrival of most team-members and the preparation for the Holiday Club officially starts tomorrow. Those of us who are returning members are excited to see all our old friends for the first time in a long time. Out new members are just as excited because they’ve heard all the stories and and great times we’ve had with all these people and they are ready to meet them.

My overall assessment of day 1- exhausted and ready to catch up on some sleep, but excited for the great couple of weeks we have ahead of us. Be looking for future posts as I hope to be able to post as much as I did last year. Being praying for us- for rest, for our hearts to be ready for the mission that lies ahead of us, and for the safe arrival of all our friends and fellow missionaries as they all begin to arrive tomorrow.

Back in the Saddle

Back in the states now. I’m proud to say that I beat jet lag. I didn’t have one problem with tiredness or fatigue. First day back in the office today and even though I did have a long list of things to do, I finished it fairly quickly, so I had a bit of time to reflect on the last three weeks of my life. England was wonderful- the Minnis Bay Holiday Club has had a major impact on my life.

Without getting into it much, this summer was very frustrating for me. It was definitely a test of my patience. But Minnis Bay melted away all those stresses, all those worries- and for the first time in what seemed like a lot time, I felt like I was doing ministry. I felt like I was able to use my gifts to serve the kingdom. It was a breathe of fresh air.

So to close this blog entry, I’ll throw out two lists.

What I don’t miss about England:
-the food… sorry Brits, it’s not like your food is bad, it’s just not as good as our good old American, over-fatty, over-processed tasty deliciousness.
-all the tiny cars… seriously, why are your cars so small but you still try to cram 5 people into them
-crazy roads… forget that you drive on the other side, that didn’t bother me, but the fact that your roads are so narrow and you just park in the middle of the street. I love my wide american roads
-rounders…. it’s just a dumbed down, knock-off of baseball.

What I DO miss about England:
-The weather… it’s beautiful, it never got over 75 degrees
-“proper football”…. despite what my overly-american friend Ryan says, it really is a great sport and I love that everyone plays it there
-Birchington… my heart goes out to that community, which is bound to happen when you serve and pour your heart out
-Avtar… he has a heart of gold and his leadership is exemplary, Minnis Bay would not be the same without him.
-the community… nothing makes it easier to know someone than to basically spending 24 hours together. I knew the 10 kids we brought to Minnis, but not like I know them now. I met several people and in the course of 2-3 weeks I built amazing relationships (which leads me to my next thing)
-my boys… Stephen, Gid, Jeff and Fabian… the relationship I built with these guys are going to be life long. distance is just a small bump to the friendships I made with these guys

As you can see… the things I miss massively out weigh the things I don’t miss. The things I don’t miss are really just a joke and if I had the choice, I would go back in a heartbeat.

England, Day 14

What a wonderful end to a wonderful two weeks. Today was the last day of the holiday club and it is a little bittersweet. Sweet in the fact that we can finally received a well deserved break and get some much needed rest, but definitely bitter in the fact that our time is done.

As much as we were able to accomplish, in my heart I feel a tug from God that the work here is not finished. There is still so much more that needs to be done. But I’m still thankful for the part of God’s plan in this town that I was able to be a part of.

I came into this trip, not knowing what exactly to expect, but God has blessed me and my experience here. It was definitely something I needed and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve Birchington. Be sure to pray for safety in travel as everyone goes back home from the holiday club. Pray for the lives of the kids that we ministered to. And just praise God for such a wonderful 2 weeks.

England, Day 13

So there is only one day left on the mission. I can’t believe how fast this whole experience went by. There have been a lot of good things done here, I only wish that I had a little bit more time here in Birchington to follow up on all this work we’ve done.

It’s been interesting reflecting back on the 2 weeks. There are definitely some awesome and amazing things happening during these two weeks, but like anything else, it isn’t perfect and there is some room for improvement. But that’s the joy in things like this, knowing that even thought it isn’t perfect, God still uses it to transform people’s lives.

As for me, this has been a very positive and encouraging experience. I was at a point in my life and in my walk where I was frustrated and struggling and these 2 weeks really re-energized my spirit. It made me remember why I wanted to be in vocational ministry and reminded me of what my gifts were.

I am already considering and praying about returning next year, the bridges and relationships I’ve started to build aren’t complete and I would love to continue what I’ve started here. This truly can be the begining of a life-long relationship with the community and organization.

Pray for God to breathe life into the last day. Pray for the children and young people – that they will hold on to Jesus’ teachings and will want to know more. Pray that this is only a beginning in the work that God is going to do here.

Thank you for all of your love, support and prayers during these two weeks, we have really felt them.

England, Day 12

We’re keeping on going. From my perspective, this second week has been more of a test against exhaustion. The tempter has tried and use our tiredness against us and has tried to use it as a barrier against the work that is being done here in this community.

Today we had a worry about the weather, it was forecast to rain all afternoon and if was the case then the afternoon event was going to be canceled. But fortunately the rain held off until later in the evening. The Afternoon Extravaganza took place on the beach once again, it was an activity called the Sand Village where participants were broken up into teams and together they build a village out of the sand (think sand castle like structures).

Then in the evening we had events for each of the age groups once again. The Twigs (ages 5-7) had a fancy dress party, the Tramps (Ages 7-11) had a talent show that even the leaders in that group had a chance to participate, the Trogs (ages 12-14) had originally planned to do something on the beach but due to weather moved to the location of the morning club and just watched Up.

Continue to pray for us…. pray for energy, we are all feeling tired but there is still work to be done. Pray for health, many of us are still suffering from nagging illnesses. Pray that our community action is blessed and that we can make a positive impact through serving.