Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mission Wrap-up #1

Hello Everyone! We returned happily and safely to RiverLakes late Friday afternoon. Thanks to all the friends and family that welcomed us home from our mission. We wanted to make a couple of wrap-up posts to give some closure to our time and ministry together as a team in Beatty.

We held our final day of Vacation Bible School on Thurday. We invited the parents to join us for our closing program at the end of the day Thursday. We had over 25 parents and family members join us to hear our students sing their songs and recite the verses they learned all week. Wescott thanked the parents for allowing us to serve their students during the week, and Pastor Jim encouraged parents to help their children continue in the things they had learned. What was especially exciting was how many parents came to the program who do not attend church regularly. It was our prayer that this time would be a great testimony to non-believing parents and it certainly was!

This picture of Katrina and two of her VBS girls really captures what our week was like with our VBS kids. We held our final youth outreach at the park on Thursday night. It was the best attended evening all week. Wescott taught from John 4 and 5 about Jesus being our only source of hope that will never fail us. As the message closed our students were passionate about pursuing gospel conversations with the students who were there. We were excited to learn that several students had already recieved Christ and others were desiring to take first steps in their spiritual journeys. Especially faithful were Christine O, who shared with one student for the better part of half and hour, and Zach and Chris U who were able to get involved in another long, gospel centered conversation with some guys who joined us for the first time.

We will miss our friends Josh, Michael, and Heather. You guys are family to us. We are praying that God will give you boldness and courage in your ongoing witness in Beatty. We can't wait to see you all in Bakersfield soon!

Jim and Peggy, thank you guys for everything. Your love and faithfullness are an example to us. We are praying for you and hope that in God's providence we will be able to work together again in the future!
Here is our final team pic before we leave Beatty. Lots of friends from our week stopped by Friday morning before we took off to say goodbye. We love you guys and will be praying for God to continue the good work He is doing in and through you. Thank you for the chance to share our lives and the gospel of Jesus Christ with you (and thanks for sharing your lives with us as well!).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Heading Home

Hello Everyone!  In just over an hour we will load into our vehicles and head for home.  While it's sad to be leaving our new friends and the ministry we've had here in Beatty we are excited to bring what we've experienced and learned home.

Yesterday we had a great turn out of kids for VBS, and at the end of the day many of their parents joined us for an end of the week program.  Between parents, kids, and our team we had over 70 people hear about what the kids had learned during their week at VBS.  

We had a great final evening of youth outreach as well.  Chris W and Chris U did a great job of leading games.  After the message if  you looked around the park area you would have seen almost every member of our team involved in sharing the gospel with someone there.  It was an inspiring sight!  To look back on where we were as a team when the week began and to see where we are now in our desire to see people know Christ as their savior is an amazing work of God.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support this week...everytime I updated the blog students would say "did I get any comments?"  Keep us in your prayers as we come home and we see you all late this afternoon!

-The High Desert Mission Team

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Amazing Afternoon!

At the BBQ today after VBS Chris W. and Wescott had the chance to share the gospel with a 14 year old student, Michael.  Michael comes from a rough background, and hadn't been a part of our outreach at the park, although we had talked to him around town several times during the week.  At the BBQ is was obvious that he had some things on his mind because he initiated the conversations with Chris and myself.  After taking some time and explaining our need, Christ's work, and his offer to us for a new beginning Michael knew that was what he needed.  Chris and Wescott had the chance to pray with Michael, and Michael prayed on his own to confess his need for Christ and commit his life to Him!  It was awesome.  Chris did a fantastic job caring for him and really inviting Michael to share his story.

Please keep us in your prayers as we head into our last night of ministry in just a little more then an hour!

-The High Desert Mission Team

Schedule Change

(check out the 2 posts below for updates from VBS and youth outreach on Wednesday)

Hey Friends and Family! Thanks for keeping us in your prayers this week. We've seen God at work in some awesome ways and we have been so blessed to be used in building His kingdom.

We wanted to let you know about a small schedule change we are making. Originally we planned to depart Beatty Thursday afternoon and spend a day relaxing and refreshing at Lake Havasu City. Our students and leaders have decided after talking to Pastor Jim that it would be more beneficial to spend an extra day here in Beatty so we can do another youth outreach Thursday night. We will still return to Riverlakes Friday afternoon between 3 and 4pm. Pray for this additional opportunity to reach out with the Good News of the Gospel.

We can't wait to see you all tomorrow!

Wednesday Youth Outreach

Wednesday night we had our 4th night of ministry to local teens at the park in Beatty. Praise the Lord we had fantastic weather and a great turn out. We were excited to see many students there on Wednesday night whom we had met during the week but had not attended the outreach in the evening. After introducing Rabbit Sticks on Tuesday there was no escaping a replay of it on Wednesday. Here is Team Fred as they get ready to do battle.
After our games Tyler gave a great message on God's grace and why we need it in our lives. More then 25 local kids heard the message of their need for God's grace and what Jesus offers us through his life and work on the cross.
Here are a few members of our team (Katrina, Tyler, Chris, Heyley, and Hannah) with local friends Jamie, Sierra, Tyra and Elsie.
After Ty's message is was amazing to see our students spread out and seek out people to have personal conversations with. More then half of our team was able to talk about the gospel one on one after the message.
As we go into our last outreach Thursday night please pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work in the hearts of those who do not know Christ as their savior. Pray that our students would be bold in their testimony and that Jesus would be lifted up!

Wednesday VBS

Wednesday was our 3rd day of Vaction Bible School and what an event it was! We had 28 kids from the community join us. Pastor Jim and his wife Peggy are so encouraged, typically they have 6-8 elemtary aged kids on a Sunday morning, so this turn out for VBS has blow away their expectations. We also had several children join us who have not been allowed to attend church activities in the past, how exciting to have them with us! On to the pictures!

Katy and Christine have done a fantastic job leading our song times all week. Be strong...and courageous!
Here are some kids in the 3-4class participating in the SonForce Laser Relay and Obstacle course. Zach and Levi have an amazing amount of energy to lead games in the hot sun for all our ages this week.
Christine and Sven during craft time.

Thursday is our last day with the kids, and we will end with a short program for parents and a BBQ. Please pray this would be a time for parents to be connected to Beatty Community Church and that these children would be able to continue in the things they have learned.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday Night Outreach

(to see updates from Tuesday VBS check out the post beneath this one)

Tuesday night was our 4th night of outreach at the park in Beatty. Our number were down just a little bit because of the weather and many of the teenage guys were inside watching game 3 of the NBA finals. Even with the weather and the finals we still had 20+ students join us for a great game of Rabbit Sticks. After the games Katrina Rivera shared her testimony of the dramatic changes that God has done in her life over the past year, and Chris Underhill gave a great message on how God has revealed himself and what our response needs to be. After the messages and testimonies we've opened it up for questions and several kids asked very searching, challenging questions. Chris did a fantastic job keeping the gospel of Jesus central and inviting people to respond. It's exciting to see the message connect with the students we are meeting and to see them looking for answers to hard questions. If you haven't played Rabbit Sticks you are missing out.

Maddie is on the move but it's tough to get past Chris. Katy O and Hannah R. plan their next move in the background.

Thank you so much for your prayers, support, and encouraging comments. Pray for our students tonight that they would have opportunities for personal conversations about the gospel with kids from the community tonight. Tyler will talk about God's grace tonight so please be praying for him as well.

We will check in with you again soon!