Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 4

We made it! After a few brief delays (and a couple of shoes lost along the way) we've completed our journey across the pond and traveled by bus to Derry! We arrived about a half hour ago, are getting settled into our rooms, having a bite to eat and a bit of free time before being officially welcomed by the local leadership team. Later this evening, we'll eat dinner in the food court at Foyleside Mall and have a team mixer at a local coffee shop. All is well! Thanks for all your prayers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 3.2

After a bit of a delay, we've arrived in Chicago and are attempting to make a tight connection on to Dublin! (EDITED: With an additional delay in Chicago, the connection didn't turn out to be as tight as we anticipated! But, we're boarding now...)

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 3.1

Today is our travel day! Many have waited anxiously for this day to come for a long time! We left Lincoln this morning about 9am and traveled by bus to Kansas City. We made it, we've gotten our tickets and are processing through security now, about to embark on our first flight!

Pictures, up to this point, can be found HERE!

NE Kids Camp Testimonies - Tuesday Night

- A DL told us about how her students had prayed together the first and second nights of camp for one of the students dad. He was a semi-professional baseball player and had a sore arm. The DL talked with the father this morning and he couldn't believe that they had been praying for him, because he woke up this morning without pain in his arm for the first time in years.
- The DYD hid as part of a camp wide hide and seek game where the students try to find certain leaders. He hid in a tree and several groups came nearby but didn't see him, though he was in plain view. Finally, a student found him from the Kings team. He had been wandering away from his dorm room, after his leader told them to go a different direction. He was disobeying his dorm leader, but found the DYD and won the game.
- A student came that was highly allergic to many foods. They prayed for her the first night, and she's been eating all of the meals and many of the snack food from the rec center without any problems.
- A student leader, working at the camp, thanked God that she lived close enough to come and work at each camp.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NE Kids Camp Testimonies - Monday

- Our camp director and her family were recently evacuated from a flood zone near Bellevue, NE. A young student was praying and asking God to help him draw a picture for somebody in need. He drew a picture of an eagle flying above a storm, protected and safe. He gave the picture to our camp director, saying that God told him to.
- A young camper had been new to his church in the past two months. He brought his new testament to prayer and was reading John 14. He told his dorm leader how he missed his mom, but his dorm leader showed in the Bible chapter how God had a big house, with plenty of room for him. He didn't miss his mom so much because he knew that at camp he was living in God's house!
- A dorm leader had a bunch of boys putting on cologne before coming to service, wanting to smell nice. One young boy didn't have any, so using whatever he could find that his mother packed in his bag, he put on some bug spray and went on his way with the group.
- A young girl is a camp, and her grandmother is home and struggling for her life. The doctors have said she is very close to eternity and the young camper was struggling with it. In prayer time, God gave her a vision of how awesome heaven is going to be. She came to her children's pastor and told her she wasn't so worried about her grandmother anymore because she was going to such an incredible place.
- A lady, in prayer, began to feel slight pains in her back and knees, though not struggling with pain in those areas before. She realized that maybe God was encouraging her to pray for people with those physical ailments. She told our pre service prayer leader, and they had us all pray for healing in those areas for those needing it. A Dorm leader testified in our leaders meeting today that God had touched him and taken the pain away in his knee.

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Days 1-2

Derry, Northern Ireland: Birthed in the mind of God. Built by the man of God. From 1969 to 1998, 3466 people died in "The Troubles." The Troubles may be over, but their legacy remains. From 1999 to 2009, suicide increased in Northern Ireland by 64%. This is the place that 50 students and leaders from across Nebraska have been called to serve on a missions trip this summer. Looking back, this is a place of brokenness. Looking forward, this is a place of renewed hope.

Native American Indian Chief Oren Lyons once said, "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." Often, we spend our time looking at the past, dwelling on what happened rather than looking forward to what is to come. You can't more forward while facing backwards. When you turn your head, you turn your torso. When you turn your torso, you change your direction. We're looking forward to what God has in store for Derry, and what God has in store for our team, and how we might partner with the local church (Cornerstone City Church) to bring renewed hope to their city. My name is Tim Lillard (youth pastor, Norfolk, NE) and I will be your host, hoping to provide daily updates along the way.

Yesterday, our team arrived in Lincoln for some pre-trip training. We did introductions and trip orientation. We also began to break into the ministry teams we'll be in on the trip. One team will focus on renovating a city park, one team will focus on hosting some "street parties" - catchy, high-energy activities that will cause people to stop and pay attention, drawing them in. A third team will focus on children's ministry. We concluded Day 1 with group devotions and prayer.

This morning, we started with group devotions and prayer. After that, we Skyped with the leadership team in Ireland - for some, their first opportunity to experience the Irish accent! The rest of our morning has been spent doing large group dance prep. This afternoon, we'll finalize various dance routines and other ministry prep before doing a final Walmart run for anything the team may have forgotten.

Our schedule tomorrow has us leaving Lincoln at 9am for Kansas City. We we fly out mid-afternoon!

This morning, there were two passages of scriptures that became a focus of our attention in our prayer and devotion time: Isaiah 61:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. I pass those along in case you'd like to be on the "same page" we are!

I know we’re just getting started but there are some specific things you could partner with us in praying for as we begin this incredible journey.
  • Pray against fear. There are a lot of fears that can creep in and steal our focus, from traveling and being away from home for the first time, to not knowing exactly what's coming up next. Pray that God would stretch us and that we would remain flexible.
  • Pray for our home situations. Many of our team leaves their own version of "The Troubles" back home that become obstacles in their minds, stealing their focus from the task at hand. Pray for parents who are struggling with allowing their kids to temporally leave the nest. Pray also for our leaders who are leaving their spouse and/or children at home.
  • Pray for one of our team members whose father passed away on Friday. Pray that as she stays home to be with family that they will experience the peace and comfort that only the Holy Spirit can provide during this difficult time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NE Middle Camp Testimonies from Wed night

- A girl hurt her ankle playing soccer. The dorm prayed for her. She woke up in the morning and it was healed
- A dorm leader wrote down on a piece of paper that his fear to give up was that his children would grow old and not need him anymore. Just as he crumpled it up to take forward for the altar call, he felt some arms grab him around the waist. He turned, and it was his daughter from the other side of the room. They hugged and took their fears to the altar together. She showed up at just the right time
- A dorm leader and senior pastor stuck around the altar for prayer and God touched his heart and ministered to him personally
- A dorm leader woke up early to take care of a personal need of one of her students. As she was working, she saw a young boy walking around. The walked together and he opened up about his loss of his mother several years ago. When she got back to her room of girls, she told them about her conversation with the young boy. Three of the girls in the room who had previously not opened up yet began to talk about how they were in single parent families and God began to minister to them. And it was only 7:45 am!
- A children's pastor mentioned a young girl that grew up without a mom. She is a tomboy and the pastor had been trying to help her in a motherly way. The girl has really opened up during camp, showing more affection, and asking for prayer that she would want God more in her life.
- Last night a student testified about how she had been praying for her parents to get back together for a solid year, and they did. A young boy who had just opened up to his dorm leader about the same need in his life committed to continue praying in the same way

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NE Middle Camp Testimonies - Tue Night

- a student stopped a pastor on his way to the popstand/rec center after service to ask for prayer. Right there on the sidewalk they prayed for his father, before getting treats for the evening
- a leader had a student approach him at the altar. He mentioned that his dad had left his family and he had a hard time seeing God is a loving Father. The leader held him and prayed for him. God broke the student and healed his heart.
- a children's pastor mentioned that many of the boys in his dorm were disengaged the first night, but very enthusiastic during the games. He told them that if they'd be as excited for God as they are for the competitions, they'd be amazed at what God could do. Last night, he noticed a marked improvement in their attention during service and saw them all pressing in for more of God than they were before.
- 2 students who had been disengaged the first night were at the altars last night. Back at their dorm, they talked with their dorm leader about the things they were going through back home. Another student nearby in the room started mentioning how grateful he was for the things in his life after hearing of their stories.
- A DL mentioned that his students returned to his room last night full of questions about spiritual things, so they stayed up much later talking about them
- A first time DL thanked God for the chance to be here. The first day he thought he was in over his head because he had ten young boys. God has given him the chance to spread out individual moments of connecting with each of them and he wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything else.
- A children's pastor is leaving her church. Her students have been very attached to her at camp because of it. She noticed last night they they were praying intensely for God to do great things in their lives, and when they finished they realized they were the last people in the service room.
- A student from a church had been in a mental hospital just one week before camp. God has really touched his life this week as his pastor saw him engaging at the altars, with other students, and in general throughout the week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NE Middle Camp - Testimonies from Monday night

- A young man prayed with a leader. They found out his mom had died 4 years ago and it was tearing him up. He hugged the leader and was crying so hard he could feel the tears through his shirt. The leader told him later that the student was also ministering to him with the hug, because as a leader he had lost his mother just last October to cancer.
- A dorm leader saw a student praying over a certain issue at the altar. Just a few moments, he recognized the same student praying with someone else to help him with the same issue that he received prayer for.
- A leader prayed for a student that had lost her father. She told her that God was her dad and he was the best dad she could ever ask for. Later, during worship, we sang a song called WE HAVE THE BEST DAD. The student smiled big towards the leader while singing that song with all of her might
- A girl came forward and asked for prayer that her mother would find a job. They had no father because he had abandoned them.
- Roughly 30 students walked forward to receive Jesus for the very first time last night during the altar call

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NE Youth Camp 2 - Wednesday Testmonies

- A dorm leader had a girl that didn't like to sing at all, and said she didn't like worship. She was having a pretty bad attitude throughout the week. After last night's altar call for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, she apologized to her dorm leader for her bad attitude. She also committed to go home and apologize to her parents for the same thing. The last thing the leader saw was this student up front worshipping God with all of her might.
- A senior pastor mentioned that one of the students he brought, one that looked like he might never come to Christ, accepted Jesus as His Savior last night.
- A youth pastor had a walk-on that came from a Lutheran church. God gave her a tremendous sense of peace during the altar call. Another girl gave her life to Christ, and later the youth pastor saw those students praying and ministering to each other.
- A youth leader caught a couple of students holding hands in service, so he went to sit by them and keep them apart. Later, the male student came to him at the altar apologizing and asking for prayer.
- A dorm leader was praying for a student to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. After she received, she began to prophecy over the leader and spoke into her life concerning some very private, personal things.
- During our morning devotions, a student testified to his youth pastor that he was saved last and filled with the Spirit as well.
- A Dorm Leader had a student approach him at the altar. He hadn't worn his leader tag in an obvious place, so he looked like a student. The student began to pray for him to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The leader didn't want to stop him because he was so proud of him.
- A Dorm Leader was praying with his dorm room to receive the Holy Spirit. One particular student wasn't too involved, and had his head down, seemingly uninterested. After the leader closed his eyes for a few seconds, he looked up to see that same student praying for two other students to receive the Holy Ghost. 'Can't look at a frog and tell how high it can jump from the way it looks'
- One of my prayers for this camp is that God would bring a sense of peace, passing all understanding. Several leaders reported praying for peace and students receiving peace throughout the night.
- A cameraman had been filming so much he hadn't had much time to sit in God's presence himself. After the dismissal, he took some time to be with God and God touched him in a powerful way.
- A student was filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time. They rejoiced because the student had been praying for the Holy Spirit since camp last year, and God did it at camp the following year.
- A youth pastor thanked God that 10 people still came forward last night to receive Jesus as their Savior, and in the middle of a week of camp nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NE Youth Camp 2 Testimonies - Tuesday Night

- One of our pre-campers lost his glasses at Camp Arrowhead. They went back to look for them, but couldn't find them. Troy, the leader, gathered the students together and prayed. Later, another student found them. When they brought them to the Pre-Campers, the student that had lost the glasses asked, 'Do you think this had something to do with when we prayed?'
- A youth pastor mentioned that in their church devotional groups, one of his students thanked God for setting her free from some pain involving family issues, from the service last night.
- A youth pastor had some students that didn't really go after God the first night. Last night, one of them was very broken and responded to the altar call. Later, he mentioned that with every tear that fell, he felt like another hurt in his life was lifted from his shoulders and he experienced freedom.
- A female DL mentioned that one of her students told her that she experienced God's love for the first time last night
- The worship leader noticed some students in the back, not interested in the service and even mocking the speaker. During the altar call though, one of the students literally came running to the altar, broken and hungry to meet God.
- A student from last week came back with his youth group for the service last night. During the week before, he had given his life to God after being an atheist. He had said that there was no denying God's existence after he experienced Him at camp the week before. During the night, our speaker talked about his father's mistakes, and how that impacted him. This student was touched because his parents where divorced and his dad had even tried to kill his mother. He connected with our speakers story and came to the altar for freedom from the pain in his life.
- During the altar call, we were asked to right down different areas of pain and weakness in our life that are extra baggage we carry around with us. We brought them to the altar and dropped them in an empty suitcase. Different leaders came and gathered the separate paper and then different pairs of students came forward, grabbed a random sheet, and then took it outside to a couple of bonfires and threw them in the fire.
- A male DL ministered to a student that was dealing with a lot of baggage and self-identity issues. His father had nicknamed him a mistake, but God delivered him from that so he could see himself as God's beautiful creation.
- While walking about the bonfire, a leader had a rougher student approach him. He mentioned that his father had walked out on him, just like our speakers had walked out on him. The speaker asked if he wanted to talk about it, but the student mentioned he just needed a hug. The leader held him as a father would his son, and God brought healing.
- A female DL had all of her girls respond to the altar call. They talked about their experience back in the room later that night. They were so excited to share, they were literally fighting for the chance to speak first. Then the turned the tables, and asked their dorm leader what she was dealing with and what God had spoken to her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Youth Camp 2 Testimonies

Here are some testimonies from our leaders meeting concerning our first service Monday night:

- A female dorm leader testified that two of her girls gave their lives to Jesus last night in salvation.
- A male DL prayed with one of his students. He was broken at the altar. Earlier in the day, his parents had finished a court hearing to finalize their divorce. The DL and other boys in his room were able to minister to him in a difficult time.
- A female DL was able to talk with a girl after the service at our rec center/popstand. She had been in and out of juvenile detention 15 times and wanted to change. They committed to continue meeting together throughout the week to keep pursuing God for freedom.
- Another female DL prayed with one of her campers that had been battling depression, especially in regards to her appearance. She was set free at the altar.
- A youth pastor returned to his dorm after the night and had a wonderful discussion with his guys about what to do to stop doing the things they gave to God at the altar. This was following up on our speakers desire to have them pursue a course of action to change.
- Lastly, a female dorm leader had a great discussion with her girls after service. Many of them were convicted about how they treat their parents and they made a commitment to respect and honor them as they should.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Youth Camp 1 Testimonies

Here's the testimonies from our service Wednesday night:

- A Youth pastor mentioned that one of the students from their church was very shy in their morning devotional group at the first part of the week, but he has consistently opened up more and more as the week has gone on.
- A Dorm leader mentioned a student that had told her on the first night that she had never heard God speak before. Last night, she heard God speak and He was telling her to be a leader in her city and her church
- A leader went to a student that was broken ready to pray for them. But just as he was about to place his hand on the students shoulder, the student reached for him and began to pray for the leader.
- A dorm leader had a student in his dorm that was hard. He had been coming to camp all of his life. At first, he was distant from the altar. Last night, he came crying and was broken before God.
- Another youth pastor mentioned that one of his students came only to meet girls. Last night, he came to his dorm leader apologetic for his attitude and wanted to change.
- A leader approached a girl that was at the altar. The girl seemed hard and distant at first, but as they continued to talk to she opened up, even about some recent serious events that had occurred over the weekend. God used the leader to help her in those specific situations.
- One dorm leader mentioned he had some farm boys in his cabin. The speaker last night spoke about how when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, it's as if God has branded us. It really connected with his students. The used an analogy of a diesel chip in a truck to explain how being filled with the Spirit makes us better.
- A particular younger dorm leader went to high school with a number of the students in his dorm. He knew them well and was amazed at the change he saw in them. The first night, they didn't like it, the second night they said it was OK but not for them, last night they were completely engaged and responded to the altar call.
- A youth pastor was talking to a girl in his youth group. She finally came to the realization that she had wasted so much time constantly trying to impress boys and flirt with them, hurting her relationship with God. She made a commitment to change.
- The worship leader mentioned a student that approached him after the service last night. He thanked him for not just being a worship leader on the stage, but being a true man of God throughout the day whenever he saw him as well.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Testimonies from NE Youth Camp 1

Tuesday Night

Here are some testimonies from Tuesday night at Youth Camp 1 in Nebraska:

A camper came with his cousins, but wasn’t a Christian. He was very hungry about God the first night but didn’t make a commitment. The dorm leader felt like testifying the next day about it, but didn’t because hadn’t yet accepted Christ. Well on Tuesday night, he was broken and came forward and accepted Christ as His Savior.

A dorm leader had a cabin full of girls that were very close but wouldn’t open up with her at all. After the service, they got to their room and the dorm leader decided to share her testimony with them. It really opened them up and they connected and talked for a long time.

A dorm leader ran into some students that he had the privilege of dorm leading several camp seasons ago. One particular student pulled him aside and talked with him at length about the issues going on in his life, still feeling close the dorm leader he had a few years back.

A dorm leader talked of a student that was very lonely. Last night, our speaker Chet spoke about seeing herself as God’s child. She wrote a sign and showed it to everyone in her room, with a smile on her face,’I AM NOT INVISIBLE’

A youth pastor talked about how he had a great connection with one of his students that had just graduated and was now planning to attend UNL.

A dorm leader asked her students what they wanted to see God do, and they spoke of things that she hadn’t even thought possible. She realized that their faith is even bigger than ours: ‘the faith of a child’

One youth group organized an early morning prayer session with the students from their church. They made a commitment as they prayed to continue staying in a prayerful attitude throughout the day.

Last night, we ended the service was triumphant praise, many of us jumping, screaming, and dancing in freedom. A youth pastor spoke about how many of us still needed to let go and do these things to experience a new freedom in worship as well.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Camp Testimonies - Youth Camp 1 - Monday

Here are some testimonies that our leaders gave in regards to Monday at Youth Camp 1. Chet Caudill, National STL Director, is our speaker. He talked about how many of us want to be great for God but our 'buts' get in the way ('but I'm not good enough, but I wouldn't succeed, but, but, etc.):

- One dorm leader had a group full of guys very hungry for more of God. They are reading a chapter together in a devotional book and personally trying to be very encouraging to others throughout the week.
- The worship leader said that he's been to many different camps and he has rarely seen a camp where he the students are so hungry to worship and he effortlessly leads them in praising God.
- A dorm leader had a girl that came with a small group of guys from her church. Last night, 2 of them accepted Christ as their Savior.
- Another female dorm leader had a girl that believed God was speaking to her throughout the service about all of her excuses for holding back in pursuing His plan for her. She committed to stop making excuses and go after more of God.
- One leader (a summer intern at a church in southeast NE) saw a student throughout the day appearing very hard and unhappy. He saw him respond to the altar call for salvation, approaching a leader with tears in his eyes, and genuinely repenting before God.
- One leader was working with a student that also is his cousin. He realized that all of the things God had been doing in his life were preparing him to minister in the same areas with this student at camp.
- Finally, a male dorm leader had a student that decided to give up his habit of tobacco.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday - Leader Profile

*Reminder - This is our last blog in June. We will be taking a break during the rest of the month due to our oversight of the youth and kids camps in Nebraska. This blog will post leader testimonies from events at camp throughout the weeks.

1). Song of the Day: Ryan Stevenson - ♫ We Got the Light ♫

2). Blog Entry: Leader Profile - Shawn Banzhaf
HISTORY: Grew up in Lexington, NE. Former Police Officer
POSITION: Chadron State Chi Alpha Director
FAMILY: Wife Jodi, Son Zach, Daughter Jenna
HOBBIES: Hanging out with his wife and Chi Alpha students

3). Ministry of the Day: NEAG District - the blog sight where we will post random pictures from our camps throughout the month of June.

4). Link of the Day: - Create and make your own homepage in just minutes.

5). Quote of the Day: 'If we don't reach our kids in our day and age, we have no one to blame but ourselves.' -Scott Berkey, Director of the National Children's Ministry Agency

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Donut Day. It is also the birthday of Pastor Dwight Sandoz (NE Superintendent), a distinction he shares with Jim Gerhold (pastor in Sidney, NE) and Igor Shafarevich, the famous Russian mathematician, from 1923. Finally, is the anniversary of the day that the Grand Island tornado hit in 1980.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday - Testimonies

1). Song of the Day: Third Day - ♫ Trust in Jesus ♫

2). Blog Entry: Testimonies
- We were working a few weeks ago, trying to line up transportation to take our students and leaders from our campgrounds to a nearby campground with a lake and outdoor recreation during our camps. This was especially important because our pool and gym were still a possibility of not having with us, still being under construction. Last week, a church in Friend decided to give a good working bus to us as a gift. Then, later this week, another call came in from Platte Valley Youth for Christ and they also wanted to donate a bus to us. We never put the word out that we were searching! God has a way of meeting our needs that goes beyond anything we can do on our own.
- A youth pastor came with his wife to help us work at the campgrounds to prepare for camps last weekend. He had also come to our youth leaders training back in April. He told me that his group recently had doubled in size and they were bringing the largest group they've ever brought to camp. They are currently trying to recruit more leaders and excited about the future, as am I.

3). Ministry of the Day: National Young Adult Ministries - Real, relevant, relational, and revolutionary - for young adults and recent high school graduates

4). Link of the Day: Post Box - A first class email software that puts you in the driver’s seat. Stay on task, find information quickly and act, not react.

5). Quote of the Day: 'Act like it is important, because it is important' -Hutson Goza, Louisiana District Secretary/Treasurer

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Running Day. It is also the birthday of Leann Clark (youth leader in Lyons and Pastor's Wife), a distinction she shares with Kyle Petty, famous race car driver, from 1960. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that Ken Jennings began his famous winning run on Jeopardy in 2004.

Julie Korell, Youth Pastor in Grand Island, at Youth Camp 2010

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday - Leaders Corner

*Reminder* - We will take a break from our regular blogging in June, due to the Youth and Kids Camps we host throughout the month. This blog will still be used to report testimonies from our leaders meetings during the camps.

1). Song of the Day: Tedashii - ♫ Need it Daily ♫

2). Blog Entry: Leaders Corner
- Yesterday I took part in a leadership discussion on Twitter with leaders from the Disney Institute of Leadership. Here are some of the lessons I gleaned from that time:
- As leaders, we use communication as our art form to teach and challenge. Artists use paintbrushes, we use conversations. We must challenge ourselves to make sure our listeners understood us. One of the effective means is to be authentic and tell humbling stories, which engage people on an emotional level. Authenticity in communication is half message, half delivery. We often forget about the best way to deliver. We might have the best message, but without a good delivery, it won't be realized.

3). Ministry of the Day: Off-Road Discipleship - Explore twelve central spiritual disciplines that Christian leaders of all ages need to change about themselves and their churches to reach out to the culture around them.

4). Link of the Day: Quiet Write - A simple, private online journal

5). Quote of the Day: 'Imitate Good! Don't be a ME-FIRST kind of leader' -Jay Mooney, National Youth Leader

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Say Something Nice Day. It is also the birthday of Brian Korell (NE Youth Alive Director) a distinction he shares with the actor Morgan Freeman from 1937. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that the Heimlich Maneuver was established in a medical journal in 1974.

Brian Korell, NE Youth Alive Director, on the Missions Bike Ride 2010