Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Yesterday began with prayer and devotions, as always. Pastor Jake Evangelist, one of the California team leaders, shared from Colossians 4:14 and 1 Timothy 1:12. Afterwards, the playground construction team left to finish up their project while the rest of the team left to do some flyering in the city center and on street prayer locations.
Kids Week Day 3 went amazingly! We had about 100 less kids, but this weekend is considered a "bank holiday weekend", as next Tuesday, "The Twelfth", is a bank holiday, and families may take off Friday and Monday to extend their weekend. Overall, Kids Week was a huge success!
Last night, we met at the Verbal Arts Centre to hear Andi Oakes, a worship leader and recording artist from England, do some music and talk about depression. It was SO GOOD! Here are a few of his thoughts:
- "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16
- integrity is bridging the gap between the you that's on the inside with the you that's on the outside.
- You can't get rid of a bad thought. Once it's in there, it's in there. BUT, you can replace it with a new one!
- Imagine you're born in a boat. You go with the flow - where the current. Sin gives you oars/the thought that you're in control, and mainly you try to row backwards. "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) means you give up your oars.
Here are a few of his thoughts:
“I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, somewhat clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, had been severed. She will be this way from now on.
I had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.
Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, the moment is a private one.
Who are they, I ask myself? He and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at each other so generously, so lovingly. The young woman speaks.
''Will my mouth always be like this?' she asks.
"Yes, I say, it will. It is because the nerve was cut." She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles.
“I like it,” he says, “It’s kind of cute.”
All at once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a God moment. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works.”
- Sometimes, we have to twist ourselves to kiss the world with the love of Jesus. We have to reshape our own thoughts, our own habits, our own ideas to share Christ's love with our community.
- We used to follow an evangelism model of "Hell and Tell", but far more effective is the approach of "Kiss and Tell". Kiss them with the love of Christ, then tell the how they may be saved!
- "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Jesus twisted and contorted his body, while we were still sinners, to kiss us and let us know that He loved us. His kiss still works today!
This afternoon, the entire team went up to Rosemount Community Centre to the official opening of the playground one of our teams built this week! Deputy Mayor Kevin Campbell personally oversaw the ceremony, individually thanking each of the team members who worked on the project with a very nice certificate.
Tonight, we had a relaxed evening at a local Starbucks, with a local band.
- As we wind down this trip, some things we thought were funny in the beginning, really annoy us now. People begin to get on each others nerves and get a little testy! Pray that the final hours of our trip don't unravel what God has done in and through us on this amazing journey.
- Pray that buses, flights, airport and customs navigation all goes smoothly! It's quite a task to move 50 people, synchronously through the travel process.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
After devotions, we did some I Heart Derry flyering in the city center. Afterwards, lunch and Kids Week Day 2! Like yesterday, about 300 kids were present today! Praise the Lord! Also, the playground construction project was all but completed today! A few finishing touches and it will be done early tomorrow!
Tonight, we had the amazing opportunity to host Moya Brennan (Irish folk singer and songwriter, previously with her family band named Clannad), in concert as a part of the I Heart Derry Festival we're helping Cornerstone City Church put on this week.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Not a lot new to report today. It rained last night and off and on all day today, which make working on the playground project quite a mess, but they got the equipment set today and will hopefully finish the landscaping around it tomorrow!
One of our teams went back to an area they did a street program at yesterday and were invited back to today. Over 100 kids were there today and invited to Kids Week!
Our first day of Kids Week programming and 300 kids showed up! Yesterday, one of our teams did a street program in an area where only 2 kids showed up. In fact, they followed the team from their home area to another neighborhood, then promised to attend Kids Week. It was great for our team to see them there today! When welcomed and thanked for coming, the little boy's response was, "Well, a promise is a promise!"
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
- Psalm 2:8 "Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the ends of the earth as you possession." Do you really believe that you only have to ask?!
- If we only live by what we see, nothing is ever going to happen!
- What we are doing this week is not a game. The people of Derry need what we have: Jesus!
A couple of testimonies:
- A lady who received one of our flyers called the church. She'd had a bad experience with church in the past and is dealing with some addictions. She set an appointment with the pastoral care team! Please pray for this lady!
- One of our street programs occurred at a location that has been well known for its violence in the history of the Troubles. They happened upon a group of kids (20-30) doing a summer program and were invited back tomorrow, when they expect there to be 130-160!
Monday, July 4, 2011
We're getting to a point in there trip where our daily routine is pretty well set and doesn't change much from day to day.
We started the morning with devotions and prayer. Typically, we start that time with a little song called, "Alive, Awake, Alert, Enthusiastic". This morning, in honor of our Independence Day, we started with a little star jump competition. (For the song, or a star jump demonstration, ask one of our team members when we get back! There's also a pic above!) Pastor Brenton Fessler, one of the California team leaders, led morning devotions. Here are a few thoughts:
- In Exodus 3:6, when God says, "I am the God of your ancestors - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" it reveals His faithfulness.
- If you read on in Exodus 3:7 we learn that Moses wasn't the only one to see the misery of God's people - God saw it too!
- Often we take matters into our own hands instead of letting God handle it! (Exodus 2:11-12)
- What do we need to trust God with that we left behind in America?
- What do we need to trust God with that we're facing here, this week?
For those who prayed for healing for our ill team members yesterday, they seem to be doing much better today! Thank you for your continued prayers!
In one week, we'll be home! This is the part of the trip were we can look back on how well the trip started and really prepare for how it will end. No one will remember how it started. Everyone will remember how it ended! We must finish well! We must buckle down, dig deep, tighten up, give it all we got and leave it all on the field as we close out the week. Please pray for our continued strength and endurance as we set out to finish strong the race set before us!
PS - I finally got some more pictures uploaded! Day 4 pictures can be found HERE! Day 5 pictures can be found HERE!
Sunday, July 3, 2011
- Unless you walk in the way, you cannot understand the truth or have life!
- People may not hear the truth from us unless they see the truth in us. Truth is not fully taught until it's fully lived.
- You might think your city is too dry for Christ to do something in it. Dry is good for a fire!
- God wants to bring you into a season of grace to do what you thought was impossible.
- Jesus is the ultimate peace bridge!
Tonight, we heard from Pastor Gary Garcia, one of the California team leaders, who has been here several times, including the very first Kids Week 11 years ago! Here are a couple of thoughts from the message:
- Our lives are full of God moments - moments where we say, "that could only be God."
- Four things that can cause us to miss God moments: 1. Fear. 2. Listening to the wrong people. 3. Lack of grace. It's amazing what God can do when we forgive someone! 4. Our own junk that gets in the way.
A couple of prayer requests:
- Nothing too serious, but a couple of our kids need healing.
- It may sound silly, but there are a couple of kids on our team, and from the local team of volunteers, that are having bad dreams at night, which is preventing them from getting the sleep and rest they really need. Pray that they can "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Saturday, July 2, 2011
After devotions, our local training and orientation session began. We were given an overview or what all is to happen this week. We were introduced to the local leadership team, as well as the leaders that brought kids from America. (There are teams from California and Nebraska!) We learned a few Kids Week songs, with actions! We were briefed on some of the city's history, as well as general words and phrases that are different here than in America:
- Sidewalk = Footpath
- Parking Lot = Car Park
- Soccer = Football
- Vacation = Holiday
- French Fries = Chips
- Potato Chips = Crisps
- Elevator = Lift
- Teasing/Joking/Kidding = Slagging
- Tired = Knackered/Wrecked/Shattered
- Dirty = Minging/Bogging
After talking a little more about Kids Week, we briefly discussed child protection policies before being given a final list of "DOs" and "DON'Ts" for the week.
After training, we all came back to the dorms to practice our dance routines and to get a little rest before the evening activities. We had dinner at the Food Court and then left for an evening of British orienteering - a challenging outdoor adventure sport that exercises both the mind and the body. The aim is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a unique orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. Out of about 15 small groups, one of our Nebraska teams brought home the gold!
Tomorrow (Sunday), we have church in the morning, with Brian Houston leading worship and Pastor Bruce Riddle preaching. After church, we'll do some flyering and street parties before church tomorrow evening. After the evening service, a portion of our team will go mobile with the "Gig Rig" for some on street programming!
Friday, July 1, 2011
We started the morning with group devotions and prayer in a meeting room near our dorms. We had a great time of worship and were challenged in our devotion time by Pastor Brian Somerville, Lead Pastor for Cornerstone City Church. He challenged us with two thoughts this morning.
- Jesus brought us here. We must understand that. We did not happen here by accident. If we understand that truth, it leads to a question of why? Why us? Why here? The answer lies in what we're doing. Jesus wants us to be a part of what He's doing here in Derry.
- The Lord has helped us get this far in our journey and he will help bring us the rest of the way. (1 Samuel 7:12)
About 10 of us went to a community center we did a lot of work at last year to begin a project of building a playground there. They did amazing! By noon, that team did what their local leader thought he was going to have to come back tonight and finish!
Tonight, we had dinner at the Food Court in the mall. It seems that's where we'll be eating dinner each night. Following dinner, we met up with a team from California and did a walking tour of the walls around the city and a riddle scavenger hunt/team-building exercise.
We returned to our dorms for a couple of hours before being picked up and taken to the streets of Derry to participate in a "Street Pastors" outreach where we reached out to the bar crowd until about 2:45am. There were hundreds of people we were able to offer a cup of coffee or tea and a cup of soup, share Jesus with and pray for as they came and went from the local bars in Derry. This really stretched many of our students, but also became a highlight of our trip.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is a training day.
- Rest. Pray that as our time for rest is cut short by our schedule, that God will supernaturally and exponentially provide the rest we need to continue effectively ministering to the people of Derry.
- Health. There have been a couple of our team members that have had a bit of an upset stomach, and a bit homesickness...maybe the two are related! Pray for divine healing of our physical bodies as well as our peace of mind.
- Unity. Tomorrow, as we begin to interact more and more with the California team, pray for unity. Pray that we don't see things as us vs. them, but instead, as us - one team, one focus: to share the message of faith, hope and love with the people of Derry.