Honduras In Review (Wes)

This summer our high school ministry partnered with LeaderTreks for a short-term mission trip to Honduras. It was an incredible week that allowed our students to serve and grow in big ways! I wanted to give a few of the students a place to share what they learned and how they grew. Wes Gray is a rising senior in our high school ministry. He has been on a few trips with us in the past but this was his first international trip. Read his thoughts below as he shares about his experience in Honduras.

20229857_1929660103714711_5823704956355675678_o“My first missions trip out of the country is definitely one that I will not forget. There is so much that God did through the team during the week. We stayed at La Providencia, which is an organization who cares for widows and orphans. They have taken James 1:27 to heart: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” They don’t give them the leftovers like most cultures do but they put their needs first.

Our team got to be apart of this through manual labor on a worksite and caring for the kids by having a VBS (Vacation Bible School) for them. On the worksite we were hauling dirt to a section to eventually make it the right height to make it into a patio. Also there was a giant trench we had to dig around this area where we would eventually put supports in. On a normal day we would spend 4-5 hours on the worksite. There were so many awesome team bonding moments on the worksite as well. Like when we would try and get everyone excited to go back to work and we would all scream and do something crazy. Also there were great conversations going on as we shared with each other what God was teaching each of us as well. Prayer was a very important part of our days as we very nearly did it before we did anything. This was a key takeaway for me, just how important prayer is and how it is something I should regularly be doing during each day. We saw so much progress throughout the week on the worksite as well which is a big encouragement especially as this was some of the most physically straining work I have ever done. My legs cramped up on a couple different occasions but with encouragement from the team and God given strength I was able to push through.

The VBS was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. Everyday as soon as we were done on the worksite we would leave to go to a church about 20 minutes away to hangout with 30 kids. We played soccer with them, jumped rope, colored, made bracelets, and played tag. After a while we would call everyone in and give them a snack and perform a skit for them. Our skits were on the life of Jesus. You would think the language barrier would have been a lot more of a problem than it was; however, we had several team members who could speak spanish quite fluently. The kids were such a joy to be around; even when they didn’t have much they were still overflowing with happiness and that really hit home.

So I have talked about all of the encouraging and positive ways God had connected with me during my trip… Now for the not as fun ways. Three days before we were supposed to leave ⅓ of our team got sick some worse than others. I happened to be one of them. Thankfully I didn’t throw up like some of the other team members but I had other side-effects that we do not need to get into. Lol. Anyway I did not feel my best but when I woke up the next day I was feeling better to some degree and did not have a fever anymore. I was able to work my hardest on the last day on the worksite before we had our day of fun ziplining and going through a waterfall. By the end of the day our team was wiped, but we still finished strong. On our day into the city Lexi (my sister) started feeling awful on our way back and she started throwing up. Then she started hyperventilating. She did it once before when we got rearended together. What happens is her hands clamp up and she loses feeling there and her whole body gets really tingly. The only way to fix it is for her to focus on taking deep breathes but it is hard to do that when you are freaking out. Luckily a US doctor was close by so we were able to load her into a van and take her back to La Providencia. She threw up two more times as well on the way back. Eventually we got her back and she was feeling again and was done thoughing up but she was really tired so she went to bed. Then we both weren’t feeling good on the plane ride back as well. So it seems like I’m just going on a really long rant about why I’m never going to go on a trip like this again, but really it is quite the opposite. God taught me this lesson through it all: He is going to give me strength when I need it and rest when I need it as well, but it is all according to his plan with his mission coming first. So that is the hard lesson I learned, but it was a very important one!”

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Sermon – The Power of God

Throughout the book of Acts you see the power of God on display. One of the places you see this power on display very clearly is in chapter 19 as Paul ministers in Ephesus. Recently I had the opportunity to preach from this chapter during our Sunday morning worship services. Below is that sermon. I hope it’s a blessing and challenge to you.

The Beauty and Ugliness of the Early Church

This past Sunday was Student Ministry Sunday at our church. This is a Sunday where our student ministry takes over the weekend worship services. One of my favorite things about this Sunday is that I get to preach in all the services. I continued our Acts series by talking about the beauty and ugliness of the early church from Acts 4:32-5:11. Below is the video of that sermon.

Bullying: What Does God Say?

Bullying Sermon SlideRecently we took a break from our current teaching series in our middle school ministry so we could address the topic of bullying. This is an issue that all students face at some point. Some are the bullies, some of the bullied, and some are bystanders. We want our students to hear about bullying not just from their teachers or parents (even though that’s very important and we encourage that) but more importantly from the Bible and what God says about how we should treat others.

Not only did we address what the Bible says about how we should treat others, we did an onstage interview with a young lady from our church who is a therapist and works with students. You can watch the entire talk below.

Games We Played Last Month

Spring_Watercolors_01It’s a new month so that means it’s time to look back at the games we played last month in our student ministry. As you will see, many of our games come from Download Youth Ministry so do yourself a favor and save some time by using the awesome games on their site. Be sure to click the game titles to download the game content or graphic.

Puking Rainbows or Not
How it Works: Students love the feature on Snapchat that allows them to take pictures of themselves (or their friends) puking rainbows. You can also puke other things on Snapchat as well. In this game, a picture will be shown and your students (you can play it as a stage game with a few contestants or as a crowd game where everyone plays) must if the next picture will have them puking rainbows or something else.
Supplies: Game content from DYM (click game title to download)

Whip and Fish
How it Works: This is a simple game that is fun for the contestants playing on stage as well as the crowd that is watching. Each contestant gets a plate full of Whip Cream. Buried in that Whip Cream is ten Swedish Fish that the contestants must get out without using their hands. They can only use their mouths. First contestant to get all ten Swedish Fish out wins.
Supplies: Whip Cream and Swedish Fish

Poop Deck
How it Works: This is a classic game that is always a hit. Divide the room up into three parts: low deck, mid deck, and poop deck. Everyone starts in one of the decks and must run to whatever deck the game leader calls out. Last person into that deck is out. You continue until there is one person left. You can also throw in “man overboard,” which means everyone must go touch a wall and “hit the deck,” which means everyone must drop to the floor and lay on their stomachs.
Supplies: Something to divide the room into three decks. We just tape down lines on the floor.

Lady, Knights, and Horse
How it Works: Students split up into groups of two. They each start on separate sides of the room and when the game leader calls out one of the three positions they must get in that position with their partner. “Lady” means one must jump into the arms of the other. “Knights” means one must get on one knee while the other sits on their knee. “Horses” means one must get on both hands and knees while the other sits on their back. Last group to get into position is out and the game continues until there is one group left.
Supplies: None!

What’re Those?
How it Works: One of the most popular viral videos among students is the “What’re Those?” video. It all started with one simple vine. Go here to see it if you haven’t. In this game students will see a zoomed in picture of a shoe and they must guess what brand of shoe it is.
Supplies: Game content from DYM

Plunger Push
How it Works: If you’re looking for a fun relay style game to try with your students you should try this one. Students must sit on a skateboard and then push themselves across the room using a plunger. We did this with two teams going head to head in a relay. You can do whatever variation you think works best with your group.
Supplies: Skateboards and plungers

The Last Time the Cleveland Browns Won It All
How it Works: If you’re a youth worker in northeast Ohio or have football fans in your group than give this game a shot. It’s pretty comical and will make you realize just how bad the Browns are. It’s a trivia style game where students must guess things that have happened since the last time the Browns won a championship (which was before the Super Bowl era).
Supplies: Game content from DYM

Scatterball
How It Works: Basically dodgeball but their are no sides and you can only take 3 steps with the ball. If you get hit you’re out. If you catch the ball the person who threw it is out. Once it gets down to a few people you can take the limited number steps away and let them run as much as they want. Can also throw in extra balls to speed the game up a bit.
Supplies: Dodgeballs (I suggest using Rhino Skin balls).