LOVE AND LEADERSHIP as our students poured into the 50+ kids that were a part of our KIDZ KRAZE camp each morning. Our students planned, prepared and lead drills, scrimmages, routines, crafts, worship songs and gospel presentations each day to do with the kids. It was almost completely student lead, other than the opening and closing announcements done by me. I was so proud of our students and the way they lead out in their particular areas (volleyball, basketball, cheer, soccer, and crafts). They loved the kids in their group and knew their names. The FBC, Ferguson pastor who had his children in our sports camp, shared about how his kids came home and talked about how much they loved this camp over previous sports camp because the “coaches” (our students) actually got to know them and they got to know their coaches. It may not have been the largest or the most rigid sports camp, but as he shared with us, it was the most relational. In fact, most of the kids came back to our Block party after camp was over, just to see our students who had made such a difference in their lives. WOW!!
PERSEVERANCE AND COURAGE as our students hit the streets of Troy, Illinois and Ferguson, Missouri to share the Gospel for 2-3 hours each day in extreme heat. Armed with their backpacks, water bottles, and Block Party invitations, our students, in teams of 2-3 went to each door and shared with everyone who answered. After they identified themselves and shared the invitation, our students would then ask if there was anything they could pray for people about. Our students would then pray for people right then and there and then share the LIFE in 6 Words Gospel presentation. We had the privilege of praying for many people and getting to share with them. We also gave books that further explained the message of the Gospel. Pushing through heat, tiredness, and fear our students were UNASHAMED as they shared about Christ.
HARD WORK and DETERMINATION in getting tasks done. From setting up and executing Kidz camp each morning at 8, to setting up and preparing for Block Parties, to serving a meal to homeless residents, doing yardwork, cleaning up a church, to riding in a van with no rear A/C, our students jumped at the chance to serve and did it with joy. They knew they were there to serve and they did it without complaining (for the most part). I can’t guarantee that your child will do that for you at home, but they did that last week!!
UNITY- herding 45 people can be like herding…well, 45 people!!! Even with different ages and interests represented, our students came together for the cause of Christ and loved each other even when it was hard to do so. I am so proud of the way these students served together and prayed and worked together for the cause of Christ.
I am truly honored to be the Student Pastor for this group of kids and blessed to lead them. Thank you for taking a risk and sending your kids to minister to a city that needs it. Thank you for your trust in me and in our adults. Thank you for encouraging your students to push through the requirements (workbooks, attendance, reports, memory verses, etc) that I believed helped them be ready for some of the challenges they would face.
There are a lot of other churches out there with a lot of different student ministries, but I truly believe that we have something special here and I am blown away that God allows me to do this! Your student will undoubtedly be processing this experience for some time , so allow them the opportunity to reflect, share and ask questions. And you feel free to ask them questions about what they did, what they learned, what they loved, what they didn’t love and what they think God might be trying to teach them through all of this!!
Lastly, I want to apologize to you for the delay in getting home and to explain the issues we faced. Our trailer, which had your child’s belongings was pulled by one of our leaders who had to leave early and could not pull it home. We knew this ahead of time and rented a UHAUL truck for a one-way trip home. The ball hitch on the back of the truck did not come out far enough for the trailer to sit on and lock. It also had no place for a different ball hitch accesory. When we discovered this, UHAUL was closed and we could not get in to have them do anything about us until 9am Sunday morning (we were set to leave at 7am). I made the decision to send 4 of our leaders with 2 of our vans ahead rather than sit around and have everyone wait with all of their belongings packed and facilities cleaned/locked. We kept one van behind to help with some of the loading and unloading of the trailer should we have to switch trucks. And that’s exactly what we had to do. UHAUL had to give us a bigger truck with a place on the rear bumper to add a different ball hitch. The intention was always to meet up with the other vans and have the group return together (rather than have parents come back twice for different siblings on different vans and to pick up luggage). That process took us a little longer than expected and longer than I would have liked, but we all made it back safely, though later than planned. I apologize for the inconvenience and any questions/fear you may have had, especially if your student gave you partial information via text. A huge thank you to our leaders who drove and took care of our students with me all week…they were amazing!!!!!
Thankful for an amazing week with your student, yet also thankful to be home,