Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week 3-Unity Baptist Church, Heartland Baptist Church, Yadkin Baptist Church, FBC Brunswick, FBC Fisherville, Munford Baptist Church, & Calvary Church

Rosamond was rocking this week as Calvary Church was in the house from St. Louis, Missouri. God was continually glorified as the team poured out energy, excitement, and most importantly, the love of Christ each day despite the higher temperatures. Monday started off with a bang as 68 eager kids showed up for Bible club. With extra hands on deck, we were able to knock on the apartments this week and new kids were able to have their first week of club. Throughout the week, as kids were being dropped off by their parents, they would tell me how they just couldn’t wait to get to club and how excited they were to be there. The time before club started each day was special this week as the kids would run around gleefully either playing with bubble wands, jumping rope with the long jump rope, or just enjoying one-on-one conversations with the team members. Each station was hopping as Bible story came with suckers, and games treated the kids to water day on Friday. This week, one of the girls that came on Monday week 1 and had not been back since was able to be dropped off my her Nana every day. Jaskya is such a joy to have at club as she can always be found either laughing or making sure the other kids are following the rules. As we were waiting on her Nana to come and pick her up, she was telling me how much she loved Bible Club and all of the team members that came to play with her. She continued to tell me that she liked helping me pick up trash because she wanted Bible Club to be clean for all of the other kids the next day. Jaskya is only four years old but already, through the servant hearts of Calvary, she is learning that Christ’s love is not only shared through words but also through humility and deeds. Thank you, Calvary, for being such a blessing to our precious kids. Your hard work and willing spirits have left a lasting impression not only on the kids you loved on but also myself. He was increased and we were decreased and He was glorified greatly though it all.
What a refreshing week at National Bible club! FBC Fisherville loved and served our kids so well that Gaby and I were able to simply watch without anxiety as Jesus poured out joy upon joy through the team.
Hailing from a mere half hour drive away, this team is one of our local missions teams. I am very encouraged by their desire to stay in contact with the kids throughout the year.
Though we walked fewer routes than last week, we still had kids pouring into the park, reaching a peak at 48 kids on Thursday.
The kids were pumped up at songs, especially when they got to do motions with partners. They were thrilled with the crafts that tied back to the Bible stories. They were constantly giggling as they wielded pool noodles and waddled in flippers at games. They were amazingly attentive to Bible stories about God's faithfulness to his people, such as Moses and Naman. Each day they learned a new name for God and attribute of God's character to shout loudly. They even took a "field trip" to see their Bible club neighbor, Mr. Sheep, as they read Psalm 23.
What struck me about this team was the genuineness of their love. So often as believers we serve with faulty motives--to feel good about ourselves or to gain praise. This team was an excellent example of service that is truly motivated by Christ's love. They loved when they thought no one was watching. They loved without age boundaries; even the elderly men and women on our streets. They loved those hardest to love.
On this note, I observed something miraculous in one little boy who typically wreaks the most havoc at Bible club. It's not abnormal to see him ripping crafts, running out of stations, or pushing kids. But this team believed in him, that he was loved by Jesus and that his heart could be changed to good. They saw each interaction with him as a divine appointment. They were willing to wrestle him to the ground if necessary. It took a whole team, but by Friday I saw an abundance of joy on his face as he participated in stations and hugged the team members. What a radiant smile that boy has when uncovered by relentless love!
Thank you FBC Fisherville for loving each man, woman, or child in your path genuinely and relentlessly.
-Sarah T.
What a blessing it was to serve with FBC Brunswick once again! From the very first day this team ever came to Street Reach in 2012, they have been on fire for the Lord and what He is doing in our city. The team arrived for their third summer with no less passion. Everyone was incredibly prepared, so each station ran smoothly. I noticed a theme throughout the week: you know that saying, "time flies when you're having fun?" From the very first day when 12-year-old Kaijha asked me, "Why is today going so fast?" I saw that our kids were having more fun than they ever have before. Even some of our 7-year-old boys whose favorite hobby seems to be complaining about Bible Club cried out in disappointment when I told them we were about to start dismissal. "No! We don't want to go home yet! We don't want to stop having fun!" Those boys weren't at games, where most kids want to stay. They were at Bible story! Our Bible stories were so interesting and interactive. The team always had demonstrations to go along with their story, and as the week went on they would take the kids in smaller groups to answer their questions and make sure they truly understood the point of the story. And the gospel was poured out to each kid in every station, it didn't stay contained in Bible story. Team members had their Bibles out in crafts to explain the gospel to the kids, answer their questions, and tell additional stories, the songs were used to weave the gospel throughout all of their activities, and the games station utilized a "chalk talk" in order to set the foundation of the gospel before playing sports and games. Every day grew in numbers because kids were telling their friends, neighbors, and cousins about Bible Club. On Thursday we ministered to 73 kids, and on Friday we had 9 kids waiting for us on site when we arrived. FBC Brunswick, thank you for your faithfulness in answering God's call and allowing Him to work through you. Through hot weather and crazy kids, you followed Christ's example of humility as portrayed in Philippians 2. We can't wait to see you back in Memphis next year!

The second week at Johnson was a great one! We had a Calvary team in from St. Louis, Missouri that spanked it all week long. The cheeks could not be any redder. The kids had a great time all week long as the team poured out mentally and physically at a very high level. There is no doubt that the kids at Johnson Bible Club were feeling Jesus's love this past week. On Friday, Johnson had 72 kids! This is the most it has had this summer and it will be a very hard number to beat. This number also included many new kids who had not yet been exposed to Bible Club, so this is very encouraging. Calvary set a great tone for the rest of the summer and continued to build upon the foundation from week one.
As the temperature climbed this week, so did Whittier club numbers, as we reached our summer record of 70 kids by Friday! The success of this week is fully and completely due to the Lord’s work through the team members of Calvary Baptist Church, as this team was fired up with passion for Whittier kids from day one. Many of our team members had previous relationships with Whittier kids from prior summers at Street Reach, and arrived with excitement to build on those relationships. In each station, Calvary students overflowed with the love of Christ, submitting themselves as vessels for the Lord to use, and making each child feel important and loved as daughters and sons of the King. These team members were experts in flexibility, meeting kids where they were, and using what was important to the children as a basis for their relationships. For example, in the games station, girl team members allowed the older Whittier girls to fix their hair as a way to connect, as our boy team members learned how to play marbles with the older boys to form relationships with them. This kept our older kids engaged with games and in their station, but also showed them that our team members were interested in their lives and hobbies, leading to stronger relationships and thus, leading to gospel conversations. This was a great picture of Christ, as He was always aware of cultures and customs different from His own, and knew how to meet people where they were in order to minister to them most effectively. In Bible story, Whittier kids were challenged to remember the specific pieces that make up the armor of God, as they studied the stories of Jonah, David, and other key figures of Scripture. Each day, kids were asked questions about the previous day’s story, and received prizes for answering questions correctly, encouraging them to focus attentively on the lessons. Team members consistently took initiative with kids, and were careful to not miss opportunities for the Lord to work in them, whether at club or on walking routes. Multiple team members noted that our kids began asking questions about salvation this week, showing that seeds are being planted and that the Spirit is moving in big ways across our site. This week set the bar high for the remainder of the summer, and we cannot wait to see what more the Lord has in store for Whittier and our kids!
What a great week in the Kendrick neighborhood!  We had incredible weather and our friends from Yadkin Baptist Church were back in Memphis and they definitely came ready to reach the streets for Jesus! The community is still really pumped to have us back in the neighborhood and keep coming by to say “thanks” for what we are doing. We started the week off Monday with a strong 42 kiddos at Bible Club and things only got better from there. The kids were so excited to see familiar faces and reestablish old friendships. There wasn’t a day that went by when the kids didn't pick up the great crafts that they made with the team, and everyone was quoting their Bible verses and retelling the Bible stories! Songs was a huge success…you know the kids are listening when all day long the older boys are still singing the songs and doing the motions they’d learned, even all the way in the games station! Speaking of the games station--our kids learned so many new fun relays. They also taught me how to play “Polar Bear” which is basically freeze tag where the Polar Bear freezes people and the “heater” can unfreeze them. The kids were hilarious and liked to freeze me each time I came by their station for a water break. Our older kids group has also grown this week with a new family attending club. One of the older girls was a huge help even without being asked. Yadkin was able to finish the week strong with a new record of 45 kids at club on Friday! God is certainly working in our neighborhood and we really can’t wait to see how He will continue moving. Several of the children seem genuinely interested in what is being taught and are asking lots of questions. The oldest group was especially fun to talk with this week and I even got the opportunity to sit with them in some of their stations and share the gospel with them. Continue praying for seeds to be planted, watered, and for a harvest to come.  
Despite the heat of the week, Calvary was full of energy and poured out love to the children on Pope Street. There was hardly a time when a kid wasn't hanging onto a team member, and Calvary continued to carry these children with an awesome strength that could have only been provided by the Lord. The team had everything under control which gave us a lot of time to spend interacting with the children. Our team caught attention of the older kids especially well. As we walked around to Bible story and crafts, we noticed 12-year-old boys answering questions correctly about the shield of faith and breastplate of righteousness. Our team learned some new games and now correctly know how to sit like a toilet and let the bible club kids sit on your lap and “flush you” (haha!) At the end of Bible Club on Thursday, we were circled up preparing to go home, and we asked the team to raise their hands if they loved all the kids and wanted them to come back. We weren't prepared for how much the answer to that question would excite our hearts. At that moment, every team member raised their hand while each child looked and smiled at that slice of truth. Not every child understands why we do Bible Club, but that moment gave them at least a small hint. We are beyond grateful for the work Calvary put in on Pope Street this week. They were challenged to leave all their love here and to be beyond exhausted at the end of Friday, and they did just that. We can't wait to see how their effort affects the remainder of summer. Colossians 4:5.
-Alli & Jessica

It was another awesome week here at Jackson. We had a great team in from Calvary Church of St. Louis, Missouri, and the kids absolutely adored them! They were full of energy starting on Sunday afternoon and did not stop pouring into the kids until they left on Friday. Songs was so full of energy that I could hear the whole group, even the kids, singing at every part of the park as I walked around. Crafts did a great job by coinciding the craft for the day with Bible story, and they had crafts that the kids could easily do, which kept them engaged. Games spent a lot of time playing with the kids rather than telling them what game to play, which got great energy out of the kids. Bible story talked daily about the armor of God, and the kids took a great liking to this concept. Due to the willing hearts to share the gospel from this group we had one salvation this week: Esperanza. Praise God for all the seeds that were planted this week and for the vast amount of canvassing done by this team. We topped out this week with 50 kids on Friday! We thank you so much for all your hard work and willing hearts.
-Brett & Noah
The first week at Leahy’s Trailer Park was nothing short of unforgettable. Though soccer club has been running in the afternoon, the children have been anxiously awaiting for Bible Club to begin. And what better way to kick that off than with Unity Baptist from Kentucky? Some of the team was returning to Street Reach and for others this was their very first time. Therefore, some knew what to expect while others had no idea. Nonetheless, they all had the most willing spirits, unified as a team. Those willing spirits are what made this week possible. Each day they worked harder and harder! On Wednesday, 38 children came out! Those same 38 each received a Bible that the team had brought for them. This is a perfect example of this teams’ desire to not just sing some songs, do some crafts, and play some games (though those were awesome). The cry of their heart is for each and every one of these children to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This was evident throughout the entire week. Unity Baptist came to serve and not be served, and I could not have made it through this week without each and every one of them. Thank you, Unity Baptist, for your compassion, your flexibility, and your persistency. Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” 
We had great week with FBC Fisherville at Treadwell. The team was full of energy and excitement and the kids had a blast. It was the first week Treadwell ran, and the team did a great job of canvassing and finding the children. We topped out with 42 kids on Thursday. I was amazed at how much time and effort the team put into preparing the Bible stories, crafts, songs, and games, and the children noticed as well. The Bible stories highlighted a different name of God each day, and the kids remembered all of the names and stories, which was wonderful. The kids were shown the love of Christ this week, and they soaked it up.
It may have been week 3 here at Street Reach, but it was week 1 for Bible Club Kippley--and what a great week it was. This was Hartland Baptist’s first time to come to Street Reach or even do a Bible Club, but the preparation of their hearts to be a source of Christ’s love was evident in all they did. Watching the kids play baseball, dance to the theme song from Gilligan’s Island, make all different colors of crafts, and pay attention to well-taught Bible stories warmed my heart. It was good to know that these kids I’ve come to know and love these past three summers are being taught the life-giving truth of Jesus again. And God is moving. Looking at my records, we only managed to get kids from less than half of the streets we usually walk on, yet God gave us a high of 46 kids on Friday, following a 44 on Wednesday. It has been since 2011 when Kippley had that many kids learning about God’s love for them in one day. The number is of little importance, but the evidence that God is bringing the little ones to Himself is there. Please pray for these kids and that God would continue to work in their lives, that God would invade their hearts and live in them. I look forward to watching God answer your prayers in the weeks to come. TTFN, ta ta for now!

This week at Vernon we had a local team from Munford Baptist in the house. This being their second year, they were excited to get to see their favorite and beloved kids. It was a fantastic opening week for Vernon, we peaked at 25 kids and came so close to the all-time record. The team was wild and crazy and the kids loved it. At first, the team was uneasy about their song station, but the kids loved it. Every day the kids couldn't wait until song station. The kids loved to get loud and crazy with the team members and they REALLY loved to dance! The team played freeze dance with the kids and I think the kids taught the team a few crazy dance moves. I'm super excited for the foundation they laid this week and can't wait until Vernon is running again.

Our biggest week of the summer is now over, and it was absolutely amazing! The mission teams who came in poured out everything they had and then some. Seeds have been planted, and the summer is not over yet. Be praying for our next six weeks of Bible Clubs and other community projects as mission teams from all over the country flood in to share the love and gospel of Jesus Christ here in Memphis.

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:1-11

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