Saturday, July 12, 2014

Week 6-South Community Church, The Brook, FBC Center, Parkway Baptist, Old Shooting Creek, FBC Jamestown, & Rice Station Christian Church

The willingness to improve is a golden characteristic that personified itself in FBC Jamestown as they broke records and shattered expectations this week. Coming in with a heavy load of first-timers, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was elatedly surprised on Tuesday when they brought 86 kids to Bible Club! What a joy to see a record broken and to know that all 86 kids were taught the Word and God was glorified through how much love was poured out. This team of 11 was stretched but did not break as each day the kids had more and more fun at club. One night, I had the opportunity to sit in during the team's nightly devotion. They began by expressing how they saw God show up at club that day, and it was such a blessing to hear the mighty works they were able to see. From having exactly enough crafts to having intentional conversations with kids, I was able to see and hear the joy of Christ in the team members.  Thank you, FBC Jamestown, for being willing to improve each and every day. Not once did you become content, rather striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel. You served this community with selflessness and encouraged Marcus, Sarah, and myself with your overflowing hearts. Though this week had its own set of adversities, you faced them with the strength and power of the cross and allowed God’s light to shine through in all situations. Please pray for our children, that God will continue to work in their hearts and their families.
-Ashley, Marcus, & Sarah T.

The story of National is a pretty special story. National has been covered in prayer and is continually being lifted up in prayer by previous teams and previous staffers. This week, First Baptist Church Center from Center, Texas expounded upon the deep roots that National has in prayer. They prayed as they walked on the streets when they were going to pick up kids and would stop and pray with anyone they met while walking. They had people coming up to them asking for prayer over specific circumstances in their life. This team was one that prayed fervently for the kids and the people they encountered. The kids really enjoyed Bible Club this week as the team members fell in love with the kids and the kids fell in love with them. There were some kids telling the team they had an extra room at their house for them to stay in and that they needed to stay an extra week, or even the rest of the summer. The numbers at National grew every day with 54 kids coming to Bible Club on Friday. Bible story was the station the kids loved the most this week. Our Bible story teacher had the kids acting out the story, doing chants, and memorizing the memory verse. They learned all about the armor of God and their crafts reflected the different pieces of armor they wear when they know Jesus. The kids learned all about Jesus, and truth was spoken into their lives. I am thankful for FBC Center’s willingness to pray openly with people or to pray in quiet for National and for the kids they were able to build relationships with. We have 3 weeks left of the summer and I am hopeful for what the Lord is going to continually do in harvesting the seeds of life that have been planted in the kids hearts. Pray for the other missionaries coming down the remainder of the summer that we would be laborers of sharing the gospel, watering and planting seeds in the kids' lives, and for God to grow and blossom the seed planted in their hearts.

This week, it was such a joy to have the opportunity of serving with Parkway Baptist Church again. The team came with some experienced and some brand new, some Guernsey veterans and some Bible Club hoppers, but they all shared one thing: passion. This youth group impressed me with the amount of growth they experienced throughout the week! The students took turns teaching Bible story and running various stations, and no one ever shied away from stepping up when needed. When Parkway was stretched thin or pushed outside of their comfort zones, they pressed on to love the kids even more and work even harder. It was beautiful to see how each team member found different kids to connect to, and it wasn't just the cute 3 and 4-year-olds (AKA, the space cadets). Everyone, kids and team members alike, were excited to talk about the armor of God, showing examples of how God has protected His people throughout the Bible and exploring how He is doing that for us even now. These lessons were expanded on during crafts. Not a minute to share the gospel was wasted in ANY station, for that matter! I always heard the team finding ways to weave the gospel into their conversations with the kids or bring any teachable moment back to Jesus, whether this was when kids were sitting in time out or when competing teams were instructed to cheer not only for themselves but for each other during games. Despite hot and rainy weather and many of our own challenges, the number of kids in attendance grew every single day until we had a hopping 68 kids at club on Friday! I am so confident that this team has helped encourage the kids to continue coming out to Bible Club for the remainder of the summer. Fruit was abundant this week, not only in our kids' lives, but in our very own! One of the Parkway youth members made the decision to fully commit his life to Christ on Thursday night, and this joy of salvation pushed us all into serving to our fullest. Thank you SO much, Parkway, for another amazing week. We hope to see you again next summer! Remember: keep calm, and follow Jesus.

Week six was a great week at Johnson Bible Club! We had a team in from Old Shooting Creek Baptist Church and it was truly a joy working with them the whole week. This is the home church of one of our staffers, so it made things even more enjoyable. The team did a great job of getting kids this week--we even hit 100 kids on Thursday! This is the most Johnson has had in years. And not only were there a lot of kids, but they were all having a great time! Every day that the team was here the kids seemed to be having more and more fun. There was a lot of time to bond with the kids individually, and it was great to see the team striving to be a part of these kids lives. Even more than the fun that was had was the joy that come from the work of God's faithful servants, in that we had a salvation! Dominique, a 12-year-old boy, became a Christian on Wednesday, and Neveah is getting baptized this Sunday. Dominique has been asking questions about eternity and God for the past few weeks now and it is great to finally see him come to faith. God is definitely moving throughout the Binghampton community and it is great to see these kids curious and excited about their faith. We hope to have a great last three weeks!


What a record-breaking, soul-winning week it was at Whittier, thanks to the willing spirits of South Community Church from Tulsa, Oklahoma! This team was passionate about canvassing the neighborhood well, and this definitely showed, with a summer record of 88 kids reached on Thursday. This came as a pleasant surprise to Street Reach, as week six was the first week at the new Whittier location, and staffers were unsure of how the new location would affect club numbers. Clearly, the new location proved successful, only due to the dedication of all team members. From day one, team members and kids were instantly connected, raving about their “new best friends,” and discussing how excited they were for the chance to spend time together the next day. South Community provided not only entertaining stations to keep our kids’ attention, but made sure to reflect Christ in every way and connect each child to Him in an understandable way. During Bible story, Whittier kids learned about the Evil One, or “The Ugly One,” and how he came to steal, kill, and destroy. However, by the end of the week, they were able to recall each piece of the Armor of God and how each piece is used to combat his plans. But, not only did our kids learn about each piece of the armor, they also were able to create each piece during craft time so as to give them a visual to take home with them. Whittier kids proudly displayed their breastplates of righteousness, their boots of peace, their shields of faith, their helmets of salvation, and their swords of the spirit, recalling the Bible story as they constructed them. On Friday, many tears were shed as goodbyes had to be said and last hugs had to be given; however, a great harvest occurred in the midst, and many of our kids came to know Christ during their final walk home with their South Community friends. Further, many parents in the community were prayed over as their kids were dropped off for the last time, painting a beautiful picture of what Christ sent us here to do. Thank you, South Community, for being bold and persevering in the name of Christ each day, and until the final child returned to his home on Friday. May you continue shining His light in the Tulsa community!

You would think the summer would be winding down by now, but think again! Our teams are coming in with great passion and energy for the last half of summer and it's filtering out to all of our club sites! Thursday and Friday proved to set the over-all record of the summer and was only a few kids shy of the all-time record. The Kendrick club was lead by a new Texas group from FBC Center. These youth did an amazing job of adapting, learning, and growing each day. The kids at club loved them and were extremely sad to see them leave. A couple of the older boys actually road their bikes back towards club on Friday to say an extra goodbye to the team. The entire week was jam packed with new things to help make club fun. We came up with some great relays and water games that kept the kids involved all day! The songs station was able to involve some of our kids' sweet dance moves into their plans and that was fun to watch. Our crafts station was great at reiterating the Bible lesson, and their crafts reflected what the kids had learned about the armor of God. Bible story was lots of fun as the team learned what it takes to keep the kids engaged...there was acting by both the team and the kids, there was a game show style question game for the kids, and one day the entire Bible lesson was taught in an accent which had the kids undivided attention. There were lots of opportunities to teach about grace and spend time sharing the gospel with the kids. Overall, we had a great week. Mrs. Amy was awesome to work with and did a great job at keeping up team morale and helping the youth in each station. And a special thanks to Eli and Caleb for being great helpers at National and Kendrick this week. We couldn't have done it with without you guys!

Jackson bible club was back up and running this week with another St. Louis group from Parkway Baptist Church! I'll start with a disclaimer: it was an AMAZING week! The group came in with hearts willing to canvass and reach the kids of our community! Their passion and willingness were prevalent when we topped out at a new record of 75 kids on Friday. Praise Jesus! The crafts and Bible story stations coincided the teaching with the craft which was solid amongst the kids. The armor of God sent our kids home with a new peace of mind and pieces of actual (cardboard) armor! Games and songs were full of energy, which was needed with the amount of kids we had. Christ's presence among us was obvious this week. We are so grateful to have had such a great week following the 4th of July. Continue to keep us in your prayers! 
-Brett, Jessica, & Noah

I didn’t know what to expect at Leahy’s after club not running there in a few weeks, but The Brook church knocked it out of the park! They were prepared, enthusiastic, and ready to get as many children to club as they possibly could; on Thursday they even helped achieve Leahy’s summer record of ministering to 48 children in one day. That means 48 children had the opportunity to enjoy a puppet show (those were a hit!), play games, makes crafts, and most importantly, hear the Word. Glory be to God. Over at games station they did a ton of crazy games which included props and costumes that the children loved! Then the focus of the week was what it meant to put on the whole armor of God, so the team would teach that during their Bible lesson and then do a craft directly related to which piece of armor they had learned about that day. So for instance, when they learned about putting on the breastplate of righteousness, they then got to make their own breastplate over at the craft station. It was a really neat way to bring home what they were teaching, and the children were really proud of their hard work. Each day at the end of club they would run up and say, “Miss Nicki! Miss Nicki! Look at what I made.”  I’m thankful for The Brook’s hard work before and during their time here. I’m thankful for their consistent energy from the very beginning of the week until the very end of the week. And last but not least, I’m thankful for them allowing these kids to just be kids and have fun. After all, that is our most important rule!

Shout out to Rice Station Christian Church for making week six here at Street Reach AWESOME! (#George #kidnapped) Their awesomeness extended to Kippley Bible Club as well. Breaking our record high of 46 on Monday was a great way to start the week. But then we broke it again on Tuesday and Wednesday with 68 kids! That is double Kippley’s former average. We maintained our 60’s numbers throughout the rest of the week, which can only mean three things: The team was hard-working and willing to serve and canvass, the team was pouring out fun and Christ’s love, and the children both received it and kept wanting more. One of my favorite moments of the week came on Friday when a 9-year-old left Bible story and started pouting, saying something about race. I asked him what was wrong and he just starts asking me what color Jesus was. I tried to explain to him that Jesus was Jewish/Hebrew but he claimed that Jesus was black. Our conversation became more confusing as he started mixing his races and religions together. “I’m Hebrew,” he said. And when he asked me what I was and I responded Caucasian he asked, “is that like Baptist?” So, I come to find out that someone, probably his stepmother, has been teaching him the Old Testament and Hebrew beliefs such as: not eating ham, believing only Jews are going to, not heaven, but Jerusalem, and that he doesn’t like the term “Jewish” because it means “kinda Jew” and that they prefer “Hebrew” or just “Jew.” So we, together, began walking through the Old Testament, creation to the fall to Cain and Abel, talking about God’s design and perfection vs. the evil distortion sin has caused and the fact that God will one day bring creation back to perfection. He believed me, but again believed only Hebrews are going to be there. I told them that only good people get to be there because God says he is going to punish everyone who has ever done anything wrong. He agreed. So I asked him who would be in New Jerusalem if everyone has done wrong. He did not know. So I told him, “Jesus.” And began explaining Jesus’ substitution for us in the punishment that we might get to be there with God in perfection. Be praying that this Bible Club will continue to grow, that the kids will continue to be ministered to, and that our resident Israelite (he isn’t really) will one day know Jesus personally as the fulfillment of the Law he is already being taught. Have a great day, a good week, and remember: you only YOLO once apart from Jesus. BYE!!!

What a fantastic, fun, and fruitful week we had here at Street Reach. Upon closing week six, we are now two thirds of the way through with the summer. These next three weeks of intensive ministry will fly by. Please be in prayer for our summer missionaries as they finish the race and say goodbye to their kids, for our mission teams who will set the final tone of the summer in this community, and for all of Memphis, that Jesus would be made known--not stopping in August, but going into the rest of the year and until Jesus returns, as well.

Additionally, be praying for our discipleship program! Kids from Rosamond, Guernsey, Pope, and Kippley have been discipled these past few weeks. Those will continue to get poured, but we will also be going out to meet with even more Bible Club kids who have accepted Christ. Pray for not only our program, but for the abundance of kids who will continue to come to Christ in the coming weeks.

"Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed. O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house the holiness of your temple! By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas." Psalm 65:1-5

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