Our group had a great time competition in the group relay competition tonight. Our of about 20 groups we came in second place. Of course our super competitive students were disappointed to not take first but we were proud and they had fun. Many students are already saying they aren’t ready to leave and are having a great time!
We had a great day in down town Nashville today. The students enjoyed seeing the buildings and the different atmosphere.
Tonight after worship and teaching we were able to participate in a more personal, individual time for God to speak and our students were receptive to God speaking. The first station they were asked to highlight a verse in Romans that stood out to them on a giant plexiglass of the entire book. The second station they were asked to circle up in small groups to pray for one another. Some of our students took time to share with one another what their friendships and this trip has meant to them. The third station they were given an opportunity to write a name of someone that needs to know God on a big wall. The final station they were able to write their struggles with the flesh (things of this world) on a board with chalk and then write what that would look like if the Holy Spirit helped them with their struggle.
We had some awesome opportunity to spend quality time sharing and praying for one another. During small group we had a great conversation about relationships and how God gave us each other to love, support, and encourage one another in life. We talked about the importance of good, quality friends and how we can experience and share God’s love with others through these friends.
There are several students who are experiencing the love of God for either the first time or first time in a long time and it has been amazing to watch. These students are brutally honest and authentic and God has been speaking to them all in individual ways. Our conversations and questions have been real and God is moving in their lives.
We are looking forward to being able to see downtown Nashville tomorrow and to continue to experience God’s love for each of us.
Our students demonstrated their athletic talent once again with winning the basketball tournament! They represented us well not only with their skills but their sportsmanship as well. We had to compete against ourselves in the first round before playing against the other churches and finally the camp staff for the championship.
We had our final day of work and were able to get a lot of great work accomplished today. Our group worked hard to finish painting the doors and to paint the walls around the windows. Through out the day our students would take breaks to play with the kids and just love on them.
When it was time to leave it was a tough goodbye for not only the kids but out students too. One of the little kids said as we were leaving “Mitchell you forgot something” and after a “what” the little kid said “to give me a hug.” It was amazing watching our students bond with these little kids in just a fed short days.
We are extremely proud of how hard our students have worked to serve this apartment complex and the kids!
Tonight was another super powerful teaching for our group! Brian spoke on knowing what it means to sign up to be a follower of Christ. As we walked through Luke 14:25-33 he pointed out that to be a follower of Jesus we are called to 1. Love Jesus supreamly, 2. carry our own cross and live sacrificially, and 3. to renounce for Jesus’ purpose.
Brian asked some really hard questions like, “you’re going to give your life to something / someone so why not give it to the one who already gave his life for us?” And “are you willing to live like that and are you in?”
It was a tough message for some of us and yet a refreshing and honest reminder for others. We had two students stand up to say unashamedly they are living their lives for the gospel! In our small group we talked deeper about what it really means to love God more than anything, or anyone else in our lives.
We also had some great conversation like “does God really have a purpose for our lives when we have free will?” It was a great challenging and thought provoking night.
We had another great day of serving. We were able to paint 26 doors and are excited to paint more doors and the windows tomorrow. Our students love interacting with the kids that are here and we stayed a little longer today so they could keep playing.
Pastor Brian shared a very encouraging and challenging message for everyone. We studied through Ephesians 2:1-10 and the bad and good news of the gospel. We talked about how the bad news is that we are in a constant struggle with things in this world and with ourselves. He shared the gospel message in a new and fresh way and one of our students said, “I’ve never heard it like that and it makes SO much sense.”
Brian shared an illustration of a mouse trap and how that is the struggle we live in. The mouse trap is Satan, the cheese are the things of this world, and we are the mice who makes the decision to go after the cheese. That’s the bad news – we are in a battle with ourselves and things of this world and on our own we will always loose that battle.
As we saw in Ephesians 2:4-10 the good news is BUT GOD provided us with life, love, and grace. He did this not because we did or can do anything to deserve or earn it but just because he loves us. Our job, our role in Jesus’ grace is to accept it. It’s like receiving an Amazon gift card in our email, totally free and yet if we never open and redeem it, it’s our loss.
Everyone was given an opportunity to accept Christ if they hadn’t yet in a time of prayer. Those of us who have already accepted Christ were challenged to think about if we are really living unashamed of the gospel.
After worship and teaching we had a great small group time sharing and debriefing about our work day and the night teaching. Our students shared how impactful it was talking and playing with the people at the apartment complex whose lives are literally falling apart and yet they were so joyful.
Some of our students and leaders competed in an ultimate frisbee competition and won the championship! It was a lot of fun and they represented our church well with not only their athletics but their sportsmanship as well.
We spent the day working at Lexington Gardens in a low-income, poverty housing apartment complex. The apartments are the last resort for the people before being on the streets. There are 88 one bedroom units with over 400 people living there.
Our group spent the day cleaning doors to prepare to paint this week, talking with some of the people living there, picking up trash, and playing with the kids. It was a great full day of work and our students are anxious to get back there tomorrow to work and play with the kids.