Syd in Honduras – an update in pictures

I’m away this week at church camp, but have been keeping up with Syd through her social media feed – primarily Facebook and Instagram.  She posted some cool pictures on Instagram and it seems like she is relating well with the people there, despite the language barrier.  Not sure how much Spanish she knows as she took French in high school.

I screen shot these from her Instagram account.  Looks like she is fairing pretty well.  Thanks everyone for continued prayers.

Syd Honduras 3

This was captioned “Honduran church service”

The caption for this one was "the ninos loved seeing their pictures"

The caption for this one was “the ninos loved seeing their pictures”

This caption was in Spanish - "nuevos amigos en todas partes vamos"

This caption was in Spanish – “nuevos amigos en todas partes vamos”

Syd in Honduras – a quick update

11060451_1015270278484515_1434173119522110603_nMy last post about Syd’s trip generated quite a bit of traffic, so I thought I’d share a quick update. The group has occasional WiFi connection, so Syd has put a little bit on her Facebook and Instagram.

They arrived safely after a few flight delays. Syd posted a pic and a video on her Instagram which showed some of the kids they have served through the shoe ministry. The picture to the left was sent through email giving a quick update on the group. The message said they were celebrating one of the group member’s birthdays. Looks like all is well!

Thanks to all who have been praying for the group. Below is a group pic.

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IMPACT to Partner with 1Mission

1mission IMPACTIMPACT Student Ministry is kicking off 2015 with a partnership with an organization called 1MISSION. We learned about 1MISSION through our involvement with Christ In Youth at their junior high BELIEVE Convention and Summer MOVE Conference.

1MISSION is an organization that gives people living in poverty the opportunity to earn a house by serving in their community. The leaders of 1MISSION are Christ followers and their overall vision and mission are driven by a commitment to modeling Jesus’ passion for serving the poor. By partnering with 1MISSION, we have committed to raise $4000 by the end of April to build a home for a family in Mexico. Later this month we will find out the specific family we will be serving.

While 1MISSION works within the communities to help families, our role will be to support them by raising the funds needed. We are encouraging our students, small groups and church family to come up with ways to raise the necessary funds.

One way we will accomplish this is through our Upward Concessions. For a number of years, our church family has organized an Upward basketball program for the kids and families in our church and community.  About three years ago our student ministry began hosting a concession stand during the games. This year’s concessions will support 1MISSION.

We are asking two things of our students and families – to donate items to the concession stand and to volunteer to serve

We are also encouraging our students to come up with creative ways to reach our $4000 goal. Here are a few ideas:

  • Donate Your Birthday. One thing 1MISSION encourages students to do is donate their birthdays. Rather than ask for gifts for a birthday, students can ask friends and family to donate to 1MISSION.
  • Share Our Campaign Site with Others. 1MISSION will provide us with an online campaign page that students can share over social media. When the site goes live in February, people can donate directly toward our $4000 goal. Here’s a sneak peek at our Campaign Page.
  • Be Creative. Perhaps a small group will offer child care to families and donate the money to 1MISSION. Maybe a student will create a hand-made product where the proceeds will benefit 1MISSION. We know our students are creative and want to encourage them to come up with ideas they can run with either with their small group, a few friends, with family or just on their own.

I’m looking forward to see how God will move within our students and church family to provide a home for a family we may never meet face to face.  $4000 seems like a pretty big number to reach in four months, but I’m anticipating some exciting things taking place in the coming days.

Here is a brief video that gives an overview of 1MISSION and the work they are doing.  Please feel free to join us as we embark on this adventure.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/37929298″>More Than A House</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/1mission”>1MISSION</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

What Some Students Need

root beer8I saw this article from Kurt Johnston on the More Than Dodgeball website. It was a good article and a great reminder to all those who work with students that each student has different needs.

I forwarded the email to one of my volunteers who is our go-to guy at camp when it comes to homesickness. Some youth workers have the ability to be able to hone in on what a particular student needs, much like the counselor in this article.

Good article. Check it out and pass it on.

At Summer camp last month, one of our counselors faced a classic dilemma but at an increased level of intensity. One of the 7th grade boys in his cabin was homesick. But this young man wasn’t the “normal” kind of homesick. He was the “kicking, screaming, face-melting, I’m gonna break things if I don’t get to go home” kind of homesick. Faced with that scenario, what would you have done? I know what I would have done, and it wouldn’t have been as wise and warm as the response of his counselor (my response would have included some sort of mocking and shame…but that’s for another article).

First, the counselor decided to call the young man’s parents to get their input. We have a fairly strict “No calls home” policy, so HE made the phone call instead of allowing the boy to. He enlisted the dad’s advice which was, “Tell Junior that we love him and miss him and that he is absolutely not coming home.” Way to go, Dad! The counselor then delivered this “bad news” to his young friend and followed it up with what I believe was the best youth ministry question of the summer, “Since you can’t go home, is there anything I can do for you to help you make it through the night?”

The answer is one of the reasons I love junior high ministry so much.

“Well, I think a warm shower and a root beer would work,” the student replied.

So while Junior took a warm shower, his counselor made a late-night trek to the vending machine and bought the most strategic root beer in the history of youth ministry. Problem solved. The evening routine for the rest of the week? A warm shower followed by a root beer night-cap.

This little story reminds me of numerous junior high ministry principles, especially this one:

Junior high ministry is made up of all sorts of junior highers, and that requires us to be willing to minister in all sorts of ways.

A mistake junior high youth workers often make is viewing every young teen through the same developmental lens. While it’s true that, for the most part, the junior highers in your ministry are going through the same developmental changes, they are going through them in vastly different ways.

Some students need you to talk to them about sex and dating.

Some students need you to nudge them toward their next spiritual step.

Some students need you to help them see themselves as normal.

Some students need you to coach them on their friendship choices.

Some students… well, some students just need a warm shower and a root beer.

– See more at: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/junior-high/junior-high-ministry-101-warm-showers-and-root-beer/#sthash.pAnF0fgW.dpuf

Power of Proximity

Apple_Podcast_logo-642x642Last weekend as I was driving around to run some errands and hit up a girls basketball game, I was listening to some past episodes of The Catalyst Podcast. Back in January the podcast featured three interviews with individuals who had spoken at the TED Conference.

All three interviews were good, but the discussion with Bryan Stevenson really stood out to me. He leads the Equal Justice Initiative and shared these staggering statistics: In 1972, 300,000 people in the US were incarcerated. Today, there are 2.3 million. The US has 6 million people on probation and we have the highest rate of incarceration.

As he shared some of his thoughts on this issue, the gentleman doing the interview asked him how the church at large could engage with this issue. I thought his response spoke not only to this issue, but to so many more: “There is power in proximity to the things that matter.” In other words, as you get close to the issue, you are more able to understand it and be involved with it.

I thought how true that is in so many arenas of life. Once you are close to an issue, you have more compassion and awareness of it. If you have a family member go through a sickness or disease, the proximity makes you more aware of how it impacts others. I can think of many ministries, groups and causes that began because someone had a close friend or family member experience a life-changing event and it moved that person to action.

His response of the power of proximity speaks to our need to be involved in the lives of people. It can be easy to insulate ourselves, go about our routines and schedules, and miss out on what others are experiencing. While we can’t engage in every hurt and problem we see, there is something that changes in us when we experience life with others. There is power in proximity to the things that matter.

Sportsmanship Wins The Day

This story has been all over Twitter and carried by several news organizations.  It appeared on the front page of ESPN’s High School Cross Country and Track page. It’s a great story.

The short story is that Meghan Vogel stopped running in the 3,200-meter race in the state track meet to help a fallen runner cross the finish line.  I love the title ESPN gave it in their headlines: “Sportsmanship wins the day at Ohio meet.”

You can read the entire story on ESPN’s page, but here’s a great quote from Meghan in the article:

It’s strange to have people telling me that this was such a powerful act of kindness and using words like ‘humanity.’ When I hear words like that I think of Harriet Tubman and saving people’s lives. I don’t consider myself a hero. I just did what I knew was right and what I was supposed to do.

It’s a great story that not only should be read, but duplicated, by athletes and individuals everywhere.