Updated: Jul 11, 2019
July 6, 2019-This week we were so excited to host Virginia Beach Community Chapel for a week of missions in Norfolk. The youth from VBCC brought energy, enthusiasm, and fearlessness to everything they did this week. They sought to grow closer together and to go deeper with God through prayer.
Through Breakfast with God, Breaking Bread, and evening Bible discussions, VBCC students discussed how they could work together to build a stronger youth group. They committed to preventing drama by intentionally speaking out or stepping away. They also desire to be a more welcoming youth group by intentionally reaching out to other people. The Lord has been so gracious to place it on the hearts of these youth to be the ones to make a change and love all as Christ did.
For Robertson, this mission trip has brought to light changes he wants to make in his relationship with the Lord. He said, "The main thing for me was that I am not having enough time with the Lord. One thing he has taught me during this trip is that prayer is way more important and more necessary than I tend to think it is."
At our two worksites, the kids made incredible progress and have continued to set up the following teams for success. This week at Norview Baptist Church, we took the tape off the walls and did last-minute touch-ups in three classrooms as well as we started painting down the hallway.
Norview Baptist Church has told us what a blessing it is to have the student missionaries come in, and we at EY2S are so thankful for all the hard work these missionaries have poured into the church. They have blessed our partnership with NBC. It is our partnership with Norview Baptist Church that has allowed us to enter communities, pray for people, share the gospel, and then give them a wonderful church to send people to for further discipling.
At Mrs. Arlene’s house, we have also made incredible progress. All 6 posts are in the ground and support beams between each post were also screwed into place. When putting in the posts, the missionaries had to first dig holes, sometimes cutting through roots and smashing through concrete. It was hard work in the hot sun, but through perseverance, encouragement, and prayer, they were able to complete the job. Student missionaries also created a red square brick patio for Mrs. Arlene and her family to sit in and put river rocks around the patio.
God was very gracious to everyone this week; He was the strength and peace both missionaries and leaders relied on to get through days when we were tired, discouraged or had to overcome challenges set before us. He also gave us a huge blessing of being able to fellowship with Mrs. Arlene on Thursday since she was off of work. She joined us on a prayer walk in her neighborhood and helped screw in a support beam for the fence.
Like always during our worksite time, we went on prayer walks. This week we met a couple from Chile, their daughter and grandson. Two different worksite teams were able to see them on Wednesday and on Thursday. This lovely couple was such a blessing to the student missionaries. Even though there was a language barrier, the student missionaries worked together to pray and communicate with the couple and share the love of Christ with them.
For Sydney, our last prayer walk on Friday was her favorite part of the week because of how God worked in her. She said, "God gave me the courage to go up to a minister at Norview Baptist Church and his name was Shaun. I talked to him and I was able to pray for him...It was just a big moment for me because it was one of my prayer requests to be able to talk to someone."
We were only at VBS for two days this week, because of the 4th of July. The students focused on the Fruit of the Spirit, specifically joy. Even though we are not able to talk about Jesus or God unless asked directly about either at Young Terrace Summer Camp, student missionaries overcame that by using their actions to pour into the kids. More of the kids at the camp who were previously shut off to interacting with us have begun to open up, which is a huge praise to the Lord. In story time, the team focused on Paul’s time in jail and how he maintained joy despite that difficult trial. This story opened up the opportunity for kids to ask questions, and for the gospel to be shared one on one.
Sammie said that her favorite moment of the week was"the second day of VBS. because me and me and Sydney were dancing over by the older kids and we got two to dance. That was pretty good, and then during the afternoon we got many more." The older group is one we have been in prayer for that God would soften their hearts, and through God's power and the love shown by Sammie, Sydney, and all the other kids, their hearts are opening
Because Thursday was the 4th of July, Young Terrace Recreation Center was closed. So instead of having a VBS, we hosted a cookout in the community park. Students and EY2S leaders went out together knocking on doors to invite people to join us. Even though it rained in the middle of the event, God still used it to give students the opportunity to talk to children about the Lord. Everywhere you looked in that park, students were pouring out into complete strangers, playing with them, giving out personalized Bibles and picking up trash.
At the end of the cookout, the student missionaries began to pray with the kids that they met. One by one, more and more student missionaries came over until everyone was in the circle. As thunder rumbled in the distance and the clouds rolled back in again, several student missionaries lifted up their voices to the Lord, asked for His blessing, and for Him to work in these kids lives. But the Lord not only blessed the kids that we met at the park, but He blessed the student missionaries too, showing His power by orchestrating events that day. For example, Zoe wanted a pen to write in a personalized not in a Bible she was giving away to a child, but no one had one with them. But through what some could call coincidence, but what we saw as divine providence, there on the ground was a sharpened pencil that she was able to use to write that message.
For Malia, this moment was pivotal. It was "definitely one of my most favorite moments from the week was from the cookout when we were all with the kids and we were all in this big circle praying. Everyone joined in and everyone was just sitting around these kids and praying to God for them and even though some of them did not know what was happening or how important it was. I hope that they realize in the future that it was important to us and that we get to see these kids in the future."
It has been such a pleasure to watch these students grow in just the space of a week. We are so proud of all the student missionaries from VBCC. Don't forget what you have learned this week. Remember missions starts with the people right next to you. You don't have to go all the way out to another city to do missions; it starts right where you have been placed right now.