June 20th, 2019- Wow, another week has ended, and the Lord has continued to pour out blessing upon blessing each day! This week, we were honored to work with youth from Peninsula Community Chapel (PCC) to serve the city of Norfolk. Their hunger for the Lord was evident in all they did this week.
This mission trip was the first one that PCC had for middle school students in six years. Right from the beginning, there was a common theme in how student missionaries came into the week. High school students expressed a desire to reach back and invest in younger students and encourage them in their faith. Their intentionality in developing the younger students encouraged the growth many of the younger students saw in their faith.
Every night we made sure to encourage our student missionaries to rest so that they can be prepared and energized for the day ahead of them. However, night after night, student missionaries from PCC gathered together to study the Word and have times of prayer. That time, coupled with morning devotions and evening Bible study created an atmosphere where students were constantly in God's presence.
Daniel, one of the student missionaries, said that spending time with the Lord was one of the highlights of his week. "My favorite part was early in the mornings when we had our Breakfast with God and I was able to get alone with Jesus and treasure His presence."
These times of study spilled out into how the student missionaries interacted during the week, giving them boldness to ask to pray for people. The student missionaries were intentional to seek out their leaders and EY2S leaders to ask questions, to receive guidance, and to grow in their faith.
On Monday, we finished almost all the work at Mrs. Arlene’s house. Her backyard and fence is completed and all of the tiles are set. All that remains is some grouting along the tile border, which we will complete next week.
After Monday, all of our teams worked at Norview Baptist Church. We continued to paint the upstairs hallway, and we started to build a shed for the combined use of EY2S and Norview Baptist Church.
On Wednesday morning we woke up to a wonderful surprise. Peninsula Community Chapel youth have a tradition where every time someone receives Christ, the youth get Krispy Kreme Donuts. At breakfast, we found out that the night before, after talks and Bible studies with his brothers in Christ, Nathan gave his life to Christ and became a Christian.
Nathan found that the support and transparency of fellow believers drew him to Christ. He said the reason that he came on this EY2S mission trip, "wasn't because of God. It was to get away from my parents and not bring my brother along. But when Zach and me confessed... that's when I started thinking about Christianity and what it really means and that I need God in my life. After knowing that I could talk to anybody and they would help me through my walk, that is when I became a Christian. I want to go to heaven; I don't want to go to hell for eternity. But I think that... knowing that they (the youth group) would help me through anything, that God loves me, that He will help me too, and I need him to help me in life, that is when my walk began."
But God was not only working in Nathan’s heart. Wednesday night two more student missionaries, Julia and Zach, gave their lives to Christ. And still, the Lord was not done with the blessings he had in store for the week! During VBS that Thursday Zoe professed faith in Christ and became a Christian as well.
We give all praise to God for this amazing news! It was such a privilege to pray for and with these kids and come alongside our new brothers and sisters in Christ. What is key about this moment is that the pastoral and youth leadership have been pouring into all of these student missionaries and investing in them for the long term. We at EY2S are so blessed to see these four student came to faith, but we must recognize those who planted and watered that seed long before us and were right there with us as those seeds began to bear fruit.
At VBS this week the student missionaries were very intentional in seeking out kids to have individual conversations. The kids at VBS have been really open and hearts that have been previously distant or hard have softened. This week we focused on the fruits of kindness and goodness. Students acted out the story of Noah’s ark, parting of the Red Sea, and the good Samaritan.
Because we are not allowed to say the name of Jesus or God at the recreation center for VBS unless directly asked, all summer long students have been figuring out creative ways to refer to God. When Zoey got saved, she was able to share what happened with two girls at VBS because they asked about what was happening. Zoey’s testimony of salvation opened up a discussion about God and how He can be our peace and comfort in hard circumstances.
It has been so encouraging how God is growing these student missionaries in their faith. this week, like every week before it, has been such an answer to prayer. Lexi found that God was telling her "to try to raise the spirits of the those around me and try to just spread positivity and joy. As Christians, we have the ultimate reason to be joyful and sometimes we take that for granted. Especially on mission trips, it is important to stay positive and joyful and have a great attitude so we can get the most work done and have the most fun possible. For me it has been more about being intentionally joyful and helping everyone else have a joyful attitude."
Thanks for coming, Peninsula Community Chapel! We look forward to hearing more about how you are growing the rest of the week!