…cultural whirlwind….

We’ve had so many awesome experiences in the last 48 hours. We went to Mandir, the largest Hindu temple in North America (actually the largest outside of India) yesterday, and then today we went to a mosque.

You should have seen our girls in long pants, long sleeve shirts and scarves over their necks and heads today as we walked through 100 degree heat, thank goodness it was cool inside.

Our students are so interested in other cultures and religions. They love learning! We
have been so proud of them!

We keep reminding our team that all of these new world views should drive them to dive deeper into the truth of God’s Word….we’ve been starting to understand this verse more and more:

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. (‭Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭25‬ NIV)

I think I can say for all of us that we so appreciate the life that we have in Jesus. And these experiences make us even more grateful.

On another note, VBS has been going so well. We have LOVED getting to come alongside partners in the gospel of Jesus. Our kids our stepping outside of their comfort zones and God is increasing their faith.

There is nothing better than kids running to us when we get there and not letting go until we leave.

Tune in tomorrow for more updates about VBS. Each one of our students will be sharing the gospel with a kid tomorrow, pray that they would be courageous and clear and BOLD!

Thanks for praying.
We are LOVING Atlanta….but still plan to come home on Saturday.

–Rach

We got to see the unseen today…..

Our team woke up this morning to devotionals over breakfast, focusing on the power of prayer and the importance of it being a constant conversation with God throughout our day.

We then were introduced to the Encompass team, John and Ashley, and received an immersion in different cultures and what living on mission is all about. Some staggering statistics were provided, such as within a 10-15 mile radius in Atlanta, you can hear over 200 languages. Encompass defined missions as living going to those who are different (culture, ethnically, socially, economically) by sharing the gospel with compassion and the love of Jesus Christ. Our team is eager to encounter the different cultures we will be visiting throughout the week. We are living in the anywhere to everywhere mission era, and our team is excited to be here!

Students and leaders alike were able to personally experience different cultures this morning on a trip to the Buford Highway International Market. The Encompass team challenged everyone to try something new, something crazy and be creative, and the team was eager to participate! There were aisles and aisles of food and each aisle was based on a different place in the world. Students were allowed to purchase something new, and were encouraged to step out of our comfort zone of rural Wayne County and what its cuisine entails. We then met in the cafeteria and were provided with an abundance of culinary options to expand our horizons and scratch the surface of what it means to work cross-culturally.

During team time before heading out to our partner churches, you could feel the anticipation of serving in the name of the Lord. Allowing God to stretch our lives is a prominent theme on this trip, and each and every one of our students is ready and willing to see God change not only their lives, but the lives they come into contact this week as well.

Our team started our vacation bible schools at a Hispanic and Haitian church. Rachel led the Haitian team, with fellow adult leaders Matt, Ben and Taylor. Student leaders Noah, Trent Kline, Jordan, Ally and Olivia Bernadine collaborated with students Luke S., Luke F., Kirsten, Sidney, Luke M., Gabby, Talia, Daylea, Olivia H., Bri, Will and Trent M. to make vacation bible school a success. As far as the Haitian church goes, God was clearly at work in not only our team, but the kids we encountered and the church itself. I have never understood “Saved people serve people” in such a way. Not only did the Haitian church welcome us with open arms and hearts, but they also prepared a meal for our team, just a hint into the communal aspect of the Haitian culture. All the children in attendance were engaged and our students are now praying over the list of the names we have met and those we have yet to meet.

The Hispanic church was led by Juli, with fellow adult leaders Brandon, Charline and Jill. Student leaders Lauren, Sonja and Tyler helped lead the way for their students, Kenedy, Cory, Braden S., Tim, Kassi, Braden Y., Allison, Trent B., Mitchell, Olivia C., Adam, Ben P., and Emily. Vacation bible school was held outside, with participants actually living on the premises which VBS was hosted. Approximately 30 kids were in attendance, ranging from ages 2-15, all engaging with our team and the activities we had to offer. Upon arrival at the church, Brandon Horner saw a group of boys were playing soccer and encouraged our boys to participate. The group hung out with our team for the entire three hours with our team.

Both VBS teams had children sad at their departure and eager for their return.

Upon returning home, teams talked about working as the body of Christ, because “we are better together.” A point Rachel drove home was that God didn’t give us gifts for ourselves. He gave us gifts so we could serve Him.

Our team is excited for the rest of God’s plans for us this week. Please pray for our ministry to be able to reach as many people as possible, all for the kingdom of Heaven.

Guest post by:  Olivia B.

We made it!

Wow, what a great day!

We spent some serious time bonding today. What a loooong drive.

As I’m sure you saw on Facebook and Instagram we made an impromptu stop on the way down at a newspring church service. We were BLOWN away. Wow did it ever fire us up for the work we are about to do.  The service was more than enough, but then they (impromptu) hosted us on a tour of their kids and students spaces! It was a memory to be cherished.

Then we made it to Rehobath Baptist Church (where we are staying) a little before nine. Got unpacked, played some cards and ball while the skit team practiced and then we had team time where we talked about TRANSFORMATION (Romans 12:2).

We’re still talking about the STRETCH that God wants for us this week. Stretch #2 is to TRANSFORM. If nothing else, I hope they waked away with this: ‘The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make me look more like the Son of God’ —

we are ready to get to work, it all begins tomorrow morning! Thanks for your prayers!

-Rach

On the road…

Below is a post I tried to upload last night with no luck. We are about an hour into WV right now. We’ll try and get some pics up soon. There are already some on Instagram. 😊

Hey folks,

I’m sure you’re all in bed, but I wanted to update you quick on the team. We had a GREAT night together. After all of our parents left we jumped right into some world religions training with Jesse Sansom, a ‘selfie’ scavenger hunt (that may have included $1 peach teas and French fries), then we packed the vans and finished off the night with team time.

What a phenomenal group of young ladies and gentlemen we have on this trip. God is so good, he has given us a unique team that is already shining for him!

Tonight we talked about Romans 12:1 ‘Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, this is your true and proper worship.’

We talked about how the first STRETCH this week is giving up everything to God so that he can use us. We were challenged to think about ‘that thing’ in our life that we don’t want to give to God….and that the first STRETCH is to give it Him so he can use us in Atlanta.

After team time, the boys obviously played some basketball and the girls giggled for awhile until Ben Framstad sang everyone to sleep (works everytime) we plan to be on the road tomorrow by 5:30am at the latest!

There’s not a peep in this place, except for my iPhone in the corner typing this!

I’ll have our leaders get some pics up tomorrow on Facebook!

Thanks for praying, we will read any comments you leave to the team in our team times!

–Rach