The Prodigal Blog Post

I’ll start by apologizing for missing a whole week of blogging. Usually I blog in the van on the way to our next stop, but I was carsick on our last van ride and then I just kept putting off the task — but never fear! I’ll catch you up in this Prodigal Blog Post!

RECAP, PART 1: JOY OF LIVING

Last week we were counselors at Joy of Living Camp in Brinkhaven, Ohio. The camp is out in the middle of nowhere with pretty much zero cell service, but oddly enough they have wifi for staff pretty much everywhere. The camp services mostly inner city youth who can’t afford to come to camp. Donors send money that it purposed for scholarships so that kids can come and have a camp experience. The theme for the summer is “The Sweet Life,” which focuses on the fruit of the spirit. We got to work with other counselors at the camp to lead groups of 8-12 year old kids through activities like challenge course, horseback riding, baking, team building, water games, and more.

Since the camp only had jobs for 5 counselors, Kat and Cliff helped out with other jobs. Kat was on program staff, which helped the camp run logistically. Cliff, to whom we will now refer lovingly to as kitchen-boy-man-servant, worked in the kitchen helping Miss Dee prepare all of our meals.

We loved getting to know and invest in the kids there, especially through teaching lessons and leading devotions. We really enjoyed getting to meet the other staff there, too, so much so that we convinced a few of them to come and visit us in Marysville during our break on 4th of July.

PART 2: MARYSVILLE

We arrived Friday evening at our host home and were immediately blown away by their generosity and hospitality. Philip and Sarah took great care of us, let us invade their home (even to the point of having friends over), fed us well, and truly blessed us last weekend.

We spent our break on Saturday exploring downtown Marysville with our newfound friends from Joy of Living. We went to a frozen yogurt place for lunch and an ice cream place for dessert, and then wandered around the area. In the evening a few of us went to the high school to watch the Marysville fireworks show.

Marysville First United Methodist Church hosted a mission trip this week called Transformation Zone, an annual event where middle and high school kids from 10+ local churches come to do mission work for different ministries in the area. We lived in the church and went out to local ministries during the days to work. The kids were split up into 18 work crews of about 10 kids, and each of us (except Conner) was assigned to a work crew.

DSC_0126Christa was with team 14 who went to the Willow Brook nursing home in Delaware, OH. Most of the time, the team volunteered in the memory care unit where the residents with Alzheimers live. They took walks, played games and trivia, made crafts, painted pictures, read stories and talked with the residents. They also played uker and took walks with some of the residents in the assisted living unit. In the afternoons, the team washed wheelchairs.

Brandon was in a work crew that worked with puppets. He had a great group of kids who worked hard and got along well. They did a couple of VBS visits and nursing home visits, where they performed their puppet show. Brandon was surprised at how well received the puppet ministry was.

Micah went to Willowbrook Nursing Home in Dublin, OH, to visit with residents. They played Bingo and cards, set up a jewelry show for the ladies, and got to hear a lot of good stories from a lot of wise people. To the crew’s surprise, the residents at Willowbrook were just as interested in hearing the team’s stories as the team was to hear theirs.

Ariane and Cliff went to the Furniture Bank of central Ohio. They painted and built different furniture pieces for individuals who were stable enough to begin to move into a home or apartment. The furniture bank never failed to have a job and enough for everyone to do. Ariane ended up really enjoying the work and Cliff got the satisfaction of working with power tools. It was a great experience making things that would really help families in need.

DSC_0165Kat went out to a barn in the middle of nowhere to build bed frames for Bed Brigade, a ministry that takes beds to kids who’ve never had one. The beds were made completely from one piece of plywood and delivered with a mattress, bedding, and a Bible. Kat’s work crew was full of awesome kids who worked really well together, growing closer as the week went on and truly showing Jesus’ love to each other throughout the week. On Friday their crew went to deliver some beds to homes, which was humbling and beautiful.

Conner was not assigned to a work group at Transformation Zone, so he took pictures or filled in with groups whenever a spot opened up. Tuesday he laid mulch, cleaned bathrooms, and played basketball with some kids. He usually lost. Wednesday he helped build kids’ bikes, a strange experience since many of the bikes had parts missing or defective.

At the end of each day of work, everyone met back at the church for showers and downtime. We ate dinner together in the church, and our team led worship for the evening services. The middle and high school kids were very expressive in their worship, and every night was incredibly fueling for us as a team. Guest speakers came each night to share and teach on the theme for the week, being Christ’s ambassadors, and the church and a local radio station even hosted a concert on Wednesday! Overall we had a great week.

LOOKING AHEAD

Now we are headed to Collins, OH, to help with a VBS. Here are ways you can pray for us this week:

  • Pray for endurance as we head into the home stretch of our tour. We only have two location left – Collins and Hollow Rock – before we head back to Asbury and disperse until school starts again. While it’s easy to feel the effects of our tiredness and start preparing to be done, we pray that we would push through and finish well, giving our all for the next two and a half weeks.
  • Continue to pray that our ministry is received well by others and that we are effective ambassadors for Christ.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:20

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Picture: The entire group gathers for a photo at Transformation Zone.