Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Norfolk Team Pre-Trip - 7.18.18

The Norfolk team leaves tomorrow! (Thursday, 7/19)

We will be meeting at 3 pm in Woodward Hall for Check-In and departure with the goal being to return around 4:30-5:00 pm on Saturday (depending on traffic).

Reminder to get on the text list by texting "Norfolkparent" to 41411. That's the best way we can mass communicate an accurate arrival time. The packing list is below and if you have any questions, please email Nick (nmercer@wcchapel.org).

We are ready for a fun trip this weekend!

Packing List 

Friday, July 13, 2018

NC Day #6 - 7.13.18

Our last full day here in North Carolina! We woke up early and had breakfast, but no morning worship today. Instead, we gathered with the other groups that are staying here with us and prayed for the clients who's houses we are working on, the staff here at ReCreation, and each of our respective teams. After our prayer, we headed to the work site and got after it! The team worked hard to finish up the projects that we had; digging the septic trenches and painting the house. Upon arrival we discovered that there had been some rain in the night and a few brave souls went into the our second, unfinished trench and bailed out the standing water so that we could get back to digging and leveling in preparation for the second line of piping to be laid. Because of the delay at the start the trench took longer than expected, but there was no discouragement from our team as they stepped up and worked hard for most of the morning and into the afternoon. Finally, after we had gotten the trench to the correct specifications, we began to lay in the piping.  Once that was set in place, we buried the pipes and leveled out the yard so that the homeowner can reseed the yard. The house was ready upon our arrival for a second coat of paint and the team divided and conquered to finish up all of the painting of the final coats before the work day was even officially finished! We cleaned up once everything was done and said our goodbyes to Ms. Sharon and her grandkids who we have gotten to know this past week. We headed back to ReCreation for some well earned free time before dinner. After dinner we joined together with the other groups here and all of the staff to worship together one last time. George encouraged us to not just enjoy serving this week, but to take the energy and servant hearts that we have seen on display this week back home with us. After this ReCreation end of the week worship time, our team convened for our final porch time. Rather than meet in the gym at ReCreation as we had all week, we met outside around a small fire so that we could admire God’s creation as we continued to worship Him. There was no ‘remember that time’ or ‘I saw Jesus’ tonight, we started straight in with continued worship, which was followed by Luke giving the final talk of the trip. Luke spoke about Abraham, who we had studied in our pre-trip training and we reviewed all that we had learned and how it applied to the week we had just had. Throughout our time studying Abraham we have seen him continue to build altars throughout his experiences: altars of appearance, calling, repentance, and assurance.  Luke used these as a guide for how we can structure our lives to be open to the leading of Jesus in Williamsburg like we have been here in North Carolina.  Then we looked at one final altar moment in Genesis 15 where God establishes a covenant with Abraham.  So we created a final altar of covenant moment for our team where we could put behind the things that are holding us back from fully committing to Jesus.  It was great to see our team take this moment of honesty to establish their own commitments with Jesus.  Finally, we closed our evening together in small groups as a team to discuss final commitments and realizations as we head back home. We will be leaving in the morning after breakfast and cleaning/packing up. If you aren't already, please sign up for our text list "NCPARENT" to 41411 to receive updates as we travel home!

Nashville Day 5 - 7.12.18

Hey Everyone!

We had a great day today. Students continued to work through our devotional booklets in the morning before heading out to their worksites to continue serving the organizations we’ve been building relationships with throughout the week.

In the afternoon, all of our groups participated in Urban Exposure where we split up into smaller groups of 3-4 and, loaded with sandwiches, water bottles and snacks, walked the streets of downtown Nashville seeking to meet people and have conversations with them. We learned a lot about what people facing homelessness deal with on a daily basis and met some incredible people who impacted us more than we impacted them.

In the evening, we bonded with other CSM church groups that are serving here this week as we played games and ate dinner together. We gathered our students for our second to last Porch Time of the trip and celebrated together all the moments where we have seen Jesus move today and passionately sang worship songs together. We had our very own Lauren Clark give the word tonight and students had awesome conversations in small groups as we processed our experience from the afternoon and thought through the two big choices we have as Christians everyday: Choosing Jesus or Choosing ourselves.

We are excited to give everything we have on our final full day tomorrow!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

NC Day #5 - 7.12.18

The North Carolina Team woke up this morning for our routine of breakfast, worship, and a talk from ReCreation Director George. George continued to encourage the team to serve joyfully as we finish out our week here in Weaverville. After morning service, we headed out to our work site to continue the work set before us. The majority of the group returned back to work on the septic trench lines. It was great to see such a positive attitude from them as they worked hard throughout the morning and we themselves up to finish one of our two trenches by the end of the work day. Tomorrow we are set up well to finish the second trench line, with maybe some time to spare! The remaining members of th team got back to tackling the painting of the main house we have been focusing on this week. With two coats of primer having been done earlier in the week, our group got after it with the first coat of the house color. By the time we left the work site for the day, we had finished the first coat and are ready to finish the house tomorrow! After a great day at the work site, we headed back to ReCreation for a shower and some hang out time before dinner. Following dinner we had our second to last Porch Time of the trip. Nick spoke from John 11 and focused on what we should be thinking about as we begin to switch our mindsets back to heading home to Williamsburg. After porch time the team split into small groups and had great discussions about how to take our experiences here and translate them back into our lives at home. After Porch Time, our team went to bed excited to get some sleep for our final work day tomorrow!

Nashville Day 4 - 7.11.18

Hello again from Nashville!

Our Wednesday started with our usual personal quiet time to reflect and process the trip as well as read scriture and journal. Today our groups implemented reading through the Prayer of Saint Francis at the end of our quiet time as a way to get into the mindset of becoming and “instrument of peace” as we head out to serve. (See below for full prayer)

After quiet time groups went out to serve in their service projects, continuing to build relationships with kids at the Andrew Jackson Boys and Girls Club, Youth Life Learning Center and Project Transformation (a community-oriented summer day camp for children and youth from low-income neighborhoods).

One of our groups got to visit the Giving Garden and do some manual labor picking weeds and cleaning up the fields. The Giving Garden produces over forty-one thousand pounds of produce each year that is then distributed between 21 different local partners serving food to low-income families and people who are homeles.

Last night we had our night off where we went downtown to the famous Wild Horse Saloon which is a 3-story music restaurant and music venue in the heart of Nashville. Students got to bond with each other’s groups, enjoy food and try their luck at learning to line dance. Because we had a night off, we put a pause of Porch Time for the night so students could hang out and get some rest. Tomorrow (Thursday) will be a big day for us as we take part in Urban Exposure. More on that in our next blog update. Thanks to all the parents that were able to come to the prayer meeting Please continue to pray for us as we serve Nashville.

NC Day #4 - 7.11.18

Today we began our morning with our new normal routine of an early wake up call, breakfast and morning worship with our ReCreation team! Today we had the opportunity to hear from the Director of ReCreation’s wife, Donna. She shared her testimony as she encouraged us as we enter the halfway point of the week. On Wednesdays here at ReCreation we get the day off from our work project as a way to promote team unity and gear up for a strong finish to the week. After listening to Donna’s talk we headed to the Brian Center, which is a rehabilitation and nursing facility that we have been privileged to partner with in our years of coming down to Weaverville. Our team split into 3 different groups at the Brian Center, one helped with some maintenance projects around their campus. Another group split up and had the opportunity to get to meet with residents and also help with a Bible Study that the Brian Center does every Wednesday. The third group got to go and visit with some of the residents in the Alzheimer’s Unit. After a great morning of getting to relationally connect with the residents, our team ate lunch with some of the staff at ReCreation (who graciously provided food for us!) After lunch we headed up into the Pisgah National Forest and we spent the afternoon at Sliding Rock, a natural water slide where we got to enjoy our afternoon off.
After a fun time at Sliding Rock, we headed to the May Family Barn that is owned by the family of a former SM Summer Intern that has become our traditional Wednesday night home for dinner and Porch Time. As with all Porch Times, we began with “Remember That Time” and “I Saw Jesus” where we all got to reflect on the day and share all the funny moments and the times where we saw Jesus at work! Luke spoke tonight from Luke 10, the parable of the Good Samaritan. He urged our team to consider where we are approaching situations selfishly and how we should switch to a compassionate mindset, like the Good Samaritan. After Porch Time in the barn, we headed back to ReCreation and had a little bit of free time before heading to bed.
We had a great day off, but are excited and energized to get back to our work site tomorrow and to see how God will continue to work in and through our team!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nashville Day 3 - 7.10.18

Another incredible and eventful day is coming to a close here in Nashville. As students wrap up their small group time. Here’s a little glimpse at what some of our groups did today.

This morning we kicked off the day with devotions and quiet time centered around compassion. Some groups spread out throughout the CSM space while a few other groups ventured out to local coffee shops with their leaders to fuel up and do quiet time in the community.

In the morning, some groups visited learning centers where students helped K-5 develop reading skills while some cleaned local parks and others visited Project C.U.R.E where they sorted and packed medical supplies that will be donated to hospitals and health organizations in developing countries.

We’ve had a couple of students with some minor stomach aches earlier today but those issues have been taken care of and students are feeling much better.

In the afternoon, some of our groups combined to do joint service projects. One of those projects involved helping at Second Harvest, one of the larger food banks in Tennessee. Students sorted and packed over 4,976 pounds of food that will go towards providing 4,147 meals that will be distributed to local non-profit organizations that feed people who are in need.

Tonight we had a very lively Porch Time. Students were energized and excited to share their experiences from the day and moments where they experienced Jesus. Small groups are deepening their bonds and having great conversations.

Good night from Nashville!