Posts Tagged ‘Do Something There’

The End of the Week

// June 25th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Events, Youth News

It has been a couple days since we returned from Montana. I haven’t taken the time to post anything, because I have been focusing on resting and getting our home back into order. Now that things are beginning to slow down, I wanted to post on the last couple days of our trip.

As I mentioned in my last post, Saturday was our day of solitude and relaxation. Our plan was to head up to Hyalite Pass and do solitude in the morning and then have some free time by the lake in the afternoon. That wasn’t God’s plan though. We woke up that morning, ate breakfast, and headed off to the pass. The closer we got to the pass, the more we realized that it was beginning to rain up there. We made our way to the top, found a shelter and began devotions. It was cool to watch how devotions impacted our group. Some of them came into devotions tired, cold, and crabby. They really didn’t want to take the time, and they really didn’t want to do it outside. Once devotions were over, you could see that God had cracked through the tough shell. Thirty minutes later, everyone had great attitudes and were admiring the wonder of God’s creation. That’s a good reminder for all of us. Even when devotions are the last thing that we think we need, we need them more than we think!

When devotions were over, it was still sprinkling. So, the leaders decided that we would hold solitude off till the afternoon. Instead, we would spend some time driving around the lake and taking little breaks to get out and take pictures. We did this for a little while and the kids had a great opportunity to rest in the beauty of the mountains. After doing this for a while we came to a crossroads, literally. We had the option to continue going around the lake, or take a road up to Palisade Falls. We were planning on making the trek up to the falls but weren’t going to do it in the rain. We decided to head up there anyways. Right as we got into the parking lot, the sky cleared up and the sun came out. We were able to enjoy a beautiful hike up to the falls and were also able to enjoy hanging out at the base of the falls in the sunshine. After spending forty minutes or so by the falls, we hiked back to the vans. As soon as we got to the vans, it began hailing. Talk about God’s provision for us! We waited for a while hoping that the rain would stop, but it never did. As it began to get worse, we decided to find another place for solitude. My aunt Darcy suggested that we head to the MSU campus in Bozeman and that’s what we did. We ended up invading the Quiet floor of the library and spending an hour and a half reflecting on the past week and the future. Again, God provided for our needs.

After solitude, I gave the group an option. They could head back to Darcy’s and relax or they could head out and see where I grew up. They decided to head into the valley where I grew up. It was pretty fun for me to give our group context to all of my goofy stories. They enjoyed the drive and enjoyed the view as well. Rachel B. asked me why I would have ever left such a beautiful valley. While I question that at times (I also never had a say in it), I know that God has brought me to Minnesota for a purpose and that is to minister to the group of teenagers that He has given me. Although I miss the mountains and the valley at times, I also can’t imagine being anywhere else besides Milaca, MN.

After driving around my old stomping grounds, we headed back for supper and highlights/impacts. Once again, it was cool to hear how God is working in and through this group. Each year I am impressed more and more with the teens who attend this trip. I truly believe that God is going to bring about the next revival through teenagers. This group may be the beginning. Who knows? We will continue to follow and serve faithfully, with all of our being, and we will trust that God will bring the fruit at the proper time.

Sunday was a day of travel. Like I mentioned in the first post, this group of teenagers had been really fun to travel with. We have made excellent time both directions and we had a good time doing it.

If you want to check out pictures of the trip, make sure you click the tab at the top of our website. I am doing my best to compile as many photos as I can and get them up. Also, we will be sharing our highlights and impacts from the week on Sunday June 30th. It is always cool to hear what these teenagers have to say about the past week–especially after they’ve had time to reflect on it. I will also be preaching that morning. So there are many reasons to head over to Bethel Church this coming Sunday. Hope to see you there!

What God Can Do Through Us

// June 21st, 2013 // 6 Comments » // Events, Youth News

Wow, what another amazing day!! We had the opportunity the Adam’s family today. Their names were Andy and Janice. Again, they were a family that stayed and protected their home during the fire. Today we had the opportunity to help them clean up messes from the flooding. We had to clear a bunch of fence that was either taken out by debris. It was crazy to see how much dirt was moved by the flood. We also helped Andy fix his shed that ended up being filled up with dirt. The dirt not only filled up the shed, but it also pushed the back wall out a few feet. We were able to jack it up and push the wall in with a tractor. In order to do all of that work we also had to carry out all of the wood that filled the shed. Our group did a great job teaming up and getting the wood out of the shed. When we were done with that we built some water breaks up the hillside to help slow the water down and prevent further damage in the future. With the last flooding on Thursday night, they have been flooded out seven times this year.

When it comes to God sightings, they were all over the place. To give you a little more of the Adam’s story, it requires us explaining what they lost in the fire. Andy made his living selling fire wood. He had a machine that would limb the trees and a $21,000 machine that could cut and split 2-4 cords of wood an hour. When the fire hit, he had $170,000 worth of fire wood stacked on the hillside. He lost it all. Not only that, but he also had been prepaid $60,000 of that money and had to pay it all back. Needless to say, it was a traumatic experience. When the fire hit, he had four different law enforcement agents try to remove him from his property.  He refused to go and was able to save his house and most of his buildings.

When we arrived at this place today, he told us how much he appreciated us coming to help. He said that if it wasn’t for us coming to help today, they were going to call it quits. He also mentioned that everyone in the valley has been talking about how this group has been working their “butts” off. By the end of the day the kids had built a phenomenal relationship with that family. Also, at the end of the day, one of their friends stopped by. He told us that was the first time that Andy had smiled in over a year. He has been so burdened and so overwhelmed that he didn’t smile, but he was grinning ear to ear today! We also over heard Andy telling his friend, Wilbur, that after watching us work today he was going to give “the big guy another chance.” What a cool thing for our kids to see!! This is why we are doing what we’re doing. It was also cool to watch Andy show all of the boys some of his gun collection. Andy was a Marine and has served in the battlefield. He also had some guns that the boys thought were really cool. His friend mentioned that he was surprised that Andy would let all these kids play with his guns. Andy’s response was, “After watching these kids today, I trust ’em.”

On Tuesday I shared the story of Nehemiah with our group. The end of the story says, “So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.” I told our group this is what we wanted to accomplish this week. We wanted people to see the work that we were able to get done and be able to say, “This could have only been done with God’s help.” God blessed me with the opportunity of hearing that comment today, right before we left the job. Wilbur came up to me and said that everything we had accomplished this week had obviously come from the hand of God. What an amazing confirmation of God leading this week. God has used this group to leave a long lasting impact on that valley. May God continue to work in the lives of all that we served and my our work continue to point them toward God!!

Once we finished for the day, we headed westward in preparation for our Day of Solitude and Day Away. We traveled to Belgrade, MT where my aunt and uncle live. The kids were really excited to drive through the mountains, and I am sure that they will be even more excited once they see where we’re going. It will be a much needed day of spiritual and physical restoration.

There’s so much more that I could talk about, but you’ll have to wait till we get back and ask one of our kids 🙂

Cleaning Up Along the River

// June 20th, 2013 // 2 Comments » // Events, Youth News

Last night our group was able to see God’s mighty hand in an awesome way. They were able to watch (through the windows of the school) as a huge storm cell moved through the area. A massive thundercloud approached the school. As it got closer the winds picked up to 40mph and lightening lit up the sky. There were times when the bolts of lightening literally covered every piece of sky that you could see. Through this storm I was also able to see that God was changing the worldviews of our students. I know this because as soon as they noticed how hard it was raining out, they immediately said, “Oh No, it probably flooding in the coulee again.” Now, I know that three days ago that thought wouldn’t have crossed their mind at all. They would have been focused on the cool storm. Since they’ve been able to see the damage that is occurring as a result of this rain, their eyes and minds have been opened. Isn’t it cool to be able to watch this entire process unfold. We also asked Tammy to check with the families that we helped in the coulee. Our kids wanted to know how our water breaks held up and wanted to see how the families were doing emotionally. Pretty cool stuff!!

Today was another great day of watching God work in the lives of our youth and the people we were serving. The day started off with us meeting Bill, who is in charge of the Musselshell Restoration Society. Before the floods came in two years ago, they had a beautiful river walk that the people of Roundup could walk on. When the floods came through, it wiped out the trails and brought in an invasive week called Knapweed. Bill said that if you let Knapweed go untouched, it would eventually kill all the native vegetation and take over the entire area. Our job was to fan out along the river banks and pull all of this knapweed before it bloomed and went to seed. When we first showed up at that job site Bill asked if we were staying for a couple hours. When we told him that we were going to be there all day, he responded very shocked. Another cool opportunity to watch people become overwhelmed by the work of our teenagers. Our group did pretty good on this worksite, even with a long monotonous job. They took the opportunity to have lots of cool conversations as they worked throughout the day.

We have also watched our youth ministering to each other in some awesome ways. Throughout the week we’ve really opened up to each other and some problems, frustrations, and concerns have arose. Today I overheard one of our teens ministering to a peer in a phenomenal way. The particular student hasn’t wanted to talk much about what is going on. The other student noticed that fact and then began to discuss their struggles with them. It wasn’t long before they were both sharing freely and openly. What a cool way to watch God work through one of our teenagers. On top of other events like the previous one, we have also had teens asking leaders to take them deeper in their understanding of God. Some have desired to understand the theology better, and others wanted to listen to a Theoretical Physicist (yes, you read that right). I have a lecture from a Physicist where he is discussing the aspect of time. He is answering the question, what is time? To make a long story short, he ends by saying that everything that we know about time in modern science matched perfectly with scripture. Isn’t that amazing?

While the students don’t know it yet, tonight we will be packing up all of our stuff. We are doing this because we are heading further west tomorrow after our work day. As leaders we felt that it would be a shame to be this close to the mountains and not take the kids there. So, after work tomorrow we will be heading west, through the Bridger Mountain Range, and staying at my aunt’s house in Belgrade, MT. I know that our group is going to be very excited because they have been talking all week about how they would like to go into the mountains. We will stay the night at my aunt’s house and then head into Hyalite Pass on Saturday for our Day Away and Day of Solitude (At least that’s the plan. There is a strong possibility of storms on Saturday, so pray that God holds the rain off until we are done. If the rain ends up coming, we have a couple other options to explore). Hyalite Pass is a beautiful recreation area that surrounds Hyalite Lake with is a mountain reservoir. The kids probably have never seen water that clear in their lives. The mountains shoot up on all sides of the reservoir and there is the opportunity to hike into a couple different water falls. We will also be spending some time in solitude around the reservoir. Pray that God will once again use that time to reach deeply into each one of their hearts and draw them closer to him. He is truly an awesome God who is worthy to be praised!!

The Overlooked and the Underestimated

// June 19th, 2013 // 4 Comments » // Events, Youth News

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31

As I have been thinking about the last couple days, this verse has been very present in my mind. Not only is it a verse that I want to undergird my life, but it is also a verse that describes what our teenagers have been doing over the past few days. This verse is talking about how God uses unconventional means to accomplish his purposes. Or to put into my paraphrase, “God loves to use the overlooked and the underestimates so that He will receive the ultimate glory.” This is what has been happening in Harper Cooley (where we’ve been working all week). Today we worked at Aaron’s place again. At one point of our conversation he mentioned that everyone who lived along Buckskin Road was calling him all day yesterday. They were telling him how impressed they were with what our group accomplished in the valley. They got our address so that they could all send letters of appreciation to our church. They said they wanted our group to understand how much they appreciated everything that we did. In light of that, I told our group that God has received much glory through our work. If a professional clean-up crew had come in and cleaned up the valley, God wouldn’t have been glorified very much. One the other hand, a group of overlooked teenagers did a tremendous amount of work and God has received all of the glory. That has been our prayer for the week and it is awesome seeing God answer that prayer in a big way!

After my post last night we dove into our evening session and we discussed the Incommunicable Attributes of God (the attributes that God doesn’t share with us). Throughout that night as we discussed that vastness and the infiniteness of God we heard gasps and awe. We were all blown away as we began to touch the surface of who God is. I was also very impressed with the energy our teenagers had after a long day. We really worked hard and we were all exhausted. I was worried that they would be fighting to stay away (and legitimately so), but they were very involved in the discussion and I they were able to grow closer to God because they began to understand Him better. Tonight we jumped into the Communicable Attributes (the attributes that God shares with us to some degree). Once again the students were involved in the discussion and learned a lot through our conversations.

Like I mentioned earlier, we worked at Aaron’s again today and helped to create a fire break around his house. This involved him cutting down all of the dead trees around his place. As he cut them down, we would drag them to various areas and pile them up. Some piles will be burned this winter and other piles will function to slow the water down as it runs down the hill. Once again the kids really worked hard and we were able to get done early for the day. We tried to find more stuff to do with Aaron but he couldn’t think of anything. We also found out that the fire swept through that area one year ago today. So it was good for him to see all of this progress being made. I think it really helped him to move forward in some of his grieving.

As I am typing this, the rest of the group is enjoying some free time. It also looks like we are going to get some rain. Hopefully it isn’t going to be too much rain. After free time is done, I will be giving the campfire message on Total Depravity. It may surprise you, but this has been a really good campfire message every year. Last night they had the opportunity to hear Jennie Warner share about Love and Service. After the message was over, they broke out into a random praise set and they were singing so loud that you could hear them in every corner of the school! Very cool things are happening and, like always, we appreciate all of your prayers!!

Cleaning Up the Valley with Aaron Nichols

// June 18th, 2013 // 4 Comments » // Events, Youth News

Today was another great day of serving God’s people. We had the opportunity to serve Aaron Nichols. Aaron Nichols’ place was a little east of the Carl and Nancy White’s place. Aaron was another person that chose to stay and try to save his place. Aaron has lived in that valley for fourteen years. When he moved there, five other homes were located on his road. When the fire hit last year, there were twenty-two. Aaron guessed that there were only five left after the fire. The rest of the homes were completely destroyed in the fire. Aaron told us that he was only able to get four hours of sleep over a five day period as he tried to save his place in the valley. He also mentioned that it was one of the eeriest things he’s ever experienced. He said it was like a war zone. The entire time he was saving his place he could hear cars, homes, and propane tanks exploding. When all was said and done, there wasn’t much left.

When we arrived today, we helped Aaron clean up the valley from flood damage. He is experiencing the same phenomenon as Carl and Nancy. It was really cool to see his face as we unloaded the vans. He was overwhelmed as teen after teen jumped out of the van ready to help. He actually stood speechless for a little while and throughout the day he would stop, wipe his face off, and mention how much of a blessing our help was. At the end of the day he said we helped him do 6 months worth of work. We repeated over and over how impressed he was with our group. He was especially impressed with the loads of wood that some of our smaller girls were carrying. They really tore in and helped today.

We ended up working fast enough that we were able to finish up a little early. So, we took the whole group to the community pool. The group was very excited! As we wrapped up our time in the pool, Tammy came and asked another favor of us. Their forklift had broken down and they needed to get one hundred sheets of plywood into a building. Our group jumped on the task and kicked it out in no time at all.

I don’t have any updates on the rest of our evening because I decided to stop writing these posts after the youth are in bed. I decided that I need my sleep too…lol. When I give the update for tomorrow I will let you know how our session went tonight. We will continue to get as many pictures up as we can so that you can have a glimpse of what we are doing each day.

Thank you for all of your prayers!! We can definitely feel them.

Working At Carl and Nancy’s

// June 17th, 2013 // 4 Comments » // Events, Youth News

Today we had the opportunity to work on Carl and Nancy’s (didn’t get their last name) ranch that was west of Roundup. These two have really had to endure some major hardships. It began with the major flooding two years ago, although they didn’t talk about it much. They were affected by the flood, but the fire last year made the flood look like a minor issue.

Carl and Nancy own 660 acres, 480 of those acres are wooded. When the fire swept through last year, they lost all of it. Two-thirds of their property became completely unusable to them in a matter of minutes. Tammy (from Musselshell Relief) said that the fire was a perfect storm. They hadn’t had rain in a long time, so everything was very dry. After the fire started raging, the winds picked up to 100 mph. Tammy told us that people had 15 minutes to evacuate the area. Carl and Nancy chose not to evacuate. The cops told them to leave, and in Carl’s words, he told them to “kiss his [hind end].” He and Nancy began to hose down their house trying to save it, but the power ended up going out–leaving them without a well to pump water. They ran up to their son’s house because he had a generator, and helped him try to save his place. Only by the grace of God were they able to save both houses. We, literally, saw trees within 30 yds of their house that were burned up–some closer. When it was all said and done, Carl and Nancy had lost 460 acres of their land and two horses that weren’t able to escape the fire.

Now, that story sounds dramatic enough, but there’s more. This year they have, once again, had to deal with flooding. Since their is no longer any vegetation on the hills surrounding their place, every time the get a significant amount of rain, their place floods. The water rushes down the hillside, gathers all of the ashes and debris from the fire, and jams it through their fences and leave debris laying all throughout the valley. They have had this happen five times already this year. Every time it happens it tears down significant portions of their fence and leaves the two of them cleaning up for weeks. As soon as they get it cleaned up, it happens again. You could hear the pain/frustration in their voices as they talked about this.

That is where we came in. We were able to help them clear debris from all of their fence lines and helped them clean the debris from their yard. You should be very proud of the group of teenagers that are on this trip. They really worked hard today. Through tears Nancy told us that this group worked way harder than the group of college student that were there a month ago. Not only did the kids work really hard on cleaning up the ranch, but they also worked hard on building a relationship with Carl and Nancy. Some of the kids walked away with Nancy’s email address so they could keep in touch and Nancy made sure to get all of our names so she could pray for us throughout the week. What a phenomenal way to start off the week!

After the long day of work, our youth were pretty tuckered out. A local church served us supper and then we headed back to the school to hear life stories and have our evening session. Throughout the week we give every youth an opportunity to share their life story with the group. Tonight Mitch DeHaan, Rebecca Staneslow, Ali Droogsma, and Kimmy Quale shared their stories. It is always great to hear how God has been working in their lives over the years and to hear how this youth ministry has played a significant role in getting them to where they are now.

After life stories, and a long day of work, we decided to stretch their brains a little more and we had a short philosophy lesson on God’s existence. It was cool to see how engaged our group was after a long day. They were hungry to hear how rational the existence of God was. The goal of the session was to establish and unshakable foundation for their faith and to help them realize that it isn’t crazy to believe in God, it is actually the most un-crazy thing to do. I could see that happen throughout the session. After the session was over, we had our “campfire” message in the gym and listened to Willy talk about why he follows Christ.

It was an awesome day and I have really seen God working in the lives of every one us on this trip. You can pray that God continues to reveal himself to this group. Pray that God will continue drawing them closer to Him throughout the week and they they will seek him with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength. God is moving here in Musselsheel. To Him be the glory!!

A Day of Rest–Realizing God’s Love

// June 16th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Events, Youth News

Today was another great day. Since it was Sunday we took the opportunity to spend a good amount of time resting and preparing our hearts, bodies, souls, and minds for the week to come. We started off the day with personal devotions, followed by small group discussions. After breakfast we done we headed to the local church. When I say headed, I mean walked across the parking lot. It was pretty cool to be able to worship in this church. I am pretty sure we doubled the attendance in that little church. It was also cool to hear our teenagers belt out the songs. The pastors message was on Acts 8 and talked about the ways that God may send us out as missionaries. He emphasized that there are “official” missionaries, but we are all called to be missionaries. We also found out that the pastor of this church has served there for almost 40 years. It was fun talking to him and his congregation.

Once church was out, some of the group took a walk into the hills that overlooked the town, while the rest of the group played on the school playground. We finished up lunch and then ran into Roundup to check out the town and familiarize ourselves with it. While we were there we took a hike along the Musselshell River.

We headed pack to church for supper and then had two sessions this evening. The first session discussed our devotional lives. We talked about what devotions are, what we can do during devotions, and how vital they are to the life of a Christian. Following that session we took some time to evaluate our lives (where we are) and then look toward the future (where God wants us to be). It was really cool to see how God used this session to inspire some pretty big/Godly dreams among our youth. We ended the night with our “campfire” message. We don’t have a campfire area, but we do have a pretty cool gymnasium that works well for this session. Tonight Troy Payment brought us a message that talked about the Father’s love for us on Father’s Day. It was a powerful message and many left in tears, realizing the love that the Father has for us. What an amazing God we serve!!!

Tomorrow will be our first work day. Pray that our youth will work hard and will pray hard as well. We will be serving all day and then eating at a church in Roundup. Once we get back, the student minds will be stretched as we contemplate the existence and knowability of God. These should be great/foundational sessions for the kids this week. Pray that God will open their minds and hearts to hear these messages!!

All Settled in For the Night

// June 15th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Events, Youth News

Well, we finally figured out how to get the internet working. We learned that the school doesn’t have internet, but the fire hall next to the school does 🙂 So, that means that I have the opportunity to write this post sitting on a picnic table under the stars. Sounds pretty rough doesn’t it?

As we mentioned earlier, the drive out here went extremely well. We planned on arriving sometime around 8pm tonight and ended up getting here around 5pm. This is probably the best group of traveling teenagers that I have taken on a group. We actually learned a little trick for traveling with teenagers. We leave at 4:00am so they sleep for the first 4 hours, then feed them turkey for lunch so that they sleep all afternoon. It’s pretty fool proof.

As we got here, we took the opportunity to settle in and relax a little bit. We got a tour of the school that we are staying in and then got our rooms set up. After supper everyone spend the rest of the night playing in the school playground. While on the playground our group was visited by three mule deer. We wrapped up the night with some worship and discussed our theme verse of the week.

Now, we are going to bed. Keep praying for God to work in this group and to use us for His glory. This group is off to a great start and I’m excited to see what the result of this week will be. Praise God!!!

Getting Ready for Do Something There

// June 13th, 2013 // No Comments » // Events, Youth News

Hey Everyone! I just wanted to send out a quick update before we head our for Musselshell, MT. We are getting really excited to see how God is going to use us in the lives of the residents of Musselshell County. We thank you for your prayers up to this point. Everything has come together quite smoothly. It’s almost as if someone bigger and smarter than us was planning the whole thing 🙂

Just a few things for you to know as we are out in Musselshell. We will do our best to have daily updates on this website. We have been told that we will have access to internet, but you never really know. If you would like to receive our updates in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter. You will see a tab at the top of our webpage labeled “Newsletter.” Click the tab, fill in your information, and you’re ready to receive our updates. If the internet is fast enough, we will also be adding new photos at the end of the day.

You can also get some update via our Facebook page. Here is the link. We hope to add fun quotes and little updates throughout the day (pending cell phone reception). Our daily updates will also be posted on the Facebook wall.

Other than that, we are all ready to go. We appreciate your prayers and want to thank all of you who have committed to praying for us daily.  We have felt those prayers and know that we will need them more than ever as we go through the week. We will be leaving Princeton, MN at 4:00am on Saturday morning and we are hoping to arrive in Musselshell around 9:00pm that evening. Extra prayers would be appreciated that the travel will go well and that we will have no break downs or vehicle issues. When the week is over, we will head home on Sunday, June 23rd at 4:00am and hope to arrive at Bethel Church around 9:00pm.

Thanks for all of the support! We are truly fortunate to have the support of this congregation as we go out and serve in the name of Jesus Christ. May God be with us.