Hey Everyone! Man, first thing you need to know is that every thing is going great. So far, this has been an awesome couple of days and I only anticipate it getting better. The trip up was easy with no hang-ups or anything at all. We actually made substantially better time then we thought we would! Google maps had our travel time at somewhere in the ballpark of 16.5 hours (with stops), but we actually made it right around 13! These are always the little details that you really nail down after your first time visiting a certain place. Holland, by the way, is gorgeous. I’m trying not to rub anything in but we’ve been in hoodies for most of the day. Low to mid 70s in the heat of the day with temperatures dropping to the high 50s at night. And as if it was planned just for our day at the beach, Thursday is supposed to jump up to the mid 90s.
Now…onto the important stuff.
The theme for this year is where Heaven and Earth collide, and the focus is all on the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). The theme comes from the concept that this is the point in history where this Rabbi from Heaven began to usher in His Kingdom here on this fractured earth. So the first night was really an introduction to the theme and we kind of camped out in the beatitudes. We talked about how backwards it all seems to say, “blessed are the…” and you can fill in the blank with any of the given beatitudes because everyone of them flies directly in the face of out social norms.
Today (Tuesday) was on the Lord’s prayer and specifically the part where Jesus refers to God as “Father”. The day was all about placing our trust in God as our covenant Father. The point was never to compare Him to our earthly fathers, because (though our experiences with our earthly fathers spread far across a vast plain) they will all ultimately fall short of what God is able to be to us. So we didn’t spend time comparing the two, but rather just focusing on what it means to have God as a Father. He is our provider, He is always here, He is our shelter, He is our righteousness, He is our banner, He is our peace, and so on and so forth. This was a tremendously powerful day as you can imagine. Some students learned that they could trust God for the first time in their lives.
We also watched a documentary called “Becoming Sons and Daughters” that told three stories dealing with the Fatherless crisis in America. This had a HUGE impact on our students and rather than tell you about it here, I’m just going to let them tell you about it when they get home 🙂
Pray that God would continue to reveal himself to our students as their Father as they sleep tonight. Pray that they would continue to trust Him as the week goes on and when it gets increasingly difficult when we are back home.
Tomorrow is all about the community of believers and how sin from one affects the entire group. This, too, will be a very powerful way. Pray that the Holy Spirit convicts and that we have the boldness to deal with sin and that God’s grace would be made clear to the students.
Also, Isaiah Johnson has been given the nickname “Britney”. There’s even a dance. That is all you need to know.
Thank you for your prayers. We can feel them from here. I love you all.