We’re here! (and phone/wifi signal is spotting at best)

Well, we made it! It was a great trip! It’s pretty tough to beat lunch at Labert’s Cafe followed up by a night of worship at MOVE. Labert’s was a great experience and I was really proud of our group for only dropping 6-7 rolls! I assumed we’d drop at least twice as many. But catch them they did and everyone seemed to have a good time.

When we arrived at Windermere Conference Center, we got registered and checked in to our dorms. All 4 of us guys are rooming together and the girls are 8 to a room. Yesterday opened with a study of Samuel, who heard God speak but did not recognize it was Him. When he finally realized that God was speaking to him, he answered God by saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” The call yesterday was simply to listen to what God was calling students to this week and to have the boldness to answer that call.

Today is all about Grace. About God using the prostitute, Rehab, to bring about his purposes. Her story is in the book of Joshua, she is also mentioned in the lineage of Jesus in Matthew 1, and is the only woman mentioned in the “Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11).

Here are 2 things I’ve learned since we’ve left:
1: when food is on the line, out HS youth group can turn on the athleticism.
2: no matter how much someone insists that they don’t like Ke$ha, play one of her songs with huge subs and a gigantic sound system, and that person will dance their tail feathers off.

That is all. I love you, and thanks for stopping by. More updates to come.
-Steve

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Online Registration Now Available!

Good News! You can now register online for any of our Student Ministry events!

Just go to the website, select “students” – “upcoming events” and then click on the name of the event you wish to register for. Boom!

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You know you’re on a middle school trip when…

You know you’re on a middle school youth trip when…

…you show up to the church to find two 6th grade girls already there with half downed bottles of mountain dew.

…you get in the vans and none of the girls say they have to go to the bathroom when you ask, then one says they do and they all go with her.

…you’ve been at the church for 12 minutes and already answered 483 questions from the students.

…(warning: slightly crass) you’ve been in the van for what seems like 5 minutes and someone cracks one off that peels paint off the van and wakes every dead body in whatever you’re county you’re currently driving through.

…you get countless pictures of you that girls have been doodling for about an hour. Then they ask you to make a collage of them in your office.

…the directions from google maps take you on about an hour detour north of Dallas.

…you can’t hear yourself think because of the endless giggling coming from behind you.

…within the first 2 minutes of being at jack in the box someone has dropped a just-purchased milkshake all over the floor.

…you have said the words “I think the hotel has a pool but I’m not sure. We’ll find out when we get there” about 12,736,795,284 times.

…you arrive at a place to serve where none of the kids have ever been, you’re not sure what you’re going to do, and you watch students work their tails off. For 5 hours they worked in the hot sun, loading and unloading trucks of things that will be given to families that have absolutely nothing in the name of Jesus. When the mission “officially” closed around 6, and the other volunteers left, our kids never said when we stayed for another two hours sorting clothes and cleaning the property around the mission.

Middle school students are crazy. They are funny, loud, goofy, and awkward. They are also heroes. They love to act out their faith because they know that faith without action is no faith at all.

This trip rocks.

-lane

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Goo gone and a buzzer beater.

Today was really awesome. Which, at risk of sounding redundant, is awesome. The reason this is so awesome is because Wednesday has potential to be the toughest day. We are pretty worn out at this point and so it can be tough to muster the energy to work hard and love well. I know what you’re thinking, “But wouldn’t you be more tired on Thursday?” Of course we will. The difference is that tomorrow we will be driven by plenty of emotion. The last day tends to have a strange energy driving it.

When we got to BTH this morning they gave us a list of things to do. Most of the things on the list they had decided that morning because the group worked so hard on Tuesday that they got most of Wednesday’s work done as well. That’s right. We divided up into groups to knock out today’s tasks. One group took loads of books and stuff down to the basement while another group deep cleaned an industrial kitchen, and yet another scrubbed the mess out of every table in the classrooms. These are white round table’s and you can imagine what they might look like after sitting in elementary classrooms for months. It took a lot of industrial cleaner and good ol’ fashion elbow grease, but we got it done. Oh yeah, and on top of that, we disinfected every chair. Every. Chair.

Once all the students arrived we got their we greeted them and ate snacks with them. Then, in chapel, Erin, Leslie, Ashlee, and I (Lane) taught the lesson. It was so good and the team rocked it. I was very proud of their work and how seriously they took the task of communicating God’s word. Their is another team of college students (8 or so) volunteering at BTH this week as well. I have been so impressed  with our group. Our group is obviously unbelievable but you don’t realize how unbelievable until you get to contrast them with another group. This college group is doing their best and we are thankful they are here, but they have nothing on the initiative of our group. There’s really no training program for what you do at BTH, you get thrown in and you sink or swim. Our group swims.

After BTH we drove back out to the west suburbs to watch Tray Tray’s basketball game. It was SO much fun and our group was so loud the rest of the gym didn’t know what to do with us. We yelled and cheered then Tray’s team lost by one on a buzzer beater (that we’re not sure beat the buzzer). Such a bummer, but still a fantastic time.

We love you all. Please don’t stop praying for us. See you soon.

-Steve

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Air Hockey, A Penny & Pizza

We are studying James for our morning devo time. This morning was James 2. Wow, what a loaded book. We have lots to think about and lots to do.

Today was our first day at By The Hand. Our students tackled an old air hockey table that needed thrown away. After a long struggle, they had the joy of seeing it scrunched up in the garbage trunk. They took a picture and cheered. Later in the day, Lane and I were on the 19th floor of a condo on Michigan Ave, trying to get a large (and much nicer) air hockey table into a small elevator, down a hallway and into a truck. A taxi driver honked at us when we were blocking his way. Not much you can do when your fingers are about to rip off. But we made it. We were surprised that we didn’t break the table, something in the upscale condo, or one of our bones. You know what I always say, “Sometimes the best way to love someone is to get them a new air hockey table.” The Middle School students at BTH will love it.

We introduced the story of the Widow’s Mite, found in both Mark and Luke, for their chapel. The students did an awesome job. We’ll try to get the video online sometime. The kids were really engaged.

Everyone did a great job of tutoring, helping with students, fixing dinner, and just doing whatever needed to be done. We were really hungry, so Giordano’s hit the spot. The best pizza in the world is right here.

We are getting ready for another day, and then off to bed. Please keep praying. Consider fasting too. Thanks.

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Moving Day

As Steve from FCC said today, “Apparently, the interns who we hire would prefer to not be homeless.” So they wanted to create a living quarters in their building for an intern to live. We helped today by cleaning out stuff from Room A, in order to make room for stuff from Rooms B, C,  and D, so that Rooms B, C & D, could be turned into living quarters. The amount of stuff (treasurers office, crafts, bookshelves & large desks) in those rooms looked about overwhelming. But McKenzie walked past me (Brian) & just started taking stuff off the shelf. We followed suit, and chipped away. Five hours later, we were finished with that project, and knocked out a couple of little ones too. It was great to be able to help them in a practical way. It would be a great place to intern anyway, and now it will even be better.

This evening was the time that we had set aside to let the students see Michigan Avenue and eat at Portillos. Everyone had a great time. Several of us got to see the beautiful views from the Hancock Tower. To see the beauty of Lake Michigan on one side, and the tens of thousands of structures that people have built (using their creative, engineering and artistic abilities, and hard work) is pretty awesome.

We just finished spending the last 3 hours praying over and then working on the lessons/skits/activities that we will lead at By The Hand over the next few days. The text that we are teaching is from Mark 12 and Luke 21 – the story of the Widow’s Gift. What a great teaching moment from Jesus. We have lots to learn about it.

The group is pretty tired. I think the loss of an hour is still hitting everyone in the evening. Thanks for your prayers. Good night.

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Worship and Gutterballs

Sunday in Chicago is always one of my favorite parts of the week. It is so awesome and encouraging to worship with First Christian. Their story is too long for this blog post, but suffice it to say that they are a multi cultural family that loves and cares for each other with the love of Jesus. When we get back on Friday, ask your student about their experience with the First Christian family. Ask them how it was different from HP. Ask them about the people they met.

After church we ate some lunch and then headed to the bowling alley with FCC. We, as a group, are not great bowlers. But we sure are fun! We split up so that there was 1 HP team member and 2-3 FCC members per lane. What better way to get to know people then by encouraging and laughing at each other? We encouraged our students to ask the people they were bowling with about their stories, how they came to FCC, etc… Then they bought us pizza! Another free meal! AMAZING! Unfortunately, we kinda had to hork down the pizza becasue we were in a hurry by that point to get out to the west suburbs to see our dear friends Keewon, Treyvon, and Sarah. We sure do love them. And Wednesday night we get to go to Treyvon’s basketball game!

Ok, I’m super tired. We love you.  Night Night.

-Steve

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