Friday, August 15, 2008
"Showers of Pnut butter, Showers of Pnut butter we pray..."
As we ended the month of July and started August we had the joy of hosting the youth mission team of the Oak Ridge Baptist Church from (you guessed it) Oak Ridge, Tennessee. How we looked forward to the team! And how glad we were when they arrived! How relieved we were when they left! (My wife gets on to me for saying that, but it is true.)
First of all, the team was made up of great kids and great leaders. We didn't have one "unhappy" moment the whole week. They behaved themselves wonderfully (had entirely too much fun for a mission trip, I'm sure) and left a good testimony everywhere they went.
They arrived on Friday morning and we had a Friday through Sunday emphasis on youth. We had 55 young people on Friday night (very difficult for us with bus schedules and work) and 56 on Saturday night with many visitors. We had a park outreach and had at least 5 older youth come to the church service as a result.
The youth pastor, Jon Kopp, brought great messages both to the youth and the church. (If he just hadn't torn up the cars every time he drove!!)
What I really appreciated was the way the teens from the states made every effort to mingle with our young people. No one spoke the other's language, but they communicated. They are all Facebook friends now.
We had an all day (7:00 am until 3:00 pm) program in one of the public schools. The teens sang, testified, performed musical numbers with violin, viola and guitar and finished up with an evangelistic drama. The school loved it, all 700+ students. The principal and her staff wrote us a nice letter of appreciation for our visit. The kids at the school were so enthusiastic that we had to retreat to the teacher's lounge and literally bar the door so that we could get away between programs.
We then went to an English school in the evening. The school let us do anything we wanted, as long as it was in English. The director of the school is (at least) a nominal Christian and made no objection to having several testimonies of salvation and then letting the teens get with the students in small groups to talk more.
We also made a quick trip to Rio de Janeiro. They sang, preached, testified etc. at another Baptist-Mid missionary church there and then did the sights. It really was a great time for them and for us.
Oh, the peanut butter? I asked Jon Kopp if he could bring me a couple of jars of Jiffy, Extra Crunchy peanut butter. He had everyone on the team bring a jar! Spoil the missionary - what a great idea!
Great people, those Tennesseans. (It was a relief when everyone was gone though!) Can't wait until they come again.
Lord bless, Graham and Rene