Thursday, July 10, 2014

Work projects and more!

It's hard to believe we are already over halfway through our time in Alabama. Each part of this experience feels like it has been forever ago, but the summer, as a whole, is flying by! The Rollin's family and some friends came down during the 4th of July holiday to focus on work projects and serve. On a day that most people are having cookouts, swimming, and hanging out, they were painting trim, staining a huge porch, building a porch for a community member, and putting steps on the back of another community member's house! What a better way to celebrate our freedom than to serve the people around us. We finished up with fireworks and s'mores. The group was such a blessing and work relentlessly! They did all of that work in only 2 days time.

Since then, we've been visited by two past staff members and Sarah Vestal. They have helped us get everything prepared for VBS and were an enormous encouragement to the entire staff. We've cut out superheroes and created a whole set for our theme "Prayer Power". We are excited about helping teach the kids how to communicate with God and understand the importance of a healthy prayer life. We have 53 people coming from North Carolina and 21 from Indiana for a total of 74 participants! I'm not certain, but I believe this is the biggest group ever! Who knows where they will all sleep but I can't imagine how much is going to get accomplished in the coming week. Keep us in your prayers as we get everything ready and as they start to drive in this direction.

Continue to pray for unity in our group. I don't think I've ever worked with a group of people who get along as well as this group, but I know that the longer the trip, the easier it gets for human nature to come into effect. We all want God's will accomplished here, and I pray we don't get in the way of that. The staff has actually created what they call "cuddle puddles". Anytime we have a break or are just hanging out, they are all laying in a big group playing games or just talking. It's amazing to see and incredibly uplifting. God has been so good to us!

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

In His name,

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sports Camp Motiv8

Hello all!! We just finished Sports Week at the MOWA Center and it was great!! The North Carolina participants arrived on June 20 and there was immediate chemistry in the group. Very quickly, we learned to go with the flow. We moved in the directions we felt God directing us and we bonded almost instantly. Each day, we had 50-60 community kids attend the sports camp and we taught them about football, basketball, and soccer. We finished the week up with an unbelievably fun water day. The kids were excited and ready to be picked up every day. We had kids actually racing the buses when we arrived!! The devotions were aligned with sports themes and got the kids talking in both directions. The North Carolina kids opened up to the Alabama kids and vice versa. It was amazing to watch, especially with the older kids. 

We also did work projects on the property. The kids scraped trim on the lodge to get it ready for painting, raked up the yard and picked up trash and sticks, repaired trash can bins, and began a porch for one of the community members. 

Every night we had worship and heard God's Word from Meg Williams. She spoke with us about the things that motivate us to pray, worship, serve, fellowship, and love. She had a unique way of captivating our attention and speaking truth into our lives. 

To say the week was a success would be an understatement! The group left June 27 and safely returned to North Carolina. Since then, the staff has relaxed and recuperated and is now getting prepared for a group coming down specifically for work projects. We are excited about their arrival, along with the arrival of an assistant staff member and some former staff members!! Yay!

The last thing I want to let you know about is a church we have been attending. We went to Crossroads Church on the first Sunday we arrived and have had a great deal of involvement with them since. About 8 of their youth attended our camp for the first time and really enjoyed themselves. They gave testimonials about their experiences today at church. The church also took up a love offering for our ministry!! How awesome is that?! They have been a huge blessing to us and I'm excited about the relationships that are being built!!

Continue to pray for us and God's work! Thank you for your continued support and encouragement :)

In His name,

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Roll Tide!!!

We're back! :)

Friday night, we met in Greensboro to head to Alabama. After a difficult and long drive, we made it safely Saturday morning. We got a little bit of rest and then were welcomed by the 2nd Annual MCFC Luau. There were about 75 community members present along with the 9 of us from NC. There was lots of delicious food and fellowship, followed by a slip and slide for the kids and adults who pretended to be kids for a bit. It was a great way to start the summer.

The SOUL team is made up of Evan Walden and Megan Patterson, the two resident interns, Elizabeth Westbrook, Anna Smith, Meghan Luffman, Will Beeson,  Tyler Radford, and myself, Alex Sikes. Throughout the summer, we will have the help of Summer McVey and Kathryn Moore as assistant staff. There are a lot of new faces to our group! This is exciting because it brings a freshness that breathes life into everything as if it were new. It will also bring challenges and we all become more experienced in what we are doing and carrying out God's mission. Please be in prayer for us over the coming weeks.

We are excited as we begin to plan for sports camp which will run June 23-26. Our first NC participants will arrive on June 20 and we have A LOT to prepare before then. Our theme this year is "Motiv8". We want to examine our motives and make sure that we are being motivated by God and godliness. If those are in line, we are sure to succeed!

I will do my best to keep the blog updated with the newest revelations and happenings here at the center. Until then, keep praying and thank you for the support you've already given! :)

In Christ's love,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back in NC

We are happy and sad to report that we are back in North Carolina. It was so bittersweet to return home. We missed our family and friends so very much, but we hated to say goodbye to our new and old friends and family from Alabama.

Just to recap the summer, here are a few things that we experienced. Everyday for sports camp and vacation bible school, we had a total of over 100 people at the center. We hosted 2 community dinners where 50-75 community members attended. We shared in worship with the community of 5 different Sunday's. We constructed a ramp/porch on the house of a lady in wheelchair. We did yard maintenance for a number of community members. We fixed the interior wall of a lady's house. We visited many community members and offered prayer, cookies, and baby blankets to new mommies. We painted the school room walls and much more! While these sentences start with "we", none of these things were accomplished by us alone. God gave us the desire, materials, and knowhow to get it done. We also could not have done any of it without the help of Asheboro Friends, Marlboro Friends, Concord Friends, Centre Friends, Cedar Square Friends, South Fork Friends, Providence Friends, and Holly Springs Friends who volunteered their time, energy, money, love, and hard work. We also could not have done it without the financial support, love, and encouragement of the many other Friends Meetings before and throughout the summer! It was all so appreciated and necessary. Despite the difficulties of this summer, each one of us in Alabama can attest to the awesome power of God that was experienced. We witnessed the Holy Spirit fall on the community and members within it. We heard testimony of students from North Carolina and Alabama who were forever changed by the time they spent at the center. This was definitely the highlight of the summer and the most important accomplishment of all. God was felt by campers, volunteers, staff members, and participants alike. Praise God for his faithfulness and love!

Again, I just want to thank everyone for the support shown in various ways. A lot was accomplished this summer in the name of Jesus Christ and I think we can all be thankful for that! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ready to travel the WORLD!!

We are quickly approaching our final week of camp here at the MOWA-Choctaw Friends Center! We are so sad to see it coming to an end; we feel as if we've just gotten here! However, we are all the more excited about the VBS that's about to happen! We are busy getting things decorated, planned out, organized, and set up. We're going to be looking at ways that countries around the world worship our Lord, Jesus Christ. Sometimes it's hard to remember that Christ is praised all around the world in a multitude of ways. We hope to have our eyes opened to the fact that He is known elsewhere and experience the way others might praise His name!! We cannot wait until the over 40 North Carolinians get down here! It's a lot to prepare for but we welcome the task. We just have one more Walmart trip to make to ensure that they will be fed well during their stay here :) They will be arriving sometime tomorrow night and we will get started with the fun!

We ask that you be praying for strength and endurance for the SOUL staff and the participants coming down. For us already here in Alabama, we are tired. It's so easy to come down here and get off to a good start. We were excited, energized, and ready to go. While our hearts are still in the same place and just as excited as before, sometimes it is difficult to be energized. This is the time when we need God's strength instead of our own. We want to have as successful of a VBS as we did sports camp. Over the last few days, we have been getting a little more rest and it has really helped. Please pray that the rejuvenation will continue and we will be prepared for God to work mightily like He always does!

Pray that we go out with a BANG!! :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rhino's and Butterflies, Oh My!

We have victory over the power of death! God has given us the opportunity to serve Him and what a blessing it is to be served while serving. We have just finished our first week of SOUL. We had a smaller group from Cedar Square, Centre and Providence Friends and 2 from Mississippi. The week leading up to the start of sports camp we as a staff we so nervous because we have had up to 100 campers from the McIntosh community visit, and with a total of 22 people (including staff) how God was going to allow such a large camp happen would be nothing short of a miracle of how God leads, builds, constricts and stretches the faith of all involved. While children learned of ways to build their relationship with Christ through prayer, reading the Word, going to church and spending time with other Christians, they learned sports skills. The youth from North Carolina and Mississippi led groups around to stations, also led by youth,  that taught them good sportsmanship while learning how to pass a soccer ball, dribble a basketball or throw a football.

In the afternoons the participants would work on landscaping a families home, building a wheel-chair ramp or cleaning up trash off the roads. These times offered common ground to build relationships with kids in and out of their own youth group. After such a long day we'd rest before dinner and follow up our full stomachs to fill our hearts with what God was going to teach us through Caleb Hunter. Can I say we did not expect to hear about Rhino's or butterflies.

During the week we had worship and many from the community would join in to hear what God wanted to say. Service is all about putting ourselves last, but we can do that while forgetting to put Jesus first. We learned through the contrasting examples of Levi (Matthew) and the Rich Young Ruler. As we served the community we were challenged to look at what we had placed before God, and how to put Him before all else. At the end of the week, campers, community, participants, and ourselves did not leave without learning to be bold about Jesus Christ in our lives.Many were saved or made re-commitments and we ask that you pray for those fresh in their faith. Ask God to give them ways to build their faith, ways to be accountable for each other, to fill their hearts continually with the desire to seek Him first but also to make them a "crash of Rhino's" with the potential to make great things happen under the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hello from MCFA!!

Hello from MCFC!! We are well into the planning week for sports camp. We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of our first group of yearly meeting participants on Friday. As we wait for them, we are growing as a team, learning new skits, singing new praises, dancing our hearts out, spending time with the community, and so much more. On Saturday we had a community luau with over 75 people!! It was a great time to fellowship and play in the sun.  We've enjoyed the cooking daily meals for each other. We've paired together and made a little competition out of it. Spaghetti and salad, spicy sausage and pasta, pizza, and stuffed chicken!! Needless to say, we are not lacking in the cooking department. Between the eating, we're working hard to get things ready. We are all so excited about what God is going to do in us, the participants, and the community this summer. Our goal is to be as prepared as possible while leaving flexibility for God to move in whichever direction He chooses! We hope that you will continue praying for us individually and as a team. That God will work in our hearts to grow us into the people only He can make us and strengthen us as a unit. Our greatest hope is that we would speak into the lives of all around us in a godly way, to show the love of Christ. Please pray for the hearts of those coming down from North Carolina to join us at the center. That the Lord will prepare them for the work He has already started here and work in and through them as well. Lastly, we ask that you pray for the people with whom we are living in community. That they would be impacted in a positive way by our being here.

Thank you so much for the love and support that you have shown us thus far! We could not have made itwithout it, but this is only the beginning! And we are so excited about that!! We are ready to embark on this summer and all that is going to happen! We will be praying for everybody back home as well!! :) 

Love in Christ!
Alabama SOUL Staff