Thursday, July 26, 2012

Women's Bible Studies Begin in September

After all the summer activities, it will soon be time to get back into our regular routines.  The women will be having a new bible study starting the first week of September.

There will be a Tuesday morning session at 9 am and a Thursday evening session at 7 pm.  Food will be provided after each session.

A seven-week study with Priscilla Shirer

Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted - What do we do when God interrupts our lives? Many times, like Jonah, we run! In this 7-session Bible study, Priscilla redefines interruption and shows that interruption is actually God's invitation to do something beyond our wildest dreams. When Jonah was willing to allow God to interrupt his life, the result was revival in an entire city.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Racing Toward VBS

We are back from BUMP and we had so much fun with our VBS theme there, we decided to do it again!  The theme has changed and we are looking forward to it.  This format will have children separated by ages.  We will have classes for PreK/K, 1-2 Grade, 3-4 Grade and 5-6 Grade children.  A light supper will be served from 6:00-6:30 pm each night from July 30-August 3. We will have lessons, life applications, games, crafts, songs and skits. VBS will be over by 8:30 pm.

Please pre-register your children at

Sunday, July 15, 2012

VBS/BUMP - Final Day

After breakfast, everyone was assigned areas of the church grounds - indoors and out - to clean and tidy up.  Even the smallest task like dusting the window sills is a blessing to the members of this church and all efforts are greatly appreciated.  We had some VBS prep time after lunch.

About 2:00, we all walked around the block to a nursing home.  We sang about 4 songs in a group area, then greeted the residents there.  A few people stayed there while the rest went upstairs to sing to more residents in the group area there.  Kevin and Noah Bittner played the piano.  We went out to meet the residents then added How Great Thou Art to the music.  We headed back down to get the other BUMP folks and to sing the final song before leaving to walk back down the block to the church.

We had some free time before supper to start consolidating our belongings or to just hang out.  The last night of VBS went well and the kids made racing flags for the craft for the night. There seemed to be a few less children there, but we knew ahead of time that some of them had things to do and wouldn't be there. Believe it or not, most of us still had a good energy level to keep up with the kids on this last day. We had told the kids to bring swimsuits for today since we planned games with water balloons and other water-filled games.

We then started a more thorough cleaning of the inside of the church and Fellowship Hall areas.  Dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning restrooms and more. Everyone pitched in. Craft supplies were gathered up and leftovers were saved to be donated to  another BUMP group this summer.

Then it was time for our final rally.  We sang songs, hear testimonies from Kenny and Cara and then watched a slide show of the activities from the week. Bedtime was pushed back to allow everyone to hang out, sign each other's t-shirts and just chill.  Tomorrow morning, we will be saying goodbye to our new friends and heading to our sight-seeing expeditions, then home.

This has been a long, hard, fun, rewarding week and we are all blessed to have been given this opportunity to serve and to grow.

Our group picture from Saturday morning:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

VBS - Day 3

Today was a very busy day! After breakfast, we broke into groups and went into the areas surrounding the church to pick up trash and other items. Some hit the streets and neighborhoods and some hit the trail up the hill behind the church.

After lunch was VBS prep time.  Another truck from the Food Bank showed up and the kids help unload crates and crates of food.  We had cabbages (some were bigger than our heads), fresh corn in the husks, bags of broccoli florets, squash, zuccini, cucumbers, 2 large pallets of green beans, diced carrots,carrot sticks, baby carrots, diced celery, onions (whole and sliced) and a variety of breads. Both teams worked together to bag up the individual vegetables and get ready for the people to come. There was also donated clothing to be distributed.

People had to register and get a number and we called in 20 people at a time.  We served over 85 people today.  The bigger boys and team leaders helped box up the produce and some even carried it to residents' home or offered a ride.  The whole process took over 3 hours of work.  Then we had to get the room back in shape for our supper and then rearrange for VBS. After bagging up all the corn, some of us said we didn't want to even see corn for a while. Guess what was part of supper??? 

VBS is growing. We had over 51 kids today plus grown ups plus our BUMP groups and a few church members.  The energy is flowing.  We started the day with Stupid Human Tricks with some of our BUMP kids to get it started and some of the VBS kids, too.  The kids made Pit Passes today for the craft.  The Fellowship Hall is filling up and we are getting many positive comments from church members and even residents that don't go to this church. Lots of smiles are happening.  Can you believe we only have one day to go?!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

VBS - Day 2

Wednesday started off as a "Free Day" for BUMP participants.  Most of the Texas team headed to Washington DC for a few hours. They got to ride the Metro and took pictures by the Capitol and Washington Monument. They also visited an American Indian Museum.  The New Jersey team went to the Baltimore Harbor area, had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe and then hit the Aquarium.

After arriving back at the church, final preparations were made for VBS and a quick supper was had. VBS started at 6:30 pm and we followed the same format as Day 1, but with songs that we all know instead of the ones that actually came with the HisScars VBS pack. There was a lot of energy in the whole group today. David, one of the New Jersey team leaders, can exactly imitate Elmo's voice and the kids loved it!  The kids made steering wheels as the day's craft and they really seemed to enjoy it since many of them carried them around with them all night instead of leaving them on the craft pick-up table.  There were over 45 kids in attendance.  Some weren't able to come back, but others brought friends with them and we had more parents and grandparents here tonight.

After VBS, we had our daily debriefing and asked for volunteers to tell how they could see God working in the lives of these children and neighborhood residents. Several of the students had good observations to share.  After the close of the debriefing, everyone enjoys some free time (and it's some of the guys' shower time) by talking in groups, playing cards, etc.  It's all one big group and Texas is mixed in with Jersey and vice versa.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

VBS - Day 1

BUMP participants spent the morning passing out food to neighbors who had lost power during recent storms. Folks came by the church to get food and paper goods. Some of our BUMP adults and kids even walked home with some of the residents to help carry the groceries. A few of the Team Leaders made a run to several stores to pick up more supplies for VBS. After lunch, they broke up into teams of 5 or more and hit the sidewalks of the local neighborhoods to pass out more VBS flyers and to pray for the people and the needs in the area.  Some teams would walk one block, stop and pray for all the families and homes they had passed by on that block and continue the pattern as they walked another block. Then there was the final prep work for the first day of VBS.

After the kids were registered, we started the day with our theme song for the week - Drive! which was followed by a skit .  Then the kids broke into groups according to age and went through a rotation of lessons in the sanctuary, crafts, snacks in the Fellowship Hall and games outside.  After that everyone gathered back in the Fellowship Hall for another round of songs.  The New Jersey group led the singing and the Texans joined right in with some fun motions to the songs. The day ended with prayer.  We had 37 kids registered and we even had a few adults come along with them. Not bad for the first day from what we've been told.  Our them is HisScars - Pressing On.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Block Party

Both the Texas team and New Jersey teams have been working side-by-side all day making preparations and creating games and carnival activities. We got ready for neighborhood kids to join us. Several had been stopping by this afternoon as we were going through our set up. Music, bubbles, games, hot dogs and more. Several of the girls handled the face painting, which everyone seemed to enjoy.  There were games throughout the parking lot much like the games we play at our Harvest Festival.

Part of our morning activities included receiving a big load of food from the Maryland Food Bank. We will be handing out food and paper goods to those in the neighborhood who were without power during the recent storms.  We went into the local neighborhood in small groups and passed out VBS flyers and talked to a few residents after the food was put in the church's Pantry.  One of the groups talked to a little girl who was just about ready to accept Christ. She was so glad to get the flyer and is excited about coming to VBS. Most of the kids and leaders seem to be working well together as if we had always been one large group.  It's so nice to see God at work in all of our lives.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

BUMP Sunday

We woke up this morning about 7:00 am to start our day. We got dressed and went down for a light breakfast and then a little quiet time.  Then we started consolidating our things to try to make room for 19 more people who would be coming from Randolph, NJ.  Then we moved stuff again to clear the rooms for Sunday school classes.  Church services started downstairs at 10:15 and opened with some praise music.  The sanctuary is not air conditioned, so they just have chairs set up in the Fellowship Hall.  There was a meet and greet time after church with the locals.  We then headed back upstairs to move our things back to the classrooms.  We had a Team Leader meeting with our on-site BUMP coordinator, Evette and started working on plans for the week.

We started working on decorations for the VBS that we will be conducting this week.  The NJ group arrived a little after 5:00 pm and we all sat down together for supper and then our Orientation.  Everyone received 2 different BUMP shirts to wear this week at all of our activities at the church and in the community.  After a Team Leader meeting, we started grabbing kids to work on decorations and start getting games figured out for our Block Party that we will be hosting tomorrow.  Everyone has their area of expertise and many were all to happy to jump in and help.  This is going to be a fun and rewarding week.

Did I mention that there is ONE shower to accommodate 37 people?  A shower schedule has been made along with a K.P. schedule. It's been hot and humid (just like home), but in a day or so, the temps should be coming down to the 80's. Keep us all in your prayers!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We're in Balmer

At least that's how some of the locals say it.  There's no T and the sounds kind of run together.

We left Chattanooga around 7:00 am and headed east.  We made a couple more stops today and took a little extra time to stop and eat instead of eating on the road.  We went over 600 miles today through tree-covered mountains.  We got into Virginia at 11:30 am. West Virginia at 5:30 pm. At about 5:45, we hit Harper's Ferry where we went from West Virginia to Virginia (for about a minute or so) and then over to Maryland.  We got to Stillmeadow Evangelical Free Church at about 6:45 pm.

There was a wedding going on, so we got in touch with the King's (Mike & Cara's old neighbors) who live about 20 minutes south.  They invited us (all 17 of us) to come to their house for a brief visit and to eat hamburgers that they grilled on their deck.  It was nice to see Bernadette and King again and she even whipped up a Texas sheet cake for us.  We love you Bern!

We went back to the church and unloaded everything upstairs in a couple of the classrooms.  We're all sleeping on the floors this time.  The church was built in the 1950s.  Very pretty, but the structure and electrical outlets show its age.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 1 Complete

We have gone through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, a tiny piece of Georgia and then Tennessee.  We made a couple of stops for gas and other necessaries.  For lunch, wee had the folks in one car make sandwiches per the orders from the other 3 vehicles, then we stopped at a roadside parking area in Mississippi right at noon and passed out the sandwiches.  After a few minutes to stretch our legs, switch some kids around in the vehicles, we headed back out on the road to eat along the way.  We hit Alabama around 2:30 pm. Georgia at 6:30 pm. Tennessee at 6:50 pm. Today, we covered 877 miles and arrived at the Morris Hill Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN around 8:45 pm Eastern (we lost an hour right at Chattanooga) after stopping to eat at Subway. We haven't lost anyone yet.

We stayed in their Fellowship Hall/Rec area.  The kids thought we'd arrived at Heaven! There was a gym upstairs and games downstairs like a pool table, air hockey table, ping pong table and video games. Believe it or not, the kids had lots of energy to burn off by playing basketball, dodge ball and the other games.  The place was huge and we had it all to ourselves.  Some of the classrooms had couches and sectionals that we were able to use.  Some of us slept on the floor, but the carpet was padded so it wasn't bad.  Lights out at midnight.


We pulled out of the church driveway about 5:20 am this morning.  About 9:15 am, we entered Louisiana.  Just before leaving Texas, we made a stop for gas and a pit stop and did a Chinese fire drill on drivers and riders. We are heading east on Interstate 20 right now and are making good time.  We have gone 265 miles so far at this point and we just passed Shreveport

PS...Mike is driving while I am blogging!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Prayers for BUMP Missions Trip

Our group of 11 youth and 6 adults will depart from the church early on Friday morning and begin the almost-1500-mile trip to Baltimore, MD.  Four vehicles will be making the trip loaded with people, luggage with 10 days worth of clothing for each person, sleeping bags, pillows, coolers, computers, etc.

Please pray for good weather, no vehicle problems, health of our participants, improving conditions from this week's storms in the Baltimore area.  Also pray for the group that is coming from Bethlehem Church in Randolph, NJ to join us during this week of BUMP.

The goal is to make it to Chattanooga, TN sometime before midnight on Friday, an 842 mile trip.

Day 2 of the drive will be from Chattanooga to Baltimore, MD.  623 miles - through the mountains.

We will be conducting a Block Party, Prayer Walks, work projects and a VBS during our time here. Pray for all of the lives that these activities with touch this week.  We plan to be back late on Monday, July 16.