Indy 2020 – Day 6, The Student Perspective

My trip to Indy was a really great experience and a fun time. Coming into this trip no one knew what to expect and then when we would find out each day, and people would get right to work. During my time in Indy, my favorite job was most likely mulching. Although I didn’t do all of the mulching, I still had a good time. Being with people who laugh, make jokes, smile, it just makes it so much more enjoyable. During mulching, I was surrounded by just that. This made mulching a really great time.

Coming on this trip was questionable and filled with a lot of confusion because of COVID-19. Leading up to leaving for the trip I was always worried that I wouldn’t be with my friends at the dorm rooms and in the vehicles. When we got assigned vehicles I wasn’t with all the people I wanted to be with. This was disappointing and made me fearful I wouldn’t have someone to talk to. Then when we arrived we got assigned dorm rooms and I wasn’t with them again, so this made me think I will never see them because I am not with them in the car or in a room together. As the week went on, I started to realize that it is okay not to be with them all the time. I can make new relationships and build up other ones, and I did. God also showed me it was okay through Sarah, one of our summer interns. Sarah challenged us to start sitting with new people at meals and intermix. This was another opportunity to work with others, have a conversation, and get to know each other more.

Overall, this trip was really great and I would definitely come back. I would not change anything about my first experience here. Even though our current situation in the world isn’t what we want, things turned out just fine. I am looking forward to coming here again in the future!

Sara, 8th Grade
 
 
This year we went to Indianapolis for our mission trip. This has been my second mission trip, the first being Chicago. On this trip, I got to experience many new things, such as mulching, putting up painters’ tape, and going on a prayer walk where we went around the neighborhood praying, and picking up trash. We also painted, cleaned, and weeded garden beds. If you asked me what my favorite project was, I wouldn’t be able to answer.

During this trip we all received a devotional that we were able to work on during the week. I think that the one that impacted me the most was the one on Matthew 20:1-16. I feel that this passage shows me that we shouldn’t be jealous if someone who worked less gets the same reward as us. It also shows that even if someone get’s something and we don’t, it doesn’t affect us, therefore we shouldn’t be jealous.

One fear I had on this trip was that I wouldn’t be much help. This was just Satan trying to push self-doubt into my head. God helped me to have the strength to push these thoughts away.

I really enjoyed being able to serve with my friends, and I already can’t wait for next year. I pray that God continues to bring joy and strength to us even through this last day of our trip.

Macee, 8th Grade

 

This past week here in Indianapolis has been full of sunshine, weeding, painting, cleaning, and of course, laughter. I got to see people I haven’t seen in many years, but I have also gotten to make new friends and strengthen the friendships I already had.

My favorite project was repainting the Horizon Central church sign. Before we painted it, the colors were faded and the wood was worn. You could barely see the sign from the street because it blended in with the building behind it. However, after a full day of standing on a ladder, mixing colors, and cleaning brushes, the sign finally looks new again. My hope for this sign is that it would catch the eyes of people driving by or walking down the street. I hope that it would be a colorful invitation for people to come to Horizon Christian Fellowship and hear the Word of God.

I have been on a few mission trips in the past and I have always struggled with being myself and stepping up into leadership positions. One challenge on this trip that I faced was reaching the edge of my comfort zone and taking that last step to finally cross the line. I have never been a very outgoing person, but as one of the older students and an upcoming senior, I knew I would be looked at as a leader. Throughout the week God has given me the urge to take charge and be an example to others around me. I found myself cleaning up without being asked. I began sitting with the junior highers at meals to get to know them better. I even took initiative to start dancing during worship with a friend, hoping others would join in. On this trip God continued to surprise me by pushing my limits and developing me as a leader.

Gabby, 12th Grade



Indy 2020 – Day 5 Update

Today was a day full of projects. The students have been working so hard, efficiently, and quickly on everything that we have given them, that we are left searching for more projects than what had originally been planned. We all feel so blessed to be able to have spent the past few days working to assist Kids Inc and Horizon Central.

The group of painters continued their work of painting door frames throughout the entirety of the building. With the speed that they were going we quickly realized that more painting projects needed to be found. A few of the students were sent down into the basement to repaint some of the brick columns where the paint was falling off and others got to work on giving a few of the doors a fresh coat of paint. The majority of the painting has been done and the team has enjoyed the task of peeling off the tape and competing to make the largest tape ball.

Another group of students headed outside to the parking lot to patch potholes, repaint posts, and paint fresh parking lines on the pavement. They of course finished this in no time and were split to conquer the jungles of weeds that had grown in a few of the gardens across the property. This was no easy task. The plots of land had been left unattended by human hands since early spring when the school closed, but had been taken over by briar bushes, spiky dandelions, and small trees. It made for hot, tiring work out in the sun. But the students did not let this stop them. They worked until break time with smiles on their faces the whole time, not once did I hear them complain.

This experience has been such a blessing for me, and I have felt honored to be able to come on this trip and work alongside your students. They have worked so hard and continue to amaze me with their dedication to God and their openness to learn.  The good that they are doing both for the community here and for God’s kingdom will last for years to come. Thank you for all your support and prayers.

Sarah Oleson, Summer Intern
 
Be sure to checkout our Instagram @phbc181 for more pictures.


Indy 2020 – Day 4 Update

Mission Trip week is always one of the highlights of my summer. It’s filled with so many amazing adventures. On top of that, we’re able to accomplish so much ministry work in a short time. The students form new friendships and deepen others, in ways that wouldn’t happen outside of serving together like this. But I think the main reason I love weeks like this is because of the spiritual growth spurts that I get to see first hand in each of our students.

 

Ministry Projects: Today we continued working around the grounds and the building here at KIDS Inc.:

The Grounds Crew finished spreading the last of the 20 cubic yards of much. This was a LOT of shoveling and wheelbarrowing and spreading. They’ve become experts. And they did it all while singing and laughing and deepening friendships. This team then moved to power washing some mud and moss stained areas. Some of this team worked the perimeter of the property and the parking lot, spraying weed killer on some crazy overgrown weeds. They also cleaned out a number of plugged drains and underground entryways that they affectionately nicknamed “the dungeons.” This will help stop some of the flooding they get regularly. This team has learned to use all kinds of yard tools and equipment with skill.
 
The Movers spent most of the day, you guessed it, moving large and heavy items. They continued to remove unwanted junk from the building and various storage areas into a huge dumpster. They’ve more than filled it. They continued to haul unsightly debris from corners of the property as well. While there’s not much to say about hauling garbage, they did it with great attitudes. I didn’t hear a complaint about the hard work in the heat all day. This team finished with their tasks a bit early, and dispersed to assist the other teams.
 
The Painters spent most of the day taping and painting. This hasn’t been the easy kind of painting where you quickly knock out a wall with a roller in a few minutes. This has been the painstaking detailed work of painting door frames and lots of trim and repair work. They’ve had to work in hard to get places from difficult angels. Again, without complaint. There’s still quite a bit of painting to do yet this week.
 
The Construction Crew started their day off building and installing multiple storage shelves in the work shed, so that they can better utilize their space. Then they worked on placing cold patch in the parking lot to repair some of the asphalt. Finally, they finished up by repairing some posts on the main entryway into the building that had rotted out. This team, with close adult supervision, has enjoyed learning to handle numerous hand and power tools.
 
The Kitchen Crew has been so good at feeding us great homemade meals each day, and treating us with snacks at just the right time. While much of the food prep is covered by several adults on the trip, each of our students take turns setting up, serving, and cleaning up. It’s a joy to see them joyfully serve one another. Tonight, as a special treat, we had a catered meal from City Barbecue – it was delicious.
 
By the way, all of the projects I just described were done by 3pm today! This is an efficient and hardworking team! We finished our work projects a little early today so that we could get out into the community. We divided up into 4 teams with maps, gloves, and garbage bags. We walked the surrounding neighborhoods picking up garbage, praying for the community, and praying with anyone we ran into. It was a very powerful experience and a practical way to show love to the people living in the area.
 
Our evening worship is one of my favorite parts of our day. We gather and celebrate Jesus by singing together. We take some time to review our daily Bible study. We reflect and share about what God is teaching us. Finally, we evaluate our day and plan for tomorrow. I wish you could hear our students share about how God is working in and through them – it’s amazing!

 

 

Please continue to pray for our safety and effectiveness here. We love and miss you.

 

Dan Adams – Associate Pastor
 
PS – you can find more pictures on our Instagram @phbc181


Indy 2020: a busy but great start to the week!

What a whirlwind of a few days! It has been so busy, our team is flying through tasks almost as fast was we give them out. There is much to cover, but I’ll try to keep it brief.

 

Day 1

Admittedly, not all that much to report. After pictures and a time of prayer with family, we loaded all our things, tools, food, and supplies. We ate an early lunch then loaded up and pulled out. Our drive was uneventful. We were able to avoid the rain at the park where we ate, which was nice.

We arrived shortly after 7 at Kids Inc. After meeting Jesse and taking a quick tour, we were able to unload and get settled into our rooms, and then went to bed.

 

Day 2

Energy and spirits were high as we started our first full day. With a desire to be most helpful, we had everyone out helping to clean up the grounds; weeding flower beds, trimming hedges, picking up garbage, and trimming trees. Despite a couple popup showers we were able to get everything ready for mulch!

The team worked very hard and had great attitudes all day. After diner, we spent time in worship, had a short time in the word and then reviewed our morning devotions. We’re going through a week long study looking as some of the hard saying of Jesus. Today’s hard saying “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”

Then we spent time together having some down time and some time to play. All and all, a fantastic day.

 

Day 3

Started with breakfast and our delivery of mulch, 20 cubic yards! After cleaning up breakfast, and time for devos the team hit the ground running. Many started attacking the huge mound of mulch. We also had teams attacking a mound of junk that needed to be tossed. We had a third team scraping old paint and taping to get ready for painting. Our final team began refurbishing the carpet ball table that we built for the ministry three years ago.

The teams worked quickly and efficiently. The large pile of junk was sorted, broken down and completely removed, the carpet ball table looks brand new, the first floor hallway has a fresh new look from the pain, and the huge mound of mulch is nearly gone. Your students and family members did an amazing job!

 

Please continue to be praying for the community that we’re serving in, and for the Ministry of Kids Inc. Every year we’ve come, we know that we have created interest among those in the community who are not familiar with Kids Inc. and encouraged those who are familiar and those who support what is being done here. We also know that all that we’re able to accomplish greatly aid Jake and Jesse Medlong by knocking out numerous needs on their to do list.

 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
Matt Vince – Youth Director


Costa Rica: Days 4&5!

What can I say, except that this team is doing an outstanding job! They have great attitudes, they are working hard and working well together, and they’re playing hard! I’ve been told multiple times from both several members of the AIM team, as well as those we’re serving with, how wonderful our team is. And I couldn’t agree more!

They’re getting so much done it’s hard to keep up with it all and keep it all straight. But here’s a quick recap of what we’ve done yesterday and today.

Yesterday our teams again went to three different locations, back to serve with YWAM, Conextion, and to the neighborhood by the name of Tirrases. The team at YWAM continued the work we started on Monday, transplant plants on the newly acquired property that will be used for training students from around the world for ministry. The Conextion team spent the day doing some much-needed deep cleaning of space and equipment that the ministry uses in several of their programs. And our third team who went to Tirrases handed out our hand-made fliers for the sports camp we were asked to run on Friday for the children of the neighborhood. Additionally, we were able to spend some time to connecting with some of the children and teens at one of the parks in the neighborhood including sharing the gospel with a few of the teens.

Today, our teams ministered at a local church, a juvenile detention center, and back in Tirrases. The team in Tirrases did more of the same; connecting with the children and teens, passing out flyers for the sports camp Friday. The team that headed to the church were going with Conextion. We helped with some minor construction projects at the church (which used to be a warehouse). And our team that went to the prison ministry were able to play some game with the students and were also able to share the gospel. We were told that there were 16 decisions to accept Christ made today!

Tomorrow is our “fun day”, we’ll be doing some sightseeing, including a zip line tour. But we’ll also be planning and prepping for the sports camp outreach on Friday, as well as partnering with Conextion for the last time to help with an outreach for children at one of the local schools. Please be praying for continued energy, enthusiasm, and boldness for out teams along with receptive hearts of those in attendance! I have a strong feeling God is going to continue to change lives!

 

Because of Christ,

Matt Vince
 
  Tuesday;s team that went to YWAM.
  Tuesday’s team that went to Tirrases. 
  Wednesday’s Team to Tirrases.
Wednesdays team with Conextion.


Costa Rica: Day 3!

 
Our first workday was a resounding success! We divided up into three teams, with one going to serve at the food bank, once servicing with a ministry called Conexion, and the third working with an organization call Youth with a Mission (YWAM).

Our food bank team was able to see how, because of the need here in Costa Rica, the food bank wastes absolutely nothing of the donations they receive. The team worked diligently to help tape packages of beans, rice, flower, sugar, etc. that had a hole or opening (the reason the item was donated to the food bank) so the valuable contents would be retained and kept safe until it could be distributed. Food that isn’t fit for the humans in need is prepped to be used to help feed animals that are in need.

Our second team served with Conextion, a Christian ministry that serves in several locations around the world. They have 7 areas of ministry that they focus on and the original plan was to serve with them in ministering to the children in the local school. However, on Sunday, the teachers here had decided to go on strike, so there were not children in school for us to serve, but that didn’t stop up. We helped to deep clean and sanitized a small, free medical clinic that Conextion runs on Wednesdays and on the weekends. The team moved everything out of the shipping container that houses the clinic, cleaned and sanitized every service, painted the ceiling, and put everything back. In addition to basic medical need, this clinic offers dental services and some other specialty medical services, serving 500 people a week on average.

Our third team (my team) partnered with YWAM, a missions organization that has been around for decades. They have about 7 bases minimum in over 180 countries. The base we served at houses a college that trains students from around the world for ministry. Because the school is growing so fast, they have needed to purchase more property. They were able to acquire over 30 acres directly across the street and have plans to build an entire complex that will be used to train believers from across the globe for ministry. We helped the bases maintenance manager transplant several hundred plants as part of the on going process to prepare the property for a conference they will be hosting for all of YWAM at this new location in the next year.

One of my favorite stories from today was from my group. Before leaving to go to YWAM, Cesar, our translator and long time AIM team member, had us start memorizing John 14:6 in Spanish. He also taught us a song, as well as a great way to share the gospel so that we could be better prepared to share should God open the door. But the best part is that, because this AIM base that we’re serving at is so new (about 6 months), they are still working hard to make more connections with churches and ministries in the community to grow relationships with those that they want to reach, but also for the teams (like ours) who will be coming to serve and share the gospel. So Cesar challenged us to pray specifically that we would make at least one connection with someone that Kevin and Anna, the base leaders, could use moving forward to minister.

Well God answered in a big way! During lunch, we met a man who has been serving here in Costa Rica for 17 years with a ministry called Homes of Hope. They build homes for those in need. But because of his years of serving with this ministry, he has made connections with dozens of local churches and other para church ministries! God is so good! Please be praying with us that this connection will be a profitable one, for both sides, as the Body of Christ continues to unify in the goal of serving those in need and bringing the gospel to all!

Tomorrow (day 4) we will again be splitting into three teams, heading back to serve with both Conextion and YWAM. But we will also be sending a team to Tirrases, a community that is in extreme poverty, and one that God has burdened the hearts of the AIM team for. In addition to getting a lay of the land in Tirrases, and meeting people, we’ll begin working on a sports camp style program for the children for Friday, Lord willing!

 

Because of Christ,

Matt Vince
 


Costa Rica: Day 2!

 
 
*I attempted to have this post up last night but due to some technical difficulties with either my computer or the internet connection, I had to wait until this morning.*
 
         Today was a very easy day (and in my opinion a gift from God after what was a very busy week for most of us who were able to serve in Summer Shake-up and a long day yesterday with our traveling). Most we up well before breakfast, no doubt due to the time change (Costa Rica is two hours behind Cleveland) and because everyone was pretty well out by 10 pm our time. I was able to enjoy watching the sunrise from the hammock that PD was kind enough to bring and share. The back of the house faces east, and it made for what felt like a front row seat to God’s daily glory and creation. It was a joy.

            After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and a traditional rice and bean dish called gallo pinto, which I thought was delicious! We finish getting ready for and then traveled to La Vina del Este for church. I found it a real joy experiencing a worship service of our brothers in sisters in Christ. It also helped that I was near a translator during the service, so I was following the sermon fairly well. It centered around our call to show the same mercy that we receive from God to those around us, specifically those who are in need. We were informed that about 20% of families in Costa Rica live in poverty, which means that the average family of five is living off about $183 a month. The church had also created a team to head up their new efforts to be more intentional in reaching out to and helping to meet the needs of those in this community. In addition to praying for this new team and the larger effort that the church is making to reach the poor in the community they acknowledge our team and the work we will be doing this week!             After church we returned to the base for lunch. We then had some time of ice breaker games with the AIM team. They were quite impressed, and possibly a little frightened, over our team’s commitment to and aggressive nature during a game called by many names, but they called it “Chaos”. The gist of the game is that you have one person in the middle and everyone is sitting in chairs in a circle around them. The person in the middle give a statement about themselves that is true (i.e. This is my first trip to Costa Rica), and anyone else for whom the statement is true must switch seats, trying to avoid being in the middle. Our team has played it multiple times before. Our team is also competitive, and they really got into it. Let’s just say there were more than one occasion were our passionate team members showed their tenacity in wanting the last chair. 😊 We had a good time. After some time discussing the importance of prayer, and our need to listen to God’s response, particularly through His word, we spent time in prayer for each other and for God to speak to us this week. It was a fantastic afternoon!             Before dinner, we were able to travel to the local Walmart (yup, Walmart) that is about 4 blocks away and we stocked up on some supplies for a potential ministry opportunity later this week. Many also took the opportunity to stock up a little more on the essentials; snacks, drinks, and treats to enjoy this week. Then we came back together for dinner, a time for some worship and discussing the plans for tomorrow’s work groups.             We are all excited for the work starting tomorrow. Please be praying for us as we had out to serve at three different ministries tomorrow. Pray that we’ll continue to work together well as a team and to tackle our work with the same energy and enthusiasm that we have for our games this afternoon. Also be praying for opportunities to connect with the folks we’ll be serving. For many, it is intimidating to try and talk to a stranger back home, but then add the language and cultural differences, and it could seem impossible. However, we have translators with us AND we serve a God who has a track record of accomplishing the impossible. I am excited to share tomorrow all about how God has answered our prayers!   Because of Christ,

Matt Vince
 
 
The sunrise from the back of the AIM base.
 
A panoramic shot of our back yard.
 
All loaded up and heading to church!
 
Just waiting for church to start. The gentleman standing in the back was our translator.
 
Our time together before playing the ice breaker games.
 
A couple of exotic  fruits we were able to try tonight. Most everyone agrees, the little red fruits were the best.
 
While there has been no shortage of food, and everyone seems to be enjoying it, this is the teams stash of snacks and treats that have been accumulated thus far!


Costa Rica: Day 1!

            Our first day was a huge success as we all made it safely, with no delays and everyone has all their luggage! Our team has done a fantastic job so far. Not many people would handle such a long day of travel’s typical “hurry up and wait” nature, but these students and adults did so with ease. They also have had fantastic attitudes all day long which has been quite a feet considering most everyone has basically been up since around 2 am (most got some naps during our travels, but still). On a positive note, upon reaching our home base I was pleased to see that the temperature here in San Jose was 77 F and felt like 82, but in the CLE it was 95 and felt like 106! So, we have that going for us. 😊

            Tomorrow, we’ll be attending worship at a local church that is home to a couple of the Adventures in Missions (AIM) team members who live here in Costa Rica. We got a quick orientation on the proper way to greet folks here in Costa Rica, as well as some other key considerations that we need to be aware of because of the different culture here in this beautiful country. We’ll also be finalizing our schedule for Monday and some other things for the week.

            Thank you to all who have been sharing out updates on Facebook, and for the dozens + who have told us they are praying for us. We’ll need it. There is much to do here as this new base for AIM. Lots of new road to help them start and strengthen. I’m excited to share how the Lord works in and through this amazing team this week!

Time to sign off. It’s just after 8:30 pm here (we’re two hours behind Cleveland). I need to post this and get some much needed sleep!

 

Because of Christ,

Matt Vince
 
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, even at 5am!
 
 
Waiting for our bus to take us to the AIM base.
 
Our orientation at the AIM base!


And We’re Off To Chicago!

 
 
Our Team of 16 students and 7 adults headed out on our exciting week long adventure of serving in Chicago! Our drive was mostly uneventful, aside from a few short bouts of some semi-heavy rain and getting held up momentarily by another driver who didn’t realize they were in the EZPass only lane. 😀
 
We arrived without incident and right on time to Dunamis Life Church, where we had to have set a record for unloading as we needed to quickly move the vehicles so that we didn’t hold up a fundraising event they were in the middle of. Once we parked we were able to meet our hosts and hear a little about the church and their ministries here.
 
We then got the sleeping areas set, and took a tour of the large building that the ministry owns. After a delicious dinner, we reviewed our schedule for the week and for tomorrow.
 
Finally, we were challenged with whether we were willing to be pliable clay in the hands of our Heavenly Father this week, or if we were going to be hard lumps who refused to allow God to mold us in to the vessels that He wanted to use to impact others.
 
Thank you to those who are and have already been lifting us up in prayer. God has been good so far, and I’m confident that He is going to do great things in and through us this week. We hit the ground running tomorrow with work projects around the church AND sending part of the team to serve at a senior center across the street. There is MUCH to be done here! Thankfully, lights out is very soon!
 
Until tomorrow…
 
 
Nothing like a little Micky D’s at Chipotle…? 🙂
 
Our host church for the week!
 
Getting all settled into our diggs.


Washington DC Day 5

Today was a powerful day of commitments for our students. We spent significant time processing our experiences this week, with the goal of making several commitments for the coming school year. These commitments included:
  1. Making time in our daily schedules to connect with God in prayer and Bible reading
  2. Surround ourselves with Godly influences who will help us live for Christ and proclaim the Gospel
  3. Share the Gospel regularly, to a specific list of friends and family that we came up with.
Additionally, we spent time strategizing specific ways we can be more Gospel advancing as a youth ministry in the coming year. It was exciting to see our students set God-sized goals with practical steps and built in accountability. Please pray for them as they seek to share Christ boldly in the coming year.
 
Tomorrow we’re heading back home. But first, we’re going to visit Arlington National Cemetery and enjoy some free time walking around the National Mall. 
 
Just a reminder – pickup is at planned for around 10:30 pm on Saturday, July 28. (We’re targeting a 10:00 pm arrival, with time to unpack and clean the vehicles.) If we’re off from that target significantly (more than 15 minutes) we’ll do our best to notify families in advance.