Love Long Island 2015: Day 2

IMG_1988Yesterday we headed back out to Love Long Island with the kindness of Jesus. Before breaking into our 4 teams, we had everyone go over to my elderly neighbor Susan’s house where we did an “Extreme Makeover” door knock. Susan had no idea I had been doing some kindness-conspiring! When she opened the door, behind me were 50 young people. I told her that I had noticed her fence was in pretty bad shape, and that we were there to give her a new fence. “O, OK, I pay for it,” she said in her broken English. “No,” I replied, “it’s already paid for. We’re doing this for you for free.” “OK, I make a donation,” she quickly responded. “No, we don’t want any donation. We just want you to receive this as a gift from God. We want you to know that He loves you and is thinking about you today.” She hugged me tightly and expressed her gratitude. Leaving Group 1 there to work on the fence, our other three groups headed out to our ministry sites.

Group 2 headed over to the home of a couple with great physical limitations, who, as I understand it, are getting ready to move to Florida so the husband can receive cancer treatment. Our team helped them clean around the house and get organized for the move.

Group 3 went to serve at Hope for the Future in Farmingdale. They helped prepare food for distribution to the homeless and needy. We also worked in the warehouse unloading a food truck, crating food, and organizing the warehouse.

Group 4 went to Helping Hands Rescue Mission in Huntington Station. They helped clean and organize their donations in the thrift store.

Of all of the things I am privileged to do in youth ministry, taking students out to serve is by far my favorite! I am so proud of all of our students who sacrificed two days of their spring break to go out and serve others!

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Love Long Island 2015: Day 1

IMG_1901_2Today we took 50 Shelter Rock Church students out for day 1 of 2 of serving our community over Spring Break for our 3rd Annual Love Long Island!

Team 1 served at Shelter Rock Church‘s food pantry in Manhasset. They helped clean and painted a room.

Team 2 served at Guardian Angel, a ministry in Sea Cliff which ministers to women and their children in crisis. They cleaned the garage and basement and sorted and cleaned donated toys for children, and organized clothes for their boutique.

Team 3 served a family in King’s Park. The wife has cerebral palsy and is also recovering from shoulder surgery. The husband has just finished battling bladder cancer. We rejoice that he is currently cancer-free, and we are praying for that to be a permanent diagnosis! Our team did some much-needed spring cleaning for the family.

Team 4 also served in King’s Park. They did spring cleaning for my long-time friend, and former volunteer youth worker, the legendary 93-year old Granny Franny (She said she’s 93, but she was apparently 90 when I met her about 8 years ago, lol!). Granny lives alone and except for the senior citizen bus which comes once a week to take her shopping, and Meals-On-Wheels, she doesn’t have many visitors. She was so excited to have our team there, and she gave them her Granny-pep-talk and showed them her Kwanza room.

Tomorrow we are doing 4 more service projects to show God’s love in our community, which I can’t wait to share with you.
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Jr. High NYC Mission Day 4

This morning we had breakfast at 7:30am. Christina led our group devotions. After cleaning up, we headed to the subway at 8:30am bound for lower Manhattan during rush hour. e were packed in like sardines! We arrived at the Bowery Mission at 9:30am and were given a tour of this incredible ministry which is 135 years old. We then got to work sorting donated food items and stocking the food room, breaking down cardboard boxes, and sweeping and mopping. We had a short break to eat lunch which doubled as a training on how to serve our guests when they arrived for lunch. We then settled into

our positions and served lunch to 150 people – many of them homeless. It was a great joy to honor these people as guests of the Bowery mission and serve them in the name of Jesus with kindness and smiles. After cleaning up we said goodbye about 2:30pm and headed off for our fun time. We went to Little Italy and Chinatown to buy souvenirs, then we went uptown to Rockefeller Center where we went to the Top of the Rock and enjoyed a crystal clear view of the city from 70 stories high. We took the train back to Living Waters, arriving about 8pm, and had dinner. It has been a really great trip! We look forward to our final night together, and then packing up and heading home tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers.

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Jr. High NYC Mission Day 3

This morning after breakfast Griffyn led us in devotions, sharing several Proverbs with us that talk about caring for those in need. We then got to work here around Living Waters. Our team was able to accomplish a lot of things that needed to get done around the church. We mopped the entire basement, four flights of stairs, fixed about 40 chairs in the sanctuary, washed 4 refrigerators, cleaned the stove, fixed some lights, stocked toilet paper and paper towels, and vacuumed the dormitories.

After some quiet time to do devotions, journal, and reflect, we had a brief time to relax, then at 5:30pm we jumped on the train and headed down to Brooklyn Tabernacle for their Tuesday night prayer service. Thanks to one of my friends who is a pastor at BT and were able to sit down in 6th row. It was a service in which probably 2,000 people were gathered to pray and worship, and it was a great experience for our team to not only observe another church, but to participate in praying for the needs of people all around the world.

After the service we took the A train down to the Brooklyn Bridge and had pizza at the world famous Grimaldi’s. Over dinner we talked about things students should be looking for in a church when they are older and need to make such a decision. We also debriefed our day, and Kristen led us in a devotional. It was another fruitful day for our team.

Why I Was At A Strip Club Last Week (It’s Not What You Think. Watch Before You Judge) …

My hunt to find where people are praying big, ridiculous, audacious prayers led me to a point in the Bronx, NY last week. Hunts Point, to be specific. Even more specifically, I found myself standing outside a strip club talking to my friend Reggie Stutzman, pastor of Real Life Church. You won’t believe what he’s daring to ask God for! Watch our interview.

We Did It!

Thanks to everyone who supported my first-ever half-marathon run. Yesterday I completed the race with an official time of 2:17:02. That was a bit slower than I was hoping for, but I pulled my hamstring at the 10-mile marker when I decided to stretch. Bad idea. The last 3 miles were tough, but I persevered and finished. Most importantly, I exceeded my goal of raising $1,310 for World Vision! Thanks to my friends and family, so far $1,430 has come in, and I have commitments for even more, which should bring the total to about $1,600! The team from our churchraised over $58,000! Wow! What a privilege to be a part of a community of faith that show their solidarity with others around the world.

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