7.25 / Denver Debrief

We had the chance to get in on the Denver team’s debrief meeting. Here are a few things we wanted to share with our readers!

What was unexpected about the trip?

“Our living situation. Our house was under construction while we were living there, which made it a little challenging.”

“Some of our jobs were more time consuming than we thought they would be. This made the summer more tiring than we had expected!”

“One thing that was unexpected was that many people in Denver have different views that many in Auburn, especially in terms of spiritual views.”

“Forming relationships was more of a challenge than we thought. People who live here even have a hard time making friends, so the fact that we were only here for a couple of months made that even harder.”

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What are some big lessons the Lord taught you?

“I learned a lot about prayer and how important it is to take EVERYTHING to the Lord!”

“The Lord taught me how to rest, slow down, and listen to the Spirit.”

“One thing I learned was how to take advantage of every opportunity to weave Gospel threads into everyday conversations.”

“We tend to limit ourselves in terms of what we can accomplish, but we can depend fully on the Spirit of God living within us because He is so much more capable!”

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What are some of your favorite memories?

“Watching 4th of July fireworks on top of a building!”

“I would definitely say going to the zoo for Tara’s birthday!!”

“One of my favorite memories was spending time with the neighbors out in our front yards!”

“I really enjoyed the time we spent praying at Ruby Hill (which is a park that overlooks the whole city).”

“When Corbin got a 3-inch long splinter in his foot and it took about 5 people to get it out!”

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What was the hardest part about the trip?

“Jobs were a lot more demanding than we expected.”

“One thing that was hard, but good in ways was getting a glimpse of what it will be like when we are out of college and working in the ‘real world.'”

“The logistics of working out transportation with only a few cars and not being close to public transportation was difficult to figure out.”

“Denver is a spiritually dark city. It was challenging to shine Christ’s light because there are many things that the city chooses over Him.”

“I would say the hardest thing was watching people try to find contentment in things of this world.”

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How can we pray as y’all head back home?

“Please pray for Cypress church. They are launching the church in September, so  pray that God will continue to grow them and bring people into their family.”

“Pray for Skylar and Don’s families (families involved in the church plant). They both have babies on the way and there is already a lot on their plates.”

“We have learned so much here in Denver and we ask you to pray that we will bring these back to Auburn with us. Pray that this summer won’t live in our memories as a spiritual high.”

“Pray for the Auburn team coming next year. Pray that things will go smoothly for them and that they will learn from our experiences.”

Thank you for all of your prayers over us this summer. We are so thankful. And we are looking forward to reuniting with many of our friends back in Auburn!

-Denverites, over and out

Denver group hike

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7.25 / PSJ Recap

We had the chance to interview our PSJ team to get a good overview of the summer! Here are some of the questions we asked and answers we received.

What was unexpected about the trip?

“This one calls for a story. Last summer, our team met a sweet boy who was in the 13+ group in the gym program. He seemed to love being mischievous and troublesome among the other boys. When we arrived this summer, we could already see how the Lord had matured him over the course of one short year. For the first few weeks, he came over every morning and afternoon to join in our worship / reading time. We have loved watching how God continues shaping him to look more like Christ. We certainly did not expect this boy from last summer to be so eager to spend time with us and learn about the Lord, but praise God for the ways He works!”

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What are some of your favorite memories?

“Body surfing the waves of St. George Island!!”

“I had left St. Joe for a quick family vacation, so I had missed a few days at the gym. Monday morning came and I walked back into the gym, and about 30 little kids came running (and screaming) to hug me and find out where I had been all that time!”

“One of my favorite memories was getting to hang out with this 8 year old boy on our field trip and listening to “church music” with him.”

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What was the hardest part of the trip?

“As a group, we think that the biggest struggle this summer was learning to balance  discipline and love for the kids in the gym program. We had to learn what it is like to lovingly discipline young kids while pointing them to Christ at the same time.”

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What are some big lessons the Lord taught you?

“Patience! We had to really practice patience with the children at the gym and with each other this summer.”

“The Lord has been teaching me that in the past, my joy came from my circumstances and people around me. But it really needs to be coming from the Lord. He taught me to pray daily for my joy to be from Him, and I can see how faithful He has been in providing me with this!”

“I’ve learned a lot about being in the present and finding my contentment in Christ.”

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What can we be praying as y’all head home?

“We would love for y’all to pray over the sweet kiddos we’ve met this summer. Please pray that they will come to have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

“Please pray that our faith will continue growing as we come back and that our community will stand firm once back in Auburn.”

“Pray that we will have the same Gospel mindset as we come home. When we were in PSJ, it seemed easy because sharing the Gospel was constantly on our minds. But since we’ve been back, it’s easy to get caught up in the little things and forget our purpose.”

Thank you for dedicating time to pray over us this summer. It meant so much to us and the Lord heard every prayer. We are sad to leave, but we also look forward to seeing everyone back home!

-St. Joes, signing off

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Back to our first picture together!

7.20 / Ap Recap

The Lord has done mighty and incredible things both in and through our team in Apalachicola this summer. We were able to ask the team a few questions to get a recap of their time.

1. What was unexpected about the trip?

“How much fun it would be! I came into this summer thinking all we would do is go to work, come home, and read the Word together. All those things are great of course, but it has been so much more than that! We had such spontaneous adventures and fun that brought us closer as a team.”

“Community was much more rich than I expected. With there being 17 of us, it was a surprise to me that we have all really enjoyed being together.”

“I would agree- I didn’t expect to get so close to everyone. We are really different from each other, but the Lord used that to bring us even closer. The unity we had as a team was amazing and allowed our group dynamic to thrive.”

“Something that surprised me was the hospitality of the Apalach community. They were very accepting AND loving toward us. I would be convicted because some days they loved us better than we loved them.

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Boat tour with the group!
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Team day boat ride
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Just munchin on some grub with the coolest team ever

2. What was the hardest thing about the trip?

“In college we learn to be independent and take care of ourselves. But in Apalach, we had to be dependent on the whole team. There would be days where I would want to be by myself and do my own thing, but God had other plans in mind!”

“Learning to be FOR each other. We practiced loving and honoring each other above ourselves, and that is not an easy task. We had to fight the temptations to be selfish. This was a really tough thing to learn and practice, but it was so fruitful.”

“Honestly I would say the hardest things was being really exhausted. We would go to work, cook dinner, hang out as a team, share Christ with new friends, go to youth group every week. But in all of it, we realize that there is something so precious and rewarding in being spent for the name of Jesus.”

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Weekly work out classes!! #tiring
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VBS week(s)

 

3. What were some of your favorite moments from the summer?

“Jumping in the ocean fully clothed! It made for a hilarious story. I’ve loved all of our fun spontaneous times together!”

“A few nights ago, we worshiped on the beach while looking at the stars. Most of us had never seen stars quite like that. It was amazing to reflect on God’s creativity and magnitude.”

“We had a bunch of different ministry opportunities. The other day we got to talk with this man who recently became a believer and he had a really neat story. It was encouraging to be reminded that there are people in Apalach who love the Lord.”

“I really enjoyed the times we got to spend with the PSJ team! Even though we have been so close in proximity to them all summer, we have had such different schedules. So the times we hung out as a group were uplifting as we got to exchange stories and see some fresh faces!”

“We got a shout-out from the Mayor of Apalachicola at the 4th of July parade! So that was pretty cool! On a serious note, it’s pretty amazing to see that God is making an impact in Apalach through our Auburn church. They know Auburn students and they really love us well.”

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Sunset from the island Piggly Wiggly
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Starfish!!
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Getting tossed into the ocean fully clothed..

 

4. How can we pray as y’all head back to Auburn?

“We have learned a lot about trusting God in Apalach, and we ask that you would pray that we can apply that to our lives as we come back to Auburn. Pray that God would continue moving in us when we come back.”

“Pray for the town of Apalach. It was really burdensome to see the brokenness up close. Pray that God will do a mighty work through the ministries and believers there to reach the town for Christ.”

We thank you for your prayers over our team this summer.
God is so good and He answers our prayers in a way that is good for us.
All glory to Him from our summer in Apalachicola.
God is mighty, able, and majestic forever and ever.
Amen.

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back to the first picture we ever took together!

 

7.16 / Community in the ‘Cola

We have had such a sweet time together as a team this past week, beginning with a ‘team day’ in Panama to see Wonder Woman (lol) and enjoy a day off. We even got to go to TARGET (which is quite a treat when you’ve been in a city with very few stores)!!

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On Wednesdays, we typically go to FUMC’s youth group to spend time with the middle and high schoolers, but they had to cancel this week. So our team went down to the beach to worship together. That time of team worship was incredibly encouraging and uplifting. The Lord filled us with joy and awe. And it was really special because we rarely get to spend time as a group in the middle of the week due to work schedules.  We gazed up at the stars for a while, reflecting on how small we are and how amazing our Creator is. To think that we are loved by the Creator of the Universe – who made the stars and planets and animals and everything – blew our minds.

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Many of us have gotten really close with our coworkers so it is extremely difficult to imagine what it will be like to say goodbye. It’s going to be a tough one.

It’s our last week and we are praying that we will use our time wisely – in conversations with coworkers; in time spent as a team; in time spent alone with the Lord. Bittersweet is about the only word that comes to mind when we think about leaving this summer behind. We will never have another season in life quite like this. We have been incredibly blessed with spending time in the Word together. And we have been incredibly blessed by the bond we have in Christ. It is immeasurably more than I can describe.

We want to thank everyone for their prayers. Keep sending them because we’ve still got a few days left. God is with us and O how He amazes us.

-The Apalachicolians

7.13 / Reflection in Denver

We are getting close to the end of our summer here in Denver, and we’re going to miss it. This summer has been so different than we expected, but goodness has the Lord been faithful.

Here’s what has been happening this past week!

One of our teammates left on Monday to help his parents move out of their home! Pray that goes well! So we are now down to 7 Denverites. The rest of us have been enjoying our last weeks. Those with jobs sent in their 2-weeks-notice, which made the fact that we are leaving more of a reality. *CUE TEARS* We have been filling our time with card games (a must with our team) and doing/seeing as much as we possibly can!

We have continued enjoying our time with the Cypress church plant team. We have felt like a part of their mission and it’s been a really neat experience. This past Sunday, Cypress had some of their mission teams from other states visiting, so there were so many people at our weekly gathering!! It was awe-inspiring to see all of these people from all over gather together in the name of Jesus. In addition to this, we have a new sibling! Someone came to know the Lord through one of Cypress’ teams! WOOHOO!! It has truly been amazing to come alongside this church body. We are so thankful for the ways they have blessed us and encouraged us this summer.

The other night, our team got together and discussed what the Lord had been teaching us over the summer. The unanimous opinion was that this summer looked a lot different that our initial expectations. Being the ‘guinea pig’ group brought on many challenges that took us by surprise. Our housing situation was not what we thought. Cars broke down, jobs didn’t come easily, and even the city itself surprised us in a few ways.

In all of this, it’s amazing to see how the Lord equipped each of us to take things as they came, and continue to serve each other through the changes. God has refined us and has exceeded our expectations. His plans are always best, even if that’s hard to see in the midst of changed plans. He grew us in ways that wouldn’t have been possible if all went as expected. From conversing with the homeless in the park, to befriending coworkers, and reaching out to neighbors, to witnessing the inner-workings of a church plant, God has been PRESENT through it all. It is difficult to fully see the impact we’ve had here, but we are choosing to trust that our Father is sovereign and has a plan, even once we leave. He is in Denver. And we trust Him with the hearts of the locals we’ve met.

We’re so thankful for a summer spent in one of the coolest cities we have ever been to (let alone, lived in!) with a community of believers. It’s so hard to believe that it’s almost over. On the other hand, we are looking forward to applying what we’ve learned to our lives back in Auburn, or wherever we may go. We pray that we will continue to bring glory to the Father for what He has done, is doing, and will do!

Thank you for your prayers. Keep them coming- we want to finish this race well.

-The Denverites

7.13 / Growth at the Port of St. Joe

As we approach our final week in Port St. Joe, we have been reflecting on the past 7 weeks. The Lord has accomplished so much in this team and through this team. We praise Him for the ways He has faithfully provided for our needs.

While our girls never found a permanent house to live in, God brought willing families into our lives that took in the girls for weeks at a time. On top of this, we just found out that the girls’ current host home is allowing them to stay for the rest of our time here! Hallelujah, this is an answered prayer. The experience of living with and getting to know these families has been so uplifting as they’ve poured into us during our stay. This is just one example of the abundant ways God has looked out for us and taken care of us.

As our summer here draws to a close, please join us in praying that we will be encouraged by our time here and encouraged to run the race to the last day. We fervently seek to spread God’s kingdom here in PSJ.

This past week, I have personally been encouraged by several events, but there is one in particular that I feel called to share with you:

Two of the high school boys I have befriended over my time in PSJ just got home from a discipleship program. They spent three weeks breaking down the Gospel and building up their faith. The boys were spilling over with all the things they learned. I asked them to tell me something that the Lord taught them at camp that changed the way they live. I could hardly believe what I heard next:

  1. “I can NOT do it alone. I thought that I had to hold onto things.. like my friends and family, but that is the easy and comfortable thing to do! All I really need in life is a relationship with Christ to satisfy me. But I haven’t been seeking Him because I guess it’s just hard and out of my comfort zone sometimes. But God told us that the path Jesus leads us on isn’t going to be easy.”
  2. “When I got to camp, I thought that I was unworthy of God’s grace, that I was too sinful to have a relationship with Him. The thing is, I am unworthy, but that’s where God’s grace comes into play! The Lord has been calling me to turn around and run to him despite my sin! That’s the beauty of the Gospel!”

I cannot describe in words how amazing it was to hear about these boys’ walks with Christ! It is amazing to watch the Lord work in them, changing their hearts to look more and more like His own. Praise the Lord!

Pray for these high school boys as they grow up in Christ.

Pray also for us. We want to keep our eyes on Jesus and faithfully run the race all the way to the end.

Thank you for your prayers this summer and we will see you all in a little over a week!

-Port St. Joes

 

 

7.6 / Down to Apalachicola

We are SO thankful for everyone’s prayers over this summer. And we cannot get over the fact that we will only be here for 2 more weeks! Our eyes are opening to how quickly the summer has flown by. The Lord has shown nothing but faithfulness to our team. He has taken such great care of us as His children.

Just a few days ago we got to celebrate our independence with our Apalach friends! Funny thing is, they celebrate on July 3rd…! Regardless, they celebrate big, complete with a big Independence Day celebration downtown! A few of our Auburn friends came down to see us and join in on the celebrations. We greatly enjoyed this opportunity to let loose and have fun with friends. At one point, we started dancing near the band and before we knew it, a whole crowd of locals joined us!! And just take a look at this little cutie!

 

Through this holiday, we were reminded of how blessed we are to live in a country where we can freely talk about Jesus and tell others about Him. And we are spurred on all the more knowing that some of our brothers and sisters in other countries suffer greatly for His name because they don’t have this same freedom.

Yesterday, we had the chance to worship with FUMC’s youth group on the Island. After the worship time, everyone spontaneously decided to plunge into the ocean (or in some cases, be tossed into the ocean) fully clothed! Though it sounds slightly funny, it was actually a really sweet reminder of how wonderful the body of Christ is and how incredible God is to give us the gift of an encouraging and joyful family.

 

Ministry has been going well lately, and we pray that it grows. The other night, we hosted another block-party kickball game and a bunch of the neighborhood kids came to play! This was a huge answer to prayer. But keep the prayers up about the block parties because few adults came out. Pray that more will come to these events and pray that they may hear the Truth of our Jesus! Another prayer request is for Mrs. Jackie, who is one of the ladies who puts on the block parties). Pray that through our team, the Spirit will equip her in this ministry so that it may continue on after we have left.

Last night, Zach had an encouraging conversation with some of the men from FBA about our missional communities at FBCO. They loved the idea and hope to find a place for it in their church! Pray that if this is something the Lord wants for their body, then He would cause it to take root; that He would bring up leaders in the church to develop the idea. Pray that people will be on board and hungry to get these missional communities up and running! The idea is still very new to them, so we pray for them as they consider making this a part of their ministry.

Co-worker relationships have been pretty good so far. We are trying to weave Gospel-threads into our conversations, but they don’t always take root. Pray that we will be fervent for the Lord and mindful in our conversations. Pray that God will grant us  patience and faith when those conversations don’t seem to have any effect. Pray for our co-workers who are not grasping the whole picture of the Gospel. Ask the Lord to open the eyes of their hearts, so that they may see and understand the Gospel, and decide to follow Christ.

Prayer Request Re-cap:

  1. Praises: Praise God for the joy in our community and for the freedom we have to share with others!
  2. Block Parties: Pray that more people will come out to the block parties; especially adults. Pray that we would be given opportunities for Gospel conversations with them.
  3. Mrs. Jackie: Pray that the Lord will equip her with the wisdom and faith to keep the block parties going once our team parts after the summer.
  4. FBA Missional Communities: Pray that the Lord’s will be done and that He will bring up leaders, and members hungry to learn. Pray that the missional communities will bring great growth to this church.
  5. Co-Workers: Pray for our co-workers who do not know Christ. Pray that He will use us as vessels to share His Truth with them, and bring them to Himself.

Thank you for your prayers! We miss y’all and will see many of you in just a couple of weeks!

-The Apalachians