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!

 

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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

7.6 / 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

6.27 / Half a trip left – Apalach

Update on the adventures in Apalach!

The team has been going through the “One Another” phrases in the New Testament, and there are 59 of them!! Not to say they’ve worked through all of them, but recently they’ve focused on “love one another” and “honor one another above yourselves.” Focusing and practicing these things has made a huge impact on them as a community of believers. Honoring each other above themselves is more than just doing the dishes – Jesus humbled Himself by washing the disciples feet- even those of a disciple who would soon betray Him. What a perfect example He is. So praise the Lord for His awesome works within the group!

Here’s more from our Apalach team!

“We have started up Saturday night block parties to play kickball with our neighbors! Fellow believers in Apalach are helping us put on these events in the neighborhoods and we’re so thankful! Pray that people will come to these games so we have the chance to love on them and show them Christ. Pray for the fellow believers helping us- that they will be equipped to continue this ministry once we’re gone.

Recently, we volunteered with a VBS! Many of the children had a difficult time listening and being self-controlled, so that really tested us. We learned a lot about patience and loving them even when we didn’t feel like it. Some of these children do not get much affection anywhere else, so we were thankful for the opportunity to show them the unconditional love and patience that the Father has for us.

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Please come alongside us in praying that we would not lose fervor in this final month. We’re at a halfway point in our trip so it is becoming easy to be complacent and in a routine of comfort. But we only have 1 more month!! We have been blessed with deepening the relationships we have formed at work, but we ask that you pray that these will blossom and become friendships that go beyond our places of work. Also, we’ve had opportunities to share the Gospel with several of these coworkers, so praise the Lord! Pray that these will continue and take root in the locals’ hearts. Boldly ask the Lord to reveal Himself to our coworkers and others we meet. Pray for the salvation of these people.

Pray that we will have fresh eyes – seeing others’ souls and remembering the urgency of the Gospel. We have so enjoyed our time in Apalach and look hopefully into the second half!!”

Prayer Request Re-cap:

  1. Block Parties: Pray that neighbors will come to these block parties, that our team will have the opportunity to love on them and show them Christ.
  2. Local Believers: Pray for our fellow believers here in Apalach that the Lord will equip them to carry on the ministry that the Lord is starting here.
  3. Fervor: Pray that we would be on fire for the Lord for the rest of the summer (and beyond). Pray that we would not lose sight of our purpose on this earth.
  4. Relationship Building: Pray that the Lord will move in the relationships that have formed between us and coworkers / other locals. Pray that He would open their hearts and minds and draw them to Himself.

We are grateful for your prayers! Our Father hears and answers!

-Apalach team

6.15 / Apalachicola; birthdays and Olaf

Another week has passed for our team in Apalachicola! We have received some pretty awesome updates. We got some more insight into what the team is up to on a day-to-day schedule along with some specific things to pray for them!

First of all, happy birthday to Madison and Jimbo!!! They are celebrating their birthdays together with the rest of the team this week and they all have had a blast! Joint birthday parties rock.

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In other news, here’s more about the team’s jobs! Everyone is spread out over the city by their different locations including, but not limited to, the Piggly Wiggly, a flower shop, and a dance studio! Talk about variation..! What’s so great about Apalach is that since it’s a small town, you see the same people all the time. So our team has had the opportunity to reach out to the same locals in different spots of town. Someone will come into the flower shop then make her way to the grocery store where she may check out with one of our group members! And let me tell ya, the locals know Auburn students when they spot them! Thankfully, we have a great reputation with them that has been growing with each group over the years.

The team members have been getting to know their coworkers well. They have made it a point to get to know these coworkers beyond working beside them each day.
impulsive beach trips.
dance recitals.
chats between customers.
lunch breaks.
Ministry in Apalach is flourishing. Pray for new relationships with Christ to blossom.

The team has been learning something big this summer. And it seems that everyone is learning this in some way or another.
They are learning to be right where they are, taking every opportunity, learning about and trusting the Lord with their lives. They are realizing that they don’t have to go – go – go all the time. It’s okay and often good to slow down and appreciate stillness. They are learning how to spend their free time wisely- determining when they need to take a nap, seek community, pray, or blow off some steam.

The team so enjoys their sweet times together on Sundays when everyone is off work. Sundays are kind of like a group-Sabbath day. They also have individual Sabbath days when they have a day, morning, or afternoon off of work. During these times, they might go to the beach, sleep, listen to music, journal, or read a book.
The team is bonding together through these times and friendships are growing so wonderfully! From rolling each others’ houses (on the inside..!) to putting tons of Olaf-themed goodies in a certain boy’s “secret encourager” bag.. the team is having a great time together. We praise God for this rich blessing of community!

The team had the opportunity to go over to a family’s house for dinner this past weekend. They had so much fun with the family! One of the team leaders knows this family from back home, and they have been so great to us the past couple of years!

Here are some prayer requests from the team:

1. Locals see Christ – Many locals in Apalach know Auburn students when they see them, but we want them to also see us as children of God who are on fire for Him; not just college students who also happen to be believers.

2. Continued Unity – Praise the Lord for the fellowship He has gifted us with! Pray that this continues and only becomes sweeter and richer.

3. Purposeful – Pray that we remember our purpose for being here- to bring Christ to the people in Apalachicola. Pray that we are bold for Christ and honor Him in all that we do, say, and think.

Thank you for your prayers this week!!

6.7 / Adventures in Apalach

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Things have been going quite well for our team in Apalachicola! Strong relationships are beginning to form between our team and their co-workers. This is such a praise! It can be difficult to build these types of friendships, so we thank the Lord for His faithfulness in that. Over the past couple of weeks, the group has been listening to the Gospel Threads podcast together which has been so beneficial. These podcasts teach practical ways to weave the Gospel into everyday conversations. People down in Apalach have become so open to talking and sharing with them. This is a huge blessing. If nobody listened to or talked with the team, it would be much more difficult to share the Gospel truth with them. We are grateful.

Last week, Trace visited Apalach and PSJ to encourage these teams and spur them on toward Christ. While in Apalach, he challenged the team to pray a bold prayer- to pray for something that only God could do. The team thought about it and decided on what to pray for. They had counted up their food money for the remainder of the month and it can down to $0.72 per person each day. And unfortunately, living in a country like America, it is very unlikely that $0.72 will cover daily needs. So the team joined together and prayed with great hope and boldness that the Lord would somehow provide for them the rest of this month.

That afternoon, one of our team members Madison drove to meet a friend of her parents who had brought some things that Madison had left at home. They had never met before and the dad didn’t know that this team was struggling to make ends meet. But, as soon as Madison pulled up, he started to pack her car FULL with groceries!! We’re talkin’ bags upon bags of chicken, biscuits, vegetables, ground beef, bacon, cereal, and so much more!! Is that a God thing or what?

Later that day, another amazing thing happened! Church members and neighbors randomly came by and brought them cheesecake, brownies, cookies..! So not only did God provide plenty of food to sustain the team, but He even topped it off with dessert!

Our Father can and will do exceedingly more than we could ever think to ask. He is in complete control and the team got to experience that in such a profound way this past week. It is truly amazing to see how attentive He is to us. Praise God!

One more exciting update is that one of the team members got baptized in the ocean this past week! Her life is hidden in Christ, hallelujah! We are so excited to see her walk in what God has called her to!

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Some things that you can be praying over the Apalach team are as follows:

  1. Rest- pray for rest in Christ; that the team will depend on Him for joy and energy
  2. Confidence- pray for their confidence to be rooted in Christ and in the person He has made each of them to be through His transforming love; pray that this will overflow into their conversations with unbelievers this week
  3. Unity- pray for a spirit of oneness to be over this team; that they will learn to serve each other like Christ served us, while speaking graciously and lovingly to one another and of one another

Thank you for praying over our family. We trust that our Father hears us and will respond in the way that is best!

5.29 / Answers in Apalach

Hello family!!

There are answered prayers in Apalachicola! We are so excited to share with you the good good news from our brothers and sisters!

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Just the other night, our team had some of the neighborhood kids over to their house to hang out. After eating dinner, Barrett and Logan shared testimonies of God’s faithfulness in their personal lives with the group. Once they shared, many of the kids began asking questions. They wanted to know and understand who God was and what it meant to follow Him. One of the girls made the decision to follow Jesus that night!!! Praise the Lord for His mighty works! The Lord used the testimonies of His own faithfulness and love in our lives to bring another child into the Kingdom! We are amazed at His glory and how He brings others to know Him. WE HAVE A NEW SISTER!

Pray for this new believer as she continues to grow and learn about Christ. Pray that she is able to grasp the Gospel more and more. Also pray that she is influential in the lives of her friends, family, and anyone she comes into contact with; that she is a light to those around her!

And praise our heavenly Father who is so faithful and merciful! We are so thankful for Jesus, who made a way for us to draw near and know Him.

Other than this exciting news, the team has enjoyed the chance to soak in some extra vitamin D! They are getting more and more settled into the laid-back atmosphere of the beach life. I mean, just look at this group! Who wouldn’t have a good time at the beach with ’em?!

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Continue praying for the team, that they will be encouraged by this new believer. Pray that they will depend on the Lord for their strength, their words, and their love for others. Pray for more and more opportunities to share and more and more hearts to be softened. Please pray that they walk with Christ, not just walk for Him.

He is Immanuel, or God with us.
His presence is known.
His presence is cherished.
He is answering our prayers!