This past weekend was BUSY… super special… but BUSY!!! And FULL of blessings!
We celebrated Haylie's birthday on Thursday! I cannot believe she is 12 years old.
We had a chicken pot pie dinner, as per Haylie's request, and invited our EBS missionary family to join us in the celebration! (And we enjoyed the delicious mashed potatoes and rolls courtesy of Stacey and Cheyenne!)
We invited Simeon and Lémé and Junior to join us for birthday cupcakes and singing for Haylie after dinner (unfortunately I didn't get them in ANY of the pictures!)
Well… I at least got Junior's arm in a picture… :)
(I even made mint chocolate chip ice cream with purple food coloring for the occasion!) Ice cream is always a SUPER special treat around here!
Later that evening us girls watched a chick flick (13 Going on 30… LOVE that movie!) at our house while the guys watched Iron Man at the Ayars! And in the middle of the movie, we paused to watch a beautiful dramatic production put on by the Burnley Bunch in honor of Haylie's big day!!!!
It was BEYOND special for her! Thank you Kris for always being SO thoughtful… and SO funny!!!
The next night, the festivities continued with a sleepover! Hannah Gross and Alanna and Brianna Bundy have become SUCH great friends for Haylie! They laughed pretty much ALL night and the whole next day!
On Saturday morning, after making egg sandwiches for the sleepover bunch (why they call them "sleep"overs I have NO idea!;), we headed up to the library for our last youth training event of the semester. In 3 words:
It. Was. AWESOME.
This time, we talked with the youth leaders in attendance about the importance of having a mission statement for their youth ministry programs. God desires for us to be intentional about our ministries and we encouraged each church group to work together with their leaders to create statements and images to define their group, and have Scriptural support behind what they created. After showing them a model from our youth ministry experience… we let them loose to be creative together!
After about 45 minutes, each group chose a representative to share their purpose, image and Scriptures with the rest of the group…
Check these out!
This group chose an umbrella… their reason being that they want their youth to understand that God is their protector. Using Psalm 23 and 91 as their basis they also made sure to share with the group that they left plenty of room for others under the umbrella- and that symbolized their desire for evangelism.
MANY of the groups decided to use the image of a tree… but all of them came from different angles. And they were all really great! Using John 15 and Galatians 5, they talked about having roots founded in Christ, branches abiding in Him, lives of fruit from the Holy Spirit.
Each group shared different ideas and perspectives...
And yet their foundation remained the same...
I loved how each group made sure to stress that youth MUST be grounded and rooted in Christ.
It's one thing to say it.. but its another thing to have a purpose statement and image that constantly reminds them of this reality. It was SO cool to see them so excited to go back and share what they have created with their youth!
Another group used a candle… talking about how their youth are the light of the world. It is their job to shine bright for the world to see… so that those who are lost can come to faith in Christ! We have been given the light, not so that we can hide it, but so that we can share it!
The group in the pictures below used the same image that we shared with them but they made it their own… which I loved too! Using the body- each part having a specific function within the ministry… The head- we provide our youth with knowledge. The heart- we teach them to love and be obedient to God's Word. The hands- giving them opportunities to serve and worship. The knees- teaching and setting the example of the importance of prayer. And finally- the feet- going and sharing the Good News with others...
And the last church chose the symbol of a rock in God's hand. Their desire is to teach their youth to be vessels for God to use. Wherever He may choose to send us, we must be willing to put our lives in His hands and trust Him with the outcome. Another GREAT image and purpose statement for youth ministry!
We had 8 different churches represented, over 30 people who came out to be trained in
It is so exciting to be a part of what God is doing through Emmaus… to have the opportunity to use over 15 years of youth ministry training and share it with people who are so hungry for it!!!
Next month, we have the awesome opportunity of partnering with a church in Lory! We will be bringing a LifeTree Adventures mission group to the church and doing a 2 day youth retreat there.
Below is the group of youth leaders who attended the training on Saturday, and who are working each week with the youth in Lory. Can't wait to see what God is going to do through that retreat!
Your prayers as we plan for the retreat and also for the hearts of those who will attend to be prepared for what God wants to say to them are much appreciated! More info on that mission trip will be coming soon! So very excited about this new partnership with Group and LifeTree too :)
I know that I say this ALL the time… but we are continually blessed and encouraged by your support! Your love, prayers, emails, Facebook messages, care packages, cards etc. etc. etc…. are so appreciated and are such an encouragement to us!
We LOVE hearing from you and would love to pray for YOU too! Please don't ever hesitate to contact us and share what is going on in your lives. :)
Thankful that we are in this together!