John 16:33

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you may have trouble...But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Saturday, August 10, 2013

VBS Day 5 - Farewell Picnic

The Messiah kids started the day swimming and jumping off rocks enjoying the peaceful water.  It was really important to them to swim one more time so they all got up at 7:30...way earlier than the Southend kids so they had the lake to themselves.

It was a busy morning as we prepared to host a community picnic and we were unsure of how many people would attend.  We invited the VBS kids and anyone else in the community.

Ringing the church bell to announce the picnic.
We prepared pizza, hotdogs and other side dishes and were delighted when three women from the holistic health services came to help prepare the food!  It was a great way for the Messiah women to get to know a few more Southend women.  This will help us next year as Father Mark will on a new assignment.  The Northern Store donated cheese, crackers & jumbo freezie pops as well.  There was plenty of food for everyone.

Kristin, Francis, Vernice, Loraine & Sandy.
Brian serving men of the community.
Kids wearing the "Jesus Loves Southend" t-shirts.

Community picnic next the church.
After the picnic, we cleaned up and headed back to the school to finish packing the trailer.  A lot of kids joined us and there was a L-O-N-G Minnesota goodbye.  Many tears were shed by all the Messiah and Southend kids.  We reminded them that Jesus is with them and we look forward to seeing them next year!

Our trip back is going well and we are thankful for the kind people from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Prince Albert who met us at their church last night at 9:30 pm (after we had a flat tire on the trailer and Dave & Brian did an excellent job getting us back on the road!).

On the side of the road on our way to Prince Albert.

Redeemer Families and the Messiah Team
Merv & Pat, Bryan & Gloria, Jim & Marvis

Our team is thankful for all the prayers, donations and financial support we've received to help spread the love of Jesus.  We are already looking forward to returning to Southend in 2014.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day 4 - God's Promise of Eternal Life

Gathering for a teaching & devotion with Father Mark

After breakfast, Father Mark shared a teaching about the Eucharist (which means thanksgiving) and Baptism.  When we are baptized, we die to ourselves and begin to live a new life for Jesus.  The Eucharist is about returning to Jesus to thank Him just as one of the ten lepers returned to Jesus to thank Him for healing.

Father Mark prepares to ring the bell for the last time!

Kids helping Father Mark ring the bell.
Kids help Father Mark each day to ring the bell to let the children know that Vacation Bible School is starting.  A total of five dogs helped as well. 

We started Day 4 as we normally do but just before we were about to begin, the power went off!  We weren't sure how long it would be off so we took the kids outside to play and wait.  We brought out chalk, bubbles and beach balls.

We brought the guitars outside and did the music "unplugged".  Since we didn't have microphones, we improvised and used pylons as megaphones.  It didn't make any difference because the kids really seemed to enjoy the music!

After music, we shared snacks with the kids and we learned that the electricity would be off until 5:00 pm.  Then, it began to rain and so we had to end the day early.
The skit that we planned for today was about the parable of the "Great Feast" which is heaven.  We didn't get a chance to share the skit with the kids because of the power outage and the rain.  But, here is a team picture from our rehearsal.
Many of the kids came up to the school later that afternoon and played outside with us for several hours.  We ended the evening with a late dinner and a team movie night.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 3 - God Promises to Save His Children From Their Sins & God Promises the Savior Jesus

Our third day began with the understanding that the Southend electricity would be out from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  We tried to be prepared so we would be ready to take the kids outside for the time that  the lights went out.
The Southend kids were lined up at the door again today and were excited to start Day 3.  They knew we were handing out "Jesus Loves Southend" t-shirts today and were excited to be able to sign each other's shirts.  There were about 109 kids in attendance!!
Our skits focused on two Bible stories today.  The story told how God sent snakes to bite the Israelites because they were complaining to Moses in the desert and failed to trust God.  But, the Israelites repented and God told Moses to raise a bronze snake and those who looked at the snake after being bitten were saved.  The bronze snake reminds us of God's promise to send Jesus, our Savior.

Dominique narrating and interacting with Scottie.

Moses raising the bronze snake and the Israelites being saved!

The second story told how the prophets foretold of Jesus' birth.  Micah and Isaiah both proclaimed God's word and told how Jesus would be born in Bethlehem and a virgin would give birth to a son and He would be called Immanuel.

Micah proclaiming God's word!

Isaiah prophesying the birth of Jesus!

God was good and the electricity remained on until after we finished the music, skits and games!  We finished our snack outside and then started signing t-shirts.  Autographing t-shirts is always a highlight of the week!  Smiles and laughter filled the school playground!

Singing "Radical God"
lining up to get a marker to sign t-shirts

signing t-shirts

Our evening had been planned to be another teen night and several teens came but there was a hockey game in the school so we didn't have as many as on Monday night.  Dave and Caleb took the 12 and younger kids to the front of the school and played Kick Baseball.  The older kids played World Cup (soccer game) and volleyball in the back.  Later, we served Sloppy Joes to all ages and then had a campfire with s'mores.  The fire felt good as it was pretty chilly!  The kids loved making braided bracelets and God's Eyes again.

making s'mores!

making God's Eyes
 We are loving our time here telling the kids about Jesus and sharing His love with them!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ladies Night

We weren't sure what to expect since this was our first time hosting a ladies night.  The whole evening exceeded our expectations.  We gathered in the Home Economics room in the school and thirteen women walked through our door.  In keeping with Cree tradition, we served tea and cookies.  Our conversation centered around family, culture and the changes over the years.  It was really interesting hearing about their childhood experiences while at fishing camp during the entire summer.  Two women were even experienced dog mushers (dog sled racing), sometimes with fourteen dogs!  We found that although we have cultural differences, there are many similarities.  We shared with them how much we have enjoyed getting to know their children over the past years we've been coming to Southend.  It was fun to finally meet them because even though we've spent a lot of time here, this was our first opportunity to get to know some of the ladies of the community.

We shared our testimonies with the Southend ladies and were honored they felt comfortable sharing their personal experiences with us.  There was a lot of laughter shared around the table as well as some tears.  Several asked how they could grow in their faith and we shared ways that God has used to grow our faith such as praying alone and with others, encouraging others with Bible verses, daily devotions and worshipping with others.  We were able to give them Bibles we had brought with us which we received from Messiah, our home congregation.  Toward the end of the evening we prayed together around the table and two of the women prayed in their native Cree language.  We didn't know what they were saying, but the Holy Spirit did and it was wonderful!

The women asked if we would be coming back next year as they were concerned that since Father Mark is moving, we might not return.  We assured them that we are planning to come next summer and we made plans for a potluck celebration.  We received contact information from one of the Southend women as Father Mark will not be here next summer to help us schedule events.  They requested that an event be hosted for the men of the community as well.

The evening ended with hugs and new-found friends.

VBS Day 2 ~ God Has a Perfect Plan for Each of Us!

Day 2 began with breakfast and devotion with the team.  We were blessed with a total of 108 kids for VBS today!  The final count for Monday's attendance was 105 kids. The two day total of dog attendance stands (on four legs) at 7!  Many pups and full-grown dogs show up at teen night as well.

Today we learned about the promise God made to Abraham and Sarah, that Sarah would have a baby - even when they were very old.  Best of all, God promised Abraham that someday the Savior would be one of his descendants.  The promised Savior came hundreds of years later but Abraham believed that God keeps His promises.  God gave Abraham the faith to believe and obey Him.  He gives us faith to believe Him, too, just like Abraham.  He speaks to us through the Bible, telling us that He is good, loving and faithful.  When we see from the Bible how God kept His promises to Abraham and that His plan was good and perfect, we know that God will also keep His promises to us and show us that He has a good and perfect plan for us, too. 

Angela as Abraham

God said, "I promise that I will give you as many descendants as there are stars in the sky." 
Genesis 22:17
The kids are enthusiastic about the music, skits, puppet shows, games and snacks.  You can see this in the pictures! 
The giant beach ball is a hit!
Isn't it beautiful here?  God's Country!
Father Mark joins in on the Djembe!  He also plays the voice of God in the skits! 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

VBS Day 1 - God Promises to Love and Care for His Children

Waiting for VBS to begin!!!
 We were blessed with the attendance of over 95 children; many were waiting before the doors were open!  The day included music - some songs from prior years as well as some new ones.

The Bible story today was about Noah and the Ark.  The verse of the day was "I am putting my rainbow in the sky as a sign of my promise to you."  Genesis 9:13  We opened with an introduction from Kristin and the puppet, Scottie (Dave).  The Messiah kids took over and presented the Noah story in skit form.

Southend kids were not afraid to answer all of our questions!
One of the focuses this week is to teach the Gospel in a nutshell by memorizing John 3:16.  Each day we are leaning a part of this verse.  By Thursday, we hope they all will be able to say the verse by memory.  We are giving the kids a wristband each day with the daily Bible verse and one of them is John 3:16.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."  John 3:16        

After Bible time, we split the kids into 2 groups and the younger kids played parachute games and the older kids played "Sheep & Shepherds" and other tag games.

The kids worked up a thirst after playing games, so we all took a break and served a snack of watermelon and animal crackers with water.  We ended with more music and the craft of the day which was a salvation necklace.

After a break of clean-up and swimming, we prepared to host our first teen night.  Our team has never hosted one in past years.  We were pleased there were about 15 Southend teens that joined us.  They had fun playing soccer and other games and shared a devotion together.  We brought blue t-shirts for everyone that say "Jesus Loves Southend".  This is the same logo we used last year for the VBS kids and the teens had wanted to have one as well.

We provided lots of pizza, watermelon, cookies & lemonade as well as a campfire.  We hope these teens and more come back on Wednesday night which will be our 2nd and final teen night this year.

Playing "World Cup" soccer game in their new T-shirts!

Playing soccer in the un-mowed fields at the school. 
We thank God for a GREAT Monday!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunday - Fun Day!

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

We worshipped with Father Mark and his congregation.  This is the last time we will get to hear him give a sermon here because he has been re-assigned to Edmonton where he will have different responsibilities.   The message was about the treasures that God has given each of us and maintaining a balance in giving and receiving these gifts.  Afterwards we had food and fellowship with the congregation and members of the community in the yard outside of the Church.   We distributed flyers that provided information about the Vacation Bible School, Teen Nights, and the Women's night that we are hosting this week. The Messiah kids interacted with the Southend kids and they made lots of braided bracelets and the God's eye craft.  We also shared wristbands with Bible verses.

Enjoying coffee, tea, cheese, meat, crackers & cookies

Getting to know the men of the community

making God's Eyes

making braided bracelets

We headed to Reindeer Lake and the Southend Rocks where the Messiah Kids went swimming with the Southend kids.  The water was a bit chilly but not as cold as last year.  It didn't seem to bother them as they had a great time!  We walked back to the school and played with the Southend kids.  We played Kick Baseball, Battle Ball, painted fingernails and made beautiful pictures with sidewalk chalk.

having fun in Reindeer Lake

swimming at the rocks

A storm cloud moved in so we moved into the school to prepare for our first day of VBS.  Everyone worked together to prepare snacks, music, and Bible story skits.  Before we knew it, it was 10:30 pm and time to go to bed!