Friday, March 18, 2005

Here are some closing thoughts for the trip.
Our last day was long and involved lots of travel. We left Flagstaff at 6:30, then headed for the Phoenix airport in order to get Tim there in time to catch his connection to Portland. Most of us waited at the airport while Andrew, Mr. Hood, Joey and Kyle returned to Church on the Street to retrieve the luggage we had left there. After a little packing and rearranging, we checked in, said a sad farewell to Andrew, and boarded the plane. Because of weather in Atlanta, we were delayed in leaving, so some of the kids were hoping to miss our connection to FTL, but then when we were delayed 3 hours in Atlanta, we were all just glad to be home. I guess the main thought I'm bringing home from this trip is that GOD IS REAL, God is good, and God is working. I'm amazed to see how He works in the lives of individuals who say 'yes' to Him, and the power He has to change lives. I've seen how one simple act of obedience can have a ripple effect and bring blessing to the lives of many. And I've seen God's grace to those, who through difficult circumstances and poor choices, have hit bottom and found that there is no place He will not go to bring someone to Himself.
It was a blessing to be part of this experience. -- Mrs. Barnhill

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Well, these last three days have been an exhausting and absolutely amazing time. On Tuesday, the waterfall was beautiful but very cold, and later that night we had the hot springs all to ourselves. We ordered some yummy drinks there!

Yesterday, we had a 30 min horseback ride to the zip line, Jen leading the way! It was beautiful clear skies until about twenty seconds after the horses left, and then it rained for the rest of the day.

When we reached the zip line, we all strapped into our harnesses, climbed a few flights of outdoor stairs, and one by one were swinging into the lush wet rainforest. We started about 200 feet in the air, and ended back at the horse stables, wet and muddy.

We took the horses back through the mud to the stables. Earlier, Keri had assured those of us who were timid about the horses that she had taken more than 800 people riding and never had an incident. Well, our group set out to prove her wrong, as Tim fell off the horse about halfway to the stable and was covered in mud and horse poo. Thankfully, he was not hurt. Soon after we went shopping at a local crafts store.

Today we went white water rafting. It was an amazing, awesome, beautiful time. Zach, Mr. Mockler, Jen, Joe, Nicole V., Luiza and Mike all fell out of the boats at one point or another. Mike fell out at a very dangerous spot, but thanks to God's grace and our quick-thinking tour guide Caleb, was rescued immediately. We drifted through the beautiful rainforest canyons and got some great pictures!

We have also had amazing sharing times these last few days, with everyone encouraging and uplifting each other. We talked about taking up our cross daily, and what that means to each person in their own life, and had an awesome time of prayer. We were so encouraged to hear about the Arizona trip and how Chris came to Christ!! Praise God!!

Prayer Request: Please keep praying for the safe return of the other trips, and also for our travel safety tomorrow. We love you and miss you all! -- Gayle & the rest of the Seniors

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Quick Update: We are back from the volcano, and are exhausted! The last two days have been a blast. Yesterday we hiked to a beautiful waterfall and bathed in relaxing hot springs, and today we went horseback riding and on the zip line through the rainforest. It has been a wonderful time of seeing God's creation! More details to come later! -- Gayle
Check out the Photo Blog for some Orlando pictures just posted by Tyler!

We woke up at 9:30 and ate a scrumptious breakfast. We then took an hour and a half journey to the Grand Canyon. It was fun; we saw three small deer-like things. We hiked 1.5 miles down the Grand Canyon. We saw a huge black bird that made a funny noise. Brian then brought goldfish crackers and we laid down and squirrels climbed on Brian and me to eat the goldfish.   We had another snowball fight. It was sweet. We played a prank on Mr. Spidizzle, and he got extremely frightened. We told him that he had damaged a car with a snowball. We went to Ruby Tuesday's and had a delicious dinner. We came back to the hotel and had devotions. During that time we revealed our Cactus Comrades and experiences we had. Andrew (our Joshua Expeditions guide) shared his testimony.
Prayer Request: Safe travel. Thanks for everyone who has been praying for us, but I ask that you not just pray for us but pray for the other mission trips and all of the other people who have been touched and/or led to Christ through our mission's journeys. -- Joey
Joel, don't even THINK about throwing it at the camera.
We gave him a present and a huge love bomb. Chris was led to Christ; we prayed with him. We also have to leave at 6:30 am for a 4 hour drive to Phoenix and a 20 minute drive to the airport.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

We just landed in Florida and we're still on the plane. Everything went well; it was a great trip. At the AIDS camp yesterday there were only a few patients whom our student were able to visit. It was very hard and our kids were speechless. They turned out doing some work projects at the AIDS camp. Back at ALC, the work crews went well. Everyone worked hard and got a lot done.
The straw market was great yesterday. Everyone stayed with their group, was well behaved, and got great deals! The kids were just great. Meagan has been a wonderful chaperone, although she is is very tired. She was surprised how much work it is to chaperone a trip! There was good sharing at the campfire last night. Some students expressed a desire to grow closer to the Lord.

Eunice didn't have the right paperwork to get back into the States, so the officials called Mr. Smith aside. Mr. Smith says he wasn't worried one bit because he's seen God overcome so many obstacles on mission trips, and he knew that God would be faithful this time. And He was, and Eunice was cleared to return.

Prayer Request: Mr. Smith is feeling much better, but is really tired. Pray for refreshment for him, as his RV was broken into while gone, so he has a lot to come back to.

We seem to be on time for a 6 pm arrival at the high school. -- Mrs. Riter
Just heard from Kaila. The sophomores and chaperones are in the airport in Nassau awaiting travel home. Everyone is safe and well and had an awesome time! -- Mrs. Spina
Check out these Bahamas pictures just posted by Mrs. Riter!

Today we traveled from Phoenix to Sedona, then Flagstaff. In Sedona, we ate sandwiches for lunch at a small, beautiful canyon. Then some people went shopping while others went hiking. Kevin, Joey, Mr. Hood, Brian, and Kyle blazed a new trail at the end of the trail. After that, we traveled further north, and stopped at a "scenic overlook." While there, there was snow on the ground, and we had a major snow ball fight. See the pictures: it was the most fun I have had all trip. After that, we traveled to Flagstaff and checked into our hotel. We are having a great time.

Prayer Request: safe travel to the Grand Canyon -- Kevin

Note from Faith: This morning we started off the morning by going to an outreach with Church on the Street and ministering to the homeless. Afterwards we made an ever-important stop at Starbucks!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hello to everyone! Here is the last update for our 9th grade missions trip. It is wonderful to be home and have access to the Internet so that I can close out our trip properly. Simply put, God is faithful, and He is good!! This is a group of 9th graders who demonstrate tremendous promise and potential to become godly men and women. Jason said it best when he shared with the group last night that he had seen many of them emerge as leaders. I saw it too! Speaking of last night, we had a wonderful time of sharing. God worked through Eugene, Eulie and Mr. Wheeler throughout the weekend to deliver very similar messages on living a life totally devoted to God. Many students shared during last night's devotions that they had been convicted through those messages to start living for Christ and to stop trying to live both a worldly life and a Christian life.

I want to share with you from my heart that I was a little concerned about chaperoning thirty-nine 9th graders. I asked several of the faculty and staff to pray for patience for me. God answered those prayers in a way that only He can. Instead of practicing patience all weekend with 38 wild teenagers, God gave me a very special group of students who were energetic, but obedient, grateful, caring, servant-hearted, and joyful. When our bus broke down today, after a long and tiring weekend, none of us was very happy, but the students made lemonade out of lemons; rather than complain, they found fun things to do to entertain themselves while we waited for the tow truck and charter bus. Our 9th grade parents should be very proud of their children! I am grateful for each of them, as well as our chaperones: Jason, who was a perfect leader and role model for our students - they all loved hanging out with him; Mrs. Kelly, for her graciousness and gift of hospitality - our students were well fed and well nourished; Mrs. Sengberg, who has the gift of compassion and was so good to Jen and others who needed encouragement; Mr. Wheeler, who is so well respected and loved by our 9th graders - his devotional rocked! and Mr. Erickson, who tirelessly drove us around the very confusing area of Orlando with me as navigator...need I say more? I was very happy for him that he got to rest on the way home on the charter bus, rather than having to drive.

I am glad to be home, but I come home with precious memories of students serving and ministering. I will never forget standing in the parking lot of the Dream Center and, everywhere I looked, seeing our students sitting with little ones, sharing the Good News; and I will never forget the smiles on the faces of our ten elderly patients at Manor Care, as our students visited with them, played games with them, and gave them back their humanity and dignity for the short time we were there. Thank you for your prayers; continue to pray for our 10th, 11th, and 12th grade missionaries! -- In Christ, Mrs. Lynch
We've encountered one little glitch. Just as we were leaving the parking lot of Universal Studios to head home, our bus broke down. Right now we're stuck in the driveway of the Portofino Bay Hotel. Everyone is safe and a replacement charter bus will be here in about 20 minutes. We plan to stop for dinner on the way home, and expect to be back at the high school at approximately 11:00 pm. -- Mrs. Lynch
Alright! Here is todays update! (Forgive my grammar; I cant find an apostrophe on this Spanish computer!)
This was the last day of ministry work at La Carpio. We wanted to backtrack a little and give you some idea of the last few days there.
It was a definite culture shock when we arrived in La Carpio. La Carpio is a Nicaraguan refugee camp, with 100,000 people living in one square mile. The houses are mostly made of corrugated aluminum and concrete, and are literally right on top of each other. The local church is in a constant state of construction, and so yesterday when we showed up dressed for church, we instead found ourselves working. But thankfully everyone had a good attitude and worked hard!
This morning we showed up for day two of work at the church. The church is working on building additions for bathrooms, and there were so many construction projects going on! Ryan, Andrew and Tim helped tie rebar, Chris and Joe hauled more cinder blocks, and Luiza, Brittney, Charity, Jen and both Nicoles sifted dirt to get sand and gravel for cement. Mike, Zach, Gayle and Mr. Mockler carted the sand down a flight of stairs to make mortar. The guys also helped to mix cement.
After lunch we sorted all the clothes and supplies to give to the people, and set up crafts and games to play with the kids. When the kids came, we overcame the language barrier and had a great time, though we didnt always understand them. Some of us played jump rope for the first time since elementary school!
Tonight we had a devotion on gratitude, and it was a great time of sharing within the group. Many people remarked on how thankful the people of La Carpio were, and how we can apply that in our own lives. Tomorrow we will be headed to a volcano and hot springs, and staying overnight there. We will probably not be able to update from there, but we will be back on Wednesday night. Keep us in your prayers -- Love, The Seniors
Monday morning the kids were up 5:30 their time to help serve and partake a breakfast of cereal. Yesterday they went to a mountain to hike and climb, on trail and off. Everyone is helpful and getting along.

Sunday night some of the homeless shared their testimonies. They were very interesting. The boys' room is in the church basement. It is a tight squeeze. The girls are staying in the women's dorm. -- Mrs. Hendrix

We woke up at 4:30 and got ready to go to church on the street. The girls packed sandwiches for the homeless outreach. Afterward Gabby, Faith, Mrs. Barnhill, and Aileen led worship for the women's Bible Study. The girls then did a skit about filling your life with God. After that Shaye gave her testimony about filling her life with things other than God, and Gabby concluded. We heard testimonies from some of the ladies and we mingled with some of the group. Afterward we spent time as a group playing cards and bonding.  Then we went to a discipleship class. After that we ate lunch and went to clean up a youth ministry house. The guys did yard work and the girls cleaned the kitchen. Then we went and saw a homeless shelter for men associated with church on the street. Then we came back to the women's shelter. We got to have some time to sleep and clean up. After that we ate dinner and then went to a western thing called Rawhide! It was awesome, we all had a lot of fun. Then we all drove back to our sleeping places and went to bed.

Prayer Request: that we will all keep uniting as a class --Aileen

Note on last picture: At the rawhide they arrested Collin and he had to ride a stick horse to get out of jail.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Woke up around 6:45 (note from Faith girls were up at 5:30!) to get ready to get breakfast and then go to our Bible study at 9:00 where Andrew led worship in front of all the homeless people. Then, we broke into groups. Some went to help the youth and some went to church service. Joel and Hunter performed a puppet show to entertain the kids. Afterward, at about 12:30, we had some spaghetti and conversed with the homeless people. Then we went to an outreach where we served food to people out on the streets and also talked with them. Joel, Kyle, Andrew, Tim, Brian, and Joey met with a man named Rich and talked with him for a while. Some of the people were still on drugs and very messed up.   We soon left there and went to hike a large mountain. We hiked for about 3 hours and everyone had a great time. After hiking, we were all hungry so we went to a burger place to eat. Then we came back to the church to have a devotion and then went to sleep. -- Joel
Add on from Mr. Hood: We have had a powerful time of sharing tonight. Several students shared that they have felt convicted about how much we have at home and how blessed we are but we complain about such trivial things! There was a very intense conversation within our group about being "holy" and about "faith without works being dead" (James 2). Prayer Request: Please pray for everyone in our group to continue to let God work on their hearts!

Add on from Faith: Thank you for your prayers. It was a miracle that I could connect to the internet!
An amazing day today as we got to love people, love God, and love His creation of the rocks and cactus!
We had an amazing day.The worship service was very good and I think really prepared the hearts of the students to minister. We went to Manor Care this afternoon. That was hard, because they only had about 10 patients, and 38 of us, so we divided up as much as we could. It was a good growing experience for the kids because some of them were very very uncomfortable being around elderly people, but some of them just shined. Little Rose and this beautiful older lady named Elizabeth just bonded, and then Cristina was able to speak to an older lady who only spoke Spanish, and it was just precious to see. It was a good experience and it really stretched them.
We had an amazing sharing time tonight: everything from what God has done in their lives on on this trip, to sharing that they needed to get their lives right and quit walking in 2 boats, the Christian boat and the worldly boat.
Prayer Request for tomorrow: That God would use the remainder of this trip to speak to the students who are struggling with their faith and not taking it seriously. It is God's battle. Also please pray for safety at Islands of Adventure and on the way home tomorrow. -- Mrs. Lynch
It was a very cool night last night, but a hot day today. Our morning started out with service at Mount Nebo Baptist Church. What an energetic, enthusiastic, and LOUD service! The students really enjoyed it, and nobody fell asleep, that's for sure. Later we returned to the Elizabeth Estates orphanage and gave out the clothes, candy, and games we had brought. It was a little different than we expected. Our students spent a lot of time playing with the kids - sidewalk chalk, football, etc.

In an extra blessing, today we were able to get into the digs at Atlantis without bribing a guard (unusual). We had a good sharing time tonight on forgiveness and sharing the parables we had seen throughout the day. When it came time for prayer requests, the 10th graders all wanted to pray for the other mission trips.

Thanks for your prayers for Mr. Smith. He's feeling better but nevertheless has decided not to go to the AIDS camp tomorrow. There's only room for 8 students to visit the AIDS camp, so Mrs. Cohen and Meagan will be taking the first 8 students who turned in permission slips. The rest will stay back and do work projects at Adventure Learning Centre. In the afternoon we plan to visit the straw market, and have a campfire at night.

Prayer Requests: For tomorrow's visit to the AIDS camp, and for the students staying back at ALC to have excellent servant attitudes. For continued healing for Mr. Smith. For tomorrow's trip to the beach: The weather has been hot, so the students need to remember to drink plenty of water and use sunscreen. Please also pray for good attitudes and relationships. -- Mrs. Riter
Today has already been a long day! This morning we were prepared to work with the kids at a Sunday School, but the Lord had other plans. When we arrived at the church in La Carpio, we joined up with another Joshua group to do some manual labor. We split up into three groups, some of us working with the children, another group cutting and welding wires, and a third group hauling over a thousand cinder blocks. It was hard work in the sun, but thankfully it was not quite as humid as it is in Florida, although it is as hot.

Right now we are relaxing at the beautiful hotel, and tonight we will be going to a church service at La Carpio. It will be all in Spanish, which should be quite an experience.

Prayer Request: Please continue to pray for everyone to stay healthy and safe, as we are not working in the best part of town. We miss you all! -- Gayle
I'll check in later tonight with more details about our day, but I do want you to know that the students are exhibiting the same spirit here that I've heard about with the other trips. This group of girls is the most unified that I've seen in a long time - no arguing or bickering of any kind (except that everyone fights over who can help Jen, who is hobbling along on crutches). There are small signs of cooperation from the whole group, such as picking up trash without being asked. It is the spirit of God at work. Right now we are getting on the bus to go to Manor Care. -- Mrs. Lynch
Kevin called about 15 minutes ago and said he is having the time of his life. They went to church for about two hours this morning. They then had the opportunity to talk and eat with some homeless people. He really enjoyed that. He then said they had just gotten back from hiking for about 3 hours. He couldn't talk too long as they were headed off to have some dinner. I asked him if he was having fun and his reply was, "Mom, I'm loving it!" -- Mrs. Spina

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Well its been a long day but we are happy to say we are headed to bed! We started the day off in a very small bus, but we made it to the airport and all of the transportation went quite well. We met Tim in Phoenix...he had been in the airport for 24 hours waiting! We also met our Joshua Expeditions guide, Andrew, and had a great time getting to know him. We stopped for a quick bite at quiznos and then off to rock climbing. It was a really good experience to work together and climb up the rocks. It is hotter here than it was in Boca! It was really cool to look out and see the beautiful creation. Afterwards, we went to a tour of Church on the Street and then headed to the various places where we are staying. It is a little bit of a stretch but very doable and we do have carpet to sleep on! After we changed and cleaned up a little bit we went to the church service. It started at 7:00 and ended at 9:30. We were all experiencing jet lag and it   was a struggle to stay awake but we managed. It was really interesting in the church to see all these former murderers worshipping God excitedly.
There were people constantly saying Amen and people walking in and out. They sang a lot of songs that Boca Community sings and it was really fun to sing with the homeless people. After the service, we ate soup with the homeless and got to talk to some of them. We are now back in our beds looking forward to some sweet sleep. Thank you all for your prayers, we really appreciate it. Our entire class had an unbelievable attitude today. Some people have really stepped up and every person is showing respect for each other. I have been blown away by how the students and chaperones have acted. My eyes are half closed, so I am off to bed. Thanks again for your prayers! -- Faith
We and all of our bags arrived in the Bahamas safely. Praise God for that! The students are enthusiastic, encouraging, and willing to work. In fact, the chaperones are sworn to secrecy that some of the students actually enjoy dish duty. (Don't tell their parents!) The spirit of this group of sophomores is really great.

Today we conducted games, arts & crafts, and music at the Elizabeth Estates orphanage. Then we came to the Adventure Learning Centre for orientation, dinner, and a very lively and interesting planetarium presentation. Tomorrow we will attend church in the morning and return to Elizabeth Estates.

Prayer Requests: Please pray for Mr. Smith, who has a sinus infection. Also pray that we can have an opportunity to minister to all of the children at Elizabeth Estates tomorrow. Some of the children could not join us today because they were on restrictions.

I'll try to check in again either tomorrow or Monday. -- Mrs. Riter
We had a great day; several of the children at the Dream Center prayed to receive Christ. But talk about spiritual warfare! When we first got to the Dream Center, some other work groups were there and it was very unorganized. Then we realized that we had left the salvation bracelets back at the church where we had slept, about 30 minutes away! Since the bracelets were the most important part of our presentation, I decided to try to go back, and one of the pastors offered to drive me. But when we got back to the church, my key didn't work! Finally, a maintenance man let me in and we were able to bring back the salvation bracelet supplies.
But it was God's timing...If we had tried to present the gospel earlier in the day, there would have been too many distractions. By the time we returned to the Dream Center, most of the other work groups had left and it was all quiet and settled down. We had the children's full attention, and as a result 8 to 10 children received Christ.
Tonight we had a good time at Dixie Stampede and now we're back at FBC Oviedo to sleep.
Prayer Request: That our students be very open and generous with the elderly tomorrow, who may be harder for them to work with than the little kids. -- Mrs. Lynch
The 10th grade group has arrived at the airport and now we're waiting to pass through security. For the first time ever, every single one of the Bahamas-bound students has arrived with correct travel documents! The kids have been helpful and very encouraging to one another, for example working together in a luggage chain to unload the suitcases quickly.

When we arrive in the Bahamas later today, we'll go directly to an orphanage. The students are very excited about what the day will hold. -- Mrs. RiterPosted by:
Hi everybody! The seniors have arrived in Costa Rica, with all of our luggage. Praise God for that! After going through a very long wait at customs, we met up with our guide, Keri, and did some shopping. After dinner we practiced our Sunday School skit and had a devotion on unity. Our prayer for this trip is that we can be united as Christians on our opportunity to serve. We are all very tired, but excited for a big day working at church tomorrow! Keep us in prayer! -- Love,The Seniors
Before the 11th graders boarded the bus early this morning, Mr. Hood led them in a word of prayer and then reminded them that mission trips are all about FLEXIBILITY. They immediately put it into practice -- literally --as they barely squeeeeeezed 23 people and about 60 pieces of luggage into the school bus for the trip to the airport. -- Mrs. Wilson

Friday, March 11, 2005

The 9th graders had a great day at the ropes course. There was one incident, though...Jen C dislocated her knee and the paramedics had to come to take her to the ER! Thankfully, she was able to rejoin us for the trip up to Orlando. We had smooth travel and have arrived safely at the First Baptist Church of Oviedo, where the students are now getting settled in and showered. We plan to have a short prayer time before bed.

Prayer Requests: Pray that the students will get out of their comfort zones and have an impact on the children at the Dream Center tomorrow. Also please pray for energy, as it has been an exhausting day! -- Mrs. Lynch
Excitement filled the air at the high school campus early this morning as the 9th graders boarded the bus for the ropes course.